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Two Stories by mrchrn

El Wu-Tang Clan y la Bruja de Brooklyn
One a.m. – February 11 1993, Brooklyn. Nine young men in the snow, not even feeling it. Thick parkas plus hype juice running in their bloodstreams. Warm cassettes in their pockets.
     One of them is the leader, but maybe he is more like the hunter. He is hunting a shelter and he has a nose for it and he leads them into Don Rodriguez Salsa Bar.
     Inside it is warm and almost empty except for a guy who is smelling his drink and a hobo in the corner. But from behind the bar, Don Rodriguez beckons them in. He doesn’t care that they are black, he’s happy to see them so they shrug their shoulders and come in. The one who brought them here gets on the dance floor alone for a second, doing a fake bullfight to the Cuban music.
     Rodriguez brings beer and a bottle of tequila.
     “My treat. You look like you boys got something to celebrate.”
     “Ain’t that the muthafuckin’ truth,” replies the tall bearded guy with the raspy voice and crazy teeth caps. “Rodriguez you is all right. You’s down with the Clan, knowmsayin’? You at the birth of the muthafuckin’ revolution and you ain’t even packing, but you good, you good, man.”
     “Ain’t no muthafucka gonna dance with a brother?” comes the yell from the dance floor.
     Frankly they are all too tired. They know he is running on some chemical bonus, but for them, after 12 straight hours doing the final mixdown, the warm red leather in their cubicle is as inescapable as the black hole at the heart of the milky way.


“Yo, Don Rodriguez. Yo, where my killa tape at, ‘s’ta’God. Okay, I got it. Yo, Don Rodriguez, you wanna hear the next chapter in the saga of hip-hop? You ready for the 36 chambers, my man? You ain’t never wanna hear no goddamned trumpet music after you experience this joint, for reals.”
Don shrugs his shoulders and smiles.
     “Sure. You boys made this? I’ll put it on.”
     “Well, hell, Don Rodriguez! Much respect, my man, But hey is you regular clientele gonna be down with this? This is some hardcore street shit. This is original hip-hop, knowmsayin’, god?”
     Don Rodriguez laughs. He remembers when he had a real clientele: when Creole bands from Havana filled the floor with notes of every color and the dancing only ended when a knife-fight broke out. Even that was a dance. Sometimes the fights were so fast that the band was still playing when the first blood drops fell on the floor.
     “Señor, my clientele is a deaf man and a bruja—a witch. So I think we can play your tape.”
     The music started. The movie sample was crystal clear. Was it too long? Some of them thought so. But not the RZA. He didn’t have a moment of doubt. There wasn’t a single beat out of place. This would be an album where even the skits got quoted. He knew that in his heart of hearts: the 37th chamber.
     Even ODB was quiet as the tape played. The only noise was the clinking of bottle necks when a dope verse dropped.
     Then it was done.
     Don Rodriguez clapped ferociously.
     “Fantastico, boys. Really really great.”
     “Alright, we closing this motherfucker down! More drinks, per favor señor Don!” said the GZA and the clan knew it was true. They had done it.

At three a.m. the hobo came over to their table. She rolled in from the corner like a paper ball that had missed the trashcan.
     She had a beautiful face but wallpapered with leather. She had shit in her hair that she put there carefully and shit that blew in by chance. It was hard to tell the difference.
     She had rings from all ages of mankind. She had a tattoo but it was so grimy that it had rorschached.
     She smelled like a flower no one had ever smelled before. She smelled like sugar.
     “I will tell you your future,” she said in the ear of the thoughtful one with the arched eyebrows and his hood still up after two warm hours in the bar.
     “I make my own future, ma’am. Ain’t nothing you can tell me that I ain’t already synthesized.”
     “You are the RZA, is that right.”
     He did pause for a second. Of course she had been listening to them all night. That was how the brujas played you. They picked up crumbs from round your table, spat in them, rolled it up and tried to sell you a hot dog.
     “They call me that. How can we help you, ma’am?”
     “No one can help me, mi hijo. El Diablo helped me and after that no one could help me. But I can help you. I see your futures and all I need is my own bottle of tequila.”
     They all looked around at each other. The GZA sat heavy at the end of the table, his timberland boots propped up and his arms crossed.
     “How do I know you ain’t gonna draw a death line on my clan’s palms, señora? My moms always told me never let a bruja draw a shape on you hand.”
     “She was right! She was right. Never touch a bruja or let her cross your palm. Every bruja is looking for a new husband. A man strong enough to tear her away from the black bedsheets of el Diablo. Never found one yet, but we keep looking. But no, I don’t need to touch you, jefe. I heard your tape. I know your names and your futures.”
     “Yo get this fuckin bitch a bottle of goddamn tequila, get our fucking death sentences and then bust out of this joint for some place with hoes who likes ta blows. I ain’t scared of shit. The future is heat death, it’s already known. The inbetween is just a fucking sideshow. Our god forms are already free of the soil, knowsayin’.”
     U-God had no idea what ODB was talking about but his head nodded deepest. U-God wanted to be in bed and in the morning go to work somewhere simple and easy.
     “Play it again, Don Rodriguez. Forward… forward. Okay, bueno. Ready boys?”
     “Wu Tang down for whatever,” said Masta Killa with excessive bravado.
     The light was made of whiskey. Candles flickered.
     “Inspectah Deck. The song says you will sit back and watch a man play himself. You are too quick to get back in your seat. You speak accurately. Your rapping is precise, you have never made a mistake. You never want to make a mistake. You will wait until the others have made their albums. You’ll be sure you will do the best album. When it comes out it will be cold, almost dead. But no one will talk about what might have been when they talk about you. You will do just enough to avoid pity and shame. In the end you are just form with no heart. Your life and your beats and your career are molds made of glass that end up filled with water.
     “Raekwon the chef. You will indeed cook up some marvelous shit. You’ll outdo even these chambers. You’ll build a world of poems where murder is sex and drugs are food and bullets are birds. But then you’ll think you can do it twice. You’ll walk out of the world and leave it to float. When you get to the horizon where planets sink behind something dark that that we don’t know, you’ll look back at the little red light. You’ll run back and when you get there you’ll be an old man. But the world will let you back in.
     “Method Man. You do have mad different methods. But your genius is too obvious. It will all come easy to you. Fame, women, bulletproof skin. You’ll race to be the first to go solo. You want it all. You’ll get it. And that’s it. You’ll be happy, the last one to die.
     “U-God. Go home now. Spend time with your loved ones. You are here because of blood not talent. You would love to be Judas, but no Pharisees will seek you out. Your only treachery is your banality.
     “Ol’ Dirty Bastard. Osiris. You know your own destiny. You knew it since you were a child playing with matches. When you burned that man in the alley and never told anyone. He forgives you. He forgives the child inside you. I wish there was a way you could believe that. This world needs you, but you are already stepping into your underworld. Also, you will make a record with Mariah Carey that will be unusually good.
     “Ghostface Killah. Your hour will come. You’ll make a storm of words, you’ll kick every word you can find until the world is full of them. You’ll kick the words forever, you’ll always have the joy of it. You’ll live in a snowglobe of lyrics. You will know great love and you will have inner peace. You will be blessed.
     “RZA. They will turn on you. Raekwon will denounce you. He’ll call you a Jim Jarmusch-ass muthafucker. Like Shakespeare you will become invisible, embedded. You will dress like a woman in the dark, take photos of yourself. You will never know when it is over.
     “GZA. You have no future. No future. But your past will grow ever longer and heavier.”
     Then the bruja looked at the scared young faces. All scared, even the Ol’ Dirty Bastard. Of course they were scared. Their souls were trapped on little magnets on a strip of plastic now, looping around Don Rodriguez’ bar at 3 am in a snow-taken city.
     She took the bottle of tequila. She smashed it on the ground. She laughed and they all danced with her one by one on the parquet floor.
In 2101 an itinerant psychic noticed his clairvoyance was strongest when he visited sites of mass-murder and genocide. This would all have been ignored had he not been married to a highly tolerant quantum physicist. She took measurements for him and found that indeed, there were unusually high levels of quantum tunneling in the area.
     Governments got wind of this. Corporations too, more importantly. Sadly it was proven that human trauma creates holes in space. Genocide-level events create holes big enough to fly through. Every place on earth that had ever witnessed a genocide became a gleaming spaceport. The more focused the genocide the better.
     Once the galactic empire started up, and once all this “government” and “corporation” shit got finally merged, thankfully massive wars broke out on the occupied planets. In a dark room—actually the lights were on in this room and there were bagels and flowers, actually it had an amazing view, actually hookers brought the bagels—in this room, plans were made for concentration bombs. These bombs were dropped from the abstract heights of space onto warring armies in a muddy field. The bomb would explode overhead and shoot millions of micro bullets that would pierce armor and inject the men with hallucinogens. The soldiers would quietly hobble across the fields and gather close. In their minds they were in a hellish death camp, tortured, starved, their children farmed. The months of their minds passed. Old friends became unrecognizable, or rather indistinguishable; they all had the same skullface. The tortures were unimaginable—no we can all imagine them. We could all sit on a bench with a pencil for thirty minutes and draw them.
     And then about thirty objective minutes after the hallucinations began, the second phase of the bomb arrived. A conventional explosive that killed all the soldiers and ripped open space. Then engineers would descend and get to work folding space back, pinning its skin back, making sure the blackwarp stayed open and mapping where it went and if it was somewhere their higher-ups would like to go to. These engineers had signed papers when they got their jobs to be preemptively driven insane and see which ones could still do engineering work with their minds wasted. Back up copies of their minds were kept by the magnate who hired them, but the small print was that a restoration had never been successfully achieved.
     So they got to work. The engineers slavered, chattered and usually one of them killed one of the other ones, but they got the damn holes open. Soon, the galaxy was a web. Along the web moved the treasure you can get when you are willing and able to crack small planets open like walnuts and drain them.
     Massive wealth, slavery of the mind and body, the flight from Earth. Ships that sailed through genocidal seas.
     People would plan a trip on these black seas and when they got there would drink cocktails and dance the Lambada. They would do their duty, do their work, raise their kids. Honeymooning on proof that the mind is the substance of things. That all of this dirt and hate is our responsibility. The universe is composed of the same substance as our pain.
mrchrn writes fiction as part of zizekpress.com.