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Friday Flash Fiction. Just Can’t Get You Out of My Head (2 of 2)

Friday Flash Fiction. Just Can’t Get You Out of My Head (2 of 2)

Off I trotted to the local Buddhist centre and sat, cross-legged, trying to focus on my breath and whatnot. My mind, far from entering the waters of Cistercian calm, became a whirlpool of activity, with visions of Lucrezia in various states of undress and saucy lingerie popping in and out of my head with biting intensity. The more I tried to resist, the more she appeared, laughing at my lack of willpower and inner resolve. I was invariably priapic and apparently this distracted some of the other meditators. Mea culpa.

My seventh session did not prove to be my lucky number. I got on pretty well with Tom (or “Silver Flame of Reason” as he was called in Sanskrit), my meditation teacher, I think he took pity on me, so I decided to ask his advice. He seemed a decent guy, worldly wise, and had been a professional cage fighter before he saw the light and decided to follow the path of the Buddha.

So, over a coffee in a local hostelry, I revealed the details of my obsession to him. He listened dispassionately, a kind smile on his wise face, and I couldn’t quite see him getting down and dirty in a cage beating hell out of an opponent. Obviously the meditation thing was working for him. So I looked forward to hearing his advice.

“I remember the story of a young monk who had intense sensual feelings towards a woman,” Tom said. “He went to the Buddha to ask his advice. The Tathagata smiled at him and advised him to see the woman as she was. A sack of skin filled with snot, pus, sweat, fat, blood, shit, piss, intestines, and bones. The monk was to meditate on her in this condition, as a fallible and mortal human being, and not as an idealised object of lust. The monk was to also consider her as if she had just died. As a rotting corpse, full of worms that feasted on her corrupt flesh, being torn to pieces by carrion crows, eventually the flesh falling away to reveal the skeleton, bleached white by the sun. This the monk did, and became so repulsed that his desires faded away, her put her out of his mind, and he existed in a state of peace and tranquillity.”

I thanked him for this rather unusual advice and decided to try it. After all, it could hardly make the situation worse, could it? Lucrezia was clearly not interested so it was up to me to make the break and leave both of us in peace.

So, when I returned to my flat, I sat down and took the Buddha’s sagacious advice. I imagined Lucrezia as she really was under her lustrous skin. I imagined that the only thing keeping her alive was the heart pumping, that muscle under the ribs sending blood around her body, refreshing her brain, catalysing those thoughts that weren’t about me. I imagined her internal organs, her bones, and the skin that contained all of this richness.

Then I thought about her dying, about how her body would shrivel, dry out and rot, how she would become so ugly and smelly that no man would want her ever again. I imagined her in all her stages of decomposition, eventually turning to dust after many years, as if Lucrezia had never existed. At that point in the future, everyone she had know would also be dead and no memories of her would exist. I found this curiously relaxing after the initial revulsion.

Over and over again, during a period of weeks, I performed this meditation. It was always the same, and I had the most vivid pictures of her in my mind. The visualisation was so intense that I swore I could smell her rotting flesh as it broke down, and could hear the worms munching away as they ate her body.

And so my lust turned towards something else. I no longer loved her warm, living flesh. I loved the idea of her as a corpse, something unclean and rotting, devoid of emotion. After all, she had no love for me in life, so why would death be any different? And now, it was clear, at last I had her under my control.

The more you think about something, the more you desire it. And so, inflamed by my vision, I decided to take matters into my own hand.

And here, as if ordained by fate, Lucrezia lies in my bed. She’s been here two weeks now, and is breaking down nicely. It’s quite ironic really. Once I stopped pursing her, she started to pursue me. I invited her to dinner at my flat, and the rest, as they say, is history.

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