Every story of the present has to begin in the past. Mine is no different.
It begins five years ago. I'd been living in the city for a few years, nearing the end of a stint in the local university that had seemed more like a prison term, an appropriately-named BS being my chance at parole. Word went around that there was going to be this gathering of the elite, upper-level students. A chance to mingle and network. A mycelium grown from the graduating class. My ennui and curiosity battled, and the winner decided I was going.
Everyone there was drunk on the liquor of pseudointellectual ostentation and narcissistic self-congratulation. Five minutes of being force-fed this elixir and I had hangover. I sat holding a drink I had no desire to finish. This was supposed to be a gathering of the intelligentsia, the cream of the cerebral crop. And yet the bullcrap was getting traded around faster than shares on a crashing stock market. Proto-Nietzsche wannabes argued with neo-Marxists about whether the interplay between the culture of mass media and politics promulgated political apathy. The anticonfluentialism crowd debated the merits of assigning existentialist undercurrents to previously-considered-genuinely post modernist literary trends. Some wonk had the ear of a half-dozen suckers and actually had them convinced that unrestricted cloning would economically benefit third-world countries. And all the while some self-proclaimed "meta-Dadaist" interrupted conversations with drivel that he affirmed was absurdism, but was really just rehashed deconstructionist arguments every comparative lit student learns their first semester. At any rate, only he found it funny.
Everyone was dark. Theirs was the darkness of ignorance. Mine was the darkness of loathing, a devouring hate that burned without flame, without heat, consuming everything it touched. There must have been something explosive in the recesses of my soul, because that night it hit its flash point.
I don't remember the instant of the explosion. Like eyes after a camera flash or a close-proximity thermonuclear burst, there was blinding white, then deep sanguine red, then resolution of shapes, and then a full-hue technicolor image of the damage, permanently seared into my brain. The hollow-eyed, open-mouthed stare of a man who's just had his entire psyche suddenly disemboweled by a single slash of the truth. He was sitting on the couch next to me, a slinky third-year film studies grad student hanging on his shoulder. The conformational space of the apartment stayed constant, my rise from the couch balanced by the fall of the glass from his limp hand.
Some say that our time runs a lot faster than the gods' does. I know now that they see everything in painfully slow motion, fleeting quantum moments resolved in all their agonizing detail. I flailed the swords of Truth and Reason like a berserk samurai slaughtering a flock of pigeons with a pair of razor-sharp katanas. The darkness surrounding me turned to red. The red of my anger and their terror, as one by one their faces contorted with the epiphanaic horror that strikes when a man looks back on the path of his life and sees nothing but an empty street ornamented solely with windblown litter. The gore of eviscerated pride sluiced over the floor, mingling with the absinthe that my fellow couch-sitter had been drinking a New York minute before. And I stopped only when the uttermost drop had been spilt.
I dripped the corrosive humors of lacerated vanity behind me as I left, marking a trail that any one of them could have followed. They ostracized me instead. I felt like a vegetarian given the boot from the National Barbecue Convention. I didn't know what my next errand would be, but I knew that it would come for I Had Been Chosen. It's like the gods of wisdom suddenly woke up screaming and saw that reality was worse than the nightmare. In their wrath they conscripted me as their avenging angel, the Eumenides incarnate.
I am Misaneroth. The hater of stupidity.
misaneroth at byu dot edu