Portuguese rap music is blaring on a pink-haired girl’s tablet as a Metrorail train coasts slowly along this Thursday morning. While she recites her raps aloud with two of her comrades, a train pastor commences his sermon on the ills of consuming music “24-7 from January to December”. Now I see he’s banging on the doors, on any surface he can find to – if anything, get someone’s attention. Enter incidental organ music: a blind keyboardist and his helper cruise horizontally through the aisle of inert onlookers – some of which stare blankly at cell phone screens while others disappear into their own heads via earphone cables. Still others dissolve into the crosshatching yellows and greys of this beast’s belly whose stomach lining is a collage of advertisements for cheap abortions and “same-day results” – a wheat paste mural of penis enlargements, quick money formulas and appeals to patrons who want to win back their lost lovers.
We are failing miserably to crawl back into Eden’s garden.
The thought settles on an invisible pillow of tepid air as a beggar in a bright purple trench coat passes by and murmurs something about wanting 10 cents to buy himself a cooldrink. His purple trench coat reminds me of the Joker. But this is no joke, this isn’t a comic book. This is the real life. “Please man, I want 10 cents to buy a coke…” I can barely make out what he’s saying through his long ago decayed, rotten teeth. We have entropy encoded into the tiniest parts of our bodies. Not even the most resilient bone tissue is exempt, yet we recall some semblance of dynasty – even the most forgotten of us somehow mirror a royal lineage. It was said that purple was the King’s colour, so they forced Jesus to wear purple robes that after they ridiculed his own lineage, had cast lots to see who would get what. We are desperately hungry for it, that even the scraps that fall from the Master’s table are ferociously devoured in an insane attempt to pull heaven down to earth.
The Hollard insurance salesmen who just got off are wearing purple ties – those who in turn sell the security of heaven in meticulously packaged multi-tiered premiums, our last defence in a world where promise is the exception and hardly ever a norm. In this beast’s belly it is our bodies that line the train tracks in single file, one after the other, like an endless row of dominoes waiting to get knocked over.
The train pulls into Van der Stel station, time to disembark.