~ Baudelaire’s Street ~

The whole world was rotating around this only descendant, who in his veins carried the last traces of blue blood. They called him Baudelaire. Nobody knew his real name. No one ever asked him, because everyone assumed it was as long as the lineage he belonged to. Only his deep pockets were important to them, from which, stacked in thick layers, were peeking many-digit banknotes. Because of those, always full, pockets, he walked slow and sluggish, and it seemed as if he had some heavy stones in them. His appearance has always been a source of enthusiasm among the wanderers and those who wanted to escape from the missed lives. They watched carefully all his movements, especially those directed towards his pockets, waiting, like hungry birds, a few drops and crumbs to quench their thirst and hunger. Without a crumb of dignity, they crawled after him and tried in every way to approach him in order to receive charity. He was treading them and enjoying it. It was always noisy at his table. Everyone loved him. He did not love anyone. He loved himself only. Stumbled souls, who did not have enough strength to bear their sorrow, failure and pain, he bought with a drink and a smile whenever he wanted. There was something deeply dark, and yet, at the same time, unexplained appealing in that smile. The devil and the child of deprived childhood were taking turns between artificial teeth. All, hidden for centuries, secrets, and all the conflicts of his ancestors were reflected in his wickedness and depravity. For moments, it seemed as if he wanted to get rid of that burden, but that big iceberg, trapped in his genes, would again drag him into coldness and loneliness. If there were no rich heritage, he, like many others, might have split with himself and with the truth a long time ago. His wealth, however, kept him alive. He spent mercilessly all that worth, which all his ancestors, despite great conflicts, have kept for centuries from decay. All this, in his opinion, was a bunch of nonsense, which he wanted to get rid of. He was burdened by all those accumulated glossy values, which they did not agree with the darkness in which he was moving. At the moments of his mental disorder, some of them ended up at a landfill away from the city, left to random lucky people to recognize and pick them up. There were even some persistent collectors who were constantly following him, hoping to get some good, rare pieces. Sometimes they were interesting to him, so he played with them in boredom hours. He liked to watch them while they rummaged over the thrown bags. He even shot some, because he wanted to stop the moments of his power, to which everything in his life was subordinated from the earliest days. Only power was able to carry all the weight of his burdens to many of the dawns. In some of these dawns he sometimes suddenly disappeared. He went on long journeys, from which everyone eagerly awaited him, except for the desolate towers of his ancestors, in which he seldom went. He liked mountains and Spain. In the heat of its vast coasts, he tried to melt the ice that had accumulated for years in his veins. These attempts ended without success. He often returned unhappy and empty from these journeys. Guided by some of his own truths, he went, along with those who sat at his table, irreversibly into the world of immorality and self-destruction. For moments, it seemed as if he wanted to be hurt and humiliated. For some, only to him known reasons, he became the opponent of everything normal and ordinary. He gave his dignity and pride to alcohol, ecstasy and illusions. The illusionists greeted him with open hands. They were gathering around him like bees around a hive. He became so popular that one of the darkest streets in the city was named after him. Everyone knew where Baudelaire’s Street was, it was not necessary that anyone searched it on the map. It remained recorded in the minds of all those who only, once by chance, visited it. Curiosity led many passers-by to its sidewalks, where they drank until they were unconscious and ended their night trips in the company of high heels. Everyone was looking for Baudelaire. He was their leader. Always dressed in black, pale and tall, he led them with pleasure in the abyss. He enjoyed, above all, in sick games and intrigues. With great interest, he watched his victims as they win fear while standing on the edge of the abyss. Scary scenes that in all other people, who were avoiding this street of vices, caused restlessness and horror, fed his dark soul and hatred for everything gentle and beautiful. He persistently tried to disrupt all nirvana of souls and bodies and turn them into uncertainty and trepidation. What was all hidden behind the dark corners and the expanded pupils could not be seen even in the worst nightmares. Below black hoods and coats hide nervous hackers, blackmailers and bandits, who bite their first piece of bread on the street. With a bunch of watched movies in the past, they lived a life from film screens, isolated and long ago left of all life’s joys. Artificial furs of antelopes and tigresses walked slowly through the half-light, so that at moments it seemed as if the night was coming down above the Sahara. Easy targets waited for them somewhere in that desert, in which it was difficult to survive. Some strange winds wore the scents of black roses and violets, which went persistently into the widened nostrils of the stray faces, which, like raging bulls in the arena, waited for their first sacrifice to stab and trample. Everything was tense in that street: every movement, every glance. From its pavements, it was never possible to see the sky; only the shadows of troubled visitors and dirty canopies strolled, which were constantly threatened to collapse before the winds. The faded prints of portraits of many prematurely gone singers and actors were spotted on them. Everything was in the style of tribulation and decay, and in Baudelaire’s Street nothing deviate from it. Tattoo artists live demonstrated their skills on the tense muscles of failed boxers and bodybuilders, who talked passionately about their glorious days. The failed businessmen sparingly drank their drinks by explaining to their new lawyers, who were continually waving their thick fascicles tirelessly by persuading them that they were right and that all the laws were on their side. The postmen of various strange envelopes would occasionally run in fear of being robbed of. Fatty motorcyclists drank beer from big mugs beside their bulky machines, waiting for some exhausted dancers to cling to them. They found them through thick, crossed traces of tires, according to which Baudelaire’s Street was recognizable. They stood as proof that the fate of different generations and sharp swords of mindless decisions were crossed in. Many left their last traces and hidden messages that did not go out of its fences, except when the upset ravens carried with them in an unknown direction. All happenings were wrapped in a heavy veil of secret, which no one wanted to disclose. Baudelaire knew everything: the sound of every ice cube, which was reflected on the glass, every indecent offer, every sale and network. Everything ended in his wicked smile and a laugh, and on the back of dirty chairs, which only occasionally wiped away the bullets in the flight, after fierce fights. In one of those fights he was killed. Everything changed after his departure. Black roses and violets did not flourish anymore. There was no more noise or laughter. Cold lights were playing with lonely silhouettes. Once a lively, street has become a ghost house. Conflicts became quieter, as if their actors knew when death would come for them. They drank their drinks peacefully until the last moment. Not far from them, underneath the dirty canopies and hidden behind the dark glasses, the sleepers could occasionally perceive. They were the only ones on Baudelaire’s Street doing something. Even cleaners, tired of too much garbage, have left. They left their jobs to rare heavy rains and storms. The gangsters stayed very briefly, only as long as it was enough to check if everything was the same as they had left. The ravens were no longer coming. Together with Baudelaire, they moved to his eternal resting-place, expecting him to come out from somewhere and feed them. The only evidence that he used to live in some dirty bars was just the songs he loved to listen to, preserved on the disks. They turned to deep into the night, until the last sound of the heels, which were often futile, scratched the sidewalks in the hope that a new Baudelaire would appear. Sometimes he appeared to them in the dark, high silhouettes, as he walked toward them. His, long ago aged, taxi drivers waited that some new bosses had come to them, who would share his dark secrets with them in the early hours of the morning. It seemed, however, that they remained deprived of that waiting. One was Baudelaire. The story about him remained for a long time to stay on the sidewalks and in every dirty game that was being played on them. Some have never been relieved of the feeling that he, all of them, still, from somewhere, watches carefully. He occasionally came to some people’s dreams and asked them some strange questions. He did not want to leave until he exhausted all the answers from them. However, after many years, inhabitants of Baudelaire’s Street were able to see the sky for the first time, which was shyly trying to break through the holes on the canopies. This change caused some discomfort and insecurity in them. Accustomed to the darkness and concealment, they were afraid that their lives would be stripped and that all secrets would fly through those holes. There was some unknown fear in their thoughts and eyes that they might never leave the haunted street. Many of them, like the albatrosses, who were accompanying the ships, ended up following some new passers-by and feeding on the waste that has remained behind them.
Baudelaire’s Street, author Suzana Stojanović, August 9, 2018