Wednesday, August 2, 2006

Don Juan in Helsinki: 11

This is Donho Likkanen. But I am too depressed to say 'hey'. Besides, I know what you want from me right now. You want me to tell you all about these three Finnish women I have loved when I was young. Luckily, I am in the mood to do this, because that is exactly the subject I have been thinking about tonight, since I have drinked nearly two whole bottles of Salmiakkikossu. Oops, drunk. If I can still type. Perhaps I can balance the iBook on the toilet. I wonder if it is waterproof. Ha, all toilets are waterproof, Donho, you are saying, you are the man who should know this. ROFkkkkkoyrurru. Hyee...

OK, I am back now. Lucky thing I wasn't podcasting just then. Sorry about the 'Hyee': that means 'ugh!' in Finnish.

All these questions to answer. You know, you are all just like the Strawberry, so curious about everything. Who, right now, is lying in my bed in the other room, snoring gently like a pig. Oh yes, I know what you are thinking, but it isn't true. She is still wearing her travel clothes, some sort of ugly white tank-top with a blue blouse over it and of course, her blue jean skirt and flip-flops. Well, the flips have actually flopped onto the floor, so I have covered her long pale plump legs with the ugly duvet bedspread. She fell asleep while we were watching 'Duudsonit', which seems to be be a program about four young Finnish men who do things like, for example, jump off of mountains into frozen lakes naked. (A reader has emailed me with this link: http://www.dudesons.com/main.site?action=frontpage/frontpage®ion=us Apparently the show has been picked up by an American cable channel.) The name of the show means 'Sons of Dudes', which I suppose we all are, in a way. This thought is so profound it nearly fills me with tears--just imagine it! All of us, everywhere on this planet, are the sons of some dude or another. Well, except for the babes. They are the daughters of dudes. In Finnish that would be 'Duudtytaret', which IMHO would be a much more popular show. Before that we watched 'Finnish Idol' and then two programs on two separate Finnish channels at the same time that are just people phoning in and text messaging. Yes, this is correct. Their text messages appear on the screen, and everybody laughs. And this costs the callers a dollar each time. The Finns are truly the Japanese of Europe. BTW, we never could find her any Cricket tickets for sale, not even from scalpels, I mean scalpers, once I hooked our laptops up to the hotel's Wifi. Did I mention the commercial for a department store where all the young people dance naked and all their genitals flip and flop around? When she saw this, the Strawberry said, 'Oh look, none of them are circumcised.' For some reason this made me feel very uncomfortable. I feel a bit more comfortable now, here in the bathroom. With my head on the floor. It is very cool here.

And I can pretend it is still nighttime, even though it is 3 am, and the sun is up and blazing away. I'll bring the iBook down onto the floor next to me. Oops. There went the mouse. I always keep a little mouse attached to my laptops because I hate those track-thingies. I guess I'll buy a new one tomorrow. If I'm still alive tomorrow. It isn't the drinking that is making me so sick right now, of course, it is the cancer. It has recurred, probably from the stress of this trip, and that is why I cannot move from the bathroom floor. That and simple human consideration. I would not want the Strawberry to find me lying dead in the bed next to her when she wakes up this morning. That would be a terrible shock for her. Much better that she should find me lying here in the traditional foetal position on the bathroom floor. But if I am truly dying now, first I must tell you the story of my three loves. Stina, Maarit, and Likki. Strawberry, chocolate, and vanilla flavoured hair, my three loves had, like a Neapolitan ice. It seems a pity now I could not have loved them all at the same time. Then it would all have been over with much more quickly. It would make it shorter to tell about now, as well. Obviously there isn't many hours left for me to live, so I will have to type much faster, and perhaps even use both hands. Seeing the beggar in the street today reminded me of them. To be specific, seeing him reminded me of the time my wife Likki ran off with him. And then, of course, after that she married him. Well she had to, didn't she, she had his baby. Perhaps I should have asked after his family when he was moving his bowels.

Oops. I think I told you I never was married. Was that you or was that the Strawberry? I get you confused in my mind sometimes. Well, never mind, either way I lied to somebody. But we weren't married very long, you see, just a few months. In America, such marriages don't really count, anyway; people have them all the time without even noticing, particularly in Hollywood. So it wasn't a big lie. It was tact. We Finns are probably the most tactful people on earth. For example, I was too tactful to kill him. Perhaps that was a mistake. Perhaps it sent the wrong message to the planet. 'Go ahead, do what you like to Likkanen,' it said, like a huge worldwide TV broadcast, 'He won't mind. He won't kill you. He is totally harmless, even to young women in his bed these days, LOL.'

Hyee. I need to stop this ROFLING and LOLLING for a little while, I think. That one hurt.

Of course, we Finns are not upset by nudity, not even on TV or in public places. Oh no, for us it is totally natural. We are brought up to run around naked as children and to sit naked in saunas with our friends and family. And of course, we are a very clean and healthful and attractive people, so this is not such a bad thing, though it makes it impossible here to lie about one's penis size, which one can do very easily in New York. In fact, many people even lie about their gender there. But I am surprised at myself, really, because suddenly I am not so very comfortable with it any more. Nudity, I mean, not my gender. After 25 years, am I suddenly becoming American? Or am I just becoming old? OK, I admit it, I am very upset. The reason is this, I have had that dream all over again tonight. Yes, it's true, after the Strawberry fell asleep, I became a bit drowsy myself watching MTV3 Channel and dozed off. Then suddenly I was back inside that cave again, only not from the very beginning, but from the end of the last dream, when I woke up on the airplane. It is just like the film "Castaway' with Tom Hanks, only instead of a basketball for a companion, I have 2,999 dead women. Yes, I counted them. In fact, I tagged them all with the magic markers; those whose names I could not remember I just assigned numbers to. 2,999. This means if only I was capable of bonking just one more I would reach 3,000. But I must tell you honestly, I do not want even one more--I do not want to have to dissect and eat the poor Strawberry, for instance, even if this is just a dream. And BTW, this is not only a 'recurring' dream, it is also now an 'episodic' dream, which I understand is very rare. However, from Googling it I have learned that some small number of people have these dreams every night normally, just as others can only dream in black and white, like oldfashioned television sets. Poor them! And poor me.

Because now in my dream I am standing over the dead body of my former wife, Kyllikki. So soft her skin, a tall, big girl very fair-haired, very much like the English girl in Paris. But with a chin and a trim little waist. Everything about Likki was bigger than life; her milky breasts, her grey-green eyes, her wide red mouth, her appetites. Of all the actresses I have ever known, she was by far the most talented. But she was never a serious actress; for her, everything was just a game. Like her marriage to me. Now in death, she is very blue in this light, and her freckles (of which she had many, like Stina and the Strawberry) look like someone has sprinkled her all over with cinnamon. This makes my mouth water. Now I am so very hungry that I have begun to think of plans for the best way to eat all those dead bodies. There is no way to make fire, of course (there is no wood, and I cannot strike sparks from stainless steel or fibreglass), so I will have to eat them raw, like sushi, which is possibly dangerous to the health. Nor can I sterilize my instruments between cutting them up, which will also be very risky. Nor can I wash them, because there is no water. And this is a bad thing in other ways, because I am now very thirsty, as well as hungry. So then I decide that i should drain the bodies of blood first, like in a kosher slaughterhouse. Perhaps I should begin with Likki, I think--after all, there is a justice in this. If I were writing a memoir, like that of Casanova, wouldn't I want to begin with the woman who has hurt me most? The same should surely be true of cannibalism, too, one would think. Though perhaps in this case, now that I reflect on it a bit longer, one might want to begin with the tenderest. And of course, the sweetest-tasting, something Likkanen is in some position to judge (I would LOL but no more of that for now). In a way, I suppose, I am simply employing a new technique to sensually explore their lovely soft female bodies. It is really just another kind of bonking! I find this thought very comforting.

But not for long. Because now I must deal with the practical aspects of butchery, which are almost as disgusting as the aesthetic. The human body carries many parasites, as well as the risk of bacteria from spoilage, such as salmonella. I remember this from my medical school. And if the slaughter process is sloppy, partially digested food-stuffs can contaminate the blood. This partially digested food is full of other, more foreign bacteria, some of which our bodies have no defense against. The meat could be rinsed and cleaned of these (if I had any water or disinfectant), but one cannot do the same with the blood.

But drinking human blood is not only disagreeable, it is also possibly toxic from all the iron in it, and one can get Porphyria and bloody stools from it, too. It is not so sexy as it seems in 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer'. There is also the risk of prion contamination, which are infectious proteins that cause things like 'Mad Cow Disease.' Generally, these proteins are only found in the brain, but sloppy butchering can cause them too. They could build up in the cells and give me something called "spongioform encephalopathy" (or spongy brain) where my brain would become riddled with holes, and I would begin to mentally degenerate. But since there is no way for me to sterilize, I must take this chance. If you notice any signs that I am going insane on my blournal, then please message me at once and point them out to me. But it might be very hard for you to tell the difference, since like all true Finns, I am very quiet and unemotional by nature. We are the types to react well in a crisis, and to use our excellent technical knowledge to solve many problems. For example, there is the matter of extracting and then preserving and storing the blood; if I were to pick up this sharp Number 3 scalpel and slice open Likki's wrist with it right now--like this--nothing would happen. She is dead, and her heart has stopped beating and so cannot pump blood anywhere, not even out of a hole. So in my dream, I must drag her over to one of the butcher's hooks hanging from the ceiling and attach her to it in the only place that will bear the full weight of her body, at the base of her skull. It is unexpectedly sad for me to do this, but I pretend she is just a huge but very heavy soft toy, like a floppy giant panda or something. Ok, now she is hanging there with her hair over her face, so I can drain the blood out of her body, but first I need something to drain it into. And then I realize that all over the airplane and in the rows of debris, there are many ducts and parts of storage containers, some intact, than be used for this. And in fact, I find some air conditioning pans that have even been used to store liquids. But now there is a fresh problem.

When I cut her open, she will produce fresh blood, or plasma. But within seconds, it will start to clot and separate into serum and a heavy dark solid clot at the bottom. The clotting is caused by calcium, so I must find a way to neutralize this. Also, I wonder, is it possible to separate out the salt? If so, I could preserve the rest of the bodies for their meat, making it into a kind of salted 'jerky' (as we Finns do with reindeer strips) and in this way perhaps survive for many months inside the cave. Because as matters now stand, without any chemical such as EDTA to preserve the blood or the meat, I will likely die within a few weeks, given that the temperature inside here remains constant and that I starve to death fairly slowly over the last week or two. But of course, by then the smell in here alone might kill me. While I am making these calculations, with my poor stomach hurting me so much from hunger, another thought occurs to me--perhaps I will only continue to live in my real 'waking life' for as long as I can remain alive inside the cave. If I die in this dream, then I will die for real! And so I take the scalpel, and make a deep incision on the bottom of Likki's dangling left foot. And suddenly I hear a long, horrible scream, and slowly, very very slowly, I wake up.

It is not me screaming this time. It is one of the Dudesons; MTV3 is playing a very loud commercial for their show, and it makes the Strawberry mutter and turn over in her sleep, jamming her tangled hair right up against me.Thank god for television. But it is after this happens that I decide I must start drinking very seriously for the rest of the evening.

And so it is about 3 am that I finally realize--this recurring dream is caused by the cancer! It is simply my brain's way of accepting what is happening to my body, by turning my disease into a very nasty and unpleasant metaphor. My brain is trying to make me glad that I will soon be dead. Very likely the cancer has spread already into my lungs and brain from my liver; certainly all three are feeling very ill indeed right now. For all I know, Salmiakkikossu could even be a cure, like chemotherapy or some sort of wonder drug found in the bark of a tree in the Amazon rain forest. In Finland there is a very old saying about disease: 'If it can't be cured by vodka, tar, or the sauna, then it will probably kill you.' Viina. Terva. Sauna. Stina. Maarit. Likki. I honestly, truly thought that after I had survived those three I was vaccinated against anything.

Now, I must explain this part very carefully, because you Americans will not understand it too well. In old Finland there were some aristocratic families, very rich and very powerful. Many of these were soldiers or merchants who had come from other countries to Sweden to serve in their army. The Ramsays from Scotland, the von Essens and von Julins from Germany, the Mannerheims from Holland. And some, like the von Rosens and the von Molens, were truly Swedish. Naturally, these great families all intermarried with each other; the father of our country, the great Marshall Mannerheim, for instance, was also half von Julin. Now, after the first war came 'Finlandization', after the second came socialism. Suddenly it is not so smart to be Swedish or even to be rich any longer. That is what Hugo von Molen, one of the wealthiest and most powerful men in the country, thinks. Who is Hugo von Molen? He is the father of Vaino Molen, the beggar we have just met in the street. He Suomifies his name from 'Hugo' to 'Ukko' and loses the 'von'. All the great families do this, as well, except for Likki's, who still go by 'von Essen'. They can get away with this still because even though they are no longer so very rich, they are still quite famous; Likki's great-aunt Siri, for example, was the actress who married August Strindberg. And to make matters even more confusing, under socialism suddenly there are no more expensive private schools for their children any more except in Sweden or Switzerland, of course. So the most exclusive middle and high school in the country, the Helsingin Suomalainen Yhteiskoulu, or 'SYK" as it is nicknamed, is now free and open to all, after very hard examinations, of course. And yet, somehow in spite of these entrance requirements, all the children from the wealthiest families continue to go there. Like me, for example. Like shy, pretty Aino Rosen, who only learns to sing and play the guitar. Like loud, sociable Likki von Essen, who barely bothers to even learn to read street-signs. Or like Vaino Molen, who has never studied any subject in his life. Except the art of cruelty.

OK, I will give you an example of this cruelty. I will tell you the story of a certain night.

Next time: A Christmas story.

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