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Among these arenaceous matters

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Play. Pause. Play. Pause. Damn it, why is muse a temporary thing?

Or perhaps it is the slight headache that makes him lose focus. Ache and ache and ache and ache. Don't get mad, be a virtuoso, my love, live for the moment. However, no one has ever instructed him what to do when the moments are ruined, especially by the rudimentary plebeians that do not respect art, nor the performers of art, which is why he taught himself to depart from those ideals of achieving the true, the good, and the beauty. Nobody will careyou desperate saxophonistcan't you see they are indulged in their moronic quarrels? That will be ridiculous, by this time he has already challenge his idealism already, within this mess of intersecting lives such values are just recreational delusions. Everyone here is a egomaniac, everyone here has personal ego, everyone here is a damned narcissus flower seduced by one's own reflection on the lake of self-centerism until the day when it rots by the edge of oblivion from the malevolence of fate. That's how they get stronger and stronger, that's how they survive, by casting away their humanities, because within this world of physical chaos there is no room for the peace of the dreamers.

He was a sleepwalker until he had to wake himself up. Such exquisite melody was over.

Time is cruel and so is he. An existential tragedian struggles for something different, something above this materialistic existence and falls into the pit of reality like Alice goes down the rabbit hole but reversed. By the time he grew up his instrument seemed to get lighter, or more likely that he got sturdier, but his heart recoiled by tons of neverending disappointments dangling above as massive weights about to drop down to his hedonistic fantasies, and to shield such little happinesses his companion had to become heavier with extra components added, no longer a true bari sax like how he is no longer a true musician. Fine enough, he is too much of a realist to be an actual artist anyway. As one might say, Orpheus is dead, killed by vulgar tendencies of crude humans, by the gaucheness of insensitive people who can't spare a minute to synchronize their souls with the lovely tunes, by the hopelessness of a failed maestro with his aesthetic tainted with blood, or mayhap blood is a form of elegance on its own beauty? God-forsaken, if there's god, he probably has abandoned mankind.

.

His brain ached again with that sad notion. Take them as an epitome, the ones that threw away humanity, nobody wanted to keep them around even politicians, unless their 'deity' was even crazier than homicidal outlaws.

"You go and explain that to those maniacs!" Inside the dirty alley of lengthened bricked walls covered by worn-out greyish paint blotted with spots of dried indistinguishable red-brown liquid that Orpheus did not wish to know what it was, where they stood during a quiet evening with no one around except for the giant moon shining down at them and glared like a gigantic eyeball that never blinked, the fetching slim lady with straight long hair cascading like Lyonnais silk behind the back of her stylish ochre trenchcoat and a part of her chiseled face covered with an eyepatch almost yelled at her teammate. Her voluble contralto reverberating in the dense air thickened throughout their grimy circumjacent space and resonated back and forward the obstacles then vanished within the steamy climate that almost never cooled down. For the zillion time she was sick of this job, who wouldn't? Her dignity, oh her dignity, she hated being looked down as a failure, she hated such feelings of her pride being stepped on after her efforts were poured into sand, which was abundant on this globe her corpse might as well be buried within this sea of coarse tiny bits if her time ran out. Much of a fainéant she was they might say, did ridiculously overpowered wingnuts like them even know the determination one normal person had to trade for strength to achieve higher, to survive within this vast deserted world as a lone gunslinger abandoning ordinary for a living without mundane pressures? Who was her kidding to, this recruitment stressed her even more than before, acknowledging her life values placed among the realm of comtempt and obsolescence. She abhorred with the realization that after washing her hands with vital fluids, her vitality would also be washed away as her humanhood decaying along with her sins burdened. Imagine being a bee with its sting pulled out along with its guts, for every assault it makes the chance of it dying represents, voilà! Whatever, this was not the only time she was disdained by her 'bosses', but this was definitely a time when she met ones who she could not defy. The distances between their capabilities were to broad; this world is never fair, she felt that deeply the day she was 'invited' by the one above humans for type of employment she could not imagine possible, but it was. How large is this world actually? She shrugged a little with that thought, being a speck of dust among the vast existences, live for a while a die within a moment along with all that responsibilities of herself discarded by her own hands. Scary, but was worth a try, deciding your life or having someone else decide it for you. Choose.

The so-called Orpheus joined into the discussion that was too unfriendly to be considered so but calling it a squabble would be too childish and calling it an argument would be too professional, let's call it contretemps then. "Calm down, you people." Tenor echoing within sighs, the fiasco they were stuck in was not Orpheus assigned task anyway, therefore it was understandable how he did not feel the tension of flunking. "Why don't you go and figure out other methods to fix the situation aside from arguing? The due date didn't arrive yet."

The man who was yelled at still remained collective and almost expressionless as usual, he always had this calm attribute of a Zen practitioner and the bizzare chivalry of a mad samurai that amazed and slightly annoyed Orpheus for its ambiguous obliviousness that he occasionally deemed as vague conformity to make it seemed more reasonable. As stereotypical as it sounded, were all those easterners collectivists or what? Perhaps not, some ching-chongs he met were quite bold and audacious, which was unsurprising since they came from a big-ass country with a thickness of histories that was magically united from multifarious ethnics who conflicted one another unsure how because he did not have time nor feel curious to read their chronicles; maybe just the iku-iku people then.

There was a time the Orpheus approached the sword fighter and asked him as the instrumentalist tried to be amiable with everyone being the representative of the group, "Are you a samurai?"

The guy replied coldly, "I'm a rounin."

"May I ask what's a rounin?"

"A samurai who wanders around without a master to serve." Oh, by a mean they were pretty similar by that perspective, except that Orpheus would not dare to voice out that valiantly. One just had to secure for himself.

"Then, why are you here?"

"For my personal ambition."

"Which is?" Do he had to suggest for every continuation of conversation?

"I want to cut something that is not human." Turning his head to face his teammate and his messy black ponytail wavered a bit, the wanderlusting Japanese stared intensifiedly with bloodshot eyes that hold too plentifully of boredom within the dark irises. "Can you feel the thirst of me for experiencing something new?" By that statement, Orpheus nod agreeably, perhaps Asians were not that much of humble individuals. Highlighted, individual, because that was one hell of confident individuality.

"Calm down. We can work this out before they found out. I'll help you guys."

A soothing interference took him back to the current moment, quite a likable voice in comparison to his hideously distorted figure crawling on the floor like a cockroach. He had never seen that person's face or gotten to hear his stories, maybe the guy was just shy or he was not attentive enough, alright then.

"So, what's the case?"

"Failed assassination, then the target raised his awareness and increased the numbers of guards." The Cyclops spoke tiredly. "I'm going to deal with him again. Can't rely on someone who is used to close-range combat in such troublesome case where the target's encircled within barriers of protection. That'll be a hell lot to clean before we can reach him."

"You'll in charge of the boss and I'm cleaning the minions then." The Asian added. "By the way, a sword is never out of bullets."

Shooting a firm glance, even more menacing with only one raven iris of her showing and glowing within the ghastly darkness that slowly engulfed them all, she said. "Yes, and its blade doesn't fly like a bullet does. Unlike when you shoot it from a bow like an arrow or something." Sarcastic much, hey it was just her personality. She was an expert too just of different type, she was aware of what she commented about. "Don't make me laugh."

Orpheus could always sense the esteem within that female; she was not dependent of anyone, having opinions and options of herself and keeping them proudly. Hey, everyone were professional hitmen, of course they were fully aware of their capabilities and disgraces of their statuses in others' perspectives. Sometimes he wished, damn, as if he could be as determined as they were then things would be much easier, yet one could not just decide without meticulous analytical approaches to his choice. Just no.

"Don't worry. I'm joining as your aid. I can do mass murder with my skills."

Two pairs of eyes from the blundered team gazed at him, with a bass "Thanks." showing gratitude and a secretive thought of probing into the helper's skills from the cowgirl, of course, she was glad that they were assisted too. Two sparrow for an arrow then.

Orpheus grabbed the opportunity before her hastily, asking almost immediately with cheerful voice. "Hey Hoppered. Can you explain your abilities for us so a plan can be made? Can you all do that?"

Shit, the dude was fast. "I'm keeping the technique for myself. I can reach the main target on my own, you all go and focus on the guards." She meant it; as long as people could see her, she would be invisible with no traces of memories about her remained in them after their confrontations.

"Fine." Clever woman, he missed a chance. "I already knew Rai-Dei's technique so Hoppered, elaborate about you for us please."

"Wait. Rai-Dei shared information about his skills to you already?" A smirk from the Cyclops was how much she showed her attitude toward her companions. Too honest dears, too honest. It was always better to keep some information for oneself, especially important ones that conserved personal advantages.

"Sure. Nothing to hide. My branch of swordsmanship is the best of the best." Yeah, whatever he said. Orpheus was even more assured that easterners could be really faithful in themselves.

"Alright! Midvalley, can you us with the plan?" Yes, as had been offered by the musician. "You don't have to get directly involved if you don't want to. We just really need the mind of an incrementalist to set things up effectively so that'll be wonderful if you can help." To mention by Orpheus's outlook, that deformed guy was the most modest person in their group. Maybe it was the appearance that tamed his ego, or he was just too nice for a killer, either way it could be fatal for the dude being so outgoing.

"I will." He smiled friend amiably at them, not too genuine though. "May I ask why you choose to help them?"

"I take that as a practice." Wow, this guy could be optimistic huh? "Besides, they're too solemn when it comes to struggles. You know what people say, 'when life gives you a lemon, go make lemonade'."

"I see." How positive. Orpheus was not sure of what to feel anymore. The point was, in this case it was more than just giving lemon, in which life held their heads and squeezed lemon juice right into their eyes. And forget about the juice already as nobody had sugar to mix with it anyway.

Yes, they were that oppressed by the decisions of such 'life'. If they were excluded from existing, then the ends of them would soon arrive.

.

Oh, the shark, babe, has such teeth, dear
And it shows them pearly white
Just a jackknife has old MacHeath, babe
And he keeps it, ah, out of sight
Ya know when that shark bites with his teeth, babe
Scarlet billows start to spread
Fancy gloves, oh, wears old MacHeath, babe
So there's never, never a trace of red

Now on the sidewalk, huh, huh, whoo sunny morning, un huh
Lies a body just oozin' life, eek
And someone's sneakin' 'round the corner
Could that someone be Mack the Knife?

There's a tugboat, huh, huh, down by the river don'tcha know
Where a cement bag's just a'drooppin' on down
Oh, that cement is for, just for the weight, dear
Five'll get ya ten old Macky's back in town
Now d'ja hear 'bout Louie Miller? He disappeared, babe
After drawin' out all his hard-earned cash
And now MacHeath spends just like a sailor
Could it be our boy's done somethin' rash?

Now Jenny Diver, ho, ho, yeah, Sukey Tawdry
Ooh, Miss Lotte Lenya and old Lucy Brown
Oh, that line forms on the right, babe
Now that Macky's back in town

I said Jenny Diver, whoa, Sukey Tawdry
Look out to Miss Lotte Lenya and old Lucy Brown
Yes, that line forms on the right, babe
Now that Macky's back in town
Look out, old Macky's back

(Mack the Knife - Kurt Weill / Bertolt Brecht / Marc Blitzstein)

.

Now the song is just completely creepy.

Orpheus woke from his destroyed siesta, sweating bullets as if he was a gun; granted he was by someone's definition, just not literally. Fuck, same old nightmare, he got sick of it as much as those repetitive requests from listeners asking them to play Careless Whisper (did their ranges of musical interests that limited?) but well, whatever, that would be the last time they listen to a song anyway. That how it went. Onetwo, mic dropped, carcasses dropped. When the beat went down so did everybody, so elegantly one would clap his hands applauding this performance with droplets of blood and sweat resonating within a metallic-smelling chamber spinned by harmonious notes turning disordered. And one did, a survivor, no, perhaps an 'audience', quite a rarity since usually all of them die at one and it had better be so, because if they did not, the band might be the ones who got killed next. That was exactly what happened.

Remember, kill-all, or else. Not only their motto, but also firstly proposed by him. He always assumed the worst then had destiny proved him right and he secured himself as a cynical leader as his friends patted his shoulders occasionally and said "mate, sometimes you're overly cautious". They were not wrong but he was not neither, especially in one encounter with that unexpectedly hot-headed and cold-hearted spectator, the one and only that returned to no-longer-their concerts. That man with stylish floss hair and sapphire eyes gazed enthusiastically into the pandemonium with utter excitement as if it was a drama stage with their tragedies as his comedies, his manner joyous and attitude confident. Orpheus was slightly suprised as first, but recognizing that bizarrely perilous aura emitted from a single being striked him with utter caution, not the subtle 'wait, something isn't right' he often had in his mind being an attentive participant of the dark side. It's his survival instinct of a stray animal and sensitive intuition of an artist that told him right away. That 'person' was... Cold. Serious. Bold. Precarious. Like a wild beast that could neverbe tamed. Psychotic. Odious. MelancholicObnoxious. Plainly and simply saying. Three words. What-the-fuck? Sadness and madness and anger and danger all those internecine struggles within one who raised his spikes like a hedgehog. Felt-like-getting-stabbed-by-a-million-blades. He could still remember that the other dudes speedily tensed up, wait no stop don't mess up with this monster you guys. He'll ravish you. He'll ravish us all. "Don't!" A sentence was how much he could talk with them for the last time, followed by their hasty replies enunciated by anxious voices and offensive gestures mismatched with his defensive one, "Why not, Midvalley?" "He knows our 'method'!!", then a pause. "I'm collecting knives. Sharp ones, capable of mass slaughter..." Their physiques dashing into the beast, "No! Don't!!!", a rise of that creature's hand, a desperate attempt to stop his companions to preserve them safely quickly slashed along with chunks of their bodies. Slash. Slash. Slash. Slash. Slash. All that much within a millisecond. How strange and terrying it was to notice not even a single laceration was cut onto him, yet his bandmates' parts still were still separately detached as if they were Don Quixote repeatedly cut by a windmill - loaf and loaf and loaf and loaf - their vital fluids splashed on his suit and dripping on his face after gluey droplets landed on his skin and trickled down to the stained floor, toc toc toc.

By the aftermath of the attack, he stood immobilized, being thinly soaked as if he was standing in a stage of a tainted water concert. Ruby. Crimson. Scarlet. Vermilion. With a faint shade of pale complexion, light blue and light blonde glowed brightly among the other contrasting shades. "You'll have your identity erased from the common citizenships along with your criminal records. You're going to work for me." was the next thing he heard, then he realized his hope was not the only thing being trampled on. Ironically, at that moment he suddenly felt his sense of art was twistedly appreciated while the possession of his own existence crudely taken away.

He survived, and was glad that he survived. He continued to live arrogantly with concerns for himself even though there were days feeling like his heart was tied and dangling on a thread - as red as the string of fate dyed with god's ichor if there was a god - about to get torn off and fall. Who cared about those other murderers, everybody had something to deal with. He had to live for himself, his private aesthetics, his belief, and for the commemoration of them without the belittling stares of those maniacs. He had to escape from this pitch of a hell masked by the chilling calmness of all solitary degenerates loitering around to work out their lives forcefully, who he was one among them. Lower your head, just lower your head. No one is better than anyone. Well, except for that 'everyone are the same, equally distasteful; except for me, I'm superior' of a dictator.

In late night such as this when the clock hit twelve and the cycle renewed, he found himself once again sitting quietly in a pulse of retrospect, dismissing the languishedly floating aroma of mixed alcohol beverages within the hollow state of a uncrowded lounge. Verbally wordless, he kept the images of them in a delightful corner of his memory in contradiction with this shattered leftovers of reality. Through time in this impermanent world, eventually nothing remains whole. With the familiar melodious reminiscences of decaying bygones, Orpheus ended up playing alone.