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Evil - for dummies

What you do is you start a bank, then by sleight of hand you convince everyone that while you only have 10 units of coin in your coffers y...

Friday, October 3, 2008

Luigi Gonzaga

That was me in the mid 1500’s. I was a good looking lad then. A bit effeminate, but good haircut...
what happened? you might ask.

My name (and this is sheer coincidence) was Luigi Gonzaga. I died young and was made a saint posthumously – or beatified, as they say – but I run ahead of myself. First – against my father’s wishes, who preferred I become a soldier or a marquis in a long line of fat and opulent noblemen– I entered the Jesuit order. I worked tirelessly for the poor. I gave up every penny and it is said that at the height of my selflessness I carried a moribund man twenty miles into Rome, a plague-ridden man, a dead man. I died two weeks later of the same disease.

You will ask, how the hell do I know this? You will ask, how does a man who xeroxes for a living – a Croatian national who xeroxes for a living in a business park on the outskirts of Amsterdam, how can such a man have this kind of profound historical “memory” – that is, if you got past the first hurdle that it could be me at all. In any case, you will pronounce me a fool, or at least you will think it, and you will laugh nervously. But I will laugh too. I will laugh louder than you and longer, and then I will laugh again, and at that moment you will be silent and you’ll think fuck, is this guy serious?

I’m dead serious Brendan, that’s me. Ok, I’ve changed a bit. I don’t carry dead guys to Rome on my back anymore, but that was me. I swear.

Lui, dude, the only thing you got in common with this guy is that you're dating a Jewish girl.

He’s a Jesuit, Brendan, JESUIT, not Jewish.

Then you're really talking out of your ass. Stop being crazy, you’re scaring me.

Then why are you laughing?

I just know. I know in my bones. And you want to know how I know? You want me to tell you how? I’m going to tell you, but expect no hocus-pocus, expect no mysticism, expect no illumination, no smoke-breathed apparition with a message of "information"…Simply, I recognized him. That’s all. Like you recognize a man on the street, like you recognize a friend in a crowd. I recognized him because we were friends – what I mean is, I liked who I was, and I don't just mean the good guy in sandals, I liked my whole attitude, my game plan, my set of principles, I liked the calluses under my feet, I liked the chunk of cheese and bread in my satchel, I liked travelling light, I liked my haircut, and especially, I liked pissing off my dad. In short, I liked ME under the Gonzaga rule. It is much later, in subsequent centuries - especially recently - that I developed my cynicism and miniaturized self-esteem. I had no such issues at the time.

But now you raise your eyebrows, and you ask, but how did you find him then? On Facebook? And you smirk. And I tell you it straight.

In a book, Goni, at the library. He was on a postcard in a book.

What? Come on Lui, you have to do better than that…

That's where I found him. A random book. I opened it and there he was.

What book?

What difference does it make? It was random.

It makes a difference. If everything in your account can be random except him, it doesn’t work. What book?

Don’t get smart Gon, I just know, alright.

You’re telling me you were a 16th century blue-blooded, Italian saint. Excuse me for being sceptical... Luigi… tell me what book!

No… find your own book.