I live in a cage ten stories below Grand Central Station. My master used to lock the cage and disappear for days. He left no food or water. Now, each morning when I wake up, I find food and water and discover he’s left the cage unlocked. What shall I do? Perhaps, he’s poisoned the food and contaminated the water. But I’m starving to death. I must eat. And my thirst is unbearable. I must drink to survive. After I satisfy these needs, a distant voice inside my head whispers to me: “It’s time to leave.” I cringe and shrivel up and crawl to a corner of my dark home. I close my eyes and travel to another time and place where I’m human again.
Now, I wake up in a luxurious hotel suite with a mammoth bedroom with a king-size bed, a surreal circular living room with Dali paintings and work by an unknown artist obsessed with Manhattan, a long rectangular kitchen, and a gargantuan bathroom. Outside my red bedroom is a curtained terrace.
I wander through the suite. On the kitchen table, someone has left me breakfast. I devour an omelet with tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, and peppers, white toast, and margarine and a large cup of Dunkin’ Donuts hazelnut coffee. After breakfast, I notice the photos and paintings by an artist named Mark Sadler. One painting is entitled Hotel M and seems to be an expressionistic painting of the skyscraper I’m in. It reminds me of Munch’s The Scream. From within the walls of the hotel, a human beast screams endlessly into the barren universe beyond.
Soon, I turn on the TV and watch CNN. The human beast from the Hotel M speaks to me.
“Welcome, Mr. M to Hotel Mars. I hope your stay here is pleasurable. We’re thrilled to have you as our guest.”
The thing shrieks incessantly in my head. I turn off the TV.
I saunter to the terrace and open the curtains. I scream. I’m trapped inside a gargantuan cage with bars. Outside, they wave at me and cheer.
A captive beast on exhibit in a human zoo, I gaze at the gorilla-like creatures that captured me.
I run around the suite and search for an exit, a door or window to freedom. No exit. Inside the bathroom, I struggle to open the window. But it has bars too. Outside this window, the creatures gaze at me and laugh uproariously.
Between Scylla and Charybdis, I close my eyes and travel to another time and place. When I open my eyes, I’m back in my old cage. I shrink into a crumbled sphere of Hell.
I open the unlocked cage. Beyond, is a subterranean labyrinth I must travel through to be free. I leave my cage and follow a dimly lit path. In the distance, I hear the monsters howling. Yet I continue on.
As I slink across the maze and trudge north, my strength and courage return. But soon I will face the monsters.
My dark journey seems endless. Then suddenly, I hear the loud shrieks of the monsters coming from a cavernous room. I enter. Inside this eerie space, I hear their ghastly ululations. Yet I go deeper into the tomblike room. I’m surrounded by their horrific screams although I can’t see them.
Soon, I pass through a tiny space with mirrors. I gaze into the mirrors and shriek. My screams are endless and consuming. They swallow and transform me. Once more, I have power and strength.
I face the monsters and they are me, buried in the secret caverns of your mind. You must keep me in a cage, for if you give me a little freedom, I will rise to consciousness and destroy you.