“Listen. Okay? I really think it had something to do with an undiagnosed mental illness.”
“Michael, no! He was a doctor. A fucking neurosurgeon! If there was anything, it would have been diagnosed. You’re fucking psychoanalysing people again, and it’s fucking boring. You’re not a real doctor!”
The scent of cigarettes was entering the room. Sasha walked in with a durry in his mouth, smoke exhaling from his nose.
“You’re a particularly puerile piece of shit, Marnie.”
“Nice alliteration, Michael” she replied, her voice high-pitched, nasally, patronizing.
“What’s going on here?” Sasha chimed in.
“Michael is upset because he’s not a real doctor” Marnie’s mouth stretched from ear-to-ear.
“Oh yeah?” smiled Sasha.
“Actually, PhDs are the only real doctors. Medical practitioners co-opted the title from us, not the other way around. And it’s…”
“No one fucking cares!” Marnie interrupted.
Michael rolled his eyes and walked over to the bar cart, picking up his half-finished gin and water.
“Anyway, have you heard about Ura? He’s passed away, I got the call earlier this morning.”
“Fuck’s sake, Sasha, please don’t get Michael started on this again. He’s been going on and on about how he just must have had an undiagnosed mental illness!”
“All I meant is that, it’s just, it’s impossible for someone to do that to themselves and not have something inside, eating at them, to push them to that place!” Michael yelled in Marnie’s direction. He swallowed his drink and made another.
“Look, can you both calm down?” said Sasha, lighting another cigarette.
“I happen to know why he did it,” he exhaled.
Marnie mumbled something under her breath while widening her eyes at Sasha.
“It was to find. And honestly, you won’t fucking believe it. It was to meet God.”
“For fuck’s sake!” Marnie exclaimed, guffawing, her eyes pink and watering.
“Look, I’m fucking serious. He wanted to find god,” Sasha said in her direction.
“I told you he was mentally ill, Marnie,” Michael laughed.
“Okay,” Marnie replied, pulling herself together through sniffling. “How does destroying each one of his senses get him closer to God?”
“Not closer, Marnie. But to meet God,” replied Sasha.
“I guess he felt that if the door was locked then something would have to be there.”
“What door?” Michael’s face furrowed.
“The door. The door had to be locked. The door to his brain. And then. Well. The door was locked. And nothing could get in.”
“I presume he figured that in the absence of sensory input that God would be there,” added Michael looking at Marnie who rolled her eyes before exhaling a yell.
“He was the leading scientist! Globally! A leading neuroscientist and he thought that God would be there when all his senses were destroyed?”
“One by fucking one,” replied Sasha. “It was some kind of desperation. But, y’know. It felt familiar.”
“How on earth did it feel familiar, Sasha?!” Marnie exclaimed.
“You know that I thought I would meet God when I used heroin.”
“Oh, come on, but you didn’t,” Michael replied.
“Maybe not. But I met something, and that’s why I kept using.”
Anna Denejkina is a writer and academic. She is completing a PhD in sociology at the University of Technology Sydney.