What better protection could you want than the complete works of Jung?
“Shoot me.” Lantis said with a smile while looking the man square in the eyes and thumping heavily on his chest. Since the police officer had just pulled the top of his 45 back and raised it to the height of Lantis’ heart, this struck me as the least intelligent choice of words one could use at such a juncture. Lantis turned his back from the barrel of the gun and slowly strolled off, only to leave the police man standing there, gun in the air, aiming at the space that was no longer occupied.
His name was derived from the lost city of Atlantis, who were said to be sun worshippers, exhalting and revering their God in the form of a youthful man, white as the Light, with blonde hair, which resembled the flames of the sun. And also for its phonetic proximity to Atlas, who in Greek myth, carried the weight of the world on his shoulders. Lantis was an embodiment of these two myths with his straight blonde hair, fair white skin, scraggly albino beard, and in the prime of his youth, he was carrying three 100 pound boxes of books across the entire continent of Europe, several times over. He was determined to acquire as much wisdom as possible before he lost the steam of his youth.
When we met up he was down to his last box, which contained the complete unabridged works of C.G. Jung, several surveys of art, history, mythology, and philosophy, as well as an extensive collection of texts on medieval alchemy. To Lantis books were gold and far more important than anything earthly people clung to such as clothes, money or relationships. He hadn’t spoken to anyone but myself and his mother in nine months. Before he left Minneapolis he used to talk to this one crackhead named Lola until the time she asked to borrow his phone for an hour and came back in three days with a book of bus passes. Lantis didn’t mind. In his dreams the Goddess told him to run, and that’s just what he’d been doing since I’d seen him last, running with the weight of the world on his shoulders at the feathery speed of Mercurius.
Snow covered the ground and a sharp breeze slid up my pant leg that caused me to shiver. I was standing in the doorway of the police department, which was really just a room with a desk, buried at the foot of a huge ridge plateau, a few miles from the border of Iran. It was six am and we were the only three people at the border check. The thought that this man had just poured us a glass of tea and offered us sugar couldn’t help but pop into my mind, it was definitely the most significant reversal I’d ever experienced in the course of ten minutes, well except for the time I smoked salvia diadorim and ended up studying myself from the perspective of the ceiling.
The young man put the gun barrel to his chest and said, “I police. I police.” Then he pointed it at me and, as if the gun had somehow become less armed, used it as an extension of his finger flipping the tip from me to the door and back again, indicating that I was to go get Lantis. Then in an effort to disarm the weapon, he swung it around directly in front of me, and having just loaded it was almost more nervous that I was, which didn’t seem possible given our respective positions and also because he didn’t appear to know how to operate the weapon he was willing to wield so emphatically.
It’s weird but in situations like these things never seem as serious or even preposterous as they appear retrospectively. I was just sort of standing, in awe and naturally scared, but more or less just observing him go through the process of loosing his cool. The bullet fell on the ground and created two distinct ‘tink’ sounds, the police man scrambled to pick it up, then lodged the gun into his pants as if he were inserting a penis and stated again, “I police. I police.” He rubbed his forefinger to his thumb indicating that we were to give him money. Apparently in the eastern border crossing of Turkey into Iran, being a police officer entitles one to payment. I was unfamiliar with this point of law.. We hadn’t done anything illegal except attempt to enter Iran without visas unsuccessfully, thus we spent the night in the same room as this cop who was supposed to show us the way to the bus station in the morning. The whole thing was more complicated than we had believed and now we were subject to the terrorism of this young cop’s vigilante disposition. I hollered into the wind at Lantis who was just walking around in circles with no particular direction, other than not being told what to do by the guy with the gun.
“Lantis! We’re on the border of Iran in the middle of nowhere and this guys pointing a pistol at our chest because we won’t pay him! You realize if we get shot here there is nothing that can stop this or even show that it wasn’t justified?”
Lantis was still pacing in circles and spoke with his head down.
“I’m not giving any money till they put the handcuffs on us. Fuck this guy. What do we have to pay him for?”
“We don’t even know how to get out of here! There isn’t another train for a week! If this guy doesn’t help us, we’re fucked! It was your idea to go to Iran without visas!”
“There shouldn’t even be visas, this is a world, we are people, we should be able to go wherever we want. It’s all bullshit.”
“Granted, I agree with you but I don’t see any other way. I’m not going to get shot over a piece of paper!”
Lantis drooped his shoulders, pouted his lips and let out a deep exhale, “I’m telling you man, not till they put the handcuffs on us.”
They never put the handcuffs on us. At the bus station a herd of Turkish men in suits encircled us all vying for our business. I pointed to one of their ties and smiled. All the men began to stick out their chests and display the superiority of their ties too. A little gypsy girl with the number 9 on her sweatshirt stole Lantis’ juice and he said that it made the whole ordeal worthwhile. She was adorable, we just smiled at her while her brother put the juice in his mouth and spat it back out at us. She gestured, shaking her wrist with her fingers together turned upward and spoke sharp unpleasant words at us in Turkish.