Owen, first of his name. And last. That’s what the epitaph will say, scrawled in dumb blunt Crayola across the front door of the coca-cola house, the house that has a sort of nodding acquaintance — yes, you could call it that — with the fizzy cola brand coca-cola. A brand which used to contain actual, real cocaine, or so it is said, which really — I think — raises again the ghostly apparition of Sigmund Freud, psychoanalyst and dream-fucker, cracking open a bottle of the stuff (‘kch—tiszzz’) and sort of wrapping his genteel, cigar-stained lips around the spout and glugging down, before — yes — tossing the bottle away and, haughtily, swivelling his sort of clam-like eyes toward you, a patient, on his lounge chair, and, not giving you a moment to speak, expounding on his theory of dreams.
Bury me alive in the coca-cola house, for it has a gun-turret arcade game in its basement. A very niche sort of video game to embark on, and one which — I would presume — involves little more than just churning infinite bullets and thick, hazy tracer rounds into a mass of gibbering targets, from above, and getting a high score for exploding your enemies into clouds of viscera so large you almost feel bad for a moment. Don’t feel bad. Don’t. You can’t. Not here, because it’s an airbnb property.
I will have my best ideas in the coca-cola house, where I will live; with my crippling anxieties, my self-talking, my split lip, my watery eyes, my fouled copies of Platonov, my scribbled Red Book (Jung’s, printed out from a fuzzy pdf). I will wake up and, slug, like an actual slug, because I have had too much coca-cola and too much ball-turret gunning, crawl toward the pool table where I, breathing, heavily, will rest for a little bit, just close my eyes a little bit - laying ‘in-state’ as they say, and what a state. Eh, eh?
Freud spoke of the uncanny, the unheimlich, as if it were everything that The Heimlich (a sort of backwards dry humping that might save you from choking on a little knotty tendril of lamb fat, a piece of too-dry sourdough) was not; that is, something that does not save you, but just creeps you — very awake, very clear of throat — out. Freud, coked-up, messy with the stuff, the back of his throat a terrain of coolish, unfeeling, and numbed ham, is beginning to look a lot like Santa Claus, isn’t he? Like Santa Claus, the giver of gifts and not, yes, no, the taker of lives.
I will live perpetually in fear of the coca-cola house, with its lank blue and its powdery, crushed onion floor. I will fly about with my hands at my sides, sort of knocking stuff (like the coca-cola lamp and the dull red cushions) off of surfaces and walls, really just really amped up on coca-cola but also angry at myself and sad and sort of half-aware that, if I were really going to go for it, like, as in, make it a sort of life’s mission, that I could actually make the house more coca-colarey than it is currently, really? Which is not actually a lot, to be entirely honest with you. Coca-cola enough. You might expect the theme, that translucently white pearl colour, that black, that red, to be sort of taken to its logical conclusion rather than sort of just gestured at with a few framed prints and a sort of tacky, gigantic replica of a coca-cola bottle. What I’m saying is that, if it really wants to claim the lofty title of The Coca-Cola House (note I have not been doing so until this point, capitalizing), then it should really make more of a concerted, concentrated effort toward realizing that goal, rather than just having a bit of coca-cola paraphernalia littered about, really.
“Family friendly” is the coca-cola house, and sort of draped, in a tawdry way, in “fun Coca-Cola memorabilia” along with “complimentary coca-cola in the fridge”, and a hot tub, where - after drinking a complimentary coca-cola, you can stew, buzzing slightly, from the caffeine, in the tawdry and lukewarm water. You can watch TV, “streaming your favourite shows.” Cool! It has a “full kitchen”, where you can - presumably - cook one of those roast chickens with a beer can in its guts, but instead of a beer can you use a can of coca-cola. Why not! It’s the coca-cola house!
The coca-cola house will swallow me, as if it were Obayashi’s House, a deadly house and a haunted house, whose pool table will crush my bones and whose dire sofas will lurch across the floor and just sort of total me into a gooey paste.
Why, why does it radiate with evil so, the coca-cola house? Pinkly dim carpets, boiled to the edge of grey. You slip across its white kitchen tiles, dizzy with nausea, your brain lurching from side to side, knowing that you will never escape this place, really, not even if you crash through its windows onto the sickening lawn. Freud. I return to him, and he - cross legged - is sitting on the pool table, sort of strumming a crushed empty coca-cola can (a ‘ccc’) in his large, hairy hands.
The items, i recall, that we project our own repressed impulses upon become the most uncanny to us. He says that, licking his paws. We blame these things for maladies, calamaties, miseries.
“In general we are reminded that the word heimlich is not unambiguous, but belongs to two sets of ideas, which, without being contradictory, are yet very different: on the one hand it means what is familiar and agreeable, and on the other, what is concealed and kept out of sight. Unheimlich is customarily used, we are told, as the contrary only of the first signification of heimlich, and not of the second . . . On the other hand, we notice that Schelling says something which throws quite a new light on the concept of the Unheimlich, for which we were certainly not prepared. According to him, everything is unheimlich that ought to have remained secret and hidden but has come to light.”
The coca-cola house has come to light indeed. Bathed, sickening. Flooded with light, and gulfs of gibbering darkness. I cross the kitchen, gulp water from the tap (but it’s coca-cola isn’t it?), and recall Jung’s Red Book, coca-cola coloured, and his black book, coca-cola coloured, and how there is “something living down there”, something alive and ancient and abject.
The uncanny arises in the "repetition of the same thing”.
The coca-cola house will swallow me. It will swallow all of us. Gulp.