HBO’s “existentialist cop drama” True Detective didn’t air this past Sunday, presumably due to the mammoth overlap of the Bruno Mars/”existentialist cop drama” demographics. Like most (if not all) of America, I’ve felt lost without the weekly fix of abject boredom, compensatory prettiness, and Matthew McConaughey mouth diarrhea that True Detective provides. To help myself and all of America through this dramatic period of existentialist cop withdrawal, I’ve written a short piece of True Detective fan fiction. I hope it eases the pain. Or as Rust Cohle would say, “Humanity’s pain can’t be eased, only ignored, swept under the rug of reality, which isn’t actually a rug, but an idea of a rug, an idea of a rug in a dream of a room, and that room…that room has no doors.”
True Detective Season One Episode x: A Room Without Doors
By. Carmen Petaccio
Rust Cohle lights a cigarette. He leans back in his chair, surveys his interrogators. The interrogation room is as silent as a tomb. The interrogators are as quiet as the dead. There’s a hiss as Rust cracks a beer. Lone Star. It’s his thirtieth of the night, and he shows no signs of slowing down. This is a man who has seen some things.
He takes a long drag on his cigarette. He takes a long sip of his beer. Another drag. Another sip. Another, another. Rust makes to speak, but instead drags on his cigarette. After that, he sips his beer. The interrogators cross their arms. Rust smiles without teeth, as if in pain. His wrinkles are so deep they look carved. His eyes are so steady they look blind. His face says it all: this man has seen some things.
“I’ve seen some things,” Rust grumbles.
The girl’s body washed up somewhere between the swamp and the farrago, just south of the quagmire. It was something to be seen. She’d been raped 645,725 times. Anally. Orally. Nostrally. Rust knew as soon as he saw her. They’d written the address of a satanic church on her back and burned the website URL of the same satanic church onto her forehead. There were no leads. Overhead, seams of color came undone in the overcast sky. The year was 1995. Rust grumbled. What hath God wrought?
They were standing by the banks of the swamp, staring in contemplative awe at the girl’s naked, very-raped body. Woody Harrelson & Rust Cohle. Unlikely partners, with an unlikelier respect for each other. In unnecessarily explicit detail, like a serial killer, Rust Cohle drew a sketch of the girl’s body in his ledger. Woody Harrelson stole a glance at the drawing. Out of all the partners in rural Louisiana, he thought. This fuckin’ guy.
“You ever seen anything like this?” Woody Harrelson drawled.
Rust Cohle didn’t look up from his sketch. In fact, he brought his eyes closer to the page, as if an unseen dimension had revealed itself.
Twenty minutes passed, then Rust snapped shut his ledger.
“I’ve seen some things,” Rust grumbled. “But I’ve never seen a thing like this.”
They walked in contemplative silence to the Crown Vic and got in contemplatively. Woody Harrelson didn’t care for his car rides with Rust. He never left the car feeling better than he had before. Thankfully, his mistress had absolutely enormous natural tits. Like, absolutely fucking enormous. Her tits, more than his family, more than his job, got him through the rides with Rust.
Rust Cohle lit a cigarette. He steered the car onto the one-lane highway that lead out of the swamp. Stoned as he was, Woody Harrelson could already feel the dread mounting. Now that they were in the car, it was only a matter of time before Rust launched into one of his asinine, existential monologues. All Rust needed, Woody Harrelson knew, was a trigger. But would he provide it?
Of course he would. His goddamn wife had invited Rust to dinner. Again. And although the endless curtain of her hair broke his heart with its gorgeousness, this was a cardinal sin. For inviting Rust Cohle over for mac-and-cheese, there was no absolution. Woody Harrelson hung his head.
“Hey, Rust,” Woody Harrelson drawled. “How’d you like to come over for some mac-and-cheese tonight?”
When Rust didn’t answer, Woody Harrelson drawled, “It’d mean a lot to my wife.”
Rust took a long drag on his cigarette. The scene outside the car was bleakly, unspeakably beautiful, as if it was compensation for an unimaginable ugliness buried beneath the apparent world. Twenty minutes passed, then Rust dragged on his cigarette and spoke.
“Macaroni and cheese, you say?” Rust grumbled.
“That’s right,” Woody Harrelson drawled. He tried to picture his mistress’s perfectly enormous and completely natural tits, but he couldn’t.
Rust dragged his cigarette to the quick. “Are you familiar with the sacrificial practices of the Ainu tribes?”
Woody Harrelson let his head fall against the window, hard. “I have. There is no reason to explain it to me.”
“The ritual is known as ‘Iyomante,'” Rust grumbled. “It’s based in animism. These people, they worship bears. Mother bears, in particular. They believe that bears are gods. So every year, they kill a hibernating mother bear. The whole village gathers. They feast on her raw flesh until the bones are stripped bare. They drink her blood before it runs cold. Then they strangle or drown her cubs. They think this will court the bears’ favor. Relieving them of corporeal form…”
After ten minutes, Woody Harrelson drawled, “What the fuck are you talking–
“The symbolic centerpiece of the Ainu ritual is the mother bear’s vagina.That gets saved. Now, reductionists believe it represents birth and renewal, but I never bought that. The Ainu people will, for months, until it rots, wear this bear pussy around their necks like a kind of kerchief. Passing it around. And I’ll be damned if that doesn’t cast theism as an adornment. Deep down, the Ainu people know. The great bear-god pussy is a vacancy. We emerge from emptiness to worship emptiness before we return to emptiness. All meaning is projection.”
After twenty minutes, Woody Harrelson drawled, “So?”
Rust accelerated. “So…” he grumbled.
Rust was five hours late to dinner. Dinner reminded him of his ex-wife and dead daughter. His wife had left him after his daughter’s death. His daughter had hanged herself because his bedtime stories were overlong and nihilistic. To steel himself, Rust had ingested 50 Klonopin and 60 Bud Heavies. God, was he late. But when Woody Harrelson’s hot wife answered the door, her smile was such that’d you think Rust was right on time. How was Woody Harrelson humping every beautiful woman in rural Louisiana? What hath God wrought?
Dinner went as well as it could have. The kitchen was as silent as a tomb. The mac-and-cheese was as cold as dead bear pussy. The emptiness, Rust thought, stirring his mac-and-cheese. The emptiness of it all. This was time he should have been spending on the case, and here he was, too fucked up to move. Yet his mind raced with cryptic and nonsensical thoughts, like B-side Mars Volta lyrics. It was all too much. The girl’s body. The emptiness. Woody Harrelson’s gorgeous wife and big-titted mistress. Rust didn’t feel himself fall from his chair to the floor. All he felt was relief, then everything went black.
Rust Cohle lights a cigarette. He leans back in his chair, surveys his interrogators. Twenty years later, he remembers that dinner like it was yesterday. The interrogation room is as silent as a sepulcher. The interrogators are as quiet as cadavers. Rust cracks another beer. Lone Star. Its his sixtieth of the night, and he shows no signs of slowing down. He’s. Seen. Some. Things.
Rust takes a long drag on his cigarette. He stares not just into his interrogators’ eyes, but into their souls. He grumbles, “Humanity’s pain can’t be eased, only ignored, swept under the rug of reality, which isn’t actually a rug, but an idea of a rug, an idea of a rug in a dream of a room, and that room…that room has no doors.” He drops his cigarette into his finished beer. A hiss as it’s extinguished. Slowly, Rust takes another cigarette from his pack. He leans back in his chair, stares at his interrogators. Smoking in police headquarters is verboten. The interrogators know it. Rust Cohle knows it. He grins with teeth, as if in pain. He lights the cigarette.