Tangible Schizophrenia


Tao of Jazz

Author: Guede Mazaka
Rating: G
Pairing: Hints at Spike/Julia, Spike/Vicious and Spike/Faye, but otherwise gen.
Feedback: Good lines, bad mistakes, whatever you feel like telling me.
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Notes: Butterfly metaphor modified from Chuang Tzu's famous butterfly parable, where a man dreamed of being a butterfly, and upon waking, did not know whether he was a man who had dreamt of being a butterfly or a butterfly that was dreaming of being a man.
Summary: Three stanzas from three lives.


There are three questions. No more and no less.

What do you want from life?

A break. A breather. A pause in between the hyperspeed film that makes up her life. She's an actress, perpetually caught in costume- and character changes until the shifting scenes threaten to swallow her up in a quick gulp of glittered eyes and flying cards. She's a gambler, living on the edge of a poker chip and always waiting for the sudden settling of fortune's dice on the world's scum-colored felt. She thought she'd grown used to the constant gyrations of luck to and from her little square.

But Faye has found to her tired dismay that even the hardest case still gets motion-sickness from time to time. The problem is, with stakes this high, there's never a chance to go off and have a quiet lie-down till her stomach settles. Not without forfeiting her front-row seat.

So she swallows down the bile, tells herself that pretending nausea does not exist will make it so. And all the while, her face in the mirror grows paler and paler.

What do you want out of life?

Honey music in quiet comfortable emptiness. Nearly visible grace notes twining into light-brushed curls. For Spike, that one memory has become synonymous with heaven. It's what he dreams of during the long black moments of space travel, what he always sees in the silence of his mind's eye.

He unshutters his glass eye, and he sees thin silver snaking for his neck, its phantom touch slicing through his carefully built-up veils of ennui to kill him all over again. His body shadowed in downswept velvet feathers for mourning crepe.

He opens his one real eye, and he sees sassy purple-black bobbing over warning yellow in a contradiction of good taste, good sense, and good luck. Some days, it's enough to shock faint interest back into him, if only to find out just how long improbability lasts these days.

In the end, though, both views of life are always too bright, too much for his dimmed vision to handle. Spike always closes his eyes and retreats into his fragmented dreams, waiting for reality to match prediction. And then for reality to free him from its illusions.

What do you want in life?

Fame and favour. Promotions. The satisfaction of a job well-done. Loyal friends. A good woman and a warm home.

They're decent goals, and Jet's reached them all. He's also watched them all vanish like butterflies in the gale wind. Or perhaps it is he who is the butterfly who dared dream of being a man, and in consequence, had his wings torn off. At least, that's how he remembers the story. Even if that isn't how it went, it makes no difference. Because that is how his life went.

He sticks to the ground now-them that know dirt know the value of solid things. His ship. His bonsai. His arm.

Sometimes, though, Jet looks at the strange crew who've one by one fluttered into his life, and-he has to turn away. He sets the Bebop on course for the next port of call, submerges himself in the grouch and whine of machinery, and forgets that he is flying. Because he cannot fall if he thinks himself already on the earth.


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