knowthyself

It was a sunny day when one of the 101 occupants of the prison was pronounced dead by lethal injection, sodium pentothal in combination with a paralytic agent.

There were 101 persons in the prison, but only one was a convict.

Strangely, all 100 of the guards looked exactly like the prisoner.  Envision 101 mirror images.

A strange ordinance in the bizarre city of Kundabuffer mandated that the prison always maintain 101 occupants and, from time to time, one was to die.

In so doing, was the perpetrator of a crime singled out or was one of the guards eliminated?

Nobody had ever known.

People in the town were not concerned with injustice or the guilt or innocence of the person being condemned so long as the prison maintained its 101 indwellers.

That is why after one man was executed, another was incarcerated forthwith.

No one knew the criteria for the replacement either- or if he had committed a crime at all.

This was an unusual precept, but a fundamental part of the tradition and culture of Kundabuffer City.

The restraining principle was based on another unorthodox criteria of the facility.  There would be no prison bars or cells, nothing to separate prisoner from guards.

The penitentiary, thus, effected 101 solitary cells within one large open space.

The prison guards were fully armed, but not with the traditional weapons one might expect.  Instead, numbing associative thoughts kept the prisoner from adequately planning an escape.  His churning, mechanical thoughts tended to override any trace of activity in his deadened mind.

This characterized more than prison guards and a detainee; they were slaves of their own imaginations, trapped by their own internal mechanisms, essentially prisoners unto themselves.

That was the originality of this prison.  There were no masters and no regulations or guidelines.  All attempts at cohesive thought were annulated by a barrage of fears and contradictory emotions.

There was  symbol on a ceiling in the courtyard which marked the phrase, “Know thyself”.

It was rumored in town that it was etched by the only convict who ever succeeded in escaping.

The key to escape lay within this message, but the veracity of the story behind this has never been confirmed.

Within the jail, the fact that remained unconfirmed was not the meaningfulness of the message, but the mere existence of the script.  Because their vacant eyes were trained toward the floor, the denizens of the prison failed to notice the words that were said to hold their very freedom.

Guards and prisoner alike were obsessively preoccupied with how the others perceived them: whether or not they were trusted, respected, considered smart, unique…  They even worried about their physical appearance.

Scuffles between them were common.  The paranoid sting of having been underestimated at one’s proper value lead to defensive crowing and provocative threats.

“Do you know who I am?”

The response ricocheted deep within their inner prison, never finding voice.  They were not physically isolated, but were distanced from each other mentally and emotionally.

The prison of Kundabuffer City.  A hell of a place to be.


READ ALSO:He had promised himself he would never have another drink.

ART DIRECTOR: MARCELO MACHADO


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Antonio Costa Neto is freelancer writer and has worked in some of the most important ad agencies in Brazil and the United States. He now lives in Miami where he owns and operates a marketing consultant company. Throughout his career in advertising, he has won top international awards in the Cannes, London and New York festivals, as well as in the Clio Awards and many Latin American festivals. Antonio Costa Neto has written numerous plays and screen plays in Brazil.
Womb Wrecker Syndrome is his second book.

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20070914 Antônio's Book Signing for Womb Wrecker Syndrome 009If you think that my English isn’t half bad for a non-native speaker and you’d like to improve your English pronunciation, conversation or writing, contact my English teacher and proof reading friend Kristin at TheEnglishTeacher@kleeonline.com.  You know me, I’m just a little spontaneous and sometimes I “add”-lib even after Kristin edits for me, so she is blameless for any tiny, tiny, small, small, small mistakes I might make!

ANTONIO

Kristin: My brilliant English teacher( in the middle)

antonio alteradaChloe was her name.

She had a sweet dream and a bitter reality.

But she was a happy girl.  Her real life couldn’t vanquish her spirit.

On the contrary, it gave her strength.

The fighting started from the moment she woke up every day.

A necessary evil.

With pain and hope, she fought for her dream.

She fought for what she believed would be but a brief moment in her life.  And she was a strong believer.

She was strong, both physically and mentally.

She had strong and beautiful legs.

And a strong and beautiful heart.

She recorded her entire life in her black and white composition book.

Day after day she meted out her story, like the punishing blows of a brawler.

Her words crashed and collided onto the pages.  This would be a fight to remember, she was certain.

She fought with all her might every single time she stepped into the ring.

She realized that in order to win, she must move with power and grace as well as character.

She was acutely aware that very important people were present.  They attentively observed her dramatic skills.

Famous producers, directors, actors and actresses, all there in the heart of Las Vegas, following her every move.

Every one of them eyeing her, she walked with the slow and deliberate rhythm of a superstar.

She sashayed with grace and energy.

Her feet danced around the ring.

Finally, arms raised high in the air after the match, she was seen as a great fighter.  This was her fantasy.  She was on cloud nine.

Those worthies were taking notice of her now.  Just as she had always dreamed they would.

She was charming, sexy, talented.

She knew that she would be bigger than Stallone, even bigger than Cat Woman, bigger than any fighter- real or imaginary.

Round one, round two, round three.

The way she beamed, the way she sauntered from round to round wasn’t something that just anyone could do.

One had to be special to pull off what she did.

People told her that she had a gift.

She had a bitter reality and a sweet secret.  She dreamed of being a famous actress.

Every time she stepped into the ring, she hoped that just one of those influential people in the audience would recognize her talent.  Beyond her ability to hop into the ring in high heels while toting the poster for the next round.

Her name was Chloe.  She was a ringside girl.   And she was fighting for her dreams, waiting for her moment to be discovered as the next world class actress.

READ ALSO: Monday I”ll Kill myself, no more delay( a suicidal note).


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Antonio Costa Neto is freelancer writer and has worked in some of the most important ad agencies in Brazil and the United States. He now lives in Miami where he owns and operates a marketing consultant company. Throughout his career in advertising, he has won top international awards in the Cannes, London and New York festivals, as well as in the Clio Awards and many Latin American festivals. Antonio Costa Neto has written numerous plays and screen plays in Brazil.
Womb Wrecker Syndrome is his second book.Antonio holds a BA in philosophy and sociology from Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul.

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facebook: Antonio Costa Neto


ART BY CHARLOTTERIE.

forca2W3


Tuesday.

Today is Tuesday.  It’s 9 AM.

I made a radical decision.

I’ll put an end to my boring life.

Too many problems, too much frustration

and almost no rewards.

I am a loser, I have to admit.

But how do I kill myself?

It cannot be anything bloody.

I don’t own a gun.

A knife is out of the question; it falls into

the blood category.

Jumping from a window would be great if I didn’t live on the

first floor.

Car accident?

No.

Cross US 1 at 6 PM with my eyes closed?

No.

I know what I’ll do.

I’ll hang myself.

It’s fast, effective and a little romantic, at least to me.

But I don’t have any rope.

I’ll buy some tomorrow. I’ll kill myself tomorrow.

Wednesday.

It is 6 PM and I haven’t killed myself yet.

I bought some rope, found the perfect spot in the house,

wrote a suicide note, had my hair cut,

cleaned and trimmed my nails,

and paid all my bills. But something unexpected happened.

My grandmother called and told me that tomorrow morning,

she’s coming over to make breakfast for me.

I don’t want her to find me dead. She’d have a heart attack.

That just wouldn’t be fair.

I’ll have to put my suicide off.

I’ll kill myself Thursday night.

Thursday.

My grandmother just left. She prepared a great breakfast

for me.

It got me thinking back to when I was a happy little kid.

I had a great childhood. Lots of love, lots of fun.

It was when I got to high school that everything

started going wrong.

From then on, my life was miserable.

Just thinking about that depresses me.

I am so down, so sad.

I don’t have the energy to kill myself right now.

I’ll do it tomorrow. Definitely.

Friday

For some reason I woke up happy today.

Well, happy is not exactly the word.

It’s more like energetic.

I feel like a walk in the park, getting out, communing with

nature, seeing people and even getting some exercise.

If this feeling lasts until the end of the day, I’ll have

to kill myself on Saturday.

There is no point of dying when you are happy.

It’ll be Saturday, for sure.

No more delays.

Saturday

Today is the finals game, basketball season.

The LA Lakers vs. Orlando Magic .

I don’t know how I could have forgotten.

If there were only one reason for me to live,

it would be basketball.

I just love it.

I went to all the Heat games this season, here in Miami

and all over the country.

I am neither a Lakers nor an Orlando fan, but if I missed

the finals it would be kind of weird.

I am crazy about basketball.

I watched all the games, all the programs,

all the interviews.

I even have a bunch of autographs and pictures

of all the players.

I’ll consider watching this game my last wish. No guilt.

Eternal life can wait for me.

And then Sunday I’ll kill myself.

Sunday

I was eating my last meal and proofreading my farewell note

when I remembered that my family was coming to town today.

They arrive at 8 this morning.

They’re bringing me a Heat shirt with the number three

on the back.

Number three is for Dwayne Wade, my favorite player.

We are going to church, and afterwards we’ll have

a family lunch.

My mom wants me to watch the new Oliver Stone movie with her

later in the afternoon.

It’s called W.

I’ll be back home by early evening.

I don’t feel comfortable killing myself after dark, though.

I think that if one has to die, it should be in the daytime,

with sunlight.

I know it’s a little superstitious, but I’m afraid that

if I die at night I’ll go to hell.

I don’t want that to happen.

The whole reason I want to die is to put an end to my hell,

the hell that is my life.  Hell sucks.

I’d like to spend eternity in purgatory, at least.

That’s why I’ll kill myself on Monday for sure.

Monday is the perfect day to start a whole new life.

Monday and that’s it. I give you my word.

READ ALSO : MY NAME IS GOD. https://befree2bfree.wordpress.com

ART BY  NEWTON BENTO

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Antonio Costa Neto is freelancer writer and has worked in some of the most important ad agencies in Brazil and the United States. He now lives in Miami where he owns and operates a marketing consultant company. Throughout his career in advertising, he has won top international awards in the Cannes, London and New York festivals, as well as in the Clio Awards and many Latin American festivals. Antonio Costa Neto has written numerous plays and screen plays in Brazil.
Womb Wrecker Syndrome is his second book. Antonio holds a BA in philosophy and sociology from Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul.

twitter:acostaneto

facebook: Antonio Costa Neto

acnpartners@costaneto.com

He had promised himself

He woke up with a tremendous hangover and made a definitive decision to never have another drink again.

He was totally convinced that alcohol caused him immense harm, not only to his body, but also to his soul.

Not to mention that his relationship with his kids and his wife were going nowhere, just like his professional situation.

He had lost his job two years ago and never got another one.

In part, it was because he didn’t want another job.

In part, he simply could not follow orders.

With the loss of his job, and without having received any salary for two years, he was financially broken.

He now felt that his family was falling apart as well.

That is why he decided never to drink again.

But he made this decision at 10 in the morning, while suffering from a tremendous hangover, headache, nausea and unbearable anguish.

At 6 PM the same day he changed his mind.

After a horrible, melancholy day of dark thoughts and a looming pessimism over his future, a wonderful idea crossed his mind and a beautiful, warm feeling gave him some hope.

He thought that maybe it wasn’t the end yet.

He thought that maybe his situation was just a bad phase.

In one instant he felt like the good old Francisco again.

Smart, creative, sharp, a happy man with a great sense of humor, destined to be a winner and loved by everyone.

Those thoughts and feelings were stronger than everything else.

They were proof that life is supposed to be lived with intensity, without fear.

And in his case, particularly his case being a such talented man, he could not be taken over by cheap thoughts and feelings.

Happiness, he thought, is for those who dare, for those who seek heaven, for those who take risks, for those who believe in something greater than the mundane, for those who have courage.

Then he went to a bar and ordered a vodka, straight up.

After the first vodka, he couldn’t remember what happened.

Next morning he woke up with a tremendous hangover and  made a definitive decision to never have another drink again.

ART BY JARBAS AGNELLI

READ ALSO : A Round in the Life of a Fighter(based on a real invented story)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Antonio Costa Neto is freelancer writer and has worked in some of the most important ad agencies in Brazil and the United States. He now lives in Miami where he owns and operates a marketing consultant company. Throughout his career in advertising, he has won top international awards in the Cannes, London and New York festivals, as well as in the Clio Awards and many Latin American festivals. Antonio Costa Neto has written numerous plays and screen plays in Brazil.
Womb Wrecker Syndrome is his second book.Antonio holds a BA in philosophy and sociology from Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul.

twitter:acostaneto

facebook: Antonio Costa Neto


BikeSuaveA2008 80x120Just about the time we were all beginning to stop riding bikes, my dad decided to give me one for Christmas. I asked him to get me a Monaretta or a foldable Caloi, which were the two brands of bikes everyone else had.

One week before Christmas, my new bike arrived. Not a Monaretta. Not a Caloi. But a locally made bike called a Bandeirante. It was a perfect bike for a six year old.

I was ten.

It was ugly, fragile, and on the handlebars there were strips of colored tape which kept coming off, and looked like Christmas decorations. The net effect of this made the whole ridiculous bike frame seem even more pathetic. But pathetic or otherwise, at least it was a bike. And it was mine.

It had always been my dream to have a bike and now I had one. It was no good thinking about the quality. Whether I liked it or not, I had no choice but to go out on it, as I’d been telling all my friends for over a month I was getting it. Of course I had no idea it would be this farcical excuse of a bike. Eventually, though, I found my courage and set off down the road.

My Dad accompanied me, naturally without having even the slightest idea of my inner turmoil. When my friends saw me, they froze, totally unable to speak. And so as to not disappoint my Dad, who was feeling very pleased with himself for what he had bought me, I pretended to be really pleased and lucky to have such a marvelous bike.

At that time, and perhaps also now, the thing to do on the Monaretta or a Caloi—which was a sort of mountain bike—was to do a wheelie up onto the sidewalk. This, of course, was what I was going to do to show off to my friends. My Bandeirante was supposedly also a mountain bike. I was in a sort of state of rapture, and not thinking about the practicalities of what I was about to attempt.

So I hurled my bike headlong at the sidewalk. When the bike hit the curb, the weak handlebars broke instantaneously. I was thrown to the ground, but the force of shame lifted me up instantly. I looked around at everyone, which could have only been for seconds. But it felt as though I was gazing at their expressions for hours.

Nobody laughed or made some stupid comment.

On the contrary, their silence was a sort of sad complicity. I looked at my father who was totally sheepish. I could see in his eyes that he was begging me to forgive him. I just shook the dust off my clothes, picked up the pieces of the bicycle, and went home, saying nothing.

I can’t possibly describe the emotions I was experiencing. Although I was just wild with frustration, I also felt a strange sort of happiness. Today I know this feeling as resignation, the feeling of finally understanding what it means to be born poor and to have less than other people. I also understood that what had happened previously in my life had also not happened by accident. Poverty was as much a part of me as my arms, legs, and nose.

I understood, too, that my life was going to continue to be like that in the future and, although I would continue to dream and those dreams would be limitless, their realization would forever be compromised. For the rest of my life I would only get a part of what I wanted.

This came to me as an immense relief.

It meant that from that day forward, I would never have to worry about having illusions. I could allow my emotions to ferment into a sort of tapenade of sadness that I could spread over my life as a thin layer of pain.

READ ALSO :Monday I’ll kill myself, no more delay( a suicidal note).

Art By Luiz Cavalli

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Antonio Costa Neto is freelancer writer and has worked in some of the most important ad agencies in Brazil and the United States. He now lives in Miami where he owns and operates a marketing consultant company. Throughout his career in advertising, he has won top international awards in the Cannes, London and New York festivals, as well as in the Clio Awards and many Latin American festivals. Antonio Costa Neto has written numerous plays and screen plays in Brazil.
Womb Wrecker Syndrome is his second book.Antonio holds a BA in philosophy and sociology from Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul.

twitter:acostaneto

facebook: Antonio Costa Neto


4Throughout my life, I’ve always been a creative person, full of inspiration and bright ideas. For me, life was a captivating game and I carefully uncovered its secrets. With my words I could charm anyone… But then it turned out that this very human ability has its limitations. I’d discover a secret one day and then forget it the next.

Half truths.

At the same time that I was losing sight of the profound truths for which I couldn’t find any place, I started losing ordinary things, everyday objects: keys, money, and so on.

Gradually, as these losses began to accumulate, I woke up one day and found I no longer wanted to be the man I had imagined I was. I probably couldn’t have been him anymore, anyway. That was where the decline began—the decline of someone who, by always looking for heaven and the stars, has made too many big bets.

But over time, as frustration begins to build, you start setting your sights lower. Until finally, with frustration appearing to take over, your dreams of life wither away and you lose for what most people is the most normal, natural thing: the rules, the conceptions of what people call a moral code.

And that is the final stage of the struggle—not to get back what you’ve lost, but to find some sort of definition, some sort of yes and no. Or perhaps just an infinite maybe which goes on and on, a bottomless abyss through which you fall, world after world, seeing much more in those phantasmal worlds than you ever could have imagined.

But I can’t keep hold of this.

Emotionally, I’m not up to it. I feel as if this knowledge isn’t mine. It’s something living and permanent that exists beyond ordinary awareness.

You might find this note confusing, wandering in circles and not going anywhere. In fact it is. As is the entire book and myself, the main character. But don’t forget, these are my memories, spilling out randomly. Without rhyme or reason or logic. And, as my friend C once said, “Writing is sticking your finger down your throat. Then, of course, you sieve through all the puke, molding it, shaping it. Who knows? It might even turn into a flower. But the critical moment is sticking your finger down your throat.”

Now, allow me please to stick my finger down my throat


ART BY LUIZ CAVALLI

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Antonio Costa Neto is freelancer writer and has worked in some of the most important ad agencies in Brazil and the United States. He now lives in Miami where he owns and operates a marketing consultant company. Throughout his career in advertising, he has won top international awards in the Cannes, London and New York festivals, as well as in the Clio Awards and many Latin American festivals. Antonio Costa Neto has written numerous plays and screen plays in Brazil.
Womb Wrecker Syndrome is his second book.

twitter:acostaneto

facebook: Antonio Costa Neto


Ele acordou com uma tremenda ressaca e prometeu que nunca mais iria beber.
Aquela seria uma decisão definitiva.
Ele estava 100% convencido de que a bebida não fazia mal apenas para o corpo, mas também para a sua alma.
Fora o fato de que a relação com seus filhos e sua mulher estava caminhando no mesmo sentido que a sua situação profissional.
Ele havia perdido o emprego há dois anos e nunca mais conseguiu um outro.
Em parte porque não queria. Em parte porque simplesmente não conseguia receber ordens.
Com a perda do emprego, e sem trabalhar por dois anos, havia perdido todas as suas economias.
Agora ele sentia que estava perdendo também a família.
Por isso, decidiu nunca mais beber.
Mas essa decisão ele tomou às 10 horas da manhã, com uma tremenda ressaca, dor de cabeça, náusea e uma angústia quase insuportável.
Às 6 horas da tarde desse mesmo dia, ele mudou de idéia.
Depois de um dia todo de tristeza, melancolia, pensamentos sombrios e um total pessimismo em relação ao seu futuro, um pensamento maravilhoso cruzou sua mente e um sentimento positivo invadiu seu coração.
Ele pensou e sentiu que talvez o fim não estivesse chegado ainda.
Que talvez essa situação toda fosse apenas uma má fase.
Num instante, ele se sentiu outra vez como o velho e bom Francisco.
Espirituoso, criativo, inteligente, charmoso, sedutor e predestinado a ser um homem feliz, bem- sucedido e amado por todos.
Esse pensamento e essa emoção eram mais fortes do que tudo.
Eram a prova mais concreta de que a vida deveria ser vivida com intensidade.
Que no caso dele, especialmente ele, sendo um homem tão talentoso, não poderia se deixar levar por pensamentos menores.
A felicidade, ele pensou, é para quem ousa, para quem sonha alto, para quem se aventura, para quem se deixa levar, para quem tem coragem.
Ele entrou no bar e pediu uma vodka sem gelo. Depois da primeira vodka, ele não lembra o que aconteceu.
Na manhã seguinte, acordou com uma tremenda ressaca e prometeu que nunca mais iria beber.