Black car. White cats. by Lara Shahd Zoabi (Coco), from Womanzine CULT
Bashir appears to me sometimes, usually at the Myrtle-Broadway subway station, or in Soho, walking on the opposite sidewalk. Bashir always appears to me, to be honest. It may really be him—he might have moved to New York—though it’s probably just a guy that smiles like him or has the same side-swooshed bangs.
When I was thirteen, Mary was the first female character that I attempted to write in English. I made Bashir the protagonist in that story: he was obsessed with the older, mysterious Mary. She wore black head to toe, including black lipstick. He followed her everywhere but would tragically lose track of her every time. Once, he managed to sneak after her into an abandoned building, where he caught a glimpse of Mary’s true self: she was uttering satanic verses and sacrificing a cat into a blazing fire. Bashir’s world was never the same.
The year that I wrote that, six teenage satanic-cult stories upset the local news in Israel—cat homicides and all. I was intrigued then, as I am now, by cults. Sometimes, I walk by a black brick compound in Bushwick, clad with gold trimmings, fake Egyptian pharaoh sculptures, and alien pictures. I’ve seen a bodyguard wearing a black bowtie guarding the metal gate during gatherings. My naive and eager teen curiosity has been revived, and I try to set my iPod to blast Black Car by Black Tambourine every time I pass it. Bashir is gone, though—long gone.