Thursday, June 26, 2008

Short Story

It was John's first day at the new job and his supervisor, Tony, brought him around the shop. Tony had a vignette for each worker. "That's Trevor. He's good, but he gets really drunk over the weekend and doesn't make it in two Mondays a month. Over there's John, another John, not you, used to own a place just like this, I don't know what happened to him, but he's here now."

Our John trailed behind Tony, nodding and uh-huh-ing with each tid-bit. Toward a darker corner of the shop, a tall, thin man was filling out paperwork on a smooth wooden table. The lamp over his work area put his already angular face into high-relief, his deep eye sockets void of all but black.

Tony, pointed with a wave to the man's direction. "That's Frank. Frank keeps to himself. You probably won't have to mess with him. He's not been much fun since he lost his wife." John said, "That's too bad. How did she die?" Tony looked directly at John and said, "Oh, no, she didn't die. They went to Disney Land, Epcot, in fact, he went to take a leak and she just plain disappeared. Poof. There one minute, standing in line, gone the next. Strangest thing, you know." John looked at Tony with knitted brows. "What do you mean, 'She just disappeared'? What did the police say?" Tony replied with a shrug, "They told Frank that she was a grown-up and that if she wanted to leave him, she could at any time, any place. They agreed that the circumstances were strange, but things like that happen all the time. People just 'poof' and that's it. Know what I mean?"

John had never heard of such a thing. Is that what really happened? She just found her moment and walked away? No abduction, no foul play, no plotting or planning? Women could do some pretty strange stuff, he admitted to himself, but he'd never seen something like this, up close, at least.

Tony said, "That's pretty much the tour. I showed you your locker, you have your passcard. . .. What else? What else? Oh, uh, we just instituted black-out dates for vacations during the busy season, but that doesn't affect you this year. That should be about it. Anything you want to ask me?" John couldn't thing about much else other than the idea of Frank's disappearing wife. "I can't think of anything, but let me ask you one thing." "Sure," Tony said, "go ahead." "You mean to say Frank never heard from his wife again, at all?" Tony looked him squarely in the face and said, "Look, I probably shouldn't have gossiped like that. What happened is this: after he got back from Florida, Frank was major-league depressed. He was off the job for like two months. After he came back to work, he started to, you know, come to terms with what that bitch did to him, excuse me, but, that's how I feel, okay? So, anyway, after Labour Day, he really started to get back into his work and was doing okay. During the busy week just before Christmas which was the same week he went on vacation with his wife the last year, it was him and me and John working late one Friday. The phone rings in the shop and he picks it up. He didn't talk but I could see his face and he looked like a ghost and like he saw a ghost, too. He hung up the phone, turned to me and I said 'what, what?' and he said 'that was Amelia. That was her.' I said, 'oh, god' where is she' what did she say?' and he said 'nothing, she said nothing, she just laughed and laughed and then she hung up."

John was rivited to the story. "Then what happened?," he asked, desperate for an ending. Tony shrugged again, "Nothing happened. But the next year, it happened again, down to the same minute. And every year since then, for twenty-two years. Can't trace the call, the police can't do anything and he won't retire, which he should have done three years ago because, I don't know, I think because he doesn't want to miss that call." John shook his head slowly, "That's the craziest thing I ever heard, Tony." "Yep," Tony agreed, "it's pretty insane. Well," he extended his hand,"welcome to the company."

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Today In History

It's (not very) funny how things sometimes work out, especially when lawyers and tortured souls are concerned. Personally, I feel a strong magnetic parallel between ancient events and things that I must be letting happen to me, since there's no other reasonable explanation.

On this date in 1633, Galileo Galilei recanted the views he held that the Earth was not at the center of the universe by saying this: "I abjure with a sincere heart and unfeigned faith these errors and heresies, and I curse and detest them as well as any other error, heresy or sect contrary to the Holy Catholic Church." So, though he knew and could prove without a doubt the absolute truth that any schoolchild past a certain age will affirm with a shrug, he tore out his soul and laid it at the feet of the Holy See and, basically, lied to make it all go away.

On this same date in 1969, Judy Garland decided that enough was enough, that the pain would simply never end and took more than a handful of barbiturates. She sleeps even now.

If one is weak and by nature trusting and does not hold malice against his fellow man, he is at great risk to harm. If the mother does not teach her child to be wary and removed of the motives of others, she does him a grave disservice. As a man rises up each morning to find his bread, the stratae at which this sustenance can be derived is varied and often indirect and so, to survive, it can be argued, all acts reside in the possible with no consequence to those of absent morality.

God cannot be relied upon to arbitrate men's souls, it has been seen. Instead, men make agreements amongst themselves based on God's given commandments, with the prima facie intent of outlining the order of society. Without the intervention of the divine, though, these promises are more useful in the delay of contrary action by those of purer motive against those of puerile motive.

Therefore, the weak are sacrificed by measures or miles to the will and daring of the ignoble aggressor. The fantasy of peace and harmony among the diverse elements is the cloak that harbours melancholy, insipid anarchy.

The only defense of the morally just is to remove opportunity.

Therefore, both Galileo and Garland succeeded in controlling their respective destinies, denying the deviant pleasures of the world with their defiance.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Not Qualified To Continue

The Spartans were a hardy bunch. So hardy, in fact, that even their babies needed to meet Spartan specs else the tykes would wind up on a Spartan hill, exposed to the blazing Greek sun until they breathed no more.

I have decided that I am a Spartan baby who somehow escaped the execution of that harsh, but necessary, judgment.

It takes a certain fortitude to survive society as you know it. Not as I know it, since I can see and feel it, but I clearly don't understand it nor do I connect with it. Oh, I do my best, but if I haven't figured it out by now, I accept that I probably never will.

At the outset of this blog, my concept was to track my thoughts and feelings as I climbed the hill of change to full personhood, as a recovering misanthrope. In looking back, I see a lot of ping-ponging back and forth, but not enough "progress" to be meaningful. I think I'm just not exactly fit to exist in the world and I'm not content to be a drone, simply earning a few bucks to take care of obligations and hangers-on, so, why not end it? The Spartans had the right idea after all.

It's all too difficult and too painful. Change is slow if at all and each step forward creates a debt for at least one step backward at some point in the future. There are humans that are simply waiting to prey on the weak, just waiting for someone like me, if not exactly me, to pass by their lair so that they can ground, disembowel and slowly feast on the entrails of my soul. I know at least one such person that's doing that to me right now. But this isn't about singling anyone else out except me.

It's my failing that I have little contact with my daughter, that my brother wants to kill me and that my ex-wife wants to help. I could have and should have recognised the warning signs and made changes before things got too far. I should have negotited my way out of the way before it was too late. It doesn't matter that I'm right or wrong. As long as the strong have positioned themselves for maximum killing force, the weaker must negotiate or be eaten, slowly and while still alive.

So, I'm going to put a stop to it all, once and for all. This is my suicide note. Goodbye cruel world. I gave you a chance and I'm sorry I couldn't do a better job. For your pleasure and entertainment, I will, of course, take my insipid time knocking myself off so that you can observe and be sated by my slow, painful and certain demise. To those who think they love me, you can't stop me. My mind is made up. Oh, I will lie to you and tell you that this is really fiction so that you can't have me locked up. And you'll never really be certain if it was intentional. But I'll be and that will be what counts.

Well, gotta go. Sparta's waiting.