The old museum was on fire! Not burning in a conventional sense of the same, but being incrementally enveloped in a more undetectable smoldering sense. One where its unique one of a kind structure was smoldering from within. Some of my old friends and acquaintances with their pets still inhabiting within, I was anxious for their safety and tried to hurry along the progress of the evacuation of what they held dear before the entire wooden framework of its old eclectic five story structure might suddenly go from a slow charring consumption to burst into raging flame. A very strange feeling came upon me that I was trying to play a reversed role of savior. The task of bringing these people and their old world to safety, yet somehow performed in reverse. Acting like some backwards minded Noah shepherding these familiar others and their animals out of this place and over the small stream to find temporal safety standing on the other side of the superhighway. Yet, when it seemed all had been accounted for as having left this ancient edifice, now visibly being enveloped from within by smoke, I was compelled to return. I quickly challenged traffic to cross back over the buy six lanes of random cars and swiftly propelled myself back across the small bridge to re-enter this once all too familiar structure. The facade of the rotunda now having partially collapsed. Struck by a queasy feeling in my gut causing my lower limbs to tremble. Knowing that, all too soon, the entire store of my own long waylaid memories would be among the irretrievable casualties soon to be stolen within the building hazy atmosphere of the quickly charring timber. Compelled by some strange self-destructive force to crawl up a rough wooden ladder now before me irregardless of all consequences. My heart beating wildly as I mounted each tread into the oblivion of what had once been so painfully familiar. Now fearlessly disappearing slowly upward without hesitation into quickly descending cloud of dense smoke from those unseen flames several stories overhead right on the edge of bursting forth consuming all within the pitch black darkness. All just to search out what had so long ago been lost, yet up to then, had never been my priority to recover.
Under the category of life being what you make it. RELAX!. Twin approximations of the self. Each in conflict with the other. One a villain and the other a hero designate. Who’s controlling these apparitions through the dead of night anyhow?
Waiting!?! Ever a complimentary dish of the side of the Smorgasbord of life. Self narrative attempting to determine who is worth knowing and who to avoid. The crossword puzzle posing too many unanswered questions of existence and what defines it. What indeed is more thrilling at this age? Sticking it in? Or wrapping your arms around it with the hope that it will be reciprocated? Two other old gray beards currently populating this coffee shop’s otherwise empty room totally absorbed in the criss of cross. My own outside melts like candle wax while the inside continues to protest a theory of continuous youth. The space frames keep rising up into the atmosphere. The occupants seemingly congealed out of thin air. I seem guilty of the superficial rigors of advancing age and so a strongly declaim!! The bigger the carat stone int he setting upon the third finger the greater the solemn lifetime promise of needless self-sacrifice offered int he face of endless trivial spousal material whims. Divorce lawyers get ready and on your mark! A short version of a once svelte two-legged trophy now growing older and fatter enters. Features, all beach blond alabaster in dead black glad rags of the latest fashion of the moment covering hips growing as wide as the wide Missouri at flood stage. Timid as a lamb for all this superficial flash. Long coat wrapping those douty hips. How irrevocably human we must all become! I, like Goethe’s Faust, must pay for my wisdom in tiny packets of Hell. Emasculated males feeling the need to chirp out publicly non-stop their endless driveling chatter applying themselves to all topics feminine. Men, hold their tongues. This coffee shops a circus view of humanity on parade from the petting zoo.
“A common enemy”, the counter sweet boy proclaims. That’s how ‘fags’ think! That government ‘big mama‘ Socialism was made especially for them and keep them safe from all comers. What a joke! A quiet measured perfectly well-ordered little life. Toys laid out in practiced rational positions stifling the spontaneity of chaos within. Every little perk required from her handy trick bag at hand. A coward’s path assuring little possibility of longevity past one’s over insulated youth. Oh sure! I look into other faces and see what I want to see. My own convenient little coward’s game of my own making. I’ve worked hard to make a place for myself outside society and humanity as an outsider. The computer is used to normalize through encouraging one’s personal distortions to take root. Music to soothe the beast but not savage enough! Still alive in crumb covered ashes scattered across misbegotten hopes never ever realized. Springboard on bathroom tissue covered trampolines practicing the most reliable self-imposed daily fictions. Reality, the handmaiden of someone else’s life.
Glassy stares traded of nebulous ambitions shared by those for the moment being placed in charge. Artist in waiting for a field of expert endeavor with absolutely no experience beyond hot air bullshitting. And what of the young woman that one day knows that she will be chubby? A little white brother of SJW training embraces his ghetto raised black guide. Phony bullshit traded all around within this P.C torture chamber. The piano player is anorexic. One big skeletal supported matrix of visible muscles dedicated to musical performance. Her art fully adapted a century to late to accompanying silent films in the dime museums of former times. So many ‘Mother may I’s‘ and similar such Novenas currently going on in the wings. All must pay the Karmic price as suggested by the uncountable number of torn holes over kneecap style struck jeans. The black boy in the corner guarding the gap wanting to be loved and demanding hugs from all passing milk toast male ‘incels’. Never asleep for the possibility of getting his big salami sized limp black dick in any female white. So many surrounding these displays wanting to sink into their own fatal patheticness. Old two-legged female toys fussing about like lifetime registered perpetual motion machines. No one to take any of these moral cowards over their knee and hand out a much deserved thorough spanking!
What is there to look forward to after this display beyond Green Line ghetto infested insanity of compulsive acting out practicing insanity before anyone within their sight. “Dynomyte!“, screeching falsetto Negro fags stumbling up and down the aisles laden with mentholated dollar apiece ‘Square’. This faction of perpetually angry blacks demanding obeisance! An equality in enforcing a universal sense of politically dumbed down consensus based ignorance.
The sellout sat before his coffee shop cup doling out his own droll subtractive world view to a small collection of camp followers posing temporarily as anything but old white males. Old women the most pejorative sense of same one might have once been able to say without social censure. Proclaiming to this tiny surrounding inbred world his right to life by falsely posing as an icon of reasonability. When in fact all he could muster was a ego rich serving dish of babbling rhetoric that served confidently to his own mind as intelligence. His much deluded these followers so dimly aware of the import of his words! But thankfully approving of the tone of his in which they were being deluded.
On and on he went about superficial trivialities of the day that he had gleaned the night before from the electronically deliver clarion of typically self-serving parsimonious officialdom. These tiny tidbits of useless made-up theatrical events designed at the source to resemble poorly veiled politically Leftist truth bombs applied in a ceaseless daily barrage. One’ s that smacked of that sweet venom to the taste of unthinking agent provocateurs through the well-practiced ips of self-aggrandizing fools like him. “America has changed!” he said with some self-assured arrogant form of gravitas. “America is now multi-cultural! The old group that once controlled it is now in the minority. They are all racist! And their man in charge as the head of the country has done irrevocable harm with his backward thinking ideas. The Democrats have created the best Congress of Representatives yet known to date. And they have six separate bills on the table that could fix things. BUT HE won’t negotiate!”
The spareness of a surrounding audience resounded in emptiness. The smiling scarecrow expression of this two-legged weasel sinking back smugly self-satisfied with his performance to reveal two rows of time ravaged corncob teeth. Here was someone who most obviously a part of the exact same constituency that he was busily condemning. Someone in specific. One that was known within his neighborhood as a literal whore monger and long term useful tool of the region’s underworld establishment. Someone who would unhesitatingly sell out his mother for an extra quarter if it benefit him that day. A classic Norwegian Rat ever prepared to jump to the next ship to happily infect the next one that becomes available. A carrier of that fatal disease of defeatism. A member of that very group that former nationalist leaders of past had doubled down to their own lasting legacy in an attempt to expunge. The experience of seeing this two-legged vermin so blatantly exit from his hole to loudly boldly proclaim this anathema in public without fear telling me how serious the larger question of a full scale national collapse into total anarchy this land had currently fallen prey to. I shudder to think what is next!
The long day’s driving was grinding hard on him. Sitting non-stop behind the wheel had become a hazy fiction of his now distant youth. The rambling route far off the main highway that he had elected to take in this old over commodious luxury sedan that had once served his family car as most favored by late parents trundled along. Rough spots and occasional potholes bring home unwelcome thoughts as to whether the vehicle’s aging frame could take it. The steering wheel motor ceaselessly growling away threatening further mischief. It was as if all these things were in secretly alliance with vagaries of fate. The impish gods of bad luck waiting to play their hand at the most critical part of his journey. Clunks and thumps from patches of disintegrated sections of the road throwing their bid into a growing pot of angst. The mental image slowly congealing of him waylaid upon an empty uninhabited stretch of this meandering road. Two tons of the inert steel of this oversized ‘boat’ but no financial paddle. The superhighway further north had always been a more obvious option of course. But a dwindling faith in his own abilities cast in the light of slowly advancing age suggested that a brown out of physical stamina would lead to more hazardous potentials where traveling at high speeds. The uncontrollable swarms of other ever more impatient drivers like angry bees swooping back and forth chilling him. The lower speeds of country lanes along with the prosaic nature of contemplation of the many intervening smaller metropolis’s presented an unique opportunity to take in sights along the way. The nagging awareness that in light of his slowly declining physical condition that the opportunity of another similar journey might not be a possibility to experience ever again. Not that he was infirm by any reasonable standard of physical dexterity, mind you. But the quality of vision in the right eye had slowly deteriorated over the last year to the status of legal blindness halving his ability to see. And he feared that the left eye might just as easily without warning follow suit. Destiny and biology had now taken on a common theme and purpose to eventually defeat him. These incremental symptoms of growing infirmity ever threatening and keeping him in their sights as if a stalking horse for eventual demise.
The conundrum of his own inner sensations of still being defiant in feeling perfectly still a youngster coursing through his waking mind as occasional small town were revealed from passing cloistered wooded dale’s then surrendering themselves back to long stretches of farmer’s fields. His thoughts bobbling about in that sense of timelessness of the slow meander of two lane highway. There were so many contrasts to be sorted in the accumulating recollections of many solemn vows he had made to himself as he struggled through the early years of instinctual but useless family rebellion. The penciled path that he had been following if now traced upon a sheet of blank typing paper from the computer screen of a library now as apparent as at the time of its making. He was certain that he was not lost so much as confounded by the lack of clear roadside markings that were only occasionally posted before unexpected forks in the road. His heart increasing to a beat or two above normal as he would have to slow down to a near crawl to rethink if some conflicting twisting signage. Perhaps some waiting ruse considered as harmless errant prank by a delinquent farmer’s son. All in all by all indications, he had managed to stay upon the right road. Mid-morning slowly turned to afternoon. The monotony of hours of travel submitting to boredom nudged betwixt infrequent stops for gasoline. He was assured by early afternoon that in terms of his progress, he was was well within the boundaries of the next state. The same old persistent youthful inclination to press on a little bit further after violating the last arbitrary limit as fresh now as always. It had been almost three decades since he had been in the yearly habit of routinely traveling to the West Coast. Long winding roadways through the Rockies following the tedium of flat lands from the Midwest. The imagined bloom of youth not quite yet reconciled to present day realities. The monotony of the road leading to a boredom inspiring muse. The sameness of every passing mile markers surrendering his mind into a trance-like state. His empty movie theater unconsciously playing short features between random thoughts.
The pages of the calendar had been flying off into space at an astounding rate. He felt he was rotting away with vision and internals slowly failing. The usual legal forms from the government would arrive but he could barely read the text upon the pages to properly fill them out. Living alone for four years running seemed an Armageddon in a very personal sense. Familiarity had a pernicious way about it. A way that had never seemed evident before. The ingrained habits of previous years in terms of traveling far afield were afoul of his current capabilities. The many growing items deferred to his bucket list were now too many years overdue. Though he would not address the thought, time was running short. What after all was importance of it all anymore? Simple existence, such as it had once been known, was a luxury. Something that invisible forces beyond his control were slowly withdrawing without any hint of clemency. The why and wherefore of all of this defeating logic and unable to be understood. Too many successive decades of successfully possessing all these facilities seemed inviolable. Something beyond credibility to be able to accept that they might all too soon be permanently withdrawn far outside his reach! The indirect experience of this not foreign to him. His own kin had suffered mightily before him barely a decade previous. The difference now being that he was the one to be beset. And now condemned to suffer similar circumstances without hope of a reprise. How short a time until his own physical and mental powers would be so rotted away leaving him infirm and helpless?
It was quite obvious that this sense of the world in its being rapidly dismantled then to be routinely discarded by the indifferent surrounding population of strangers that saw little value if any with his own sense of personal priority. This current dilemma might be traced to his lifelong choice to explore and indulge rather than conform. The human body was always said to be ever flexible in adapting to any varied circumstance. But eventually, there was a price to be paid! It might also be said that his current dilemma might be in part be due to an obsessive fascination with the new devices that daily invaded modern experience. Was peering into that pulsating rectangle of a computer screen not essentially so different than simply staring at a blank empty wall? Perhaps the still popular medium of the radio endlessly recycling the past giving one a notion of stability? But it was naught but a commercially inspired dodge given the fact of everyday struggles with real things that reliably bobbed up as impediments! His own private notion of perpetual vitality was in conflict to all of this! Why should he, of all others, be so pathetically vulnerable to a slow deprecation? He still felt in the prime of his existence. So many unfulfilled ambitions yet to be realized! Why would this slow rot descend so unfairly upon him? Maybe he had lost his usefulness? Lost it perhaps to a new world of successive generations that were springing up all around him. Ones that threatened more and more each day to displace all that he had known and had thought was eternally valid? Yet perhaps even in a more cosmic sense all ideas like thoughts in one’s mind must sooner grow old and fade permanently away?
This realization that this might be the case inspiring an inner spark of terror. Death in the sense of there no longer being experience of life held no sense of angst for him. But the slow inevitable path to it that would find his world incrementally crumble about him while he became infirm and dependent upon the institutional whims of indifferent strangers disturbed him deeply. No level of unbearable physical distress could be any worse to his way of thinking. Was life in this sense not too dissimilar to the notion of a distant franchise chain motel where every day one’s resources were further diminished and the possibility of that day when the bill could not be paid would see one unmercifully cast out and penniless? This society was ever ready to take away one’s rights if it was adjudged that one could not take reasonable care of themselves. What seemed like charity to society seemed like a fearful incarceration with no hope offered but the choice to will himself even harder to die. How ironic it seemed that the threat of this kind of end made one ever more compliant with taking the task on one’s self far sooner than those that would help it along in a more general sense. Just to consider these things tore at his soul in a manner that seemed to sap his life’s vital force. “So this was old age?“, he thought.
The insistent pangs of hunger in terms of the eventual need to stop for a meal had still not as of yet dramatically announced themselves. He hadn’t eaten since breakfast at the hotel grill. His mind continued trailing over new categories of random musings that were synonymous with the those that the previous sleepless night had brought to light. Recalling all these different points that had embroiled seemed like wasteful tedium now. Though at the time of their positing they might have played a useful diversion to the latent fear that the annual descent of fewer hours of daylight transformed into Winter’s night reliably conjure up. Who, if any ,were left to aid his cause in finding paying employment now that he was adjudged being long past any potentially useful career possibility? Creative forms of logic were taxed by a cold stone hard acknowledgment of his current financial insufficiency. A bitter pill caught in his gut that was a thousand times more effective than any amount of caffeine to restrain slumber. The thought of spending more of his rapidly diminishing funds upon a night’s rest in some dodgy overpriced roadside motel stuck in his craw. If he had wanted to feel the full measure of this despair he could do no better than play the role of another weary stranger occupying some prophylactic motel single that had been overused by others in equal dire circumstance. Many of those that were more assuredly lacking in basic human hygiene and prone to carelessly leaving their indelible biological markings in splattered semi-transparent deposits within each shadowy corner. The residue of untold numbers of this species extent in trace amounts upon every poorly cleaned surface and randomly seeded across other neglected lower sections of dank bed side walls and across rarely laundered bedspreads. He supposed that the routine passage of a class prone to utter fatigue from cross country travel not to mention the locals caught up in the perpetual ritual of weekend one night stand drunkenness kept such dishonorable establishments places from going under. Even when considering the attraction of their cheaper neon advertised rates! The light upon the landscape flying by before him was now taking on a characteristic tinge of the sun nearing its usual rendezvous with the far horizon. The formation of a slight headache alerting him to focus on the fact of a degree of incremental blurriness overtaking his eyes. “Just another few miles!“, he thought. And then he would begin looking for a place to stay the night and heed common sense to not risk driving at night.
Another half an hour had past and the failing embers of the sun were now simply a memory long past in his consciousness as he past through a second unpromising anonymous tiny municipality. There had been a gas station in the first one block long commercial district but no sight of overnight accommodations. The cashier in the tawdry little station office had related that he was best served by backtracking two miles and then heading up some thirty miles or more to the interstate where he would have to drive back a further ten miles to the cloverleaf to find a Days Inn or its equivalent. Maybe impatience with a stranger or simply lack of concern had left the conversation to stop there. This glibly offered advice would not allow him to continue on his present path. The best he could wring out of the string bean clerk’s stony continence was that there might possibly be something past the next burg somewhere? That is, if it was still open at this time of year as the hunting and fishing trade had been shuttered for the season. His plans somewhat bruised by this advice he foraged on several miles to see if he could prove this hick pundit wrong. Now further on down the road caught up in following the path of this own headlights he began to wonder if that old demon fate had laid a another trap for him? One that was using his own foolhardy pride to avoid heeding the gas station clerk’s advice? Flakes of snow were beginning to descend across the road now as if on cue. Equally bad enough that he could not now read a street sign in this pitch black night. Had any traffic cop had stopped him they would have easily discovered his flaw and impounded the car! Straining as much as he could through the powder impacting his windshield he scanned ahead for any hint of far off lit lamppost. One that would signal close proximity to a small town with the hope of some overnight accommodation. These silent prayers eventually answered several minutes later when he had reached what appeared to be a small county seat of a staggering three blocks long. He noticed with a mixed degree of relief and suppressed pleasure that the flashing neon declaring a hotel sign was adjoined by its twin. A pulsating magenta and cyan serpent-like thing that declared that a bar just beside it was still open for business. The sedan slid past the two and he came to a stop just around the corner the vehicle leaving ruts down the unplowed side street. The two plus inches and growing accumulation sloshing over his old well-worn running shoes invading them fully by the time he approached the entrance to the drinking establishment.
A gnawing sense of animal trepidation grabbed at his gut as he yanked hard to wrest open the plate glass door from its icy frame. And he entered into what appeared to be an age old well overly remodeled antique decor. One offering an anagram of each of the many bygone it had been subjected to by successive eras dating back as far as the nineteen-forties. A yellowish cast from lighting beset by translucent plastic amber covered fluorescent’s flooding the immediate area around the establishment’s front bay window leaving the few occupants in range of it cast in a jaundiced appearance. A few other couples sat engrossed within old overstuffed booths. Ones, no doubt, salvaged from an old local soda shop and poorly re-covered in a crappy green Naugahyde. The resident sense of aesthetics were bizarre by contemporary urban standards. The hint of seediness defeated in part by a contradicting hint of fresh Lysol defeating what otherwise might have been that characteristic sour aroma of festering hops that remained legendary in the description of same such locations. The gray tinged middle-aged woman standing behind the bar took no notice of him. He walked forward and noisily scrapped a bar stool and set half haunch upon it. An expected, “What will it be Mr.“, automatically was summoned from her lips. “Is there any place to stay nearby for the night?“, coming as his response and generating a blank stare as if the inert face opposite had not encountered his voice of inquiry. “You want a beer?“, the bland looking face stonily repeated. “Sure.“, said the man resigned to the fact that his most vital want would have to be reserved for another ear. The interval betwixt the arrival of the a multifaceted overflowing glass mug filled in by some old and unidentifiable top forty hit. “There’s a Days Inn back about fifty mile away by the main highway on ninety!“, she unexpectedly offered in a wearily unenthusiastic monotone. “Nothing closer?“, he shot back. “No, not out of season!“, the dour face abruptly terminating conversation to turn away to attend to another refill request at the other end of the bar. “So that’s that!“, he mumbled to himself. The man drearily sank into the first draught of his frosty mug. His lips momentarily doused by its rich crown of icy froth. A howling burst of wind loudly clambering as it suddenly propelled a regiment of icy white flakes across the expanse of the front window. The power of it like a voice summoning all to the fact of the waiting tomb of an empty black inhospitably. Snow now rapidly accumulating outside the bottom of the window’s frame. He was stuck here for the time being and so he dived unhesitatingly into another deep draught.
Varied reflections from about the room behind him gleamed brightly in the mirror surmounting the forest of bonded liquor bottles. Each one coming slowly in partial focus. A menage of generic faces all chattering away amidst a droning narrative recounting the usual banalities of life set to the haranguing persistence of another once popular tune. The contest between his right and left eye providing an approximation of humanity in a somewhat out of focus rendition that one might expect from a classic Impressionist work of art. The small space on the bar just below his nose catching the blur of a elder hand pushing a third freshly filled mug up into place beside the scant evidence of a fully drained former one. A wooziness attached to the cotton-filled sensation slowly filling his head now in conflict with the dying pangs of protest from an empty abdomen. He wondered how long he might fare straight up on this stool? He imagined that the last dregs of road food strewn about the well before the passenger seat might hold some promise. But the occasional angry howl of persistent Winter wind erased all notions of briefly departing on a quest to see what might be left. A sudden hard bump on his left shoulder raising him from his muse. “Oops!, sorry mister!” A bright young female face in full flower of youth projecting itself like a flashlight into his immediate view. At a loss for anything with which to respond he offered at a dull half-hearted smile in return. A minute past. “Can you buy this lady a beer?“, the lilting voice of this tiny female responded as she banged against him while enthusiastically mounting the other bar stool adjacent. The numb hand on the end of his wrist automatically rising up on its own to wave over the bartender. The coterie of fingers transforming into an index pointing to the filled space beside him. An otherwise empty head on his shoulders strained a bit more to turret towards her features. A perfect example of garden variety youth he mused. But composed in an offbeat picture of food coloring dyed hairdo hovering over the perfect alabaster of skin marred by blue lipstick and a central silver nose ring piercing. His thoughts greeting this impression from his better eye silently remarking “Cute!“, to himself dripping with a measure of well-worn worldly cynicism. The two of them sitting there for another span of minutes in a false pregnancy of silence. Both of them politely pretending some form of distant aloofness, she rummaging about within her purse with eyes diverted. “Animal curiosity or commercially inspired utility driving politeness?” he wondered silently about her motives? After a minute he ventured a, “Not from around here either?” “Naw! Just visiting!“, she snapped back in what seemed a hollow attempt at a streetwise urban voice too much beyond her years. Then adding quickly in light of a carefully deranged grin, “My crazy sister and I on our way West!” “Staying with folks?” he lazily batted back somewhat indifferently. “Naw!” she cawed. “Just the family’s old cabin.” “No place to stay around here out of season anyhow!“, she added. “Ya, I kinda figured that out the hard way!” he solemnly offered back.
The next rounds of drafts left him falling into a semi-conscious form of tailspin. He knew from the intermittent back and forth patter that unsteadily continued on that he was being leaned on by her for drinks. The dull uninspired conversational bouts of same spurred by his passive accession to keeping the free flow of freebies coming to her end. It had become apparent to him even in this dim state of awareness that whatever a gesture of solicitation towards the bartender had been made for the lubrication of a further round it was not by him. A glossy sense of slowly building fog in an appreciation of the room collapsing to just the two of them giving him some pause now and again. Scant thoughts of classic ‘John’s’ and easy marks suggesting possible conclusions both sensual and potentially dangerous. The impression of another indistinct female face very similar to this first one occasionally intervening over his other shoulder with the first one slightly canted towards him. The tiny hand of the second darting out between such occasions to grab at another filled mug. Their disembodied conversation emanating from just behind him chattering in rapid fire about what sounded like a mild form of sibling rivalry. His own inner dialogue struggling to make sense of these two as an anonymous third party. His besotted mind spawning off like a disembodied zygote uncannily floating high just above their ensemble. There is bobbed going in and out of focus. A hard slam of the exit door and a blast of frigid cold awakening for an instant. From the best of what he could still rationally determine he was now out of the bar being alternately tugged about by his elbows steered down a drift covered sidewalk. An icy blast of wind carried snow chiseling the instant in a clear image of the blizzard at full tilt. The bite of wet soggy cold ankles in counterpoint to the sensation of one heavy step after another. Two sets of smaller hands tight upon his upper arms urging him relentlessly forward from either side. Before he completely passed over to a floating world with its hanging mobile of the sparse contents still rationally accessible by his mind the thought sprung up that that some outrage by fate had made its play. Where was the destination? Being taken to where . . . ? These questions mildly insubstantial to a world plunged in excess and now completely out of focus beyond an analogous cast through the prism of a cloudy beer mug. Random bits and pieces of this sensory impressions slowly fading from his head as he was urged further on.
Time had passed, or so it seemed? His head now beginning to allow a sense of spacial reference suggesting that he was standing in the middle of a room. A wandering blur of a small chaotic half and half storage room and bedroom. One cluttered with odds and end of disused furniture stacked up hard upon each other. Leaning upright against most of the available wall space. The remaining cubby hole of floor accommodating a big futon mattress. The major source of light illuminating this unsteady vista being from somewhere behind him at the opposite end of a short hallway. There he tottered alone still barely upon two feet as the sights and smells of female habitation hit his partially awakened senses. Everywhere there seemed an explosion of different styles of rumpled clothing draped over whatever was handy. Piles of the rest strewn about under foot as if temporarily discarded in haste. Partially filled glasses of melted ice filled beverages. The food stained paper residue of past carry outs issuing cornucopia-like from greasy half crumpled brown paper bags. Soap and garment bound stale sweat, spilled wine, latent cigarette fumes tinged with loco weed. All set amidst a preeminent slight animal funk suggesting an ongoing cycle of menses occurring within the general vicinity. He felt himself caught up to the point of spinning within this whirlwind of sights. The proximity of the sound of an ongoing sassy back and forth heated conversation echoing away in his ears. Looking down towards the makeshift bed he noticed that one of the two young girls from the bar was now laying face down within a rumple of covers that were half pulled over her. A bare leg exposed all the way up to her haunch revealed below the casual displacement of a diaphanous pair of nylon panties. The illicit nature of this vista allowing a generous view of her feminine equipment lurking just below her tight butt cheeks. The other end of the blanket pulled fully over her head blotting out the testy responses from nagging female tones parked away within another room. This distant voice suddenly refreshed to a new level of stridency just behind him as he instinctively spun around. “I feel like stabbing someone!“, the bright young garish face chirped with a devilish grin. He hand making a stabbing motion towards him. “Stab, stab stab!“, her voice called out. His eye catching focus of a small pair of stainless clippers being thrust forward menacingly towards him. “Oh, cut it out!“, her twin’s voice rang out from under the covers. The man’s tottering now stopped short as a hand of his own grabbed at the wrist of the willowy menacing harpy. He grabbing the clippers quickly from her grasp. His successful effort to defang her pranking now met by yet another impish playground chant. “No matter, I’ll just get something else!, she tittered as she pulled her empty hand from his grip and darted off to another part of the room. Caught up this unexpected challenge he instantly became aware that he was standing both bare footed with bare legged and vulnerable to attack! A short competition between them ensued with him racing time and again to head off his attacker’s quest for some new mischievous threatening tool to poke at his dangling parts.
This game went on until he had collected an entire hodgepodge of sharp looking metal objects in his hand. His dedicated assailant laughing wildly in madcap joy come of prodding this strange old bear in her midst to a frenzy. The other sister with violet hued hair now up on her feet coming over to yank her sibling’s arm to rest and then unceremoniously pull her off to the next room. One yelling, “Stop it!”, repeatedly as she angrily stilled her sister’s offbeat chaotic sense of mad horseplay. A final curt command of, “Go to bed!“, finally being firmly issued from the other space followed by a second or two of mock whining. The man now next to swooning from his own animal need for rest kicking in as he sank heavily to his knees falling exhaustively onto one side of the mattress and promptly passing out. The empty space of his conscious narrative handing off over an indeterminate amount of time to rise to consciousness face down in the summit of some rumpled garments serving as a pillow. Turning his head towards he soft sound of constant slow respiration to notice the form of his savior crashed out close beside him. He feeling caught like a thieving fox in this hen house. He froze for a moment taking in the prevailing quiet of the room. A few things were obvious to him about this situation. Whatever the implied nefarious aspects of the situation, they were not the issue of the moment! Here he was, totally alone with two very young girls? All, including himself, currently in varied states of undress and tucked in for the night. Several decades back, a sly nature of youthful perversity might have easily dispensed with a sense of impending panic. One that he could not now avoid but to suppress. Should he simply gather up his clothing as quietly as possible trying not to disturb his hosts to attempt a quick departure? But then not knowing his current location might end up in his wandering about clueless as to where he was within the raging blizzard leaving him in more dire straights? A further shock in terms of appropriate modesty noted once again that the only discernible piece of clothing currently in his possession him was his short thin t-shirt. He was caught like an insect on a pin tasked by a conflicting sense of shame wondering just how and where the rest of his garments had come to be disregarded? Had the this young woman’s nutty sister devised another perverse inspiration? Or had something much wilder and bacchanal in his own nature taken hold when he was safely out his responsible mind? Whatever could these two mad girls find attractive or interesting about him as this old withered fossil too functionally far past their own youth?
Taxed by the weight of these thoughts and still inebriated and groggy he succumbed to the weariness and fell back down beside her dormant frame. He was now living amidst a dimension akin to his former years where as a young man he had often been in similar circumstances. “How beautiful youth was!“, he thought as he took in the semi-lit shape of her form. Youthful, feminine, artful, those long lazy curves of her back to her hips and the the other delicate of her neck. He might have been cast into a heavenly time machine and brought back to momentary immediacy of a former existence. One that made him wonder if such a thing as time really truly existed in an eternal present. What was it about this undying internal sense of male animal attraction that persisted on despite so many negative intervening episodes to the contrary? How much had he suffered at the hands of eventual disinterest in now nearly forgotten other parties? Ones that had used him for their convenience as he had on occasion had returned the favor. Relationships in his case being a passing whim caught in the moment? That building residual cynical bitterness about how life in this regard had left him now. Empty of emotion beyond in the near physical presence of an anonymous female. He felt the overwhelming urge to reach out and place his hand upon her shoulder. But knew instantly that it would be a violation that could only bring him further shame. Fate was testing him! The cold outside world was offering a mortal choice in this regard. Get into the habit of simply following your momentary obsessions and find yourself entrapped in some unexpected was to have to commit your years and decades to trying to make amends for the eventual outcome. This burning question of the mind defaulting as usual to asking who was running this life anyhow? The many layers of the onion leaving him only with contradicting possibilities. The plausibility of joyful spontaneity of letting go all caution but equally encountering an unexpected unavoidable pitfall of evil results. As usual, his life sat immobile upon the crest of a lofty hilltop locked in the safety of indecision. Better as always to let things play themselves out and not place all his cards on the table until the very last hand.
The next thing he knew it was morning. He was alone half-tangled up in the covers upon a half empty mattress. His two hosts were now dressed. And by the fact that they had each strapped on a backpack over their coats were obviously next to leaving. Fully come back to his senses in the wane of last night’s drunkenness he lay there unmoving feeling like a fool. The two of them seemed oblivious to his presence as if he were merely another stick of old furniture. They made the final adjustments to the final ritual of departure and quietly filed out one after other. It seemed as if he wasn’t even really there! Sitting up realized once again that he was uncovered from the waist down and quickly wrestled down the twisted blanket cover over himself after the fact. Now sitting up he leaned forward over his knees as he rubbed the sore hollows of his eye socket assessing the level of pain currently behind them. The storm had passed by morning. A bright sliver of morning light slicing through the lower portion of the window under the partly displaced blinds. Weighing the unexplained events of the night previous and realizing them as an insoluble mystery he turned to the few instants that he could recall. For some unfathomable reason, and perhaps out of a possible excuse of reciprocity, the kindness of the two now departed brought back into the world of all things young. Not to feel like an outside or interloper, but more as a neutral observer. It was a world that though it had long become foreign to his own current sense of experience was equally genuinely human in its practice. He rose heavily to his feet dragging the ends of the blanket wrapped over and trundled over into the next room where he found his missing garments. The inventory of same had been carefully draped over the bolster of a large easy chair parked out of the way in a corner. The fact of their not having been tossed in a rumple like all the many other items bespeaking that they had been placed there with a sense of respect. Though no direct interchange of words had just taken place, they had obviously accorded him a privileged place of a universal form of hospitality. He dropped the blanket and busily got himself dressed. Patting here and there on the garments to make sure that nothing essential was missing. His wallet had indeed been drained of many of bills. But his mind referred back through the remaining cobwebs to those unending series of beers that had traversed the bar for them all. A night’s lodgings being safe from the raging elements had surely been a fair bargain in his mind.
His cumbersome sedan was sitting a few blocks back in the small town. Conspicuous in mid-morning for the fact that it was the only vehicle still fully covered by undisturbed snow. He had carefully closed the door of the cabin behind him as he left leaving that other world as he had found it. Undisturbed and free of any hint of his overnight presence. The motor of the auto now running, his hands cleared away the snow from the vehicle’s windows. Satisfied he climbed into the driver’s seat and slowly pulled the sedan out onto the road heading back upon the route eventually past the gas station of the other small town and heading north to catch the superhighway. Something deep down within him renewed and hopeful. The tug of former possibilities so long forgotten ago released from under the weight of the subsequent decades long past. An unsentimental glimpse of himself as he once had been now opening an unexpected vista. A view of how he was now firmly locked in the present tense come of that experience of immediacy from the previous night.
Long ago in ancient days when many mortals upon the earth heeded the omens of the stars it was said that some were fated to be in opposition in a manner much like the counterposed orbits of comets elliptically encountering planets. How like that would there be in my case with one Lady Barbara. An ever impressive solitary body hurtling the heavens possessing an attraction that far outclassed my own energetic elliptical abilities to bring it into my own circle. Our previous encounters some twenty years previous proving disastrous to both. My own psyche driven by some inexplicable desire to possess her live but ever fearful of being found inadequate and wanting of being exposed for the fool that I felt to be inside. My left foot every in conflict with my right as to where it should have been that like a bull in a China shop I could ever rely on saying or doing the exactly wrong thing in her presence. But like the ever ready moth prepared to singe my wings at any opportunity to tempt a fate that I knew was hopeless in my case.
Barbara you see was from a blue blood sort of stock. A product of the southern tip of an adjoining state where success in all things was not a matter of accident but long and careful breeding. Her manner always holding to a decorum that silently declared itself to be one of royal bloodline. Her own father no doubt a terrible and efficient monarch of the extended family for whom wealth and standing was a natural spring bound fountain who merely had to walk forth to bring forth a brook of prosperity. And Barbara herself her own kind of watch spring tightly wound form of erudite precision in feminine beauty in terms of heredity and immediate presence. Much like a Circe she could charm and entrance mortal man into swine with a simple glance. Most terrifying was the fact that whatever she tried her hand at she seemed accomplished at. Perhaps a curse in a stilted world of rich entrepreneurial minded suitors? One of whom that she had married and had a male child with.
My initial encounter with her own orbit being strictly egregious and out of sync in disrupting her standing as the head of an arts organization run by another who we had both respect and affection for. The next pass being more agreeable a year or two later when I had returned from another drama that had sent me half way around the globe in pursuit of another failed romantic quest. While I sun about at my limits far away she was violently crashed about by the loss of her husband to some unspecified infidelity. One that left their marks of his angry clenched fists upon her diminutive frame for a while after. The turn of events sending her tumbling into an unstable past to encounter another minstrel and to my view mountebank. An egotistical self-centered musician that was in my own myopic view of things a deadly rival to my growing desire to have her.
One is always tripped up by their own dreams seeming breaching the waking world in fables that one spins as they see them apparently coming to pass. An for a while as someone besotted by their own animal lust I was driven to obsession and a persistent attempt to woo her away. Yet at those times when her path perceived with him seemed to wobble it was I alone who at the last second veered away in trepidation. In fear it seems of being trapped and set upon by the potential of a monumental cosmic farce that would bring me to light not just as a silly fool overstepping their bounds but a dupe. And thus caught up more in my own hesitations I designed the funeral carriage that carried me like a walking corpse to my own eventual rendezvous to an inevitable break. My heart sinking leaden to the cold depths of an ocean of despair wrecked it seemed caught from that point on far below the surface of ever finding common course set to that boundless store of love I felt for her hopelessly remote.
Those otherworldly nightly tides of some two decades hence designing a scenario within which I was thrown up unexpectedly upon her shore once again. She a mistress of her own gallery and established in some safe and anonymous small town practicing her own form of fine art based expression. What seemed innocuous to the understanding of most as a simple series of finely upholstered booths being an analogy most dear to explaining her own sad star crossed inner self. Those unnamed phantom doppelgangers of my past actions accompanying me recklessly displacing the carefully laid cushions as if it mattered naught. A lightning bolt strike of fear coursing up my spine as I saw those old ways between us taking hold. The other artifacts within her museum in danger of similar disregard while I was caught up and helpless in a newly rekindled sense of loving regard. One by one at each station of her cross she providing a brief explanation of the meaning of a new carefully manufactured conundrum. Each in jeopardy of being trammeled in a way so uncannily similar to the very ways she had been in the past.
Dead suitors long ago notwithstanding in abandon of that solitary husband long dead in terms of her own regard. I inquired most awkwardly out of turn with the gravity of the moment as to the whereabouts of her son. That solitary offspring that had formerly been the centerpiece her own emotional conflict. He posed as a fleck of sand exposing her pain in being found wanting as a mother in conflict with the pearl of her own overwhelming ambitions that superceded his needs. The curse of my own folly coming back from the long forgotten shadows to trip me up once again. Saying the wrong thing and doing the wrong thing but worse yet showing a weak form of indecision in the commission of same. The fact of her own susceptibility for being seduced by the next waiting tragedy to burden her never occurring to me. Both of us condemned in our own ways to perpetual martyrdom that was a source of indescribable guilty delight. Her last disclosure of a final work in her hiring an unnamed unwavering assassin to posthumously eliminate all that had sullied with her. The chilly realization on my own part that somewhere down on the bottom of that list was inscribed my own name.
The bar was packed that Saturday afternoon. Five miles on foot was no longer as easy as it once seemed. The bar tools were almost all taken up along the narrow passage toward the toilets and gaming machines. Three bars tools remaining open at the gap where the barmaid had exit. A logical place to sit amidst all the purely male grunting and growling at the sports of the moment broadcast high up on the back wall. The patter about the latest contenders in the cyclical round of sports teams wrangling for another temporal privilege to be denoted the best. Best quickly being supplanted by another form of trivial competition that would for the moment be supreme. The Big guy at the bar stuck out his paw at the newest member. Softer old well worn office flesh grinding against working man callous. The palaver offered in unrecognizable rising stars and the coming season’s end competition that would close out the past year’s interest. The young female playing bartender passing through her gap sensing her salutation by way of asking the newcomer’s preference. The man having made sporadic appearances over the previous year answering by pointing to the full bottle in her grip. “The same!”, he added. The small girl halted in mid step she ceded the bottle and returned to the cooler behind her to wrestled out another glass soldier for the other unnamed party whisking by to serve the substitute bottle. Albeit a few seconds late.
Perhaps this old geyser was an oddity and not quite unfamiliar to her curiosity. Indifferent to the televised squabbles portrayed by mouth and tongue of flat screened past their prime former performers. He seemed more entertained by the ceremonies of male worship of large men going down the path towards impotence and little remaining social regard. Their drinking and the wealth of pocket required to continue it a peacock driven display of their manhood. Not so the unnamed stranger. The resident house brute a stool away asking his name. Pleasantries exchanged the conversation now took up the topic of weather. The bridge being a statistical quip noting the irregularity of the expected season for the showdown between the two best teams at the holy of hollies. The felicity of the old man’s staring in return interrupted after an interval as he simultaneously waved a tenner in the air to attract the barmaid to the fact that this one bottle green would be his one and only of the day. She asked, “Just one?” He replying to the effect that one being useful to take the edge off of so many miles on foot. Several miles more than usual no longer being as easily traversed as had once been the case. Adding that his drinking habits had descended into what was once considered reasonable by society of years past. The response breaking the plastic visage of her standard act leading to a momentary stony repose.
She offered a tiny heresy that she didn’t even like beer. The declaration and the manner that sh had delivered it revealing an insight that this was a job that she did for money not any sort of personal relish. The hairy old swollen animals along the length of the bar to the entrance a stool bound raging sea of wild beasts. This establishment a man cave bound lair for mildly voicing the discontents of the day of lives gone sour in the reflection of young men tasked to offer the best of what men were supposedly meant to. Physicality remaining here no where near the aptitude or requisite strength to even partially approach it. More rounds of beers being quickly ordered after attentive angst to slosh away missteps of their televised avatars. The old guy at the end of the bar staring unimpressed like a weed up the backside. A lighting spark of an electric more timeless connection between him and the young girl’s confession leading to an affirmation. The world the way it should be having no place in the modern world of a society gone mad on the perception of its own technical invulnerability. Something changed as evidenced by a silence. The game was revealed like the harpoon ridden back of the often storied white whale of old coming up momentarily. Yet all too soon to sound its hoary evidence of old pain back into the deep again. The heart and matters pertaining to the same getting no public airing lest it demonstrate the vulnerability of some weakness. Weakness an old man’s province. Another bar stool prone old inmate far off a testament to blunted manhood. The conversation concluding with the customary gift of advise against indulgence posed in inverted logic.
The sterling moment past, the old sage drained the dregs and picked up his stakes. His grizzly companion of the moment pressing the flesh hard once again. A tumbling rock bouncing politely past the gauntlet of beefy growlers venting their mild frustrations. Coming to rest before his doppelgänger enthroned at one of the two small tables at the front window. Both offering a wrinkle graced grin-like grimace. The table before him sporing a paper plate slice of pizza and a small plastic picnic bowl of tiny pretzels. Light fare for this old pensioner. The jovial gaoler on his way offering, “Two squares a day and all the beer you can drink!” “What a life!” The other old insect stuck upon a pin of a bar stool answering with an equally jovial nod of appreciation for being acknowledged. The bar’s interloper now outside under the cool blue of afternoon’s fade into beginning of the year’s ecliptic bound darkness. The world would assuredly tip back towards light in the coming months. A sense of assurance appreciated for that young man struggling mightily within the slow decay of another old man’s frame. Despite all the memories past of lives encountered and discarded by time he was still very much alive.
“It is what it is! I am what I am! And Popeye rules this earth! I found myself chided for what I had unconsciously dropped between the chair and the wall. The rest was a bundle of claptrap that didn’t make a bit of sense. Mist over everything both inside and out. Not what one could call an auspicious end to a years that had offered no hope out of a three year slump. It felt as if it was almost planned that way? Maybe it was! People didn’t behave the same in a way that I was considered useful . . .”
From that point on the rambling script on the pages was illegible. The small journal having sat too long in a puddle of rye found by the body soaking away subsequent thoughts for the duration of the night. Two slugs from behind after the front door was forced. The guy never knew what hit him. His brains splattered all over the television’s fractured screen. Whoever did the hit was good at their job. Get in, ‘pop pop‘ and then get out. Probably walking down the hall with a scarf pulled up around their head so no one could make him out through the gauntlet of peep holes leading to the stairwell. In any case they had plenty of time to make their escape during the twenty minutes time it took for the cops to arrive. I guess they weren’t in too much of a hurry as this building had a local reputation for punitive domestic goings on and noisy neighbors. It sure didn’t help that poor slob tipped over face forward with half a head. But then help for him was no longer an issue.
The police muscled past the broken door past the two ambulance attendance and their bailey. Someone else living on the premises had obviously braved sneaking out for a moment to take a peek and then called an ambulance before these officials had arrived. Maybe the three officers felt a bit outstaged? But their lack of haste in performing their duty didn’t show it. Professional detachment being demonstrated in going through the motions of collecting evidence and dispassionately documenting this crime scene. The neighbors on the floor were all standing behin their doors listening. Those unspecified eyes lurking anonymous behind eyelets inset into doors trying to find out more gory details about the homicide. Some wondering how all this fit in with a tenant that they had passed in the hallway exchanging customary greetings with. Someone who seemed incline to go out of his way to open doors and sometimes engage in polite conversation for a moment or two. Dead? Murdered? How could this be! Yet to roll the clock back before the recent New Years celebration the answer was obvious.
So he was a son of a bitch. You could see if in every woman’s eyes that he ran into. The trouble was that he knew it. And worse yet at heart he really wasn’t a stinker. Maybe it would have been better if he had been one. Hearts being tough as nails these days he wasn’t going anywhere that he hadn’t been all along. All the good she’s were ago long forgotten in the dust. He had more than his share for a while. But after a busted marriage some twenty years too late it really didn’t matter. If women were booze he could easily swear off them. But deep within a shell was a molten core that hadn’t quite cooled. The band played its foxtrot Negro inspired rhythms throughout the night. It was new years eve any year! Or maybe, no year. One that seemed to go on and on with little or no hope of change. At least the building would be buzzing with some tasty morsels of gossip to spread. The speculation about the past of the deceased would grow and confident theories about the true nature of the victim’s existence would grow from the seeming bedrock of sheer fantasy. A poor reflection of trite Hollywood narrative currently playing on the screen
Society as it had descended provided the answer. All the potent signs were there in a final end that was coming and was terrifyingly imminent! The rebirth of a new Weimar sense of Democratic Sachlichheit favoring any and all things divisive, offbeat or dysfunctional was upon them. A second coming of industrially manufactured decadence descending down hard upon them all. This morally helpless generation that was born into uselessness institutionally learning nothing from the past. And being directed by ideologically minded criminals whose only ethic was the robbery for its own sake from these same faceless masses in absconding with more and more and more! An underlying cynical vindictiveness passed down upon the children of the former masters in a demented world view wreaking vengeance for the sake of superficial identities created out of this venom alone. It was easy to see why his apartment was the most logical target amidst all the others what would soon provide a similar opportunity!
Considering the constant reprise of past nightmares of Utopian societies subsumed by two-legged parasites naturally banding together to inspire perpetual havoc? Taking all the worst qualities of mankind refined over thousands of years of an insect based hive directed life and then see it infect a new host generation that has managed to struggle to some new peak of initiative beset by these age old poisons. The stilted hegemony crashing the system with a frightening regularity only allowing a small portion of humanity to remain to struggle up from the ashes once again to find some new further unexpected epitome. The essence of human life demeaned to cattle and transposed to machines with every detail surveyed, recorded and inculcated into lifeless technologically inspired inventions that at best could only imitate life but never be truly alive. The rote procedures of the Police were completely outside the province of determining the true cause of the murder. The motive had been one of the oldest in the book. The law of the jungle! Kill all rival thoughts! Or be killed by them.