I made a mistake. I’ve certainly made many of them over my life experience. Maybe too many? But the biggest one was trusting in women. Perhaps it’s not their fault? It certainly seems that it cannot be mine. I mean don’t get me wrong! I am not saying that I have done everything right! But even by the law of averages it is impossible after so long a time that I could have done everything wrong. So, what is the point of making this public? Is this a cry for assistance? A warning? A condemnation? I might say that it is merely a troubling statement of fact that has little to do with me personally. I’m past it. No danger of reproducing or being potentially attractive enough to what was once referred to as an opposite sex to have my own discontents shared by new generations. The danger though IS literally inherent in newer generations of young men to whom my sense of alienation is incomprehensible. Their only default experience of life leading them to a certain vacancy. It might be easy and expected to rail on about the this and that citing influential viewpoints, philosophies and beliefs along with all the associated rhetoric? The plain fact of the mater being in the decline in births within the west and the regular situation of single motherhood having become a norm. One that speaks more louder through silence than the most righteous complexities of the war of words with the constant escalation of newly fabricated terminologies. The phenomena of the Teflon styled interactions of modern propriety where every manner of a institutional barrier provided by a rapidly evolving plethora of electronic social media seems designed to permanently interfere with probability of any physical spontaneity involving animal attraction. Suggesting further that the inability to enjoy a plausible relationship that might successfully take hold nearly impossible over the long term beyond a quickly fading sense of animal lust. Perhaps there will soon be commercially available robots to step in to fill this gap by providing perfection to the inflated demands of progressionally increasing list of female needs? The dirty little secret of Mary Shelly’s classic translated to the modern sense is that the female Modern Prometheus can never find a mate that will be fit enough for her. And like the misguided protagonist in the original 19th century novel will be pursued to the ends of the earth driven to their wits end only to share an eternal frozen exile accompanied only by her hellish creation. Consider that those ‘exceptional men’ that do manage to rise to the occasion of near perfection will not long tolerate any woman who has not correspondingly risen to their needs as well! Not in terms of occasionally offering compensation for above average services rendered but in terms of an unceasing reciprocal expectation of a shared sense of ever evolving equality. Something way too Utopian for humanity in general! As repeatedly evidenced by a continual inability of all the best of intentions in the world to overcome the worst impulses of human nature. Except of course in the movies! Hollywood can model all manner of useful socially enhancing examples of the way things need to be using history as a starting point and rewriting it cookie cutter style to suit the latest most fashionable sociological fantasy currently in vogue. But outside of the theater it will ever remain a functional impossibility. One that will only generate dissatisfaction to its most loyal audience that mistakes it for anything more than a pleasant fairy tale. The consumer age may indeed have replaced the necessity of men and women to feel compelled to deal with each other. The business of business is only concerned about inspiring more and more insecurity in order to foster further needs. If a man hears a woman say,”I NEED you too . . .“, then he knows instinctively that he is not personally a party to her unique desire for him alone but potentially subject to evaluation as part of a cattle call. Some have made the case that women only need the service of men due to biological difference in physical strength and that inherent sense of male aggressiveness as bulwark for their protection. That may or may not any longer be true at this point? If the previous generations of men in the transitional era of rising feminism were considered angry misogynists then the current generations of men raised since are simply vacant and empty of that component. They lack the element of that former essential maleness. One that once required an active demonstrable daily desire for females beyond an occasional level assurance in the sense of a maternal archetype that was over the recent decades when they were raised the most influential. Maleness having been ruthlessly demonized to the point of universal marginalization is something to be officially avoided by the current generations of young men that in turn supports a lack of interest in falling into the trap of anything once considered conventional. Flash art humans now abound where their surface camouflage is expected to wordlessly respond for them via semiotics so that the people inside are not encumbered with the need to resort to old style trial and error. The notion of play as supported by the endless corollaries of commercial fantasy franchises offering a safe harbor to adjudicate unassailable roles for the sexes. No ambiguity desired or tolerated outside this ever expanding universe of continual play in accepted fairylands. The fast food mentality of the ceaseless re-branding through newer more hip verbalized metaphors the defining set of the renewal of the “Les règles du jeu ont été excels”
The change of mores of the successive generation had descended upon Michael like the veil of a cataract. His perception dimmed of what current times entailed. Something had told him all along that he should have been a cop or maybe a soldier. Maybe both. He liked guns. As a kid his favorite pastime was to aim his finger at anything that moved and adjust for distance and windage. A natural talent. A natural born talent for reconnoitering any environment that he found himself passing through. A talent that could have been easily adapted to that of a spy or FBI agent. Instead he had taken up the blanket identity of that nebulous term, artist. Not that the two vocations were that much apart. He cringed at the thought of killing anything for real but oppositely could rack up the hit and miss or his own imaginary score card. The guns had come as a reaction to have been physically trounced a couple of times by strangers and robbed at gunpoint. He couldn’t remember the assailant’s face but that 1911 45 ACP was crystal clear in his mind’s eye even fifteen years after the fact. Not that he was scared. He felt somehow that he was bulletproof . Though he might be quickly drained of blood from seven hollow point rounds something within told hem that the person inside was incapable of demise. The spirit was the motivator of the flesh. That was his unacknowledged credo. There was an unacknowledged bond between those who were familiar with the tools. Where those who were never baptized before or behind the barrel, the efficiency of the mechanism was something to be respected but also a source of fascination. If you were to lecture those yet uninitiated he might suggest with much historical weight that it was the advancement in the design and manufacture of weaponry that had modernized society from horse drawn carts into jet engine turbine. That didn’t mean that weapons in their many varieties had become a set of idols to be worshiped. But it was indicative that despite the current shift in political expedience of governing by social indoctrination it was a dark star topic. Something to be left to the modern day Hessians of society who were there to bully the fringes of the social order into tacit acceptance. Maybe that is why he liked cops?
A cop was someone cursed to grow up with their personalities split down the middle of their being to rest its opposites on each shoulder. There were many that said that good cops had much in common with the career criminals that they encountered daily. Perhaps the epaulets were just reversed? That buzz of adrenaline lurking behind the corner of every dull minute. An elixir of possibility to be involved in something extraordinary as a result of the introduction of something foreign and aberrant. For a criminal it was snagging a prize. Tearing the meat from another set of teeth. For their nemesis it was the taste of the flesh of the thief. The use of the gun more an artful talisman to be successfully fielded only as the threat of an overwhelming limit. Not some Hollywood extravaganza showcasing engagement as a hail of rounds shot off without any hint of control. The gun was a symbol perhaps more potent lodged in its holster than when it was drawn . The former was always in evidence in the eye of the public whenever in near proximity. When the bird was loosed from its nest there was no time for contemplation of it beyond hit or miss. The stale old maxim of God having made man but Samuel Colt had made man equal. That sense of common ground had always struck Michael as a common bond that all men with weapons had shared. Not the movie version of phallic potency by caliber. But the understated fact of the effect of the implement when properly used. As far as he was concerned the ability to repeat strikes at will in a bull’s eye target was as significant as draining the life out of something living. People didn’t just instantly die when they were hit. Most times they struggled at first unable to understand the immediacy of their debilitating wounds. But after a while sinking into unrelenting pain and shock as their damaged organs leached blood both internally and otherwise out upon the street. Some in a frenzy to hang onto life. Others just ready to lay back and ask for the cycle to cease to release them from the earthly torment. It was always such a surprise to the victim how such a little hole could end up snatching away their life? That was the part that he wanted never to have to inflict. But by the fact of his willingness to employ the best technology of the day he was properly equipped to deliver.
The world of the movies and the politics behind them left him indifferent. Politicians were self-aggrandizing crooks kept in check only by the fact of their vulnerability to being voted out. The movies were magazine emptying ‘bangfests’ of pyrotechnic ‘oneupsmanship’. They took all the dignity out of the responsibility that one had to exercise. While one got the impression that simply pulling the trigger as many times as fast as possible after pointing it in the general direction did the trick. The opposite was the fact. Careful steady aim in a practiced method of calm and cool measure fire based upon repetition and training was ever deadly. There might have been a war on guns but never a sincere war on the crime that it was unfairly attached to. Murder and robbery was a state of mind. The tools could vary depending upon whatever was at hand. Those prone to unreasoning violence could kill you just as easily with a steak knife or a chair leg. Why then was the world so uncontrolled? Maybe the focus on the article that best symbolized society precluded the absurdity of having to quantify the impulse to violate society by a tangible system of classification . A guy might be well-acquainted with a pistol and its supposed efficacy as opposed to wielding a large boulder. Though the reality of their use might prove to the opposite. Not may could hope to awaken after suffering a crushed skull. The shady side of things that many of the uninitiated never met or were too well-acquainted with. The politically savvy mass media may have been more responsible for proliferating the mentality of easy violence through a false sense of power. But that lack of limit overcome by the good sense to restrain one from sending others to crossing that fatal river Styx was what it was all about. What was the point? Perhaps nothing? Nothing at all. Just idle ramblings of the mind concerning situations that would never come to pass. But ones that he and a few others of his opinion were well-equipped mentally to possibly overcome.
The coffee had been made in semi-darkness and it was impossible to tell if it had been done right. She was back in bed somewhere snoring away presumably. He was trying not to bang into things as his eyes were not properly in focus yet. His mind drifting back to the previous night when he had been catting about and ended up in a classic old hardware store that had a small model section. That was something that they all copped to. Despite being old enough to have post-toddlers each of them still had an affinity with toys. The box art versus the multiplicity of pieces affixed in a crazy quilt fashion on plastic trees inspired a strange attractiveness. Not like the adolescent attraction once experienced to their cousin’ burgeoning boobies but something more fundamental and lasting. Their ‘Rosebud’ being something shiny and in pieces that they were tasked to complete. He bumped past the edge of the hallway closet on the way to the commode. No sign of snoring yet. What time did she get up? Six? Six-thirty? Funny how she counted upon him for such tiny trivial things. He was an early riser and she was not. Habits being hard to break. He stood with his legs solidly planted on either side of his porcelain conveyance trying to remember the dream that he had just left. Every other thought a PSA to carefully adjust the azimuth and vertical orientation to not splash over the bowl. That was another point of contention between them. Women wanted things just so. A perfect world if you will where both parties responded in kind to the call of yet another shitty little ass needing to be re-diapered and swabbed. He could just imagine how few times the malevolent looking black ladies who had run his nursery had changed his own. Of course, he could only recall that two of them were there at one place his mom had taken both he and his brother for a while before they had landed back without their grandmother after she had recovered from the operation. The thought of it made still made him feel inexplicably nervous. No the ream of the previous evening was a better exercise in recollection. Let’s see where was I he said with his eyes tight and the pressure of his body liquor being gratefully drained.
The three of them in a hardware store! That was right. Her was bragging to his two best companions that he knew a place where the plastic model kids were beyond cool. A place not far away maybe a block. He was of course doing his best to impress. Something? A strange phenomena when guys got together that each needed to express like the imaginary length of their dicks? Except of course this wasn’t so weird but more fun. Misdirection being what is was, he escorted them out the front door of the hardware store in anticipation of a circuitous route to this most immediate Mecca. The alley bordering the establishment that they had just exited being just north but there was a bar half way down. The though accelerated and he recalled that the attempts of the three to proceed further had not gone further than that alley. The dream had shunted to another episode almost like some invisible switchman had pulled a lever. Now there was the small Harley that he had forgotten was in his section of the garage that he had bought but hadn’t ridden for over a year? The coffee machine gurgled horribly in that usual customary throaty manner signaling that its laborious interaction between water and heated coils had come to the final parting. one more squirt on his short end and he would find the phone? No snoring still? The light from the windows out in the hall had risen to legibility as he staggered more for effect than physical necessity. Boy was he tired he replied to the unspoken question that piqued his conscious mind. He’d rather be on his side now under the covers to see a more continuous solution to the pieces of a dream that he had been left with. Little fragments that like dry ice smoked away as they disappeared so rapidly before you. Kind of like the money in your wallet. Whatever you would start out with the reservoir of your billfold was emptied by morning next and the bank account would have to be emptied a little more before its monthly replenishment. She was still nagging him to use a card instead of cash. But that is why she was always broke! Especially at the holidays when it was invariable that she would ask to borrow a few and of course never pay him back! Ah women. The coffee was weak this morning. He had let the pot fill up too much. Or was he just being a miser with the spoonfuls of coffee from the cardboard container? Ah it didn’t matter! It was hot.
What time was it now? She had said six? Or six-thirty? he took a gulp from his mug. Ah the coffee wasn’t that bad! He could taste its flavor. He could feel some sweet tingle in his gums. A low rumble issued from somewhere distant. The airport? No his stomach. The coffee needed some accompaniment. Toast. Maybe a couple of eggs. But no, it was too early for that. Just toast. He waddled back into the kitchen to the freezer and cozied out plastic package with the remnants of a few pieces of bread within. Another ‘man’ chore! He could still recall without trying how his breakfast would magically appear at grandma’s. His own mother usually frantic and running about trying to prepare for work and get there on time because she had tried to get a few extra minutes of lazing in bed. Women took so much longer then men to get ready? Another side benefit of any relationship. You could sneak back under the covers, if you dared. As long as you had that sixth sense that could tell when they were exiting the bathroom and you would be magically on you feet again having dragged on your shirt and pants ready to drive them to the station without a moment’s delay. he had left his old job and due to the fact that she at that point was making more money in her career, they had both decided that he would take care of the kids. He inserted the butter betwixt the stacked toast to let it melt and took another sip of coffee. Those were good times after all. The electric joy felt of your son tight in your arms nestling in on your shoulder sleepy eyed. Now of course the two of them were too old. In high school and like all adolescents far beyond that bounteous stage of preadolescent affection that they had shown as toddlers. Where was the jelly he automatically phrased internally. He opened the refrigerator door and stuck his head in like a cat ferreting out a mouse for the jar. She had gotten him intuit eh habit of buying jelly not jam. And he hated the continuation of the cat and mouse routine of trying to coax out the remnants onto the pieces of buttered toast with a knife. He always ended up with more than he was willing to bargain for. The coffee had gotten cold and he hear the gruff bark of his insides loosing a little air. Once had to make concessions in a relationship. He was sure that she in turn had her own long list of petty discontents. He carried the combination of hot dry and wet to enjoy that fleeting perfect moment of a bite of sweet in counterpoint with a sip of warm and slightly bitter. The clock on the wall said five-fifty five and he waylaid the ritual in lieu of the necessity of his promise. He went back into the empty bedroom to find his phone call her at her new apartment. It was her turn with the kids and he dare not miss making the call.
She was feeling guilty about how they left things earlier that morning. It wasn’t an argument exactly. More of a suggestion that she was irritated that he would not take the hint lingering within. She worked hard. Whatever one could call work today. He did not. At least not in the sense of a type that brought in money. It was a casual relationship after all. She already had kids. One in junior high and another following up some two years behind. He was old enough to have been her father. Though she told herself, he was nothing like him. Her father had a job. One that saw him devote his boundless energy to traveling somewhere in the region for a week here or there. That’s what father’s were supposed to do. Provide. Not like the self-centered rat that passed himself as “Mr. Wonderful” to the female portion of the sales force. Want-a-be glamor girls in gray business suits carrying their life back and forth to the airport on a trolley. That particular ‘he’ had left her with her two sons and a lot of grief when the marriage had turned sour. Whose fault was it? It had lasted the best part of five years before she had to take the kinds to her father’s basement in the semi-exclusive community of Collinwood Shores. There she had been condemn to play the typical single mom loading the washing machine and dryer like a stoker condemned to long ocean voyages on the black gang of a tramp steamer. The customer assistant job that she held right now didn’t even compare to what she had known as a medical equipment representative. The kids were great. As great as kids could be. But she barely had time for herself. No mental space and few girlfriends to commiserate with. Her own sister, the space case with those PC girls that wandered about whining how their this or that was something or another. Always some imaginary injury leading to a crisis upon which the immediate salve of victimhood was spread. Her sister’s husband was a pouf. Some crisis counselor that might not have escaped the basement of his own were it not for a chance meeting at one of those feel good conferences that her ‘sissy’ had glommed onto him. Say what you will about her sister’s husband. The had a home of their own now that they couldn’t pay for. Their Dad of course being hit up for loans from time to time. So life wasn’t easy. It was normal. Something that one went about enduring watching all those things that one was going to do fester into stagnancy while watching those few old friends from better days drift on into the life one had always planned to one day have.
That’s why she felt off this day. The one guy that had come around to the store on a regular basis that had paid any attention to her on a daily basis. The guy that had asked her out for coffee and the odd and occasional brunch over so many weeks and months of a painfully polite persistence in the face of so many refusals due of course to the kids. This guy was mad. Well not mad exactly! But well distant. She had come back from a family kids that she had taken. With the kids of course. Going to places that it turned out her occasional and patient suitor had long memories of previous visits. He had in his usual way posed a seance. Something on the order of coffee or a drink to hear about the best parts. Week after week now for the last three something had come up each time that they had made plans and she had to text him to tell him another date the following Saturday or Tuesday. He took it in stride without comment. Not complaining. Not angry. Seemingly not put off but simply his same old extemporaneous rambling self. That was what she liked about him. He talked. Not like some modern day sexually challenged momma’s boy looking for the mother that he had long ago lost.But rather as if he was engaged in having a dialogue with the world at large. She knew that he was lonely. His parents had died a few years back and he had been slowly forced into retirement from the teaching job that he had slowly been forced out of. He was after all the age of her father. When she thought about it, this guy was after all the same age as her father. But there the comparison seemed to stop. He was gregarious to a fault engaging everyone int he store. Her father was that quiet brooding force in her life. In the lives of her kids! Spoiling them and contradicting her at every turn with continual indulgences that she could no longer afford to provide. Her ‘ex’ was no different. Every time he took the kids they came back with something new that needed a part of accessory that she had to dip into the week’s budget to find a way to supplement. But this other guy. He just wanted to spend time with her. To buy her a cup of coffee and listen to her. Listen for hours engaged with a word here or there but letting her hog the conversation. Sitting there not saying a word. Just listening! There was something hypnotic about that of itself. Perhaps men were sort of her mirror? There were those that reflected the flare ups of that daily lingering angst of riding the wave of continual ‘catch up’. Some provided exposure to her long list of failings without even so much as a look. An odd kind of frustrating reflective magic without any direct interaction beyond what had become the usual terse words. Yet some others had words that could take her back up to herself flying high in those clouds of drifting dreams of what she really wanted. That she had always hoped for. But what for those many time being’s she had had to put on a dusty shelf and do with out. It was maddening! She knew she felt guilty because her life had kept the one guy at bay that felt good to be around in limbo. And mad at men in general because her other guy kept her in perpetual check at long distance with his emotional hostage antics with the kids. The whole thing wasn’t fair somehow. Not fair to her! Not fair the kids or her father! Not fair to anyone foolish enough to want to spend time with her. Because God forbid! He liked her. It just wasn’t right. But, that was all she had for the moment.
You turn around and five years have gone. That arbitrary measurement that you are supposed to keep at all costs. Time measured in hours and days and weeks and months that never seems to work out. Inept because the present never fades away enough to be fully absent from the past. The same’s but different’s. The same chair. The same car. The same house. The same life. Yet everything seems different. A sort of silence has now come to roost. You think of what you’ve lost. When was the last time you kissed a woman with passionate intent? When was that time when prosperity couldn’t get enough of your doorstep? Name the date when your children began to hate you? This life becomes a crystal clear ocean that drops down to a bottom several hundred fantoms deep. You are locked in the bathroom with the sharks curious to come in. Your alter ego tells you to leave the door open go about your business and they won’t bother you. Just don’t fart or bleed. The world is out there swimming past in groups at different levels. Young, old, families, friends, in groups and pairs. To them it is a paradise. But you are the only one that seems to know that it is underwater. The only one who cares about the impossibility of it. But you go along? All the fish out of water have their own set of problems way up there above the surface. You are a man lost in the water. The Kingdom of seaweed and Davy Jones. Who is right and who is wrong to stay? How wrong is it for someone born at the end of the year’s first quarter to rue the water? That same old signaling feeling never to return. Because you can’t return! Just build doilies of the dimness of random recollections and call it the past. Perhaps that is the ocean that you seek? No special regard given to this persistent waking dream that all these characters seem to share with you? You’re kind of selfish that way. People only seem to take special notice of you when you defy their expectations of the moment. The opposite is true after all that in this world you will never be seen if you swim in a school without he fishes. One can only judge a book by its cover. That is how upside the world has become.
He was trying to raise sea creatures that rightly belonged to the sea. A project lightly taken in a frivolous moment of mental absence the responsibility of which had gotten out of control. Instead of a large swimming pool size tank he had all the poor things crammed in a small aquarium sized glass tub. The excrement was building up to a level you could not longer see them swimming around unless they bumped against the inside of the glass. The second segment of his latent concern had built up to a point that he acted precipitously. His haste saw him transferring the creatures to a large plasticized corrugated box. One that sat below his television that he later found that had an elevated water that was running way too hot. The animals had been kept in a opaque water filled bag as he did not wish to look at them. The whale inside was obviously in distress. He couldn’t contemplating any contact with its long gray faceless brow anymore. Call it guilt perhaps? He became fearful of being responsible for the possibility of their agonizing deaths. For one who was ever fearful of failing at responsibilities to others he had too cavalierly taken on the fate of Phaeton. A peculiar habit afflicting mankind in general within in a world where the regular Gods long responsible for such tasks had been laid off and banished before his own birth. A pernicious human Satan pretending to offer the borrowed light of the television as his wisdom in managing the governing laws of the universe. The unspecified penalties for his mismanagement threatening to extend through to the eternal.
Always such great effort expended going somewhere. Trying to escape poverty. Tryng to become best known. Carrying under one’s arm what seems important as that time. But futile! Futile in the long term. That was important in the past now dross. Artifacts to keep you in your past. Thoughts come and go and images seem so important. But are they? The Japanese write out an elegant prayer on flash paper then burn it int he palm of their hands. The Jewish esoteric’s fashion symbols with their text in patterns and call it Kabbalah. The Romans followed the Egyptian tradition of pictographs incised in stone to attempt immortality. In dreams I wander old familiar landscapes and cut the capitals off bygone friends. All activity subordinated to the eventual desire and compulsion to reach the airport on time. Their in the greatest fear lies. To miss the plane and become a stranger in a strange land that their own land has magically become.
Yet it is all futile beyond the necessity of reasonable survival. Society is a competition between competing memo errs of the same species. It is an urban based thing devised to dissemble mankind of the powers of self-sufficiency. A stratagem to compact and in the most Utopian sense shave off the desire to explore and excel and deviate. The Utopians have given up with man as a species in all his forms and genders. They have moved onto the fallacy of their own technology as cobbled Prometheus. Satan as man as self-referential God. The few destroying the many to send their souls back into the box given to Pandora. But souls develop in many unforeseen ways and these permutations do not wish to cooperate. They demand their share of the same and more as directed by the estimation of their own sets of Enoch’s. This struggle of wills and arms emblazoned on the largest of stone effigies of stone prisoners arms tied and summarily dispatched to the pleasure of the indifferent setting sun. All great societies redefining themselves struggling with all their available resources to go to some strategic point at the appointed hour and sacrifice the best examples of their own societies to gain leverage over their opponent. Human sacrifice the playground for a meaningless demonstrations as a body of mankind dissembled into its last remaining parts for the sake of being at play. What sort of ultimate seriousness can one lend to such empty folly?
The rhythms of other species follow the need for repetitive cycles. The crab is a lover of enclosures. The shark obsesses in an endless journey. The whale a sine wave of effort in breaking the surface to breath and then to swim back down to unthinkable depths to sound them literally. Existence then becomes a series of habits that one or another types of life finds caught within. Something that is a safe and desirable tyranny that one claims is the work of others but in fact is something one has chosen for themselves. A repetition of cycles the task molding the exterior into all these inexplicable often bizarre shapes. Dualities so often expressed in bilateral symmetries where repetitive function configures form. The folly in believing some intelligent design expressed in elusive harmony. Some unobtainable fallacy as proven by this ever restless birth and death of ever changing forms. Existence translating to struggle and the attainment of all possibility signifying its final abrogation. The endless hallway a corridor of counterpoised mirrors suggesting ever larger leveraged on the past tense of diminished smaller’s. The frenzy to organize and build and destroy only to build again significant of the need to enjoy this chaos. To fashion the follies in fantasy of other lives to be lived for the purpose of prolonging this one with all its supposed flaws. While in fact it is the flaws that drive the creature’s desire’s for ever more of another version of a well-perfected same. That roadway to the empty road to the desert of emptiness of the heavens to fill it also with more of such crap. The real game in attempting to be God.
Throughout all this, Vishnu continues in his restless and unending sleep.