The sun had painted the landscape below upon its Western face. The rest of everything rapidly filling with shadows of mauve. All earthly attention pointed upon it imminent escape. It was going to be a cold and blustery Summer this year. Uncustomarily so. The day had been spent indoors with all the blinds closed and little illumination save for some old reruns on the DVD machine that recounted a vague facsimile of what life had supposedly been several decades back. Everything seemed equally at a loss now as what little could be resurrected from that now indefinable place of ‘back then‘. Or that is what his answer to the abject stillness before him inferred. The day was at an end. Soon to have night slide over it like a cover. It was the same vista of rectangles overlapping each other. Some brilliant and reflective some with yellow and red brick hues all fading away before his eyes. That certainty of another day not unlike the last as it had been for so long was quickly waning as well. The original occupants were barely a memory now. Just empty quiet place holders that one left space for occasionally in the daily patter. Whatever discourse that went on was conducted in the confidentiality of dreams that were reliably expunged without he first light of a new day. That orange-ish glow had descended upon all in sight up to the edge marked by the horizon. In less than an hour or two this all would be blackness delineated only by pinpoints of random street lamps. This failing illumination revealing a hint of that sadness that plodded about keeping a clear distance of daily activities. Tonight it was anxious to come out back into these few rooms to inhabit them without apology or regret.
Age had descended upon all. The rooms were little more than sections of a museum housing artifacts whose only definable purpose now was to contain some anecdote or long lost memory of an experience. A talisman functioning as tiny time machines taking one back to the immediacy of a single instant int he past. But not having the presence or persuasive power to maintain the effect for more than the next successive instant. All possibilities in this sense had been terminally exhausted. There was no going forward with any of it. It was a trap. Flypaper for the emotions. Too many hopes for things that remained in progress but could not find their roots or a possibility of fruition. The light about the room failing blending all the items into jagged caverns of inhospitable coral. The enigmas of happenstance as left by its previous occupants insoluble. Each assemblage a shrine to some former meaning lost to the ages. How quickly human flesh decays when bereft of the animating spirit that powered its engine? Was this what was meant by the notion of being haunted. Rumors spreading about an empty space only slightly fragrant enough to suggest but never again to embody? A grand silence that only a random wooden beams squeak or distant tailpipe cough dared to intervene against. The streams of light receding to the West as if all firmament had been unknowingly tilted in the wake of the racing Sun. Life was now a soft hush of unseen humanity dutifully passing back and forth respectfully unseen at the end of another day’s labors.
The landscape extended below was now simply a quilt. The final embers sinking to ash and smoke in dissolving sky chariots relieved of gorse and rider. Their drift slow and inevitable in procession back towards the East. Whatever eulogies that had long ago been offered now floated about as if perpetually contemplated yet never said. The audience of friends and relatives now strangers. Perhaps stranger still than the rest of humanity unmet. One could consider the vast fortune in knickknacks now lost to anonymous shelves somewhere in small resale shops. Those rewards awarded for the special moments dispersed and unrecognized now for the meaning that they had once represented within a single casual glance. Gifts no longer wanted or treasured. Death could not be defined as pain but forgetfulness. Certainly not an individual thing! But of entire worlds and societies whose ways of life could not longer be fathomed. The accomplishments and complexities of entire lifetimes returned to the invisibility of simple elemental molecules inhabiting the endless oceans of water and air and dust. Undignified and unsympathetic to the conscious longing of a broken heart wrecked upon the shoals like the broken back of a long forsaken schooner. Abandonment in the fact that whole worlds of thousands of years of communal experience were singly no longer there. The only repository left signifying the meaning of an entire life’s struggle themselves waning. Falling into the hollows of stillness and silence garnering no companionship or interest of others with which to pass on this saga. The absence of chaos, and of sound or echoes. Forms melting into the absence of illumination. Slow incremental motion of static whirlpools deteriorating within endless undefined regions in the emptiness of space sinking towards a deep unreachable place. Unknowable. Untouchable. Gone.
Children form bonds that though broken quickly by family circumstance remain fixed in the mind for a lifetime. The result of a misaligned friendship gone awry and left unsatisfied leaving an inner longing seeking completion throughout the rest of a lifetime. This is the metaphorical boulder before the tomb of waking consciousness that for most is the major impediment of one’s continued existence to the soul traveling forth. To be diminished early at the start of one’s earthly by one’s peers is to be cast in an unfamiliar metal far and apart from the consensus of humanity. Remaining ever mindful of how a trap is always waiting to ensnare one making one align one’s self with the mentality of the predator and not the prey. Castles are built and moats around them dug with the mentality of an extended lifelong siege. Those rare times when a foray into the world of one’s fellows is mounted fewer and fewer as the years wear on. One finds at the end of life a paucity of mortal experience come of diet of dry bread and unrealized dreams. The accumulation of years finding a building sense of unrelieved animal hunger building in one’s metaphorical guts. The wolf within grows into a world wise monster seeking other victims to despoil. Though of course the conscious mind interprets this impulse as sharing the light of hard won experience.
Such a dour description becomes anathema to most others as the average person has been encouraged to continue in the spirit of popular myths that were never intended to be realized. The illusion of community coming together for a common good. The notion of a unique special person that remains untarnished in the regard of one’s heart above all others. The larger contingent lives in the fishbowl of the trends of the most current era. Subject to the penalty of abandonment or exile if they indulge in the transgressions of too enthusiastic a sense of individuality. No one is allowed to wander away from the herd at the penalty of becoming a stranger. Someone to be watched with grave suspicion as a potential social irritant or spy with undisclosed hostile intent. Perhaps those cast away into this wilderness of self are most validly potentially dangerous in the sense of their simple presence alone fostering doubt in others. Worse yet if they confound the strict rules of the game! So many re-congealed ancient myths of Gilgamesh are explained anew with the same old cause of the affront of hubris. Taking the imaginary Gods and goddesses as fanciful tales and daring to suggest that they in truth do not exist. This becomes the unforgivable heresy!
The most major mistake is for an outcast such as this to imagine a path back into the fold. This being the grandest illusion of any one harbors in the foolishness of the back of their mind’s intent. Heroes are singular beggars that only by the accident of circumstance are cast back as exemplary personages to be admired by the crowd. But only in principle in the waking dreamworld of expectation and not in the possibility of an actual promise fulfilled. Thus their example serves the collective of humanity like wheels and gibbets outside the city gates. Or cages strung high over stone saints on tall cathedral steeples. These miscreants only fit to be seen from afar in their despair and not be accorded empathy. Marble tombs and monument being the fittest habitation for the most exceptional among them. Ignominy serving as perpetual shelter for the woeful tale remaining untold for the rest. The unspoken fate of those who go astray a warning to all others not to entertain any possibility that might see them equally transgress. This is not considered victimhood. There is no sense of noble martyrdom. Just an emptiness that one wears like a badge upon the breast. A mark upon one’s arm.
So. Society demands that one wear a mask. Something uniform and easily recognizable as ‘friend’. And like a pair of boots that are too small to begin with we must stuff our feet within them each day and not hobble about but act as if we do not feel the pain. And hope each day anew for another pair perhaps of sandals mentally imagining the freedom that they would afford. Yet realize that such things are not for us. The frustration of continued repression directed at the most easily available ‘other’ as scapegoat. Those of a divergent path actively demonstrating their deviance subject to attack. The raging animal of the mentality of the dangerous vindictive animal known as the crowd showing no mercy only glee at the inflicting of penalties based upon supposition that another transgressor needing to fall beneath the hammer of universal justice. The worst of all fallacies! That a collective code can administer a useful uniform pattern to cookie cut humanity without exception. The unspecified irony being that the only fit administrators of such extreme forms of dries are themselves outcasts. An elite class apart that pretends the special status of omniscience and congress with the mythical powers of the known universe. These are those others invisible to the common folk that scatter about the wheels and gears of society feasting on the grease like scrambling cockroaches ever in fear of full illumination.
Before this the cynic sits between the folly of the species and the chaos of nature knowing from raw experiences of an unsatisfied life that it will not get any better. Aware that no salvation exists beyond one’s own will to endure despite at any cost. A long Winter of the soul and heart before one’s favorite salt lick. How utterly unbearable a proposition for all the rest who much take their daily dosage of state implemented fantasy to renew their unrealizable dreams as fact and not fiction lest they lose their way and join these outcasts in the Hell of empty reality. If one should see a statue in a city park one will find that it is the most solitary of objects. It’s presence never bringing the public any sense of awe or regard but derision or scorn. It is shadow over society to advise that the penalty for actually being exceptional among one’s own kind will inevitably lead to this sort of fate. It is always better to walk past all such beings as if they do not exist at all!
It seemed harder to want to say anything of substance anymore. He was sick of making other people feel good about their lives! Others that may be so full of distress that they need to seek out strangers like him to find escape. Humans when they form into groups are troublesome creatures that must evolve enough over the course of their own lifetime of experience. Crack their way out of their own egg shell of that pretense that society benevolently shelters them. These other souls always failing to cooperate in a positive way on their own behalf unless they are magically coerced into it. It is always the goal of personal self interest lurking in the background that powers these ‘good impulses’. No wonder clever tyrants rule? One only get as good as one is willing to give. These ‘nabobs’ realize that most people are their own worst enemies. “If your life is shit then it is only your own shortcomings that have made it so!“, is ever their knee-jerk response. “If you can’t refrain from making the same old missteps in life then learn to love them!“, he said. They rest of what was penned in his mind was merely a collection of his own solipsistic fantasies from an equally demented unconscious mind as any he could imagine. “I really don’t feel like being clever for its own sake!“, had become the most usable motto.
The light from outside hit him like a shower of glass blinding him at every turn. Stopping short his inertia come of busting open the old oak door that had despite all his previous efforts splintered the old wooden jamb at last. His final physical effort sufficient enough to break free of entombment in that anonymous basement of the long abandoned roadhouse. It was stupid really! Really Stupid! Spelunking in a decrepit property empty of human habitation for a decade or more. A mighty close call at that. One that easily could have cut short his less than steady existence by a week of starvation and theist in a pitch black rat infested hollow. He we in the land that time forgot. When the staircase collapsed under him and he was knocked out cold after falling forward astray down onto the treads. He had awakened dark and dusty spitting blood to a realization that life was at a possible divisive juncture. One where a stupid careless acts of erratic curiosity was providing a real danger of terminating his lifelong complacency in a way that he could never have ever imagined. This seemed kind of odd as he considered his otherwise mundane boring existence invulnerable to such an extreme change.
When he was a young man he could recall doing many stupid and crazy things. Self-destructive dangerous things. Going to the middle of a city to a major construction site and removing all his clothing to contemplate sleeping naked in a ready hole in the ground that might easily be bulldozed shut the very next morning. Feeling like a wild animal that civilization was ever at odds with. He would recover his senses before it was too late and sneak away before he was discovered whole or crushed. Where in his mind he had hoped to wander to from this hollow caught amidst the density of vertical human habitation remained insoluble. It was a perpetually unfillable hole in his heart that he could not find salvation for. Some dumb longstanding mythic childhood tale gone amiss in an adult life. It left him in a situation of standing room only in the waiting room of human existence waiting for a result that never was obtainable. The world of his fellow bipeds was merely the same old game of promises.
The young woman had to show him how the grooved sliding double door panels separating the bathroom from the hall worked. Her impromptu demonstration left him feeling old and useless to the present era offering the excuse of being an expert on architecture passe. He had never figured himself to be a charity case but the circumstance of having others foot the bill here and there was becoming tedious for both him and those few others that provided special consideration to him upon the curb of a street. What was expected of him was a unfathomable mystery. He wondered if it was within his powers to simply will his own demise? And if so many around him were silently waiting impatiently for him to make the association and to take that step? He had become useless to anybody else’s scheme. There should have been anger on his part he guessed. But instead there was a tinge of melancholy for those times when his presence had seemed to mean something to others and of course, himself. Yet this was but a dream all in his mind. Something that he had awakened to when night had begun to surrender to day and the dim glow of morning had provided a guide to a way out of his prison.
Each day was now inexplicable in an environment where those few like himself placed their hopes and dreams in this waking world like a sucker bet in a Monte Carlo casino. The culture like a tight glove of no consequence for it seemed that the intangible human spirit yearned to continue proceed despite the stereotyped genetic furniture that cast it in place. If this was madness then each night of fitful sleep were the fetters to restrain one from the completion of the madness. It became clear to him that this emptiness he was seeking to avoid by entering same was but a unique product of his own species of man who preferred to encumber themselves with abstracts than live in the wild amidst the natural chaos. This unquenchable need for complete dominance of their surrounding poisoning the possibility of recalling their own Eden. Hemmed in by unending collections of cleverly concocted material objects that served to divert them from their basic nature into the folly of an industrial fabrication of Utopian perfection that could never find completion until it has consumed all that it could reach. A pyramid of trash in empty tin cans and bottle caps rising upward from earth toward the sun. The ultimate monument to the planned obsolesce of everything. This was what he both feared and was drawn to. This ultimate fate of mankind.
The last thing that I can do is to say that I am a failure. I can acknowledge my mistakes and misdeeds. But I cannot allow myself to not believe that tomorrow I can turn it all around. If I do I am dead. I am my families final chapter. They live within me. I am their history. Their entire lifetime all within me. Does it matter to the world? It matters not. They meant something, their lives and the dreams they instilled within me. I am their future as well as their past and I have gone fallow, Deep down within under the rubble of a life collapsed is the same little boy that would run to the comfort of his daddy’s arms to feel the love that was too quickly extinguished by the rueful circumstances of unstable life. In the end, I found much to our mutual regret that I had not cared as much for him as he did for me. At least not till he was past caring taken away by the inevitable natural cycle of birth and finally death. To late, my heart poured forth once again what it dare not admit while he was alive. Such was the great degree of my latent fear within. A fear that my sense of being in love would no longer be welcomed as an adult. A fear that I would have to surrender to the crushing mark of being a failed son. The one and only that could not outgrow his father long and ever widening shadow. In that I felt that I had truly failed. How could I not? He was a much greater man than ever I could have imagined. Than I found that I ever could be. Great because despite all the bad hands that he was dealt in life, he continued to persevere despite insurmountable odds. Angry sometimes? Sure! But never despairing always heading forward despite sheltering both my mother and I despite his own meandering inner flaws. No monument in my estimation could ever be built high enough to match his humble stature. A man who lived in the shadow of that larger than life personality that he himself created. Someone that despite how brash and brusque his unrefined manner appeared to me at the time would much later elicit posthumous comments of how that same demeanor would be sorely missed. Someone that many from all walks of life felt that they could call friend. This was the pattern that defines the direction of the weave of the cloth from which I am cut. My father. Someone that I so often regret the loss of and harbor that desire to be beside as I once was before. Just to reach up and find his warm hand holding my own yet again.
The small truck came to a halt three streets over just within the field of vision allowed by the canopy of trees that lined the streets far below some ten stories below. The most notable part of it being the yellow flashing lights that had caught his attention. Most of the horizon having been sequestered in Summer green. This was his day to play the role of exhausted past all reasonable possibility of useful activity. The cushion of gray that seemed to despoil the day before noon was barely a memory now. Hazy blue emptiness surmounted all by the faint hint of an airbrushed horizon. It was a different day completely. He was clueless now how to occupy his time as no occupation seemed fit to engage in. All occupations being essentially worthless to change his essential situation. He was old growing older every minute. The notion of attaining success was a topic clouded over by cynicism. A cynicism that was not without a certain degree of factual support. Three different careers had come and gone. The fourth was merely a hint of several vain hopes wrangled together from experiences long past. A sort of archive of topics checked off on a paper list. One that had not turned yellow enough with age to be illegible. The youth within him refused to be evicted. It lived in the here and there like a squatter ever ready to plan its umpteenth takeover of all things downtrodden and depressed. Yet fortune seemed ever elusive not allowing it to take a a foothold. Where was the world of lurking possibility as he had once known it. Now it was simply a bunch of empties littering the street.
While he was amidst his chat the emptiness of the sky just outside his window had birthed some small white clouds that as he caught him with the corner of his eyes were sailing just overhead out of sight. Was his brain boiling up the temperature just above him? It was not an obscure notion that could be discounted that one’s mood was ever the oarsman of one’s fate. No doubt this present tense could not be seen as anything else but being becalmed. The hermitage of this small apartment sequestered format he street a refuge from reality far below. A woman’s nightmare of inflexible orderliness and massing dust balls. The kitchen floor had not received a good scrub in nearly ten years. Carpets stained and worn like the ragged hems of the threadbare black jeans that hung clean upon closet hangers. Smelly old black socks hung out like guest towels.Time had stopped in the last decade. This had become a waiting room for passage to the great beyond. He was just another face keeping busy till his number was called. The previous night after the exhaustion and two refrigerated beers had stopped off the hard shell of his habitual indifference he lay in bed under the cool sheets naked. What did humans really have to look forward to that was not simply a sensation driven experience confused with something vaguely animal. Desire? Love? Companionship? All seemed established and nourished based mainly on the expectation of physical sensations? Desire involved touching or being unexpectedly touched in a manner that one had long repressed. Love was the embodiment of a reliable embrace provided at all costs in any situation. Companionship maybe two hands clasped on into the other? but certainly the calming of anxieties wrought from animal vulnerability to the unknown. Or the paucity of the other two aspects of a closer more intimate relationship. His concept briefly explored his mental focus snapped into itself like the sound of a lady’s compact snapping shut.
The world was to be viewed and the chaos that lurked around its edges respected. Yet no longer indulged in. The sky above him would vary at the whim of fate but there was very little remaining that had not already been charted out long ago. He sat in his easy chair waiting to be proved wrong and confident that behind all the barriers that were long tested that this was not ever going to be a possibility. This was not to say that he had not abandoned the notion of the opposite sex in his mind. The mind is the great builder of proper fantasies that while they may involved drama yet would always end in an expected happy conclusion. Yet this would inevitably evaporate by the next day no matter the positive level of confidence in one’s calming self assurance the night before. This gerbil was firmly locked in a cage of his own design. Such mechanisms ever proving to be impenetrable. Even if one knows where the keys are hidden.
Mediocrity has its own charms. Certainly it’s own following! Though not too many would take a step forward in public to advance that proposition. Old threadbare notions that are hard to release one’s grip from. The old car that needs some fixing. The job of painting the soffits of a house has gone over long. A job that won’t get one anywhere but that provides the confidence that it will still provide a ready location to go to the very next morning at 7:00 AM. A local store in the neighborhood where one can find some form of the basics of life at a cheap price. Even the upkeep of one’s own physical form in the form of some aches and pains that slowly seem to be becoming more acute. The safe harbor of little or no expectation for change has many phantoms hulks anchored anonymously residing within.
The need for food put off Jimmy decided on the spur of the moment that he was hungry. The Carter-Williams department store was an nicely location to admit to this condition as any sustenance that they could offer was merely a superficial accommodation. A traveling carnival setting up town to town having more substantial nourishment to offer. Worse yet closing time of five o’clock was fast approaching! The solitary clerk lingering about her department obviously had more pressing issues of her own flooding through her consciousness. Yet she took Jimmy’s order for the store’s house specialty with aplomb. In point of fact Jimmy had absolutely no idea of what he was ordering from the small flyer that he had picked up from beside the register. He figured like many that it bearing the name of “Carter’s Favorite Snack” it should be fast and reasonably satisfying to any palate. His own stomach was grumbling right now from inattention as the clerk walked off. Supposedly to pick up his order he surmised. “Service is our business!“, proclaimed a sign hung overhead of the store’s back exit. A reasonable proposition yet a curious one that one would be afforded the convenience of ordering food from any location in the store? He paced back and forth through the aisles nervously eyeing rows of lackluster items most of which struck him as particularly useless to his own conception of necessity.
Boredom dissatisfied, he decided to range farther afield opening a door to a patio and what appeared to be a lumber and lawn care wing. The light of the Summer Sun bore down with brutal efficiency convincing one that it was mid-afternoon when in truth it was closer to five hours past. Jimmy strolled down the lanes stocked full of potted plants, tall racks of two by four’s and quite literally found himself clueless as to how to mount a return journey. The light of the day was finally waning and Jimmy’s stomach had finally relented in its painful protest having rolled over and gone back to sleep. He really wasn’t interested in eating here at all. Besides it made more sense to just return home and rustle something up that wouldn’t cost him anything. Not being a regular customer he figured he could find a small exist far from his initial point of entry and slip away without causing much fuss. It was just past closing time and he formed a vision in his mind that the clerk had purposely forgotten anyhow. “So much for service!“, he mentally grunted ungraciously. He slipped out an open gate just before another store employee, equally hasty to close it, let him pass. The dusk was falling now as he walked alone across the mostly emptied parking lot. Here and there individual vehicles loudly exhaling that initial burst of exhaust after sitting silent since morning until by the time Jimmy had made the curb of the main intersection they had all flown off like a clock of crows.
What was it about waiting for a bus at night that seemed so lonely and chaotically vulnerable? Jimmy stood looking up at the weather beaten metal ensign of the route number static upon its old galvanized pole. The route numbers of three separate buses and an approximate range of time in small text etched in fluorescent ink. The traffic still seemed inordinately heavy even though ‘Rush Hour’ was officially far past its peak. No one else was in the vicinity beyond the many indifferent souls encased in metal and plastic passing indifferent to the world without. The only thing that Jimmy could summon was a reciprocal feeling of impersonal menace from the notion that none within this see of impatient ‘beetles’ would mind the distraction of running over him if he were so foolish to wish to wade in haphazardly before their paths. The equally taciturn sentinels of the traffic lights hovering high over over the intersection projecting their colored beams with a grimly efficient timing. No sense of a concern for the personal or the variance of individual human experience evident in this transitional wasteland. This was a place that humans might be tolerated to briefly wait but never inhabit. Jimmy looked about behind him at the thicket of bushes and the section of car exhaust inebriated forest behind it. What manner of dangers lurked waiting just yards within he could not fathom. A certain sense of unaccountable nightmarish terror that he did not wish to admit to. But he was very sure that he did not wish to explore. He turned back around to the inconstant sound of a sea of tires rushing endlessly past.
The long hulking oversized bulk of a breadbox congealed from the shadow moving towards him. The Route fifty-three rolled to a halt and bared it’s vertical fissure from two revolving door panels with an abrupt hydraulic hiss. The light brightly illuminating the passengers from within the closest thing thing to palpable civilization that Jimmy could now imagine. He felt instinctively inclined to step forward though the bus he was looking for bore the number fifty-eight. A darkened form trundled down the three steps of the entrance unsteadily onto the curb. The figure’s arms weightily encumbered with a large flat square expanse of what appeared to be a disordered pizza or cake. It was the same clerk from the store who with no hesitation she made her way straight towards Jimmy nearly colliding with him as he mechanically responded by bringing his own arms up to receive that large unstable surface that she was carrying onto his own. “Here’s your order sir!“, she commanded. Whatever this thing was it was not conventional in the sense of any identifiable foodstuff. The woman hopped back on the bus as Jimmy still confused by such an enigmatic encounter tried to take stock of what so precariously was sliding and leaking about. What ever this stuff was, good bad or otherwise it had need of a more robust container than just the soaked through corrugated square that barely kept it from sloughing off onto the ground. There being no place to put it down beyond the sordid junk ridden grass or gravel without incurring a hail of dust from passing tires and trucks. Jimmy was stuck with the dilemma of whether to let it default to destruction by unceremoniously dropping it straight to the ground? Or to continue the unwanted balancing act that the rankled clerk from the store had left him within? The general appearance of it just below his nose was one of an amorphous mass of something unidentifiable. It smelled strange and barely palatable as if its creator had be some store policy tried to produce something that would please everybody. But of course, would never satisfy any!
Jimmy’s stomach gurgled awake like some unfettered animal while his temper became short. The Route Fifty-Eight bus came to a stop across the street traveling the other way. And it suddenly crossed his mind that he was on the wrong side to get back home. The light was threatening to shift green and he hobbled across like some overly preoccupied sleepwalker, arms still fully encumbered. The bus driver seemed to sense the possibility of an unwanted complication heading his way and the rasp of the hydraulic hiss of the doors closing and the shiver of the vehicle as it edged forward had Jimmy in a steeplechase to gain the curb and race around the back of it. The driver’s conscious ridden face now staring back at him from the big mirror by the door reluctantly jamming the bus to a stop and the dragon-like hiss of the entrance yet again greeting Jimmy as he approached with his burden. “I can’t let you bring any un-boxed food on this bus!“, the driver warned with a scowl. Jimmy looked down his chin grazing what seemed to be some festering mess of hastily assembled dubious food products and frowned. It was not worth risking being relinquished any longer to these inconstant ‘moors‘. He nodded at the driver and turning quickly around he swung his arms towards the emptiness of the road’s shoulder leaving his unwanted parcel as an offering to the crow’s. The only evidence of his recent adventure a chin painted clown red with an oily tomato sauce like grease.
Roy could see it coming from miles away. All his life it was the same? Sitting in a movie theater by himself he felt normal. Once he stepped out intuit he light of day he was lost. It didn’t matter what the movie was a bout or the stars that were in it. Of course, like anyone else, he had his favorites. The world outside of that gave him palpitations. He could feel his heart pumping through his ears. The sheets would be wet from sweat each morning. No matter what he tried he was always back on the same old merry go round. He couldn’t hold down a job. Sooner of later he would get laid off. Not because he was a slacker! But perhaps, he took it so damn seriously enough that he would piss off his fellow coworkers because they didn’t. And that threw them off their game. But once he got back to the shack and shoved a VHS or DVD into the slot he relaxed upon one of this overstuffed threadbare ‘Barqa-loungers’ he was back in a pleasant limbo of another person’s life and not his own. Of course, that person did not exist. It was a very expensive patch of the collective minds and efforts of scores if not hundreds of others. It was always a strange mental calculation to add up the number of movies he had and multiply them by an average cost that was taken from sources that chronicled their making. If one took the number of films that a given production entity handled per year and multiplied that further against the result already arrived at then you might get an idea of what these characters were worth individually speaking. A useless mental calculation to be sure.
It had of late come down to a point of desperation as Roy’s peculiarities had been getting the better of him. Though he had never allowed himself to go so far as adopting the style and dress of any of the current movie avatars that came and went each half decade he would ten to adopt their scripted mindsets. It might be said this made Roy in line with a favored technique of getting into character. But society did not look favorably upon those who reached too far into the collective fictional narrative other that did not truly exist. The average employer wanted workers that were mentally uneventful, slow and steady whose greatest aspirations in life was to show up on time and work blissfully towards that day at the end of a week when they would gratefully received their paycheck taxes deducted. Those were the only waking dreams allowed by the current culture. All others were shown to the exit doors. That shared manifest destiny of the cataclysmic antihero might work on the page but stayed perpetually unemployed. The unintended consequence of this condition being that any lasting relationship with women was removed from possibility. The modern female too independent in her needs unlike the railroad track prone maidens of a century or more past. A solid home powered by a good steady paycheck was all the romance that most women sought though some considered that though all romance was dead in the current era it was no fault of their own. A fit male for breeding their fondest desires should come pre-equipped in both stamina to endure the most tedious of daily regimens and them return home reliably at the prescribed hour with mouthing more than the needs of his spouse predominately filling his universe. To Roy’s current mental mindset, another futile mental calculation.
The daily procedure of life degenerated into one where at a certain point the imagination of Hollywood having gone brain dead for the possibility of producing anything particularly novel that hadn’t been serialized in some was too many times previous had come to an effective halt. The invigorating feeling of stumbling back out into the light of day of old where one was fresh with plot heavy ideas posed in the corollary of the theme of the particular afternoon matinee needed no further mental energy. Too many of the same gambits explored by the big flickering of movie screen illumination. Where was the former bond of vision that he in the audience had once shared without he director in figuring out the novel plot line and being truly amazed or sometimes alternately disturbed by it stultifying implications? Now the cinema was merely a steady heartbeat of explosions on demand anchored betwixt hackneyed dialogue and a reliable twist int he end where the nemesis was reliably scheduled to by some incomprehensible means return back essentially unscathed bearing an increased amount of enmity for a go at round two of essentially the exact same thing. Imagine if in could bearing children that were cookie cutter copies of the first that you have born and raised but differentiated only by suspiciously similar names?
The rhythm of life for most was conducted by amazingly simple standards of routine behavior. There really wasn’t much complexity when one eliminated the inner workings of the assigned tasks each portion of society fell into. Each operated by he demands of inter connectivity to produce a complete organism of a cellular composition that heeded only the demands of the greater collective. Resources were doled out accordingly to a pyramid system in which those who took an active role keeping surveillance over their fellows in terms of monitoring the constancy of behavior and weeding out the deviants was considered of prime importance to keep the great worm of society inching forward rather thank stalling. The macrocosm of same mirroring any given particular example of the species that was in essence descended from successive direct parentage of a similar species over the eons under the phylum of plumbing dependent. The human body a maze of interconnecting pipes and open spaces where the balance of hydraulics reigns supreme. Any tampering with flow leading to a stoppage or inequality of expected pressure having to be resolved. Thus the ‘bread and circuses’ management of social diversion being key to the husbandry of the species. Where the Romans might have solved a problem on terms of the vitality of their empire by providing unwanted captives to die in the arena as a public spectacle. The modern era provided perpetual reliable boredom as an element of fostering both the flow of goods and the dumbing down of the aspirations of the viewer. By the sixth of seventh decades of existence given the perpetual burden of ennui, most were ready to fall away like dead leaves to make way for their children’s children to take up the dully flicking torch of meaningless existence. Given this reality, Roy felt that it was not unreasonable for him to demand a certain base level of entertainment on the fringes. The truth was that you could only bore everybody so far without occasionally adding a little spice to the same old stew.
The dark halls of public amphitheaters suited the nature of a personalized solitary enjoyment of common cultural celebration of the same old same old without endangering the whole with mutual contact. Isolation was after all the best way to hobble and possibility of deviating from the main game plan. So Roy felt as if he was being carried along in a great river of others that like the current of water of a great tributary was rapidly being him towards the inevitability of the falls. He had to wonder to himself how many others like himself in these auditoriums were as fully aware of this fact as he was. The big budget spectaculars were assessed with care based upon the likelihood of their trailers being too suspiciously as a blatant repeat of the same old well worn franchise waypoints of story and plot. Occasionally one might be surprised but the apogee of the reigning superstar too often leaked the fact of the ingrained repetitiveness to be warily avoided. Even the occasional foreign epic that could sneak through the tight network of distribution too often turned out to be a veiled variety of the expected pattern. It was inevitable that the only choice that this discriminating movie viewer had control over was the repetitive recitation of the lines of favored characters that were too often renewed again, and again and again. Roy sensed his psyche was unwinding slowly losing power like a windup toy. There was only this society to contend with or its total absence. Something that could not implicitly be shared with others because of course everyone had been crafted into the same state of hive-like mind. A consciousness that could only be escaped by the extreme poles of death or complete and total chaos. Not much of a choice feeling ones ever chained to that same old set in the twilight of the cave wall.