Nine people dead after being swallowed up by a sinkhole. Gone to earth, the fox disappears from the hounds. Collateral damage and we are all supposed to care. But, what about the troubles at home? The familiar faces of broadcast news stare out in gravitas. Perhaps if we all had a six to seven figure salary we could all peer slightly off camera and read out our own scripts with equal weight. It would be easy to summon another session of righteous rage. The mother’s milk of the last several generations. To call it into question seems no different than any diatribe that would rail against it. And that is the genius of it. The impenetrable pronouncement about human nature that makes the whole mechanism so effectively bulletproof. No matter one’s sentiment to any such proclamation from the daily pulpit one cannot disparage the essence of the the claim as human suffering both great and small cannot be disparaged, shunned or simply ignored. But beware those that run about the land who make a career of so frequently declaring it. Whether stage or screen all screenplays exist on the lifeline of drama. Fear whether it be summoned by another human eye or a hint of movement from the shadows is a lightning bolt that startles the animal senses. And that despair that comes from an unending form of impending threat of the same remains ever-present.
The semi-automatic pistol sat upon the edge of the mattress within his bedroom fighting the darkness. Illumination, such as there could be had at this hour, issuing from street lamps some fifteen stories below. Sufficient enough to betray the objects outline defining the fact of its presence. The adjoining bed covers pulled back in a triangular fold like a giant dinner napkin all a jumble. The material thoroughly soaked with his sweat. Comfort being unobtainable in such a situation, causing him to make a general retreat to the next room. This scenario that had become all too familiar a nightly routine. One unfortunately to be expected that demanded remaining awake for a fixed interval of abstinence from the embrace of its festering swampiness. Finding himself beyond weary to the point of near exhaustion, he staggered towards the recline-able easy chair in the lounge. There his form sinking heavily hard down into it after placing a T-shirt from the wash basket to avoid imposing his scent upon its surface. How unseemly it might be for a guest of his to be assaulted within its cradle with the combined residue of his bodily odor accumulated over months or years. To sweat each night portended an evil omen. The variety of maladies found listed online interpreted this phenomena as an imminent sign of the fatal breakdown of his body. So here, once again, he sat again poised staring at a darkened LCD screen by himself in through the hours of the early morning. Was it called bewitching hour, perhaps because of this phenomena? And he easily, sitting thus, could recall how a decade previous it had enchanted his ailing father’s last breath. The worst of his thoughts prancing about like demons. The darkened corners of grim fate coaxed without prodding from the shadows to enact their mischief upon him along with others unwary enough to be found absent from their beds. Apparitions of misshapen phantasmagorical beasts spawned from the residue of his particularly oppressive dreams banging about like a bell clapper inside his hollowed skull.
How could he portray it all? He tried! He had gotten up maintaining the decorum of enforced darkness by not turning on a light while making directly for his sketchbook. Grabbing a particularly inky pen, he roughed out some shapes to approximate the fading impressions still stoppered up by his disciplined resolve. A curious scenario that left him with the custody of four items that he was duty bound to protect in a less than secure neighborhood. A place where random acts of theft and violence ruled the night. Any item left unattended for even a moment or two promptly disappearing as if by magic. And what was the nature of these items that he had found in an empty office suite as remotely directed by his current boss? Old computer components that by the ruling standard of current technological efficacy were next to useless. Yet the demands of his employ requiring that he treat them otherwise. The locale curious to him as it seemed to be an offbeat mixture of many disused and abandoned industrial warehouses from a bygone era. An industrial area that adjoined a large open space that in turn had some affinity with an equally ancient neighborhood of rather elaborate three story residential walk-ups. Ornate Art Noveau pressed tin ornamentation on fancy balustrades and intricately scalloped corner castled towers. This terrain imbued with he presence of a long forgotten persona he once knew. Someone from a romantic episode of long since unfulfilled inclinations of prospects with a lover that had not worked out too favorably. The satisfaction of desire not being his favorite play as the proper timing required to follow up on such opportunities was never with the grasp of his understanding. Something that was perplexing in terms of that required enigmatic etiquette of the mating game. He had muffed that almost as if subconsciously he had been hoping to avert the fact of its presence.
There was one locale too familiar, that within context his own personal history, recalled a rich girl named Barbara. A rare someone that had taken up residence in an expansive suite at the top of an older elegant building constructed in the last century. An enchanting edifice that bordered what appeared to be a private park. This someone had retained a special significance to his romantic inclinations over the intervening years. One that in the case of every other he had once known had not departed long ago. Its aura leaving him awkwardly at cross purposes to consummate with any fit display of affection with any other. Oh, how he had muffed that! In a way, almost as if he had been subconsciously committed to refrain from any further intimacy. Even at the price of making himself appear a fool. The entrance of her building led directly out over to a meandering pathway that completely encircled the park. One that wound itself through small groves of sheltering trees. This tableau affording strange affinities with that slowly fading reminiscence and this last dream. The haunting similarities demanding a redoubling of recall concerning the actualities of former realities. That old computer and monitor at issue buried in bedtime approximating one that he had once used. The other two items assumed to be its accessories. His phantom employer who seemed nowhere to be found a motivating force bridging over this diaphanous epic of an indefinable but ever-present sense indefinable of menace.
Now having dispelled the malevolent inferences from these feelings, he regained waking reality. A new train of thought allowing him to wonder just how he might yet find balance in his life? Without sufficient means, or any immediate method of finding same with the few skills he still possessed, the coming days ahead seemed bleak. Those customary niceties of the past once taken for granted now beyond his grasp; seemingly for yet another year in a row. The same old despair now a tiny demon upon his shoulder squeaking away. A gnat barely audible encouraging him to that consider that black steel implement off to the side o his bed and apply it as instant relief to all his miseries. “Take the easy way out!“, it sniveled. Let everyone else deal with the consequences. Allow the circumstances as now finally admitted to remain a great mystery to the world. Ones that would most remain inconsequential to the rest of his peers. An ugly spot flushed from their memory by the beginning of the following week. His demise a relief to the accursed society which had all along demonstrated its absolute indifference to all its efforts to be gratefully recognized.by it. Who knew him anymore? Those who once had now drifted far away or just died. He was no longer in anyone’s thoughts. The tiny chapter that he represented in their lives now stacked hidden below a dusty sheaf of out of date magazines lost in a dank disused attic closet. Yet, he conjured all sorts of dreams still more vivid than their reality’s. Many inspired by stirring up his own past. These different episodes considered in the midst of many successive bewitching hours when he would once again arise spontaneously to heed his devil bladder. The interval providing the fertile soil of an excuse for him to harvest another round of scenarios from vague sentiments of a misty past. A few more steps down that dark hallway to a confrontation with a wrangling spirit defiling an easy exit to further rest. It struck him suddenly that the earth and the sky had become two separate and discrete dimensions. Each one residing mutually exclusive and resting heavily upon each other’s borderline. The whole idea of a spherical planet made absurd! Though in the sense of providing a point of transition, relying upon the dynamics of a tunnel than a globe.
It seemed equally a good idea to always remember that other people had lives as well! Different kinds of live with different types of viewpoints governing each facet of their conduct, no matter how arcane the unorthodox that combination might seem. What seemed honorable to him might not be comprehensible by another. Items of trivial passing to him being grave matters to those brought up by the codes of a different regimen. So where did that leave things overall? How did his own limits find interchange with those of many millions of others whose thoughts about the world and its worth vastly differing with his own? It might have all had to do with the personal apprehension of one’s specific purpose, and how it motivated one to do what they persisted in doing best all through their lives.
The next dream that he awoke from after he had dozed off in the chair just before an inky fade into dawn found him on a highway by a great lake. One that was lined with occasional estates and manor houses. The beach down one lane presenting a beeline path focusing on the edge of the water in the distance chaotically ajar being displacing by the crash of successive Tsunami-sized waves. An extraordinary sight biding ill and inspiring horror graphically exhibiting the chaos of nature over man’s humble creations. His party warily approaching the beach while becoming soaked to the skin in the process. Knocking on the door of one of the residences just out of reach of the fury of the water’s rage and then gaining entry to its bedroom where its two masters were still slumbering peacefully away. The intruder now beneath the covers trying to raise himself up to pull on some dry things over his nakedness. But seemingly paralyzed along the left side of his body. Try as he might he could not properly pull on the pair of dry trousers while his tracing companion attempted to divert the attention of that small audience of the hosts of that small villa, still dressed in their nightgowns. Despite much embarrassment he was still cheerfully granted their hospitality. This dreamer now feeling guilt after the fact of waking for imposing himself upon their astral presence during breakfast.
A crumpled note that was found in a sketchbook some five years later within a small cache of a few of his remaining possessions long after his passing explaining little. Its age indeterminate beyond a date upon the adjoining page where it had fallen from. “When the end comes I hope it is fast. Grab my heart, black out, my body found, no one knows. The documentation insufficient to link the responsibility of disposal of my material remains but those artifacts recording the measure of life surrounding it. The places to where they all might be transported by that point being of no consequence to me or the rest of the world. Those eight grams flown off to God knows where? I hope that it is quick for I do not intend to suffer needlessly from that point on in any such similarly disconcerting dream.”