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 lanes of traffic spread out as they courted the parking lots surrounding the maritime museum along side Kenosha’s harbor. The day was pleasant being summer somewhere between sun up and dusk. Jenner rode his bicycle down along these lanes courting disaster weaving back and forth beside the occasional passenger auto that impatiently whisked past. Somehow in the back of his mind he was courting a confrontation. Something that awaited just ahead. But as to whatever it was, he was in a mood not to be dissuaded to enjoy the day in a manner of his own choosing. They say the kid inside never dies and the exhilaration of swooping across the intersection pedaling fast felt too good to be interfered with. The car in the turn lane not being too appreciative in a manner that was reminiscent of modern drivers in general. They also said there was something about the experience of driving that turned one from a Dr. Jekyll into a very impatient Mr. Hyde. Behind the wheel one could vivisect a single instant into overlong fractions of a section waiting for a driver ahead posing an obstacle providing the possibility of enduring a missed opportunity. Though the driver of the Ford SUV just to the side of Jenner minded his manners, the wrath generated by the stranger felt palpably like a storm cloud advancing a foot or two just behind his rear wheel. It was just a feeling of course. And with another lazy curving arc he pulled the own Schwinn racer up to the curb promptly planting his foot down upon it for balance.
The officer seemed to appear from just out of sight of his right shoulder. The policeman’s greeting was customarily curt. A sense of destiny or maybe the approach of fate behind his best attempt at an easy but forced manner. “I’m sorry to bother you but I must ask you but would you please come with me?”, asked the tall hulking anonymous entity supporting the uniform before him. Jenner seemed at a loss. The helpless feeling of some unexpected drama was congealing about him that he could not escape had arrived. He peered back unable to dodge the expression of his head nodding within the mirror of twin lenses drawing a bead on him from under the precipice of a khaki brown campaign hat’s brim. Jenner to his amazement found himself sitting behind a steel desk as a portable vintage record player was set down before him. The clunky artifact was of the sort that he might have seen at his grandparents on holidays. “Can you tell me anything about this?“, the cop sternly asked. Jenner stared at it totally perplexed as much by the context of the nature question or as to how this object had required his specific presence. The officer’s dead stare seemed substantially no different than the mirrored glasses. Two dead orbs a further response before the dusty cast metal Bakelite appointed antique. “If you are asking if I have ever seen this thing then no.“, Jenner said quietly. The two of them on either side each out waiting the other for a pregnant pause waiting for the baby to drop. A minute of climbing intensities of tiny infinities passing Jenner interrupted the silence with a, “Is that all?” “Can I go!” The enigma of an answer to solved the dilemma of this particular why not as important as making a swift and unheralded departure. “Sure!“, the cop sharply barked in marked disappointment. “But if you recall something familiar I would appreciate a call!” Jenner pulled the extended business card from the concrete grip that had been extended forward towards him. Ten minutes later he was on his bike pedaling once again. This time his mood not nearly so light. The storm clouds were overhead though he had yet to feel the first drop of rain from the otherwise absolutely clear blue sky.
He pedaled hard and fast along a lazy arc at the edge of the roadway that belted the front of the museum. Only coming to a near halt to jump the curb and a small section of grass until he was upon the asphalt of the pedestrian pathway that paralleled the long canal to the small sailboat marina. The mystery of the cop’s questioning him about a thing that he had no connection to seemed to totally preoccupy him. What sort of unsuspected relation was there to occasion unofficially official information. Did the authorities think that he or someone like him had stolen it? Of possibly that it might have at some point belonged to him or someone he knew? Someone he knew? Who could he muster in his memory that might have had the thing in their apartment? Or maybe, garage? Something to think about for sure. Especially for a nobody that worked part time at a body shop driving back and forth around town running errands. By this point Jenner was off the seat of his bike which was leaning up against a park bench while he slowly paced rubbing the increasing stiffness from the back of his neck. Who? Who could it be? His mouth was getting dry and he got back on his Schwinn to pedal back to 6th street to one of his favorite hangouts, Captain Mike’s. That old familiar sign upon the building’s side chiming, “Eat like a king, drink like and idiot“, seemed to strike a chord. He sure felt like an idiot! Something so simple as recollecting a single item that now was beginning to seem familiar though he had never cast eyes upon it before. What was it that seemed so familiar to him now but was impossible to place. “Gabby would know!?“, he thought.
Gabriela Magdalena LaFollette, though not directly related to one of this state’s more illustrious statesman, Governor and Congressman Bob, she had achieved her own kind of local fame. A hot mix of Spanish Dona on her mother’s side and pure French Canadian by her father, her looks were reputed to wound if not literally kill. More than one fistfight had spontaneously started over some trivial rivalry for her attentions when she served up drinks behind the bar on Friday.Perhaps she might have been described best in the corollary of some epic ‘femme fatale‘? A flesh and blood version of the mix of what the animators had in mind when they devised the cartoon character of Jessica Rabbit. A uncle of her’s had had worked at he old Warner Bros. studios with its premiere artist, Tex Avery, back in the heyday of three minute long cel vinyl based acid wit. Her demeanor had all the sass of a “Have”, but more probably, “Have Not”. A Humphery Bogart’s snappy Betty Becall tight packed into the legendary body of a Rita Hayworth in her role as Gilda! This old joint itself had all the verve and vinegar of an old Great Lakes fisherman’s joint. A fully stocked bar where once could get almost any variation of mixed drink and the best burgers in the area. Jenner felt his legs quiver as he realized his blood sugar was now waning that he needed to replace those extra ‘carb’s’ lost earlier through too much recent worry. It was getting to be late afternoon and Gabby wouldn’t arrive to be on call until seven that night. Saturday being one of the two nights that she was regularly assigned. He sat himself at a small table across from the end of the bar near the back entrance. Jim, the steady afternoon guy, waved at him as he passed from his perch behind the bar pointing silently at the tap. Steely Dan blaring out a little louder than usual proclaiming innocence of any current wrongdoing despite some well-vocalized past transgressions. Jim had the look of someone who could fully commiserate with that message. Old, gray and scrappy to a fault his lanky frame looked like it could waste a troublemaker with a single punch. Nobody had ever asked him about his past, but it was rumored that he had done some minor time served years back up in Waupun State Prison. Something about assault with a deadly weapon. The details were as hazy as the brains of the regulars who engaged in such gossip off the cuff now and again. Who could tell if it was local urban legend or actually had some credence? As far as Jim was concerned the Ojibwa translation of the town’s name, “dawn of another day“, said all that needed to be said. The beer was cold and not watered with that old hops rich taste so characteristic of the product of the old beer barons in Milwaukee. That was good enough for Jenner. A Cheeseburger Walrus smothered in mushrooms and onions ordered and on the way.
The joints interior itself had little to say beyond the brightly decor behind the bar. It’s primary source of light. Several four-seater tables stood opposite lined along the wall. Each with its own porthole looking out to the street. Most of the crowd were eating outside and Jenner had the bar nearly all to himself. His hands supporting both sides of his face as he studied the foam collapsing back along the inside of his partially emptied beer glass. His mind though temporarily derailed now began to ponder the events earlier int he day. It seemed so odd that the police had been tipped onto him specifically? Was it as a result of some insidious mischief by his old flame? She had left town the year before heading back out to her old hometown of San Diego. Jenner stared at the bubbles going dead and flat on the beer’s surface. Who did her know who has a big vintage 45RPM record collection? “Anything New?“, he hollered over to Jim whose graying temples were buried in the newsprint pages of the local digest. “Naw“, Jim responded with an irritated rustle. “No local break-ins or tourist fender benders down by the museum or nothing?“, Jenner quipped in passing. The paper rustled again a little louder. “How the fuck should I know?” “I only read the sports section!” “Wise man!“, Jenner replied as he scanned emptily along the bar’s backstop. The music track just above switched over to Journey’s, “Forever Your’s“. Jenner looked over at Gabby’s framed picture on the wall. “Isn’t Mikey a big audio buff of something?” “Used to be!”, Jim’s voice sounded from behind the journal hovering before him. “Say, how’s about another beer?“, he added, “I think your food order is just about up!” Jim coming around the bar minutes later with plate and brew in hand, “Why don’t you bite on this instead of chewing off my ears?” “I want finish my article in peace before a big crowd comes in!” Jenner took a chomp out his burger chasing it with a long cold swallow of brew. “I bet they don’t serve nothing more that American cheese sandwiches down at the jail?“, he thought to himself. He knew that he wasn’t too eager to find out.
Mirriam decided to meet her girlfriend at the Leadenhall Market for lunch accompanied by her thirteen year old daughter Melissa and her American friend Jemma. They had taken a Route 43 double-decker bus traveling on London Bridge across the Thames picking it up by the old George Inn. They could have taken the ‘tubes‘ but her daughter insisted upon ‘going tourist‘ for the sake of her new companion. The two chattered away as Mirriam fixed her thoughts on the possibility of joining the Momentum Party to support ‘back bencher‘, Jeremy Corbyn. The Brexit affair had led to many angst based discussions and her heart of hearts that told her Labor party’s efforts to ease the tensions caused by recent terrorist events was necessary to safeguard her daughter’s future through conciliation. The growing Islamic community in Sutton had recently become the focus of repeated hate based graffiti attacks and as a Liberal minded modern career woman she felt it her duty to help push back against the increasingly violent right wing conservative sentiments of the ‘block-headed‘ right wing UKIP movement. Though Dulwich Village was more than a stones throw away it was evident that her neighbors were being affected this ongoing turmoil as well.
This morning seemed unusually sunny and bright for her two companions to babble about the surrounding wonders of the surrounding embankment. The upper seats were mostly empty save for some noisy tourists busily pointing back and forth and just beyond their midst a very mild looking bearded ethnic young man wearing a buttoned up raincoat. The end of Spring had brought several days of moderate weather and it seemed curious that the young man would be bundled so. The spate of changeable weather of the last several years that to her mind had supported the unpopular notion to more conservative tastes of the coming dangers of Global warming had affected everyone’s decisions as to outerwear of course. But she couldn’t help staring at the young man’s face as he seemed to be chanting something to himself in between his own furtive look scanning the scenery about him looking repeatedly towards the reflected sun from the gleaming glass of the towering white ‘Walkie Talkie’ building over the river. An unsettling feeling hit Mirriam in the pit of her stomach that something was gravely amiss. Feeling somewhat ashamed she stopped herself. It seemed that the recent mass hysteria of the recent attack in Westminster was still fresh in everyone’s mind. The easiest thing to do would be to single out anyone with swarthy ethnic features as possible culprits. It rankled her that she was falling prey to the same prejudice that she was trying to avoid infecting her daughter. She herself was not particularly drawn to the new groups of immigrants, especially the African ones. They had been showing up unexpectedly on street corners, with nothing to do idling on their government stipends. Some of them menacingly so! But like all human beings they were deserved of respect and not be singled out for the fact of their backgrounds however humble or challenging that might be. Mirriam turned back to watch her two wards for the morning as Melissa seemed rapt in pointing out Millbank further up the Thames not he other side of the bridge. The sharp flash of a detonation’s instant barely caught her attention.
Mirriam seemed suddenly distracted. Her mind out of place? As if having somehow lost her place along the way in following the tight narrative of a novel. Try as she might, she could not recover the expected view of embankment architecture that had just before filled the landscape across the bridge from of the window of the bus. Her eyes could only focus on a distant somewhat obscured horizon just before the break of dawn. She knew that she was standing upon hot sand but could feel a cool morning breeze rising up around her almost as if she was completely unclothed. She tilted her head down suddenly but this motion was interrupted by what appeared to be a roughly hewn wooden yoke. One that extend from where it encroached around her neck extending many centimeters forward to the back of another woman’s head. To Miriam’s shock the other woman was standing still and completely nude with slender wrists chains firmly attached behind her! Mirriam tried to cry out but now found that a wooden dowel had also been equally mysteriously tightly fastened between her teeth precluding any ability at intelligible speech. She made a quick attempt to bring her hands up to dislodge it in order to freely speak. But her arms were also tightly ensconced within the unbreakable grip of iron wristlets. A heavy iron chain attached to the other unfortunate’s wrists just before her led backwards swinging low between her own knees and back up the small of her back attached to her own manacles. A white flash blanketed her mind as she sought to expel her present impressions in order reconcile the disparity of what had just an instant before been a bus ride through central London. And how it would have been possible to end up so vulnerable in this totally unexpected situation of appalling physical slavery? Had an accident occurred? Was this some sort of heavily narcotic induced dream or a coma? She raised her chin up against the tight fit of her end of the yoke and scanned the view ahead once again as best she could. Taking in the horror and amazement of scores of women standing equally despicable circumstances, haltered like farm animals held motionless within their respective fetters silhouetted against the waxing dusk of an ever brightening desert sun. Her thoughts immediately raced back to her two children. Where were they? The uncompromising yoke tightly locking her neck to the preferred forward position scratching painfully into tender flesh as she turned to and fro attempting to find if her daughter and her companion might be somewhere close in sight. Twisting to the left and then the right with tears welling in her eyes as she found her daughter’s own slender now frame fully exposed. Naked and fully expose before the equally tightly harnessed form of her American friend. Both shivering in terror within the cold wind. Unable to move, shifting their weight to try to move beyond the boundaries that their heavy bonds allowed. Mirriam began a long low helpless animal moan. But was cut short by the sharp stinging pain of hard leather crop biting acoiss her fully exposed buttocks!
“Kunn kafir radian!“, a male voice roughly spat out. The smart of the pain was followed instantly by a heavily bearded face. Though Mirriam’s conscious mind had suffered mightily within the last few moments from each lurid horrible discovery her eyes opened incredulously wide at the sight of the person standing before her. It was the young Middle Eastern man that she had been looking at on the bus before all this had happened. She tried to drone out some words as concisely as possible given that her mouth was restrained by the chunk of wood. The same young man was now dressed in intricately appointed Arabian silk robes. A cloth of gold turban of a sheik absurdly topping his head above a beard that had equally fanatically grown in length and bushiness. “Be still abayd khadae!“, he spat as his whip came down hard once again upon her. His narrowed eyes seemed to seethe with a boundless arrogant pride. He passed by her walking up and down the line of the many scores of women who squirmed slightly as he passed. It struck Mirriam that his expression was reminicent of the owner of a herd of sheep or cattle. She looked over at her daughter again who now was stared back in a terrible heartbreaking expression that seemed equally choked by fear and the pain of physical distress. The little Sultan came by her and seeing her looking off away from him ruthlessly swung his whip hard against the adolescent’s naked white back leaving the spread of a widening welt. Mirriam exploded into a loud physically suppressed shriek of rage. Hot blooded tears flooding across her eye singing them as the chains restraining her body clinked away merrily in mockery of her total impotence. “Leave my daughter alone!”, her mind screamed with such force that it seemed to blast out through her eye sockets! The little potentate turned back towards Mirriam with a malevolent looking toothsome grin. “Do not worry khinzir mother!” “I have eternity to convert your daughter and her seventy-one other companions into the most blessed ways of Allah in pleasing me in every way.” “They are my reward for sacrificing myself to kill off you infidels in our glorious jihad, Allah be praised!” The full horror of the moment struck Mirriam. Though she had herself never been religious enough in life to accept a belief in God or an afterlife she was now shocked to find that she had been in error to not seriously entertain it. Worse yet! it seemed to be a heaven that fully favored the Muslims! It seemed apparent that this cruel upstart of a young man had been a suicide bomber. And that his final mortal act had been rewarded with the gift of the body and souls of his victims. She seemed to recall something about virgins in heaven? But as she pondered the fact that she herself was definitely no longer a virgin though of course her poor thirteen year old daughter and her companion were, the evil little prince seemed to pick up on the thought. “Worry not infidel eahira!” “You are soon to taste your just reward for denying Allah in the eternal flames of burning Hell that will roast your flesh and boil your belly forever!” As if by some unseen cue or anonymously issued command Mirriam felt herself pulled roughly forward by the line of struggling women before her. The sands beneath the burning the soles of her bare feet growing ever hotter as she and the others were marched off into the desert. The little man’s final, “Allu al Akhbar”, being the last human words that she would ever eternally know.
It seems so easy to not comprehend what is so obvious. The world as a whole is not a whole world at all. The glue that binds it is a matter of technical necessity. Survival is a matter of defeating overpopulation of social goods that take one away from their direct creation by making all interdependent and vulnerable to shortages. My exploits of the night stay hidden from me upon awakening. A dual dialogue that disappears conveniently from the mind’s access. Yet it’s presence remains. What seemed normal now is judged completely the otherwise. The sign of the present times taking it all in hand to re-spinning the spinner. I saw the clouds in their ether.
What a shock to find the depository of all one’s keepsakes reduced by unknown hands into a small stack of clear plastic containers housing a paltry amount of nothing in the stall of a leaky bathroom. This sort of mental event might shock one to believe that their own self definition has been grievously injured? Significant objects of status being important in many eyes as to the proposed eventual outcome of someone’s life. What a laughable irony that Dumas has his shadowy hero and Count of a nonexistent but an obscenely well-funded empire obsess and chase after one Mercedes? Can there be such accidents is the marketing of products leavened for public dispensation at premium prices? How easy it is to fall into a realm of narrowly posed obsessions? Does the society resemble you? Are your animal, tribal needs met in a healthy sense of positive inclusion and respect for your heartfelt opinion? Are you considered an irritant or an embarrassment by others within that framework no matter how you try to fit in? So therefore you mentally set yourself up as your own micro-version based upon the worst that society offers you and become critical of others to the point of cynical extremes?
The theater is always exhilarating from the fulcrum from viewpoint of the stage. To be accepted by an audience is always a heady experience. To challenge that same audience is always a dangerous proposition. But those who wish to remain in that sort of venue are ever challenged with that dilemma each night that they perform. That dual species of man and woman is enjoined to congeal itself upon an agreement of a singular viewpoint of perception of self. Something useful to the next industrial generation threatened of a proliferation of all manner of robots to replace and monitor the human species. Just to phrase this thought alone becomes a sort of insane anti-human rhetoric?
The isolation experienced in the public sense a results from the evolution of a social organism that invites one to peek out of their own cubbyhole and then buries them alive with the notion of self. One continues to float upon a Sargasso Sea of mixed up bottle cap notions whose origins and definitions defy logic or grace. The Capitalist paradise of the Socialist worker’s state of perpetual disarmament. A fully monitored prison of mental outlook for those who prefer to believe in globes and distant stars to wish upon, rather than eternally linear distances across an infinitely flattened plane. Pick your poison? The fantasy of ‘down to earth’ gritty reality? Or moonbeams and burning hulks aflame off the planets of Sirius Major? It is faux drama either way! Why are age and caste so damn important as the only thing worth living for? Or, is allowed in the moment?
A world of mobile machinations lived out in cart-bound lanes of slow traffic. Going to and fro to exercise one’s expertise in fulfilling otherwise mundane tasks cannot equate to animal survival. The current era seems like Chapter II of the previous Weimar era where the right response leads to becoming yet another NAZI hellbent upon one’s own survival. One that eventually leads to a final brave but unsung moment in the embrace of final extinction in the most current sense of an expected Gotterdammerung! A boy goes from past to present securing his place in the same old tired cycle. But all to what glorious and eventual conclusive end?
Summer warmth on a sidewalk before the tar beach of a parking lot. Back and forth, incessantly! The local humanity take up their daily habitual patterns of another day. I have only these paltry insubstantial wares to offer from my own precarious vantage point. Who is the ‘Eternal Jew’, now? Susceptible to death by sunburn of here-to-fore common knowledge unrevealed hidden truths.
It is. Like time past yet quiet. And I am alone now. Totally so. The Sun escapes the clouds stretching forth in the latter part of the afternoon ahead of the approaching dusk. It’s brilliance brightens this painfully empty room full and filled too high with a former life’s manifestation of passing memory. Of experiences many and brief with those now finally departed. Dust no longer of a lineage their wanting presence. The shadows are too deep reaching down into that insatiable emotion that I wish hide. Age has been the curse of bitter sorrow. The vows of youth all betrayed.
So many faces long gone from exact representation within and swept into the past. And it will not stop its slow slide into oblivion until I along with all the others are long gone. I am blinded by the last attempts of this Sun to imitate a suggestion of midday. The shadows soften behind the intensity of glare blinding me and yet the plethora of contents of this room have become merely so. They have lost the inertia of their mental continuum and are merely things. Suggesting many others that have disappeared years and eons before them. Objects that now belong to me but are not mine to give. The fruit of my father’s life’s work and the sore pitiful remnants of his tenuous existence. And that of my mother’s endless creativity expressed through its arrangement. Compositions in life as they were upon paper and canvas. Keepsakes that grow ever more dusty, old and inert. Unable to emote. Too late I realize that those human beings that brought them here no longer inhabit them. These artifacts are just dead dumb things that have no name. Things that I have stumbled into along the way to this persisting point in time. I wait for a familiar rustle of another. But nothing. The quiet Sun reaches into my heart with its waning warmth finding only a nervous cold. The ether swims about me. That familiar choking tension significant of fear and regret. Proof that I have been left finally alone at long last.
This unconscious vigil is useless. The old arrangements that I adhere to. The reverence in proper placement of these ritual objects that I bestow in the keeping of them all around me being dreadfully misplaced. The Sun is dying for another day. Is this what it is to mourn? To despise your own blockheaded foolishness each evening as the minutes tick away into insignificance and an accumulation of useless years of them meticulously stacked and sorted? What is left to offer? It is all long spent now. The inheritance squandered. The old fantasies dissipated into thin air. Its truth now inescapable. A firing squad could bring more comfort than this empty knowledge of all this! Where I finally am not. To health to just pass on. Condemned to this lonely cavern where veiled sorrow sucks the life out of one. How much longer? Only charred ashes nearly an hour’s drive behind faux stone in a communal crypt. The simile of the morning of one for the other now compounded with interest by its example. Something that though guilty, I refuse to follow. Escape in the most ruthless of ways. Silent and trying to suppress. The most horrible of tortures! To be buried alive within yourself!
The light fails around me and the room becomes dim. My failing vision scans across the horizon of pictures and faces and objects once revered within of their ceremonial cabinets surrounding cluttered tables and permanently emptied chairs. This place maintained to house ghosts that refuse to make their presence known. Phalanxes of fading photographs lined up of trivial lost instants in time manifested into gold. The crutch of inconvenient recollection. A brief mental outline of their import. A memory of shared experience sandwiched within the last occasion of recollection colored with immediate loss. My own life let out of the hole in this balloon as if in slow motion. Item and incident. Chapter and verse. Each one discarded in a glance. Tossed in a hat like a deck of cards in casually useless hands. An unfamiliar hotel somewhere in a city where no one is known. Some say that all this is inert clay of a type that is dug out of the grave. Each night I dig a hole. But by morning it is filled in once again. I am drunk on my own regrets. I who never enjoyed success and had none o show those that I loved. A rat biting a human heart.
I dare not close my eyes for the light fails as the copper disk grazes the horizon. The empty sky above it neutral. Not beautiful nor dark. Just lackluster and threatening to give way. receding into nothingness. I fear that I am too full of memories that I can no longer share. Incidents that relate to no one else’s life that I care to know. Speaking French to the Indians. Tiny grim silhouettes on the distant horizon in the direction of where I once worked. Incidents blatantly similar in that instant of the moment taken in from another vantage point. Life is like the wind. Something that pushes past but that you cannot hold onto. Or dare not try. No smiles of satisfaction left for any incident. Only the present tense to confound one. I am the only thing that is alive now. A simile to my own metaphors. I light the lamp in the curio cabinet that is no longer lit. Its contents known to have once had meaning in both some significant event or at the moment of purchase? Strangers to me. I wonder to myself how long I will remain imprisoned? Enslaved to impossible hopes of summoning the life of the past and reawakening in it as if the present is just some wild enchanted fever struck dream. Perhaps that unquenchable rage within will begin to smash and destroy all these things? But still the ghosts will not come to haunt or hell. There in the dark, alone.
How is it possible to carry a woman in your heart that perhaps you may be familiar with for so long a time but that you are assured that you will never ever really get close enough to intimately know? She is very beautiful. Someone whose personal attention in order to ensure their own appearance in order to maintain an inordinate level of sexual appeal to all males seems epic. Yet lives a quite little desperate life deep within? I wonder if this is what it means to be enchanted? There is something very sad about it as well? A sense of isolation that comes of more than just a fear of age. But of a bridge to keep her acceptable to the new society that she now lives within while keeping that same path open back to the old. A foot simultaneously planted in two worlds. A dilemma you say? Exactly.
The age of tolerance is dead on arrival. And now, as if it has been planned, and let me assure you that it has been scrupulously planned all along for many many years! The unstoppable meat grinder of violent chaos is currently scheduled to commence. Consider every legal document torn in perfectly half by an inability of all concerned parties to agree to be tolerant for the sake of true compromise. There is no longer any middle ground. Those who have long been the backbone have awakened from their coma. The new comers have taken hold and demand by virtue of their presence here alone that their own distant ways now predominate. The Devil behind the scenes knows human nature and that in the end it will out! And if you are lucky then you will be forgotten in these times. You will remain invisible in the same manner that the homeless are. But not for long. And I don’t mean to say that you and those you love will be safe. But just not a glaring target as first to be destroyed.
Respect for the ‘wacked out‘ notion of multi-ethnic is no longer a saving grace but a delayed fuse time bomb that is rapidly dissolving the former stability of society. One that too many publicly claims is the keynote of this Western land. But now too many ‘newcomers‘ openly claim they want to fundamentally change it, or destroy it to benefit what resembles them. They want to do what so many other previous now forgotten societies tried to do. Take over another larger foreign social unit because it seemed easy pickings. There is always less work involved in stealing the lawn furniture from one’s rich neighbor’s yard than finding the wherewithal in one’s own self to find employment suitable enough to amass resources to buy or build it! The question must be asked that if all these immigrants love the West so much then why don’t they stay at home and just change and evolve their own societies? Rather than come over to plunder resources that have been made too easily available to any and all? The most self-destructive policy ever devised by any historical national unit for reliable suicide. The answer hiding behind so many convenient excuses of victim-hood being that it is not in their underlying nature. That is the part that will go down the tubes when most will be unable to be assimilated and will deny the next generation the possibility of becoming so out of a fierce loyalty to what they left behind long ago.
Just because the rest of the world prefers to use an Apple I-Phone dos not infer any sense of lasting community or permanent cult based brotherhood. Everyone once carried a sword at once time in history. Then much later it was a gun. History has shown the results. An organism cannot live with two brains. Two purposes in mind. A country cannot survive permanently divided loyalties! It must come down eventually to a singular vision. This is the unfolding tragedy that we are all living through. The misapprehension that all of humanity is alike. It is not! To consider that it is possible to create a single type of Utopian individual through their eventual de-evolution is not only absurd but it is downright evil! For that is certainly the tyrannical mentality of slavery in its most cynical form. Diversity is not a milkshake but a form of respect following the age old adage of ‘live and let live‘. What one sees now is eventual mass genocide of one group for another and given the efficiency of technology, a possible and ultimate extinction of almost every other?
As stories go this one may be brief but in terms of surprise it seems in my one mind extraordinary enough. I had been living at the place that was unaffectionately called ‘the towers‘ by many of it’s longstanding residents. A hulking dinosaur hailing from a time though not so long ago for my generation many today might consider the dawn of that conundrum as the large scale multiple dwelling building. The qualifying attribute for membership being a capacity of individual units that numbered near to two hundred. A designation that in time could come to be equally defined as a luxury place of residence or an urban project slum. This definition depending of course upon its quality of construction as well as the class of those who collectively resided there. My own situation being in terms of the habitation of a small corner of a steel reinforced concrete slab based creation of some one-hundred and eighty individual apartments and suites. The smallish two-bedroom space having been a legacy of my late parents who had bought into the property some forty years before when after a decade of serving as moderate luxury apartments it had been converted into a condominium building as was part of what was at that time a craze for real estate set. The issues that would later come to haunt being a legacy of the particulars of its construction as ordered by its very shady suburban developer.
The initial plan called for an ten story building of eleven stories in height with four levels of parking, one of them being located underground. Codes in both construction and conduct generally being less than above board within the site of its home to be it were expanded to incorporate an additional nine stories, penthouse included, after the first phase of construction. The building plans for the first structure called for three separate elevators. Two small ones that were designated for common use with a third to serve for hauling freight. But this notion was quickly circumvented for the sake of culling additional revenue by replacing the freight lift with the magic number of thirteen more units. The building trades that existed in the three surrounding municipalities that bordered the major intersection upon which it sat at all were rife with rumors of substandard construction and unthinkable shortcuts that went beyond the winks of insiders that they themselves might casually overlook. The developer in question having mob ties in a bedroom community that was said to be home base for a number of nefarious crime bosses. All this being so, despite many scandalous tales of crisis abounding, the building offered a reasonable level of functionality up until its passing into middle age. Then those anonymous figures who had long stood in the shadows actively using the condo board as an easy vehicle for milking the collective assessment of its owners like a cow began to ‘short sheet’ things. Needed repairs were pushed aside in favor of frequent and unnecessary expenditures that involved vendors and firms that only offered cosmetic solutions to silently festering situations. The apogee of its usefulness now long a faded memory all the essential systems including the main structure itself were falling into ruin.
So many things like cracking concrete, leakage from windows and mechanical heating pipes, outages in heating and air-conditioning as well as stuck elevators became common place occurrences. The board and its group of insider management firms reaping a bountiful living from implementing only temporary quick fixes to this distress. The modes and qualities of modern life of the new generation of ‘millennial’s’ overlapping that of their fading ‘baby boomer‘ predecessors the towers regressed to a haven for low end rental residents. The die off of the original owners seeing the ceding of their individual parcels to indifferent younger family members and small time rent based speculators. The atmosphere of these new times of acceding to the political rhetoric imposing tolerance of so many varied multi-cultural demands putting an added burden of additional musses and wear and tear on everyone. The accumulating costs contradicting major structural issues that only led to more and more unexpected outages. Many like myself who were owners sat upon the knife’s edge of a desire to either sell out for whatever we could get or continue to weather the storm and hope for the best. Unfortunately, this is where things for me went so dramatically awry.
The board of the condominium faced with the imminent collapse had as of the previous year been forced to float a special assessment proposal that while by the fact of state rulings did not require the affirmation of owners was such a dig into the pocketbook that it created great controversy. Monies were borrowed on behalf of the building to replace the elevators and other mechanical features that were far passed their prime. The vagaries of behind the scene politicking by the building’s management leading to a situation of unfathomable delays in the implementation of these repairs.
Now more than a year later the contraction had begun on one of the two elevators leaving the other which was in dubious condition as the only functioning conduit up to the floors above. The margin of safety of statistically having at least the possibility of an alternate functioning lift now removed for the next quarter of a year of more, the residents of the building now impatiently imposed even greater demands on the single one still in operation. It was only a matter of time until the unthinkable would take place. Unfortunately, I would be one of the few unwilling participants.
It was another normal angst filled day where I found myself sequestered in my apartment finding things to do at home that would preclude wasting funds on the outside. Sufficiently funded to keep body and ‘sole’ together but ever aware that sauntering out to the exterior world’s commercially obsessed envisions would potentially drain me dry. It must have been nearly close to early afternoon when I ventured to go down the hall and wait for the single working elevator to take me down the hundred feet equating to ten stores where the mailbox’s were located. I pushed the down button and pondered my chances of getting a prompt response knowing from recent experience that I might find the situation where the load limit of six adults would mean I would have to wait for the car to cycle back to my floor. Hopefully with less people and a lighter load. The recall of an indecent the previous night still fresh in my memory where the door opened up and seven people with a shopping cart were taxing the ability of the elevator to align properly with the floor. The gap of several inches below signaling that an imminent jam was more probable than possible. No one would get out of the car even though I politely recited that as the sign within mentioned they were likely to get stuck. One finally relented and the car was sent off to the upper floors with more buoyancy.
It was I after all who had discovered the peculiar quirks of these mechanisms when occasionally getting stuck by myself at various floors I found that by hitting the button for the floor that one was sequestered upon and then letting the doors open and then return to the point of nearly closing one could trigger the system to work properly again by hopping up and down once and shaking it back into service. The building management was informed and in a few cases it served to aid a few others similarly caught within the car. But there was a mounting number of unexpected bangs and thumps from without that did nothing calm one’s suspicions of possible failures that might leave one permanently caught within and at the mercy of whenever outside personnel might arrive. No one feared that anything catastrophic would occur including myself. Somewhere in the back of my mind lurked some information gleaned years back that some subsystem was forever ready to stop the elevator from free fall and save whichever passengers were found within from broken limbs or fatal injuries. Hollywood for its part could offer a ready catalog of productions that graphically ran counter to this where the villains or sometimes the hero is dashed like a broken toy into a semi-gelatinous blob. Something that was unconsciously conjured when an unexpectedly loud scrape or bump resulted in a demonstrable vibration of the cabin. But one’s eternal complacency in believing that such things would never be possible in their world won out.
Returning from the mental journey engaged while still waiting before the entrance of the elevators on my floor I was interrupted much to my surprise by the doors opening once again and finding only two fellow residents occupying it. I hastily boarded and offered the usual pleasantries to each adding my attempt at a short one-liner about the rotten service to lighten up the collective mood. The door closed with the customary mechanical clap and the car began its descent. The LED indicator above slowly counting off the floors an occasional sliver of light emanating from between the stainless steel doors. The progress uneventful to that point down to the third floor being accompanied by trivial patter between us as occupants. And then it hit us all! The initial sensation of falling several feet and then making a sudden deceleration as if something was trying to catch our fall. And then again an even swifter attack of a lack of gravity the chamber we were all in now in free fall. It is odd how such situations of mortal danger result in a sensation of everything occurring in super slow motion? The looks of dread upon the face of my two companions. One of them instinctively attempting to graze the red button on the panel inferring it’s own legend of ‘Stop‘! But with no success. The collective animal posture of hunching down that we all instinctively adapted everyone’s eyes open wide like those of a giant squid. And then the impact.
As best I could recall the call hit the bottom of the shaft and broke free of its railing. The car itself flipping head over heels with all of us like rag dolls impacting everything and anything multiple times. I could not recall waking up in the conventional sense but seemed for some odd reason above the entire scene like some uninspired objective observer desirous of only the facts. Maybe I was dead and, though not in heaven but given the immediate circumstances its antipode, certainly hovering bare millimeters short of mortal existence. The building manager arrived on the scene and though genuinely moved by the carnage could be seen to be more concerned with himself. I imagine the incident would be a great afternoon filler for the regional news? Possibly generating the high drama of an artifice of concern by news anchors and local city officials over the duration of a month or two accompanied by the requisite of serious faces looking concerned while all involved before the camera sought a way to escape with minimal political damage by sloughing off the blame on their opponents. The situation had drawn blood and in the way things always work in any organized society where the squeakiest wheel always seeks the grease the building received its new elevators in record time. Of course, I along with two others were unable to male the party to enjoy it.