His penis pulsated unexpectedly hard within the tight grip. It was cold but the determined firmness of the phantom grasp made it even harder. The fingers had settled along its rubbery shank. At first delicately then compressing in firmness as the embrace of the member became incrementally even stronger. That same old feeling of a heavy emotional displacement from below spread upward from his belly towards his heart. He could almost feel that same old vortex of building warmth rekindled from that now ancient youthful vitality. A companion tugging sensation encompassing the region around his anus. Like an old car too long in storage revived by spark of a new battery he felt feelings and emotions that were hard to recall since the last sign of their age old disappearance. It had seemed like ages since his organ has been touched by another. He felt as if it was being resurrected from a long period of death.The sharp edge of the scalpel caressed the base of his tight scrotum as the hand still in tight embrace of his shaft used it to lift the package of his testicles skywards tugging them tautly away from his pelvis. He could not seem to account for the occasion that had invited this renewal of a taste of forgotten sensation of anxious animal desire. The incision slowly commencing around its base with a long studied circumferential cut around the base of his sexual apparatus. As the blade cut deep he seemed to sink back into the stupor that he had been found in before this unanticipated episode. A deep and unchartable period of rest that he felt would be hard to awaken once again from. After much care and professional ceremony, the organ was fully detached and lifted away from the cadaver. It was laid carefully into a clear container of Formalin to be studied at a later time by the student for her examination of the male reproductive system the following week.
That face that stared back at his own in the dim reflection was said to be his. There was no surety of this as a fact beyond the fact that it seemed to follow him around. And turn up whenever he thought to recheck it. He could not recall when it had first appeared beyond an estimate of a decade back; Or maybe two. Something an unseen power had placed upon the framework of his skull having collected what had been draped there before. Old and haggard beyond what he reckoned was his chronological age he felt that he had been at the mercy of a thief. The thief after all was time. And it stole in unseen to rob one far i advance of when it was expected. But then again, perhaps it was his fault. Someone who thought too much? Put wrinkles on the brow. Crow’s feet at the crease of the eyelid. Let the mouth form its most favored posture into the saddle of a droop. Who was to blame for that? Life? Disappointment? Someone from his past that had not acted in a manner in accordance with some unspoken dream or passing whim? “It was the ego, my boy, the ego!” He used to laugh at those petty dowagers of the past who hung onto their riches but couldn’t hang on to their looks. “It was worse for a man!” he thought. Not because the world cared. It didn’t. When you were considered past it, it didn’t care. Simple.
The elastic that could stretch into so many various guises was brittle now barely able to support the one. Quite frankly the times of the day that he felt best was when he was by himself somewhere oblivious of everyone else. Youthful in spirit as he had always felt by default. No interruptions. No distractions. Pondering some topic like a stepping stone to another on a path that would never end. The wonder of it! Immortality in a chain of ever expanding thoughts. The time to know all bereft of time. All the days of one’s life put together into a single never ending solitary one. Day and night simply passing clouds temporarily obscuring things for a moment here or there. A perfect level of unbroken lucidity and perfect understanding. This was of course too much to ask of anyone. By anyone! Yet one can only dream. The diving board of death awaited. Despite this obsession with aging he felt ever prepared to take the leap when required. But it was the waiting that was killing him! The greatest mystery unable to be shared by mankind as a whole. “One at a time please!“, The boatman must have gotten of yelling eons ago. No wonder death was silent. How many times can you say the same thing before you get mentally hoarse? Just move em’ along an toss a couple of penny’s on their eyes! Or was it the other way around an it served as the fare for the ride? Who could keep it straight? If death suddenly got confused or developed dyslexia then was that the so-called second coming/ Pull those souls out of the ground like turnips in early September? “Geez!“, he mused? “Who spent their spare time thinking such thoughts?”
What a bunch of scoundrels! The rest of the world was full of them. Those who pushed the envelope. Those who were never satisfied. Those who pushed the others ahead of them so as to clear the way faster for some innovative hair brain scheme that while it might seem to succeed provided little to the quality of being alive. Technology might indeed shine a beacon but it was a light that blinded one. Before you got used to it, some other idiot was hitting you with another dumb idea confusing you even further.The human mind could only travel so fast. It had to plod along at its own speed. Not be kicked and cajoled from behind like being chased by a bunch of angry boys who have run out of things to do on a school playground. How much more rational to enoy thus occasional accelerated periods of genius that were unexpectedly summoned! But how was the world served? Long lines and short exceptions. Generally no one that you or anyone else was familiar with. They seemed to have the keys to the back doors. You did not. Maybe they were the ones that traded in faces? Stealing the young ones right off you while you slumbered hapless and unaware? “It wouldn’t surprise him a bit!” he thought. His own genius was enough for him. Even if it proved to be of lesser quantity or lacking universal respect. History was passing him by.
Vanity! How any things were simply a matter of arbitrary wants that drove one into abject despair? Too much shelled out for so little. A mad rush to change yourself when, as he was all too well aware of, someone else was in charge of your personality. How curious the notion of two figures accompanying in the New Year, Father Time and some unnamed snot nosed infant. A really absurd idea when you thing that the sum total of their respective identity was simply the year in passing and the year to come. Two mile posts that all were to run past. Trot at a healthy pace half blind and drunk trying to avoid one or trip over the other. Where the Hell did all this lead? That point past the realization of finality seeing all effort re-tasked to simply building walls. Bulwarks against scarcity. Must have plenty to insure having a full belly! Brass handles on the casket. Visitations by all those who claimed to know you while your remains lay in a flip top box probably lacking even a pair of pants or undershorts under the belly cover. The last big laugh! But then no one would most probably bother to show up. Another vanity. A last ditch hope to achieve in one last breath what a lifetime of huffing and puffing could not manage. At least the skeleton armature resting deep down underneath seemed unaffected. The time old adages came to mind. “Live fast, die young, and be a good looking corpse!” or “Having the last penny bounce out of one’s pocket after the last breath.” The man looked up and caught another glimpse of himself. The stone face looked back impassively. One would have thought that no one was alive behind the blankness of the two cold unmoving eyes. “How odd?“, he thought. Who in the Hell was that in there anyhow?
The world had changed. People were back outside again. They milled around forming small groups not he lawn as if part of a large picnic. But no one was eating of celebrating and it was too late in the early evening to enjoy the surroundings beyond the illumination afforded each small throng by the solitary street lamps. On the other side of the same field a group of young men lounged casually on the lawn over by the next gravel road. A company of young strong highly chisel featured men all dressed in uniforms reminiscent of before the last mid-century in Germany. The droning recycling melody of ‘Westerwald‘ throbbing away somewhere in the back of one’s head. The sliding whistle offered repeatedly under the breath cutting sharply through one’s ears. A little black girl in a gray t-shirt played about self-absorbed. Some of the men laughed as one of them approached her and spoke in a low cheerful friendly voice. One of the other men called out to the first. “Is she smelly?” “Very!” said the man standing before the little girl with a big smile as if all this was a joke. They all laugh as the little girl continues down the line of gravel going about her business unmolested at play on their periphery.
The shopping center remained their on the outlying stretch of land bordering the rolling hills. Some empty parcels of farmland affording empty space to the otherwise commercially overbuilt main thoroughfare. The old man of six decades plus walks into the coffee shop. Something is wrong and it dawns on him that all the logos and furniture that were there the day before have disappeared. The characteristic pistachio colored green walls are now bare. He hears someone coming an crawls within the door-less enclosure of a built in center aisle cabinet. Some young heavily built construction workers enter from the front carrying shiny aluminum HVAC ducting along with tools and other implements for installation. It is obvious to the man that his neighborhood coffee shop has transferred ownership overnight and is going to be reconstructed into another commercial entity. The men go about their business as the old man crawls unceremoniously from his niche. He looks at the group as the walk in an out of the entrance to the street piling up the box-like sections of metal fabrications. Is this where I can find a job he stammers to a slightly older supervisor type who enters brusquely pouting over invoice documents in his hand. Again, the old man senses that no one is or wishes to be made aware of his presence. They cannot be bothered by someone whose time has past. They just go about their tasks unhindered. The men collectively appear to be related to the soldiers on the lawn.
The man makes his way back down the side road along the field. The inhabitants from the town seemed to have been disgorged from their dwellings like a bunch of sullied ants. They angrily mass by the country intersection ahead alongside the first hill where the road has been scrapped up and is under construction. For some reason the bunch of them are stirred up and irate. The old man is too far away to hear what they are saying to the small delegation of contraction officials embroiled by them ahead. A giant earth mover lumbers slowly up behind the man incrementally over taking him. The man mounts the side of the hill and walks diagonally up to a higher vantage point. The mechanical giant slows as it reaches the intersection where the imbroglio is in progress. The hill is green with tall grass that reaches up to the man’s knees as he burrows a party further upward through it. Suddenly there is a deafening detonation that instantly overtakes the entire valley. The whole landscape around the man seems to explode at one time. To the man’s horror and amazement a sheet of water blasts vertically upward several hundred feel ringing the valley. The genetic imprint of the deluge of ancient lore explodes his heart into a great thump like a sonic boom. He spins around and watches in slow motion how the water recedes vertically again down upon the large square mile wide ring. it is almost as it it was an apparition of biblical destruction summoned from that forgotten time of Noah. Yet the worst damage done seems to be a complete dousing of any and all in the vicinity. A warning of things to come? Or the mental unbalance of a foolish old man?
“Had I known ten years before!“, the expression goes. “Had I known?”
Life now so hopeless
and yet too incomplete.
The ruins of it laying
about my two feet.
Something called marriage
gone so far awry.
Something called family
starting that old long goodbye.
It’s all in the past,
and it is empty right now.
Death after death
the potter’s field’s been plowed.
The days that are a’ spending
and I don’t know how.
All to some noble purpose
that I cannot explain.
Pissed off away on dozen’s of Sundays
that I can no longer name.
Empty, empty jest
the same old thing.
This damnable emptiness
in hollowness bring.
The gray on my temple
and the ache of my bones.
The change of the desk set
to a little hand grab-able portable phone.
The old places closing
all once known.
The clothes safe for delivery now
by robot and drone.
No place for the wicked
or the likes of me.
What remains of new life when finished
to the bottle cap sea.
Dumped far out in the ocean
you file and forget.
A trail of incidentals
you pitifully net.
It’s all for the young now
and those who want ‘free’.
What it took others like my forebears
hard years to foresee.
The old places dwindle
and I’m barely alive.
That last of my lineage
to barely survive.
This new world supplanting
it’s made me a jerk.
For try as I might
this is no more work.
So float like the jetsam
and travel the web.
Nostalgia in miniature
A visual ‘eleve‘.
The exercise of existence
an empty ‘cœur creve‘.
The process of life
an eternal door.
Dragged over a ditch
Interred with in a plain.
The castles I’ve built
to start over again.
Looking over my shoulder
at a lifetime of failures so earnestly meant.
A cold heart full of good wishes.
My feet in cement.
“Had I known“,
as I’ve said when I started this war.
I wouldn’t be standing
where I was long before.
Does the light as opposed to the dark cleanse your mind of the past? Its deeds and emotions, the recollections of attempts gone sour to achieve something of note in society but always fall short. “If I were a king old I would knight you both!“, he said. The two young boy’s enthusiasm in the play of their chess pieces interrupted by the old man’s folly.
Somehow fortune had smiled. Or had it? He had secured a job in an elite ad agency and had arrived to show his manifold talents. A chance encounter of sorts had presented his name to this agencies’ head. A madcap individual who embed with an honored reputation in the industry careened about the floor of his own shop like a Caliph eyeing necks to cut. The young man felt that eye lurking about ready to smight his own hopes and dreams and struggled for something he could do. A reason to be in that place and excel in a manner that he assumed his destiny would lead him. But there seemed nowhere to sit in this fast paced environment? And worse yet, he was unable to recall any exact instructions given by his new employer or anyone else. And so he wandered from desk to desk. His physical being actively ignored viewing pile of work and all manner of pads, and paper and drawing instruments but afraid that if he disturbed the wrong chaotic pile that it would lead to his instant termination. Anything vaguely useful to the cause of providing a creative platform within the dust and jumbled on the floor. All the while the presence of that owner’s watchful eye wondering in disgust why he had invited such an incompetent into his midst?
Late that afternoon in a palatial hall at a gathering that had the dynamics of a large gaudy overstuffed convention the young man was equally surprised that he was allowed entry and with a temporary companion who had no stated identity that could be recollected swept through the echelons of seating surrounding the speaker’s dais. Both looking for something close enough to hear their big boss who was being honored as an honored guest speaker having taken the microphone. His voice boomed about the Baroque columns painted in exotic greens and gold. Emblems of filigree enigmatic but providing greater beauty through their intricacy evident in every direction. The bleachers at the far corner where the young man briefly took up station being so remote that he thought that it was actually upon a street in the worst part of town. A black face opening up a window on the second floor across peering out to their street engaged by foreign revelers of the very same class that oppressed them. Every corner of the auditorium filled with troublesome angry looking rivals their facial expressions ever at was with the other. The man eventually taking cover beside a twin sculpture of two figures that had been temporarily covered for the event with plywood and a faux grill. Their matched pair of hands entwined in some arcane significant unconscious embrace. He studied this jewel of aesthetics of the past as he heard his boss’s world pounding down from above.
Feeling that he had hit on something elemental suggesting the creative solution to his ongoing dilemma he wandered off to the back of the hall to find his fellow. The hallways was as much a garden marked by rich growth of luxuriant species of plant life. Ever the dreamer had he not been in a hurry it would have become evident his had wandered into his own thoughts. A wedding party, its member’s richly dressed lingered about the men sitting and conversing in a manner that suggested the ceremonies aftermath. Though he was in no way dined, the young man felt that he needed to return back to his own party. That in some way it might end and he not be part of the throng to be counted as faithful. Swiftly heading back but down the wrong path confronted by some strangely configured varieties of birds that by their haphazard physical construction seemed more the pets of demons from another world than species resident on earth. He took the hint and retraced his steps staying just ahead of their flamingo-like communal gait. Back in the entryway lobby heading back to his starting point.
But exchanged for the old reality of a formal ceremonial meeting was another experience completely different. One composed of facsimiles of the same characters yet more in the setting of the lecture space of an auditorium of a college that had been sequestered by rambunctious students hell bent on frivolity of their generation. The mundane uniforms of the grouped young prevailing up the steps in chaotic repose. The young man having been brought into this amphitheater taken by the hand of a comely sylph that had instantly enchanted him. The lingering promise of her equally prompt disappearance being that if he old discover he whereabouts amidst this throng then she would be his. And so he began his performance trying to stay in character without he classic heroes of old. Traipsing up and down the stairs making overly theatrical motions and gestures at every despoiled, “Ahha“. The sly artifice of the moment summoned only to buoy his own quickly deflating hopes of a fading solution. Defeated evermore until out of desperation he grabbed a hose and sprayed the entire assembly dousing all. To equal measures of his shock and surprise lay an old maiden laying unconscious upon her front under the full extent of the flowing carpet of her own long auburn hair. A love of old turned sour, decades past the age of any other in the room. That fairer sylph long gone and his apparent prize subsumed within the indignity of this more ancient example of womanhood. His own shock leading to the fact that he like she was in fact too old for these games of frivolity. The two of them now fully revealed as being many decades advanced beyond that of all the surrounding audience.
The supremacist merry-go-round. ‘Whites‘ were once on it. Then they were lobbied to let negroes and women on it along with them. Now the ‘Negroes‘ and women want the ‘whites‘ to sit at the back of the bus and get off on their election. All the while the ‘Jews‘ driving the bus pretend to support all by support none. Other passengers from different identities getting on and off any only briefly engaging in the rowe. Only their own nebulous claim to be both above all things. And of course, superior to them. Supremacy is an ego-trip. Those who indulge in it seem to puff up like a balloon that go sailing slowly to the upper atmosphere. At a certain point the bubble expands as the air pressure insides exceeds that of the outside. But the structural integrity soon is overwhelmed by the internal pressure of that ego and bursts. The best that the balloon can hope for it it has lost its attachment to common sense is to get caught at a higher altitude for a while and begin to loose air. Then slowly as that ego deflates it comes down gradually in a sagging sense of humility. Of course that occurs only on calm days. When the atmosphere is stirred up There is less likelihood that the balloon with survive the journey upwards nearly as far.
This seems analogous to the ancient Greek tale of Icarus who build his wings of wax and feathers. The closer to the Sun that he rose the mores the wax softened until the whole contraption melted away. The result being an inevitable falling back to take a fatally hard landing on solid earth. Popular Western culture is too enamored with the ‘self‘. Too smug and secure in the fact that for better or worse, nothing is going to change in their neighborhood anything soon. But like anyone caught by whimsy to step farther into topics they have no right to claim judgment about they overstep their limits. And in a society as overstuffed with everything including opinion, they are easily popped. The whole culture riding on the edge of the cliff of unavoidable chaos due to unproductive attitudes that will solidify into hatreds and quite possibly to bloody violent conflict. But over what? Who did what to whom several hundred million years back when no one now living could have ever been alive. The irony being that what is considered as the most accurate history being the province of the group considered most in power and actively scheduled by other ones for demotion. One’s opponents having to learn the dogmas of it’s opposites to attack it. More absurdly yet these same attacking groups needing to attempt to believe in their own collective fantasies that are at the same time both arcane and far afield so that they cannot bear any scrutiny beyond serving as an excuse for animal blood lust. Whatever they hope to gain from those that they consider as too dominant simply being destroyed. And everyone being the lesser for the exercise. That old adage of, “Cutting off your nose to spite your face!”, coming into play. No one able to be right because the popular harangues of the moment has made every other for of exclamation wrong. The mindless philosophy of a stirred up mob trying to find some mischief to get into so justify its ill feelings. Any and all scapegoats may apply.
Of course, seismic events do not simply occur from nowhere without someone behind the scenes expending an awful large amount of effort to get them going. The principle of finding a harmonic upon which to apply a scalar situation of discontent that effects all sides equivalently badly so that depending upon the point of view everyone is both right and wrong. The fact of the matter being that they are not in control of themselves in either way beyond simply being swept away in the prevailing stormy winds. Throughout history there are always certain groups that wait in the wings who have been born in the back alleys that seem to prosper on continued chaos. They take great lengths to not be called out in public as the instigators of trouble that they really are. Part of their art being to not only remove common sense logic from any discussion, but to convince any that might stumble upon their chicanery as crazy or unfair in their accusations countering their insiders innate behaviors. These are the human virus’s and parasites in no way different to that a similar species that affect both animal and man. Who is to ultimately blame? What can one say that over the long term it does not really matter. For to go beyond pointing out the roles taken by all and going on from that moment to deflate the egos of all to a reasonable size depriving them of the intake of further drama, there is nothing more that can nor need be done.
No engine of man in terms of an abstract governing body or popularly recognized saint of current reigning authority can take the place of the almighty of the fact that all sides remain pint-sized and minuscule before the insoluble mystery of the universe. Those simple questions of existence that the ego-bound would so easily hope to ignore and leave behind as they pump themselves up to escape same. You may think and therefore thou art? But can any in the crowd of those doing same collectively prove that their attempts are really more than just another passing fad or folly. In that ways mankind is it’s own worse enemy. The final judge being the inevitability of an inescapable ending to their tale. The story of every endeavor coming to a finite conclusion. That is what recorded history at its best can offer that those living only in the moment of their own folly cannot.
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.