It was so cold out in the middle of nowhere. The few mice that scurried by were unable to dig. So I dug out a bit of sand for them. Then put some paper cone shaped cups in the depression to keep the sand from filling in. The idea was to create little shelters for them to escape the cold. At one point it felt like my tooth fell out. Now the exercise was to simulate what would happen if one was caught under fifty tons of rock. You weren’t allowed to have any heavy equipment or explosives. The time to accomplish this feat was equally limited as well. Occasionally someone would call in from home to see how things were going. They needed to see if the contestant in question would be washed out of the competition as they couldn’t figure out the necessary procedures. There always being a way if one had sufficient will to keep trying. The most direct method of attack was to figure how to pry away the right stones with a sledge or crowbar to avalanche the rest to the side without crushing those trapped beneath down below in the center. The Pearlstein’s, frozen anger, frozen in time, plastered messages! The contestants nosing around the pile trying to find some clue as to the best way to proceed. Realizing early that every moment taken away was another irrecoverable moment lost. This problem demanding that it must be calculated before resorting to trial and error. The exercise had been devised by party officials as more of a trap than an honest competition. Yet, the young contestants refused to give up.
A strange little man stopped by the apartment within the small clinic pushing a bailey. And though he claimed to be there to assist my mother in some way or somebody I knew? He seemed to be doing a good business as far as other old ladies who were dying. The majority of them dropping dead almost instantly after his arrival, or so he said. The first one was sad enough. The second one having been just next door caused me to query him. The situation of so many subsequent deaths made me suspicious. How could all these people so conveniently begin to die after he had been offering his postmortem service?
I walked down the city sidewalk and to my shock came upon two corpses, one limbless torso tossed over another one without arms or legs. The one on top orange from rot seemingly growing out of the other. The unconscious inference of the impression left being that one had been somehow helping the other. The corpse on top when it had been alive had passed itself off as a savant. Traveling from individual to individual offering his point of view, whether asked for or not. He might have been called semi-religious, at least from the point of his jargon. He persisted in showing up in all sorts of unorthodox places to voice his opinion.
He claimed that he was constructing some sort of amorphous structure that contained a maze within. The maze contained a brass covered grid upon an effigy of a piano shaped object colored in a marble pattern of turquoise and red that was quite striking in its impression. He was showing some black women that this was in actual fact a device designed to attract and trap some sort of heretofore unknown undiscovered entity. A stockpile of guns nearby at hand in this faux casino. The man’s lectures startled some of the ladies as the demeanor of his voice began to take on a more markedly authoritarian tone.
The movie theater that the man had gone to could qualify as a very strange place with people’s hand writings scattered freely all over the inside of the structure’s walls. Most being very large at ten times their original size. Some extending forth like bas art sculpture. Somewhat taken aback he exclaimed that, “I was just there to have fun.” Simply having trailed in the auditorium out of curiosity and being in the vicinity.
Finally at home, in the midst of the plumb darkness of early morning, he woke up in agony. Most probably because of what he had eaten earlier that evening. A big mistake! Going to that small neighborhood Chinese food restaurant. He didn’t even know why he even ate it? It was so so bad! Aside from the fact that he was so hungry and didn’t want to waste the money. Stupid! One would thing that one’s health would be more important than such false economy? But doesn’t that say something? More worry about the economy at large than his own physical well being! Physical, mental or spiritual. Alone socially, political and by himself in terms of the current era, that not being so bad in terms of getting around the world and walking the animal around the block! The bad thing being shuffled to the other side of the deck of cards into the discard pile. The reason d’être slowly evaporating.
He couldn’t relate to what most people were obsessed with? Maybe he was too comfortable! He had a car to get around when he needed it and a roof over his head for the near indefinite future. The expenses in living were manageable not threatening to dispossess him. Not under attack like some others. Yet in the back of his mind he knew that this could change at any time. The terminology of race ceaselessly pushed by the Communists ever threatening to create sparks to ignite to violence. A bunch of age old peddlers of deceit with self-aggrandizement on their minds. There was no reason to go hiding under a rock despite the fact that no one was safe anymore. His admiration saved for those people who were sticking to telling the truth no matter what the cost. That was where he came back into the conversation. There was no need for further phantoms to complicate his existence. Only a bit of perfidy here or there.
It was determined that he had just recently been invited into another part of the city unknown to him. And had been invited up to the penthouse by a newly encountered acquaintance on some excuse. It didn’t take long for him to realize that all these Jewish guys started showing up and acting purposely nonchalantly tipping him off that whatever was happening that he was to be the recipient of it. The conversation that they started demonstrated only an equally shallow verbosity. They must have taken their guest for some ‘rube’? A typical Goyish nobody who was incapable of spotting any guile. One in particular sporting a yarmulke slowly edging his way over towards the right side of the bed that the center of their attention was sitting upon. The typical choice of an open collar sweat stained while shirt his most identifiable uniform. His complexion almost ivory like exposed bone. The faux conversation at large trying to divert him away from this slow stealthy progress.
The seance continuing until at one beat just before the resolution of this gambit was to be sprung their prey suddenly rose up and walked casually to the hallway. This unexpected action taking the wind out of the sails of the imminent plan of the incredulous group. The would be assassin’s plan to break the neck of the man with one swift twist having been thwarted. Their intended victim now disappearing out through the front door and down to the stairwell before they could confer to reorient their planned hit. Mossad agents not necessarily always living up to their fabled reputation for efficiency. The fugitive throwing his pursuers off by taking the stairs to the roof rather than downward to the street. The extra moment or two leading to an impulsive action of running along the parapet towards a corner of the roof then vaulting over it despite a ten story drop. To the man’s surprise then landing squarely upon the balcony of the floor just below. Then instinctively hauling himself over the far railing and easing himself down the the next consecutive balcony and repeating the process until he was several floors below. His pursuers being completely confounded.
It was later determined that some footwear had vanished from a lower apartment where the sliding balcony door was left open. The intruder possibly being shoeless at this point absconding with a set of house slippers. From that point on no one knew what happened to the escaping man as he was not seen alive again.
Once more an adolescent I was accompanying my father on his sales calls, He resurrected once more from the still fertile recesses of my imagination to a place that had not been extent in some eighty years. Perhaps from his own formative time as a small boy himself when most outlying neighborhoods of the city were more self-sufficient and accessible without the need for an automobile. The large sedan of his that I still to this day posses in running condition had taken us to a curious two story edifice that served as the local department store. Maybe some local entrepreneur’s idea of the next logical evolution to a larger department store its floorspace was a crowded warren of display case crowded tiny departments. Each one overloaded with a cornucopia of items that threatened an avalanche to the unwary consumer. The main topic of conversation that day was in terms of aiding the current newspaper ad campaign manager of this concern was interested in promoting. I noticed a listing for a moderately priced high powered rifle that was going on sale the following day on a limited first come first serve basis. As it might seem impolite and counterproductive to my father;s business at hand I stayed silent about my own interest in viewing and possibly purchasing the item. I returned to the apartment that I currently was living in which was merely a six or seven block meander down local thoroughfares away. My intent was to return by myself under my own auspices to view this rifle. The afternoon customer traffic within the store was moderate but my ability to discern the different departments was sketchy. Not because of some inner malaise that was afflicting me as in an obsession to save money by spending it. But in terms of a curiosity about what exactly this incentive might turn out to involve as far as quality was concerned. As I made my way up the side stairwell and into the thicket of prolific merchandise I realized much to my own surprise that I had a rifle on my shoulder that was in fact my own. I suddenly felt embarrassed and exposed as the idea of having carried an unsheathed weapon in an urban setting was just plain stupid in terms of drawing the attention of the authorities. The object of my quest finally in view and underwhelming framed within the confines of a literal storm of marked down merchandise. To my way of thinking after going through so much trouble, just another way of getting rid of junk.
Times were getting tense, internationally speaking. Who could tell with all this institutionally derived fake news what was really going on in this world? The current buzz suggested that a nefarious agenda was behind the latest round of military exercises the military was going to be holding on domestic soil. Two young podcasting journalists showed up at the door of my high rise penthouse and begged entry to set up shop to comment online about events brewing just to the East. Once ensconced upon my balcony the two of them pacing back and forth to the camera of their workstation to share details of what they alone could only seem to see. My poor aged mother had returned from the dead to pace down the opposite hallway to go to bed. As I saw her pass into the bedroom I happened to turn towards the other sliding glass door to the opposite balcony to spy a vertical jump jet hovering just beyond the tree line. While my young guests were yacking away on the far side of my unit making up tall tales I brought their attention to the hard evidence of activity that I had just witnessed. As my age was over three decades past their own they were reluctant to believe me as they were the experts. Finally, after one of them departed the premises to seek out a cup of coffee, his junior partner came back to my end to query my experience. I explained to him where the vehicle had settled back to land down some quarter of a mile past the very same building that we presently stood within. He and I departed down the elevator both of us taking off on foot in the direction of the expressway. Having reached our destination of a tree enclosed clearing we found that sure enough the place was crawling with military vehicles. M1A tanks and VTOL aircraft as well as all manner of other craft. A sentry came running up to us wearing some strange uniform and I tackled him. It was a physical challenge for the young announcer and a person that was almost at the age of his great grandfather to knock the fellow out. It dawned upon us that we were currently witnessing a takeover of our own country by elements of our own military. I began to wonder when the bombs would start to drop on my own neighborhood? And the civilian population that survives, rounded up to be sent to a camp.
A regrettable incident involving a spirited young woman who defied armed representatives of this new regime occurred. She and I took off to the hinterland avoiding roadblocks, our progress following the path of a large Isosceles triangle. The small bus that we were traveling in eventually being stopped and she being summarily shot and executed just outside its front entry. This experience had me recalling another episode that had occurred just before where a female acquaintance of mine from a small art colony from the dilapidated part of town whose resources had been allowed to rot away by indifference of government officials. The call for involvement of celebrities, entertainers, and local community leaders went out to heed this call. The schism’s of drugs, violence and divorce were temporarily overlooked in the effort to reclaim the community. Despite loudly voiced empty promises by some, little by little things were being rebuilt. Plumbing and electrical resources were re-established and I was another set of eyes that watched all this develop and the attitudes of people involved change over the ensuing decades. Though some of the famous personages who had dropped off this bandwagon had eventually gone the other way.
Why it was that I continually found myself alone in a strange city traveling in the midst of unfamiliar regions of highway and concrete on foot going from here to there and yet never finding a definable destination . . . ? And on top of this, could never answer the specific reason for doing same beyond the fact of just being caught perpetually in the midst of doing so?
Stuck in a mental foxhole, the rhythm of life interrupted like all the previous trends and drifts left and right before it had been. Bound inside by some unbreakable daily schedule as if there was somewhere else to be beyond sitting here. True fantasy. True existentialism. The persistent dilemma of having to express myself creatively to some audience for the sake of mounting the continuous fiction of a dialogue. Building a bridge. But to where? And based upon what footing? Without any emotion there cannot be anything human. Without some humanity there can never be art.
Games. Oak Park. Really bad ones. Somehow, somehow, somehow I ran into a bunch of hoodlums who wanted to run to me to demand my guns. But I didn’t have them. So, I had to go out and get some for I knew that it was a matter of time until they would come by and take care of business. There were no gun stores open at this time of night. So I would have to run home and pick up what I needed in terms of ‘gats’ and ammo. Unfortunately, fortunately, through inadvertent situations, they never showed up. It never went down. But it showed me the importance of self-defense. What is going to save you in this world is you. Positive action.
Back in Seattle, I guess? Supposedly living in a house with some other people. They’re moving away. It turns into a basement. So like I’m moving back and forth helping them. In the end however, they grab anything that’s worth anything and I am left with next to nothing. And, well? Finally I am comfortable enough in Seattle. Driving on my own in Seattle on my own in an open car which is not in the greatest shape. It’s hard to explain. Everybody leaves. I want to be helpful and everything but they all ignore me. It’s like I go to sleep and wake up again and everything is gone from the basement. And I know I am going to have to leave next. It’s terrible! I couldn’t breath all night due to shortness of breath. Kept waking up and falling asleep. Waking up and falling asleep. I really have got to sleep and I wonder if my heart is giving out? Could be! Running real hard. To catch a bus among other things. I don’t know?
Once again visiting. Probably Canada. Big lake and empty land. Long distances between where I was and where I was supposed to be. In terms of a city, I’m driving and end up in the middle of a snow storm. And I am returned to this most empty of places at the end of this snowstorm. It’s the next day and I’m snow blind. A whiteout more exactly! Some dot placed in an arbitrary location where though everything in any direction was simply white and covered in a heavy snow that had ceased falling just moments before. Totally dependent on someone else to show up and drive me out of here. Thick layers through which my feet broke through ankle deep from the surface were soaked in rising flood of water. The only sight of anything beyond an empty horizon filled with white resembling civilization was a small distant industrial structure by the long expanse of body of water. Soon to be washed away by this unseen phantom Tsunami. What hope was there to escape this folly?
There were a lot of old ladies dying. Found dead, nobody could figure out why. It’s a big mystery. Didn’t seem like the physical sometimes said anything to do. A form of trauma. Maybe even foul play? There were some other evidences too. A strange phenomena. And nobody could figure it out. Mensch tale, narrow it down to some kind of vehicle. That something that was knocking them off. And then somebody’s . . . the company name, something like Ajax. And now armed with that, looking around for some company. Someone to work for that company. Ajax! Little by little it was revealed. So, going through the rounds of finding people to talk to. To inquire about. All the leads seemed to be leading nowhere, until all of a sudden my partner saw a blue truck with red letters turn the corner. A woman from Asia at the helm. It seemed she was a new hire. They hadn’t trained her. And somehow, her lack of procedures were causing these horrific situations. I knew she wanted to escape. Just drive the Hell out of there and not be taken to task. Maybe return back home to Korea. But, I’d interview her and let her know part of the guys were just doing a better job. I had to find out exactly what she’d done. And I had to keep her trusting me which I knew I’d have to violate because that was the law.
The carving in the rock, the most sensual ones the Italian face. A place to go catch up on . . . well? Just to catch up on culture I suppose. And there were maps, diagrams, detail inside was longer. More overt the German side. Not so much! Who could tell if it was originally a museum or some offering to the Gods? Somehow it was part of a larger scheme that had modern connections. All I know is I was drawn to it. – June 1st, 2018
The whole city was on fire, the town one part of it at least. The part where I knew the father and the daughter. The daughter I was kind of after. And it was maybe Sydney [Australia], I don’t know! But it was sweeping down, going street by street. She wouldn’t listen, of course. She kept delaying it. My car was parked down [the hill] a couple blocks away between us and the fire. And at a certain point I told her, “We’ve got to go!” And she kept wanting to stay saying, “Oh no, go ahead, I ‘ll be OK.” I said, “NO, you’ve got to come with me!” So finally, I managed to pull her away. And even still, we ended up on foot. At that point, I didn’t know what happened to the car? Mule headed women!
I was thinking how it would be very nice to have someone in this bed with me right now. Not so much to paw and poke as just to nuzzle with in the warmth. Our own warmth together. But intimacy doesn’t come cheap in the society. In fact, it’s the most expensive thing! It’s tough to get two people on the same wavelength because one is inadvertently is going to pull the other one around. And maybe that’s both good and bad. Pull people towards things that are somewhat destructive based upon the current situations. And good because, what’s life about! I guess it would be nice to share my life in some ways with another? Feel like together with somebody and not alone. Of course, this is all temporal because people are here and then they’re not here. People love you and then they don’t anymore. And people are sometimes there and all of a sudden, they die. And then you feel worse off. And that’s the deal about it. Once you get connected with somebody, it’s almost worse because you’ve got something to lose. Where before, you’ve got nothing to lose. Right? So to lose it, that emptiness, that solitude, “OK?” You end up feeling fearful and being upset that the other person no longer is there, or care for you. “Oh God!” Hobson’s choice, huh? To be loved, or . . . to be alone.
Scarred pavement, slowly disappearing beneath the feet. Myself, and my female friend, each time we walk by a little more is gone because the sidewalk is eaten away. Pushing everyone further left towards the street. Where there used to be a mall, now there is construction. Everything is changing. I’m really not sure why. or where this is heading? I just know I don’t like it.
Maybe? The Romans and other ancient peoples lived for pleasure. They are cast as warriors in empires ever busily expanding or contracting in the business of war. In fighting and conquest! But you have to wonder if the average person, the average citizen, just wanted to enjoy themselves as much and as best they could, given the chaos they lived within? Socialism in the modern era of some twenty one centuries past those times believes . . . or tells its citizens, indoctrinates them to believe that their purpose in life is to mutually aid each other. But, this is the main goal to help make society better. And therefore, make themselves ‘better’! In reality, however, this is a falsehood. Perhaps one can wonder. But perhaps this gambit, this same ruse, was used on the serfs and the peons from that era!
Going from table to table being interrogated as to one’s actions or worth. And then, on occasion, sitting at tables and interrogating other people in kind. I have no idea what type of mischief or malady is being enacted? I just know that it didn’t bring out the best in people to participate in this. – June 2nd, 2018
Maisie sat in her office chair amidst the dead air clad only in her baggy worn briefs. A gift of the male counterpart of a long past relationship. It was still early with the weekday morning traffic starting to brew. What did eh care for the niceties of male and female anymore? She could feel the sweat under her arms and breast gathering ready to drip. Her short morning walk to the ATM next door had extended itself to a roundabout travel to the local Dunkin Donuts shop. The thought of another cup of coffee hadn’t seemed so appealing as a ham and cheese croissant that she had steadily been trying to talk herself into for the last three blocks. Though Summer was a month off the Sun’s direct heat was plainly evident on her pounding cranium. She strode forth at an unsteady pace from shadow to shadow of two-story bungalows tightly arranged. The former thick shock of cascading curls on her pate had been replaced over the years with a dry overly bleach blonde’d peroxide ridden scrub bare and unsubstantial to deflect the rays of the Summer Sun. The idea of her own flesh like a block of soft cheese absentmindedly left out from the refrigerator sitting there slowly deforming afflicted her mind. The tension between her constant hunger and a persistent middle age patent obesity taut as a bowstring. The approach of middle age had left her paunchy. Her flesh having turned sallow and overly weighty. The flaps of skin under her arms had long ago appeared now slung mere inches lower above the aggravating muffin top of her distorted abdomen. Too many years of alcoholic indulgence in excess? It seems so odd to her that as a female the fact of her nakedness seemed to elicit only two outcomes in this world. Sex or disgust.
The freedom to now sit alone and comfortable and undisturbed by any outside wayward glance providing a third option of just being unremarkable without comment. The small table fan behind her was finally beginning to work its magic. The slippery stickiness eventually deferring to a simple sensation of warm flesh rolled up upon itself. She leaned back further and let the chair squeaked under her weight in the long accustomed agony of relinquishing this intimate contact of same to continuous gusts of cool air. Thank God she was long past the point of hot flashes! She unconsciously raised her hand over the back of her neck to stroke the back of her neck. A nutty whiff of wood smell sweat caught in her nostrils from the intensity of her own scent. She had given up on the deodorant stick when Joyce, her last best friend had advised her that all those products contained aluminum. She felt she was already well on the way to losing the rest of her temporal memory as it was. She didn’t need to speed the process along for the sake of her bodily insecurities being preyed upon by strangers. She would just quickly hop in the shower and break out that old bar of fragrant soap before she got dressed again. Besides, who was she going to see her today anyhow? Not some old hang dick useless lover. That was for sure!
Ralph was getting a little older. Well? A lot older! Too old in fact for a world that saw him as a grandpa. The trouble being that he wasn’t ready to cooperate. He may have gray where once a darker color predominated. And on occasion walked in a slightly stiff arthritic manner on cold and windy days. But the mind and the set of thoughts that drifted in and out of it still was far from the stuff of errant or idle musings. Though he would not have ever attempted to pass himself off as remaining eternally fixed in his thirties or . . . God forbid, his twenties. It would seem a slight to be considered as someone who had rolled up his perspective on the living of life to retreat to greener pastures. In fact as far as he was concerned, it was a direct insult! He had served his time as a callow all knowing youth that in point of fact was very much uninformed as to the actual ways of the world once long ago. What was it that drove such insensitive notions that someone a decade of more older than you was patently to be considered a dope? For himself, Ralph had long ago learned his lesson that all those he encountered deserved at least an initial amount of respect. At least until they quickly proved by their actions that they were incapable of returning same. Then it was a cold shoulder and as much distance as possible. The underlying problem was that today in this present tense of so many self-empowered splinter groups that seemed to feed like lampreys upon the encouragement of a politically inspired deranged point of view that all people had been grievously marginalized by the evils of society that were supposedly engendered by a single group. His group!
The current target of the spark and spittle of the news barons was was formerly known as the Middle Class. Now branded consistently by journalistic epithet now ceaselessly harangued as, “The White Male Middle Class!” Could there be anything worse on earth he daily wondered at the latest crop of scandalous accusations that leached from the festering open wounds of all the major news sources. The gangrenous infection taken up by a myriad of websites posing as independent private opinion but routinely exposed as a fifth column of liberally funded NGO’s working in consort. The image of a pit of poisonous vipers would come too readily to mind. As if the label that had been so casually hung around his neck had placed him in some fifties B movie recounting the tale of a bilious Ali Baba type villain. Something that smarted of grand irony in terms of one of the foremost issues of the day heatedly debated. That being the unsupervised importation of Ali’s hostile relatives en masse to these distant shores. One couldn’t help but take an attitude as now one seemed to be under constant attack! He wished that all this nonsense would finally dissipate and go away. But each day, it seemed to get worse. The list self-appointed ‘US marshals‘ dealing out the immediacy of the instantaneous censure of verbal rough justice seemed to be growing exponentially! The fast and loose imagination of any person that figured themselves qualified by reason of different skin tones or dubious gender descriptions seemed to enjoy this pastime. Taking it to the heights of endless unrestrained hyperbole if given the slightest of opportunity. This made traveling in open society a challenge as it was always possible at any instant along the way to draw fire from unexpected directions. The worst sin among all this was of course his age!
It was very hard to keep a positive humanity when its progeny persisted in acting like rapacious animals going out of their way to push their weight around. The greatest irony of the situation was that where along the lines of the current stilted historical narrative one might have possibly expected such mischief from what had been the traditional underclasses of black and brown, the worst most aggressive participants were females sired from his own group! It was if some alien species had surreptitiously landed to enact a nefarious agenda of infecting the last couple of generations of young women with a vitriol one might have expected of an ill treated Rottweiler. The unchecked viciousness of one of these seemingly harmless femmes seemed triggered by the simple fact of his presence. The Hollywood factor of being cast as playing a simple extra embodying, ‘the bad guys’ was simply wearing thin. Where formerly he had tended to carrying on with routinely affording a standard degree of customary chivalry and politeness to all, his well was suddenly running dry. The drought of any reciprocal human kindness in kind was rapidly erasing any sympathies that had formerly been d’rigor in his daily existence. A spiritual meanness was just as quickly replacing that proverbial cup of human kindness that now was now too often being knocked out of his grip. His attitude had cooled to a level of indifference where in the past he might have unceremoniously offered assistance to any maiden in distress, he simply kept on walking. Though all this was evident to him in spite of the pang of emotions summoned by what was now an atmosphere of constant never ending routine slights, it seemed better to avoid any encounters at all. Out an out hostility of longstanding members of the local underclass was to be expected by an unspoken set of longstanding rules of engagement. But the repudiation of those that were taken from his own strata were judged by him to be completely unacceptable. Such was the poisonous nature of society let loose throughout the land.
The sunny afternoon had quickly raced past the morning with the short list of chores completed and a number of additional outside tasks to be fulfilled in the outside world. The last day of the week before the imminent holiday weekend was already proving to be one of rising chaos. It seemed that a perfect storm of mass hysteria was building and a rising frenzy of emotion to get everything done as quickly as possible was evidenced by a growing throng of motorists. Ralph had already run the gauntlet of snarled traffic at intersections before the incremental passage of slow freight trains aggravating same at railroad crossings. Common sense coming into play in finding side roads to avoid same and still reach the desired destinations. It seemed that the other drivers had abandoned all restraint around him. Some driving on median strips or persisting in clogging intersections further by blocking them so when the stop light would change they would not be blocked in turn by opposing traffic. A certain sense of the law of the jungle was taking over and the large strip mall shopping center that was the last stop on his list had only been reach by encouraging the driver in front of him to drive past a truck and empty boat trailer that had casually cruised in from of the entrance so as to vouchsafe its place with the change of the next light. He followed the car in front in making an exaggerated left turn that had him almost double backing a bit to gain the center’s entrance. His usual sense of caution in offering a slow and steady course with his vehicle seemed to be at odds with the vagaries of behavior of other drivers. One never knew if another vehicle might unexpectedly blow the intersection as breakneck pace so as to slip through. This time he was lucky as he only had one near encounter with a beat up gray Dodge Charger driven by a black women enforcing her privilege across the twisting maze of asphalt striped thoroughfares. He reached his destination with a minimum of automatic curses barely suppressed under his breath. It was get in, get your business done, and then get out.
The traffic just outside the parking lot had now swelled to a bumper to bumper monstrosity and the start of rush hour technically was still some two hours ahead! He carefully backed out of his parking space twisting his head stiffly upon the unsteady swivel of his neck. Four lanes plus of snarled traffic stretched before him coiled like a snake. What could be the hangup he wondered? Some half-completed road construction, its workers too much in a hurry to leave early and not shift their warning markers out of the way? His unconscious self steered the vehicle towards a perpendicular access road that promised a circuitous route that might offer less of a wait but take him way out of his way from home. Against his own intuition, he turned towards the exit into the embroiled lines of cars. The light changing and a miraculous space left vacant allowing him to access the center lane as he was customarily accustomed to doing so. He eased back in the seat of his sedan and waited patiently as the spacious cabin was being evacuated by the air conditioning of the rising Summer heat. Though he had given up drinking again some months back out of boredom he contemplated a nice meal out back by his own home in walking distance. This weekend would be spent alone in the confines of his apartment safely out of reach of all this sprawl.
Maisie was on her way to her girlfriend’s apartment down by the lake. The windows of her old Dodge Daytona being cranked wide open as the air conditioning unit had long since conked out. This late nineties nineties rattle trap was not her cup of tea being an old biker chick more accustomed to the back seat of Harley’s and ‘hoggs‘. All the great muscle cars of the sixties and seventies had gone the way of her former existence as a roadie. Gone along with her looks and the instantaneous attraction of virile young men that had once been her ticket through life. This old red bomber she was using to get around in was the state supervised gift of her second divorce. That unadvised second run around the block with an L.A. session man that had lost his currency and misplaced his own meal ticket with the reigning powers that be. Rap was long in residence and the once ‘hip’ sound of Michael McDonald had gone from gold to rust. That last gig having powered her indirectly through her hefty divorce settlement and grabbing most of his estate after he had committed suicide with pills and booze. As far a she was concerned, men were a losing proposition that simply by the powers of chance she had managed to have finally in some way lucked out in. The old geezers of today were either equally burned out old wrecks to caught up in their past now extinct generations or paternal privileged woman abusing skirt chasers that were preying on girls their daughter’s age. To her mind that classed them all in the category of dirty down low pedophiles.
The traffic jam she had suffered on the avenue was beginning to get on her nerves. The hair of the dog pick me up had kept her brain from rattling around in her skull from last night’s activities. A half a bottle of rye back on the dresser of her tiny studio hovel in Stone Park had eased her own angst to the point that she had passed out early. Joyce had taken off and was now back up in Lakeview at her own crib. The two had been watching reruns of Thelma and Louise till just after midnight. “Goddamn all those Brad Pitt assholes!” , the two of them had mutually chimed in the fervor of the required usual mock outrage at the part the little pencil dick had run off with the girls stash. Maisie knowing his real offense was being too young and handsome and indifferent to the captivating charms of their two matronly victims. It it were her, she would have just shot the little bastard on sight to begin with! Traffic wasn’t moving and her head was beginning to pound again. She felt like laying on the horn but that wasn’t allowed anymore even by her. The new generation of PC metro-sexuals had a way of quietly shifting one’s righteous outrage into consensus based guilt. Honk the horn just once and see how they would instantly ally against you like that old spooky movie, The Children of the Corn. The spooks from the adjacent ethnic bedroom community were even worse. Everything to them was a matter of their race being damaged at the slightest interference with their own attitude of committing customary petty outrages. They’d speed up in the lane next to yours then cut you off carelessly swinging over only to then jam on the brakes just in front and give you some lip. As far as she was concerned, the whole world had descended into a trash pit full of human garbage, black brown and white.
It had been a matter of five minutes and Ralph’s Lincoln sedan had traveled the equivalent of four car lengths after what had been a matter of three traffic light cycles. The air had helped but the crowd of other vehicles around him seemed an impossible phalanx to break out of. Not that he was in any particular hurry beyond trying to internally adjudicate his own blatant stupidity in contravening his own common sense by not taking the more circuitous route that the unconscious silent voice within had prompted him to. “Idiot!“, he thought to himself. He’d more than likely be caught in this hornet’s nest of humanity for another half an hour at least before he made it past another two intersections. He looked back and forth trying to see if some break might open up in another adjacent lane and was greeted by the hard indifference of other drivers on either side. One in particular almost to the point of dreadful like some old midway carnival banner advertising a famous circus freak. The name “Popeye!“, jumped into his head as the only thing that seemed to be missing from the expression of the old red car to the passenger side of his vehicle was a clay pipe. She seemed to be pressing on the bumper of the car just ahead of her while he was just going with the flow. To his chagrin he noticed that the small amount of space between his own front bumper and the car ahead was occasioning the shifting of the old bat’s front wheels. To his astonishment she was now trying to push over towards him in what seemed some childish slow motion game of chicken. A simultaneous sense of fear and outrage struck him and though he wasn’t moving it was obvious that Hell or high water, this dame was going to force her way into his lane even if she had to smash into his stationary car.
The old Lincoln Towncar was up to that point in pristine condition save for some damage to the front and back bumpers that had mysteriously occurred from the ministrations of parties unknown when he was parallel parked. Now it seemed that like some YouTube video of maritime disaster’s his Queen Mary was going to be irrationally sullied by some uninhibited wheelhouse drunk. He frantically looked to the left scanning the side mirror and the lane to his left. The animal impression of the lane suddenly opening up pasting itself over the instant of his consciousness. His hands turning the steering wheel in consort with the foot pressing gently upon the accelerator not waiting for his conscious awareness to catch up to weigh the possibilities of the thing. A strange sense of infinite limbo taking hold as all his senses were suddenly in abeyance at the sound of a long heavy scratching sound followed by a sharp bang by his head. It taking some eons outside the shock and terror of that sojourn to alert him that he had impacted another vehicle that had appeared out of nowhere on his left to play the role of iceberg to his Titanic. His angst congealed in the soundless expression, “Shit!“, as he realized that the side of his car had most likely been damaged. The side mirror now absent he still being unable to spy the presence of the mystery of who had suddenly congealed? By sudden impulse he slammed his car in park and grabbing at his pocket verified that he had a device to employ in documenting the horrible reality he would find. Up to this point he had a perfect driving record for twenty, thirty years or more! Now at his age forcefully retired into the ranks of the only occasionally working poor he was now going to suffer further unexpected setbacks in some new substantial way!
The situation outside the car was all to obvious. The attempt by the Lincoln to avoid the incremental progress of the red Dodge had been met by another vehicle’s hasty attempt to break out from the stall of the traffic impacted left turn lane. The damage to his own car visually extensive far beyond the displacement of a plastic covered steel corner of the sturdy Jeep’s front bumper. The driver being a post-adolescent white youth who stood bristling with an attitude of barely suppressed righteous anger before the old man and his digital camera impotently snapping away at the boy’s Jeep. “You hit my car.“, Ralph muttered in a momentary daze suggesting a delirium composed of both amazement and shock. The attempt to remain outside of an oncoming sense of creeping paralysis vying with a deep angst that one of the final keystones of his family inheritance had now been fatefully despoiled. Another timeless moment packed with multi-layered reminiscences appeared before him recounting how his now long deceased father had bought this vehicle from his younger sister at her insistence. How his father’s lifelong love of big luxury autos had embodied his persona as a self-made success in the field of advertising and sales. And how in the long distant past he along with his mother had been driven with great ceremony in similar iterations of this sort of sedan to enjoy family get together’s at local expensive restaurants. The final bell tolling upon his father’s failing efficacy being an incident of the impact of another careless impatient woman driver that had smashed into the driver’s side rear quarter panel of his vehicle merely two days after he had stated driving it. The insurance of the offending party repairing the damage but wounding the old man’s pride of ownership or what to him was a pristine ride. Two years later his father was a bittersweet memory of better times now irrevocably lost.
The driver of the red Dodge had now captured full control of the lane. Maize sallow complexion was now almost as flaming red as her auto. “That dumb old prick!“, she screamed at herself following it up with an automatic self-satisfied rejoinder. I hope the old bastard gets his license taken away. The nerve of the old geezer trying to accuse that poor young man of hitting his car! It was obvious that he had no business driving that gas guzzling monster to begin with! She found her voice automatically rising to ring out. “It was the old man!”, she screamed this time aloud. “He hit the Jeep and it’s his fault not the boy’s!” A long lost momentary feeling of warmth spread throughout her body. A sense of righteous empowerment flooded through her veins reinvigorating the frame that the usual hangover of many ‘night before’s’ had long since demolished. It was good to be in the right for a change she thought to herself. Good to see someone else suffer as she had for so long. Good to see it was some man that had probably fucked over a few like her in his checkered past. They all deserved some form of divine retribution. Especially those who seemed to recall faces from her own childhood. Her father for example! The one that would never let her stay out late with her boyfriend. And then would carp about it from the next day on when she would arrive after midnight. She had lost her first boyfriend that way. He had started up with her best friend whose father let her stay out until the cows came home. The two got married right out of High School and had a couple of kids. The heard sometime later that they had split up a few decades later. The bastard!
A woman’s voice rang in Ralph’s ears and then another. To him it seemed that a crowd was beginning to form. A lynch mob! The rows of cars behind the two vehicles were impatient. Two self-righteous voices rang out above the maul. “The old guy!” “It was the old guy’s fault, he’s to blame not the young kid!” A thirty something female had detrained just behind the Jeep and a woman was glaring at him with malevolent intent. The old biker chick that had caused the whole mess was half hanging out of her driver’s side window leering at him with a devilish expression of glee. “It’s him alright, he did it!“, she croned. He managed to recover himself somewhat in a single sigh. There was no way to defend the happenstance of his instinctual response to this crowd. He was the most likely scapegoat. A target not so much for the event or his spontaneous utterance so much as for his simple mere existence. An old white man in a big sedan from the time warp of a former era where all of those before him had been told by their televisions and digital devices that his group were the bad ones that had caused all the present day problems and ongoing strife. He was the one! Guilty as charged, caught in the vicinity with any and all crimes imagined or not. He found his lips moving automatically in a stately calm monotone addressing the young man and his most ardent supporter and volunteer witness. “Well what ever you feel we should, pull over to the next street and let’s exchange information so we can report the accident to the police.” The cars on either side were now like angry bees inching past looking for the change to sting. To his surprised his two unrepentant accusers simply stood there uncooperative and immobile. Their eyes fixed upon him like laser beings trying to effect his total destruction. Smarting no doubt from the temerity of his daring to give them suggestions. After a minute Ralph simply climbed into his car put on his right turn center and began the task of trying to reach the road ahead without being hit again.
Maisie felt proud of herself. She saw the old prick standing their with his dinky camera half raised in shock. Impotent and alone. An nagging impulse from within urging her to continue to drive past and quickly onward out of the vicinity. That is what the old guy deserved for not getting out of the way! The other cars around her seemed equally stirred up against him. She looked in her rear view mirror and saw a few of them whizzing by blocking his effort to get to the side of the road. The sound of his horn being pounded furiously not allowing him to make any headway. Let’s see him get out of this! Maybe the cops would come and take him to jail or stick him in a nursing home? The sooner the world was rid of his kind, the better. She leaned over and turned on the old cassette player and the tape began its revolution spouting out mid chorus, Pat Benatar’s, Harden My Heart. Maisie joining in with her alcohol ravaged throaty rasping tones, “I’m gonna harden my heart, i’m gonna swallow my tears . . . ” The traffic was finally breaking and Maisie tromping her foot hard on the pedal now laughing! The chorus of her former self now in some small way vindicated in spirit and in voice! A wide almost toothless grin stare back in the rear view mirror just above her. The rumble of the road challenged muffler of the old red Dodge was sounding out loudly. “I’m gonna turn and leave you he he he here!“
“Why would women give up the power they have by the facility of birthing humanity to entertain a power they can never have? Is their vanity so strong? Are the overwhelming emotions of the day driving insecurity to a a point so unmanageable? Why would a woman wish to travel alone by themselves through this minefield bereft of the company of their counterparts who would gladly vouchsafe their safety for the price of a smile? Where does the unending rage to spite one’s mate at any price to maintain such an existences? Perhaps the indoctrination of the current popular didactic? A level of perpetual masochism that demands that they prove that they personally are tougher than their emotions suggest? Perhaps the permission denied by themselves to entertain those underlying dissatisfied feelings driving the inconstancy of emotions? What man among you can really say that they can posit comprehension?” He sat there by himself alone.
Why in the Hell did he travel to that place in the first place? The reaction to the incident was not so much horror as unpleasant surprise. That young modern women would behave so? He shook his head staring blankly into space trying to reconstruct the order of events that had occurred less than a day before. What had initially brought him to that lower basement apartment as far as motivation was concerned was at this point academic. Perhaps some posted personal column local advertisement? A reference to it in conversation overheard from another anonymous party at a table in the coffeehouse beside his own? An impromptu gathering that night of eccentric personages. Some frivolous eclectic gathering of fun seekers that like himself were tired of the usual humdrum of mental candy canes offered up as fit activity to fill in the gape of the coming weekend. Being solitary in his outlook to the point of obsession was an issue that he needed a ready cure to combat. The last live body breathing female that he had directed his emotions towards was a distant memory reaching back to the relative fog over a decade or so. And she was merely playing the part of a period placed at the end of a long parenthetical list of other names now long lost and forgotten. Attempts at elusive types of relationships in all their varied forms had merely led to the expected eventuality intervening bouts of emotional oblivion. And as of late, the temporal balm of various oasis’ of pornographic Internet site that had now become his inappropriate virtual mistress. One that he was reluctant to employ too often out of conscience and even more hesitant to admit to in public. The need to once more directly engage with reality to dispel these latent artificial fantasies in any way seemed ever more needfully appropriate. He found himself at the border of some innocuous heretofore unknown community. Darkness having just conquered the last of sunlight for the day as he checked addresses along the length of a completely foreign street. His ultimate destination being a shabby two-story legacy flat of nearly a century past leveraged in incognito amidst others of a similar ilk. The sort that the more intrepid of the society’s youth of today tended to desire to inhabit during that initial period of exploration on the way to adulthood. The type enjoyed before that eventual arrival of common sense matured and directed them elsewhere.
The recondite rite of passage of entry to the inner main stage of his recollected scenario being curiously unattainable to mind, his thoughts focused on how he had found himself within a small circle of particularly handsome young attractive females. A contemporary coven of sorts that seemed to revolve about an eclectic form of esoteric pomp and ceremony. One that unexpectedly afforded him with the requisite status one would have held by appropriate peers groups only close in years to their own generation. Adhering to inexplicable conventions that seemed impossible for him to ferret out! The behaviors exhibited by each in turn seeming odd to him, proclaiming a hint of the unorthodox in what might unexpectedly surface. His appearance, though chronologically relatable to the elder generation that had fostered his hosts, did not invite a source of derision. One that, given his advancing age as betrayed by his gray hair and paunch, one might have initially surmised? This all too evident accumulation of years placing him at that point where he might have been a characteristic avatar of a grandparent to any of them. But curiously enough, each of them engaged him as an individual. Each seemingly sensing him as a unexpected presence that had been decanted from a faraway fabled cult of fairy book tale. They seemed enthusiastic to note every response to their inquiries. And in turn, he relished his long abandoned lusting fancies of youthful animal attraction to the flower of their obvious charms of youth that each of them respectively radiated. A bevy of mermaids playing their lilting tones to his waxing Ulysses. Something that he was really not prepared for! This line of mutual allure and gravity of respect ranging throughout so many unexpected topics. Ones especially that he might have feared to voice otherwise. Lest he in other circumstances be immediately castigated as someone irredeemably perverse and then cast out bitterly into the night. Over minutes that seemed to lag into hours, it became evident that more than a dozen or so in number would emerge at various times from behind a dark purple velvet curtain. The arched portal cloaking the unseen recesses of the back of the apartment. He noticed that the overwhelming majority of these nymphs were pierced by metal decorations that thrust into the most tender areas of their exposed flesh. Lips, cheeks, foreheads, eyebrows! All carrying a silver stud or metal ornamentation. A badge of honor to their general membership in this club. Or maybe a or reward acknowledging some kind of demonstrated endurance of something that to his estimation must have been about constant discomfort? A standard convention by this time perhaps? It was true in terms of its evidence being embodied by the last two generations. Yet still startling to his own mind. The contrast of what what was increasingly seeming to be scanty attire revealing even more examples of this penchant for trendy body modification. Itself encouraging a shift to topics of a more offbeat nature that seemed to increasingly probe the boundaries of his own hidden sensibilities.
And more and more, he became motivated to actively respond to their free flowing inquiries by rashly revealing his own attitudes on topics normally thought to be taboo by the current trend of the larger conventionally repressed prevailing Liberal society. He feeling his oats heeding that unconscious need to fit in as motivated by a latent insecurity of quite possibly suddenly made the fool by appearing too out of touch with their own views to bother with. Though he could not now recall in reflection how the topic had been introduced, the general topic of discussion became Sado-Masochism. The center being that unexpected aporetic pleasure that was inherent in pain rituals occasioned by intense forms of physical restraint. One that generated a conquest for some of the obvious fears engendered by the practice of the same. And though his own actual personal experiential knowledge of such things was limited only a brief episode of costumed play sometime before the ‘year zero’ of the rest of this group, he forged ahead onward into postulating the gory details of what had been passed along to him via the ready store of Internet based virtual experiences of sexual deviance derived from those sites . Sequences and images of impotent struggles against intricate cinctures being still fresh in his mind from the previous night. He put forth his own musings on the relative virtues of different varieties of rope, leather, steel and their uses. The glowing reception evident within the eyes of his surrounding audience magically building to shine forth through the room’s dimness encouraging him on even more to play the expert on all things kinky. Perhaps he lost himself for a while within the voluminous smoke and mirrors of his own burgeoning ego? But a slight chill overtook him at a stopping point when it became obvious that more than a few of those passing back and forth just behind his audience were now sporting handcuffs for bracelets. Some with their arms held tightly back by other pairs of the same. Others in this throng that had previously seen in extravagant within some sought after resale frock now reappeared in their own bare flesh. His lecture now fully exhausted and coming to a close the conversation shifted back to a general discussion held among those that had not suddenly disappeared back into the apartment’s interior. He was gently escorted by both arms to the same cloth draped portal to the back room just beyond. Though the the general tone of their conversation of his escorts did not betray anything extraordinary just beyond the velvet drape, the sight revealed as it was swept to one side snatched away his breath. There in every section of the garishly lit interior salon were the rest of the young maidens all mutually engaged within the active practice that he had so long-windedly just expounded upon!
His initial shock was not diminished by the fact that his sidelong glances to the maidens beside him invited encouraging smiles! His hostesses seeming to convey that he was an honored guest. And hopefully, by virtue of the import their expressions, part and partial willing to similarly engage with them in this immediate ritual of these aberrant practices. His own emotions now being confronted with the fact that his own latent sense of misdirected pleasure wrought though a prolonged history of voyeuristic fantasy did not necessarily equate to his desire to be involved in its palpable practice. He realized that he was not there fate to be forcefully dragged unwillingly to perform these rites at his bodily peril but even more deviously had been hoisted on his own petard by some trick of celestial directed Karma. Wherein the sights that were familiar on the computer screen became anathema. The same ones that might have provided him with heightened degree of animal pleasurable now self-imposed by the demented play of these beautiful young mermaids only summoned forth a sense of despair. The misuse of their means of delight in so many varieties of ruthlessly applied deviant means struck him as something hideously morose. A form of particularly disturbing self-destructive behavior that derailed a more genuine form of emotion that might have been otherwise discovered with some faithful male counterpart through tenderness and harmony. The persistent entreaties by some of them in gleefully expressed offers for him to participate as a theatrical aggressor deux à deux faux male tyrant made him feel even more uncomfortable. He was now ashamed of his own errant ways and the meandering dissolution that had characterized the full extent of his own life’s course. It seemed no small irony to him now that he had fallen into a similar degree of disgrace at his own trail’s end. And so much even more horrendous that all these young innocent souls had encountered it too soon at their own earthly path’s beginning! His shame at being an inadvertent provocateur encouraging this situation precluding him from turning tail and promptly exiting. He did not wish to create a scene. So he wandered politely about the bacchanal in progress. Avoiding it by averting his eyes as much as possible continuously traversing to different parts of their play space on the most mundane of pretexts. At one point he found himself sequestered outside in the chill of night air upon a balcony. Feeling relieved at last to be away from the ever building maelstrom of collective deviance. Only to twist about at the unexpected moan of a young naked girl behind him to the side hanging inverted by her ankles by being willingly trussed up comically like an old world delicatessen Salami.
Now much later, and miles away by himself he could only feel a physical dramatic sense of being unclean. Polluted by something much larger than any single individual. A sensation that hovered beyond the reach of his own meager powers to swat it away. A prevailing social trend that was inimical to the latest generation that he had, in his own way, deigned to participate in along with his own kind. A sense of deflated pride by the fact that he had chosen his own egoism over a responsibility to have in some small way create offspring that in turn might have helped to counter this sort of unwholesome mindset. What pleasure of the heart and spirit had he missed by not bonding with someone else long ago? And had the presence of mind and faith to trust that their own hazardous hand in hand journey from the perils of youth might have led to something wonderful? How pathetic a human being he was! He and so many others of his own era. All those wretches that had somehow missed the point that the temperance of the past as embodied by their parents however banal might have balanced out their unruly leanings that made them easy game to the traps hidden in popular agendas as devised by cynical elites had so easily preyed upon. His mind’s eye flashed again and again playing the images of those betrayed innocent women from the previous night within an inner slideshow. Each one being so guiltless yet somehow fundamentally betrayed. Let down by popular fallacies that might displace too many of them from what might have been some better outcome. Too bad that such things were currently the way of the world as designated for us all!