Saturday, January 21, 2017

Crashing The (Papal) Pearly Gates

"OK, here I am, come to claim my just reward!"

St. Peter sighed. "Yes, so does everyone. Name, please."

"It's me! The Pope! Top God guy on earth."

"I'm afraid you'll need to be more specific."

"How can you not know me?? Pope John Paul Jones. I secretly named myself after the greatly underrated Led Zeppelin bassist. I'm a huge Zep fan but I repressed it for the greater glory of God. How moral is that! Setting the example for all those impressionable young minds."

"Frankly, I don't know what a "Pope" is."

"I'm God's top representative on Earth!"

"God shows no record of this."

"There must be some mistake. People voted on me. And they were God guys too!"

"I'm not seeing where God voted for you."

"You don't understand. I had millions of followers. They came from around the world to hear what I had to say. I was spreading the Word!"

"You were spreading something..." St. Peter inwardly laughed at his own inside joke.

"If only I had my robes and giant hat. What about all the souls I converted?"

"With no record of your own salvation, how could you save others? I'm sorry. I'm just not finding any valid evidence here for you to enter Heaven."

"But I devoted my life to God!!"

"So say you. I can only go by what I see. Your only redeeming quality was being a Zeppelin fan and, as you say, you foolishly repressed that."

"I did that for God, godammit! Get God's ass out here! We need to get this straightened out!"

"I am God's representative here."

"Bullshit! No one can speak for God but God, you judgmental jerk!"

"No word I speak is my own. They flow directly from Him."

"But how can God not know who the Pope is!"

"God is not responsible for you making up some sort of fairy tale declaring yourself His emissary or whatever. Only the truth shows up for me to evaluate. What other possible criteria could I use?"

"I get it. This is some sort of test of my faith. Well, sir, I've been a man of faith all my life. I am but truth's humble servant. Thousands of news articles have been written about me and my honest preachings. I'm not about to abandon my faith - now or ever!"

"Point being?"

"I'm here to tell you that if there truly is no evidence of my sincere devotion, then pull that lever now! For I -"

The lever popped back into place, poor ol' St. Pete shaking his head. "It's just shocking the number of people who demand I do that! I just said there's no evidence he should enter, not that he couldn't."

Crashing The Pearly Gates II

"Oh, you're going to love me!"

Just once St. Peter hoped he'd hear: "Oh, you're going to hate my sorry ass."

"OK, why's that?"

"I was HR director for a large construction company. Jesus was a carpenter, you know."

"Innocence by association, I suppose."

"Exactly, we were doing the Lord's work and I was caretaker for our company's most precious asset: our people."

"A noble endeavor."

"Indeed! Why, during a tornado's aftermath I helped organize our employees onto buses to clean the debris and help out at shelters."

"Very good deed, no doubt."

"That's right! Other corporations sent money, we sent people! So you see: Jesus was wrong. You can serve both money and God!"

"So your company saw profit in this?"

"Of course! I made sure all our projects were successful."

"But our records show you built a 100 million dollar highway down in Austin that was so detrimental to traffic flow they had to shut it down almost as soon as it was opened."

"Oh, yes, but that wasn't our fault."

"You're saying someone else built it?"

"Well, we built it but we did it entirely according to our high moral code."

"Then how could it have gone so wrong?"

"We were right. It was the truth that was wrong."

"Come again?"

"We had employees who were trying to sabotage the company with their negativity and bad attitude. Naturally, I had to guide them back in line and get everyone on the same page."

"Just exactly what did these employees do?"

"They kept saying what we were doing was stupid. They kept saying the design and our methods would never work."

"Were they right?"

"Absolutely not. Our gloriously perfect VPs had already mandated that it would work. These complainers were being insubordinate and seditious to our great moral corporation. Just think of the executive bonuses they were jeopardizing!"

"But these bad employees, as you put it, could have prevented a monumental blunder and serious damage to the company and its reputation."

"It's absolutely impossible to know if something is going to work or not until you try it. I told those bastards employees right in their face: "You can't say it's stupid!!""

"But why defend the executives since you admit no one had a way of knowing if the mandate was correct."

"HR ostensibly represents all employees of the company (wink, wink) - but our real job is to protect upper management because they truly are the company, not lowlife complainers."

"So it was not your job to serve the truth?"

"In a moral organization like ours, policy is the gospel - and I never violated policy."

"But heaven serves only the Truth."

"Sounds like you need a good HR person then!"

"So the truth is you deserve to be in Heaven?"

"Don't see how anyone could say otherwise (except for those malcontents!)."

"And you still refuse to violate policy?"

"That's the fact, Jack! That would be OUTRAGEOUS!"

St. Peter pulled the lever (as happens all too often) opening the trap door downward as per her inviolate policy. Next in line was another employee of the same company.

"Not sure if you want me. No one on earth did. Called me bad names and accused me of betrayal, saying I was a destroyer of the world because I pointed out the truth. Hardly anyone I talked to thought I was doing the right thing. But those guys are still in charge and I died from exhaustion. Was I a fool to have faith?"

"Of course not, only servants of the truth can enter. Otherwise one will choose Hell while thinking it Heaven. And just so you'll know, your HR lady won't be joining us ever. So many people seek to get into Heaven but all who choose it will."

Crashing The Pearly Gates

"Hey, you guys are going to love me!"

St. Peter, of course, had heard that line countless times while guarding the pearly gates to Heaven, yet he was always forced to bite.

"OK, why's that?"

"Man, you would, like, not believe how obedient I was! I did everything I was told, no questions asked. Always with a happy heart! I was never like those complainers with their bad attitude, no sir! I had my orders!"

"And what were those orders?"

"Whatever they said! No problems here. No matter how many Jews they told me to stuff in the oven I made it work. That's what you call a positive, can-do attitude."

"And you saw no evil in this?"

"Not a drop! All perfectly on the up and up, following orders right down the line. Not possible for me to have done wrong."

"What made you so sure you were right to obey?"

"It's always right to obey! I never did anything on my own, very strict about that, always remaining pure."

"You found it commendable to do as you were told?"

"Absolutely. I always made sure I had another human telling me what to do. Can't go wrong that way!"

"Why did you do what this other human said?"

"He was an official moral authority figure!"

"How do you know?"

"Other humans made papers for him saying it was so. And he had on these real fancy uniform clothes too! Papers and clothes, can't argue with that!"

"What if you found out those had been forged?"

"No, they were real enough. Enough other humans said so."

"Perhaps they were lying?"

"They were in charge so it had to be true. I'm not one of those malcontents!"

"People in charge lie too."

"I wouldn't know about that. That's for other smart people to decide, I am but a humble lowly worm not worthy of an opinion. But to be honest with you, frankly it sounds like you might have a bit of an attitude!"

"Oh, I can most assuredly tell you I do."

"Alright! Does that mean I passed the test? What kind of cool place do us good guys get??"

"I'll leave that decision to you."

"Oh, no! I trust whatever you decide and completely defer to your judgment."

"Then let me bring out Mr. Heinrich Muellerheim, your camp superior. We can let him decide your fate as you allowed him to do before."

"Worked once, ought to work again! Just look at those glorious metals on his shirt. That shows judgment you can trust."

"Fine, fine. What do you say, Herr Muellerheim?"

"Send him to hell for all eternity. I'm stuck there, his stupid ass can go too!"

"Hey, wait! I'm not going to hell just because he says so! You can't base a decision just on your own selfish interests. Things have to be fair to make things work out!"

"But you already deferred to him. You said it was the moral thing to do."

"You're not really going to listen to that guy after what he just said? He's only sending me to hell because he's in hell. That's OUTRAGEOUS!"

"Sounds to me like you have your own opinion and are questioning authority!"

"No! Never, never!"

"OK, then, bye-bye." St. Peter opened the trap door, the supplicant never to be seen again. Next up was a torturer from the Spanish Inquisition.

"Hey, you guys are going to love me! I was like totally devoted to the big boss: he had on these fancy robes, a tall white hat, and carried a cool cross! I never failed in my duties no matter how much the bad people screamed!"

Crashing The (Adultering) Pearly Gates

"Hi, it's me, the Good Girl! Ready to pass through the pearly gates."

"Nice to meet you. I see you're a lifelong adulteress!" observed Saint Peter.

"Oh, haha. You must have someone else's file. I was always good - and popular too! I did like people wanted and never stepped out of line."

"This is the correct file. You understand the only information I have available to me is the truth?"

"This can't be! I married my school sweetheart and stayed married to him my entire life. I never had an affair. I was only tempted once early on but I stayed strong! Praise be to God!"

"Yes, I see here you were tempted to do the right thing but refused."

"The right thing? An affair is never the right thing."

"But your true feelings were for him. He was your true husband."

"No, no, no. I had a marriage contract. It was official. Don't you see the certificate there??"

"Again, I have only the truth. Whatever papers you created have no meaning here."

"That's like saying I wasted my whole life!"

"That is the end result of adultery, yes."

"But we were rich! Blessed by God. God wouldn't bless an unholy marriage. That's why we were so successful."

"Do you feel blessed now having been revealed as an adulterer?"

"I'm starting to feel awful."

"So you are correct: God does not bless an unholy marriage."

"I can't believe you can see all my true feelings there! That's a violation of my privacy!"

"Feelings are your gift and your guide. It's you who chose to be dishonest."

A good girl would never do this!

"I was never dishonest! I never stole anything or cheated anyone."

"You cheated yourself. And you lied about your feelings."

"You can't just always follow your feelings! There's no security in that. And besides, I loved my marriage. What about those feelings?"

"But what of your husband?"

"Loving your marriage means loving your husband! You people can't just stand there and make me out to be some whore! I had children. Marriage is moral, sir."

"I can't control what comes out of your mouth. I have here no record of you having loved your husband."

"Then your records are wrong! What do you say to that?"

"I say nothing."

"Aha! And what if I demand to be with my husband for all eternity? What does that prove but your records to be false? False, I say!"

"I would say it proves nothing of the sort."

"Of course, you would! Because would say anything rather than be proved wrong. I'm going to spend eternity with my husband, my true love."

"I feel compelled to tell you it's in your best interests to emotionally divorce from your marriage and become an honest woman."

"That's the most insane statement I've ever heard. I'm sorry if you think you know everything. And let me tell you something else. People who go around thinking they know everything only end up betraying themselves in the end. You may think you're winning here but you're really losing. My final word is this: I am to spend eternity with my husband and you will just have to live with being wrong."

Peter sighed. "OK, have it your way."

The Good Girl flashed a brief winning smile before the trap door opened for her to join her deceased husband. Why does everyone have to talk their way out of Heaven?? "She was certainly right about one thing: people who think they know everything end up betraying themselves."

The Man In The Iron Suit

His suit was immaculate and dressed to thrill kill. From his blithe demeanor of a lifetime, one could see he was one who'd never known poverty nor ever expected to. His ease of speech and movement in the sewer of the world betrayed a soul comfortable in its own filth. As such, his presence was commanding, a rat among rats. The castle basement was his retreat, where skullduggery came to live.

"You can bring her down now," he yelled to the upstairs.

The man-beast to whom he beckoned picked up his gagged prisoner, holding her thin black frame aloft, feet dangling in the air. He descended part way down the stairs having participated in this ritual before. The gun was mounted on a tripod for accurate precision. A long silencer on one end, the rear of the gun a rectangular box with handles.

"Hold her steady."

The young woman screamed vainly through her taped mouth as she saw the red dot appear on her stomach. Then the man in the suit fired his shot. The man-beast rushed to hang the victim's shackled arms on a hook attached to the ceiling. Plastic tarp was below, anticipating the dripping blood to come.

The suited man addressed the woman. "Welcome to my life."

The gunshot victim was heading into shock. She'd never imagined a world of such casual evil could exist. Like most, she naively hoped that speaking well of the world would protect her. If only she could share her new precious knowledge that had come at the cost of her life.

"You are going to die. It will be slow. Right now in your heart of hearts you are willing to sell your living soul were I to cut you down. You just want the pain to stop and have a future once more. But stop and think. What possible future could you have after experiencing this? I and my ilk rule the world. Having seen our true face, how could you ever feel safe again? Would you dare start a family knowing you could have to watch their sacrifice at any given moment? No, you are dead no matter what I do."

The words were surreal, the bright fluorescent lights above the fires of hell. What was happening can't be happening.

"Just so you'll know, I'm not a prejudiced man. I'll shoot anyone of any race, creed or color. Anyone who says I'm a racist or a bigot doesn't know the true me. So sad."

Her eyes were turning glassy.

"This is the world we live in. You must experience what I'm experiencing. Who can resist the pull of self-expression? The pain is excruciating, isn't it? But what can you do? Even Jesus lived at the mercy of others. Do you think you're better than Jesus? I am a humble man and do not. So you see, I do understand we're all in this together."

She couldn't decide which was worse: the bullet or his words. It was obvious he had degraded to this state over a long period of time, filling himself with the convoluted rationales of a detached mind. She also noticed the absence of sound outside of his voice. She was alone in all the world.

"From your selfish point of view this may seem a cruel act. But A: I need this in order to feel alive and B: my life is more important than yours. The unimportant must die so the important can live. That's life. Realizing that makes for a strong leader. It preserves freedom."

Preserves my freedom to screw you!

She realized he was beginning to speak more to himself than to her, the constant running dialog in his head out loud.

"You also realize, of course, that since I'm in a position to do this I have the right to do this. Successful people live by different rules. We are privileged by divine right. To protest success is to protest life itself. Do you feel horror at your death? Then you've been living a lie."

She clung to the belief she would not die. This does not happen in a civilized world! No one would stand for this! She will be saved. The world is not insane.

"To show you I'm an honest man I'll be frank: I hate you. I despise the little lives to be used and thrown away. You live in a world of pretense that your woes and weddings signify importance. They mean nothing. You can have no dreams but what I say - and those dreams are to serve me. Through my insecurity I'll bring order to the world. It's men with guns to whom the world belongs. To forgo that is to delve into chaos."

Jesus was not coming from the sky to save her. Death was not far off. How could such men be allowed to roam free? It was plain to see he held no fear of consequence for his actions and she was not the first person he had killed in this manner. He was right about one thing, though: even if she were to live she could never trust the world again. Are we really just madmen lifting up other madmen to destroy us?

"The sound of your blood hitting the plastic is air in my lungs. Living by different rules is the greatest joy in life. Just imagine what would happen if you shot me! The world would clamor for your death - and rightly so. You would be dubbed an agent of anarchy. The little lives look to we the successful as the holders of salvation. Destroy that and you destroy their hopes. I trust you're beginning to see that shot in your stomach was not the heinous act you first thought it to be!"

She wanted to cry but could not. This one man holocaust was torn from the pages of history, reading his fellow human hearts and knowing he was safe in the darkness he found there. No one dare expose himself - and for the man in the suit to be exposed so must the accuser also step into the light. He gloried in his treachery as an act of God. He had come to rule, to deliver the people unto evil.

"Have you ever seen a man not in a suit rule the world? Through your dying I prove my own worth. Each life must be made to serve the world. And since that's killing me I must feed off your suffering. We must keep our dance of death alive as long as possible. For some, this is too horrible to face and they turn a blind eye. Some realize resistance is futile and join the victor. The rest are marginalized by society. You may say whatever it is you want of me but know this: I am condoned."

The woman was dead. And with her died the truth. No matter, thought the man in the iron suit, time for his inauguration. To him, life was about nothing more than winning or losing in the world. He was far too afraid to admit anything else, a prisoner within.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Decline Of America In The 21st Century

[Disclaimer: I expect no one to agree with or be swayed by my viewpoints. The world must save itself (Zatoichi Principle). One can only be accountable for oneself for when the final accounting is done.]

The world has never had a good definition of liberty, and the American people, just now, are much in need of one. We all declare for liberty; but in using the same word we do not all mean the same thing.
With some the word liberty may mean for each man to do as he pleases with himself, and the product of his labor; while with others the same word may mean for some men to do as they please with other men, and the product of other men’s labor. Here are two, not only different, but incompatible things, called by the same name — liberty. And it follows that each of the things is, by the respective parties, called by two different and incompatible names — liberty and tyranny.
The shepherd drives the wolf from the sheep’s throat, for which the sheep thanks the shepherd as a liberator, while the wolf denounces him for the same act as the destroyer of liberty, especially as the sheep was a black one. Plainly the sheep and the wolf are not agreed upon a definition of the word liberty; and precisely the same difference prevails today among us human creatures, even in the North, and all professing to love liberty. Hence we behold the processes by which thousands are daily passing from under the yoke of bondage, hailed by some as the advance of liberty, and bewailed by others as the destruction of all liberty.

- Abraham Lincoln
Damn the professional left!

The seeds were sown in the 20th century as we butchered every truth-teller we could find. Since "morning in America" there has been none and there will be none until the time of revelation and the world reverts to its original state (and many who are first will be last). What we have seen is the rise of the cult of personality and a disconnecting to reality. One need only study the decline of the Roman empire for a blueprint of the road we currently travel.

As each emperor became more crazed, debased, and wretched than the one before, so do we see the same regression in our leadership. But of course, any decline in leadership reflects the same decline in the people who raise them up. Our 43rd and 44th Presidents were tragedies and the 45th will be the same but without the mask of the previous two. No constitution can protect us from the self-loathing of the masses. Our search to restore former glory will prove fruitless and wasteful and delusional. We had our chances to do the right thing in the previous century but threw them away. Those bills are coming due.

History will speak ill of us and our continual sinking into conservatism (both right-wing and left-wing) and its erosion of human rights in all forms (social, political, and economic). It would be far easier and more accurate to refer to this century's leaders as President Judas. We barely even bother to hide the daylight treachery both planned and carried out. And why not? What did we do but give a collective shrug when we invaded a country unprovoked to plunder its resources? When our banking system betrayed us we instituted no meaningful reform, setting us up for a final fatal blow. There's seems to be no crime too large to ignore (except showing a breast at the Super Bowl! Then we get on our hind legs protesting our phony outrage with relentless conviction.)

Those who don't read the newspaper are uninformed.
Those who do read the newspaper are misinformed.
Those who read the human heart divine the truth.

With the rise of the cult of personality, as long as "our guy" is doing the dirty deed we turn a blind eye. We shut down our conscience and "trust" the hero in charge who executes "classy and elegant" drone strikes and "inspires" us by repealing civil rights. As we descend, we hear more about the person than policies. We argue vociferously on whom we should give our allegiance, presumably because the arguers have no allegiance to themselves. At what point do we stop and ask what's the endgame to this perpetual power-grabbing?

All the world is a conspiracy. You know the truth and I know the truth. Yet we pretend not to know when we meet. It's understood we must keep the lie alive so as to not disturb the unnatural order of things on which our lives (and lies) are based. But living a lie causes anger and frustration - and bad choices. It's not that there's no solutions out there. It's just that our guilt prevents us from choosing them lest we admit our wrongdoings. All pollution is unnecessary. In the future it will not be understood why we failed to choose that.

With the current elections, our mask has been ripped further away. We are not the just people we say we are. The longer we fail to come clean, the more ludicrous we become. In this state we will continue to see the rise in phony morality ("I need to be nicer to evil!"), the rise of phony populism ("Those other people are fucking you!"), and the decline of the human condition. It's happening right before our very eyes. In our vain search for a savior, we eschew principle for personality (thus making arguments of principle moot). Make all the clever arguments you want on "how things must be" but by our fruits we will be judged.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

The Weight Of Gold

Everyone in the neighborhood hated the New Guy. "He's a creep!" "He's a jerk!" "He's a hypocrite!" "He's a liar!" said the creep, the jerk, the hypocrite, and the liar. A meeting was called to find a resolution.

"We must rid ourselves of this man. There's no living with him! He's making us all look bad. We'll lose everything if he remains among us."

Many others stood up to claim of similar outrage and pornographic desires. Yet try as they might, they couldn't find a solution. The more the New Guy was denounced, the stronger he got, tweeting insults in kind as his constant reply. The real problem, of course, was the neighborhood had a prickly problem of being the pot calling the kettle black. None of their words could ever stick.

This left them with only one alternative: Esmeralda.

"Please help us. We know you're an evil witch with great powers of destruction and we must rid ourselves of this man. What can we do?"

Esmeralda shook her head. She was considered a "witch" because she lived outside their social norms and did that which is the greatest enemy of modern civilization: think. That made her mysterious and incomprehensible to the non-thinkers. They were also deeply suspicious of her since they knew they themselves were not worthy of trust. But deep in their hearts they knew thinking was the right thing to do, turning to it only as a last resort.

"The answer is simple," replied Esmeralda. "Give him gold."

"That's complete madness! That would accomplish the complete opposite of what we're trying to achieve. We're trying to get rid of him, not feed him like a stray cat so he forever begs."

There was much muttering as the leaders left the room. "I told you so!" was heard more than once. But a month later they were back, stymied worse than ever.

"Please! Give us an honest answer. We must have hope for life to be worth living."

"I did give you an honest answer."

"But we don't see how that could work! It goes against all our precepts and understanding of life."

"Naturally. That's because you don't think. My advice is give your gold. I shall say no more."

"OK, bitch. We'll give him our gold. But if this doesn't work we're coming back to get you and cry real hard!"


The next morning the New Guy found gold on his doorstep. "This is amazing! You love me, after all! Way to go, you stupid cunts! #morons"

Next morning, the same. "Wow! OK! So maybe you weren't just trying to buy me off. #SoGlad!"

Again the next day. "I'd say this is too much but I'm a greedy son-of-a-bitch! #Suckers"

After another week of daily gold, doubt crept into the New Guy. "Hey guys. I've got more than enough. You need to take care of yourselves. Really! #I'mSoResponsible!"

A week later, he refused to bring the gold inside. "Not sure what's going on here! I'm not some sort of monster who wants all your gold. I told you to stop, so STOP!!!! #NoMas!"

But the giving was relentless. "I can't keep taking all this gold you keep giving me. Don't ask me why. You must be deceived I'm something I'm not. I admit I've been presenting a pose so you would love me. Don't we all? #SoSorry!"

As it yet continued, the New Guy felt as his neighbors had: trapped by behavior he could not control. To keep the gold would be to show himself a greedy monster. To refuse it meant to reveal himself as the fraud he was. Since he couldn't bring himself to admit he was underserving of the mounds of gold he'd been given, his only choice was to run away, never to return lest he be branded a fool for life.

When the New Guy left, he left the evidence of the gold as well. They took it back and returned to Esmeralda to give thanks.

"Your plan worked! Unbelievable. Do you know how we can keep him away?"

"He will keep himself away, believing his life depends on it. To him, returning here is a fate worse than death. Never underestimate the power of self-truth."

"And we got our gold back too!"

"Because you were willing to give it up you were able to keep it."

From then on, whenever anti-social behavior was observed, gold would start to appear on the transgressor's doorstep. Even those who misbehaved on purpose to get gold crumbled under its eventual weight. In this way balance and harmony were achieved.

EPILOGUE: In the next neighborhood where the New Guy lived, he reigned with cruel intolerance having been forced to see is his own ugly face. But because his neighbors there could not give up their greed for gold, they remained powerlessly under his thumb. Some, in fact, were drawn to his power, defending and enforcing his rotten ways. And in this way fascism came to rule.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Conquest Of The Useless

As part of the shattered shards of my life I work at times as a contract courier. I had occasion to visit a man named Truscott three times with deliveries in the course of my duties. He has an artist's loft in Deep Ellum, the Bohemian district of Dallas. It was in an old building converted to lofts and was way cool but I knew it was very pricey. But even though I brought him painter's supplies, I never saw any paintings.

So this last time he was my final delivery of the day which allowed me to talk without having to worry about the need to rush off. Curiosity had gotten the better of me.

"I guess I always catch you in between paintings. I see a blank canvass on your easel every time and you don't seem to hang any of your previous work around."

"Oh, I don't paint. I detest painting. It's so limiting."

This is where I start looking around the room for cameras to see if I'm being pranked. I decide to dive in anyway. Enjoy yourselves, asshole studio audience.

"But I bring you tubes of paint. I've seen you preparing the paints for use!"

"But, of course, one must be prepared to paint."

Pretty obvious at this point this is going to be a nut kicking exercise. "OK, I don't get it."

"Take at look at that beautiful canvass. What do you see?" I'm too beaten to answer. "It's infinity, the universe. It's every painting ever done, not done, and will be done. That's the power of a blank canvass."

All I could think about is where the hell he got his money from. "I guess I sorta see what you're saying. But sooner or later you have to put pigment onto paper."

"And destroy the dream? Never! There's no time I enjoy more than when mixing my paints before a painting begins. It's when I realized this I stopped painting as I understood just how miserable it made me."

The guy was probably around sixty so I assumed he'd discovered this over the course of his lifetime, receding into this state. "So that's all you do now, is mix paints for paintings never done?"

"I don't just prepare my palette. I dream while doing it. Fantastical paintings flow through my mind. How else would I know what colors to prepare? There are no limits in my imagination."

"Well, I guess if that's what makes you happy..."

"Indeed it does. The canvass must maintain its purity and endless innocence. Any touch of paint is sacrilege. To begin is to sin!"

I started getting queasy at this point. Vast waves of vague guilt washed over me. This was not a time I wanted to be on public display. Somehow this encounter was triggering an internal crisis from one of my many buried love landmines. To begin is to sin! Why the fuck does that bother me so much?? Is it because I want to stay unformed so I can pretend I'm anything I want? My entire being was screaming to exit.

My racing mind, however - as always - didn't stop working. I had to get one last shot out. Pointing to the blank canvass, I said, "You should put on an exhibition!"

Truscott didn't take that as a shot, though. "I do that every day, for all the heavens to see."

At that point, especially with my inner turmoil and my little voice screaming something I couldn't make out, I made my apologies and headed for the door. If he's happy doing all that, more power to him. No need to impose my ideas of what he should be doing even though the temptation was right on the tip of my tongue. Then the buzzer rang from the downstairs' entrance.

"That's my daughter with groceries. She's always afraid I don't eat right when I get too absorbed in my work." He smiled at me with a shrug.

"OK, I'll get out of your hair. Nice to finally talk to you!"

Something told me to race out the door quickly as I could. I failed. For when I opened the door, she was standing there. I recognized her face from a stolen picture years ago. Then I literally screamed in shock and fear at the one who truly knows me. I lunged passed her - squelching my true desire to surrender - down the stairs praying I would not be pursued nor my infamy found out. The entirety of my well-being depended on what happened next - and that's when I woke up in a drenching cold sweat, holding my arms up to God in supplication for death's release.

Friday, December 16, 2016

The Abortionist's Nightmare

The dream invaded him night after draining night...

The crowd roared with applause then rose in standing ovation. The two performers bowed deeply, smiling in the life-giving adulation. They knew it was not them, it was what they created together that was important. It had been a long, rocky journey to this point, fraught with danger and disaster other acts failed to avoid. Do I deserve this? How good are we really? Am I an over-praised imposter?

Like a child struggling to walk, one must persevere in faith it will happen. Many are the voices along the way but the feeling is unmistakably good. It's like being in a boat, surrendering to the river's flow, trusting where it will take you, and bathing in the peace of it. When the journey ends one thing is clear above all else: to have taken any other course would have been sheer madness, betrayal, suicide.

They needed the means to live outside society. Only there could they breathe life into their act. It takes a knowing belief to ask to have more. Doing the right thing brought success and success was the right thing to do. To say, "I am not worthy" is to create a self-fulfilling prophesy. Most of all was the sense of freedom, of limitless love, and the eternal satisfaction of having made the right choices. It was the feeling of life for which every life yearned.

It was the dream of this feeling that owned the nights for Oliver. Only for him, it was a nightmare, trying to suppress the dream he'd aborted.

"No! NO! Tell me I did not do that!"

It was like a never-ending film, laying in wait to continue every time he closed his exhausted eyes.

A critic wrote: What's wonderful about this pair of comedians is not only their perfect timing and pleasant air of innocence, but the friendship between the two we know exists even when times get rough and exasperation rises to the surface. "Another fine mess you've got me into!" This catch phrase lingers in our consciousness because we know it comes from love was well as real frustration we all get from time to time with one another. They are but helpless to stick together. We wish to be in their world.

Losing the act made life an impractical hell for Oliver. What ate at him most was he'd done it in the name of practicality. Forced to live within society's confines boxed his soul in dire daily death. His heart drowned in the tears of a lost existence, perpetually tormented by living under the basest of beasts who rule the daily underworld. There he was to spend the rest of his days trapped in unspoken ignominy; to whom could he speak of his unproven dream?

It's true: Ollie had been a true believer. This was the fact he most sought to hide, the deathly desperate shame he hoped to bury. Safe in the stupid world, none dare question him as a bum. No, his fear was to be called talented, professional, and a star. More than once it occurred to him the irony of his once having craved to the bottom of his soul to be ascribed those precious things. He even based his marriage to his wife that none of those traits were within him: a contract of mutual deceit.

Ollie was attacked by the urchins who now surrounded him. Unhappy with their own lives - failures feigning freedom - they'd demand he "pick himself up" and "quit moping." (In an act of unusual defiance, Ollie once grabbed a mop when told to quit moping. When asked what he was doing he replied, "You told me to quit mopping but I'm doing it anyway!" The confused look on his tormenter's face brought back a long forgotten satisfied feeling. Ollie was truly feeling his old self when he then made a fake apology for not knowing how to spell.)

But worst of all was the sickening, frightening, shattered feeling in the pit of his stomach lurking around every corner. No matter what small victory he might achieve to bring a rare smile, the dark clouds overhead reminded him in crestfallen doom of his perpetual predicament, re-breaking his heart. Finding the resources to forgive himself was a constant battle. The killing chores that paid the rent made him cry out in pain when praised in selfish ignorance. In the end, Ollie was left with only one gaping question:

"What is left to do to make amends?"

Saturday, December 10, 2016

End Of The Line

It's been seven years since I fucked up with Emily. I can live off the echoes of her memory no more. Near as I can tell, she has gone on the run, supposedly from me, believing I don't adore and respect my most favorite person in the world (in this I was deceptive). But were I to die tomorrow (in sweet mercy) she would find she'd still be running. Only then will she understand.

Without her friendship and support I am nothing. I am helpless to stop the erosion of my health. I can pretend to be living no more. Needs are needs.

The world has become one big concentration camp. With glee, they are warming up the ovens - only this time there will be no quick, merciful death. The poor, the weak, and the elderly will be first to die in slow motion terror. Worked to death, worried to death, withered to death. All this will be done in the name of God, and God will be silent.

Seeing this horror, one by one each group will line up next for extermination. They too will stay silent to the end, vainly hoping to be spared. In huddled masses they will listen to the screams. Truth has won battles but never the war. In great satisfaction, it will be seen the liars cannot pray their way off their crosses as they falsely believed. Only then will they know the value of truth.

Once the dead have removed themselves we will be free. Until that time there is nothing more to say. Only our Maker can prevent our wholesale self-annihilation at this point. We will all be asked where we stood in the time of darkness. Be prepared to have a good answer, that is the only thing left for which to live.

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Perspectives (Photo Essay Dream)

Yes, this is a picture of an actual supporter of President Caligula.
Can you feel her wisdom?

"When man stops raping his soul he'll stop raping the world - and not before."
- American Indian proverb

We reached a crossroads in the last century: to choose between greed or freedom. If we are to be judged by our fruits our choice was the wrong one. Everything this century is angrier: our songs, our words, our politics. Rage is taking over. Has making the right decision ever made you mad?

Perspectives 03

Perspectives 09

Perspectives 12

Perspectives 17

With the air of a century past
The fallen leaves on the garden.
- Basho

Perhaps if we look deeper, underneath, and into the hidden corners we see something different. The strands of time are like a flowing river. Try to dam the flow and you'll drown in the rising waters. Try to alter its path to your own ends and the strain will consume you over time. In the end, the river can only be released to flow as Nature intended. But the perspective of many is that if Nature wins, we lose. How very faithless.

Perspectives 10

Perspectives 23

Perspectives 54

Perspectives 42
Inverted picture, reflection up top

That soon they will die
Is unknown
To the chirping cicadas.
- Basho

I too feel the rage, a nightmare to live at the mercy of messianic monsters. Agents of cruelty armed with snarling lies and forked tongues dream of a false future that can never be. This makes them angry. They must find someone to blame, destroying lives in the name of justice. They must hide their bad decisions, crushing dissent in the name of security. They must blame their victims or see themselves as the monsters they are. What happens when the Nazi killers become Nazis?

Perspectives 47

Perspectives 78

Perspectives 65

Perspectives 74

Even if the cherry blossoms bloom
Ours is a world of suffering
- Issa

"I'm saying to you I'm hurting, I'm in pain, and see no hope."

What of my own monstrosity? I too wish to blame others for my own tragic self-betrayal. I spout plausible answers, I leave out inconvenient facts, I get patted on the back in false justification. And yet my life remains the same. We ache to rip off our masks because we can't breathe inside them. We ache to keep them on because we fear we won't be loved when exposed. Nature makes it simple in the end. Those who choose to breathe will survive, those who choose not to will die. Only the truth can set us free.

Perspectives 18

Perspectives 13

Perspectives 11

Click here to see the entire set.