Thursday, March 30, 2017

Just shut up already, Hillary!

HuffPo has an orgasmically gushing article on Shrillary speaking at a women's conference wearing *gasp* black leather. She's so daring! She's now kicking ass and taking names for "a fairer, big-hearted America." Whew! We can all rest easy now. And she'll have plenty of time to do this because apparently Goldman Sachs et al. are not so interested in giving her six figure speeches anymore. Gee, wonder why that is.

She appeared to rail against sexism, she who voted for the Iraq war so people wouldn't think she's a weak woman. That's about as self-sexist as it gets! But of course what's raping and robbing a country, inflicting hundreds of thousands of deaths, displacing millions into unsanitary makeshift camps, and morally compromising our military until suicides now outnumber combat casualties compared to one person's personal ambition? She just had to do it for the greater good of her inevitable presidency.

If only she had trusted Joe Kennedy's advice: when in doubt, do the right thing. She could have been a hero instead of a zero. Now she'll go on her world tour saying Republicans are bad, they'll screw up the planet, and she and her ilk are the answer. In other words, she's got a big bag of nothing. History will wonder how a highly insecure autocrat like Trump ever got elected. Well, outside of Nero himself, everyone worked really hard to make it happen. Congratulations, comrade.

We don't bother to hide our wishful thinking as much now (as all things inexorably rush to light as dictated by the laws of Nature). Check out this funny headline: 74 Percent Of Republicans Think Trump Tower Was Wiretapped. But that is not the truth, that's just how they responded in a poll. Nobody thinks Trumpy was wiretapped, not even the head moron himself. No, the question these miscreants heard was, "Do you want to make Obama look like a lying asshole sneaky underhanded felon?" Surprised it was only 74%.

The mouth-breathing Trumpettes love the lying! They wallow in it like pigs in mud, hoping to make everyone else as dirty as they are. I suppose every life needs a direction. And meanwhile back at the ranch, we are letting a five-year-old play with matches but those in charge say nothing because they don't want to admit they are insane to let a child do that so they make excuses covering for the child and in this way they hope to retain an appearance of moral integrity. God knows what they'll say when the house burns down.

The good part about letting an insane child be in charge is that we then reveal ourselves for who we are. America no longer needs to protest her exceptionalism (unless someone wants to say we are exceptional idiots). We were mum as we let a moron lie us into war, we were mum as we let another betray us to the banks and corporations, and now seeing his cue, Mr. Pussy-grabber himself is drooling on the White House carpet in broad daylight as we pretend to care about our country and ourselves.

Trust me, that ain't how the final story's going to be written.

Perversely proud!

Free of our hypocrisy, let's rejoice in our crowning achievements! (With counterpoints from Trumpy supporters in the name of fairness).

Executive Order, March 28: Dismantling Obama's climate change protections

"I needs me my coal job and nuttin matter but dat! They be plenty of air, so what a little bit get dirty!"

Executive Order, March 27: Revoking Obama's fair pay and safe workplaces orders

"Da gubberment is too hard on dem cumpanies! Wit all the money they is gonna save now I's'll be gettin' a raise! Thanks Mr Prezzydent!"

Executive Order, February 28: Reviewing the 'Waters of the United States' rule

"Cleanin' water is for pussies! Real patriots likes us some poison in our water. Good for da kids too!"

Executive Order, February 3: Reviewing Wall Street regulations

"Everyding good now with banks now we gots us a zillionaire in charge! Set dem banks free and we's all will get rich!"

Presidential Memorandum, February 3: Reviewing the fiduciary duty rule

"Not sure wot all that mean but if the good man is agin it, so is I!"

Executive Order, January 27: Immigration ban

"Best one yet! Der's people out there wantin' to destroyable this country!! Dey don't care bout nuttin but themselves and dey's own ways a-thinkin'. Da gall of dem! We cant let the likes of dem in the good ol' USA!"

These things are happening right before our very eyes. We should be screaming from the rooftops demanding the ouster of those who betray us. But then again, we'd be demanding the ouster of ourselves.

Vote for me...again

"And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth."

Yeah, I'd say that's about where we are. Three to go!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

A Political Soul

"For whoever would save his life will lose it,
"but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it."

Five thousand dollars. In the grand scheme of things it's not a lot of money. That would only get me two nights with one of Elliot Spitzer's hookers. Or it could get me a very rundown car. But it couldn't get me a new life or affect me materially in any permanent way. But on the other hand...

Most working people are apolitical. That's because they understand politics the best. They don't fall for the charade of some political creature crowing about how he/she's going to fight for the little guy. It's not the working soul's job to make the government be honest any more than it's their job to make the corner mechanic be honest. We the working poor live in a state of perpetually forced trust. And since most people know what it means for others to live at their mercy, workers will always be feared and dreaded.

Living like that makes people angry. And sometimes even desperate. Fifteen years ago anger and desperation got the best of me. Then as now, I had no way out. It was easy to see the many ways I was being fucked, how the game is rigged for money to always flow upward, and that the only reward for hard work was more hard work and even less money. Unless you've experienced that squeeze first hand, you can't imagine the claustrophobia of living at the mercy of our corrupt economic prison. So grossing eight bucks an hour, five thousand dollars is a fucking fortune.

The pressure of hopeless rage is unrelenting. People crack. The system is designed to crack you then be "tough on [the inevitable] crime". These judges and cops standing in moral superiority "saving" society from facing its sins are a joke. The crime is not in having no money, but in the requiring of it. I too cracked. When one feels one is dead anyway one may do most anything. My crucifixion serves no greater good. I'd hit the boiling point.

You hear of people making good scores. It's not uncommon. But the stars are not aligned for me to make good on any shortcuts. That is something I have to constantly keep reminding myself even though I keep falling down in that regard. You do things you know are stupid when frustration boils over and you have to hope against hope. (And frankly, that's how I'd explain this last election.) It's also how I'd explain my greatest sin (of commission, anyway).

I had my chance at a Big Score. I sooo wanted to be the one telling the story instead of just hearing it. "Play it smart, for once, Harry. The only thing universally morally revered in this world is money." I'd worked myself up into a lather. My only demand was that I'd carry no gun. That failure to fully commit turned out to be a tragic choice (story of my life). I wanted to play in the mud but not get dirty. Idiot.

No point going into the details. It gets more painful to recount every time, and each time I do the clearer it becomes of what a blind fool I was. Suffice it to say I forced myself to believe in people I didn't believe in because I thought I was going to get something out of it. (That too is like voting.) Things went wrong - very, very, wrong - and I found my unarmed ass being chased by a gunman. Had I been able to shoot back it could have changed everything. For though I wasn't directly part of the deal, I had witnessed a murder.

And for that I too had to be killed. As the lookout I had a head start but the total panic and fear that grips you in that moment cannot be adequately described. But another instinct kicked in, one that I didn't expect of myself: a curiously calm mind. It was like part of me detached from the situation, knowing I couldn't give in to the panic and survive. My only thought was to stay alive by any means possible - even though a little voice told me I needed to own the mess I was in and face the consequences. In moments like these you find out if you're a man or not.

As I turned the corner finally reaching a more public area in the lower east Dallas wasteland I saw a cop directing traffic at a nonfunctioning stoplight. Naturally I headed towards him with him being an authority figure but then a devious thought popped into my head, how to politically exploit this to my advantage. If I ran in such a way as to put the cop in the line of fire then everyone would turn on the shooter if the cop got shot. No one would give a damn if a lowlife like myself got what's coming to him. I needed the people on my side. So that's what I did. But this was the shooter's last chance to get me. And the cop got shot.

Sure enough, that was enough to make my pursuer turn tail and leave this murder witness alive. I ran to the cop where a crowd was gathering, stunned one of my devious plans actually worked when they so rarely do the rest of time. Dear God, what a time to start believing in myself. The bullet went into the cop's back, paralyzing his legs for life I found out later. I didn't stay long, especially after I heard a voice accuse me. "Hey, you got that officer shot!" Seems I had my own witness to testify against me. It would be years before I even went to that part of town again. It will be never before I can forget it.

Time has not been kind. Between my stupidity and cowardice, I started to withdraw, unable to imagine anyone wanting anything to do with me. I can only tell this story now because it won't be believed. But I never confessed when it counted. When I see a crime of irresponsibility reported in the news I have to wonder if I too am capable of that; a tortured prisoner of doubt. But the real ultimate price came when something real came into my life years later after finally daring to open my heart again, and I destroyed it rather than be seen for what I am - for I will always be what I was in that moment.

Politically I could mitigate this by saying cops get paid to take bullets. But that's garbage. Another human being paid for my mistakes. I'm sure he and his family blame the shooter and not I who put him in the line of fire. I could have taken a different angle to have only my own life at risk. If so, then I could have kept my life. But by trying to save it I have certainly lost it. God damn, those words of Jesus make sense to me now. I'd hoped he wasn't being literal.

So I feel the tragedy when I see others repeat my sins, reliving my moment of secret infamy. The more visible ones you see on TV, lying to cover their ass, to get the people on their side, perverting the truth thinking that coming clean is death. It's like watching someone drown whom no one else can see. And I've yet to learn how to swim. What more hollow victory than to win a political argument? To have everyone believe you're right when you know you're wrong. How very isolating. Only the honest soul can win and I can't undo the damage I've done. Some things you never get over - even after letting go.

Monday, March 20, 2017

The Resistance Wars of 2027

Some called it the incorporation of America, U.S. Inc. The freeloading rich determined the country's ills were due to too many freeloaders. In this they were correct. But they failed to correctly identify themselves as the problem and instead blamed their victims of whose wealth they legally stole. No matter the pain, the power, or the poverty, America's corporate precepts were her final holdout for hope.

Regions were divided up and given over to corporate overlords. We were stuck in Amazonia, encompassing the southwest where unlimited warehouses were to be built and residents are liable to be forced labor within them. The only way to be safe was to buy your way out. "We're putting those lazy bastards to work!" decried President Crook. "We're going back to the old ways and values to make our country great again." Greatness had eluded us the entirety of the 21st century. Every fool had a plan to change that.

We were a motley crew of rejects: busybodies, do-gooders, the hopeless, the blindly naïve - we were all illusioned one way or the other. Have to be. How else to fight that which is beyond your control? How else to fight the will of the people whose rising tide of anger needs to be fed constant scapegoats? We, of course, were rebel scum preventing corporate paradise from coming true.

On a distant desert highway outside of Terilingua we waited on an eighteen-wheeler to come rumbling down the road. If we could choke off the roads to the warehouses we'd disrupt the entire chain of supply. That was our thought. We created a road hazard on the highway, lighting it just in time as the mammoth truck struggled to stop its massive inertia. We cheered in victory then descended into the cab.

No one was there.

No one to conquer. No one to convert. Just the empty technological heart of the beast. We looked at one another in dismay, defanged and defunded of hope. It was like being in a boxing match fighting air, hit all you want but you only lose yourself in the end. Once the flames died down the truck restarted and rumbled over the ashes onto its programmed destination. As we watched it drive off we couldn't help but wonder who we were.

We all hear the stories but only the Official Story counts. People waking up too late, joining forces with us. "I thought they were only going to hurt other people, not me." Others escaped from the Guilt Camps, laboring night and day, only to realize their lives had meaning after all. "Bad things are happening to other people. Why should I escape that?" And of course those who were openly persecuted for speaking in defiance of the corporatocracy. "They come at night like the Nazis but the Official Story is Nazism can never happen here so everyone looks away."

We'd been made voiceless by the will of the self-frightened people. No one wants to be next on the hit list, so those who know better stay silent and the betrayers who do speak grow bolder every day. We are forced to live on the edges of society, the last remaining remnants of civilization. Yet they believe with fire in their hearts we must be extinguished at all costs lest their way of life be threatened by a truth we may utter. As if God doesn't already know the truth.

It is they who wage the worst war against that which they cannot control. They know the futility of it, hoping only to delay the outcome a little while more, keeping their window of hate open as long as possible. Of course, to do that they need only let us live but the flaming hell in their hearts is unbearable so they seek resolution even at the price of their own final fate. Their bodies will be nothing more than burnt tinder left to be swept away into the dustbin of history never to return. But that only makes them hate us more.

This world is godless and guideless. To fight it is to be like an autumn leaf fighting the wind to stay on the tree. We in the resistance yearn for satisfaction, no matter how fleeting. That is our food. For many, the only stand we can make is simply to disagree, even if we are like pebbles against an ocean wave. At least we are not part of the destruction. Sometimes that has to be satisfaction enough. Many of us want to organize and coordinate but we are not suited to that. No person finds paradise without following their own path.

Sometimes as we wander the wastelands during the day I think back to all the wars mankind fought and claimed victory for only to end up like this. I glimpsed a TV couple of weeks back showing a war movie and it looked totally different to me. There weren't two sides, only one. And they were only fighting for the chance to one day live in times like these, worse than mankind has ever seen before. What did we win? What did anyone win? Poor dumb bastards hid their feelings of not wanting to fight in mutual insanity.

Ten years ago - incredibly referred to now as the good old days - a dumb movie came out. It was called "Silence" where the director complained about God's silence as Japanese Christians were crucified en masse. But - like now - God has always been silent, making Her presence known once then no more. What about the silence during the holocaust? What about the silence of persecuting the weak, grinding them into dust? The injustices committed daily in open daylight have become unbearable in number and treachery. I too asked why God is silent about evil under the sun. "God damn you, God!"

Then it hit me: it's we who are silent. What stops us as a people from admitting the truth? What prevents us from choosing life? Nothing in the universe. The dead hate the living. They will not stop until everyone is dead. If these days are not ended, our time here will end in infamy. I just can't believe that will be allowed to happen. But for now we must cry as we watch the insane cheer those who lead them to doom.

We stopped to rest in the afternoon and I felt the pain of a flower in the field. I could feel the inherent beauty of life as I watched it sway in the breeze, so confident of its own justification. This is what life was meant to be, finding the harmony within and enjoying the treasures given us. Can it really be so easy? Why am I afraid to believe that? It certainly means we've made a mess of things - and for no reason.

Live first and ask questions later. If I can die with that in my heart, I will know victory that can never be taken away. God bless God for that.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Pizza With A Topping Of Philosophy

Very rarely do I have Pizza delivered. It like doubles the cost! But like Jesus said: I'll always be poor anyway but not always have pizza. Or something like that. In other words, it's good to feel alive sometimes.

Plus I found a twenty dollar bill in the sofa.

So I call up Pizza the Hut like a big shot and start the wheels turning of our wondrous modern society that allows cooked meals to be delivered to your door in glorious laziness and convenience. Lord knows everything else in life is a fucking chore.

My mind is restless. During the day I hold it back, and at night it's even worse. It's hard for me to watch anything for long. Old Star Trek episodes, "Marathon Man", women's college gymnastics, some (godawful) hockey, "Jaws", news overload channels. I just keep cycling through in desperate distraction.

And always in the back of my mind, mourning losses remembered.

It was during this furious channel flipping the doorbell rang. It rings about as often as I have pizza delivered so I was startled as I got up from the couch. Eating is always a big deal for me. I'm stuck believing I have to devour food quickly before someone tries to take it away. Every meal I finish is a minor victory.

I see some scraggly millennial at the door holding my delicious treasure fresh from his warming bag. I can already smell the odor and am thinking of nothing else. But delivery guy has something else on his mind.

"Oh, hey man, I hate that guy."

The guy's peering in to watch my big screen. Never crossed my mind how bored he must be. Then I flashback to my own time in the pizza den of inequity. Nothing more precious than getting out of the hole! Stepping out into the fresh air on freedom's parole making a delivery where you can breathe. You want to stretch it for as long as you can. Then I look back to the TV.

"Oh, I hate him too. You caught me between channels."

The person we were referring to was Bill O'Reilly. Been years since I'd seen the guy. I laughed because, sure enough, the goofy deer's still spoon-feeding his verbal porn to his simple-minded audience with a synopsis on the right so they can know exactly what to think and repeat. See Jack run!

The scruffy kid goes on. "Those people don't care about nothin'. All they're doing is firing up their base to get ratings. He's just spouting off. I can't stand watching his kind."

So I'm thinking this guy really fits the stereotype of young people who traditionally lean left and I was silently praying he'd stick to his guns as he gets older when his heart starts to die and naturally loses interest in the truth. That's when he'll be glued to his TV watching liars and spin doctors like rat-man Bill. At least I had him among the living for now!

"Yeah, his kind will say anything, totally shameless." I'm trying to pay him but he seems especially agitated. Pizza now, philosophy later, dude!

"Those networks like Fox and MSNBC, they only exist to rile people up. I can't stand that Rachel Maddow, either. She really annoys me. They're all a bunch of phonies."

Whoa there, pardner. You got both your oars out of the water on that one, letting the current take you where it will. If you can't tell the difference between those two no wonder you look so agitated. He got me annoyed but really I was actually annoyed with myself for clinging to the idea of idealistic youth to help remind me of my own ideals. Back to having to be my own hero. Yuck.

"We definitely have to honor the truth, that's for sure." No way I wanted to get into an argument with this lost soul so confused by the world in which he lived. I'd seen his noncommittal kind before and wanted to ask him if he was for Caesar or Pompey as my personal little Shakespearian joke. But it would have to die unheard as so many of my thoughts do. I figured my noncommittal reply would be enough for him without me having to openly take a side. Turns out I struck a nerve after all!

"Truth? There are no absolute truths. You got these TV people just wanting to stir up trouble. They don't make any real stands. Nothing is true!"

So that's why he leads his agitated life! He's afraid to admit truth to himself and can't stand the thought of someone else doing it. Seeing anyone speak with conviction drives him nuts because he's cut off from that. But there was a much more horrible truth to face: my pizza was getting cold.

I'd completely lost interest in talking to the guy even as I had to suppress an urge to slap him and tell him to think for himself for once. I asked how much it was and he told me.

"Really, that much?" I was only half-feigning my hurt but he took it to heart.

"Yeah, man, it's true."


"Absolutely. Here's the receipt. See for yourself."

I appeared to be studying it. "You sure it isn't fake news?"

"Oh, no. It's real." His face didn't register I was taking shots at him. He really is a mixed up kid.

"OK, I was just messing with you. Thanks a lot."

"Have a good night, sir!"

He seemed curiously happy as he sped off. Perhaps the only absolute truth he could understand is money. Wait till he finds out that's fiction too!

The Committee To Corrupt

"The right Honorable Sinator Dickhead calls this investigation to order!"

"We Dickheads have taken over and there's nothing anyone can do about it! HAHAHAHAHAHA! God wants us in charge! That makes everything we do OK. It's good to be God!"

"We call to testify an amoral CEO who shall be questioned on behalf of the people!"

"Mr. CEO, we have verified reports and actual water samples of water with coal dust in it. The fish are dead, the water undrinkable, and this break in the chain of the fragile ecosystem has wreaked environmental havoc that may never be reversed, violating in the grossest manor our role as stewards of this planet as demanded by God!"

"Sinator, trust me when I tell you scumbags that you are victims of fake news."

"I have some questions for you, sir. People are sick from drinking your water and the American public is outraged by your behavior which I have so morally denounced. And I would like to remind you before you answer that you are under oath. So this we must know: Are you rich? Are you white? Will you donate to my campaign?"

"First, Sinator, I want to thank you for the opportunity today to clear my name of these baseless allegations and set the record straight. I feel honor bound to answer truthfully and my reply to all your probing questions is an emphatic 'Yes'."

"If only I lived in these times! I'd never be impeached!"

"Thank you, sir, for your compelling testimony. I just want to say it sickens me to hear the constant carping and whining of certain groups today who attack the business community without any regard to law and order or the American Way! As for the illegality of dumping poison into the environment, we'll simply change the law and you'll be in good moral standing once again."

At the ensuing press conference, Sinator Dickhead was ebullient. "It's clear today we have proven that the process works. My constituents had concerns, we investigated, and the situation has been resolved. We live in the greatest democracy in the world! Vote now and often!"

"But Sinator, wouldn't you say you were merely providing cover for corporate criminality by whitewashing the situation in staged Kabuki with irrelevant questions?"

"This is why people hate the biased media, interjecting your own opinions! When are we going to get objective, balanced reporting from you traitors? I going to strip you of your credentials!"

"Let me rephrase that, Sinator. I agree with anything you say and your committee is doing outstanding work protecting and serving the American people."

"There you go! Now that's real reporting. Sometimes you clowns forget that your purpose is to be an extension of the government as we ourselves are servants of the people. Praise the Lord!"

Protesters surrounded the Sinator as he exited the hallowed halls of power.

"My mother is dying in the hospital from the poisoned water that CEO polluted. What sort of monster are you to let him off the hook like that?"

"Let's not forget I'm the most moral man here because I'm the one who's elected. And it's not me, it's the corrupt system. If I don't support pollution I can't get elected to do the good work I need to do. So obviously, we need to destroy the system!"

"You, Dickheads! There's no possible grounds in all of humanity for poisoning people! You are a person without conscience, morality, or decency! I hope you burn in hell!"

"You, shut up, you anarchist freak of nature! You are denigrating America and I won't stand for it. I hope your mother dies, you little shit!"

You people are jeopardizing the safety of corruption!

After the video went viral, many in the Pee Party ("Piss on everything!") cheered the Sinator wildly for his courage and honesty of "telling it like it is." They also attacked the media for distorting the Sinator's words ("We know what he really means!") and for blowing it out of proportion ("What's one more person more or less? People die every day!").

The Sinator later performed a heartfelt apology for the incident without laughing once. Commenters lamented the split in the country and "Why can't we be one and all rally around corruption? We are duty bound to do so as citizens. God bless America!"

At the after-party to the hearings the Sinator and CEO made mad passionate love, giggling in bed like teenagers, trying to make up for youth spent as high school losers. "It gets me so hot to stand up there and say God hates homosexual behavior and no one says a single word of my blatant hypocrisy!"

"This is the dawn of a new era. My "Give corruption a chance" PAC is being flooded with donations. I love fucking those damn environmentalists and there's nothing they can do about it except whine in their stupid protests which only make us stronger as they devote all their energy to us."

"This is our time. It's blessed by God to be corrupt! We can walk under the sun without fear no matter who we screw. The people have spoken!"

Monday, March 13, 2017

It's Not Personal?

It's been said that in reality everything stems from our personal life, that that is all there is, from creating money to jails or any other system we've devised. We pretend there are worlds outside of ourselves where we can be safe, but there's not. Truth is, you can determine a man who beats his wife by the policies he sets for his employees, or that people run up their credit cards as an expression of unpaid emotional bills. Most, of course, won't admit this revealing point of view.

Tragedy has struck my life once again. Ever since sabotaging my relationship with Amelie I've lost all faith and trust in my judgment. If someone leaves a chest of gold on your doorstep and you throw it away - for whatever reason - then quite obviously your judgment can't be trusted. I beat myself up over this daily and it permeates my thinking. I know what the right decision is but I refuse to choose it. The illogic of guilt tells why but there is no actual logic to that.

My older brother Frankie was planning a rip off of a drug exchange. He knew about it through me. That was mistake number one. Frankie is a hot-head. He believes if he gives in in even the slightest way he's no longer a man. That's his cross to bear, what he needs to overcome. He's telling me all the time I'm weak and stupid in my criminal affairs because his world revolves around his stupid outlook. It's like listening to a child who won't grow up.

I - for lack of a better word - work for the mob. I facilitate things, so-to-speak. I'm no underboss but I can give orders to foot soldiers. I knew I couldn't trust Frankie because he's an idiot cowboy operator. But my self-doubt crept in, which started a chain reaction to hell.

This little voice nagged me. "He's your brother. Don't you want to trust him and let him know about the deal? Remember how you betrayed Amelie, not giving her a fair chance? How do you know you're not doing the same thing here, Mr. Throws-gold-away?" I told myself it would be an act of loyalty to make up for a previous sin. They also say guilt is the devil's greatest weapon.

Frankie's eyes light up and right away he starts spouting off this is his big chance and if I'd ever had the guts to stake a claim in this world I'd be doing the same thing. It was complete suicide. Frankie's just one of those people who can't connect the dots. I begged him to see reason. If he did he refused to admit it.

I had to inform my colleagues of this, naturally. They were extremely upset to say the least. This drug buy was not their show but one of the parties was under their protection. To let something happen to him would be bad for business and the mob is nothing if not devoted capitalists. They sent three heavies with me to straighten Frankie out. I knew exactly how to play this.

There would be no discussion. The minute the door opens the three guys go to work roughing Frankie up. I'd make the call when I thought he'd had enough. We were literally going to beat some sense into him. At that point he would listen. That's how I was going to keep him alive. Call it tough love.

But guilt spoke once again. "Do not hurt your brother! You've hurt enough people already. You can do this without anyone getting hurt if you didn't have such a bad attitude."

Confusion shrouded me like a miasmic fog. Was I wrong to believe in myself? Will it help if I don't? Isn't keeping my brother from being hurt the moral thing to do?

Lost, I became conservative (which is always bad). I decided to give Frankie a chance to talk his way out of this without getting a beating. That was certainly a fool's errand.

The more I talked with him the more defiant he got. "I'm not afraid of those three guys you got!" Frankie failed in his personal relationships too, never making one work, running through woman after woman. In his mind, being a tough guy was the only way left to prove he was a man. Guilt pervaded his thinking as it does mine. Finally, I had to put it to him: was he going to give up this crazy idea of  a rip-off or not?

"Fuck you! I'm doing what's best for me." He was completely out of control, jumping off the couch at me, and that's when the heavy guys jumped in and stabbed him to death. They left the body for me to clean up, contemptuous of my weak-mindedness. I couldn't say that I blamed them.


I knew what to do to keep Frankie alive. But in believing in myself I was attacked with guilt. But I felt no guilt when doing the wrong thing. How is that? How is it I've convinced myself that lying to myself is the right thing to do? What sort of twisted reality is that? I could have saved Frankie had I stuck to my original plan. That is a fact. I feel I'm on a runaway train I can't get off.

This entire affair could be lethal for me too. My standing in the mob is damaged, maybe beyond repair. All because I fucked up my personal life.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

I Passed By The Rikyu Tea House Today

I passed by the Rikyu tea house today

I was shocked by its serenity

As if nothing ever happened

As if we are a different people

Twenty two years ago

we were a nation ready to topple

after climbing so far

We were divided then

by warring domains

And Oda, the one man who could unite us

had just been killed

I thought my world would explode

But now the birds sing happily

And families stroll by carelessly

How can they know?

How can they not know?

Our country almost slipped off the map

Had it been left to me, it would have

But Oda's strongest general, my lord Toyotomi, stepped in

He was the greatest negotiator in the land

Every soul bare before his divine gaze

At the time of Oda's death, Toyotomi was mired in the greatest siege of his life

The Mori clan was rich and controlled western Japan

It would take years to defeat them

I was in charge of maintaining the perimeter around their forward castle

Only a few of us knew of Oda's death

I remember thinking, "Once the Mori hear of this, their resolve will double!"

At that point, I feared my life to be an illusion

I shared Oda's vision of a unified land, to be serving something greater than ourselves


Not even Toyotomi can get us out of this one

It was as if the entire nation was on fire that night

when a conference was called between the Mori and Toyotomi

at the Rikyu tea house

Rikyu was the highest tea master in the land

Only his tea house was trusted by both sides

Grim guards stood by as torches were lit in anticipation

I remember praying to the gods for a miracle as I stared into the flames

No man lived in surety back in those days

And yet in danger I found life like nowhere else

Oda made his own rules

and we in his wake tasted that freedom that sweetens life so

I can tell by a man's gait if he's ever stepped into that world

So very few have

I remember praying for the wars to end so we could build on the peace

I dreamed of a new era of freedom, that we could never go back from this

But with Oda dead and my lord Toyotomi fighting for our lives in the tea house

I was a bitter man as stars in the sky circled around this place so small

At dawn, they emerged

Toyotomi had won the day!

Hostilities would cease

I was skeptical in disbelief, suspecting yet another trick of those treacherous times

Only later I found out the Mori had no desire to rule Japan

Toyotomi saw this and used it to his advantage

His greatest victories were in battles off the field

He was never defeated in wars of words

I saw firsthand that night the need to wage battles of the mind

Free to leave the siege, Toyotomi took over where Oda left off

He defeated the other generals who wanted control of the clan

They never stood a chance against his mind

Then finally peace came to the land over the next ten years

And after Toyotomi, a Shogun was named to cement the country's unity

And in this peace, I am lost

Only within war can I live

My life is nothing now but ceremonies and the honors given to an old warrior

I gnash my teeth nightly in frustrated agony

I live to fight!

I drown in this directionless malaise

I stand abandoned in these times of strolling families

Is this who we are now?

I depended on war to give me purpose

But people have moved on and our Japan will wage war no more

What am I to do with myself day after day, hour after hour, minute after minute?

I'm imprisoned by a boredom I cannot slay

I'm unable to join those who laugh, feeling easy in these times

Once I was a part of something

Now I'm apart from the world

What can be said of a soul

that yearns for peace during war

and for war during peace?

Saturday, March 11, 2017

We're Too Stupid To Live

I'm here to disrupt the dishonest establishment!

“Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains."

"Autoimmune diseases are where your immune system attacks healthy cells in your body." And that, my friends, is how America is falling. We are doing it to ourselves. Many historians look back in history and point out foolish mistakes that could have been easily avoided. But few understand why those mistakes were in actuality unavoidable. Just like now, there's no mystery to curing our ills. Healthcare, infrastructure, legal justice, whatever - the solutions are waiting, but are not being implemented. It's not because we don't know what to do.

It's because we do know what to do: give up our greed. We live in a fantasy world of false hope that we can have our greed and life too. We increasingly contort our minds to avoid facing this self-betrayal - and that of our children's future. That's why we propose "solutions" that do not solve.

She voted for Trump. Now she fears losing the Obamacare plan that saved her life.

Kathy Watson was anxious about her health coverage even before she woke up gasping for breath last month and drove herself to the emergency room with a flare-up in her heart condition.

Watson also voted for Donald Trump, believing the businessman would bring change. She dismissed his campaign pledges to scrap the Affordable Care Act as bluster.

Now, as she watches the new president push to kill the law that provided her with a critical lifeline, Watson finds herself among many Trump supporters who must reconcile their votes with worries about the future of their healthcare.

After struggling for years without insurance, the 55-year-old former small-business owner — who has battled diabetes, high blood pressure and two cancers — credits Obamacare with saving her life.

Passage of the Affordable Care Act finally offered some relief, thanks to a small temporary program created in 2011 for people like Watson who had been denied coverage.

She was able to get on a plan that ultimately cost $363 a month and is now cancer free.

“I would have lost everything without that,” Watson said.

But Watson is getting irritated by what she hears from the new president. “I’ll give it a little more time,” she said. “But I’m not really sure about Trump anymore.”

She said she’s ready to go to Washington to tell lawmakers not to roll back Obamacare.

“Walk a mile in my shoes,” Watson said.

Who the fuck is she to get up on her hind legs and protest her own destructive choices? Those who stand for nothing will fall for anything. There's not a person alive who honestly believes President Nero is a force for good. Now we get this idiotic role-playing of acting all innocent like so many of these Trumpette morons. What did Nero say? "Who knew healthcare could be so complicated?" Gosh darn, how was anyone to know starting a fire would burn down the house!

“Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come."

If only that autoimmune cell were an anomaly. You can call it love growing cold or the dying of the light but it is most certainly happening on a large scale. You see, we hate living the way we do: dog-eat-dog, mutual blackmail, denial of truth. We do desperately crave change. God knows I do. But we have no true faith, thus making us unable to move out of the miserable house we've created. That leaves only burning it down and putting arsonists in charge at whom we can point our fingers while conveniently forgetting who placed them there. What foolish games we play accomplishing nothing.

The corruption by the rich is understandable (though no less lethal). But does that mean the proletariat will rise up in moral indignation at their oppression? Don't count it. Money's freedom exposes people and since most people don't have money they do not get exposed as someone who's out there openly lobbying for corruption. But if you look, you will see.

From Immigrants and American Day Laborers, Two Views of Trump’s Stance on Deportation

Coleman and Sanders are day laborers who see the effects of U.S. immigration policy first hand as they compete for low-wage temporary jobs. From where they stood outside Plano’s day labor center on an early morning last week, help from Washington can’t come soon enough. Since joining the Trump administration, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly has called for a stricter stance of immigration enforcement and deportations.

“They still outnumber us three to one,” says Coleman, 55, of the Hispanic men who gather at the center, many of them, he assumed, in the United States illegally.

Coleman knows what he sees daily, and having to compete with non-citizens at the bottom of the job market leaves a bitter taste in his mouth.

Coleman once had a regular job at the Pilgrim’s Pride chicken processing facility in Dallas, but the company shut down the plant in 2011. The company said the closure was a cost-cutting measure prompted by the high-cost of chicken feed and an oversupply of chickens.

But Coleman believes there was another reason. The Dallas plant closed about three years after Immigration and Customs Enforcement raided four Pilgrim’s Pride factories nationwide, including one in Mount Pleasant, rounding up hundreds of undocumented immigrants.

Another name is called, and a few of the Spanish speakers climb into the car with their new employer for a day.

“They’re still sending them out even before they send the whites out,” Coleman says. “We are citizens, so we have to go last.”

Sanders, who at age 35 towers over his older companion, claims it’s just another form of racism based on a stereotype people hold: that undocumented Latinos are harder workers and more docile. What the Trump administration is doing with stricter enforcement, however, isn’t racism, he says. It’s putting Americans first.

“The law has been on the books,” he says. “It’s nothing new to us or new to them either. They knew it, but it just wasn’t enforced. It’s nothing new, and it affects everybody, not just the Mexicans, but the Africans and whoever is illegal. You’ve got to go.”

“Last seven presidents never even thinking about deporting them,” Coleman says. “Now you’ve got a president who is saying there is something wrong with this. You’re taking money away from our citizens. You’re not paying taxes. You’re not [seeking citizenship]. That’s the American dream.”

“I’m not all that dumb,” Coleman adds. “I’ve got two years of college. And you know, I don’t like it. I’m not racist, but I just don’t like non-Americans living the American dream [at the Plano day labor center!].”

Wonder what Heckle and Jeckle would say if informed Obama deported more immigrants than any President in history? He's mad he lost his regular job but not mad at the employer whose illegal practices destroyed the company? More simple-minded scapegoating that keeps the peasants at each other's throats while the rich get richer. So hard to find a good proletariat these days! Ah, to be there when the full price of denial is upon them without recourse. It is said when the end comes there will be mounds of dead bodies and they will be looked on with contempt, for their fate was a product of their choices.

“So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel — let the reader understand — then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house. Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again."

The instinct for self-preservation, however, must surely be alive and kicking in the immigrant community. Right? Their lives have been turned even more upside down as they escape the living hells of their homeland - hells so great that even to die getting here is a preferable outcome. (See "El Norte") Let us listen to one man describe life for undocumented workers today (from same article as above).

Jose Pacheco, a 56-year-old Mexican immigrant who’s been living in the country illegally for 22 years, says this fear of separating families is hitting his community especially hard.

Standing in the yard at the day center not far from Coleman and Sanders, Pacheco is smaller in build than the two men and more weathered from working in the sun. He says everyone is talking about Trump all the time. “They talk about being afraid to lose their kids,” he says in Spanish. “A lot of them have families and houses, and they don’t want to lose them. They’re afraid of leaving their home. Everyone who’s Hispanic, who’s Mexican and undocumented are all afraid right now.”

Pacheco mentions that immigrants in the apartments over near the Springdale Street often talk about the police lingering around the apartments. “They’re all on alert all the time,” he says. Many people are trying to leave before the federal government takes all their possessions when they’re deported. They’re also writing notes to their American children so they’ll know what to do in case they are deported.”

Pacheco supports Trump even though he’s one of the 11 million undocumented immigrants who could be deported. “Trump for me is a good president,” he says. “He has to fix things here. There’s a lot of drugs being sold around here. A lot of people sell drugs. And they hide within the workers. They even come here, or hide other places around here. They hide among us.”

Jesus said as a whole we're too stupid to live. I recently saw that dystopian classics are flying off the shelves with the election of Nero. Regardless, many will speak of some magical political or economic phenomena that will right the ship, thus saving us from our decisions. Well, it's certainly pleasant to think so. It will be a rough and tumble ride to hold onto our love. It's OK to curse God along the way. Even Moses got pissed at the Fucker. But always come home in the end. Once you realize all they'll have is your dead body while you your soul, you'll die with a smirk on your face - which will piss them off even more!

“If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you ahead of time."

The Moron Whisperer

Sometimes, one really is faced with the choice of the lesser of two evils. Mine was to be dragged to an enormous corporate Christmas party (the other choice was endless whining). The amount of internal self-cursing on the state of my life whilst driving to this medieval doom cannot be overstated. We pulled up to one of those intimidating, unwelcoming office spectacles in downtown Dallas meant to make the inferior feel more inferior. Worst part was I had a dark flashback to my many times passing by this enemy building in dire despair while homeless.

Let me see if I can explain the enormity of the wasteland of loneliness that is the city streets, of how wonderful it is to hear about your life speculated upon on clueless radio as to the source of your woes as if one were part of an invisible zoo where fellow creatures stare at you curiously then wash you from their minds. I laugh when I read about how those unemployed for the first time feel startlingly invisible having stepped through the looking glass. Welcome to my world. A world where buildings become characters in a lost play, some friendly, some menacing. To make matters worse, in my latest houseless outcasting the crippling pain of missing Amelie crushed me in unspoken heartbreak night and day.

I'm sure this is a story I can share at the party.

Traveling up the elevator I feel as a condemned prisoner on the way to his execution: no way out. While the elevator was rising the feeling in my stomach was sinking. My invite and I were not alone in there so I'm already feeling ill-at-ease and out-of-place. I paused as the doors parted to a sea of people ready to mock the moron coming among them. I had to think someday someone will make a passion play of this ordeal.

My invite naturally went her own way since it was her corporate masters swilling the night away. I was left like chum in the water, my insides twisting in agony. I wished to cry out for help but (rightly) assumed that would only make matters worse. What was I going to say to anyone? They ask me how I am and I say, "Homeless and suicidal. And you?"

These are the very people I carefully avoid normally; office beings, aliens of a bubbled world that rests on the backs of workers like me and on an unsustainable fiction of corporate morality. People like me horrify them because we see them from underneath, where they can't hide, as we mop their floors and empty their wastebaskets. There are spies wherever you go; hotel housekeepers tell the best stories.

My reeling mind tries to cling to the hope I have some sort of time buffer before my fraudulence is exposed. I even overhear some very inane conversation that made me realize office workers are definitely not rocket scientists. But that was small comfort. For while their need to be self-oblivious provided me some protection, it takes only one pair of piercing eyes to unmask you and leave you hanging out to dry before all the world. It was for those eyes I desperately scanned the room in fear.

In doing so I noticed many types of creatures. I saw the slick and oily, I saw warring witches and sad sycophants, the supremely insulated, diabolical climbers, and other corporate trolls that made my blood run cold. A few did surprise me with their seeming humanness and I wondered how they kept that form in this artificial environ. But then I glanced upon a pair of dreaded piercing eyes, as if I were prey spotted in the wild. Was only for an instant, a woman's, dark haired, no more. "Shit, hope that's only my imagination."

Regardless, I got rattled and felt my nerve giving out. The screaming for help idea came back into play. I wondered how much of my confused misery was showing on my carefully posed face. At that exact moment there wasn't a single aspect of my existence above doubt. Let the good Lord take me now! And that's when a woman's voice whispered in my ear from behind: "Don't be an impostor for love."

For a second I was frozen, mesmerized by the thought. Was I walking around with my life exposed? Was this a lifeline of love? It seemed like several minutes but was only a few seconds before I turned my head to see the identity of the whisperer. She slipped away too quickly, like an eel between the reeds. I caught the back of her neck and her stylish outfit. "Amelie!"

The thought of her finding me, rescuing me, forgiving me, and actually not wanting me to die elated me to heaven. The relief of at last holding the winning hand, I felt myself rise above the room on a cloud of bliss, released from my hell, wholly unconcerned with the eyes of others forever. I noticed I started breathing. In the blink of an eye my entire life changed, like winning the lottery. Inside, I was kneeling with tears of salvation and redemption. This too felt like several minutes but was only several seconds. Then I had to realize: how could that really be Amelie?

Everyone wants to believe they've drawn the winning ticket. God help me if Amelie ever found out about this fleeting fantasy. I'm sure I'd get an earful. Who knows? Maybe this woman was going around saying this to every moron she spotted in the room. Or had I been singled out? Mulling the possibilities was driving me out of my mind! I cursed myself for yet another fatal hesitation in my life, whereas if she'd spoken in a moment where I wasn't so weak I could have stopped her and found out what she meant. But it seems opportunity ONLY happens in a moment of weakness.

So I was left to consider only her words.

Maybe it wasn't just me. Maybe everyone in the room was an impostor for love. Maybe she was speaking to someone nearby and I simply overheard. Maybe, maybe, maybe. What I did know was I hated the message, like she was reading my mind. Yes, I was faking it. I'm always faking it. How else does one get by when living at the mercy of lunatics and monsters devoid of reason? And what benefit does it do me to reveal my woes to those who cannot help? Was she speaking of the here and now or of relationships in general? I had to get out of the suffocating room.

I retreated down to the lobby where I dreamed up "Die Hard" sequences to pass the despairing time. My blackmailer to this event rang my cell and chewed me out for my usual "negative" attitude. I did not bother trying to explain the whisper. All I wanted was back under my rock to contemplate those biting words in a safe place.

That night in bed I replayed it over and over. The Amelie elation I suffered genuinely bothered me, like I really was missing a greater truth of salvation. For a brief instant, I was somebody once more. But my complaint when I had love was that I was an impostor. What's worse, I didn't have the nerve to find out, putting me on the run. A man once said, "You run, you die." And that's dearly proven out so far. Did hearing this advice mean I have another chance coming? How can that be?

And worst of all was my initial true response to the whisper, the one thing I'd buried in deep dejected doubt: How else can anyone love me?

Making my way down to the lobby

Friday, March 10, 2017

Her Chamber Cell Within

In dreaded footsteps' time,
Knocking on Fifty's door;
Living a life on high
Hiding a successful whore!

Touchless cloud dweller
In the San Francisco mist;
Of life's demanded treasures
She'd checked off duty's list!

(Of lessers' suffering woe
She holds a secret contempt:
"Should have been more like I
"Who lives in worldly exempt!")

Feeling safely validated
(Using her charms bought 'n' sold);
She yields to asking angels:
"Is yours an honest gold?"

When time to accumulate
She'd never hesitate;
Then prays to her holy God
To be a holy fraud.

But in her aspired greed
To face the mirror crack'd,
To give up burdening gold
Would surely break her back!

She strolls the castle grounds
(Where royal woes must hide);
Her secret garden locked,
So many flowers have died!

Castle walls repel and trap,
She never lays the drawbridge down;
Starvation fells precious petals
California chewing cow.

She points in facial paint
To fine cold castle stone;
But without the flowers' warmth
It chills her to the bone.

Despite worldly wars she won
And golden linen worn,
The jailer's keys keep rattling:
"Why were you ever born?"

She'd gotten all she wanted
Never doing what she wanted;
Stillborn dreams betrayed and spurned
Replace lust for life departed.

On extinction's door
She'll end up like the dodo,
If she ever looks unhappy
In annual family photo.

When asked to contribute
She displays her bank account;
But to live a life dishonest
No offerings Love counts.

A smile for every person,
Never shows anger or rile;
But slits throats in a heartbeat
Who dare to limit her style.

Chaining herself to be
Where no one else can help;
Living for her selfish
For having lost her self.

"Yes, down through the years
"My selfish I have carried,
"But if it were not so
"I couldn't have stayed married!"

The crackling palace warm and dry
Haughtily denies accusing sin;
But wails eternal winter cold
Inside her chamber cell within.

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Conservatives in Love

"Please help me! I'm going to fall!"

She was hanging off the side of a cliff, feet dangling, as he looked down upon her.

"Well, looky here. Little Miss Perfect is asking for help. I thought you already knew everything! If you'd been responsibly selfish like I have you'd find yourself in the ascendant position I'm in now."

"Hurry, or I will fall!"

"Always thinking of yourself! Besides, you seem fine to me, it's not like you're sliding down."

"Do I have to fall to prove I'm in trouble?"

"How else would I know?"

"But then I would be dead!"

"I certainly wouldn't doubt your credibility at that point! Can't do anything until one is determined to be credible."

"This is a nightmare."

"Can only be your own fault. Can't be living your life expecting other people to bail you out of trouble. That's completely irresponsible."

"But we're all in this together!"

"Libtard drivel. I'm incentivizing you to help yourself. The Lord helps those who help themselves - and I'm here to do the Lord's work."

"You're an asshole! Whatever you do unto the least of you, you do unto me."

"Judge not lest you be judged yourself! God, I love being a conservative Christian!"

"Just think how you'll feel if you don't help me before it's too late."

"Look, Miss Chicken Little, the sky isn't falling for you like you hysterically claim and you want me to risk my life and well being because you got yourself in a bad spot? I don't think so!"

"How much of a risk is it to lower your hand to help me up?"

"I don't believe in that sort of inappropriate touching between a man and a woman. If my wife saw that she would rightly condemn me."

"You must be a pervert to sexualize everything in life!"

"The only pervert here is you. Don't see me going around whining, "Help, help! Woe is me!" That's why I'm in the morally superior position."

"I can't hang on much longer."

"So says you. I'm so tired of liberal self-serving rhetoric used to justify immoral behavior. One has to see the objective truth and serve only that."

Then she fell screaming to her death and the wife came over.

"What was that awful sound?"

"Some woman who expected me to take time out of my own life because she couldn't handle hers."

"Sounds dreadful! You didn't touch her did you?"

"I stayed true and pure. She got her just desserts in the end. She refused to take care of her life so she lost it."

"Thanks to the good Lord for that! What a wretched woman."

"There's a lesson to be learned here today. I can see now more than ever the importance of cutting off benefits, lowering the minimum wage, and slashing social security. That's the only way some people will ever learn."

"I love you! If only everyone were like us the world would be a responsible place!"

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Finale: Blossoms Of A Twilight Samurai

Ronin had prostrated himself in the Japanese practice of dogeza before the Shogunate high official. This would be his biggest job yet and this time he was not meeting with mere intermediaries as before, but directly with those giving the orders. He was moving up in the world. Perhaps he'd found his place as a sword for hire. He feared he needed acceptance of some sort - even if it was with the corrupt. He had not realized how strong its pull until this very moment.

The men in the room praised Ronin, promising him standing and rewards. They were so pleased with his previous work they granted him this direct audience. But all the while hearing this, Ronin was out of body, his spirit in another place. A voice told him he should be excited at what he was being told. Another part had lost any interest in the world. This was the constant struggle within.

As he left the room, Osaya's chastising dream words rang in his ears. Her contempt for him as a killer was not assuaged by this "success". But he feared to give in to her, to bond with her even in absentia. To expect even an ounce of acceptance from her was not to be dared. It took the entirety of his courage to do so. Surely the gods would be angry with his taking something so precious which he could never deserve.

Having decided to take this step, Ronin put his life in further danger by stepping around to below the open window of the room he'd just left. Osaya's words had broken the spell of the official's seduction, casting him back into the world, however harsh it may be.

"Yes, yes, I know all about him. He indeed killed the merchant's son. That's what makes him so perfect."

The official and a subordinate were discussing Ronin's arrangement. "How many men will you have stationed at Machibuse pass?"

"Ten. More than enough. Then we'll post his head as a criminal, feeding the people a scoundrel to make them feel good - and distract them from us."

"How did you read him? Do you believe he'll do the job and follow the escape route through the pass?"

"He is a guilty dog stupidly berating himself - as if that means something! He's so busy punishing himself he'll never see this coming. I've been waiting for a high profile job like this to use him. Plus, we used him before so there's a level of trust. As political creatures, trust is the most valuable commodity we have, is it not, sire?" He smiled an evil grin.

Ronin gasped, almost giving himself away. Then his eyes hardened into razor sharp steel as he worked his way back to the normal exit of the mansion's compound. So I've been playing the fool all these years!

Swirling with emotion, he made his way back to his room at the inn. By the slimmest of margins his life had been saved. He dared step outside his guilt to see the picture of a fool. Even the scheming officials scoffed at his self-punishment! Dishonesty never serves a purpose. But he feared to not to hate himself. What would that say of him as a man who ruined the lives of three people, counting his own? For the first time in seven years, he ordered sake be brought to his room.

It was easier when I thought I was the worst person in the world. I know of no one who's committed a crime as heinous as mine. Ever since I returned from the bridge, though, something has been off, sensing I've been on a fool's errand. Now I know! Why do I have such a problem admitting the evil of others? Is it because there's still something in me worth fighting for? Is it to that which I must answer?

While still doubting he had any sort of future, Ronin had no intention of letting men like the official take his life. He felt outrage for the first time in a long time. Then it struck him: he'd avoided outrage because then he'd get a taste of what Osaya must have felt when he struck down her brother. The warm sake soothed him in grateful retreat. Then he fell fitfully asleep to enter a land ruled by demons as he searched for good people to trust and to guide him.


A few short decades away a man would sit in jail writing a book after a failed attempt of overthrowing the government. Betrayal for him was not a single act but a way of life. His dream was to have everyone in the nation engage in self-betrayal having lost hope himself. He knew the big lie was to believe in the goodness of the masses. "It's the inferior people around you causing your problems!" he wrote. He should know, being one of those inferior people.

His message sold well. A man openly proposing mass murder became (at one point) the most popular man in the nation's history. So much the for the goodness of "the people". That country would align itself with Japan in a quixotic quest for world domination. In the horrific ashes of the end, one country's populace were forced to march through its death camps in sobering recognition while the other were forever scarred by nuclear devastation. God help a lost soul looking for guidance.


Ronin forced himself awake from the uninhabitable dreamland of demons. He truly hoped that was not the land in which he lived as he approached the rising sun of the dawn. However terrifying his own treachery, he could no longer sit back and allow his life to be wasted. And however hopeless redemption might be, he must still fight for his life. If only he could sit and watch this dawn until he died.

The following week Ronin requested a meeting with his intended target - also a high government official. He was surprised to be received (he was received for a reason but never to be known to him as the gods were working in his favor). There Ronin explained the plot against the official, refusing any reward, leaving the two warring officials to themselves. He departed a marked man.

How delightful to bring things out into the open! What a feeling of relief and freedom. This is true power, to have no attachments to the world. I will surely be marked for assassination now for there's nothing betrayers hate more than being betrayed to the truth. But to die on this day is a thousand times better than any day before since the incident. Do I have the courage to continue down this road?

Osaya would be proud of me. This puts water on my raging fires, thank the gods! Heeding her words saved my life - in every sense. She didn't want revenge, at least not like I was thinking. She wanted me to repent and turn away from killing as her satisfaction. She is as beautiful as I ever dreamed. May the gods always serve her and damn them if they don't!

Once again a ronin samurai crouched under a country bridge crying in revealing moonlight. But these were not only tears of bitter regret as before, but ones moved by the beauty of a soul who taught him the meaning of life.