Monday, September 16, 2002

Waiting For The Big One

The slight glow of embers in the dark. The soft sucking sound as he draws on a cigarette....a momentary pause as he holds the smoke deep within his lungs...then blows it out slowly; savoring the acrid taste upon his tongue.

Smoking a cigarette in the friendly dark. Waiting for the big one.

He leans casually against the smooth texture of the doorway and smiles to himself. Just like fishin..,...waiting for the big one. He is a good fisherman; he has the key quality needed by any angler worth his salt....patience. He has patience in spades; the ability to stand stock still for long periods of time as absolutely nothing happens; then to spring into action when the rod suddenly bends low and the hooked fish runs for its life. He has a knack for seizing control of a situation without losing his head.

The man standing in the dark, smoking a cigarette and smiling at nothing in particular, does not know the meaning of the word panic.

He carefully watches the street some thirty feet below; a street fiercely lit by a multitude of headlights, streetlights and garish neon signs. He watches as tons of city dwellers wander aimlessly from side to side; entering shops, leaving shops...laughing and joking. He watches as lives untold swirled aimlessly about the landscape of the city, blissfully unaware of the utter chaos which will soon be visited upon them.

He gives new meaning to the concept of discipline. He's spent hours honing his reflexes to a razor sharp edge. He's suffered through countless exercises of torture which served only to raise the level of pain he could endure to a point well past that of nearly any other man in existence. His body has been molded into a perfect machine and the only vice he allows himself is the occasional luxury of a pack of Marlboros.

Sure, the cops will find the wasted remains of his cigarettes scattered about the gleaming hardwood floor; crushed with the toe of his tennis shoe. It doesn't matter. The FBI will collect fibers from where his grey cashmere sweater rubs up against the door jamb....so what? He knows it won't take them long to figure out where the attack came from and, once that was established, this whole area will be scoured for even the tiniest of clues. Scour on cops....they will never catch him. He is the whistle in the wind....the heat in the sun...that thing which reaches out and touches anyone in its path...sometimes with spectacular results. Which is about to happen when he is done waiting for the big one.

A warm breeze wafts toward him from the nearby open window. He can hear the sounds of the street...the sounds of life...drifting about him as he waits. He is as calm now as he had been in his hotel room the night before; lounging in an overstuffed chair and watching sitcoms. Everything was in place; the escape route set....the loaded rifle resting easily on his shoulder...even as the big one was now traveling toward him...toward his destiny.

He can hear the cheering before he sees the motorcade. He can see the crowds moving along the sidewalks as the advance crew cleared a path for the oncoming limousines. He follows the slow progress of the presidential entourage through the scope on his rifle; finger lightly on the trigger; waiting for the moment to strike.

The whole group stopps right where he knew they would...the occupants get out right where they are supposed to get out. The president and the first lady stand proudly amongst the cheering throng; the ever present secret service agents watching the crowd carefully. As he watches, the old line comes back to him..."they can't check every window...and ANYONE can be hit".

The president had been playing hardball with his employers and the man who makes such decisions made the decision that the president needed to be sent a message. A message he would understand....something to bring him back to the table with a somewhat friendlier attitude. This is where he came in....with his rifle trained upon the big one...at least as he thought of her. The press always refered to the first lady as "plus size" but either way....there was no getting around the fact she was large and there was lots of target to aim at.

He closes one eye....gently squeezes the trigger...

And watches as the whole street explodes into a massive swell of panic....




Sunday, September 15, 2002

ABSENCE OF COLOR

She sat on the floor, huddled in the corner, face void of all color. Her teeth chattered intermittently though the temperature in her bedroom was at a normal level. Her knuckles were white with tension as they gripped the old, torn quilt she had pulled up around her body as if that were protection from the world raging fiercely outside her bedroom door. Her eyes, formerly alive with curiosity and spirit, were now sunken and hollow; ringed with trails of tear streaked mascara.

She was sixteen and pretty; the cheerleading captain and one of the most popular girls on campus. She hadnt eaten in three days.

Earlier, he called; one of many calls he had placed to her in the past two weeks. She let the phone ring although there was an extension in her room. After seven rings her mother, surprised her daughter hadnt rushed to answer, picked up the phone, heard his voice, and called for her to get it anyway; after all it was her boyfriend on the line. So she did; standing by her bed, voice small and wispy. As she talked to him, she looked around the room. With the lights off and dusk falling, it was as if her world was painted in black and white and color dare not intrude. The conversation was short and animated; when they hung up nothing had been resolved. She shuffled back to her corner of the room (cage) and nestled back under the quilt; shivering the whole time.

Later, as the numbness continued, she decided to check yet once again. Surely God had nothing against her; surely this lack of feeling in her body was nothing more than the misplaced reaction of youthfulness which hopefully she would soon outgrow. She trudged into the adjoining bathroom, locked the door and turned on the light. Color did not intrude in here either; all surfaces were sterile white...even the linoleum on the floor. She sat on the commode without lifting the lid; shut her eyes and slid her white cotton underwear down to her knees; mumbling a prayer, any prayer, to help her in this moment of need. She was three weeks late and her body told her it was going to be even later; but she HAD to keep checking; after all she wasnt a pro at this and maybe what she thought wasnt what was real. Heart in throat, she slowly opened her eyes, pleading desperately for any sign of color; even just a small tell tale splash of red would bring sweet relief from the nightmare her life had become.

Hot, fat tears splashed onto her arms as she bent over and stared at the inside of her underwear. Pure white, unsullied white, virginal white...they didnt get any whiter than her panties at that moment.

Not a drop of blood to be seen anywhere; a complete absence of color.

She shivered violently....alone forever....in a black and white world....


Thursday, September 12, 2002

ROOM WITH A VIEW

I believe in God when I have to.

I have a room with a view.

I climb mountains every day. Once I reach a summit, I wonder why there's always yet another waiting as patiently as a fox waits for a lone sheep to wander by.

I don't have the patience for chess.

I don't have the time for golf.

I don't have a quarter for the wretched bum who hangs out in the park across the street from where I earn my daily bread. I see him every day; with his stinking bedroll draped over the shopping cart he must have stolen from the A & P two blocks over.

I sold my pity for a dime. A lousy dime.

I doodle on scrap paper; I crumple that paper up; I throw it in the nearest trash can. They say excessive doodling is a sign of intelligence.....I say it keeps me from being able to read the notes I took at the last meeting I attended.

I guess I am going to have to copy someone else's notes.

I am slowly building a mountain of empty beer cans in the other room. Pretty soon, as it spills out my windows, my neighbors will start comparing me to Richard Dreyfuss in "Close Encounters Of The Third Kind" as he built a replica of Devil's Butte in his living room. His monument turned out pretty cool...I think mine is going to attract cockroaches.

I have plenty of garbage laying around my apartment for the soon to be arriving cockroaches to munch on.

I don't shave as much as I used to.

I don't have as much money as I used to.

I never learned to say "we".

I don't have a girlfriend. Anymore.

I am a writer...who doesn't know that the story is about to end.

And the mountain is going to win again.....