The Drug Guy of Tartarus

Related imageNobody talks about ‘the underworld’ these days. I find that disturbing. I love the pictures drawn out of ancient mythology of new worlds that you can pass through only by making some chilling sacrifice to prove that you belong. I’ve been considering the sacrifices we make every day to belong. We get a little older, sacrificing our youth so that we might stay a little longer. We get comfortable with loss and learning what to lose. You sacrifice a little bit of that youthful energy and hopefulness so that you might exist in this realm for a while longer.

Ask yourself, “What have I done to prove that I belong?”

It’s the same for when you want to buy drugs. It’s never an easy endeavor. Sure, we could legalize it and all this underground tom-foolery would dissipate within a matter of months… but we don’t have time for rational suggestions. Instead, we have to preserve the underground. It’s an environment unlike any other, with its own set of rules that have to be followed. It can be dark, mysterious, mischievous and down-right shady, but it has to exist. There are demands that the world of the living cannot meet. For that, you have the underground.

My dealer is a relatively normal guy. He just talks a damn lot about shit that I don’t care about. The price you pay for entering the underworld is having to listen for hours on end. Your sacrifice is made ever-so much more difficult by the fact that he won’t give you any drugs while you’re listening. You have to sit there stone-sober, as he rattles off trivial minutiae that he notices on a daily basis. It’s like meeting a character out of a children’s fable: you can’t cross the bridge without answering a few riddles. He just seems like a lonely guy living out a riddle of his own. He has dozens of friends and yet he has no friends. Plenty of people come to see him, yet nobody stays. Every creature within the underworld must live by the laws that govern. He follows a curse, for although he provides for the underworld a source of great power, he, in himself, possesses none.

I listen for a while. He believes in ancient aliens. He believes they built up mankind as a sort of cattle. He thinks we’re being moved in place and the earth is one great big farm. It’s weird that these theories always find some bearing on our souls, something familiar to embed in our psyches, like a god damn tick. I can’t forget the idea of the ancient aliens. Part of me would really love to relax and believe whatever. It settles into you. Doesn’t anyone else notice the parasitic nature of belief? A tick doesn’t rest. It bites down and chews. It’s chomping through you with all its might. You might feel it as an itch, but on the part of the tick its intent is malicious. It wants to survive. It HAS to survive.

Once he runs out of steam you’ve passed the test presented by the underworld. You’re free to escape. He works through the conversation and reveals vast treasures of the underworld. He gathers them up in sandwich bags, ties them up and presents them to you without a riddle. I don’t even know the question. I take what I’ve come for and leave, like any businessman, I offer a proper handshake and goodbye. He never seems to care that you go, as he folds over onto his couch and continues watching whatever is on the television. It’s usually cartoons or the History channel.

Embrace of Calliope

Image result for love jokeOur town isn’t known for much. It’s rare for us to get in the papers and when we do, it’s more likely for something terrible that will bring us great shame. After a while, you just sort of become numb to it. You laugh it off, not to laugh at yourself, but laugh at the regular humiliation of your people. It’s kinda like being a Cleveland Browns fan… for which I offer my deepest sympathies.

On the day in question, when we received our deepest veneration from the world, it took the death of two of our greatest patrons, Calliope the Immortal and Eseferon the Great. Their story was something that brought hope to the world, but their ending was what caught people’s attention. They died in each other’s arms. It was a beautiful moment, so much so that someone even took a picture and, someone even more morbid had it framed. It stood in our local library for a few days, before it appeared distasteful to some and had to be removed.

Now, what came as an even greater surprise and helped create a mythology about their love was that Eseferon the Great somewhat predicted their deaths. I don’t think he predicted it as much as hoped. He wanted nothing more than to fall asleep forever in her arms. Eseferon the Great told the world that he had cancer, stricken limbs with rigor before his death, pulsing pains here and there, but, so it goes, when Calliope moved her hands over his body he felt nothing more. He claimed to have a sore on his neck, but when she touched it the pain dispersed. He believed himself to have something terrible lurking in his sides, but with a gentle caress she made the pain go away. He claimed that her touch held mystical powers. He claimed that when he was around her he felt no more pain.

This was something he said over and over again. For years, he’d admit to believing that she had something special that he couldn’t put his finger on, although it was her love that truly drove him to feel better. Calliope the Immortal I never saw a picture of in her younger days, although she maintained an undeniable beauty in her declining years. She appeared above the fatigue of death, doom and old age. People thought they were both crazy, because Calliope never had a job and all she ever seemed to do was walk around. It was something to see, however, as if we had a guardian angel roaming the streets without concern. It almost seemed as if we should also live without concern. She’d walk through our Riverfront Park and disappear under the bridge, only to return, same upright stance, same graceful walk, as if above water.

The coroners said there was nothing wrong with Eseferon, although he was always the hypochondriac, but I’m sure he’d assume his lack of distress on his loving partner. Calliope called them back. Her gift must’ve run out. Either way, I believe they knew their time was running out. She’d held him together for so long. What do you do when you have no time left? They returned to what brought them here in the first place. They did what they loved to do.

Kama, Patron Saint of the Doomed

 


Doom is the word. It holds a great deal of weight at the tip of your tongue. Sound it out and let it settle. Your ears don’t want to accept the presence of such a word in your vocabulary. It’s a word that everyone deals with in everyday life, yet only a few know the definition. Knowing is struggling. Knowing is being defeated by life or other forces that prove much stronger, greater, more capable of breaking you down and making you feel like less than what you are. Doom is the word. It can’t be written out of the dictionary. It belongs, just like hope and prosperity.

Doom is a symbol of greatest despair. It’s the ‘nothing left, game-over’ scenario, when you have nowhere else to turn. You’ve run out of options. You’ve failed in a way that nothing will ever get better. If anything, it’ll only get worse. A symbol of doom weighs heavy on the soul. You don’t often notice them right away. More often, you live such a life that you have to look back and see, before you can pinpoint the augury of your downfall. Think of the Statue of Liberty and what it’s supposed to mean to a person coming in after spending days at sea, locked shoulder-to-shoulder with strangers, while you hold your child close to you and hope that you both can weather the storm. Imagine looking up over the horizon of ocean that you’ve seen for days and seeing that beautiful sign of hope: a distant flame in the endless ocean, her torch, held high above inequity and doom. Imagine what you feel, what you think, what you understand about your future. It’s enough to fill a man with hope. So too is that point when you’ve run out of hope. So too is that point when you have nothing, but to accept your fate.

The ocean is doom. Your old life is doom. Doom is the point of no return, when all hope is lost and nothing can be done to save you. It’s been symbolized by mythical places, like Hell or Hades, but in using symbols to define it, we’ve lost what it means for the truly doomed. True doom is reserved for those beyond reach. It’s for people so desperate they’d flee across an ocean for a better life.

What is hope? Hope is wishing for something better. The doomed have to hope that they can be absolved of whatever sin has caused their suffering. Hope is beyond the ocean, yet absolution is so much further.

If you walk beneath the Dunn Memorial Bridge in Rensselaer, New York, you’ll find several things. You’ll find a baseball field with a tremendous history to the sport, although you might not think it. You’ll find the noise insufferable, as cars speed above on their way to the highway. Of utmost importance are the pillars that keep the highway from crashing into the river. Several artists perfected their art against the sturdy concrete, as a proper reminder that almost anything can be made beautiful with a little effort. I found this one (Top Left) of utmost importance, not only to our town, but to the world. I call him, Kama, Patron Saint of the Doomed, because we all need hope in some form. The last time I walked passed this place beneath the highway, I saw its trash bins overflowing, while crows pulled out leftovers and made off with them like victorious scoundrels. I don’t understand that symbol, but I’d rather find meaning in something more beneficial.

For the lost souls that roam in our fair city, there is Kama, Patron Saint of the Doomed. The fallen angel, Kama, sacred returner of lost souls, watches over us all. Predators threaten. Call the city a haven and that’s what it becomes. Treat it like one and you live up to your word. Deliver on this promise and it is so. Kama is the protector. He pushes those forces that would cause us harm out into the ether, allowing us to remain, like a bubble along the river. After enough time, the bubble will pop and Kama will return from whence he came. Until then, he watches over us. Kama takes the form of the spider, but unlike most spiders he has not set this trap. This is not his web. Our web was empty, this empty city would’ve been picked apart if not for him. Every so often the web will tear, threatening a collapse into oblivion. Kama holds it together.

Outside forces work to tear down what we call sacred. It’s only a matter of time before they succeed and we are torn apart. That doesn’t matter. It’s not the point to preserve what is inherently doomed. It’s the point to try. It’s the point to try. It’s the point to try. Kama protects us. Still, even with him as our protector, our fate is sealed. We’ll collapse into oblivion, yet we have this time to enjoy our empire of dirt. Let his name, Kama, Patron Saint of the Doomed, be praised.

Muck Mouth Scripture

Image result for muck mouth#FreeMuckMouth

What do we do with our doomed? Those citizens that don’t register in our psyches as human, for those few, we have a lesser understanding. We see them pushing carts down the street far from the stores that they belong. We see them staring off into an endless world that we cannot see and wonder what could go wrong in a mind to create such a person. What do we do with them? How do we help? How do we make the world a little less fucked-up, so that maybe such a person could fulfill his destiny?

 

Spits at the wind

Spit comes back, sprays his face in mucus

Doesn’t even flinch

Sees the sun setting – stars waking, moon taking control

A whole world order rising and falling, rising and falling

“Stanky ‘D’ on a way down.” Muck Mouth says

Say what?

“Little grits… tight pussy… ‘D’ hangin’ low, ya mean?”

No… no one knows what the hell you’re talking

“English mo-fo… ha! Do you speak it?”

I guess not

He points to the sun, traces a line through the stars that we have yet to see

He sees something, I might never know what

Muck Mouth has a brilliant mind

It’s trapped in his shit brain

like the rest of us

Limitation

It always gets the best of us

We’re all trapped in muck

Muck Mouth’s brain

No discernible truth to this world

Just words to chew, salivate over, drool on ourselves

“Stanky ‘D’… no salvation,” traces his hand in the sky

I notice the sun and a line that follows over the horizon

Not the horizon, another line

It seems to be a space where the darkness drops over the light

Like a blanket collapsing over our sleeping world

When Muck Mouth sees the understanding in my eyes

He smiles – busted teeth, some missing

Good guy, great teacher

He speaks in myths and riddles

Sacred gods and goddesses made of night and day, light and dark, sun and moon

Their actions are coercion, control, power dynamics that our puny minds

Will never understand

Muck Mouth understands

If only, for me, to tap into the root of his wisdom

This is his scripture. —-I have no idea what the fuck you’re saying… and I think you know that.

Pooping in the Fitting Rooms


https://www.bloomberg.com/features/2016-walmart-crime/

Fun story time, starting with a fact I love sharing with everyone. Retail is the bane of my existence. I suffered through it for a long time and still see it as a terrible thing. I feel a tremble coming from my heart and receding through my limps whenever I walk into a store. My hatred knows no bounds.

Anyway, I promised a fun story and I’m not one to break a promise. On two separate occasions in our story somebody pooped in the fitting rooms Once, it happened when I’d first started at this store. A person piled up some clothes and just… you get the point. They asked everyone to clean it up, but we all refused. In the end, one of the managers had to do it. It didn’t affect me to have him do it. I liked the fact that he was made to, actually reveling in his suffering. For that time, sure, I became a sadist, but he made at least five times what I did. If anyone was going to clean up poop, why not him?

Second account of the ‘Serial Shitter’: it was a cold, blustery night. No… actually, what’s weird is on both accounts it happened around summer… hmmm. The person just pooped on one of the benches in the fitting room. They just pooped! What kind of weirdo does that sort of thing… and, if you’re the weirdo, please identify yourself!

We never found either attacker, but I think it’s the same person. These occurrences are separated by ten years, so the person is patient. He could’ve gone to any store, but he came to mine… maybe he’s from out of town and goes around pooping in local businesses. Maybe he’s a close friend. The ‘Serial Shitter’ is out there. He could be anyone and anywhere…. he could even be writing this story!

Wild Ogre Nether Regions

Ogre_Combatant

An ogre drawing from WOW… not actual footage of ‘Wild Bill’.

“…and then, one day you find ten years have got behind you

no one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun…”

-Pink Floyd (Time)

Many a man makes himself into an ogre. Many a man is made into an ogre. Wild Bill followed the whims of every want and desire. He was a massive creature. He couldn’t be denied even if a person wanted. He couldn’t be put in his place. He could steal, bully and pillage all he wanted. He could eat and seemingly never be filled. His body was a landmine of desires, a vast pit that never became full. Wild Bill took all he could from life, until life finally stole some things from him. It chipped away at his youth. With that, his health followed. It always seems like a freak occurrence, when time stops you, when you have so much momentum you feel like you can go on forever. Wild Bill, set in his ogre ways, after many years, finally had to slow down.

I first met Wild Bill while walking through my city as a boy many years ago. He wore a pair of blue jean shorts and nothing else. He walked out of his front door with an angry, defensive look on his face, as I and a friend walked by. We’d done nothing to offend, but the Wild Ogres are so easily startled and often eager to fight. He’d look for any reason. it was important for my friend and I to maintain a safe distance, while keeping our eyes down. Wild Bill continued to stare. We could feel his hungry gaze. We waited for the words, ‘Fee, fie, foe, fum,’ to erupt from the ogre’s mighty belly, but that never happened. He just kept staring. He had a round stomach that hung out several inches from the rest of his lengthy body, which made it awkward to categorize, since he didn’t technically seem fat. Even after we were half a block away, the mighty ogre prepared as if to defend his hovel. My friend finally broke and had to look back. The ogre roared and we ran for our lives. That was many years ago.

The other time I came across the powerful ogre was when he was drunk at a local watering hole. I was much older by this point and he saw me not as a threat, but close enough to be… not a friend, but more a friendly acquaintance. He pulled me in for a rough hug. He had at least a foot on me and probably around a hundred pounds. I could feel his rounded gut, hard, pressing against me. He downed a mug of something, as if it were water, before slamming his palm against the counter for more. The table rattled under his weight, such a powerful creature. In no time at all, the ogre’s anger got the best of him. He ended up fighting someone out in the parking lot, being pulled away by three men, no less, before walking home alone. His anger, as it goes with most ogres, is the dominant emotion and always got the better of him.

Rage defined him. It could’ve been joy, although that emotion took many more years to set inside his heart. It started with a simple ‘hello’ and a wave from his porch. It ended with him running out in the middle of the street for me. It took everything for me to fight the urge to flee. He stopped me and put his hand on my shoulder. He knew me or remembered me somehow. We talked a little about things I knew nothing about. He wanted to talk some about himself and I didn’t mind. He was manifesting a friendlier nature and, although I found it surprising, I was in awe and had to respect it. When we both got older, me and Wild Bill, it was like we were both learning more about him. He was seeing himself in a different light, one never exposed in his volatile childhood days. He talked most of the time. I never got a word in anyway, but never wanted to interrupt him His stream of consciousness I found fascinating. He was digging for something and uprooting wisdoms inside himself that he thought ancestral, sacred, ineluctable. He couldn’t touch them, until now. I was uncovering buried treasures in his memory.

For years, his personality worked in a limited sense, which made him an outsider. He could be friendly around other ogres, but to others he made remarks that offended and bruised. He always said such things as jokes, although they were often personal. He could be boorish and rude. He was crass, vulgar. He was a slob. Women were his one true passion, but far from respecting them, he tried to use them as much as he could. He used them up like tissues and discarded them the same. He didn’t know how to maintain such a trivial, intricate relationship. Sex was easier for him, because it was a simple answer to a simple desire. Love and affection were far too complicated.

The last time I saw Wild Bill, proud Ogre of the Nether Regions, he wasn’t the same. Life caught up to him in its brutal fashion. It put him through hell. He’d been dealing with several rounds of chemo after an emergency visit to the hospital. He could’ve died right then, but his body was still strong in ways that most of us can’t imagine. He fought tumors and kidney failure, all to return to this life. Something changed in him. We talked for a while outside of one of the fine local establishments. A friend of his was being told to leave, because he came to the store without wearing a shirt. Wild Bill pulled the shirt right off his back and tossed it to him. The friend laughed and told him not to worry about it. Wild Bill had this grin, somber, silent… humble. It’s something of an evolutionary masterpiece. Amidst the anger of his youth, fighting to validate himself in this awful, wretched existence, his spirit found a way to manifest humility and kindness.

He’s an old man now. Humility’s what you have to look forward to after just a few decades on this earth. Humility is ugly and necessary. It’s the ability to beg, “Dear God, give me this one moment to go back and fix everything” and then knowing that just because he doesn’t answer doesn’t mean your prayers weren’t answered. You’ll never go back in time. You’re stuck here with us mortals in the present. It’s a beautiful thing. I like to think Wild Bill learned that, even if it came to him as the harshest lesson possible. Humility: he wouldn’t take anything for granted.

The Pigeon Man


Crossing the river, I say a prayer to Kama, Patron Saint of the Doomed. He is our protector, blessed be his name. The sun is nearing its highest point; not a cloud in the sky to impede its progress. We’ll measure its zenith, as well as its decline. Not many are blessed with such an opportunity, to know the rise and fall. Many experience one or the other.Crossing the river, your soul drifts, as the dark spirits that inhabit the underworld find the bridge to be a vulnerable point in reality, to prod and poke and pull unwary souls to their doom. Praying to Kama, in the least, provides us with solace. Blessed is his name.

There’s something you give up once you’ve become this person. There’s something you give up when you’re no longer considered a human being. Whether you have a say in it, I’ve not the wisdom to share. I’ve never reached that pivotal point of desperation. I’ve never been pushed over the edge by whatever unremitting force it is that can make a man into… not a monster, just something society would want to hide.

Society wants to hide from him, but I can’t… for whatever reason, I see him. I wonder if it’s a ploy of some schizophrenic tendency in my mind; the onset of dementia, but as I make my way up State Street, a long slanting hill, I notice a man, obviously homeless, with his back resting against a glass bus stop, roughly six feet wide. I notice at least six people on the other side of the structure, each either looking at their cell phones or wearing headphones. They sway to the sounds that echo in their minds. I see one man wearing a red sweater, bobbing his head. He peeks back to see ‘the Pigeon Man’, if only out of curiosity, but he seems less than interested. People pass us by. Some don’t even bother to look.

We talk about joining together in unity, about life being this ‘utmost significant’… thing, but these are just rhymes to keep us sane. We recite them, like cold mantras to ward off evil spirits. Dare we stop and take a look around us? To what end? It’s a cold world we live in, even with the temperature rising every day. Global warming’s another myth, just like Sasquatch and the female orgasm. Have you heard the one about the Pigeon Man? He turned out to be a black hole! Same myth as any other: insert implausible, undeniable truth that the mind can’t wrap itself around and keep the world busy for a while. People are black holes. If I put my hand out to this man I’ll be lost forever. Stephen Hawking says that’s a myth now too. Lying cunt. If I put my hand out I’ll never escape.

I watch the man feed several pigeons from a lunch bag sitting among the ruins and wreckage of whatever consists of his life. I wasn’t thinking it at the time, but why in the hell did he have the food for the pigeons… enough to feed them and not bother with himself? It isn’t laziness that makes a man homeless, but madness. Dementia, fringe searing thought forms that chew away at the mind. They can start in the back of the mind; call it anxiety, PTSD, depression, schizophrenia, but eventually they destroy even the greatest of us. Muhammad Ali. Ernest Hemingway. Me, probably.

I make my way up the hill, venturing towards Madison Ave, towards what’s supposed to be the ‘Tulip Fest’. I’ve never been, though I have no interest in seeing a bunch of flowers. It’s fun to see people, so I make the journey. I walk along the cracked pavement running between the roads and the sidewalks, until I reach the ‘State Plaza’. It’s a long grey stretch of land crafted by people who think that grey is the color of the world. Black and white, perhaps it’s a statement. Albany is the ‘greyest little city in the world’, with a number of state offices outlying, in-lying, lying every which way. There’s a call for startups, in hopes to bring fresh enterprise and perhaps a change to the malaise of grey fog, but who can tell what the future holds. There’s always talk of change, of making things better, but maybe we’re just doomed to remain within the fog. I walk through the grey, thinking of Tartarus in Greek lore. I think of things malformed, undigested bits of reality, not quite hell, but a world absent of the will to make this into heaven. I look passed ‘The Egg’, a big, grey, oval shaped structure for great artists to perform. If you look passed you’re blessed with quite the view of my home. The land stretches out from this point and Tartarus doesn’t so much ‘frame’ the view, but pull it in. This is the nexus of the universe and everything around us is being pulled in, consumed, like a black hole. All that I behold is my kingdom.


I have yet to claim it. I never will.

I walk along the fountain, which stretches most of the way from Washington St, to Madison Ave. It’s a reflecting pool, for our people to take time out of their days and stare at their most intimate self. See yourself, just to remember that you’re real and what you’re enduring is not a dream, as in any other rendition of Tartarus. Physicists claim that this world might be a reflection. Lying cunts. I see reflections all around me… lying cunts. I see myself as a boy running as fast as I can around the reflecting pool. I have no idea why I ran. I just did, because I was a kid and had so much energy. I see myself years down the road… too old for running… too old for walking. I sit and think of all that I’ve seen in my life. I think of myself, as the Pigeon Man. There’s nothing left to run for, so I sit and feed the pigeons. Rot of the brain is getting the best of me. I forget where I am. I’m at the reflecting pool. I go towards Madison Ave.

I’m not too far from my destination, but I already hear music. The music is a group of college-age ‘kids’ sitting on a stoop listening to a rapper I’ve never heard. My first thought is that I didn’t know people still sat out on their stoops and used their radios. Then, I feel the first sting of old age, not that I’m THAT old, just beyond that point where age no longer matters. I’m lost, taken, again, by the grip of that black hole. I pass them without a glance, as they shout every word of the song, cheering, as if they’d hoped to share this moment forever. Duality hits again and I remember acting the same way at their age. Something about that one song that brings everyone together. I can’t even remember the song. It’s beyond that black hole, yet its significance to my story remains.

I continue, noticing a crowd of people herding together at the corner, walking in packs into the park. Washington Park is flooded with people and vendors and booths for assorted goods. Artists have assembled, hoping to pedal their wares, enjoying the sunny day in the park. I hate the herding. We walk along the path. So many black holes grouped together is always cause for a cataclysmic, time-altering event and I want no part of it. There’s so much room along the grass, but we can’t go there. Vendors set up wires and tents and things to keep us trapped. We’re trapped like rats. I make a turn and walk through the maze of wires, hearing someone saying something, but I’m too far gone. I have to escape the herd. Crossing the jungle of wires, I see people laying out on blankets in the grass. I feel more relaxed. I see the tulips decorated for the occasion. I see bright purples and blues. Nothing grey about this place. Even the fountain in the middle, no grey, just faded after years of erosion. I see a beautiful girl in a sundress that passes me by. For a moment, we can stare, sharing in some moment that will go untold, unseen, in the back of our minds for as long as eternity holds itself together. SO insignificant, as it drags itself out; the will they, won’t they, as it stretches beyond the point of no return. We share that glance into each other’s eyes, the most intimate point we can reach, seeing something beautiful and sinister in our souls, before it’s gone.

I leave the park. I pass the ‘stoop kids’ and go back through the grey world of Tartarus. I walk passed the Pigeon Man. He’s asleep behind the bus stop. People sit on the other side, different people, still on their phones. I stop, seeing him, but even the pigeons have left him. What is the world? Black holes all around me. I can’t wait here too long. Down the hill I go. There’s a homeless woman sitting at the crossing, where the highway becomes the city. She sits on the corner. The cars wait at a red light, seeing her with her sign. It’s a clever marketing ploy. I see her around five o’clock every day. She waits for the traffic to pick up, when everyone’s leaving work. It’s like Pavlov’s dog… that sort of thing. She sits on a bucket next to her rusted metal cart, full of blankets and loose bottles. She doesn’t look at me, as I walk passed, but I notice a marble composition notebook sitting on top of the pile in her cart. It throws me off for a moment, but I continue along. Why the hell does she have a notebook? Is she keeping tabs on how many people stop, per car? Is she writing a manifesto about her life? Is she thinking up stocks to invest in, per dollar made today, minus overhead costs for the cart, rags, dementia and various dangers of the city?

I guess I’ll never know.

I cross over, saying a prayer to Kama, as I make my way along the bridge. I look down on the Hudson River, seeing its horizon far along and out of sight. I make my way home. I’m left with so many questions, but nobody ever said they need to be answered. What significance answering so many questions could bring to my life? If you never try you never know. Then, again, sometimes it’s just having that question that seems to keep you together. I find a soft patch of grass and rest. All I see is cloud.

Cyrrhus the Great


When I first met Cyrrhus the Great, we were both in high school. We were around the same grade, although he’d been held back. He was around six foot five inches tall and had the body of a college athlete. He was naturally inclined to dominate in every sport and he did so without difficulty. I say ‘without difficulty’, but the only issue for him was with maturity. He could dunk without a problem; he could run faster than anyone on the field and snatch the ball out of the sky before the defender knew what was happening, but he just couldn’t keep from getting into trouble.

He performed tremendous feats of strength that if we hadn’t seen no one would believe. He infected several girls with STDs. He performed crude acts of attrition to impress his peers. He got several girls pregnant before escaping his twenties. Smoked a lot of weed… not that it’s an indicator of character, it’s just nobody talks about the effects it has on a person who’s looking to escape. It provides it sometimes with such efficiency that they get lost in their own hangups.

I don’t know where he is now… time can do a lot to a person. It can change you, but nobody discusses what happens when people stay the same. They never change, clinging to dreams from which they never wake up. I hope, for his sake it did something better. Sometimes, even if a person appears to be blessed, it ends up a curse. Cursed with so much potential, we think Cyrrhus the Great was predisposed to squander it all. I think he never knew what to do.

I wasn’t able to see it in then, but looking back I can count the sorrow on his face. I notice his youthful, dull, unresponsive eyes. We were all immature, but his was willful. There was a bright person under that guise of insignificance. He has not the wherewithal to deny the pressure created by his friends; he has many, because he’s athletic and funny and says everything they want to hear. Like the sun, they gravitate to him. Like the sun, those around him keep him in place. He remains grounded, when he should be lifted, pushed out into the cosmos to drift beyond eternity. Instead, here he stays. Because he seemed ‘Great’, we assume he’s immune to this infection. We made ourselves believe that he was something more. Looking back, it becomes hard to tell which of us was the bigger fool.

Life of Theodore Grubb

Theodore Grubb or “Theo”, wasn’t a particularly significant person. He wasn’t handsome. He wasn’t smart, kind or endearing in any way. He wasn’t a man that others sought out. He hovered in crowds, lurking and gawking, uncomfortable in his skin. He sought out others who were as insignificant as him. They wouldn’t notice his uselessness to the group, because they all hid the same secret.They postured and flexed, swore to sound cool, smoked anything, did any drug, fought those deemed weaker, ignored every rule. In my time, I thought their disrespect for all things to be their greatest asset, but this is all wrong. It’s their insignificance. I couldn’t see it at such a young age and perhaps neither could they, but their lack of importance to the world around them came to define their nature. They had to act as if they belonged, even if it meant not belonging. They acted like ‘bad-guys’, because a hero needs a villain. They weren’t villains. Theodore Grubb was an insignificant punk.

 

He stood for something else. He stood for nothing, but in the most vapid sense. His emptiness and the emptiness of those around him held them together, like a circle of black hole pulling each other together. They would destroy each other all the same, wrapping one another in their bullshit. Even a comparison to a black hole is too grandiose for Theodore Grubb. Theo was more like a flushed toilet dragging others down the drain. His pants sagged, drooping to show his unkempt boxers, although his shirts were always two sizes too big. He hunched over when he walked, bobbing back and forth, never to fall. Never, in his useless life, did he perform a good deed. He never did anything good for himself or anyone else. He just was. Theo Grubb floated through life, as if upon a breeze. He never left this city. He drifts from bar to bar, begging for change, asking for a certain kindness from strangers, a kindness for which he never offered anyone else.

Others didn’t think much about him, because they understood him so well. His every thought became transparent after a time. You knew he was going to act like a fool. There was no thought behind any of his actions. He was a slave to his identity. He had to act out for attention. It only got worse when he got older. One day, he challenged a kid to a fight outside the bar. He just said it, as if it were nothing. The child ignored him and drove off on his bicycle without a second glance. So it goes with such an identity. You’re forced to hold on to it for the entirety of this journey.

No one else offered any attention his way, because they’d become immune. Looking closer, I see that he wanted us to believe, even if he didn’t know, his actions were just rambling chaos inside his mind. It was something I’ve never heard of, although I’ve seen it more than once in my life. His strength presented itself within his irrevocable insignificance. Some survival instincts formed over centuries, but this is something new. Creatures under the guise of humans becoming insignificant and hollow to survive. The world can be a terrifying place, especially when you come from a small town. Branching out, moving on, growing up can be a fearful endeavor. Who among us can say they haven’t felt that fear? He accepted insignificance, instead of his destiny. Maybe, again, insignificance was meant for Theodore Grubb, if only as a cautionary tale. Theodore Grubb never escaped the vortex. He died in the womb, like an unborn child. Collapsing into his own insignificance… Theodore Grubb never returned.

The Adventures of Black Jesus I

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Blasphemy to worship the image of Black Jesus… or I  couldn’t find him… you decide!

He rolled into town on his rusted bike, pedaling alongside the passing cars that honked for him to get out of the way. Everyone knew to stay away from him, not because he’d ever done us wrong, but he was just unpredictable. His mind had been warped by something that none of us could understand. It made him particularly erratic and none of us wanted to deal with it.

He pulls up to the side of the store, setting his bike against the wall and rummaging through a coffee tin full of cigarette butts. He smokes them. Not cigarettes. He opts for the moldy remnants that someone else has enjoyed. A stranger had their disgusting lips on these wasted sticks of nicotine and poison and he rummages through the tin, which is half full of rancid rain water and picks out one that’s dry enough for him to enjoy. It’s relatively dry. He puts it in his out and acts as if he’s smoking, like a little kid would do with his crayons. He pulls a white Bic lighter out of his coat pocket. His coat is ratty, disgusting; I feel like if I touched him my fingers would never be clean. Unclean. Vile. Filthy, rancid death of the world. He lights up the gnarled cigarette remains. He takes little puffs, staring down the long straight-away that leads out of the plaza. I try to look in the same fashion, but I see nothing. He seems to stare with such a long, empty gaze. I can’t imagine what he sees, but for some morbid fascination in my mind I feel the need to understand. All I see is a long road, pavement, with grass lining its sides and trees that are parallel to each other on both sides.

He’s around six feet tall thin, although you can’t tell from his buttoned-up shirt and denim jacket with the cuffs folded. He does the same to his jean pants, folding them slightly above his ankles so you can see his white socks stained to a pale grey. He wears a brown winter cap. His cheeks are sunken and hollow, with freckles dotting erratically on his face. We nicknamed him ‘Black Jesus’, because he’s black and because whenever the automatic doors opened as he walked in he would raise his hands, as if saying ‘Hallelujah!’. He never spoke, except for the one time he said “Why would anyone wanna shit on angels?” in reference to a toilet seat with angels on the cover. He smelled terrible. Nobody wanted to get too close.

He’d come in every so often and for that time everyone braced themselves for anything. He never did much, except for talk. We couldn’t understand him. He formed sentences that didn’t fit and we would nod along. We did anything to get him out. Now, I wonder where he went. He’s gone forever and I couldn’t even find him to get a picture for this story. It’s as if the world swallowed him. He disappeared without a trace.I could never imagine the trouble he’d be getting himself into, riding his bike through an eternal nightmare without a mind that wants to help. All the fighting and struggle to end up sleeping behind a dumpster. Cold, alone, finding comfort in burned-out cigarette butts. For what does a man like that hope for? Something none of us could ever imagine. We speculate, but that’s nothing. I’m left with absolutely nothing. I have no idea who he really is. In the end, no matter how long I think about this, about seeing him and not, about where he’s gone. In the end, I have nothing.

Question of the Day: What is this country doing to care for the doomed?