Saturday, July 13, 2024

The River

 As you wake up drenched in sweat, it takes you a moment to realize that it isn't water from the river a former friend of yours was pushing you into just a scant few seconds ago. It was a former friend your certain of that much, the details are hazy. This haziness isn't brought on by alcohol for a change, but from sleep, that wide blessing that has eluded you as of late. You had shared a fair amount of alcohol over the years with that former friend, and truth be told alcohol was probably the main cause of the "former" part of your friendship. As you continue down the boring path to complete and unwelcome consciousness, you wish the fellow that is screaming would shut up for a moment so you could think. That is when it becomes painfully clear that the fellow doing the screaming is you. It was that scream, timed with the feeling of hitting the cold water of the river that is the reason of you being awake. As you take stock of your actual situation you realize you are merely at home in bed. Sure you're curled up into a ball of sweat soaked terror, but you are at home, not sinking towards the bottom of a very cold river. 

You manage to stifle the second scream, and feel around your surroundings. The bed is empty as usual. You, the sole occupant are the main reason for its sole occupancy. Something to do with, being "emotionally crippled" or at least that's the main thrust of the argument you had with the last dual occupant of the bed right before she removed herself from the scene on what is beginning to seem a permanent basis. Pity that, she was a fun playmate, and helped to keep the wolf of coldness away in a lot more interesting ways than an extra blanket does. Further inspection shows you that the extra blanket in question has also left the scene and is now lying in a neglected pile at the foot of the bed. If blankets had eyes, you suspect it would be looking up from the floor at you with a slightly hurt expression as if wondering what it had done to deserve to be discarded in such a fashion. At least you and the blanket would then have something in common, because you also wonder that exact same thing quite often, and as of yet have failed to come up with or be provided an answer. 

You doubt the question will be answered anytime soon or at all considering the "I hope you die in a fire" speech she left you with as the door slammed on her way out, but hope springs eternal as they say, and maybe today will be the day. Now that you are completely, unhappily awake, you also begin to put together the fact that the former friend that was pushing you into the cold river is the same former friend that was the cause of the exit stage left departure of her. It did teach you a life lesson or two, one is when you move into a new abode to make sure the doors are sufficiently sturdy to stand a good slamming, two hide the matches and other fire starting material, and three most of your friends appear to be cunts. It's that last one that stings the most, after all you are not the type to make friends easily, and losing one of a solid cadre of like five actual friends is much more of a loss than it would be to the social butterflies of the world. Social butterfly is not, and never will be a term applied to a description of you.

However much as you wish your subconscious would pick a new theme to use in place of an actual alarm clock to jolt you awake, it seems to be on a run of death in convenient rivers. A theme made all the more fun by the fact that you can't swim a stroke, in fact you sink like a stone in any body of water you happen to find yourself in (on purpose or not). Your former friend knew of your stone like quality (when it comes to bodies of water) and perhaps that is why they chose a not so friendly push to help you along your way to becoming deceased. It would be like them to pick a cold river to use to decease you, since it is pretty close to the opposite of dying in a fire. You are not sure if that is irony or not, and if it is you are certainly not sure your former friend is clever enough to come up with the idea. More likely the river just happened to be handy. And if a woman can't find you handsome, she should at least find you handy.

Perhaps a move to a desert would help? Hard to drown in a desert, but then again you figure if anyone can manage it you could. At least rivers do solve the 'where to bury the body' problem, and saves the expense of a decent shovel, and the effort of digging a hole. After all, the killing of you (or anyone for that matter) is really only have the problem. Unless, you really want to get caught, have a really good reason (or lawyer) getting rid of the body is a useful way to help hide the fact you've made the person into a 'body' that needs to be disposed of. No one wants to answer awkward questions about their whereabouts whilst being shown pictures of a dead body. The questions might be just as awkward, but answering the "have you seen X lately" is a lot easier to answer than "so you shot him how many times?"

Rivers are generally an accepting lot, they don't discriminate on race, creed, or political beliefs, hell rivers will take all sorts of trash, even Liverpool supporters can be dumped into a river with no fear that the river will reject them. Some lovely, secret hoarding rivers even manage to never give up the body you none too gently offered it. They will take it into their cold embrace and let it find its way to the bottom for all eternity. Of course, the lead weight you attach might facilitate that along, but who has time to attach cement shoes to a body they are pushing into a river?  Being the drowning sort, you've never really considered the body disposing qualities of rivers in any depth. You doubt you'd ever be in a position to have to get rid of a dead body, and you also figure that on the way to depositing aforementioned dead body into a river, you'd probably somehow contrive to drown yourself as well. Which would at least save you the awkward question phase of the drama.

Of course, some rivers are better than others in their ability to accept unwilling partners. They need to be deep, and cold helps as well. The colder the better, and your brief recollection of the river you were being introduced to was that it was sheep stealing cold. Maybe it was the water, or maybe it was the fact that the extra blanket had been discarded but cold was the main theme of piece. Cold as your ex's heart as you like to say, but in reality she wasn't cold, in fact she had a warmth about her that could have been the reason you wanted her around to begin with. After all, blankets are nice and all but they just don't suit certain purposes. 

** This aside was brought to you by the second nightmare of being drowned in a river, and while a poor effort it was at least an attempt to get back to writing. An attempt that while poor, has been encouraged by a few people for which I am grateful. I just wish the result was as good as the encouragement.


Friday, February 16, 2024

Two Trolls walk into a bar

 I promised more, I didn't promise it would be better. Grammar Nazis prepare for another assault upon your citadel of purity. I hope it kills you.

I was happily finishing my first pint of what promised to be at least an 8 pint evening when two trolls walked into the bar, and trundled/lumbered over to my booth. Of course, they weren't actually trolls, but if trolls exist then these two fellows certainly had questions to ask of the female leafs on their family trees. They even have actual names, not some cool troll name like Oric the Hammer or Baldric the Elf Eater, but everyday names like the rest of us. I even knew their names, though I never called them by their name(s). I tried to avoid encounters of any kind with this lot of bruisers. They worked for Felix, and the sight of them usually meant bad news for someone. Usually that someone was me. If they were in my local, they were not here for the fish and chips. They loomed over me, (they are champion level loomers) until I was forced to acknowledge their presence, "hello boys, here for the fish and chips? Pity that, today is chipped beef, or at least that what Sully calls it, my opinion is that the "beef" he uses had nine lives and liked to claw the chaise lounge too much, if you catch my drift." They didn't, Felix didn't hire too many fellows that went to the finishing academy, unless there exists a finishing academy for breaking heads. If so, these two were probably in that institution's Hall of Fame. 

The brighter of the two, which is a low bar to get over, grunted and said "I suppose that was designed to be clever.? I nodded. He continued "as usual if it was we don't care, you know why we are here Felix wants to see you, and said to make sure you were sober, so we came early just to be sure." The dimmer one of the two, the one I call Mutt, Jeff was the brighter of the pair, dropped a coin on the table, and said "your tab is paid, now get in the car easy like, it's too early to crack your head open." For him that was a speech similar to Antony's eulogy of Julius Caesar. I sighed, if they were paying my tab and coming for the sober version of me, then things were probably more serious than the sober version of me is equipped to handle. I stood up and finished my pint, "with such an eloquent invitation and fatherly generosity, how could I refuse? Plus I don't feel like waking up in two days wondering why my nose is pointed a different direction. Lead on MacDuff!, let's go see what fresh hell brother Felix has cooked up for me this time."

One silent car ride later, Mutt and Jeff deposited me at Felix's front door, Mutt knocked politely, which I had assumed was beyond his skill set, and the voice of Felix said "enter." My two "escorts" nodded to me to go in, and took their usual places on either side of the door, guarding it like two meaty, silent sphinxes. I walked in and plopped my ass into Felix's uncomfortable "guest" chair. The chair itself was fine, it was its location that brought about the discomfort. "Hello, Felix, what's the rumpus this time? Your favorite cat gone missing? If so, I can already tell you a good place to start looking." Felix, not known for his sense of humor, actually smiled at me, and that is when I knew I was in deep, deep trouble. Felix is not a smiler, and it's not because he is hiding crooked teeth, his are perfectly straight, and startlingly white. 

"Glad you can still make jokes GI, for a man in your position it shows that you still haven't given over to despair." I quirked an eyebrow, "my situation? other than being tragically sober, I don't think my situation is so bad in relative terms. I mean I had enough money left to get dramatically drunk, if your playmates hadn't interrupted me" Still smiling, Felix shoved two envelopes across his desk towards me, one white, one blue. "Open the white one first" was his command. I considered opening the blue one first just to express spite and independence, but then considered my "pretty" face, and how Mutt and Jeff were just outside the door, and probably itching for a chance to make it less pretty. Sighing, I opened the white envelope. The contents were not pretty, they depicted what could be politely called a murder scene, more to the point they were pictures of a fucking bloodbath. Five pictures (I am sure there were more) of a man whom was as dead as dead can be, and by the looks of his "remains" someone took a great deal of pleasure in making him deceased. 

"Looks like a fucking bloodbath Felix. not your boys", I nodded to the door, "work?" Felix's smile had disappeared "no GI, my 'boys' as you call them are professionals, this, he pointed to the pictures, was not a professional job, it was done either by a sociopath or someone who really disliked the dead fellow, or someone who is both." He peered at me as he said this and asked "surely you recognize the fellow? or at least what is left of him?" I glanced back again at the pictures, first time around I really hadn't looked at the face, I was too busy "admiring" the gore.  "Well fuck" I said "yes I know him, or rather I know of him to be more precise." Felix nodded "of course you do, you killed him after all, wouldn't be polite to kill a stranger in such a personal manner." This was a new tactic even for Felix, "I did what to him?" I asked with a sense of rising panic and impending dread. "You killed him, made him unalive, shuffled him off this mortal coil, however you wish to put it, but simply put you murdered him, and it is of course my job to make sure you are punished for it, despite my warm feeelings for you." You have to give Felix credit he said that line of shite with a straight face, Felix never had warm feelings for anybody, not even his mother. That is if he even had a mother.

Felix raised a forestalling hand, "before you say anything particularly stupid, you should open the other envelope." I sighed, "what's in it, a pardon from the governor? for this murder that I didn't commit." "Just open it GI you will see, and I will make it clear in due course." was his reply. I decided to open the other envelope, after all if it was another dead body what did it matter they could only hang me once. Felix noticed (he notices everything) the look on my face, and said "don't worry we aren't going to hang you, at least not yet. And besides hanging is passe, in these modern times we put you against a wall and shoot you. But, we aren't going to do that yet either. "Thanks for the "yet" you smug bastard" I replied as I opened the blue envelope, and to my surprise it contained a rather large amount of cash. "That's a lot of coin Felix is this my pay off for not killing that fellow?" Felix shrugged, semantics GI, semantics. That money is all yours, you will need it for your trip. I understand you only have a loose idea of money, so let me give you the highlights. Governments print it, and we can print as much of it as we want within reason, people earn it, steal it, or are gifted it. It even gets handed out to schmucks who 'earn' it with the sweat of their brow, it's called a job, you should try one sometime just for variety's sake. Rarely do people just hand it over to you in blue envelopes just for looking pretty. And as pretty as you think you are, this money is not for your looks. You will earn it." 

"I happen to think I am quite pretty, and the whole sweat of my brow thing never much appealed to me, there are other ways to make money you know. Plus, beer is cheap, and I don't have a lot of other needs in my life. Working is no way to make a living except as a last resort. However, I will bite, what is this trip that you seem to think I am going to be taking?" Felix tented his fingers together and said "oh just a little excursion to  R____ L_____.  I hear it's lovely there a few mountains, lots of fresh air, and best thing about it, at least for you, is no one there knows you for a murdering scum on the lam from justice." I laughed out loud, "Felix, you wouldn't know justice if  he/she/it bit you on the ass on your birthday." I pushed the money back towards him and said "take your fucking money, and shove it up your arse. I am not going to R___ L____ or anywhere else other than back to my pints. You know I didn't kill that guy, and you've got fuck all for proof." I stood up to make an indignant exit, but Felix wasn't done with me. There are times when I think that Felix will never be done with me. The bastard will probably find a use for, or a way to abuse my corpse for public games, or if he dies first he will haunt me from beyond the grave like Marly and Marly did to Scrooge.  

To be continued . Don't want the TL/DR crowd getting bored, now do we?


Friday, February 02, 2024


 "they" whoever the fuck "they"are, ask me what brings me joy. I tell them that writing used to, until the grammar nazis ran me from the field. I have the benefits of a classical education but, I must have slept through the grammar bit of the show. Truth be told that might have been on purpose. If you are reading this for a properly placed comma and a on point semi colon, well fuck you and your friends. This post isn't for the grammar Nazis of the world. They might actually be worse than the real ones, but that isn't for me to decide. Joy is a fleeting thing, it comes and goes but never quite stays. One man's joy might be another man's misery. I guess it depends on who you support, the Vikings, the Arsenal Football Club, the Nationals are sure fire ways to make joy not happen because they are failures. Maybe that is just birds of a feather flocking together.  Support Man City, the Chiefs and the Yankees if it helps, that is your right as a free citizen of a long standing republic plus they are winners.   Joy comes, or so I hear, in all forms. Maybe joy is music, maybe it is a well written paragraph, maybe it is a correctly spelled word, or maybe it is a Czar being blown to bits by a well placed bomb. 

This return to "writing" isn't going to be long, it isn't going to bring me a lot of joy. It is written, poorly, on purpose. It is a solid "hi, go fuck yourself" to the Orus' of the world (try that on for size you asshats let me know if you have a shrine to that OG grammar Nazi). The Felix's of the world don't worry about semi colons and commas while they are convincing you to betray your friends. They aren't asking for your seams to be straight, they just want names. 

Fear not citizens, Felix will return, he is there in silhouette, waiting for us to split an infinitive, and pounce upon us like a cougar on a deer with no clue as to their surroundings. Felix is not a Nazi, he doesn't give shit if you skip a comma, or if you can do the subject/verb thing. Felix will read your "shit" for what it is intended to be, a cry from the heart about telling Felix to go fuck himself. However, telling Felix that is not the most intelligent idea, after all Felix is designed to take your sunshine away. He will, you know, take your sunshine away, Felix will put you in a very, very dark place for a very, very long time. He will make you wonder if the world has gone completely dark.  Felix, god love him, reads you for your content. For that, you are grateful to him, but whilst he tosses you into a lonesome cell, you find it hard to give him a whole lot of love. 

Therefore, for the love of Felix, if for nothing else. I am back to "writing" it might take a while to sort out all the "stories" swirling around in my mind. It might be a while before I take the risk of standing in front of the wall for the grammar Nazis to put a bullet into me, Maybe they will, maybe they won't. I am not exactly sure as I sit here in this prison that I may have built myself, waiting for a judgement from a court that I am not sure even has authority over me. However, I can for certain say this. Read me for the story, fuck you if you don't like the grammar. If you are looking for perfectly built sentences, then you are in the wrong spot. And finally, for good measure, a lesson from history. The real Nazis, the one that mattered, the one that gave grammar Nazis their name, well they were eventually handed their collective ass(es) by a large group of mostly illiterate peasant Slavs. Perhaps that is irony, but it is worth remembering.

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

LJ the Painter

 I knew a painter once his name was LJ. Actually only part of that sentence is true, I find that you have to obfuscate the real story to make it more readable. His name wasn't exactly LJ and he wasn't just a painter, but for our purposes it is and he is.

LJ wasn't a natural painter. I say this like he is dead, and maybe he is or maybe he's not, it's not exactly the point of this story. Either way, LJ wasn't gifted by the gods with the natural ability to see light and colour and shade and all the other shit that the Boschs of the world seem to have been given. No, LJ had the curse of knowing he wasn't a natural talent. According to him this knowledge made it just ever so much worse. "I knew I wasn't a Van Gogh, but I knew I wasn't some house painter either, I was an in-betweener enough talent to be noticed, but not enough talent to make me famous while I was alive, and being famous after I'm dead isn't the kind of fame I want." I am sure this was the cause of a lot of things that LJ did, both good and bad, and he did a lot of bad things. I should know, I was with him when he did several of them.

LJ the painter as we called him, wasn't someone who would stand out at a party. He wasn’t exactly awkward but he wasn't a social butterfly either. I suppose he had what would pass as a normal enough life, if any life can be considered normal. He wasn't a refugee from some foreign war, or a child prodigy gone to seed. He wasn't ever going to be a contender for the heavyweight championship of the world, nor was he going to win the Gold Cup for his country on penalty kicks. LJ did have the desire to better himself, and he did eventually manage to do that. He realized he had just enough latent painting talent to be good, and hoped that with enough application, and hard work he might become a talent. It wasn't the longest shot on the board, and since he had no other skill, it was the best shot at success he was ever going to have. 

He did the things that painters do, which is I believe mainly painting, and getting too drunk too often. I am sure there have been sober, sane painting geniuses that live mostly simple lives of quiet desperation, but LJ wasn't one of those type. He knew that the "squandered his talent in the pleasures of the flesh" tag was never going to be attached to him, so he went ahead and indulged in as many pleasure of the flesh that he could legally get away with. It wasn't going to ruin him, and it wasn't going to "make" him (he would say) but it was a lot more fun drinking with certain types of ladies at 2 am than it was reading about perspective in the Dutch masters of the 17th century. I don't think he ever got around to reading about perspective, because he lacked it, and not just in his paintings. 

But he soldiered on, painting the stuff that might get him enough to make the rent, but not enough to retire to the south of France. He knew his stuff wasn't going to ever hang in the National Gallery, but he had ambition nonetheless. And like a lot of people, ambition is where LJ came a cropper. He started like we all do at the bottom, bottom for painters is portraits of dowager aunts, seascapes, and bowls of unoffending  fruit. It wasn't exactly the Mona Lisa, but someone had already done that. It paid the bills and kept him slightly ahead of the wolf at the door. It was the first step, and all journeys whether they be to the penthouse or the outhouse start with a first step. 

Eventually, he got some notice. Not the type of notice that allows you to sign autographs for people and have a table reserved for you at the Ritz, but notice enough to start being considered a rising talent in the painting world. Whatever the hell that meant. I can't draw a stick figure without fucking it up, so I wasn't exactly the target audience for LJ's talent. Which was probably one reason (if not the only reason) he never asked my opinion of his work. He would call us friends, I would call us friendly.  Which would made a difference when the time came for it to. Up through the painter's ranking LJ rose, and to the surprise of most of us he got into some rare air. Slaving away at his canvas and maybe meeting and making nice with the right people, LJ became a semi star. Not the walk of fame kind of star type, but a local celebrity type.The type to have his name mentioned in the local paper a couple of times,but nationally he was barely a blip on the radar. I think that at some point this began to bother LJ. 

I wasn't to be sure because by the time of his local celebrity, he had mostly forgotten my existence. Truth be told that was fine with me. I don't move in rare air. I find it hard to breath, and it makes me slightly sick to my stomach. I became more of a nodding acquaintance to LJ, and that was fine with us both. There were a couple of occasions where I needed LJ's advice or help, and he did the best he could, but by then his best was in the past. I think the rest of us figured that out before he did, which made for some awkward moments (in the few moments that our orbits crossed). I suppose that maybe LJ knew it too, but was in the kind of denial that comes from being hard to see because it is self-denial. 

Last I heard of LJ, which has been fairly recently, he is still painting. He has moved up from bowl of ripe fruit to other, more complex projects, but then again it doesn't take much to be more complex than a bowl of fruit. I think he still has the hope of fame coming to knock in his door, but we all know it isn't going to happen, but none of us are quite prepared to tell him. Not that he would listen, hope or so they say (whomever they are) springs eternal, but the last I saw of LJ, there was the look in his eyes that told me that he knew his star was on the wane. I possess no particular talent, and I am no judge of art, nor will I ever be, but perhaps we should pause and have a little pity for LJ the talented, but just not talented enough to be "brought home to meet mother" as the saying goes. God Jul people.

Thursday, October 06, 2022

A tale of Two Cities or how to embrace the Mongols at the gate

 With apologies to M. Dickens this will not be a tale of the best of times or the worst of times, because sometimes the line between the two is so blurry as to be all but invisible.

We are also not setting our stage in fair Verona, these two cities, which we will call by the overly imaginative names of city A and city B don't really exist. Well outside of the realm of the possible they don't exist, they aren't real places on a map brought to you by the Rand Mcnally company, they could be anywhere, any place at any time. 

However, for the sake of the story, let's place these cities on some map either real or fantasy just to make it easier to understand their respective dilemmas. They aren't close neighbors, they don't border each other, they aren't physically connected in any way. However, they do share a common problem, both are about to be destroyed, they are also both blissfully unaware of the destruction that is bearing down on them. Or at least they were until it was too late to do anything about it. The manner of the destruction, the force doing the destruction isn't really important. It could be a hurricane, a cyclone, an earthquake, the plague, or a Mongol horde that has had enough of their shit. Though the Mongols pretty much stopped destroying cities in the latter 13th century, they could still serve our purpose in this story. 

Both cities, as cities have done throughout the ages, have had their share of disasters. The crime rate is too high, the weather is shit, the taxes are wasted on vanity projects for the upper crust, while the proles starve to death. As long as they do it quietly, and out of the way, everything is fine in the city. Neither city is remarkable, there aren't sites you have to see before you die in either city. They haven't conquered large swaths of their respective areas, and if they have sports teams, they are a little shit. Neither city has produced any great work of science or art, nor any artists or men of science that are famous. All roads lead to other places not to these cities. In short, they are bland, boring, and not particularly worth visiting. Of course people do visit, but that is to be expected. People come and go in these cities, some never quite stay, some never quite leave, and some haven't a choice in the manner. It is where they are from, and these cities will eventually swallow them without too much fuss. 

What distinguishes these two fair cities isn't the manner of their destruction pick one and multiple it by two, if you require TWO Mongol hordes to eliminate these cites, well then here they are, parked outside of each city, refusing to accept surrender terms, and only here to destroy. Maybe it didn't start out that way, but here we are regardless. Neither city stands a chance, whatever chosen force of destruction that is coming their way, is merciless, there is no escape, no negotiations, no tribute that will stop these cities from being flattened. The good news, if there is any good news, is that while they will be flattened, they will not be like Carthage, they will not be wiped from the map and have salt strewn over their remains to make sure they never can be rebuilt. 

Let's celebrate that bit of good news shall we? Let us realize, even if the denizens of the cities do not, that eventually they will rebuild. They might come back bigger and stronger, but then again they might not. They might rebuild as a shell of their former selves, or they might be better for the destruction. Maybe the destruction will clean out the slums a bit, wipe out the uglier side of town that was already gone to seed and needed more repair than a paint job and some green space. However, the rebuild isn't really something that overly concerns us yet. Because be the rebuild comes the destruction, and the destruction is going to happen regardless of either city's plans for a fancier zoo.

That destruction, that force that is bearing down on our fair cities is the unstoppable force, and our cities are very much movable objects. They have no real chance to avoid destruction, all they can do it hope for the best. Which is where our cities paths diverge a bit. City A's destruction, and their knowledge of it is slightly different that City B. City A isn't the brightest star in the sky, and has little to no understanding or actual knowledge of their impeding doom. City A should know, they are not a city of retards that haven't read their history. In fact, they don't even have to go back very far in their own history to see that Mongols (or their equivalent) are a real danger. A danger they have faced before and didn't exactly cover themselves in glory with their response. However, City A is a "happy" city, a city that thinks (they are wrong, but they don't know it yet) that everything is coming up in their favor. The odds are with them, the cards love them, and the ponies run swiftly solely to suit their pleasures. City A is a bit like your annoying friend who always looks on the bright side of life. Sure Pollyanna sing your songs of joy, and ignore the dragon in the doorway if you must, but realize the dragon isn't here to listen to you vocalize how happy you are. 

City B is slightly different, certainly they are no better than City A, let's not give them credit where credit is not due. They aren't the shining city on a hill that we all aspire to move to, and create a happily ever after. City B is just as vulnerable as City A to destruction, and will suffer the same or very similar fate (no two destructions are exactly the same). The major difference is their indifference to it. The hand wringing, the wailing and gnashing of teeth that will follow City A's destruction will no happen in City B, or if it does, it will be so muted as to be barely noticeable to outsiders. City B isn't some bloodless, emotionless husk of a city, they just understand historical forces better than City A. It doesn't make them any smarter, better looking, or taller than City A it just makes them different. Maybe they are better, maybe they are worse, I suppose it depends on one's point of view. The major thing City B has 'going for it' is they understand the destruction is coming, they have heard the thundering of hooves on the plains that tell us the Mongols are at the gates, they have seen the dark clouds of doom forming on the horizon and are now heading their way. They understand it is going to happen, for City A destruction is a question of "if", for city B it is a matter of "when." 

That difference, more subtle than you might think, is the crux of the issue. City A isn't wrong for their way of thinking, no more than City B is right for theirs. That is the problem with destruction it is going to happen whether you think it will or not. One might think that expecting it would lead to preparing for it, and in some ways mitigating it. Sadly, that isn't how destruction works, the Mongols, the hurricane, the plague or whatever destructive force that swans into your city, and wipes it out does not give a fuck about your readiness to face it. It just destroys, that what it is here to do. It is not here to teach you any deep, long lasting, historical lesson, it is not here to make you 'better for the experience" it is here to (and will) destroy your city period. 

Maybe you will give the Mongols are harder time of it, if you are expecting them, but they don't care. You can't stop them, you can only hope they leave enough behind for the rebuild to be easier. And you will have to rebuild, you've no choice this is your city. Whether it be A or B it is still yours, and it is incumbent upon you to rebuild. No other city is going to save you, after all they have the Mongols to look out for too, and their own set of problems to sort. It will be hard, but it must needs doing, after all you can't live in a burned out husk for the rest of your life. The wailing of City A or the quite resignation of City B are just two examples of dealing with destruction. Maybe there is a City C out there somewhere that has figured out a better way to deal with destruction. Maybe they have rebuilt, better, stronger, and faster. But that isn't your concern, you don't live there, and they don't like immigrants. 

City A rebuilds in the hopes that destruction is finished with it, that it won't come again, and that they have been taught their lesson, learned it, and things are going to be better going forward. Here's to that, a hope for a brighter, better future is not something that should be dismissed out of hand. It might be the hope of the foolish, but it is still hope. It is not our job to ruin it for them. Let the hope drive the rebuild, the hope that better days are to come, and that the dragon in the doorway won't return. That perhaps the lesson to be learned has been learned, and that the future is bound to improve. We aren't them, maybe we don't want to be them, but let them dream, and hope. Who knows maybe they are right.

City B rebuilds with the expectation that the dragon, the Mongols will probably be back, and that this all might just happen again. Like a fifth season it is something that just happens, and must be endured in order to be survived. Survival is important, if you quit rebuilding, then the Mongols win. There is a certain sense of calm foreboding with City B, a sense that this rebuild is temporary and that you can make it as pretty as you want, but it will all come down just the same. Maybe is resignation, maybe it is accepting the facts for what they are, but City B rebuilds, and waits. The question of when is certainly important, but it is the time between that makes all the difference for City B. Enjoy the "time in the sun" make it count, make it serve as the reason for the rebuild. After all, you are going to rebuild, no matter what grumblings you hear from City B about "why bother, they will just be back to wipe us out again." They will rebuild, they understand the ephemeral nature of rebuilds, but they also know that it has to be done. Maybe the future is just more of the same. Rebuild only to be destroyed. Plant the fields to watch them burn. Maybe, or maybe not, they can't know until they try, and who knows maybe they are right.

Wednesday, June 08, 2022


 I wonder if you ever think of me, then again I have also been taught not to ask questions that I don't know the answer to. I also believe that if you are foolish enough to ask a question you don't know the answer to, then you shouldn't be upset at the answer. After all, you asked for it, and had no clue what is coming, so no complaints should be forthcoming. If the answer distresses you, well tough cookies buddy, you should have known not to ask the question in the first place.

Which is the reason that I don't ask you, though I am pretty sure of the answer, I feel that I do, in fact, know the answer and it might distress me. The answer that I believe you would provide would distress me, and would cause me to believe that you are a monster, and no one ever wants to admit that they made love to a monster. Of course, 'love' is a dangerous word, a feeling that a whole lot of people a whole lot smarter than I am have used a lot of 'ink' to try to express, explain, proclaim, deny, or swear revenge because of. Gluttons love their lunch, babies love milk, Romeo loved Juliet (or so he thought), Jim Morrison loved all the drugs, the world is full of billions upon billions of people who love or loved all sorts of things. Some of them healthy, some of them, well not so much. You fall into this latter category, and not just for me. 

The other 'guys' that are rowing the same boat of your monsterhood need not detain us. It matter not who, what or where they are. It matters not their present feelings, or lack of them for you. In short they just simply do not matter to me. Of course, they don't matter to you either, in spite of what you may have told them at the time. That is your gift; you convince someone that they are special and that you give yourself solely to them at the time. They fall for it, just like I did, others will fall for it just like we did. It is both a gift and a curse you share with us. Problem is you get the gift, we get the curse. Not to say that we didn't see it coming, in many ways we are the architects of our own downfall. If we had been paying attention (we weren't) we would have clearly seen the downfall of our successor in interest. It's not like we didn't know them, the trailblazers of misery that came before us, we did. We just simply thought we would be different, after all you told us we would be, and we so desperately wanted to believe you that we did. 

Of course, that's how you reel us in, you tell us we are different, that the others are just some passing fancy, and don't mean anything to you. We nod sagely, and assure you, and ourselves that we are different. Even though a small part of us knows better. It is a large gap of idiocy between knowing better, and doing better. Most of us never manage to bridge that gap. You weave a tale of golden times that sounds like the tale of El Dorado, that city of gold that led so many other men to their doom. Of course we aren't all Spanish explorers, we don't really buy the myth, but somehow we still chase it, like the fools we are, like the fools you turn us into. We wall our disbelief behind a wall of hopes and dreams, like Prospero did to Forunato, listen to your tales of casks of sweet, sweet wine that we know doesn't really exist, all the while praying like fuck that it does. Hopes and dreams are about as useless as 'thoughts and prayers', and are in many ways much more dangerous. Given hope a man will do all sorts of shit that would otherwise make an elephant pause, but hope will get us to storm the citadels of disbelief with the ladders of dreams. 

Maybe you are the stuff that dreams are made of, maybe to the right person you are a real life version of the Maltese Falcon. I've come to seriously doubt it, but I have been wrong before. After all, I trusted you at one point, and that was an unmitigated disaster on pretty much every level. So I will continue to ponder the process(es) behind your appeal. The reasons that myself and other fools like me have fallen for you, and can't seem to give you up, even after all the disasters you create and walk away from. You never seem to get so much as a scratch from all the 'wrecks' you cause. The detritus you leave behind in your wake makes the Titanic look like a mere fender bender.  Of course, all of us are of age, we aren't children (in the chronological sense at least), we are adults who are given the benefit of the doubt that we know what we are doing, even if we very clearly do not know what we are doing, or what is good for us. Each person has his own mistake(s) to make, but that doesn't stop it from hurting like fuck in the harsh morning light that we find ourselves in daily. I suppose I should say that I hope you rot, but I know that would just be a lie, and unlike your lies that I chose to believe, this lie I can only swallow if I don't think too much.

Tuesday, May 03, 2022

Dear Boris

 I finished your biography last night, as with all biographies I knew how it was going to end. It is how all biographies eventually end. With your end. I knew enough about you, in passing, from other sources to know how you were to meet your end, but I read your biography anyway. I wasn't hoping for a happy ending, you didn't have one, and I knew that. But as I wrote the date and the word "finished" (as I do with all the books I read) I still felt sad when I realized I had finished with the story of your life 5 days shy of the day you life actually ended 97 years ago. I don't think "celebrate" is the right word for marking that sad anniversary, but I suppose I might be tempted to raise a glass in remembrance of you, and what you did with your life. I doubt any of the people I will be sharing a drink with will have any idea who the actual fuck I am referring to when I toast "to Boris" but since they are my friends they are used to the vague shit I talk about, and are not the type to refuse a drink. 

Your life ended by "suicide" I put that word in quotes because the people who had you in their custody at the time of your death, were prone to have a lot of "suicides" on their watch. It is a lovely way to explain why or how you jumped out of a 5th story window and crushed your skull against the pavement outside of the prison in which that had held you for almost 9 months. Granted you made the most of your prison life. When they caught you, all you really had to say was "neatly done." And it was neatly done, they lured you back to the Motherland with a false flag operation that has made the text books as the way to handle false flag operations, and caught you as neatly as anyone as slippery as you can be caught. Perhaps you had other ideas, perhaps you had a plan to be caught, and to try to escape and pull of one final glorious act of counter-revolution before you shuffled off this mortal coil. Maybe you thought if they brought you back and you confessed your sins (but not really meaning it) they would let you live and would eventually get tired of you taking up valuable prison space. Then they would let you go, and you could try that one last act to cap a career full of a number of remarkable successes, but also marred by some pretty abject failures. All of our lives are full of successes and failures, but the scale of yours was an object lesson in how to "go big or go home." 

After they caught you, you confesses your sins (or at least the ones they let you) they put you on "trial" and you cooperated. You confesses and sought absolution. According to your prison letters, YOU of all people, saw the errors of your ways and went over to the other side. Your friends on the outside denounced you for the traitor you either were or appeared to be (it matters not in the end), and you even threatened to beat one of them senseless if you ever met them again. Funny that, threatening to kick someone ass from a prison cell, that no matter how luxurious, you were never going to be let out of. Well, they did let you out, they trotted you out from time to time, and took you to the opera, and to the park, and other places about town. After all, you were their prize canary, and they had you in a golden cage. A cage is a cage no matter how golden. And even though they let your mistress stay in the same cell as you, and let you furnish it with all the comforts of home, it was still a cage. Eventually, cages start to shrink, no matter how pretty they may be, and no matter if they let your latest playmate share it with you or not. 

They treated you well enough, for a man in a cage, let you write, even let you make money from your writings, and send the proceeds to your long suffering families. They knew that alive you were a showpiece of their cause. The great arch-enemy of the glorious revolution seeing the error of his ways,and telling the word that they were right all along, and you were a fool to ever think otherwise. They gave you a death sentence, but that was just to get your attention. Eventually they commuted that to 10 years of hard labour. You never laboured a day. You believed that you would do your time, and that they would let you go, or at least that what people think you believed. It is what you appeared to believe in your letters, but your letters were read by them, and they weren't the type to let you put your "true" feelings on paper, and publish them to the outside world.

 You began to go a bit stir crazy, and begin to push them to release you. Maybe you thought they would, maybe you were just tired of living. You wrote you own Felix (we all have a "Felix" whether we know it or not), and he either told you a lie, or didn't bother to answer you. All the while writing "never to be released" on your file. They could never let you go, you were worth more to them alive than dead. If you were dead they ran the risk of you becoming a martyr, and they didn't need any more martyrs. Once you began to sing the tune from their songbook, you were worth keeping alive, so you could keep singing. You were the prefect example of a long time foe seeing the light, and coming over to the "good" guys. They pictured themselves as the "good" guys, they were bastards. Not that you were a saint, I am pretty sure that if I had been alive at the same time, and had met you, you probably would have eventually had me shot. You were not one to do such dirty work yourself, you were too refined. Of course you didn't speak a word of my language, and I don't know a word of yours, but I still think we would have found a way to become enemies. 

In fact, I would have probably been on the side of the lot that put you in that gilded cage of yours, at least at the start. I figure at some point, I might have also had a change of heart and rebelled. Because after all, resistance is generally the more romantic position. After a while, being in charge begins to take the bloom of the rose of revolution. Scratch a revolutionary and you will find a gendarme underneath. Of course their exists a school of thought that produced some "evidence" to try and prove you were tossed out of that window. It's not the most far fetched idea, after all they tossed a few people out of windows, helped they down stairs the hard way, and took them on long walks in the woods in which they were the only ones to return. 

The only person who knew the answer to your attempt to fly was you, and with your brain matter leaking out onto the pavement upon which you landed, you were in no condition to give up your final, most perplexing secret. Perhaps that is a fitting end to your life of secrets, betrayals, and life on the fringes of polite society.  You didn't take pictures of your entire life, your every meal, or drink was not memorialized for the world to see, you didn't shout your latest successful trip to the bathroom to the world, you lived in a shadow world where lies were as common as dust. Maybe all the lies finally got to you, maybe you lied so often and so much that you couldn't believe a word that came out of your own mouth, and in some sense of misplaced honor you chose the window rather than the cage. Maybe it was your choice, maybe they left the window open for you, and pointed at it with a wink, or maybe they tossed you, kicking and screaming, out of it. I supposed we will never know. And somehow I think that put the cap on your legacy better than anything could. The ultimate mystery to a life lived in the shadows, the final secret that you took down all five flights to your final destiny. Maybe it was glorious, maybe it was terrifying, maybe it was fitting, but as I wrote the word "finished" all I could think that no matter what the reason, it was just sad.