Rick Edelstein was born and ill-bred on the streets of the Bronx. His initial writing was stage plays off-Broadway in NYC. When he moved to the golden marshmallow (Hollywood) he cut his teeth writing and directing multi-TV episodes of “Starsky & Hutch,” “Charlie’s Angels,” “Chicago,” “Alfred Hitchcock,” et al. He also wrote screenplays, including one with Richard Pryor, “The M’Butu Affair” and a book for a London musical, “Fernando’s Folly.” His latest evolution has been prose with many published short stories and novellas, including, “Bodega,” “Manchester Arms,” “America Speaks,” “Women Go on,” “This is Only Dangerous,” “Aggressive Ignorance,” “Buy the Noise,” and “The Morning After the Night.” He writes every day as he is imbued with the Judeo-Christian ethic, “A man has to earn his day.” Writing atones.
Ignorance is bliss. The exquisite unknowing. Yet we are assaulted with information. You may ignore newspapers but like wet on rain your incessant need for distraction be it TV or Internet will impose and insist that you cannot hide from the truth, lying truths or truthful lies. Unknowing even guised in benign disinterest is no longer an available respite under the stampeding data of 33,000 killed and 78,000 wounded in the dubious freedom of NRA’s access to weapons validating the 2nd amendment: “A well regulated militia, being necessary for the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”
Over 100,000 killed and/or wounded. Alas the cure worse than the disease. Yet I dare not hypocritically rail against what I shall reveal as my active accessing 2nd amendment rights.
I was about to say I am an honest man [Google Honest: Free of deceit and truthfulness; used to persuade someone of the truth of something] but that is just a posturing façade seeking approval. No one is honest. Particularly about themselves. We are each and every one of us a saint and a sinner; a giver and a beggar; a hero and a coward. The ‘honest man’ denies his living lies. The heroic woman endures past her insidious fears.
Enough digressing. The point which I have assiduously glissando’d in elusive verbiage demands revelation. Yes, let us get down to it. [Or perhaps up.] The point, aye ‘n verily, the point is that a man must take responsibility for what he knows. What does that mean, you naively ask? All right, I’ll simplificate. Driving a car, approaching the corner when the light turns red, your knowledge is red means stop. Your responsibility is to stop. Yes there are some who step on the gas just as red appears insisting they will beat the odds. Some do. Some crash and kill. [Others and/or themselves.]
Responsibility is a demanding edict requiring results which affirm its efficacy [albeit in a neutral posture] challenging acts of professed ignorance or conscious disregard. Death be damned.
How does this banal edification apply to the issue at hand. First, what is the issue? Or is it problem? A problem has a solution. An issue demands acceptance of what is, ignoring preference. When you’re in the bull ring your academic penchant is of no significance to the charging bull.
Tell me, is this an issue to be accepted or a problem with a solution: We are crashing through red by acclimatizing to deprivation.
We, you, me, people on planet-earth relate to this as an issue by adapting to climate change through a kind of tacit acquiescence, the way masked people in Beijing accept that simply breathing the air outside can sicken. We mask more than our faces rebuking the secreting suffocation that there is no Plan[et] B.
We are the first generation to experience the devastating effects of climate change. AND we are the LAST generation who can do something about it. [Tikkum Olam – repair a broken world.]
Knowledge fused to Responsibility.
I did appropriate research. M-40 is built from a Remington 700 bolt-action rifle, with telescopic sight and a threaded barrel allowing the use of sound suppressor.
I practiced on the range with a professional who was impressed that after five weeks I could hit a target square in the upper body of a moving torso. And equally proficient with my newly purchased Glock 42 handgun, licensed to carry concealed or holstered [silencer available as a personal choice in particular situations.]
By 2100 waters may likely flood coastal cities: Shanghai, London and New York will be forced to displace hundreds of millions of people. [Miami? Even as we speak mid-day walking in the street with water up to your knees, disremember Miami.]
Forty hump-back whales washed up on shore to die. We are killing whales, for God’s sakes. That is if God gives a fucking sake! [Tikkum Olam]
The conundrum is to choose the target. There are many who qualify. Elected politicians... elected...strike a pose. The electorate gets battered, swamped with TV ads rewarded by the powerful climate-change-deniers. And of course their savvy Advertising Agencies peopled by young mostly white males seeking the desk to sell out designed an appealing TV image of I’m-just-a-regular-guy voicing insidious falsehoods in simplistic homey sounds dressed in a checkered-shirt-open-at-the-collar, scuffed shoes adding to the deceitful reality wardrobe intimating that the climate-change crowd are just non-working stiffs [integrating minorities in this instance] turning up the heat as they appeal to the essence of “Christians” who should/would rather worship the idol of politics in obeisance, genuflecting while voting for Jesus-Lite.
To the problem at hand: Target. An individual who contributes to the death-sentence continuum by voting and/or financing support of industrial pollution. Yes, the Koch brothers immediately come to mind but I am not so naïve as to think I will gain access even though I can accurately hit a moving target more than fifty feet away. Alas, my gun reeks of sadness awaiting its purposeful mission.
Start small. I must devise a campaign to inform the media, the masses, get the attention of my intention after the initial target is effected. The demise of a perpetrator must not be relegated to a statistical gauge of just another senseless murder in our beleaguered city. No, this specific transgression must make responsibility-will-be-taken sense.
Starting small...thanks to Google...I found Mary Jean Haverford. Chairperson of the City Council. The vote was tied. Half for more stringent rules governing waste production and non-polluting elimination procedures, albeit more costly, versus half voting to ease the conditions. Ease? More accurately is their choice to abolish rules and regulations permitting...Permitting? Actively supporting the decimation of responsible guidelines for health and well-being, initiating debilitating conditions particularly in poorer neighborhoods. [To atone and receive absolution letters of recommendation from the disadvantaged required.]
Mary Jean Haveford’s vote broke the stalemate. She cast a vote in favor of...yes, her campaign contributions were substantially enriched by big and small business, ensuring growth of profits, in abject denial of the perpetuating harm to the populace of poor. Her vote sealed the deal for better biz and assuredly worsened for those with the intention to safely breathe unfettered air and drink non-inflicting tap water. Alas, the loss of shame is...a shame.
As President of the City Council Mary Jean Haveford’s domicile was located in an upper-class zone of the city. I drove by a number of times. No guards. Like I said, start small.
I drafted a simple note.
Dinner time. The evening was pleasant, the street quiet. I parked a half mile away from said target. It was pleasing to walk in the early eve’s comforting calm reassured by the pocketed bulge in my jacket. Glock in the pock[et] I amused myself.
After reading her bio I was pleased that she is divorced, no children, three cats, access was not an issue. I simply rang the bell. She opened the door with a plastic smile, “Yes?” Using the Glock [with a silencer] her face had a quizzical grimace as she fell backwards with a soft thud on the thick tufted rug. Her prostrate body, arms laying peacefully by her side, palms up as if open to a donation which I took as a welcoming sign, carefully placing the note in her right open palm: Contaminating Consequences, and quietly closed the door on her supine body licked by mewing cats.
Walking down the trouble-free street which in its way affirmed the occasion with a mild breeze caressing my cheeks. I thought how simple was the event. No undue sounds. Just an earned conclusion to a person’s troubling choices. I continued walking past children playing and screaming in their freedom to scream. I remembered Emerson’s, “A child is a curly, dimpled lunatic,” as I turned the corner seeing a SUV pull into a driveway, a mother getting out, opening the back to retrieve groceries before entering the well-kept house, recently painted showing nary a chip. As she retrieved bags of groceries I offered, “Need some help?” She smiled a no-thank you and with her two large bags went into her home of safe embrace. Ahhh, the grace of living an ordinary life, unaware that two blocks away Contaminating Consequences awaited discovery.
I awoke in a state of anxiety...no, wrong word.
Eager, yes, eager to learn about the discovery and subsequent revelation of my mission. I hurriedly, like a kid scrambling to unwrap his Christmas gifts, retrieved the newspapers with affirmation awaiting outside my door. Scanning the newspapers. Page after Page. Past the plethora of redundant automotive ads. Twice in the event that I missed it. Even the small paragraphs which they called fillers. Nothing. Turned on TV, surfing news channels. Nothing. How could that be? Mary Jean Haverford is, was a public figure and, ah, TV recognition: Breaking News: Councilwoman Mary Jean Haverford has been shot and killed. No clues or motives as yet...Shots of police cars and vans outside of her home. A political colleague, dressed and made up as if she knew she would be on TV, holding and petting a cat, checking to see which red camera light was on and turned oh so neatly. We were scheduled for a breakfast meeting and Mary Jean is never late so...oh God, I can’t believe it. She is such a good person who would do such a thing! She ended with a theatrical gesture of an exclamation point. Other pompous Tversonalities with their polished persona seeking importance but no mention of my note: Contaminating Consequences. They must have found it. Why not a word? If this is dismissed as irrelevant and not brought to the public’s attention, not blatantly reminding those in power of their immorality and mortality, then the entire purpose of fulfilling responsibility will be reduced to a futile act of impetuous violence.
Throughout the day surfing the internet, TV, radio, afternoon newspapers, the lack of mention was like an aggravating itch in that elusive, unreachable space in the back. It was disturbingly obvious I had more work to do in order to fulfill the responsibility of rendering a greater awareness of Contaminating Consequences.
I let the TV on in the event of a late “Breaking News” revelations but it returned to regular programming which in this particular channel featured a profile of the renowned multi-billionaire Maximillian Platin facing the camera, sitting in his library. His library. I put my books on a shelf of groaning pine-woods. What an effusive boast as he sat at a desk of French heritage dated 1876, with a background of bruised dark oak shelves bloated with first-edition books in a boast of proud spines demonstrating the fact that they are not there to be read but as a testament to see how culture can be purchased. My exacerbation may have been stoked by the lack of media recognition as I was frustratingly hooked by this posturing, pompous man wearing, in what the voice-over described, his velvet smoking jacket. Smoking Jacket? I Googled: a man's comfortable jacket, typically made of velvet, formerly worn while smoking after dinner. (The frame of reference was obviously not of my time.)
I was about to turn off the TV when Maximillian Platin said, “My board insisted that we challenge the EPA’s ruling of contaminating the waters when it was proven that the miniscule amounts of polluted material were of no threat to any living being except perhaps very small fish that have been declared inedible previous to our factory’s discharge.” His self-righteous smile of a pause was nauseating as he brushed off a non-visible crumb from his velvet smoking jacket. He officiously continued with a smirk, “The courts ruled in our favor.” He cleared his throat of invasive phlegm as if evicting an unwanted immigrant. The Voice-Over continued, Protesting environmental groups intend to pursue this as a harmful infliction on the health of thousands, to higher courts.
They cut to an outside shot of his home. Home? Like the unread first editions, more of an edifice pretentiously proclaiming luxury as a way of life while lacking the essence of life. It sat on an isolated man-made hill-side ensuring no neighbors for at least a half-mile, surrounded by hundreds of trees and a few choice boulders. Choice because they obviously were not native to the area but their presence afforded a private collection of manipulated nature.
Maximillian Platin exited sans smoking jacket wearing pressed Jeans with a crease down the middle verifying his inane taste as the voice-over serenaded We asked Maximillian Platin about his choice of cars and no limo or chauffer to which he responded...and they cut to Maximillian Platin putting on tight leather gloves, getting into his vintage Porsche parked on his carefully smashed pebbled driveway, I like driving myself. He roared off in a proverbial burst of a thrumming German Porsche motor declaring nothing less than gold awaiting the end of the polluting car’s journey.
It hit me like a heavy hail storm through a broken window. I didn’t remember knowing but it resonated as an important adage: The minute you stop being a Pharaoh, you have to start building a pyramid. I knew I had my assignment. Difficult, yes. But then again knowledge fused with responsibility demanded that I construct my pyramid entombing Maximillian Platin. It was obvious that besides the obligation of my mission I took a personal dislike of this man whose entire persona reeked of complacent entitlement.
Late afternoons and also just before sunrise, periods affording cover and what I hoped was sufficient shaded light for my intended kill. I reconnoitered the options. The trees provided concealment for my surveillance. Crawling through brush in between boulders I was able to position myself to observe Maximillian Platin’s driveway. Hugging the ground evoked flashes of games we played as kids in the city parks. Maximillian Platin was a contained man of habit. He would exit early morning, between 8:28 and 8:32. Return between 7:36 and 7:49. The illuminating lights clarifying the driveway were on a timer starting at 6:45 p.m. and off the next morning at 6:45 a.m..
I made trial runs with my M-40 Remington bolt action (with telescopic sight, of course), the threaded barrel allowing the use of sound suppressor, necessary for this challenging pyramid, said the Pharaoh. Three times I had him in my sight but his movement was at such a rapid pace from car to door (which opened with a remote), a clean hit was not a surety. The weather was turning brisk, actually somewhat uncomfortably cold tempting me to pass on this assignment. I was reminded that a man must take responsibility for what he knows and responsibility-will-be-taken as I tried to ignore my chilled discomfort. I could have worn something heavier and gloves but such bulk might effect the necessary agility moving between trees, boulders, setting my sights that despite the limited light I could still effect accurate aim and a true hit.
In my discomfort I replayed Maximillian Platin’s self-assured, “The court ruled in our favor,” when on the third evening his Porsche announced his due arrival with an audible roar. I leaned on the boulder, adjusting my sight, squinted to help my vision in limited light as he got out of the car but rather than quickly go to his opening door Maximillian Platin stopped, looked at a bird-dropping stain on the hood of his precious and precocious vintage Porsche. He went to the trunk for a rag, opened the car to retrieve a bottle of Evian water, returned to the hood, poured water on the bird splatter, started to wipe off the bird droppings...and fell to the ground when the bullet from the M-40 Remington hit.
I was stunned it went so well. The utter effectiveness of the plan resulting in the desired demise of Maximillian Platin was a simplistic done- deed.
I ran down the slope to the body. I was startled. He was not dead. My aim was accurate but due to the sound depressor and limited illumination I rambled as if explaining to my teacher why my report was late but brought to the reality that he wasn’t dead when he groaned and tried to sit up. Still carrying the rifle I awkwardly took out the note from my pocket. He stared at me as if I was to be his savior, one hand reaching toward me. I put the rifle down and brushed away his hand as I placed the note, Contaminating Consequences next to him. He groaned, “Help me.” The sound of his gurgling rasp and scent of his breath was more pungent than his pleading eyes. His hand again reached out and grabbed my wrist. I violently pulled away and ran.
Running down the slope hearing his help-me voice which was like a crow’s gurgle when I realized that in a reaction of sheer panic I left the rifle next to his not-as-yet-dead body. I stopped. Light of the moon was more defined. I heard my breath in short gasps realizing I must not leave the rifle which could be traced as when I bought it I had to provide identification. I, with studious effort, slowed my breathing to almost normal. Although my shot was not an immediate-kill, Maximillian Platin would perish momentarily or probably was already dead. I turned and trotted up the hill as if I was on an habitual dedicating run every evening after returning from work.
Maximillian Platin was still on the ground but leaning against the wheel of his Porsche, one hand holding a cellphone and the other my rifle. He adjusted the rifle aiming at me as he put down his cellphone. Ambulance and police are on the way. Sit.
I was frozen. This was not the way it was intended to...Sit or I will shoot you. His finger was on the trigger while his other hand was over the bleeding wound. His breathing was in short, quick, audible gasps. Although he held the rifle aimed at my upper torso, with his finger on the trigger, he had a slight tremor indicating that he was more than vulnerable. I leapt toward his arm holding the rifle when he pulled the trigger.
The pain was excruciating as I fell at his feet.
I don’t know if I was passed out or awakened when I heard the sound sirens.
This was not was not the way it was intended.
There Oughta’ Be A Law
I awoke but resisted opening my eyes. Why? Just an invisible snarling
beast within anxious to commit mayhem. Another why? No reason. There is always a reason, doctor smart-ass. Fuck it. I opened my eyes. Scuffled to pee, brush my teeth, wash here ‘n there but this was obviously a no-shave-no-shower day. Of course when I reached below the coffee urn for the filter and can of coffee...lotsa filters no fucking coffee. No wonder I didn’t wanna’ open my eyes.
Standing in line at Starbucks behind two men, one in a plaid shirt, dark Dockers and white socks. [There oughta’ be a law: Dark pants and white socks are an oxymoron. Only nurses and athletes allowed to wear white socks.] The other dude ’s main attraction was a stomach challenging the buttons of a stretched shirt barely holding on to its identity over bulging jeans well past the expirations date. [There oughta’ be a law: If you’re over-weight by at least 20 pounds, no Jeans. And while I’m at it, if you’re Caucasian stepping out of a Beemer, faded, torn Jeans with a pony tail, an earring with a cap turned backwards...should be declared a felony. Torn Jeans worn by poor black kids were not a fashion statement. They were faded hand-me-downs worn from years of wear ‘n tear and not enough money to replace ‘em but the survivor-nature of Black culture is to own the oppression who initiated back-turned caps giving it style making ‘em theirs while Beverly Hills and rich hustlers co-opt them and sell manufactured to precise tears priced beyond sanity!]
Plaid shirt’s body reek covered by an offensive perfume, no what do they call it, body spray, toilet water, whatever...brought tears to my eyes as he uttered: Say what you want but Trump is keeping his word making sure immigrants don’t swallow us up you know what I’m saying?
Stomach-man said: Yeah, they steal our jobs, do crimes and take our women.
Take our woman...this from a man with a protruding stomach ensuring that he hasn’t seen his dick in years. Take our women. You wish! This is what I get for opening my eyes, a cognition that troglodytes like these voted for Trump. Sixty-three million of them. Once again confirming my suspicion that this incarnation is a hideous God-fuck-up-mistake. Of course God makes mistakes. Who do you think invented ‘em! We praise Him [or Her] for good things but then turn around is fair play. When shit happens the Deity is still the dealer. Reminds me of pro athletes when they score a winning goal they thank God and/or make a gesture to-the-Above. But when they blow a play, come on, yea ‘n verily the Deity deserves some kinda gesticulation for His not-so-holy hole card.
In the middle of these nihilistic perceptions a kid behind me old enough to do better started screaming as the cooing mother knelt down to maturely explain in some idiotic adult rationale to the tear-stained face of this brat’s tantrum. Explain? A little smack might do all the ‘splainin’ needed, Lucy. I’ll bet she has a sticker on her van, Proud Parent not realizing that in ten years she might look for a sticker My Kid Is In De-Tox. The screams rejected Momma’s motivations even as she took tantruming monster into her arms. Two sounds assault my ear drums: Screeching sirens and Screaming Children. Mid-scream I egressed out of Starbucks recalling W.C. Fields, “I like children, if they’re properly cooked.”
On the street without my coffee but with spill-overs of Starbuck’s bedlam I tried to walk it off only to recall an article I read about society’s Armageddon heightened by the rich getting richer and poor getting poorer as the scab of capitalism peels away revealing a festering puss filled sore. Beyond the boiling point mid-matching my anarchic data I became aware of my morning survival interior j’accuse of a spine tattooed with I’m-right-they’re-fucked-up-wrong as getting too comfortable in my aggressive hair- shirt while passing a homeless man sitting next to a huge worn suitcase stuffed with what seemed to be his life’s belongings. I expected him to hit me up for a dollar ready to pose as unhearing but as I passed all he muttered was, God bless.
A few feet away I stopped, turned around and saw him with an alternative toothed maniacal grin nodding at me. Not asking for anything, just...God bless. I shook my head. You got me. Walked back, took out a single, then two and offered it to him. He shrugged his scrawny shoulders barely covered by a tattered shirt living a death sentence, opened his hands which were stained with the city’s detritus took the bills, looked at me through bloodshot eyes but with clear intention through a phlegm throated rasp: You’re a good man.
I was surprised and even stunned by his declaration. I’m a good man. For two singles, validated from a gap-toothed homeless man, I am a good man. Not a declaration my ex-wife would confirm. I am a good man. Not an acknowledgement from my last boss whom I told to go fuck himself for cheating immigrant employees on over-time pay. Am I really a good man, I cogitated? All for two dollars? I looked at him as he nodded conspiratorially, keeping our good-man-secret.
Still yearning for that cuppa’ I ambled across the street toward Peetes when I heard someone calling me. Ziggy!
I turned and saw David Berg. We played on a soft-ball team. I played first base, he was the catcher...who dropped the ball every other pitch. We lost more games than we won. I extended my hand but he chose to hug. It was awkward as I was never all that good at public hugging [in contrast to public hangings.] We entered Peetes for a shared cuppa’ and conversation.
David [never Dave] is now an attorney specializing in libel & defamation cases, for or against depending on the client and ability to pay his exorbitant fee. His smile was not in joy but more of condescension. I forgot what big shiny teeth he had.
Ziggy, let me try out my pitch for tomorrow’s summary to the jury.
But I don’t know anything about the case, David, so maybe...
Neither does the jury if you want to know the bottom line, juries are made up of incompetent losers who don’t have the imagination to get out of jury-duty. In fact you’re probably too smart but let me run it by you anyhow. The Prosecutor insists my client besmirched... that’s the word he used. Who says besmirched? My client besmirched this man’s reputation thus resulting and affecting serious business losses. I’ve been practicing this all morning. Tell me how this flows. Check this out:
I was on the edge of grabbing my joint with: check this out David, but his aggressive insensitivity cut my lack of approbation to the quick as he assumed a posture of authority orchestrated by a SNL satirical stentorian voice. But he was serious.
Ladies and gentlemen of the jury...he stopped and peered at my less-than-interested face. Are you with me, Ziggy?
Wouldn’t have it any other way, David.
Okay then...[back to the voice]...The prosecutor insists you ignore
contributing factors and stress that both his client and mine acted out of free will. Free will! Free will? A canard.
Canard. Interesting word. Sounds like bird shit. He continued.
From the moment we’re born our parents place parameters determining our so-called free will as do teachers, police, politicians, laws...we are all conditioned by reward and punishment defying the concept of free will. We, including you and me, respond to a situation from deeply ingrained judgments, nothing free about it. Bam. That’s it. How does that sound to you, Ziggy?
Grateful that I could free-will sip my coffee I was reluctantly impressed with his dissertation but I was not in an affirmative mood. Surprise! I unenthusiastically said, Sounds good, David, that no one has free will is...well, more astute than your average jurist might cognize, jurors or voters, Americans have lost the ability to see or hear a truth, an actual truth if it challenges their comfort-blanket of watching feel-good Ellen. But then again, David, I know nothing about the issues so I wouldn’t give my opinion all that much credence.
He looked around as if wanting to avoid conspiracy, leaned closer and said, The bottom line, Ziggy, is that the prosecutor’s sole witness, his client, is...and he sotto voce’d like a villain from a movie which went straight to video: A Muslim.
For some odd reason I was reluctantly interested although perhaps it was a good reason because I was sure our differences had the destructive promise to descend, with my foot on the gas, into an argumentative diss of proportions not merited in a coffee shop but justified by grudgingly opened eyes. What does being a Muslim have to with...
He smiled and cut through my unfinished sentence in a heated conspiracy: It’s my hole card.
What am I missing?
Well, you know...Muslims!
David, you’re pushing it. What you know...Muslims?
Hello, where have you been, Ziggy! It’s us against them!
Please, us/them...you can’t really buy into that bigoted...
Bigoted? Muslims. Consequences. Always consequences with Muslims. Nothing bigoted about the facts.
No, the real deal. Facts: Paris...Muslims killed 130 innocents. Facts: First world Trade Center bombers Muslims; Facts Israeli Olympic Team attackers, Muslims. Shall I go on? He rhetorically posited.
I despise when an obvious, xenophobic, ostentatious asshole uses accurate information to support his manipulative bias. David, there are over one and a half billion Muslims on the planet. Close to 25% of the world’s population. You want to go to war with a billion and half people?
Not all at once.
What does that mean?
Mexeu com uma, mexeu com todas.
I feel like I’m having a conversation with a giraffe.
Mess with one, mess with us all.
David, I lost the gist of our conversation, if there ever was one. And yes I know that giraffes have no voice box, which may be a blessing.
He was not to be deterred. Little by little. Ziggy. God is on our side. What are you laughing at?
I hope Walt Whitman didn’t hear you.
Walt Whitman...what does he have to do with...
I imitated his arrogant cliché, God is on our side. Whitman says God is a mean-spirited, pugnacious bully bent on revenge against His children for failing to live up to his impossible standards. Unquote. Is that the God that’s on your side against a billion Muslims, David, baby?
His cheeks puffed as if he was playing trumpet but he was no Miles when he blurted a meaningful non-sequitur: You weren’t all that good on first, either.
Like a good member of a combo improvising I continued in the same aggressive rhythm. You dropped every other pitch and hit what, 200 on a good day.
Oh yeah! Well, Ziggy, who could forget the play-off game against the Eagles. Man on third behind one run you couldn’t even hit it to the outfield so he could tag up and tie.
Truth but I couldn’t let him have it as I threw a high hard one close to the vest: The Eagles won because when the dude ran in from third you not only didn’t tag him, you backed off as if you didn’t want your pants to be soiled, which was a redundant desire anyhow. [I heard myself descend to my dad’s bigger than your dad and will beat up...to my unliking but was not ready to drop out yet, even in the face of my embarrassed self-disapproval.]
David slammed, Eagles won because you couldn’t bring home the dude on third, no doubt about it.
Talk about eagles, David, eagles in Greece eat turtles by dropping them onto rocks to break open their shells. Diss that! [Even I was surprised by such an inane illogical rejoinder. I was on a existentialist roll.]
What the fuck does that mean?
It means, David, just that the end of the world as we know it may be a year or two from now so...
You always were weird, Ziggy, but I thought I’d give you break and now it’s obvious you’ve gone beyond weird into certifiable.
I felt like we were competing for an across-the-street-parking-spot on Tuesdays when I heard a nearby woman say to her companion: Well what would you do if your boyfriend walked out? To which she replied, Shut the door.
I laughed in gratitude as they brought me back to adult sanity and looked at David who must have heard but not even a smile. Screaming kids, sirens and people without a sense of humor should be avoided at all costs. I shrugged, nodded, took a last sip of rancid coffee and walked as David called, You didn’t tell me what you think of my summation.
I called back, Guilty! as I ambled in between pedestrians who were obviously pedestrian and I stopped myself from such inane judgments, quietly apologizing with damning thoughts of our civilization’s descent as inevitable, not aware of the source or the target. I think I was posing as a sane, responsible man putting a coin into the parking meter reverberating David’s words as being certifiable. If he only knew that I was so on the opened-eyes edge today I could be declared a threat to society qualifying for a citizen’s arrest. I was capable of inflicting a violent act otherwise known as a bad day. If he only knew. I stopped my inner anarchic ramblings lest they manifest in reality. Trying to walk it off without knowing what the it of it is. Saved by the bell as my cell harkened. Harkened? I’m really getting weird as I swiped, Hello Mom.
Am I interrupting, Sonny?
Why does she do that false humility number. I was tempted to say yes, Mom, you are interrupting my life which at this moment is on the edge of egregious behavior. But Sonny thought better. No, Mom, just walking it off.
Walking what off?
Life. You calling to say hello or something specific?
A mother has to have something specific just to touch in with her son? Something’s off with you, Sonny. I hear it in your voice.
It’s the human condition. Let’s start over. Hello, Mom, how are you? Me, I’m just crazy and sane and fine and...
You really are in a mood today, aren’t you?
Yes. And you, oh dear mother of mine?
Was that supposed to be an insult?
No, just ...please, it’s just...just one of those days, you know. The weather is lousy.
What are you talking? The weather is glorious, low seventies, a gentle breeze.
My inner weather. Overcast threatening to storm.
Sometimes I think we’re not talking the same language. Why are you laughing?
She called the suicide hot line and got placed on hold. Just a line I read and it popped up.
Rage...five letters ending in H. What kind of word ends in H.
New York Mag crossword puzzle...ahhh, the reason my dear mother called.
You are in a mood today.
W – R – A – T – H. Fits?
Hmmm...yes, exactly. Thank you Sonny, I’m going to finish the puzzle and call me when you’re feeling better. Click. Disconnect.
Oh, God, my day was beginning to feel like a Dali conception scripted by Mamet with no third act. Fuck it!