24 December 2016

This Is Christmas

And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon Him. Now His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover. And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast. And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and His mother knew not of it. . .And it came to pass, that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers. . .

TRY to picture the scene. . .two thousand years ago, at the temple. . .all the great intellectuals gathered. . . the most respected scholars of the day. . .the thinkers who regulated the routines of life. . .they were probably arguing important issues such as how the people should wash their pots, etc. . .

And then:

In walks the One by whom all things were made. . .in walks the Source of Life. . .in walks the Light of the World. . .in the form of a twelve-year-old boy from the backwoods of Nazareth.

Imagine the Savior standing politely at the edge of the group, listening to the geniuses squabbling.  Feigning interest in their vain babbling, He asks a question. . .the great teachers debate, but cannot answer. . .Jesus provides the solution. . .the masters of Israel are a little taken aback, but also amused. They begin to question the young Galilean, thinking to put the lad in His place. . .but with each answer they receive, the amusement fades, until, astonished, the doctors have but one last question for the boy:

Who are you?

He would not tell them He was the Messiah. It would be another twenty years before even a few could accept that. He would tell them He was Jesus of Nazareth. That He lived with Mary and Joseph, the carpenter. He would not say He was Joseph’s son. Even at the temple at age 12, He claimed God as His father. When Joseph and Mary found Him teaching there, they told Him they had been searching for Him for three days. He calmly replied:

Wist ye not that I must be about My Father's business?

I wonder what of His Father’s business He told these scholars? What astonishing words did He give them? Secrets, mysteries of creation? The better way, a preview of the Sermon on the Mount? What did God incarnate reveal that day?

It has been lost. . .

THINK about that. . .

The sayings of the Lord Jesus Christ, lost.

The wisdom of the Eternal Logos, lost.

Infinitely more precious than gold—but lost.

We know to what lengths man will go to protect his gold. Fortresses are built to guard it. The words Jesus gave His hearers that day astonished them. . .but they could not keep them. They were lost. Think about that. . .for almost everything Jesus gives to men, they lose.

What happened to those doctors, who sat astonished before the Lord?

How long did Christ’s words remain with them? An hour? A day? A week? A month?

Behold, a sower went forth to sow; And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them: But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

Did Jesus’ words, of a value beyond what we can measure, produce any change in the lives of the hearers? Or a day, a week, a month later, were they back squabbling about the washing of pots?

Did they forget the encounter?

Was it, for them, as if it had never happened?

[Is it, for us, as if Christ’s gospel was never preached?  As if His atoning death and resurrection had never happened?]

This is the history of God’s interaction with mankind. From Eve to the Ark, from Babel to Sodom, the *sacrifice* of Isaac on a mountain in Moriah to Moses and the burning bush at Horeb, the Exodus through the Wilderness and on to the Promised Land—none of it made any lasting impression.

Let us borrow Rousseau:

Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains. . .

God has supernaturally acted in His creation countless times, but for the creature, the encounters with the Creator remain ephemeral. As awesome as they have been, the effects nonetheless have a strangely short duration. Peter, rather bluntly, put it this way:

The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire. . .

Man cannot stay clean. . .

We may also wonder:

Were any of the learned men still at the temple twenty years later, when Christ returned?

If so, did any of them know this prophet from Galilee who was causing such a stir preaching the Kingdom of God, healing the sick, raising the dead, was the very boy who had astonished them two decades prior?

It does not seem unreasonable to assume at least a few who had witnessed the twelve-year-old Jesus teaching at the temple had survived for twenty years, and thus also witnessed the Passion Week.

If not in an official capacity in Jerusalem, were not some of them there for the Feast, anyway?

Did any of them lay down palm branches and cry Hosanna in the highest when Christ entered the city?

Did any of them, one week later, cry Crucify Him!

The boy who astonished them twenty years prior. . .did they also see Him hanging on the cross?

Twenty years after marveling at His words, did they then insult Him as He was nailed and dying on a tree?

Twenty years after asking in astonishment who are you? did they then taunt Him with the following challenge?

If thou be the son of God, come down from the cross, and then we will believe.

Did any of those who heard Christ say it is finished realize this man was the boy they had heard twenty years prior? What would they have made of that?

Even if none of those from that earlier time were there, some who had lain palm branches before Him at the Triumphal Entry must have turned on Him a mere week later:

And Pilate answered and said again unto them, What will ye then that I shall do unto Him whom ye call the King of the Jews? And they cried out again, Crucify Him.

So whether it takes an hour, a day, a week or twenty years—the end result will be the same: man loses sight of God. Man cannot comprehend God. Man cannot apprehend Christ.

Look at Jesus’ supposed cousin, John the Baptist, of whom Christ said:

Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater. . .

Even John, who had himself baptized the Son of God, and who had seen the Holy Spirit descend upon Him like a dove, could not grasp the Savior:

Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, And said unto Him, Art Thou He that should come, or do we look for another?

Art Thou He that should come? John saw the Holy Spirit like a dove descend upon Christ. John bore witness Jesus was the Son of God. And yet there he is, not long after, wondering art Thou He that should come?


Art Thou He that should come? Two thousand years later, does anybody even bother with such a question? What is left of Christ’s ministry? Just the shell. . .the brand name. . .a franchise. He’s a religious Ronald McDonald. . .the Eternal Logos now just a logo to plaster above the entrance to the thousands and thousands of McChurches. . .

The masses queue up for their drive-thru communion. . .a bit of cracker and a thimble-full of grape juice. It’s over in seconds. A damnable fraud. . .

This do in remembrance of Me. . .

People waiting in line, bored, checking their watches, they grab a bit of cracker and a swallow of juice, eyes wandering over the crowd—anybody in a short skirt?

And when the hour was come, He sat down, and the twelve apostles with Him. And He said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer: For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God. And He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves: For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come. And He took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is My body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of Me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in My blood, which is shed for you.

It means nothing. It lost its meaning ages ago. Go into a McChurch and see the zombies at communion. . .look at the bored faces and the dry eyes. . .the ritual cannot reach their dead souls.

This do in remembrance of Me. . .

No. He is forgotten. The real Lord Jesus Christ is forgotten. . .lost.

Look around, for the sake of Christ, look around. . .every way of man is anti-Christ.

Surely John the Baptist was the first Christian—surely he was the first goer down the path so many Christians walk. He had a miraculous encounter with Christ and proclaimed the Savior. . .and then. . .he doubted.

He wasn’t sure, anymore, of what he had seen and heard. Perhaps just like those who had seen and heard the twelve-year-old Jesus. Just like the Israelites who had the cloud by day and the fire by night, and yet continually doubted.

For John the Baptist, events must not have proceeded as he imagined they would. Yes, after the baptism, he told his disciples:

He must increase, but I must decrease.

But he could not imagine how greatly he must decrease! Perhaps he could not imagine having no place in the world?

And He said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world.

That is the problem, right there. Christ’s way is not the way of the world. Christ entered this world from another realm. Christ could dazzle with philosophy and miracles, but the world could never really digest His message.

Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

That message has no hearers in this world. The meek are held in contempt, while the aggressively greedy inherit the world.

We encounter Christ, and marvel. . .but we cannot put on His mind. . .for we are of the world—it is as simple as that.

John the Baptist, among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater, must have imagined for himself some role in preparing Christ’s Kingdom. . .at the very least, to be a disciple. . .

But to find himself languishing in Herod’s prison? The voice of one crying in the wilderness, prepare ye the way of the Lord? To go from that to being totally removed from the world scene, locked away, waiting for a sinner’s executioner?

So the Baptizer of Christ doubted. . .he had to have doubted because of his place in the world.

I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world.

Jesus could amaze the world. . .He would have celebrity. . . Hosanna in the highest they would cry. . .but when it was found His ways were incompatible with the ways of the world, all but a few left Him.

Today we have the franchise. . .the world has gone on its way for two thousand years, allowing the franchise to strain out the gnats because it swallows the world.

Christ was in the world, and yet the world remains untouched by His presence.

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not!

All the gifts Christ gave. . .man let them slip through his fingers. . .he cannot accept Christ because of Christ’s other-worldliness.

And what about Christmas?  When the Western world's retailers try to remind us there was a Christ?

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

This is the season wherein we rejoice! The Savior is born. . .

And two thousand years later the world is a tangle of disease and cruelty.

Where in the world is joy?

In Him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

The darkness has not lifted. . .

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Peace. . .good will toward men.

Look around. . .no, you cannot see for the darkness. . .feel around. . .feel around in the darkness of the world. Peace? Good will toward men?  No.  Only war and a hatred of the other.

The Lord Jesus Christ came. He delivered His message. He took away the sins of the world. He did His Father’s will and sacrificed Himself on the cross. It is finished, He said.

Why then is the world still a stinking garbage dump two thousand years later?

Why is God’s interaction always lost? Why cannot men hold onto what their Creator has provided?

He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not. He came unto His own, and His own received Him not.

The world does not know Jesus Christ. He came and went, and the world has continued in darkness. The darkness comprehended it not.

And I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.

Ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb. . .

Not even a whisper of it is heard in the darkness of our world. . .

Another Christmas. . .the fetishistic shopping, the dionysian office parties. . .idiots drunk. . .gluttons gobbling up sugary goodies, fattening their holiday waistlines. . .the noise, the tinsel, the noise, the 50% off sales that stink of a depression, the noise, the dysfunctional family gatherings around the altar of disappointing presents, the noise, the fake sentiment, the noise, the discount religion, the NOISE. Christ pushed off into the corner, playing third or fourth fiddle to Santa Claus, reindeer, elves.

How could Christ dwell on this earth for thirty-three years, and this be the result? Over and over He astonished those who came into contact with Him. But in the end, He was run out of town and hung on a tree. . .

Christ told the history of God’s supernatural interaction with man in this parable:

There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country: And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it. And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise. But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son. But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him.

All that God has given the world has been lost.

Go ahead, try to find Eden. Try to find the Ark of the Covenant.

Our Lord said:

Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.

Let me tell you something, my friend, Jesus knew what He was talking about, here. He gave everything, including His blood. . .and it has all been trampled, trampled.

What the Hell kind of Christmas message is this?

We have to have ears to hear. . .

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

Jesus left the Throne of God. . .Jesus left the Majesty of Heaven. . .and He came down to this wasteland. He preached the gospel to the poor. THINK about that. Nobody has a chance in this world. In the end, all are beaten down to the grave. The rich have their illusions. The poor have nothing. Jesus gave the poor the gospel. . .the hope for glory. . .but the glory will not be had in this world. The gospel is victory over the world.

Jesus left the Purity of the Highest. . .He came down and cleansed lepers and cast out disease. . .He raised the dead. He left the Splendor of Perfection and came down to the world of corruption. . .He who was spotless was mocked, slandered, spat on, beaten and bloodied, then nailed to the cross by gross humanity. He did not resist, nor utter an angry word. Look at us, foul creatures, and the insane tantrums we throw over the slightest insult.

What are we to celebrate on Christmas? Simply that Christ would so humble Himself by entering our world.

And what is the greatest gift our Lord gave us? What did He bring into this world? What did He have to personally hand deliver to our world?

Faith.

The faith of Christ.

Let that sink in.

The faith of Christ.

Not our faith. Let us not embarrass ourselves in front of the Savior Christmas morning as we tell Him we place our faith in Him, stupid grins on our faces as we wait for Him to give us slaps on the back.

He doesn’t want our faith. Our faith lasts about as long as the flavor in a piece of penny bubblegum. . .

Those doctors had a little faith in the twelve-year-old boy who astonished them. . .how long did that faith last? Was it there twenty years later when Christ hung on the cross? John the Baptist had faith in Christ when He saw the Spirit like a dove descend upon Him—where was that faith when the Baptizer asked art Thou He that should come, or do we seek another? The Jesus Christ fanboys had faith when they greeted His entry into Jerusalem singing Hosanna in the highest—where was that faith a week later? Crucify Him!

No, God doesn’t want our faith. Like a cheap whore sells her goods, we sell our faith to anyone or anything that provides a few tokens of comfort in this world.

The Lord Jesus Christ brought His faith into this hopeless world, and that is the great gift we celebrate at Christmas:

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God. . .

Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law. . .

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. . .

Let us not nitpick, asking for some blueprint showing every atom of the transfer of faith, and how it maps throughout the world, hitting some and missing others. If we need that to have faith, then the faith of Christ remains yet beyond us.

Jesus starts in us faith in Him, and finishes in us faith in Him.

Our joy in Christmas is the picture of Christ humbling Himself, being obedient to the Father’s will, condescending to take upon Himself human flesh. . .our Savior did indeed come into the darkness of the world, to bring His faith into the world to light our way home to the Father. . .

The world has lost everything Christ brought into it, let Him put saving faith in us, and then let Him sustain it in us until the end. . .

He places His faith in our corrupt vessels. . .our corruption can poison us with faithlessness.

Christ’s people have a hard time holding onto the gift He gave. . .but He will maintain His people through their journey in the wilderness of darkness and doubt.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ. . .

The darkness may cause His people to lose sight of Him, but He always sees us. . .

That star only the Magi saw two thousand years ago, it still shines, somewhere, out in the black sky. The Jesus star still shines upon those Christ calls His people. . .

Forget the dull sentiment printed on the Christmas cards. . .Christmas Day is for the soul that despairs. . .Christmas has been turned into the most worldly of holidays, eat, drink and be merry. . .the holiday has been co-opted by those who are at home in the world.

But for those who are truly world-weary, it is the day to refresh the hope, the day to celebrate when He stepped out of Glory into our dark world, to give His faith to us, to finish our redemption, to finish rescuing our souls out of the world. . .

Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

The world could for brief periods be dazzled by Jesus. . .but in the end, the world wants no part of Him. . .

Do we feel nothing in this world? There is nothing. . .until He appears to us. . .and then our soul feels its worth. . .

This is Christmas. . .



09 December 2016

The Blue Bunny


I've driven down this street thousands of times. A typical ugly American street. Mile after mile after mile, littered with retarded businesses. Frozen yogurt. Nail salon. Phone store. Electronic cigarette store. Car audio. Nutrition supplement. Picture frame store. T-Shirt printing. Sylvan *Learning.* Yoga pants store. The people are fat, sweaty looking. Walking seems an arduous task for them. The fat women wear yoga pants. Grotesque oxymorons.

When I was a kid, there were book stores.  Newspaper and magazine stores.  

As I get into the city, the shops are boarded up.  The survivors cater to the basics.  Tire store.  Liquor.  Collision shop.  Not many people on the street. None wear yoga pants.  The few shuffle along, wiping their noses and looking in garbage cans.

I used to drive down this street to go to work.  The routine was awful.  The job was horrible.  Life wasted.  Drowning in the sameness.  I might as well have lived for one day, like a mayfly. 

I'm down here now because I need some cash.  I got a ways to go yet before I can collect social security.  I park around the corner from Star Gold, walk up, then push the button on the intercom.  There's a camera above the door.  Somebody's saying something, but it's mostly static.

"I got an appointment," and then I say my name.

The door buzzes open.

At the counter, behind a thick piece of glass, is a little man with skin the color of shit.  He's got a bushy moustache.  His mouth opens.  I have no idea what he is saying.  His teeth point every which way.

I slide two Canada Gold Maple Leafs, sealed in plastic, in the steel tray under the window.  The little shit-skin nods his head, takes the coins and disappears into a back office.

After my father died, I had to clean out his apartment.  Amid the cans of sardines and tuna, the empty gallon wine jugs, I found an Alka-Seltzer box with four Maple Leafs.  I've kept them for almost ten years, watching their value double, then triple, then fall back to double.  Now I need to cash in a couple.

The shit-colored man gives me a paper to fill out and sign.  After I return it, he passes twenty-five one hundred dollar bills under the glass.  As I'm gathering the money, I remember one of the old man's favorite expressions:

"Don't take any wooden nickels."

I can get by for three months on the twenty-five hundred, easy.

Back out on the street, surveying the shabby landscape, I muse:

Three months for two ounces.  One or the other is over-valued: life or gold.

A block and a half up is a little hole-in-the-wall bar, The Dark Room.  I've driven past it for years and years, never been in.  I haven't had a drink since New Year's Eve 1992, almost twenty-five years.  A bit of gold for a swallow of gin?  Why not?  True alchemy.   

Opening the door, I step from broad daylight into dusk.  I peer into the shadows.  Eight or ten tables and a long bar lit with some weak fluorescent tubes.  The only other light comes from a huge flat screen in the back.

I sit at the bar.  There's no bartender.  I look around.  There are four other people, three men and a woman, all at separate tables.  I wait in the dark for a server.

The stool is uncomfortable.  I should sit at a table, but I see the other four people have spaced themselves with an empty table between them, so if I took one, I would be right behind or in front of someone, possibly violating some local *drinking space* etiquette.  I don't want to ruin someone's solitude.  Solitude is worth a bit of gold, too.  I imagine these four others as escapees.  Escapees from the Great Beyond These Walls.  There can be nothing good for them Out There.  If life were tolerable, there wouldn't be any bars.

It's quiet in here.  Just the TV and the humming of some machine, maybe an air conditioner, to break the silence.  None of the drinkers even cough or sigh.  They're all white.  The men vary in age.  Well, vary in oldness, I guess.  None of the three look young.  One of them wears a winter cap, even though it's summer.  One of those wool knit caps.  Maybe he was a seaman, in better days?  I don't know.  The woman is old, too.  Older than me.  Already collecting her check, I would bet.  

I look at the television.  It's showing a black-and-white movie.  There's a brick shithouse blonde in a tight sweater hectoring a milquetoast. 

"I'm sick of looking at your ugly mug," the shithouse spits.

"You don't mean it, darling," says the milqueoast.

"'Darling?'" she says with an ugly laugh.

The milquetoast is crestfallen.  The shithouse seems satanically giddy.  This might be a good movie.  It would be nice to sip a little gin while I watch a few more scenes.

"Excuse me," I say to the bar at large.  "Does anybody know where the bartender is?"

"Oh," one of the guys sitting at a table says, one of the guys without the winter cap.  "I'm the bartender.  Sorry.  Didn't see you come in."  

He makes his way around the bar.

"What'll it be?"

"Gin and tonic."

On the television, the shithouse says:

"You're only half of a man.  And not the good half, either."

The milquetoast is on the verge of tears.

"What have I done to make you say these horrible things?"

"Nothing. You haven't done nothing.  You can't do nothing.  You've never done nothing, except disappoint me.  You couldn't satisfy me unless you died."

Ouch.  This is one tough broad.  I'm trying to place the actress, but I don't think I've ever seen her before.  Some old B movie queen, I guess.

The bartender sets my drink down.

"Four dollars," he says.

Four bucks?  Man!  I mean, I'm sure I only paid a buck or a buck-and-a-quarter twenty-five years ago.  Who has the money to be a drunk, these days?  I pull a hundred dollar bill out of my pocket, give it to the bartender.

"I can't take this," he says, handing it back.  "It'll wreck my drawer."

What is it with this place?  Lousy service?  No money?

"I don't have anything smaller."

The bartender shakes his head.

"There's a gas station with a little convenience store three blocks up.  Maybe you can break it there."

"For real?  You want me to walk three blocks up and three blocks back, just to get your change?"

The bartender sneers.

"No, I don't want you to.  It ain't a favor to me.  I'm just suggesting it as a way to help you out."

"Thanks for the help, but I'll pass on the trip to the mini-mart."

"Sure.  OK."

He takes the drink away.

Fuck him.  I didn't really want it, anyway.  I watch the movie while the bartender stands there.

"I've given you twelve years of my life.  I've worked at jobs where I've never been appreciated, so we could have a home," the milquetoast says in a quavering voice.

"You would've worked anyway, whether I was here or not.  And take a look around, why don't you?  This isn't a home, it's a prison."

"And this isn't a homeless shelter," the bartender says.  "It's a place of business.  For paying customers."

Four fucking dollars.  Four fucking dollars is all it takes to create hatred.

"You trying to get me to leave?"

"I'm not trying," he says, nodding his head toward the door.

"Take a chill pill, Ray!  I'll buy his drink," says the woman at one of the tables.  "Sit over here with me, honey."

Great.  In two or three minutes, everything's been reversed.  Two or three minutes ago, I did want a drink and I didn't want to leave.  Now I don't want a drink and I do want to leave.  I should just walk out. . .but it would be insulting to the lady barfly.  I notice the two other guys, the guy in the winter cap, and the other guy, a chronic-looking type, staring at me, as, with great reluctance, I take a seat at the woman's table.

"Don't look so happy, honey!"  she says.  "Ray, bring Smiley his drink!"

"He can come get it himself."

I let it set there.

"Oh screw!" the woman says.  She gets up, pays for the drink, brings it back to the table.

"Thanks," I say, "but I'm probably not gonna drink it."

"You can do whatever you want, sugar.  Whatever you want," she says with a liquor grin.

Her hair is long and messy, dark gray and white.  Her face is alcoholic red and rough-looking.  She's wearing a linty black sweater over an old pink t-shirt over bra-less old saggy titties.

"Never seen you in here before, have I, sweetheart?"

"No.  No, first time."

"First time," she says kind of dreamily.  "First-timers are fun."

I wonder if the other people are listening?  Or are they watching the TV?  Maybe they're just sorting out their own thoughts?

The old woman is staring at me, with that liquor grin on her face.  I look at the television.  The milquetoast is now at work.  He's talking with a Plain Jane secretary.

"I can't understand why they didn't give you the promotion," Plain Jane says.

"I knew they wouldn't.  Things have never really worked out for me," the milquetoast says.

Plain Jane looks sad.  She puts her hand on the milquetoast's elbow.  

"I know that feeling, Bill.  I know how hard it can be."

Bill the milquetoast takes Plain Jane's hand off his elbow. 

"You're sweet, kid.  Thanks for trying to cheer me up."

As Bill the milquetoast walks away, the camera lingers on Plain Jane's face, ending with her brushing a tear from her eye.

Whoever the Plain Jane actress is, she's probably been dead for twenty years.  And yet here she is, with us.  She's younger than the old woman sitting across from me.

"What day is it?" the guy in the winter cap suddenly asks.

Nobody answers.  

What a question, I think.  What a fucking question.  Poor bastard, doesn't he realize there's only one day?  But if I told him this, he would think I was being a smart ass.  So I say:

"It's Thursday."

"Thursday?  DAMN."  Then, a moment later:

"Thanks."

"You like to help people, don't you, sweetie?" the old woman asks.

"Not if I can help it," I say.

"Oh screw!" the old woman says with a laugh.  "You do, too.  You like to help."  She reaches out, places her hand on top of mine.  It's hot, soft.  "Drink your drink, angel."  Her fingertips massage the top of my hand.  The liquor grin is gone from her face.  "Drink your drink, then come back to my room with me.  I need your help."   It's a rough-looking face, but her fingertips are soft. . .and no doubt her whole body is soft.  The face is rough-looking, but her eyes are weary and liquored, beat and needy.  It's a hard world.  People will kick your teeth in for four bucks.  I'll go to her room, all right.  Two can make a break from the hard world.


***

She has a room on the second floor of a shabby two story motel.  While she's in the bathroom, I crack the blinds and look out her grimy window.  It gives a dingy view of the gas station where I was supposed to change the hundred.  What a dismal scene.  There was a time when Adam and Eve, naked and without blemish, walked healthy, free, eating dates and figs, drinking clean water. I ponder this as I watch a couple raggedy souls shuffle into the mini-mart, probably scraping for forty-ouncers and footlong hot dogs, burning their own stomachs in a personal holocaust. 

The old woman steps out of the shitter.  She's wearing a tattered white dressing gown, tied tight at her flabby waist.  I don't think she has anything on, underneath.  Maybe a pair of panties?  Probably as dull and frayed as the night gown.  As the old woman makes her way to the bed, I notice her legs.  The flesh.  The skin.  It's not rosy white, like it probably was in the bloom of her youth, it's that milky white that colors the old.  But at least there aren't any purple blotches, and even though she's overweight, there's still some shape left.  I could easily fuck her.  It would be a pleasure, even.  Hell, maybe I'll make a habit of it.  It's not that far of a drive.  We'll just have to see if it's worth the gas money.

She gets under the covers.  I sit on the edge of the bed.  She's combed her dirty-gray hair, washed her done-in face.  Her mouth cracks a sad, doubtful half-smile.  I look into her eyes. Weak blue. A faint glimmer, like a dull star light years and light years away.  I lean down to kiss this pitiful loser while slipping my hand inside her threadbare dressing gown to grab one of her fat old sagged-out titties.  She stops me.

"No!  Not yet," she says.  "I need you to do something for me first, then you can do whatever you want, angel."  

It figures.  There's always a catch.

What can this old bag possibly want?  Money?  Yes, that's probably it.  She knows I got at least a hundred on me, from that shit back in the bar.

"What do you want?" I ask, not trying to hide the suspicion in my voice.

She hands me one of her pillows.

"Smother me."

Huh?  This old broad's into that weird stuff?  I got to admit, I didn't see that coming.

"You want me to smother you while we're. . .uh. . .?"

"I want you to smother me to death.  And then you can do whatever you want."

Didn't see that coming, either.  And what's the bigger surprise?  That she thinks I would actually kill her?  Or that I would want to molest her corpse?

"You want me to kill you?"

She nods.

I'm still holding the pillow.  I look at her.  Old.  Homely.  Hopeless.  A minute ago I was ready to fuck her.  I set the pillow on the bed.

"I can't."

"You can.  You like to help people, I know."

I look at her face.  It's all there.  The rest of the body can hide life.  But not the face.  Her face is wiped-out.  Wiped-out by life.   Life just rolled over her and left that face. 

Her face makes me feel drained, I can't look at it any longer.  I look at her dressing gown.  The part covering her fat old titties.  She's probably not wearing panties.

"Listen, I know you got nothing to live for.  Most of us don't.  But we live, anyway."

"I'm too weak to do it myself.  I need you to do it for me."

"Look," I say with a sigh.  "Look, I'll end up in prison.  Your bum life will be over, but mine will just go from bad to worse."

"Nobody will know it was you!"

"All those people at the bar saw me leave with you.  It wouldn't take much to track me down."

"You could just kill yourself in prison, then!"

This old bag is something else!  I almost laugh at her disregard for my life. . .but. . .but.

I get off the bed.  There's nowhere to go in this room.  It's just a room.  A room with a chair, a dresser with a television on top, a nightstand, a door-less closet and a toilet.  I'd sit in the chair, but it's piled high with clothes.  I go over to the window, split the blinds.  I got to walk back to my car.  Drive back home.  Sit around.  Sit around.  Parcel out the twenty-five hundred for a few months.  Living.

"It's not good, but it's not that bad," I say.

"Screw!" the old bag says.  "How many cocks have you had to suck that you didn't want to?"

Night is falling.  The ugly street doesn't look quite so ugly under dark.

I hear the bed creak, the old woman comes padding over.

"There's nothing out there," she says.

I can see into the mini-mart.  Two people moving around.  The very hairs of their heads are all numbered.

"There's something out there," I say.

"What?"

I shake my head.  I place my hand against her back, guide her to the bed, pull the covers up.  She gives me the pillow.  I toss it onto the heap of clothes on the chair, it falls to the floor.

"You don't know," the old woman says.  She has such an angry look on her face.  "Have you ever spent a night in a Safe House with some fancy college girl giving you baloney for advice?"  

Angry.

Isn't it strange that the miracle of life, something when there should be nothing, ends so often in anger?  

"I'm gonna go over to the gas station and get us some ice cream, and we can watch the end of that movie."

"What movie?" she spits.

"The one that was on at the bar."

"You think I'd let you back in here?" she snorts.  "For some ice cream?"

She'll let me back in.  I'm all she has.

I make my way across the street.  I look beyond the twilight sky, to the That behind all that.  I know I'm being watched.

I enter the mini-mart, head to the freezer, grab a pint of Blue Bunny double strawberry, take it to the register.

"Three hundred and seventy-nine pennies," says the clerk, a skinny old greaser.

I hand him a hundred.

He shakes his head.

"Can't do it.  I just run through all my bills.  The guy before you had a hundred, same as you.  Two in one day, never seen that before."

I laugh.  What else can you do?  God damn money.

"Hey, man, how long you gonna be here?" I ask.

"Till I lock her up at eleven."

"Keep the hundred.  I'll be back at eleven to get my change."

"All right, but I lock up straight at eleven.  If you miss it, you miss it."

So be it, if I miss it, I miss it.  But I can't go back without the ice cream.  We must be faithful in the little things.

02 November 2016

Why Vote?

Is there any reason to interrupt our glorious everyday routines and wait around and wait around and wait around the government's user-non-friendly polling place to cast a vote for President of the United States of America?

I suppose there are two reasons to vote:

For Entertainment Purposes: it is often quite amusing to see how poorly and cheaply the balloting process is carried out.  The polls are staffed by volunteers (i.e., the terminally unemployed who survive on this type of temporary piecemeal work, or lonesome retirees who want to be noticed again, if only for a day) using broken-down equipment.  It can be great fun to watch these election workers struggle to herd the increasingly irritated masses through the Rube Goldberg process of identification, balloting and counting.  Additional hilarity can be had by deliberating gumming up the works through feigned misunderstanding of the procedure, or making humorous comments to election staff, such as remarking to the person in charge of the voter roll "I didn't have to give my name the first two times I voted for Clinton today."  Either method is sure to frustrate both harried poll workers and impatient voters.

Fulfilling Our Ritual Obligation: our vote does NOT count, at least, not in the way some suppose.  Our vote has NO BEARING on the outcome of the election.  Even if we lived in a state that would decide the election (by its nonsensical *electoral college* system), and even if the vote in that state were a tie awaiting our vote, our vote still would have NO BEARING on the outcome. . .for certainly there would be a vote recount and our supposed tie-breaking vote would then be jumbled up among all the other insignificant votes. . .and then even that recount would be set aside for a court review, and eventually the election would be referred to a judiciary body to resolve (such as in the famous 2000 Gore-Bush contest).  Non-Democratic Powers# decide who *wins* the election, not the little ant people who stream to the polling places thinking they have a *say* in the matter.  Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are actors hired by the Powers to perform in a cultural ritual, and our votes are merely the painted styrofoam props of the ritual stage show called Democracy.  Participation in these state rituals## is what binds the mass together in servitude to the Powers, and allows the Powers to continue their Delicious Living off the blood of the lumpen.  

If I vote, it is only for entertainment purposes, to make jest of the ritual, to mock the class traitors who work the polling place and to provoke the citizens who vote to fulfill their ritual obligation to the state, which they do from self-interest, because by collaborating with the state in its ritual election, by the willful self-deceit of believing they have a *voice* in the Process which rules their lives, the lumpen do not then have to confront their true condition: human fodder for the Powers.  Adherence to state rituals excuse the sheeple from taking responsibility for their existence.

Dress as a creepy clown, mark the ballot for an unauthorized candidate like Jill Stein, and then leave some novelty plastic turds lying around as a thank you for the *privilege* of *voting.*  

#For those who believe in the Christian Supreme Being, no human vote counts, not even the bought-and-paid-for-by-the-Powers votes of the final judiciary body. . .for the Christian Supreme Being controls the course of history, and no human ruler sits upon a throne unless he or she will fit the Eternal Scheme of the Almighty God. . .only the tripartite vote of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit count.

##Other state rituals include the paying of the income tithe, standing for the national anthem, supporting the troops, submission to public education and police forces, faith in manifest destiny and other assorted pledges of allegiance, veneration of the constitution, jury duty.
  

03 August 2016

Cops Kill Another One. . .And Endanger A Child!!!

3 August 2016: Police outside the US city of Baltimore shot and killed a woman holed up with a five-year-old boy. Korryn Gaines, 23, was armed with a shotgun and due to be arrested for an outstanding traffic violation at the time. Police said she refused to co-operate and opened fire when they tried to enter her apartment. The boy, who may have been her son, was also shot during the exchange, but is in a stable condition in hospital.

Listen. . .this isn't really that fucking complicated.  It isn't too hard to figure out.  It's a no-brainer, so even the mentally challenged AmerICKan po-lice should be able to handle it correctly:

There is NO pressing need to arrest a Baltimore hairdresser with a misdemeanor resisting/interfering with police warrant that can possibly justify endangering a five year old kid.
Sorry, the world can go on one more day without having this black chick show up in court over a nickel-and-dime traffic beef.

You telling me the Baltimore po-lice are so fucking stupid they can't understand when they see a crazy hothead black chick with a kid during a firearms stand-off that the best fucking solution is to retreat?  Leave, get the fuck out of there before the kid gets hurt. I understand the po-lice love to shoot black folk, but why not shoot the crazy bitch later, when the kid ain't in the fucking line of fire?  You don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure this shit out.

The God damn courts are choked with black people held on bullshit hassles. . .what possible difference could it have made if this chick went to court today, tomorrow, next week, next month, never?

To not admit the RIGHT course of action was for the Baltimore po-lice to leave as soon as they knew a child was endangered, and to try to arrest this woman on her bullshit warrant at a later point in time and space, when no children would be at risk, to not admit this, you have to be dishonest to your core. . .or retarded.

No fucking urgent need to have one more colored person in court. . .

Policing in AmerICKa is a menace to public safety. . .sorry. . .dumb asses can clap and cheer for Trump's Law & Order, but this is what you are really cheering for: another dead citizen, and a five year old kid with a bullet wound.  God bless AmerICKa?  It ain't gonna happen.