On Edge

The bonfires are glowing on the beaches, with flames licking the tender belly of the night's star-filled velvet canvas. Sending out a beacon to the shell-shocked warships on the run from a series of bitter triumphs on the new frontier -- looking for a safe place to settle in and take inventory of their blessings. The crackling messages becoming lost along the shore...nobody's around to pick them up. The dying embers yielding to the growing inferno of existence.

The hunger has taken hold. Weak retreats and demented last stands have become common final installments in a twisted collection of melancholy memoirs. Everyone weighing the merits of a scene stealing shoot-out against the ironic subtlety of a simple disappearance...a general fading into the backdrop, to appear some years hence in an obscure set of circumstances -- perhaps as an organ grinder standing on a street corner playing host to particularly violent showdown between the police and the Public's current Enemy #1. The penultimate moment of either scenario captured in a grainy photograph. The essence of finality struck in black and white. The implied caption notable only for its absence. Heroic. Alone. Done for.

Such is the happy randomness of history. Pages are never turned with a simple movement of the hand. Indeed...very strange (and often sinister) forces can often be witnessed among the works, with sleeves rolled up and an intent expression of bemusement on their brows...sweating away the hour and shaping our mortal plays. I'm sure you've passed a handful in your travels today.

The sun sets. The dawn unfurls. Eyes are filled with beauty and pain...tears and light. Exits are made. Entrances are announced. It all becomes so predictable. Gotta find a way keep their attention till the second act...

Aromas of decaying meat and spoiled fruit are rising above street level and greeting any of a growing number of well-to-do settlers. Turning their nose to the morning flock. Securing window latches and perfuming any spaces that might have trapped a foul nasal intruder. Shutting themselves off -- a key lesson to be learned and emulated...if one is to make a go of this new world. After all, you can't orchestrate a heartbreaking aria with one hand fending off the dirty clutches of the peasantry.

Now, really.

News from the absolved territories is beginning to arrive in droves. A sack full of wild promises and scarcely believable breakthroughs along science's shadier regions. Get-rich-quick schemes, youth enhancers, lurid come-ons from a seemingly endless supply of nubile and willing... enough to make a fair minded fella seriously question the integrity of the printed word. Best to exercise a healthy share of caution when contemplating the highly unlikely. Whenever possible.

The welcoming committee has been turned away. Perhaps the growing threat of inclement weather stole the wind from their sails. Or they might have just realized the mission's inevitable futility. Dispersing now in a haphazard fashion, shrugging shoulders and muttering meaningless phrases through the kicked-up dust. Off to re-group and re-assess their various situations. Wondering how many years of usefulness their well intentioned credentials have left. Doing their best to put a good face on the proceedings...if only to ease the concerned expressions of loved ones waiting at home.

Nothing can ever be found where you thought you might have left it. The pesky claws of insurrection are seeing to a wide variety of items gone astray. No place left to sit still and get your bearings. Multi-legged, and often eerily winged, creatures are sneaking through the cracks and making grossly uninvited (and notably unsettling) visits. Gotta have your trusty can of whatever-i-cide close at hand...able to handle all your toughest jobs. Perfect for just such occasions.

We've come this far. It's not a question anymore of turning back. Our footprints speak for themselves. And they stop here.

The smoke rises as the light is extinguished. The thought succumbs to the pathetic foothold of reality. The freshly oiled weapons of deterrence find their way back to open armed holsters. The day survives the night.

Is it the heat?...or the humidity.

~ ~ ~

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