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.
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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