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Not an Eulogy

For the sake of argument,  let’s say the man’s dead.

I must ask: all that money he had, and it only went to fighting? He couldn’t funnel money into, say, researching and creating an alternative to oil so that entire regions of the world wouldn’t be dependent upon one energy source? If he had, the West wouldn’t be there! Maybe that was just an excuse. And for what?

I don’t cheer, but I don’t feel sorry for him. He had a chance to use his money and education for more than a pissing match with the West. He could’ve led the Middle East to a future that went beyond oil, but he didn’t. And for what?

In those last seconds in the firefight, I wonder, was all of this death and destruction worth it to him? Was there a moment when the horror of realization struck, that “this never changes”? Was he so wrapped up in being the holy martyr that he forgot: it never changes? That no one ever wins?

Eurasia has always been at war with…

As seriously as these men on both sides take these wars, in the end, it’s still the same old “mine is bigger than yours” racket that’s gone on since the savannahs. Thus, hundred of thousands more have had to die since 2001. Why?

Jay and Jackie, whom, granted, I didn’t know well, are still gone.  Hundreds of thousands of civilians, men, women and children – gone. Thousands of troops – gone.

And for what, again?

The numbers titling the previous posts were an experiment. I bet myself that I wouldn’t make it to 100 “real” entries, because I know me. I start a new endeavor with a parade down Main Street, with fanfare and cheering, put ads in all the papers, make grand announcements that break up that night time soap opera people love so damn much, that sort of thing, and then it all collapses like a kid’s balloon 6 days after the birthday party.

Well, I won. Today I’m getting an vanilla ice cream from the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory.

With numbers, I psychologically shielded myself from the world. My “#56” would be way below a slew of other webpages with “#56” in them. But can’t be a coward all my life, can I?

So I’ve actually done it. I’ve begun something and have seen it through to at least 100 posts.

In order to make this blog more of what it can be, I will use actual titles in the headings now as I continue to refine and share my small craft here; stories, dialogues and monologues with the occasional observational essay thrown in, matched with a photo I’ve taken. I’ve come to that point in life where I’m putting my real self out there and just have to say, “Fuck it. This is it, this is me, this is what’s fomenting and fermenting in my imaginings, OK?” Granted, I don’t know about you. I wouldn’t presume to judge.

Thank you all for being here with me.

#100

“Bon! What are you doing here?”

“I… No one’s seen you for months, so…”

“Come in.”

“Where’ve you been?”

“Around. You know.”

Really?”

“Yeah, I… No.  Lost my job. Unemployment’s a joke. My savings are… I’m being rude. You didn’t come here to hear this. I’ve got tea.”

“No, I’m good. Why haven’t you told anyone what’s happened?”

“I’m not looking to bother people. If I’m in a jam, I’ll get out of it myself. Told my parents.”

“They haven’t offered any help?”

“Sort of, but I said I’d be fine. They’re not rich. Mind, Cookie’s right under you.”

“A kitten!”

“A stray I took in.”

“Oh. Hi, Cookie.”

“Look, at some point I’ll get something. I’ve called every temp agency in town.”

“You need a real job, not temp work. I wish you’d said before now.”

“I’m not going to be that person who brings everybody down. Friends don’t do that.”

“’Good-time party buddies’ don’t do that, maybe. Friends help each other. If I lost my job and came to you, would you turn me away?”

“Of course not.”

“Well, then. I thought something might have upset you, so I decided to come see you and find out. I’ve missed you, Celia.”

“Bon. What a time to tell me this. I don’t know what to say.”

“Let’s just sit here a minute and not say anything. That OK?”

“All right.”

“I’m only sorry I didn’t show up sooner than this.”

“You’re here now, though. Thank you.”

#99

“Could I see a little more gravitas? Your father is dead and you think something’s going on, but you’re too afraid to find out, yes? Again. Please.”

“’K. Ahem! Oh, that this tootoo solid FLESH wouldmeltthaw and resolveITSELF in to a DOO! Or that th’Everlasting had not fixed hiscanon against self-slaughter! O God! GOD!”

“Stop.”

Rebecca Nelson warily regarded Colleen Lucas.  Rebecca hadn’t cast this all-woman Hamlet; she came on to direct only today, when Sheila Rodriguez called begging for help. Millicent Taylor had fallen ill. “Walking pneumonia”. No matter; the problem now was Colleen Lucas was terrible and Rebecca suspected Colleen had gotten extremely cozy with Millicent to get the part. There was no denying that she was lovely to look at, but seemingly that’s all she was. Was it too late to reframe the show? Rebecca knew several actors who would be splendid, including one who looked like a younger Kevin Kline.

Try to work with what you’ve got, Becs.

“You have read Hamlet?”

“Yes, ma’am. It was sad.”

“What do you think Hamlet’s problem was?”

“Hamlet’s the real king, and his uncle stole the crown.”

“Are you sure that’s the issue?”

“Yeah!”

“’Mad’ here means ‘crazy’, not ‘angry’.”

“Oh… OK. I’m so silly.”

Colleen batted her eyes.

Poor thing. I’m not gay.

“Why do you want to do this play?”

“’Cause it’s famous!”

Oh, Millie. You must bear the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, because this child must go.

“Come sit by me, Colleen. Let’s chat.”

#98

Dammit, here she comes. I hate these family weddings.

“Hello, hello!”

“Hello, Paula.”

“Look at you! Good to see you’re eating well. Very well. Incredibly well. Me, I can never keep down a bite.”

Pleasedon’taskaboutMatt.Pleasedon’taskabout…

“And Ryan’s over there.  He hates anything he has to wear a suit for, but he loves me, bless him. Where’s your fellow? ‘Malcolm’, is it? ‘Maurice’?”

“Matthew.”

“Yes, Matthew. The postman. Charming. So?”

“We’ve, uh, divorced.”

DIVORCED?! No! But how terrible! What happened?”

“I don’t think I want to…”

“Well, I’m sure he’ll find a lovely girl sooner or later.”

“I’m going to have to excuse myself…”

“Wait, Tricia, I must tell you. Must. We’re moving away from Manhattan!”

“Congratulations. I’m just going to…”

Fisher Island. It just feels right.”

“Great. Look, I see my mother…”

“Tricia, I get the distinct feeling that you’re ditching me.”

I should let her have it, right now. But Pegs would never forgive me. OK, Trish, reacting to all this would be our insecurity showing. But I hate her. No, it’s envy, isn’t it? But I want to smash her face in with a ball-peen hammer if it would for one moment make her shut the hell up about herself! Dammit.

“Paula?”

“Yes?”

“I’m glad you’re thin, rich and with a wonderful man. I wish I were just like you. There. Satisfied?”

“You’re a scream! Honestly! Lighten up. No wonder Matthew left you.”

Oh, so she walks away! How do I fall for this every! Single! Time!? How?

#97

“Here, have one.”

“Looks funny. Funny weird.”

“Don’t worry about that, just try it.”

“You take me for your baking guinea pig?”

“Then think of it as an adventure!”

“So I’m Alice?”

“Exactly. ‘Eat me!’”

“This is a lump. If this looked remotely appetizing or if it was a recognizable pastry…”

“Will you just eat it?!”

“What’ll happen if I do?”

“You’ll escape a bop on the nose for a start.”

“You wouldn’t hit me for not eating… whatever this is, would you?”

“I guarantee it’s really tasty. You’ll feel better in a few minutes.”

“Why? Wait. There’s something illegal in here.

“You don’t trust me?”

“No.”

“If it will assuage you, I’ll have one too.”

“You’re breaking out the SAT words? Uh-oh. You’ve gobbled down more suspect things…”

“Apples, cinnamon,  nutmeg and sugar.  See? Apples. I’m your sister, Pen. Whatever I do, I would never purposely hurt you. It’s a cobbler.”

“Just a cobbler.”

“A cobbler.”

“Without any substances of an illicit nature anywhere within? You haven’t got a camera hidden in this kitchen? I’m not going to find a video of myself rocking back and forth, drooling and babbling incoherently about François Arnaud on YouTube with my underwear on my head?”

“Oho! You need to give yourself permission to let loose, chica! Although he is a hot number, isn’t he?”

“Answer my questions.”

“Why don’t you just eat it and find out for yourself? Go on, try!”

“Look at you. John Tenniel couldn’t draw any better.”

#96

His mouth is moving into the proper formations of nice-sounding words, but… It’s true what they say that to listen involves more than sound waves thrumming through to vestibular nerves. I’m listening with all my senses, and I hear him clearly. He’s lying.

I’ve never understood why it’s so hard for people to tell the truth. As if I’ve never been dumped before. Sure, it hurts, but that’s just the ego. I am not my ego. If I’m not what he expected, then no harm, no foul. Honestly.

Great, he’s asking me to come with him to his cousin’s wedding. He doesn’t want to go out with me anymore, but he can’t show up somewhere without getting grief for going stag – and he can’t handle it. Perhaps he’s not as mature as I thought.  “You’re 37 and unmarried!? Whatever are we to think?” I’m not saving face for him. The hell with that.

I wish he could see himself. Shoulders slumped like sacks of wet concrete. He keeps looking away; he can barely stand to look at me. And that’s the most monotone-y monotone in the history of monotones.

And… dodge.

You don’t have to put your arm around me. I don’t need reassurance. Anyway, it’s not me, it is you. It is most absolutely you. There’s a man out there who will appreciate me exactly as I am, and me him. Wish you weren’t such a coward, though.

“Hold up, Darryl. There’s something I need to say to you.”