Saturday, April 22, 2006

Chapter 1

This isn’t an original story, not a story worth reading. It’s about sex and drugs and rock n’ roll. Cliché. Boring. It’s a story of boy meets girl, girl beats boy, boy wants more, but there is only so much to give and when the giver becomes the given you’ve just ingested the gateway drug to a stream of consciousness. Economy of scale factors in, but more isn’t better when you thought it was all about you.

For example, we would all love to have all of Google’s stock. However, after a day of prancing around and bragging about how cool you are, jumping on Oprah’s couch, it would be boring. There wouldn’t be any competition, no one to size up against. You and your stock would be lonely. Its about the journey, not the destination.

Which is why you need to sit down and write. Not the defeat of having zero readers, outside of friends and immediate family, but the experience. Of course if you could write crap like Unwirer then you’d move to London, making frequent trips to Edinburgh, spending your time in pubs, now that you’ve quit your day job, living off the proceeds of stories spanning Toronto to Boston and the little places in between. Western New York wanting to be Southern California. These fragile, temporal words are greater then pop music and Hollywood, greater then neo-folk kitsch, retro porn, or shabby-chic gangsters.

Do you remember your favorite quote? It is, “she said ‘writer’, the dismissive way one might say ‘actor’”. In those crazy days of early twenty something-hood there was a feeling that we could go out and grab the bull by the horns, riding it like Sodom on Gomorrah. An unrepentant, rebellious free-for-all. The rules are written after the fact, we had potential and that was enough. "Ah, but a man's grasp should exceed his reach, Or what's a heaven for?" The march goes on, yet we do not forget.

You walk out Main Street, Big City, USA wearing Sunday Best, Spring Fresh, Summer Green, Fall Tweed, Winter Cozy. Your face is clean, eyes sharp. With straight posture you exhibit the opaque permanence of the previous age, and the undaunted hope of the next. Smile, the day has greated you.

Leaning against a bus shelter, a breeze blows at your open shirt collar. Take a drag of cigarette. "If you keep that up the funeral home really will be planning with YOU in mind."

These are wise words, sir.” You here from behind.

Oh, thank you.”

My name is Mister Mohammad. And yours, Sir?”

You can just call me mister.”

Very good, Mister Mister.” A gentle tug on your cheek gets its way as you reflect on the immigrants faux pas.

You look at Mohammad in his pure white jubaya and Arabic complexion. He speaks English with a distinct accent. Readings from Rousseau's The Universal Rights of Man and Martin Luther King Junior's I have a Dream speech run through your mind. Nice sweet humanistic sentiments, but then there are images from the news for the past “x” number of years. Atrocities perpetrated by the “bad guys.” Atrocities have been committed on both sides, there are Muslims on both sides. But your not on a side, your a shapeless liquid, flowing into the great soup of humanity. Forgo definition, avoid categorization, change before they pin you down. Take the shape of the container, “when in Rome...”

Maslow made a nifty pyramid. Just a gimmick really, we all love gimmicks. After one gets sustenance, scented antiperspirant, and a loft, one desires belonging. Belonging to a group also means there are a whole bunch of people you don't belong with. Division and separation breeds competition and resentment. Belong to your self, smile often.

Newtonian reality comes back into focus. Mohammad is looking at you concerned, you've been staring again.

I like you Mohammad. We'll become fast friends.”

Very fast, Sir.”

Samantha's full laugh poured out of the bar as you opened the door. On the stool next to her were her bags, above on the counter was a bottle of your favorite ale. Introductions were made and Mohammad and you settle in next to her.
The bartender comes by, wiping down facets and counters with the white towel tied to her belt.
"What will ya be having?"
"I don't drink fermented beverages, ma'am." Mohammad very politely clarifies.
The bartender straightens her back her face shows confusion or frustration. You know it could be both, many have dealt with a lack of knowledge with anger. "We have soda pop."
"A cola would be fine, thank you."
Samantha leans in with a conspiratorial whisper, "why did you invite him? He's so uncomfortable."

The bar was a whirl of conversation. Your Samantha is in the midst of a debate with several locales. The topic one that strikes at the basics of the human condition, eating. Samantha is a hands down vegetarian, the only “meat” products she consumers are eggs and milk. This is not her first debate on the issue with this crowd. Previously she was denounced for being untrue because of her acceptance of agribusiness when it only crossed a certain threshold. Now, after a month of vegan dieting, she was ready to return to this subject, and so it seems she did.

And what will we do with the cows that are left? And the other livestock? If no one will buy them there isn't any incentive to feed them. Vegetarianism is cruel!” drooled an inebriated patron.

At this you can't help but envision empty stalls by Lake Okeechobee. Their contents slowly meandering down to the lake on feeble legs, muscles atrophied. There, like refugees of some developing world conflict, or a developed world natural disaster, they congregate, the bovine.

An elder cow stands looking out over the lake by a tree. An almost intelligent glisten in its eye. A quiet thunder in the distance, a death toll. The aftermath of wholesale mainstream adoption of vegetarianism had onto unforeseen consequences. The household slaves of humanity, who having lived on a mostly carnivorous diet, were in revolt. Bordering on the feral with insufficient facilities to handle them, these former pets were directed to the last vestige of industrial animal husbandry.

A horde of dogs and cats lept upon the tired cows, biting and clawing. The sounds of lapping and gurgling filled the manure scented air, misty with nitrates. There was not, however, a cry of pain, but a sigh of relief.

© Michael Mosher 2006

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