Missive the Forty-Ninth
Not Me, No! I'm Not
Holding the Broom.
DATELINE: Friday, January 12, 2001, at 2300 hours CDT.
Conway, Arkansas, USA
By D. Ebenezer Baldwin Bowles
CornDancer & Company
I'm lookin' for a master switch. If you find one, let me know by E-mail or Federal Express. I'll make an offer.
When the tip of my tongue runs short of ideas, or when the ideas that glisten there appear too demanding to develop quickly, in the flash of a night, I open my idea book and go from there.
The Counter Earth on the far side of the Sun? No.
Life at Cricket Song is downright outrageous lately, but I know it'll settle down now that a season's worth of journeys have been made in a week's time, now that we've just about recovered from the ice storms, now that the strangest of holidays is behind us.
Want Any Nuggets and Buried Treasures?
I've dug a deep, wending mine to the deeper regions of Psyche during my recent time of bicameral crisis. I've found some nuggets, seams, and buried treasures. I'm eager to send some of 'em your way.
A living wage for janitors employed by Ivy League universities and Silicon Valley dotcoms? No.
I mean, how far can one mother go on eight dollars and four cents an hour? Far enough here in the Congo of the Bozarth, perhaps, but in San Jose? In Boston? Do you think the minimum wage equals a living wage? Why'd she have those kids anyway?
The natural gas bill that arrived at Cricket Song on Monday is ridiculous. It's also a pay or freeze proposition.
The "Total Current Gas Charges" equal $329.13 for the 36-day "Billing Period" from November 28 to January 3. To pay the pirates at Reliant Energy for 329 cubic feet of gas would cost an eight-dollar-an-hour janitor about 41 hours of gross labor. To write the check, she'd have to work at least 50!
Can They Convert Her Poverty into an Illusion?
It's always too cold for a poor woman. The poverty of her materialism is a canker raised, so ugly, from the inner desolation of the moneyed class. Don't blame the poor immigrant. Why not convert her poverty into an illusion? The fear is real enough.
"Your poverty, O mopper of floors, is a sham created from the indwelling of loss," Oksob de Opposite says by way of idle commentary. He's sitting in his loft, speaking directly at me. "You lean on your broom and dwell on things you failed to attain in the yester, things you refuse to allot for the morrow. Go into the night, onto the moor, and drink, sparingly, from the Well of Antidote. Wash away the jagged edges of your frowning and clenching. Only an indolent Will bars the Spirit from drawing nigh to accomplish its mission of mercy."
Seldom do I fully understand the Guardian and his unexpected pronouncements. How did he ever get it in his Mind that I was holding the broom? Does he want me to invite the Spirit to fly to the moor and become the intervener?
The temperature outside descends toward the lower thirties, Fahrenheit. Here in the study I hear the furnace roar into motion. Now and then a rafter pops. Elsewhere, in the vaults and the ledgers, minute-by-minute, the interest accumulates; some cents for me, many dollars for them.
Crumple the Infernal Lists, the Rosters of Tasks.
In the wake of an accomplishment, the roster of undone tasks seeks to assume a dominant position, but who's keeping track? Not I! Do you make those infernal lists? Join me in a crumpling fest.
I notice, however, that a new watch was raised on the borderline while we were speaking. Guards spring into position north, south, east, west. These are the recognized directions. I am sure of it.
Be aware of the potential for disasters, the Captain of the Guard tells them — this despite the presence of his truth, his one and certain truth that warm air is delivered, on demand, according to efficiency specifications.
In the watchtower, the stomach muscles of a diligent guard draw so tightly they threaten to knot and snap. Imagined flames leap from his speculative fires. He's sure the roof will crash inward and land in splinters atop of him. I know it won't. I built the roof.
"But what?" you mutter. What can I say in my defense? Face it: This is what happens when one comes to the page without an agenda. Too much is lost on the road 'tween here and the pyramids, here and the mountain range. A day's work is done. It ends with a diversion rendered. There. Nitey night.
WATCH FOR MISSIVE THE FIFTIETH
on Tuesday, January 16, 2000.
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