Missive the Sixtieth
Breath of Life.
DATELINE: Wednesday, February 28, 2001, at 1400 hours CDT.
Conway, Arkansas, USA
By D. Ebenezer Baldwin Bowles
CornDancer & Company
Do you trust first and let the chips fall where they may, or do you raise a barrier and let the Others chip away?
Are the people you meet good until proven otherwise, or mean as hell from the get-go? Don't tell me you refuse to judge them. Don't tell me you await a sign.
What substance becomes these chips that fall where they may? Symbols of the ante in a game of chance? Personal wealth, placed at the disposal of endeavour and cast into a capitalist sea like a net?
Rake it in, the profit, the scales, the fin. Draw nigh when the fishes swim astern.
Spiked and Flipped
From the Common Heap of the Catch.
The captain's hands were gnarled claws, vise-like pinchers. In one he held a stick of oiled oak, with a sharpened spike embedded in the far end. He smashed the spike into a red snapper, flipped it from the net catcher to the snapper bin. Shad to the bait bin, perch to the perch bin; perch perch snapper shad snapper, one rapid spiked fish after another, flipped from the common heap of the catch, the net's emission, to the right and proper bin.
They netted a profit on the day voyage on the blue sea under a hot sun not far from the harbour; and they snared a young shark, hung it by its tail fin on the hoist at the stern; and a flapping old sting ray they hacked into chunks for bait.
What if you — cower? What if you — hedge the bet? A barrier first, the personal psychic firewall on the field of discourse, in the arena of relationship: Go ahead, build it. I can't stop you. If the other one wants, however, she can breach it with her dogged good will. Honey beads, charms, spells, persuasion, seduction. The trickster will find his way past it. The con will execute the con.
If not mean, then sly, or conniving, or filled with lust and avarice. They have pick and shovel aplenty to chip away at your wall. They want what you know you've got, and they want it bad — your money, your pride, your tabooed pleasures.
The Necessary Nakedness of Motive.
What can you give me now, to ease your guilt, in the quickening Dissolution? Once I craved your libidinous abandon, the surrender; you cannot cast that particular illusion o'er my heavy heart again — nor shall you, nor can you desire to do so. The necessary nakedness of motive is too well known to us.
What price? Without honor, you forfeit the status to hire me for the good work, the only kind I'll do now that I see how swiftly the late afternoon shadows are falling upon me.
Try blackmail. You and your senior acolyte claim a power of the mind reader. Then read. Only there in the last of my secret places, in the dank corners and frayed edges, shall you find the leverage. My secrets cringe in dark recesses of the brazen chill, cringe like criminals on the lam.
It Is Lovely, the Convergence of the S.
A loyal dog on the ship's deck, the Labrador retriever, sees a snapper slip from the captain's spike and fall to the oily planks. She lunges, snares the flipping fish in her stout jaws, snaps her snout hard to the starboard, and sends the stray catch skyward into the snapper bin.
She earns her keep, the steadfast ship's dog; she can swim the sea, bob the foamy waves, to fetch the leading edge of a drifting net and haul it back to the hands of the mate. She'll have fish for supper from the captain's table.
If love is the temple, trust first. Let every chip fall where it may in the foreknowledge of your ascendance. The mysterious Others, whether willing or reluctant, whether by chance or design, share your passage through the Dissolution. You don't need no wall against 'em. The ones who choose to break your trust will forfeit your goodwill and fellowship. That's sting enough, isn't it? What have you lost but trifles and another layer of innocence.
The revelation of someone else's foul intent is liberation, a ticket to freedom from the con, the trick, and the game of the fool. The vacuum created on their way out your door lasts but briefly, as brief as the smoky flicker of a dissipating candle.
I'm lookin' for the summertime, all warm 'n clear, and it's not even spring yet, but I'm lookin' only in the fleeting moment of a weakness. I'll be back to the now and the end of winter soon enough. I hear it rushing in behind the revelation, the rushing wind of another breath of life.
WATCH FOR MISSIVE THE SIXTY-FIRST
on Friday, March 2, 2001.
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