Silence

The katydid and tree frog chirping out a lullaby

In the shade of the great oaks

The summer sun now just breaking above the distant hills

Filling the air with warmth

A soft breeze moves the green leaves and tall grasses

The passing cooler air drifting down through the hollow

Carrying with it the smell of flowers from beyond sight

Lulling tired old men into a quiet reflection

Silent as a shadow

Breathing in the peace of the world

Wednesday of the fifth month, the one hundredth forty-second day, year two thousand nineteen a.d. of the Book of Pat

The traveller gazed up at the midday sky. Overhead two blazing suns burned down to earth. This was the first time he had ever seen such an event in his lengthy lifetime. For the traveller to acknowledge that fact was a scary thing. He had thought he’d seen it all. Now here he was stranded in a reality of time that quite honestly looked to be the end for his career and the rest of creation.

The only intelligent voice in his head was uttering the word fuck, fuck, fuck. At the moment all the other voices seemed in agreement.

Fuck.

After an eternity of quietly contemplating the situation one of the voices pointed out that as the earth rotated only the larger of the two orbs seemed to move in the arc. The other seemed to become more of an oddly formed orb which reflected more than it seemed to be burning. A few other voices began to chime in with agreement, and after a lengthy discussion it was agreed that fact was true.

“So we’re good then?”asked the traveller.

“No.”said the leading authoritative voice. “It’s probably a massive meteoroid. Even the fact that there still isn’t a visible smoke trail may mean it’s further above the stratosphere than it looks. We are screwed.”

The sound of sneakers running away on smooth concrete and then the loud slamming of a metal door was what Pat heard first.

It was a familiar but funny sound to hear over the speaker system. It reminded him of his high school days and the loud racket one could hear over the public announcement system will the principal was going over the days events. Those were the glory years for sure.

On this occasion though, Pat was a good twenty years older, and working in a tower miles away from the originator of the sound. As a joke Pat was buzzed up on the speaker. A familiar voice on the other end began a rant that unless privy to the joke itself would sound very offensive to the receiving party. The joke would have been hilarious to Pat, but as fate often intervenes it was not Pat that first answered the call… It was Pat’s boss

After a three sentence rant of blasphemy and expletives Pat’s boss began shouting expletives back and yelling “Who is this!” back over the speaker.

The only reply was “If you don’t know mother-fucker”, and the sounds of tennis shoes running on concrete right before the slamming of a door.

Pat tried not to laugh. He knew that the anger would soon enough be turned towards him.

“Do you know who that asshole was?” the boss asked.

With the straightest face Pat could muster, “No sir. I’ve never heard that voice before.”

Alice slowly slide through the small sized opening. At first what she thought to be only a thin gap she had discovered to be a hinged door. With a little coaxing the portal could easily be made to open out wider.

Alice thought how odd to have a door hidden inside a tree. Even odder was the fact she knew it couldn’t have been there before. The door opened into an immense room with vaulted ceilings that the tree she had sheltered in could not have held.

Cautiously Alice looked out into the room. Fully aware of the funny old man that even at this moment was busy wolfing down strawberry treats and having some sort of discussion with the thin air about him. Perhaps if she kept in the shadows and used the massive stacks of books between the two of them as cover the old man wouldn’t realize she was in the room. By the way the food was being consumed Alice knew speed was going to be of the utter most importance.

The doorman was partially surprised. It wasn’t a frequent thing to see the sage away from his writing. It was even less frequent that the sage would share a tasty strawberry glazed donut. Later the gatekeeper would blame those events and the sudden sugar rush as the reason he was surprised for a third time.

Even as Alice stretched out into the room she realized something wasn’t right. Where shelves of books and piles of scrolls should have been there was suddenly nothing.

Nothing was actually not quite right. There was a brilliant white, a worn mat, and a strangely uniformed man eating a pink colored pastry that at the moment was shedding rainbow colored sprinkles about the area.

Both Alice and the doorman stared blankly at each other. Neither seemed to know exactly what to do at that moment.

Alice was the first to take action. In a dead run Alice leaped past the uniformed man and on into the doorway behind him.

As quickly as she had come the trespasser disappeared into the next. In all his lifetime the gatekeeper never had this happen to him. He was pretty positive the Author would already know. What that meant wouldn’t become clear for a great while.

“Oh well”, he thought.

The gatekeeper scarffed down the last of his donut. There was going to be a long wait until the next one…

A Post from the Book of Pat May 20, 2017

I’ve been here before.
It was a different yard, but the same railroad.
I watched as those that have took from those that have not.
Listened to the words as they stated their reasons.
All good reasons for those who want more, but not at all meant to be reassuring to those who just want things to stay the same.

Like I said, I’ve been here before…

Helpless is a feeling I don’t like.
I’m the coyote that chews off his own leg rather than to passively sit in the trap.

One day I hope to remind them the sacrifice those loyal, hard working, trustworthy employees made so that the profit takers of this world could sleep well at night.

For now though, I can only bleed.

The Ringing Bells

Pat sat distracted. He often drifted off and got caught up in a daydream or remembrance of a conversation that happened hours to months ago. When that happened his face would fix into something near in description to an angry solemn look. Perhaps a person could confuse it for a resting bitch face but it was actually less intense than that look. People often left him alone because of that.

Either way, Pat was content with the solitude.

Today Pat found himself listening to the various chiming and ringing in his ears. Somewhere between a constant ring of a school bell to the vibration on the C string struck while depressing the pedal to make it more of a sharp. Today both ears were at war with the other.

It always amazed him how he could still pass a hearing test being so fucked up.

She had taken shelter from the raging storm inside one of the many large oaks in the wildering woods. The softer wood of the core having rotted away generations ago leaving space inside for perhaps six or more stout individuals and a pony. It only lacked a decent floor and a chimney to become liveable she thought.

“She!” a loud voice spoke out in the darkness of the tree hollow. “Our name is Alice, and not she! I’ve but one body, one life, and one voice.”

Surprisingly nothing replied back. It was the first time that there was not even an echo of sound from inside her brain or from outside in the world. Startled by the silence Alice sat quietly waiting for some invisible shoe to drop or a prophetic vision to sweep her mind clear.

Nothing happened. Perhaps all that was needed was a good night’s sleep. After a bit more listen to the dark Alice felt sure that the nights rest had cured her of whatever it was. Alice knew that the journey back home was going to be a difficult one. There were chores left undone, explanations to be made, and even the chance of some sort of witchhunt if no one accepted a less than honest account of sleepwalking or a lie about simply getting lost looking to empty the chamber pot. It was something she did not look forward to.

The soft sweet smell of strawberry slowly drifted in from outside her little den. Alice’s hungry stomach churned in it’s own juices as saliva began to form on a once dry tongue. Whatever it took, Alice knew in the end she was going to have some. With slow determination she edged her way across the tree to the opening the smell came trickling from. The brightness of the outside was near blinding but Alice could make out oddly uniform shapes lining what looked to be shelving. A vast room of books with a strange old man hobbling about what appeared to be a writing desk. He seemed extremely excited and fully energetic for being such an old individual. In his hands he held what appeared to be some baked goods frosted with a pinkish glaze, and dripping what looked like sprinkles and jam. Both the man’s beard, hands, and floor were covered in spots where he had been less than agile in devouring the food. The whole scene only deepened Alice’s hunger.

And that’s when it happened…

Slowly the outside noises of the world would intrude: the chirping of the birds, the repeated shouting of his name, the constant ringing of a cellphone, or the soul shattering alarm Pat set to remind him of important things to be done.

Today it was the single ring of a door bell. They were more like chimes but the hollow ding was close enough to the required tone to pass as a bell. Pat slowly walked around the house. He had found himself outside in the garden when his mind cleared. The garden was small, but pleasing to look at and enjoy.

At the front porch Pat found no one waiting. A package left by some errant delivery service sat snug against the door.

The name on the mailing sticker was addressed from Alice. Pat smiled at the name. Like so many things he had seen and learned in life, that name always rang a bell and a pleasant memory.

The old librarian paced excitedly about his writing desk. The days were few and far between that such a reward was ever granted. He had been given permission to buy some donuts. Not just any donuts though! Krispy Kreme donuts, strawberry glazed with sprinkles, and stuffed with jam if he wished. Though he had to use his own money, do all the leg work, and make up anytime he missed from doing his writing, the sage felt it called for celebrating. He was so jolly that he was positive in the fact he had forgotten something. Perhaps it was the change from the twenty, or the lactate free whole milk he loved to drink now that he was “old”. What the hell, he’d figure it out later.

Idle Times

Had it been seconds or a lifetime of ages since the last time a visitor had past. The doorman was starting to wear thin like the door mat he had been gifted by an old travelling salesman.

At first he saw the humor in the gift as a poke at his own purpose in being. Often the thought had been contemplated that his only purpose was to keep the mud and dirt from getting through the door. Even though the wording and color was beginning to wear away, the doorman still felt “Welcome” in the stylized flourish of flowery writing. After all it never rained or snowed here in his land of make believe.

After all, in all the land of entrance and exit, only he had a comfortable mat to stand upon. Without a doubt a true gift to someone bound to stand until forever ends or begins. Whichever came first no longer mattered to him.

On some occasions the doorman would move his mat down the white halls of light. In picking a new place he had hopes of changing the view for a time. Nothing ventured, nothing gained was the latest saying he had heard. It made perfect sense to him. Of course the only change was in the mind of the doorman. A cityscape of blinding white never dimmed or changed in contrast. In truth the only purpose in seeing at all was his purpose as watchdog. Never open, never close, never allow another beyond the threshold. Absolute and uncompromised in that one task this whole time… Orders he never did really understand. Why have a door then?

The rules never applied to the Author, or Dreamer, nor even to himself should he venture beyond. Somehow they were the same as he or she depending on your train of thought.

Another was someone like the man in the grey suit, but not like the traveller. As hard as it was to tell the two apart only the traveller could gain entrance while the grey suit would just fade away into the darkness beyond the portal.

The thought of the grey suit saddened the usually cheerful doorman. “Could you imagine being aware and completely capable of communication with another sphere of being? Only unable to bridge that short distance of understanding to join. It could drive a being to do horrible things, all the while thinking you had a purpose in stopping something.”

The doorman stared out into the white patiently waiting for an answer. After what seemed an infinity to him he heard a reply.

Some days it felt that it was a wasted effort to take the time to go to work.

And with that the doorman moved his mat once again.

Wearing the Grey

For as long as he could remember, the man knew he was different. Not a visible defect or an observable point of perfection or beauty. Even his test scores blended in seamlessly with the upper portion of the bell curve. Not in the middle, mind you. He was always just above average but off a mark for honor roll.

The boy he was and the man housing still those childish ideas still could blend into the population. He could excel in any field if he chose to. That’s where the special and different was. The boy and man never needed to. Never had to bother with choice. The path he walked was already lined up. Lined up not in a material or financial way. Neither was it a hereditary or surname position in life that granted such a privilege. And it was definitely not a thing of chance or luck. Through out life that theory had been tested. No, luck and being blessed by the Blarney Stone never entered the equation.

As long as the man did what presented itself and tried his best, life was good. The Golden Rule of do unto others being the biggest lesson he ever learned. Many of those times and lessons administered across the palm with the ruler.

I would like to point out that the ruler used was not golden and being the other never was given the chance to do unto the other. Lesson learned, those who control the gold control the wood. Since the boy nor the man were destined to have control or the gold it was best to tend to the business at hand, never draw attention to yourself. Good or bad, attention was only trouble in the end…

The sage blinked away the cobwebs of his Irish coffee. With a quick read of the words before him he was once again up to speed.

The Man in The Grey Suit was a fitting title for him. More fitting than calling him John Smith, or Joe Bloughe, and even thinking Steve or Martin was just humor gone bad. So The Grey or The Man was a good enough fit.

The background of growing up was new to the sage. Very rarely was information like that provided by the Author. The Author usually leaving off the less important details on first read, leaving those details for the magic and dreams which filled each page, newspaper, magazine, and book.

The sage was fully aware of the fact it was his hand that did the work. The staining of his hands provided plenty of evidence of those marathon journalism events. The thing was he was never fully there when it occurred. By the size of the library and piles of written material that gift of trance was definitely a blessing. If one cared to gather more evidence to prove or disprove who truly was doing the work, the comparison of hand writing and style changed about so much that one would think a legion of writers were at the task.

A Legion was not far off the mark either.

The Start of Day

There are days when you know it would be better to stay in bed, roll over, and spend the next twenty-four hours pretending to be dead to the world.

Today was one of those. If not for the need to urinate every few hours the sage would have liked very much to have stayed in bed and taken the day off.

The early morning hours were spent preparing for what always turned into a marathon day of writing, blogging, scribbling, note taking, and the occasional tweet hashtag used to prompt later memories back into the forefront of consciousness.

This new age of simplicity seemed so troublesome and bulky to the sage. ” It was a new age of multitasking than one of intellectual freedom or growth,” said the sage out loud.

“So says you”, croaked out a small voice.

Half ignoring the interruption the sage continued on with the mornings chore of gathering and sharpening his pencils, cleaning and reshaping the quill, topping off the ink well, replacing the blotter or reusing some older one, and the restacking of parchment and tablets into a more tidied pile.

To the old man these forms of creation had a more artistic beauty to them. A flow of skill in the shaping and shape of each word and line. Such a wonderful talent as any sculpture or painting could ever be. The sage didn’t quite put the same skill or label of craftsmanship to this age of spell check and font choices.

“Only an illusion”, said the small croaking voice, and as quietly as it came was gone.

“Good riddance”, shouted the sage. Hoping the loudness of his voice would follow the unwelcome visitor back to where it had originated, he new better. “Illusion and allusions, mixed metaphors without pretext, trouble me no more.”

And with that the sage lit his stove, heated up the water, and began to prepared his morning pot of coffee.

“Today I think there will be a touch of Irish to it”

And another day began.