What Sticks In My Mind

I remember things she said throughout my life. When we first met, it was at school. She was new, but not at all shy. The teacher asked her to say a few words about herself, so she got up from her desk, walked all the way to the front of the classroom and said, “Hi, do you guys like cats?”

When we first made love it was years later, at a house party when Dave’s parents were away. We snuck out into the gazebo to make out. It was so beautiful, with tiny lights like a Christmas tree, and the thrill of being discovered was so exciting. Things got hot and in the middle of it she said “No, not like this.”

When she had the baby, the labor was rough. She looked like a nightmare, like the walking dead. They gave her the waning little thing to hold in her arms. She looked at me, then looked at Dave, then looked at nobody in particular and said, “I am so tired.”

Long after we were married we felt we were falling out of love, but we had a romantic night up on the roof one hot summer. The stars were tiny little lights much like those lights on the gazebo. She put her head on my chest and said, “Even if we are apart, we will stare at the same stars at night. That is the only kind of love a person needs.”

After we divorced, I saw her at a cafe. I walked up and started a conversation. She was pleasant enough, the type of kindness you show to strangers. As we were saying goodbye, she touched my arm and said, “You look well.”

When I was dying, she said “Don’t forget to feed the cat.” Except she was not really there, so how is that possible?

Class Three Civilization

On Kardashev’s scale, a class-three civilization is one that can control its entire galaxy. To humans, meeting creatures from a civilization like that would be like meeting gods.

My experience with highly advanced creatures was that they rudely interrupted my lunch with their God-awful noise. I could only suspect what they were doing, as my brain is not capable of the level of reasoning necessary to comprehend. Nonetheless, I suspected it was not good. Nothing in my life up to that point had prepared me for what was about to happen. My whole world was about to be destroyed and transformed into resources they needed.

I panicked and ran around my house frantically, I jumped to my family trying to make them safe somehow, but how could I do that?

The air was suddenly filled with an unnatural smell. The sun was obscured by clouds of smoke. Everything began to tremble. Then a loud crack like I had never heard before and the noise subsided. Piece only lasted a fraction of a second before I was flung to the side. Gravity had shifted, sending me adrift. My family looked at me, their eyes filled with fear. I could not help them.

My descent into the unknown continued and I was flung out of my world and onto an alien green expanse. A green surface was nearing fast, too fast for safety. Smack!

Somehow, I survived the fall. Were they trying to save me? I doubted that, as the green expanse seemed lifeless, devoid of anything I could use to find shelter or to nurture myself. I would be dead soon.

But what did I know? I was just a squirrel and those damn humans cut down my tree. I am not a spiteful squirrel, but I hope a class-three civilization comes and does to them what they did to me.

[Inspiration from Kurz Gesagt]

Last Man on Earth

So there I was, last man on Earth. I do not need to tell you what had happened to all the others. Suffice it so say, they were no longer there, so I was free to do whatever I wanted. Finally.

I spent a year drinking alcohol and eating. I would have used drugs but I could not find them. Or when I could find them, if I could get to them, for example in police evidence lock up. My drug problem existed probably because most of the time my mind was in a state that made problem solving… problematic. So I settled for good old alcohol and food which were both available in mass quantities.

Ingesting mass quantities made my body lose its youthful charm. However, I found myself unmoved by that, as there was no society to hold me up to standards. So I debauched, bauched, and then debauched some more, until the nihilism of it all became too boring to bear.

My next phase was meditation, exercise, reading, prayer, and self-discovery. That was an uneventful period, as I was unable to reach any kind of enlightenment or communicate with any higher power.

My last, third phase, was acceptance. (Suck on that, seven phases of grief, or whatever you call it.) I found myself a nice place by the sea to live out the rest of my days. One day when strolling in the sun, I saw a piece of wood in the sand and I quipped:

“Looks like some morning wood.”

Then I looked around and said: “My biggest regret is that there is nobody to hear my funny jokes.”

No More Fun In Fundamentalism

When I was growing up, there was a playwright in town. He was quite popular, and his plays went on tour around the country, bringing joy and tears to many. I admired him, and he was one of the reasons I started writing myself.

One time, he wrote a play about a woman making her way in the world. She was a strong, independent character and showed the men she could do it without them. There were no religious motifs, no transcendent talk, not even one mention of the odd saint or miracle. It was all very matter-of-fact, but still some religious people managed to take offence. They demanded the play be banned because it showed a skewed image of reality spoiling the minds of the youth, and it spoke against the basic tenets of Islam and possibly even Christianity.

The protests were heated and took the form of many blockades and marches. One of those marches reached a theater and the playwright was inside as it happened. He stepped outside in what the press later described as an attempt at suicide by crowd. It was a failed attempt, as the religious people stripped him naked and shouted curses at him, calling him a blasphemer, a heretic, an infidel, and predicting he would burn in Hell forever. They refused to tear him to pieces or burn him, like their ancestors would.

It was a Thursday.

The following Thursday, the crowd assembled outside the playwright’s house and demanded he abandon the play. He refused and attempted another suicide, possibly hoping for martyrdom. Needless to say, they did not execute him.

They skipped the Thursday after that, but then came back the next Thursday and it became a tradition. Overtime, the playwright went from dreams of martyrdom, through depression and the desire to end it all, to resignation and finally steadfast force of habit.

When I visited my home town last week, they were calling it the “Religious Freedom Thursday Extravaganza and Barbecue” and I could not imagine a more edifying use for an old man.

Ella

Ella got my attention pretty quickly after I met her and she kept it for quite a while. It was not because she was physically attractive. She was, in a very obvious and non-obvious kind of way. At first glance, she was a beautiful woman. Very proportionally built, with nice hair and a classy wardrobe. She also had a face full of character, and beautiful blue eyes. As I got a chance to look at her more, I discovered she was at the same time weirdly disproportional and out of balance (still talking about looks), like an android designed by aliens to trick people into copulating with it. All the ingredients were there and in the right proportions, but somehow they were put together in the wrong order.

It was just that. Not that they were our of sync with one another or something. You just had a feeling they were put together in the wrong God damned order.

I am a pig, talking about Ella’s body so much, as if she were nothing more than a sex object. I cannot help that, I have been diagnosed with sex addiction and that is a serious condition. Am I telling the truth? Who knows.

Anyway, the thing that got my attention was not Ella’s looks. It was the way she acted. And I am using the word “acted” deliberately, because she seemed like a bad actress in an amateur porn video. She stumbled through her lines (and everything she said seemed like a rehearsed line), she bore a resemblance to someone pretending to be a person, and she often glanced at weird angles, as if looking at the camera briefly and then turning away. Sometimes, if you were walking past her and she was doing something unrelated to you, your eye would linger and then she would glance at you briefly, as if you were the camera.

“How are you, Ella,” I said to her once.

“Fine,” she said, glancing briefly at an odd angle, “Why are you dressed like a plumber? And why is there a mattress on the floor?”

Oh, Ella. She was so crazy.