October 23, 2007

Paragon’s People (7 of 11)

Thread: Paragon

The door opened an inch and the poet’s eyes peered around the side. ‘Oh, it’s you,’ he said. ‘Cool. This the lady? The more the merrier.’ The student noted the sarcasm; none of the group were particularly happy with him bending the recruitment rules. But all rules are the undoing of man, the student thought, and a rule is a rule is a rule.

The poet opened the door and let the student and his girlfriend into the thinker’s flat. Inside were the rest the group, huddled on the floor around a game of Monopoly – the musician, the cop’s daughter, the athlete and the thinker himself.

He stood up, moving awkwardly beneath his tired and torn beige leather jacket that was far too big for him, and moved to shake hands with the student’s girlfriend. ‘Hello, hello. Welcome to our group of like-minded young Americans.’ The poet coughed. ‘Well, mostly Americans, we’ve been infected with Europeans too. We call ourselves One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.’

Each one introduced themselves to her. The thinker said he did nothing for a living, which was how he liked it, jilting the system that was happy to smother him in its bosom. The student still hadn’t the faintest idea how the thinker subsisted.

It was then the musician’s turn. She parked a short denim skirt at the top of her polished and waxed legs, and wore a childish yet playful top with a picture of a smiling rainbow. She explained that she played the piano although her parents wanted her to be a geneticist, so decided to run away from home and play music in the street, in bars, anywhere people would listen to her. Animated and lively, the student loved her positivity.

The cop’s daughter was the musician’s antithesis. Wearing a long, crumpled, grey trench coat, hiding every inch of flesh, her sentences were stiff with tension and flecked with hints of a larger story. She introduced herself as the daughter of a cop and then, after spotting the cross around the student’s girlfriend’s neck, her words stopped dead.

The athlete took up the slack and said he was a lecturer in the meteorology department at the university, and while he looked like a lecturer in his conservative suit and tie, he was hoping to quit soon as he enjoyed running and hurdling much more, especially since all the new regulations and came in trying to turn universities into an ‘extension of church’.

‘The rules,’ the thinker said, ‘are what we’re all about. I formed this group and we continue to get new members all the time. Like your schizoid boyfriend here.’ The student was a little taken aback. ‘Oh come on, don’t give me that, you freak. We don’t know if you’re coming or going. There’s something up with your head, alright.’

‘Hey,’ said the student, ‘I have a lot on my mind. I have to consider whether I’m going to give up on my education.’

‘Oi, stupido,’ shouted the poet from behind them, still acting the doorman. ‘Give up and do what? I’m not quitting my course. Don’t make a grand show of things just for the sake of it. Bloody purpose, that’s what you’re missing, dingbat. The others here have chosen their paths.’

The student’s girlfriend interrupted, pulling at the student’s arm, ‘What do you mean give up on your education? You wouldn’t get finish your degree? Do you know how stupid that is?’

‘Whoa, whoa!’ the student shouted, under siege. ‘I’ve hardly been to any lectures recently. I’ve nearly missed a few of the three tens-’

‘Oooh, big man,’ said the poet, moving past him to sit down at the Monopoly board. ‘I’ve slept through morningten for two months.’

The thinker put his hands out towards both the poet and the student. ‘Now hang on, guys, our lecturer here will back me up on this one. It may seem like happy-go-fuck-lucky days now, but you’re all being observed. Your behaviour is important. That’s why we meet in my flat rather than out in the open.’

‘I think that’s a little paranoid,’ the girlfriend said. The student noticed her eyes glance up with unconcealed disgust at the giant poster on the far wall which he hadn’t seen before. It was a pornographic image in which a sultry model was stretching out her labia, forcing the viewer to look right down her hole, a deep red abyss that was nightmarish rather than sexual. Probably a European import that had been smuggled through the trade restrictions. The model’s name, printed across the bottom in cursive type, was ‘Lady Liberty’.

‘It’s true,’ the athlete said, starting down at the board with disdain. ‘You’re all being monitored. Homeland Security is all over our shit these days. The tens are more than just praise for Mr. MIA up above. They’re using it to isolate aberrations, non-conformance. There are worse rumours coming down the pipe than that, though.’

The student was alarmed, not thinking that more than his peers might be scrutinising his activities or lack of, and the silence that came over the room emphasised the seriousness of what the athlete had just said. Why hadn’t he said something like that before? Maybe he had and the student just hadn’t listened. Your schizoid boyfriend. Pull your head out of your ass!

His girlfriend ended the silence, gesturing towards the board. ‘Are we playing a game here or what?’

Posted by: The Harbour Master @ 2013

2 Responses to “Paragon’s People (7 of 11)”

  1. Jennifer wrote on 24-Oct-2007 @ 1258:

    Lady Liberty!!

    tut tut! 🙂


  2. Jennifer wrote on 24-Oct-2007 @ 1258:

    Lady Liberty!!

    tut tut! 🙂


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