November 1, 2007

Paragon’s People (8 of 11)

Thread: Paragon

‘Oh sweet, you owe me 1400 bucks. Welcome to Pennsylvania Avenue!’ shouted the poet.

The cop’s daughter handed over the cash, casual and cold. The student didn’t think he’d ever seen her smile in or out of that coat, but then again out of all of them, she was the only one who was in real danger. She was still quieter than normal, though, and he knew that was his fault. The cop’s daughter kept eyeing the cross dangling from his girlfriend’s necklace with suspicion.

‘How did you find the group?’ the girlfriend asked the student, sitting cross-legged on the floor beside him.

Before the student could answer, the poet said, ‘I brought him in. The group finds you!’ He sniggered, childish yet disarming. ‘I saw him scribbling nudes one day on his notebook in one of the lectures and I thought my mate here had fallen out of the system.’

Nudes?’ she said, unable to mask her surprise.

This was a moment for her discover some of his new truth. He said, ‘Yes, nudes. This is who I am, don’t you get it? We’ve been way too clinical with each other, holding back our thoughts and feelings, keeping ourselves pretty and pious. When we lost our virginity together I bet you felt the same as I did at the time – with instant regret that we’d spoilt what we were. You ran straight for the shower, right?’

The girlfriend said nothing, her face blushing, eyes drifting away towards the board.

‘But it’s true. People shouldn’t behave like this. We’re meant to be alive and sexual creatures that hunger and lust. We’re all supposed to be having fun and making babies, not wearing camouflage. When did tying instinct become part of the human condition? It’s not what the real God would have wanted. Your religion… the President’s religion… it’s a lie, I tell you. Am I right or am I right, everyone?’

No one said a word. In fact, all of the gang seemed to be more interested in their Monopoly cash and property cards. The girlfriend’s blush spread down her neck.

He moved closer towards his girlfriend, intent on making his point now that it had arrived. ‘Sex is like dirt under the fingernails. That’s why I draw the pictures. It’s to challenge me, to prove that I don’t care about the rules of society. Christ, we didn’t even leave the light on. Fumbling in the dark with bits we can’t see. That’s not sex, that’s play-acting. Did you make noises at all the right times? I think I did.’

His girlfriend was shrunken and motionless, bowed away from him as if in prayer; a few tears dropped from her face and spattered against the board, flooding the Reading Railroad. Then he realised he was an idiot, talking about their private affairs in public. He had sought tears earlier, but not here, the odds were stacked against her – fool. He might not have had inhibitions, but she still had, and one angry, open conversation in a clique of strangers wasn’t going to work. Way to go, asshat.

The thinker broke the silence. ‘Economy being flushed down the drain too,’ he said. ‘Fed Europe’s imports being crippled by that ethical signature shit. China doing it’s best but America is not getting what it needs any more, you know. Being poor is getting really dangerous now and that means more crime… and more crime means harsher punishments….’

The girlfriend, with a wet, red face, broke out of her depressed torpor. ‘You can’t be serious,’ she said, angered. ‘Things are getting better. We’re in the country of Rising Morality. We-’

‘Don’t sound bite me,’ the thinker interrupted.

‘Let me finish. We don’t accept goods obtained through immoral means and we don’t tolerate garbage in politics anymore. Why do you think we all voted for that man and then prayed for him through civil war? Are you telling me none of you voted for him? Turncoats, all of you. Hypocritical savages. Crime is down, people are happier. Business now thinks for its people.’

The student was surprised, heartened perhaps, that she was suddenly punching for her side.

‘Listen, there’s only one type of business that thinks for its people, Goldilocks,’ the thinker said, leaning backwards against a sofa behind him. ‘Government. Business is being controlled so much that it is becoming government. Some companies – think Microsoft – are being nationalised, swallowed whole and absorbed by the Whitehouse. Stop watching “Fucks” News. You might think it’s good for the people, but this is not going to end well while that God-fearing President of ours is in power. Actually, I take that back. I don’t think he fears God at all.’

Everyone snickered – everyone except for the student’s girlfriend.

The student thought again of the bound woman, smiling, comfortable and pleasured within her straps.

He jumped into the fray again, more animated than before, ‘It’s nice being told what to do and what to think – it frees you from the burden of decision. You can never make a mistake, because you never have the opportunity to do so. Your life is as good as it can be, because it is prescribed. You can be very happy like that. But One Flew… we’re not happy with that. We want the freedom to be wrong and make mistakes. We want the freedom to learn. The generation of our Mom and Pop want it put down, like some lame dog, but every dog has his day!’

The thinker interrupted, as if he were concerned the student was stealing his own illustrious thunder, ‘Think about that. To take away our capacity to err, to be cloaked in warm, thick control, to see merely fences around us and wonder, frightened, what might lie beyond. To make us all just toilers of land, with nothing to cry or think about – we become beasts of burden. It is guilt and blasphemous wisdom that sets us apart from the rest of the creatures on this planet. Everyone wants a simple life, rules telling them what to do – it makes us no better than animals.’

Posted by: The Harbour Master @ 2304

2 Responses to “Paragon’s People (8 of 11)”

  1. Jennifer wrote on 5-Nov-2007 @ 1857:

    Oh I don’t know, my cats most definitely have their own rules!



  2. Jennifer wrote on 5-Nov-2007 @ 1857:

    Oh I don’t know, my cats most definitely have their own rules!



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