At 6 a.m. on a Saturday morning at the end of April he was still asleep. He got up and went to the bathroom. “Three old ladies”, he said to himself, trying to ward off premature micturition. The charm only worked sporadically. The light was breaking as he walked back into the bedroom from his bathroom. There was a pinkish-orange blush in the East, but in the West the sky was darker in successively deeper shades of grey. He thought about going back to sleep, but the dream came back to him and he sat down at the keyboard with a cold cup of coffee and started to type.
He was approaching his seventieth birthday. It which would fall in two days right after the weekend. He had nothing planned that day except a visit to the dentist. The girls in the dentist’s office thought he should not book an appointment on his birthday, but he took the opposite view. This was the same as yesterday, when he decided to sell five thousand dollars worth of bank stock. It had lost more than six per cent of its book value in the space of a week. Some story about working conditions and forced sales. He had spent six months delaying his purchase but now he decided he could do without the uncertainty. It was more important to hang on to his hard-earned cash. The five thousand dollars had come from a tax return two years ago. He would have liked to have kept more tax returns.
Sleeping was very important to him, these days a lot more so than sex. The older he got sex seemed to require more stimulation and gave much less interesting results. But dreaming had become a circular thing. Years ago he would have experienced a dream as a serial flow of different events. Now his mind just seemed to want to play variations of the same theme over and over again. Last night it was The Recombinator. Like a travel-stained survivor of life a century before in the deep South West, The Recombinator lived a harsh life expressing different aspects of his ethos, his philosophy, and his way of life, mostly with his revolver. His justice was brutal and simple. It involved his very survival more than it had anything at all to do with the law. This seemed to be mostly a pretext. He thought of his hero as a savage, but really he was just a product of his lifestyle. He recycled lives the way these days you recycled soft drink cans. You crushed them and collected nothing at all on exit.
What a world! A young refugee was drowned and his body washed up on a beach. Once alive it became suddenly lifeless and inert. Picked up by a patrolman it became the centrepiece of a new pieta. Once photographed in a fleeting news cycle it became the object of universal pity. A week later it was mostly forgotten. Whole boatloads of adult refugees perished daily. Even a pieta was something he knew of only from pictures. He had witnessed such a scene once high up on the dark wall of a Catholic church, but it seemed somehow contrived and foreign. Not real, and not in my world, he felt. But it left an indefinable kind of a taste in his mouth. Like of salt water, the non-taste of sand, and fluids leaking from the guts of the corpse. Heavily diluted, but still there.
He had a mind that was stuck on History and he could not shake some of the ideas he had collected through his life. Having lived a life in unbroken peace in the West, he had little to compare with Events In The Real World. He had never seen a dead body, unless it was fleetingly from the window of a bus passing down Lillie Road about 1973. He saw the image of a man’s face, turned to the left and pressed to the road. He saw the man’s two arms thrown ahead. Had he seen a trace of blood under the head? The bus passed, and the conductor made a comment of finality. “He’s laid out, then.” Or were they the words of a train driver when they had had to stop after hitting a body on the way down to St.Pancras. Even when his mother had died, he did not go to see her body. She had paid for it, but he had been too tired to go to the viewing he had arranged.
Money in everything.
The lie of Capitalism.
The Evil that is in the World.
As Jesus saved the World, why might he not invent a new solution.