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Posted by: Captain Forehead
karma: 70 [+/-]
Denial of human nature cannot be promulgated by anyone other than the most desperately failed. Human nature is, and shall not be denied. Inasmuch as so many wish to believe otherwise, we are machines of deceit; we are liars, and the for the most part are lying only to ourselves. So be it, that is who we are.

In this universe of roasted beanness, there is ample opportunity to see people as they are and as they wish themselves to appear. Sitting in a comfortable chair reading and drinking a protein, non-coffee health drink that tasted like banana flavored chalk, I watched truth rear its perfectly ugly head.

A couple old enough to want less drama in their lives came in for their usual. A few times a week they came in for some coffee and pastries and the wife would flirt with the female interested men behind the counter. The husband, a hulking, gentle man, kept his head down and ignored her call for attention. Today, the routine was disturbed, thanks to Fred.

An area manager who liked working behind the counter, Fred was a greasy fat man with a big mouth who could get away with speaking to customers like no other because of his senior rank. Simply put: he was wanted as much as used toilet paper in a third world country. Fred knew little about the couple and saw the wife's flirt as a sincere invitation, an opportunity he was too fugly to forgo.

By the time the two were done ordering, Gentleman was about 6 feet from his wife, waiting to pay. Fred had already insulted his intelligence, his appearance and his manhood. The young men behind the counter with their boss laughed, uncomfortably, but it was clear Gentleman saw a gang of rude sports challenging him, eyeing his wife, his prize. He was using all of his self-restraint to not react, especially when his wife began to laugh, fueled by their desirous energy.

“How much?”

“Are you going to let us get away with this?” Fred taunted.

“How much?”

“Maybe you leave me that beautiful woman. We call it even.”

What!?”

“She deserves some men that aren't, you know...” Fred answered, making a “V” shape with his fingers and holding it over his crotch.

Gentleman prepared to snap. He knew it. His wife knew it. I knew it. Fred was clueless, emboldened by the mentality of mob rule protection.

Laughing hard, Fred and his men went and sat on a well padded bench in the corner. A man in a suit went up to her and whispered in the woman's ear. She laughed as her husband began to glow, his blood boiling.

“Come. Come sit with us,” Fred invited the wife, patting a 3” wide space between him and another worker.

The wife looked at her husband, gave an immature, little girl giggle and went and sat in the small space. She could not fit, so she slipped her body behind the two men who gave one another a high-five hand slap.

“Well, I guess she wants to be with us...unless you want to do something about that?”

Gentleman was ready to kill, rightfully so, but he did not need to ruin his life over her, even if they were man and wife (the worst will come when you promise yourself for “better or worse”).

Standing and moving quickly to head him off as he made a beeline toward Fred and the rude crew, I put my hand on his massive shoulder and said, “Excuse me, but...”

He turned, looking me in the eyes, prepared to engage in battle for the indiscretion of my ill timed touch of temerity. Before I could explain, the strange man in the suit came close to interrupt.

“Go, be a man. She wants you to claim her, to fight for her. Go, be a man.”

“Shouldn't you be wearing a bowler?” I asked the suit.

Gentleman now had too many targets and was too enraged to speak — a scrawny, effeminate man in a suit just told him to be a man.

“He's right. She wants you to fight, to claim her. She wants you to fight a group of men. She wants you to risk yourself not for justice, not for righteousness, not for good, but for her pleasurable, for the reassurance of her venal vanity. Are you prepared to lose it all for someone who cares so little about you?”

I felt his shoulders drop, relaxing. The rage was dissipating. He knew the words being offered were sincere, truthful. “No,” he answered in a heavy sigh of relief.

She laughed. Fred and the rude crew laughed. Their laughs were forced, not comfortable.

“You could kill them all, beat them to pulps, and tomorrow you will have been flagged by the government toadies for storage in a concrete building. Is that what she wants? You could fight them and slip, or one of them could get in a lucky punch and hurt you. Is that what she wants? You can't win.”

“I know.”

Gentleman had an epiphany. The rage was leaving, as was her ability to ruin him. When she saw him recognize the truth of who she was, a look of panic paled her smile. He noticed, looked me in the eyes and nodded an appreciation.

As he passed the suited man missing a bowler, he paused to glare at him dangerously, promising to remember. The last thing he did before exiting the bean squeeze was turn to look at his wife and whisper, “Whore,” ashamedly.

She was broken, but giggled in the hope her new friends would only notice her fun flirtiness and continue their pandering pursuit.

I wanted to follow the man out and help him excuse his pain, but he seemed like a capable man. I returned to my seat and watched the absurdity of life crashing in a coffee shop while I threw calories of sustenance into my wanting mouth of masticating madness.

I finished my shift without any real interaction with Fred or the members of the rude crew, but eventually Fred and I were the only ones left, and my mouth had nothing to chew.

“When do you think it's going to happen?”

“What?”

“The hussy's husband. He's gonna thrash you.”

“That fuckin' pussy? He's about as scary as you. He ain't gonna do shit.”

“Yeah, I'm pretty sure you're going to pay for that.”

“Fuck you! He's not gonna do shit. Guys like that never do.”

“If I hadn't stopped him, you'd have been dead hours ago.”

“Right. Sure, you saved the day.”

“Thank you for noticing, but I am suggesting you still watch out. We pay the price for the truth of our deeds. You'd better watch out.”

“Are you threatening me?”

“You're my boss.”

“Is that why you saved me?”

“Actually, in the name of full factual disclosure, I saved him.”

“See, even you know I'd make him my bitch.”

“No, he would have killed you. I was saving him from ruining his life over...you.”

“You're pussies. I'll fuck you all up!”

“What is it about wearing those mixed martial arts t-shirts that make guys like you think they can fight because they wear them?”

“Fuuuuck you.”

“Just askin'.”

“You're lucky we're at work and the security cameras are on.”

“Yeah, that's why they call me Captain Luckyhead. But, being a gentleman myself, if you would ever like to meet someplace quaint, more neutral, just let me know. It would be my honor. I'm sure you train somewhere.”

“What the... I haven't had time, lately. Come on, finish cleaning so we can get the fuck outta this dump.”

“Yeah. Still, be careful out there.”

“Just clean.”

And the conversation ended. We cleaned, randomly looking and glaring at one another in preparation for combat. He was sure it would never come. I just wanted to refrain until I was ready to leave my career as a bean presser behind. Still, justice must be served, and it is best served fresh.

I left the shop when done and headed on the path I knew Fred to take, preparing to lurk in the darkness. I followed, keeping in the shadows so he could not see my face or figure clearly. The man was afraid, and I was alive, excited at the possibility of justice.

I followed.

Opportunity did not arise.

But justice in the shadows of darkness again began to lurk.

Evil is everywhere, we must at least make it uncomfortable, shaming it whenever possible.

If you wait, you will be thrust upon by the good character of men who wish to make a difference, no matter how dashing you look with or without a bowler.

Feel alive, do the right thing.

Feel alive. do.
Posted by: Captain Forehead
karma: 48 [+/-]
I do not have a choice but to be here. If I could be elsewhere, wouldn't I? All the events, nuances, turns and indiscretions and this is where I am? I control my fate about as well as I control by bowel movement — you can only clench for so long, eventually darker matter is making its move.

Here I am, standing behind the counter in a coffee shop. I am too old for this shit. I have nothing to my name except a name I will not yet claim. The faces of customers blur together, morphing into this soft shadowy, pasty figure with bark breath and a forced smile. I am polite; that's my job. I am a machine, a robot, an automaton. Free will? Right, this is where I'd be, behind the counter taking coffee orders — less accurately than the alternative system the younger customers prefer interacting with, but with a polite voice and smiling face to help extract revenues from customers. Clearly, this is where free will has taken me.

“What can I get for you today?” I don't need to look up. I've already take 200 orders in less than 90 minutes.

Damn! The SOB is going to make me look at him. Some customers are such control freaks, not giving you their order till you look them in the eyes and acknowledge them, as if they are somehow different than the last insignificant customers.

“What can I get for you today?” I try again, even less interested in the answer. Still no response. I have to look up, make the eye contact.

“What can I ge...” I begin, then see the customer. It's a doppelganger...or is it? Nothing else exists, my vision becoming myopic staring at the man across the counter. He is looking through me as if I did not exist in any way without his knowledge.

“Hi,” he said, knowing full well how I was.

Here I am in a filthy apron and across the counter is a man who could be mistaken for me, though by the looks of his attire and accessories, I would rather be mistaken for him. But the charade must continue. He is on his side of the counter and I am on mine. Free will? Then this is where I want to be, so I might as well get about my being.

“What can I get for you today?”

“Small coffee.”

“Would you like a pastry or something to eat?”

“No, thank you.”

“A small coffee. That will be $27.14,” I absurdly toss, taunting.

“Ouch. Must be really good.”

“If by 'really' you mean 'sorta' and by 'good' you mean 'average', it is.”

“Oh well, here's fifteen cents and twenty-seven dollars.”

“Okay. That will be one cent change.”

“They'll stop making those soon enough. That'll make your job easier.”

“Yeah, but let's hope I am out of here long before that.”

He smiles with a contemptuous smirk. No more smalltalk, no banter, just a “you're here forever, loser” smirk.

“Have we met? Do I know you?” I had to ask Mister Lifeisgood before he walks away.

Still smugly smirking, he answers, “I know you better than you know yourself.”

Normally, a statement such as that would be a call to action, but the way he said it, with such assurance, I must uncomfortably recognize my lack of doubt in the veracity of his statement.

“Then answer me this: You look like a comfortable man with few worries, how do I change places with you?”

“You don't change places with me, you become me, you become whomever you want to be, whomever you need to be. It's up to you.”

“Free will? Right. You were probably born with a silver spoon up it.”

“Don't be crude, my friend, it's not necessary.”

“Right. Crude. Thank you. Have a great day,” I dismiss.

“You can write your own ticket. You don't have to be here any longer than you want.” He reached into his pocket, pulled out a slender, pointy object and tossed it toward me. Fearing this man in no way, I treated the object flying toward me as harmless and caught it in one hand. An old fashioned pen, a fountain pen.

“I didn't know they made these things anymore. And what do you suppose I do with this?”

“Write your own ticket.”

“Right. Free will.”

“I don't know about 'free will'. If I had to guess, it would appear destination is already set, but the journey, that is yours, write it.”

Maybe I do not have free will, but the ability to determine part of my journey, that suffices.

“Thank you,” I offered with humble sincerity.

“See you around,” he answered, smiling.

“Maybe, maybe not,” I replied, shrugging my shoulders, for who knows when I will decide to forgo this counter.

“Dude, can I order my coffee? And don't give me that $27 bull!”

Back to automaton.

I continue taking orders, holding the pen the man who knows me as I know myself provided. I have to touch it, feel it, caress it, to remind myself that I can write parts of my own journey, even if the destination has already been determined.


Enjoy the journey, my friend, and thank you.
Posted by: Captain Forehead
karma: 33 [+/-]
Routine has never been a specialty of thee. Actually, there were those not so distant years of routine where I was a displaced crusader of superior presence living amongst the homeless. Still, routine is not something I do prosperously, but to rise above the depths of despair, it is a mountain that must be assaulted.

Routine:

Snuck out of stolen house.

Take small pack with all belongings on bus to place of employ.

Work. (Eating available scraps and sharpening dulled skills of observation.)

Read anything available during breaks.

Return to stolen home, house.

Shower.

Sleep on lounge chair.

Repeat.

The journey will take me somewhere. I want my compound back. I want to feel alive. I want to right...and I must admit I accept I will do wrong. I want to bathe in stickiness. I want to be shoved into a wall. I want to feel my elbow across evil’s jaw. I want to be. I want to feel. I don’t want to be alive, I want to live...I want to forget the word I...and that journey requires routine...for now.

Repeat.

Repeat.

Repeat.

Repeat.

There are times I am afraid nothing will change...and there are times I am afraid of nothing...

Repeat.

Repeat.

Repeat.

There is a purpose for this journey, I am sure.

Repeat.

Repeat.

Repeat.

Someone must die. Death is inevitable.

Repeat.

Repeat.

I am going insane.

Repeat.

Repeat.

I must be retarded, there is no way the world is as stupid as I seem to think.

Repeat.

Repeat.

Repeat.

Repeat.

A good book.

Repeat.

Repeat.

Repeat.

Repeat.

Looking up at the stars, telling myself that the repetition of emptiness leads somewhere, I heard grunts on the other side of the wall surrounding the backyard. It sounds like men fighting, but they seem to be having fun.

Though I hear them most every night, I have not looked over the wall because of the need to keep the house stolen for the purpose of rebuilding a life found. But the incongruity has drawn curiosity and monotony of routine has increased the level of acceptable risk.

Sometimes I’m afraid nothing will change because I’m afraid to change the routine required to change.

The decision to stick my head over the wall made.

Grunt.

Groan.

Crash.

Looking over the wall, it was bright enough to see the traditional backyard was not for this house. Where most would find lawn or a pool or a patio, an outdoor space was covered with mats. On the mats were two well padded men bathing, while a third stood off to the side, watching, occasionally offering single word instruction.

“Tight!”

“Back.”

“Arm.”

“Out!”

The two were going at it, until their coach stopped coaching and stared at me.

“What’s up?”

The tone indicated challenge, the question being irrelevant. What was to be determined was whether I wanted this to be an opportunity or an incident.

“What’s up?” I answered.

“Can we help you with somethin’?”

“Nope. Just checking out what all the commotion was about.”

“Now you’ve seen it?”

“Yeah. Can’t help but watch. Haven’t been on the mat in a long time. Kinda miss it. Not even sure I remember what to do.”

And the door was open.

The young men saw me as a potential training dummy, and within a couple of minutes I was over the wall and rolling around the mat in pants — I had no other gear. They beat me to a pulp, but with every move I felt my instincts slowly return. I began to remember what I should do and my lame muscles slowly responded. The beat me, and I came to life.

Trying to stay focused on the path of rebirth, I said little. Apparently, they knew I had stolen the house I was living in and offered to rent me a room from them for a few bucks and some coffee grounds, and I could train with them. It would be nice to be able to come home through a front door, and the rent was absurdly cheap, so I could continue to save for a replacement compound.

“Sounds good. I’ll take it.”

And with that, I found a room in a legitimate home, where I could feel the pain of my body being pushed through the birth canal of training as a passage to rebirth. And the room is furnished with a TV?!

Routine:

Same + violent, physical training.

Things are improving.

Sore.

Work.

Repeat.

Repeat.

Repeat.

Pain.

Repeat.

Repeat.

Damage.

Repeat.

Muscles burn.

Repeat.

Black eye.

Repeat.

God, it feels so exciting, yet so calming to be alive, to feel.

Repeat...

Repeat.

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