Grace Departs from Colin
By Caligula Dodge
It was a low ebb in Colin's popularity. Friends got married so they could honeymoon far away from him. His closest friends issued press releases in the dead of night saying they were "disappointed" and "upset" by Colin and any allegations that they had any part in his behavior.
The newspapers reveled in the disgrace. Colin felt bad, but he'd felt worse. In the sixth grade, for instance. Without a single friend in the world, he picked fights just for the interaction they afforded. He recalled cursing god again and again in the pastel hallways and under the grey sky. Muttering constantly for death.
Not that he'd been buffeted with love since then, except for the end part. But he could walk into a bar and be as much a nobody as anyone around him. Now, he was somebody in the bar. The Families and his Fans wanted to know what he had to say for himself. A rainbow of turds sat over his head. Sometimes they wouldn't serve him.
Of course, the catastrophe just seemed like a misunderstanding at the time. Then it got so big that it was the only thing in the world.
But that was something he'd seen before and before. You get feeling good so you miss the smarter angels taking the backdoor. Then the scenery falls down all around and the terrific story that inspired the inspiration and the pleasure that suffused the air and seemed it could overcome all the distant horror before turns out just to be a mouthful of gibberish.
He thought of the confusion of younger Cato and Pompey followed by the confusion of Julius Caesar followed by the confusion of Brutus followed by the confusion of Mark Antony as each breathed their last in turn.
Where had their visions gone? Where had their friends gone? Was there justice? Was there even symmetry?
He walked home past downcast eyes. Reporters swarmed, challenging, nudging for an angle. He was suddenly the weak wolf in the pack. And all the other wolves had been keeping track of how well he ate until now. They wanted a second chance at all the meals, privy sights, rare thoughts, handshakes in adorned rooms and chintzy celebrity he'd consumed in their stead.
The sidewalk had grass on either side of it. The sky was getting cloudy.
This is after the men came to take everything away except his stuff and his small escapes. To say you were warned and warned and now have no one to blame but yourself. At his empty house, he cooked hot dogs and eggs.
The phone rang. It was his friend Andy. He was asking Colin to come over to dinner. He says there will be some people there who wanted to talk to him. Colin doesn't ask who, but tells Andy to call his assistant to set the time. But his assistant had quit, Andy reminds him. There's a new one at the same number, Colin lies. Just call her.
A letter came. It was addressed to the name Colin had before the title "Colin" had been bestowed on him by the previous Colin.
He had received hundreds of letters that week. His assistant wasn't there to deal with them. All were addressed to Colin and most predictably demanded to "know what he had to say for himself," to all the "families and children and his fans." One or two pledged continued support, but they were all from known bottom-feeders, parasites or fringe elements.
The letter addressed to the man he had been was not like the others. It was a metaphysical tract about classical journeys to the underworld. But it kept referring sidereally to "Kampo's Kwality Kars," at the cloverleaf intersection of two big highways.
"Like a customer trying to discover what a great value he can get for his trade in will go to friendly Kampo's Kwality Kars for the deal of a lifetime, so did Odysseus pass to hades to converse with the shades about the course of his lifetime. So you see, Mr. -------, it is imperative that you view your current adversity as part of a larger pattern..."
It went on vaguely for four pages. The only concrete suggestion it seemed to make was that he visit Kampo's Kwality Kars. Colin was not about to do that. Not after what the car salesmen tried to do to him during the last election.
He reflected again on the trouble that would keep him from the routine pleasures of the day like a man will flex his foot after spraining an ankle just to be sure he was still injured.
Really, Colin was just jumping on the bed or trying a drug or taking stuff from a graveyard or burying a body or touching two women in the same afternoon. The air condoned and celebrated it. Even the sterner city fathers condoned it quietly. Until they didn't. The monads and dryads and friends who were good accomplices are poor witnesses to how alright it was at the time.
He sat by the window eating and looked at the grey sky. It seemed as if god were asking if he was happy now.
He shrugged at god. The limits of the senses necessitated the ill-fated act. The need of the strange deep sea creatures to live in the flickering dickering world necessitated the chain of events.
He thought about the rest of the day. He thought about the car in the garage. Wondered if it was still there.
The very itch installed by god that turned the switch from adoration to mortification was more important than eyes or ears to Colin. The deep sea creatures had to be born. There was, in a larger sense, no other choice available.
God shrugged back and sat with Colin while he ate his greasy meal. The phone rang, Colin closed his eyes and chewed. No good news. The phone rang awhile. It stopped. "I'm back on my way to making good decisions again," he thought to god.
God said "Yeah" like he always used to before everything went wrong.
copyright (c)2001 Caligula Dodge