The snow fell in little snow cones, fluffy ones unlike any he had ever seen. They were the pancakes of holey snowflakes, the kind that you saw in memories. They layered themselves upon the earth along with rain water until they took hold and began to pile up and before he knew it the ground was white and he realized he might have to dig his car out again, another thing, just one more on his way to total financial destitution.
It didn’t matter. Just one more thing. The world was swirling up white, high and so wildly above him that there had to be some other way to think of the world than in terms of his own inevitable failure in some way that will send him off the playing field of life, and soon probably, with his head hung in shame. Boredom was the main thing he would have to continue to hold at bay, the very boredom of things that did not exist, but caused him boredom because he wished that they did: baseball games, women, restaurants, movies, bars and the ability to buy a beer inside of them. He spent five dollars the night before on a burrito because he received an extra day’s work at the shop and he figured that if you work twelve hours straight that you should be allowed a burrito now and then. Didn’t quite seem fair that you worked your life away and were not allowed to buy a burrito, which he knew was basically the way that things were.
He was stealing from himself as he ever marched in chase of that ever in front of him ten dollars per hour. He was mostly a loser in the hunt. At times he had made eleven or twelve. Once he made fourteen, but when he thought about it he was mostly under that ten dollar mark. He was one of the ever unworthy and so he would always be. He knew it now after receiving a notice in the mail by his new medicaid provided doctor that warned him that besides high blood pressure he also had high cholesterol and high blood sugar. And to think he did it all for Jesus. Hardly seemed fair.
But he didn’t really mind anymore. It didn’t really matter. Sometimes he thought it didn’t matter because he himself no longer mattered and he had to accept that just so that he could believe that the little things didn’t really matter. All of the tricks of the mind over the years had become convoluted until he could look in the mirror and see someone who even he didn’t quite believe was very worthwhile to be around. Fat, old. At least he wasn’t strikingly ugly. No friends. The only thing that he had going for him was that he could afford his room and that hs car continued to work even though he now had to climb out of the passenger side window to get out since the passenger door finally broke, the last of his doors to succumb, until he was left without a single working door. Such was life. Oh well. he could climb out of the window. He looked at his calendar and counted down the time when he might be able afford to have someone look at it. One week, two weeks. Two weeks. He would have to climb out of the window for two weeks. A forty nine year old man. Oh well. It didn’t matter.
He had a feeling though that some things did matter but he didn’t know how to put a finger on it. All that mattered had something to do with others who had others. If you had nobody, absolutely nobody then nothing could ever really matter, not really, and you’ve got to think that things matter to change your situation, but you can only to do that, well…it is a cycle, mattering not mattering. It gets confusing after awhile as to what is needed to change and soon only the image in the mirror is important, the memory of it, the way that you saw yourself as fat, but slightly handsome, but fat, fatter than you actually saw yourself, you knew, or were coming to know.
He was starting to realize that he was a fat man. He had always considered himself thin, had one of those strange minds that could look into a mirror and see a thin, svelt, young buck when in fact it was the total opposite. This mask was being pulled from his eyes though and he was beginning to see himself the way that other people saw him. In this way he could understand why he had no friends. He wouldn’t want to be his friend either. Too old, ugly, fat, well, not ugly, just fat and tall and old and nothing. Nothing left really to consider viable. A ten dollar par hour forty nine year old man who climbs out of his car window wherever he goes.
He places himself out head first, bends himself at the waist and pushes out and places his hands on the ground. his feet hook on the top of the door itself and he pushes. He was pleased to know that he would not have to roll whenever he got out, that he could just put his hands on the ground and then put his feet through the window and then get out with only his hands and feet ever touching the world. Not too bad. He could do his two to three weeks. Oh well.
Outside, it was a saturday night. He had 84 dollars in the bank and in two weeks he would have to pay rent of 550. He would get paid before then and he would be able to do it. He was glad of this. He also got financial assistance, food stamps, and they saved his life. He would otherwise have to move back to the family property where he destroyed his life for Jesus and he couldn’t do that. Being in exile in a strange new eastern land of Boston was much better. He had found a copy of the New Yorker and read three quarters of an article of an artist who sold toilets for $100,000 and helped fix up the ghetto. The artist admitted that he was a hustler and he seethed when he read that because he himself was a Christian and wanted to fix up the ghetto and always thought that hustlers were what caused the ghetto to be horrible in the first place, but that he should have used that mentality to get what he wanted done.
Just the idea of being slick in order to achieve something irked him. Maybe its Robin Hood-like, but its anti- who he was. He didn’t want to be mean to save the world. he wanted to do it by being simple and simply good. Didn’t work. Everybody hated him in the end. He remembered reading a passage in a novel about a boy who was so good that a Mennonite principal fantasized about putting a meat hook through the child’s eye and dragging him through the city. This is what happens to the good. People want you gone. They can’t stand the good, the nice, the thing that Jesus wanted everybody to be.
He sat and thought about the fact that Jesus wanted him dead and was doing it by making him suffer. That was the jist of christianity. Turn the other cheek. Always be good until everybody slaps you down until you are dead. You are only a successful Christian if you have a rock for your pillow and rocks for pillows is pretty much what he got. They took him apart eventually, the property, made him remove every stick of lumber on the grounds. Sometimes he thought he had started a church, but his idea of Jesus was not like that. His idea of Jesus was one of invisibility. Jesus was spirit and spirit was good and good could change lives and putting a name on spirit and goodness in the world was wrong because some people had different cultures. All cultures should be celebrated, all respected. Even the idea that there is no good should be acknowledged and illustrated through the growth of ideas that he helped to foster at his establishment. Love was more powerful than any ideology and should not be afraid to stand up against all comers. Love can handle everything.
But the reality was that the goody goody thing made people hate him. They couldn’t stand him until his partner destroyed him and took everything away which sent him into a tailspin and he had to move away to escape sheer depression and knowledge of hopelessness. He was tired as he sat there and looked out at the pancake snowflakes falling in front of his window, tired of thinking about it, wondered when this failure thing would end, when he would just fail once and for all now that he had nothing left to give to anybody, had nobody to give the rewards to and had changed everything about himself in a land that didn’t belong to him and didn’t care about him and never would. Oh well. It didn’t really matter.
He waited for the subject to die out in his head. The perpetual crying over spilt milk. Years gone by, fifteen, done, failures everywhere and still chasing that ten dollars and failing miserably. No change. No change ever. Other people changed, grew, made money, but he didn’t. All things stayed the same on that front. Nothing ever changed. He was as he was when he was sixteen years old working at Taco Bell, back when they fried the tacos on the premises. His legs had gone out from working at a standing job too long in the summer and he had that against him too. There was no more upward projection of his hopes and dreams, only a rumination on the ever moving downward crawl. And it was a crawl. It wasn’t even a spiral. it was the slow crawl down the backside of the mountain. Just down. End of story. Oh well. He would be dead soon.
This thought frightened him. When he read about his blood sugar he feared the worst and couldnt think of it. He liked to eat fat and sugar, basically, and stayed away from vegetables and he figured that he would eventually have to pay for this, but the poor eat this type of food to fill holes in their souls as well as their bellies. It was okay. He could start exercising and eat better if he wanted to, but he would just have to find the will, which was the hardest thing to find. The will was never there anymore. There was no will to do anything at all, but he did everything he needed to do, but why? There was no reason to know why. He didn’t care anymore about any of it. He openly admitted that everything he did, everything he aspired to was for the dollar. Was open about it to himself and he knew because of it that nothing truly mattered. He would exchange one dream for another if he could just have enough money to live without worry. He was tired of the whole game. He would never be considered special no matter what he chose to do. Any success he had wouldn’t matter, not really. He just wanted money now. Screw the fame. He didn’t need it because he knew he would never get it. Oh well.
Then one day an alien came down and took him away. He looked up and the sky was black but he was moving forward in it. Beside him was a strange beast, naked unlike anything he had ever seen before, and it was sitting in front of a console of lights like on a tv spaceship. He was inside of a ufo he knew and he didn’t really care about the fact that he might die because at least he wouldn’t have to worry about the mundane reality of chasing after ten dollars per hour anymore. The alien talked to him in a strange voice but he could tell it was english. The alien spoke english.
You are an alien species to my planet and you are going home with me. do you understand? it said.
Yes, I said….I had become the alien.
You were taken away from your world because you are a standard specimen. You are the only one taken and you will be tested upon although you will not be harmed. Do you understand?
Yes. I think so.
He thought about the idea of the tests and spoke up.
What kind of tests?
Mental tests, physical tests. you will not be bisected. You will be allowed to live and eventually we will assimilate you into our society.
We have a thriving society. My planet is outside of the range of your universe, but our atmospheres are similar, oxygen. You will need a breathing tube for awhile until we can alter your blood properly and then you will be fine.
He went silent. The universe wizzed by and he saw planets off to his right and left, or they were moons or, well, he admitted, he didn’t know what they were. The sky was mostly just black with stars around just like you could see on a clear night on earth. The beast did not speak after that but then he spoke up.
What is your planet like?
Oh, we have various things to do. We have water. Our architecture is different. We have the elements, four seasons, actually, two suns. Like I said we’re pretty advanced in a lot of ways. We have been around about four million years longer than you technologically so we’ve learned quite a bit.
Are you and us the only species?
Oh no. There are millions of inhabited planets around the multiverses. Weve been to many of them, like I said we are very advanced. We can learn languages quite easily, an average one of us knows millions of languages so you will have no problem talking to any of us on the planet.
So you are probably pretty advanced morally too, I mean, you don’t eat people like me or anything, right?
Oh no. weve learned how to gather our sustenance in proper fashion. None of us are hungry as you would say.
Do you work?
Oh no, nobody works as you understand it, but we stay busy experiencing new things. This is just one of the things that I do because I want to. We can all go to other planets and I grew fond of earth long ago as a young being. I would watch the planet and its inhabitants and was fascinated with the way things are. There are many fans of earth and its people, but it is an acquired taste really. There are many more fascinating planets, but few have creatures that are as complex, how do you say, emotionally as earth creatures.
We think a lot.
Yes you do. I was always intrigued by that notion, a creature that thinks and feels deeply. I always compared that to us where we think and we feel, but we do not pine, and we do not do as you do, lament while still functioning in your society. To me it was always like hearing a somber tune and it registered to me as quite beautiful. Earth music, classical works, are some of the most treasured items to all of us. The earth is well known for its musical interludes and for this alone you will be popular. There are a few of you there, but not many. We don’t like to upset the system, but we were watching you and you were on a downward spiral and we knew that you would not mind, and besides, you’re good. I liked that.
You liked that I was good?
Yes. To me that is what matters. Someone who does not have to be bad in order to get what they want in life even if it means that they slowly wither away and die. Thats where you were headed anyway so i thought I would just step in and stop the progression. You’ll see. You’ll be thankful for what I did and maybe you’ll decide to go back. Of course you will be allowed if you choose, but, you wont want to, most likely, unless, but what I can tell, you really don’t have anybody left in your life.
I’m sorry. I know. You are a lonely and confused man with very few good years left before him. Well, you have been rescued. We’ll help you out. You won the lottery.
The creature made a sound like laughter and he smiled. Should he believe the creature? He hoped so. The fact was that he really didn’t much care. The creature was right. He had nothing to really live for on earth and anything was better than waiting around to die while working your fingers to the bone for ten dollars an hour. Nobody cared if he was there or not. Not really. He watched the black sky and stars move slowly by him. The creature and he sat inside of the capsule and he enjoyed the creature’s company although he did not know how to read the beast. He just sensed that the creature liked him, that he was special to the creature and it made him feel proud, proud enough to sit up in his chair and for the first time in a long time hold his chin out and turn his head in just such a way that told him that he was alive again.