Monday, August 20, 2012


At the very moment he realized the finite store of available cash was shrinking more quickly than the time available to spend it, he absorbed all the worries his father carried with him from the birth of his first child until his last breath.  Abject poverty had been, until then, an abstract concept that tugged at his heartstrings, triggering his idealistic sense of detached sorrow at the plight of others unknown to him.  But the concept became visceral at that instant.  In his brain, it collided with shock and fear and stark terror.. Those things and a deep sense of worry.  Not worry for himself, but worry for his friends and family who would become the targets of his uncomfortable pleas for help if his money ran out before his time.

Abstractions sometimes do not serve us well.  They allow us to think and behave in ways that will be impossible when concrete reality slams our heads against the arrogance of our wishes and dreams.  There's no time to call up logic and abstract thought when emotions and pain flood our brains with incendiary tides of burning biochemicals.  We react as the animals we are, not as the advanced beings we like to believe we have become. Our instincts, not our minds, control our reactions. The fight or flight response becomes real; it is no longer a theory against which tests can be conducted to determine the probability of the theory's is the embodiment of certainty.

Certainty was something about which the new woman in his life knew little.  Kneeblood was about to teach her, though.  He would teach her about the certainty, absent appropriate action, of his financial ruin and about the certainty that the security of banks, all banks, is deeply flawed.  He would teach her, too, that sociopaths do not have the same sense of morality that you and I have.  And that fact can be used to one's  benefit if handled delicately.


It's possible, I suppose, that I am the very same Rickard Fultz who became wealthy and moderately famous through the success of his novels.  More likely, though, I adopted his name when I found myself unable to remember my own.  Maybe it wasn't that I couldn't remember; maybe it was that I could not bear to know what I knew about me, so I chose to be someone else.

Yes, you can choose to be someone else.  It's done all the time. Often, it's done unconsciously, but it is done with some regularity.

My first recollection about my identity as Rickard Fultz was during a morning walk.  Apparently, I routinely have been taking long walks for quite some time, the testament about which may be found in my very large, unattractive calves.  Only a seasoned  walker would have such calves.  Runners' calves would be more elongated.  Mine are knots of gnarled mesquite.

It happened when I was out for a walk.  I began speaking what would become a novel.  I was fully aware of what I was doing, but I was upset that I had no pen, no paper, and no other way of recording what seemed, at the moment, to be stunningly well-produced prose.  And then it hit me: I was carrying my iPhone.  I used my iPhone to measure and record my walks: the distance, pace, calories burned, etc.  I used an application called RunKeeper, which made good use of the device's built-in GPS to record movement.  Using complex algorthyms designed by a benevolent god, the device plots my  walks, calculates my pace and the speed of my walk, compares my walk to those I've taken earlier, and otherwise invades my privacy in ways humankind once only dreamed about.


Only through careful review and painstaking appraisal is anyone likely to come even remotely close to understanding my motives, my emotions, and what drives the sometimes utterly unlikeable me.  The thing is, that careful review and painstaking appraisal would be time and energy wasted.  We must all come to the inescapable realization that we, neither collectively nor individually, have even the remotest amount of importance to the life of the star we call our sun.


Graveyards are peaceful places, on the surface.  They are places of reflection and introspection.  There was a time when even the worst examples of humanity would treat graveyards the way they would treat chapels; with dignity and reverence and, indeed, fear.  Even today, though, in these times when it seems nothing is sacred, graveyards generally are peaceful.  Beneath their tranquility and solemnity, though, they are boiling cauldrons of emotion gone awry.  Don't send your children there.  They will never come back.

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