The Power of a Child

All the hordes of promises you have made dance around you, needling you. Laughing you out. Though you consider yourself a man of your word, there is no way you can fulfill them all. Circumstances prevent you. That’s your bitter fate. The woman you loved above all, the woman you promised everything, in your heart, has turned away because you couldn’t fulfill them.
You’re ready to kill yourself. You even know how. It’s easy. Just go to the red light district, get the nearest whore, allow yourself to get connected to the pimp, who certainly knows someone who can sell you a pistol and ammunition. Costly, but worth it.
A fucking gun. Your uncle, the gentlest man in the world you ever knew, taught you how to use them. He allowed you to load a 22-calibre rifle and do target practice with it; fourteen years young, you were. You saw him shoot a rattle-snake that was lying on the hood of his pickup with a pistol. Afterwards he took it apart, cleaned it, and put it back together. The pistol, not the snake. You barbecued the snake. So you know what you are about, you have a good memory. Why would I want to do this, you ask yourself, once again. Because life has no meaning for you anymore. Without that woman, it simply doesn’t matter.
You are drunk. You know you are drunk. You know that when you are drunk your feelings take the upper hand. But on the lower hand, in vino veritas, you say to yourself. Why shouldn’t you live what you feel? Or die what you feel.
And then, in the middle of the fucking night, as you sit on your balcony –smoking your second or maybe third to last cigarette, you think– a family passes by on the sidewalk below. The child in the buggy they are shoving before them is saying “papa”. Papa, papa, papa it sings, so happy, so innocent. You feel an instant glow in your heart.
So much for killing yourself, you romantic jerk, you reflect.
The power of a child.

Another Conversation with God

„Who are you?“
„I am what I am, I’m Popeye the sailor man.“
Hellstrøm is nonplussed. „Wh… what?!“
„I’m sorry, wasn’t that the right answer?“
„Don’t you know?“
„Yes, I know.“ God giggles, then knits his brow in thought. „At least, I think I know.“
„Wait a minute… you’re just fucking around with me, right? Who are you? What are you?“
„I’m, uhh… it’s impossible to pronounce in your tongue.“
„What do you mean, you mean, like, you’re an alien or something, with a name impossible to pronounce?“
„No… uhh, yes.“
„What the…?!“
Hellstrøm decides to approach the matter from another angle.
„Where did you come from?“
„From never-never-land.“
Hellstrøm’s mouth writhes wordlessly.
„Wrong answer again? I’m sorry. It’s just…“ God’s voice peters off.
„It’s difficult to keep all this stuff apart…“
„What stuff, what do you mean?“
„Everything…? To keep everything apart?“
„Yes. Maybe.“
„But, but… who are you?!“
„I can just tell: wrong answer again, right?“
Hellstrøm curses under his breath and wonders how he can get out of this conversation gracefully. After all, it wouldn’t do to offend God, would it now? On the other hand, something in him wants to get to the root of the matter.
„You can’t keep everything apart… what do you mean by that exactly?“
Once again Hellstrøm’s mouth writhes wordlessly.
„Anything? Is that the right answer? Nothing seems to satisfy you though! That is to say, in a manner of speaking… nothing.“
„I have the feeling you are leading me in circles here, God.“
„Circles? Circles are fun. One, two, three… it’s the threes that get me. Or the sevens. I’m not sure. All those little numbers… put ’em together, and they’re big. Made so many I’ve lost track. But I am not leading you, Hellstrøm, I am you.“
„So, you’re Hellstrøm?“ Hellstrøm feels utterly silly in posing the question.
„Yes… uhh, no. Yes.“
„It’s the wrong fucking answer again, God. Now just stop bullshitting me and, and…“
„All the numbers,“ God grumbles, „it’s enough to drive you batty. I know them all, I am all the numbers, it’s no wonder I can’t concentrate. Too many variables. Possibilities. It’s gotten out of hand, but I can’t stop it anymore. And to think I started with zero…“
„So… so you’re saying…“
„No!“ God thundered, „Yes! Maybe! Take your fucking pick! There is no answer to your questions, and every answer is correct!“
When Hellstrøm had finished cowering, he went home and listened to some music and smoked a joint, reminding himself of Voltaire’s words on doubt and certainty.

The Flag

I’ve already written about patriotism, so you may already have an inkling of what I think about flags. Flags are signs, signs for something or other… I really like signal flags, you know, the kind sailors used to make themselves understood before the times of radio and all. But I can not stand flags as signals of a nation or an idea.
What made me think of this was a very good anti-war film I saw recently, in which many human ideals and feelings were presented. Personal feelings, personal ideals, a good story, great acting. I won’t say which film it was, since that is absolutely irrelevant. What ruined it for me was that, at the very end, truly, in the last 30 seconds, the American flag was shown, as if it represented those ideals and feelings. As if the sign of a nation could represent those things.
Because that is the very thing which disappoints me about America. It doesn’t live up to its ideals… I mean, what kind of fucking sick joke is that supposed to be? It doesn’t even approach the shadow of those ideals within a hundred miles.
I love ideals, poor forlorn romantic that I am, and I know how difficult it is to live up to them. But at least I am honest about it, to some small extent. I don’t go around saying: look at me, I am an idealist, see how I live up to it, see how good I am, how pure! I don’t wave my flag, and I don’t hoist it up on a damned pole for all to see, because I know how foolish that would be.
Unless, of course, you consider this blog to be a sort of flag pole, the posts being flags. In which case I have only one thing to say: a blog is not a flag pole. Christ, even I notice the difference.