Dec 20, 2022, 05:55AM

Dead to Rights

Junkies can rationalize anything, even molestation of a child.

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Caught red-handed with your bloody mitts in life’s cookie jar, a thief lurking about in the dead of night. Waiting to steal your life away. Skulking around searching for more, scraping the bottom of the pot’s stew. A human glue that binds us all together portends certain disaster. Dropkick the cat and shoot the old dog. Beat a dead horse on the way to the glue factory, trying to perfect some semblance of a sticky living on scraps, stuck in the real worlds' mucilage. The 11-year-old whiz kid received a degree in physics. Graduating with honors, his master plan. This boy genius wants to replace all our internal organs and body parts with mechanical ones, achieving immortality. More cyborg than human. Living forever as a high-tech machine, reboot, falling in love with a robot.

Could flogging a dead horse be an act of sexual perversion, combining sadomasochistic necrophilia and bestiality? Don’t bet on a dead horse, or beat one, either. People want to live forever. Learn how to fly before they crawl. On bended knees begging for a little more life. Some achieve everlasting life after death, with divine deals made with their perceived maker. Whether it’s god or devil or your Aunt Sally. While others don’t buy it, simply living for today. Most likely likelihood is we’ll wind up somewhere waiting, standing in line at the dead-letter office of tedium’s mediocrity. Counting dead presidents at the bank. My life, the one lived daily among other lives. How can you live like this?

Like a deleted scene from Night of the Living Dead. He was a poet, some say he thought he was an outlaw clown, He sang some songs. Dabbled in the arts. Made friends in strange places. Met shady strangers in public spaces. Nice guy? Maybe. The verdict’s still out. The jury’s hung. The sentence is death. Laughed himself to a slow demise. Cried himself to sleep every night. A dead duck. The goose is cooked. Frozen in the headlights. Caught up in the bright glare of moments passed. Way past the expiration date. Your shelf life is so last year. Beating a dead merry-go-round pony, sometime in the future. Going round and round, a dizzy circular motion. Feeling woozy, nauseated and feverish.

Somewhere stuck right there between your past life and the next day. It’s after the fact, a brief afterlife, where crooked arrows fly backwards and tomorrow's promise tells lies about yesterday's failure. A long time ago I found him in the basement. The back door was open, I let myself in. Amid the clutter and debris, I heard noises in the next room. Whimpering. Along the corridor, a washer, and dryer with dirty clothes piled high on the floor and covering the top of the neglected appliances. Along the other wall, old ratty sofas one atop the other, like makeshift bunk beds. Yellowed newspapers and magazines stacked haphazard against the walls, some from floor to ceiling. It was a sunny day, but the basement was dark. I could see some light coming from the other room. Upon entering, I discovered him fondling his little daughter, laying together on the mattress on the floor. I startled them. They jumped up quickly. She was no more than eight years old, wearing a leopard print negligée. He was in filthy underwear. I said nothing. She ran upstairs. He lit a cigarette.

Maybe it was none of my business. It was nothing personal, I kept my mouth shut. There was dead silence. I was there to buy drugs and didn’t want to know his sordid affairs with his kid, or anything else, for that matter. Get my stuff and get out of there, fast. Junkies can rationalize anything, even molestation of a child. What could I say? I discovered something so bizarre, I blocked it out of my mind.

Years later, the basement did finally catch fire, burning up the house along with his wife’s bedridden parents. His wife screamed at him, blaming him for murdering her parents. The police were called on numerous occasions. He pleaded insanity regularly. The last time I saw him, he screamed that he was going to kill his wife. He had threatened me before. She died shortly after he said that, a few weeks later, under suspicious circumstances. Afterwards, he was found overdosed, DOA. Everybody has skeletons in the closet, under the bed, in the basement. It’s no excuse, he fooled almost everyone but me.



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