All He Could Muster

by Henry Kastler


This was the last thing he wanted to see.

A collision. More than just a meeting of metal beast against monolith, the proverbial unstoppable force against the proverbial immovable object. More like the wrapping of a force, detected only by touch, around an axis, visible only with the presence of those caught in the force, with other forces about, standing by ready to be put into motion, ready to pick up the pieces of that which has fallen apart: sweep up the green cubes of shattered safety glass, jagged teeth of plastic, pools of inert and flammable fluids dripping from the once mighty carcass forged by minds thousands of miles away.

Still, the act of observing could not stop the inevitable. Perhaps it was not he who had crashed. He had been standing still, and it was the world which rapidly approached all around him, and he jumped and danced with the best of them, he'd studied all the moves, and this time he simply failed to get out of the way.

He didn't know that that was the day his poorly cobbled gameface, a leathered, laminated collection of sparkless hollows carved by the repetitive stupor of years, of pretty cathode rays, minding aping of mindless apes who bore the ring of celebrity, the winces of untold, unremembered beatings and insults and not given in return, would calcify, stained with red and fuel, into his true expression: a face to greet the faces transfigured into a living death mask, made pliable by the miracle solvents of alcohol and adrenaline.

Supposing he'd noticed his fate, had become aware of his situation?

Although some take comfort in quantum physics, in Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle, where the act of observation changes the observed, he believed, like so many, unaware, that Life was more closely aligned with Satori, the state of perfection of perception where the observer and the observed are one and no amount of seeking, trances, illumination or altered states of consciousness would change the outcome of any dynamic system. It all comes to a rest sooner or later, all always hoping for later, except when desire wishes it sooner. But even desire was part of the system, a constant, like the speed of light.

Not that he believed in fatalistic determinism, or constants.

And after the collision, the words. My life will change. But those who have paid to learn to observe what really happens come to the conclusion that a dramatic alteration of the day to day is just a detour for most, and the true wish of the afflicted is a return to normalcy, to the comfort of routine. He never knew how difficult the simple things were. And difficult had become impossible. If he'd known why, he could've died happy.

He got he wanted. He lived. Years later, when asked about what happened, "Things got fucked up" was all he could muster.

Photo: www.pixelworks.com



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Copyrightę2002 by Henry Kastler.

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