Wednesday, January 12, 2011


            She comes from the ocean. Where the water laps in lonesome rolls. Where beasts may sing you a lullaby. The air is rich and clean and silent. The ocean erodes the stone you wear. The earth drowns beneath your feet. You bob and lie with the heavens. Your bedding splits the waking world asunder. It leaves you content beyond the chasm. Where it’s cold and dark and there’s no one to hear. All that is good is nothing but yours.
            She comes from the ocean.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


           The Madsen Municipal Courthouse stood stoically atop Truburgh Hill, casting its sovereignty across the city like the shadow of a cloud. It’s Doric columns stood like clenched forearms that had punched their way out of the earth and broken through the planet’s dermis. The marble statues of gargoyles and gods exhaled authority and blew the air clear of pollution. The stone walks ambled down the hill with the alacrity of a valley’s brook. Finely carpentered benches nestled beneath the yews and acanthus ran along their sides. The walks lead to the two vast parking lots. They were empty, as were the parking lots save a solitary BMW.
            The orange moon loomed in the ink black sky over the city as Invidio spotted Olpian’s car. The judge had parked in an isolated corner under a canopy of hawthorn branches. Invidio slowly crossed the parking lot on his squat legs. As he neared Olpian’s car, he saw the judge sobbing into his open tremulous hands.
            Invidio knocked on the window. Olpian’s weathered tear-streaked face popped up to meet Invidio’s. The bearded little man smiled compassionately. “May I be of any assistance, good sir?”
            Olpian composed himself with a single sniffle. “No. Thank you,” he said and looked away.
            “You say that with utmost certainty?”
            Olpian nodded his head. “Yes.”
            “Might you possess the magnanimity to confide in yours truly the most trivial vagary as to your ailment? My pardons ad infinitum. But in excess of a fortnight nary a wink will Morpheus bestow if I must remain aloof.”
            Olpian blinked back more tears. He stared at nothing through the front windshield. Finally he replied, “It’s not my ailment.”
            “One for whom you love,” Invidio gently offered.
            Olpian nodded.
            “A child?”
            Olpian swallowed hard, and nodded.
            “Mayhaps I can be of benefit.”
            Olpian sniffled again. “You have some miracle drug I don’t know about?”
            Invidio smiled. “One might employ stranger monikers.”
            For the first time since Invidio had knocked on the window Olpian raised his head and met the little man’s gaze. His eyes narrowed angrily. “What?” he growled.
            Invidio saw Olpian’s face start to contort and straightened his posture, his palm over his heart. “Cruelties are anathema, sir. I speak sincerely.”
            Invidio jumped back as Olpian thrust open the car door. The jurist marched up and towered over the homuncular man. “I am the last person in this world you want to mark for this con and this is the worst time in the world for you to try it!”
            Invidio supplicated himself, his pants tearing as his knees hit the asphalt, and implored, “Not one thought is divorced further from my countenance and no material need change hands.”
            “Get away from my car before I kick the piss out of you!”
            Olpian turned back toward his car.
            Invidio yelped, “The only tithe be your dignity!”
            Olpian stopped and looked back over his shoulder. “My what?”
            “Your dignity and naught a scruple more. What patriarch worth his salt would not give as much for kith and kin?”
            Olpian regarded Invidio for a split second. “Get out of here,” he snapped and turned back to his car.
            “Leave! Now!”
            Olpian put one foot into his car.
            “Would you have a filicide on your soul?” Invidio shouted.
            Olpian stopped.
            Invidio watched the man’s face redden and his pupils dilate with rage. “Your retreat is tantamount to such. But all that is required to evade said calamity is your most rudimentary acquiescence.”
            Invidio stared into Olpian’s homicidal eyes. The desperate man was not moving. He was barely breathing.
            “Your Honor,” Invidio began, “I know of your vocation. I know of the accolades bequeathed in recognition of your mastery. I know your currency is facts and doubts – as is mine. As evidenced by your lachrymals, the sincerity of your sorrow is a fact. As evidenced by your admission, your beloved progeny’s infirmity is a fact. My possession of an effectual remedy you may doubt. That my stated price for such a remedy cannot possibly bring further infliction to the child or greater despondency to you and yours, however, is an inexorable fact. If the suffering of this child would evoke such lamentations, is it not a reasonable assumption that you would suffer any indignity to ensure the youngling’s revivification?”
            Olpian’s face remained hard, calcified by anger and fear. Invidio stared back at him through an interminable silence.
            A car engine turned over at the opposite end of the parking lot.
            Invidio saw Olpian blink.
            “Fine,” said Olpian. “Keep my dignity and save my girl.”
            Invidio smiled.
            “Now fuck off!” Olpian fell into the car and quickly sped away.

            It was four days after his encounter with Olpian. Invidio was enjoying his morning constitutional before leaving for work. He was almost surprised when he stumbled across the headline: OLPIAN CRACKS. Invidio read the story.

Following three days of increasingly erratic behavior, Judge Moses Olpian has resigned from his position as Superior Court Judge for the county and city of Madsen. Judge Olpian’s attorney gave no explanation for his client’s sudden breakdown. The sudden change in the honorable judge’s behavior began on the morning of Tuesday the 3rd, when during a routine preliminary hearing, Judge Olpian, repeatedly and without prompting, confessed to a number of embarrassing sexual peccadilloes from his collegiate career, including an admission of a particularly scandalous experiment with homosexuality. The following day witnessed His Honor render a judgment, not in English, but in what he claimed to be the mating call of the West Indian sabre-toothed seahorse. Judge Olpian’s public collapse culminated yesterday when he was suddenly struck by an uncontrollable bout of diarrhea.

            Olpian’s breakdown, the story continued, coincided remarkably with the miraculous recovery of his seven-year old daughter from a lethal undiagnosed illness.
            Invidio Fast beamed as he read the story. It would be another two weeks before he would have to enter into a bargain with another powerful man. Two weeks before he would have to clean the camel suit himself.