Wednesday, December 21, 2011


            I don’t like guns. Not because they’re weapons. People need weapons. They always have. But guns make it too easy to kill. A gun depersonalizes a kill, cheapens it. Taking a life is a sacred act, a sacrament to be performed by the Warrior.
            A gun is a machine, an atrocity of artifice having nothing to do with the wholly organic act of bringing death upon another’s head. Disassemble a gun. Reduce it to its individual parts. Each of those parts is created on an assembly line – by a machine. No human touch goes into the creation of a gun, and no human touch exists between its wielder and its victim. Most people couldn’t tell you what the majority of those parts do, let alone how they act in conjunction. It’s a tragically appropriate weapon for our times. Our leaders, those who determine who is to be killed, are not warriors. They have diminished warfare to little more than terroristic destruction. They have made the men and women who follow them into battle complicit, forcing them to abandon heroism, reducing their bravery to a shadow dying as clouds blanket the sun. Honor is alien. They have transformed our fighting forces from armies of warriors to debits and credits. The nobility of a kill can’t be measured by an equation: n/t = E; n is the number killed, t, is the time elapsed, and E equals efficiency. A good kill has no business being counted in a ledger.
            How ironic that our leaders have reduced life to an unmotivated commodity while you crow louder than ever of its immeasurable value. Criminally gross inflation. Why does all life come to an end if it’s sacred? Life is finite. It’s also limiting, disempowering. The Natural Order shackles us to immutable laws. It poses us questions with perpetually elusive answers. But Death is the great unknown. It possesses infinite potential. Beyond existence is a horizon with no end. While life is a brief spark that flickers and fades into ether, Death is an inferno that burns forever. If what some have speculated is true – that what lies beyond is determined by how we meet our end – then how better to greet Death than in a blaze of glory?
            This is a disgraceful culture. People skitter about like vermin in the dark, oblivious to the plague they carry and leave behind like a trail of slime. But the plague they spread is no carbon-based organism, no microscopic parasite. It is fear. Countless ciphers, faceless throngs without substance or purpose, flailing every which way like a football bouncing around the turf, in a futile attempt to flee from the inescapable. Why should a natural, the only genuine inevitable in the world, inspire such dread? Because its nature is a mystery? You’re never more alive than when facing the source of horror; muscles tensed, teeth gritted, all extraneous thought exorcised, every superfluous feeling numbed. All is void but the need, the desire, the unquenchable thirst to vanquish your enemy. It’s as blinding a charge as grabbing a wire alive with electricity. To grasp that wire, to let the electrical charge course through you, to embrace the danger of it burning your insides, makes you a warrior.
            A man who kills with a gun is no warrior. The Warrior does not allow a machine to snuff out his enemy’s life. He does it with his own hand. He accepts the responsibility of ushering his nemesis to his fate. He exerts himself to near collapse, where every muscle is about to snap in twain. His vision is clouded by tears of exhaustion. His blade has grown fat on blood and sweat. The Warrior can barely lift it. His legs threaten to give like dead leaves in a gale. He raises his head high one last time and looks into the soul of his foe, the one who would consign him to eternity. Their eyes lock. They are more intimately entwined than lovers. Between them arcs a crackling bolt of respect, admiration, and pity. The Warrior cleaves the air with his blade and buries it in the thick flesh of his foe. The sharpened steel drinks the blood. The kinetic force of impact rushes through the spine of the weapon, into the Warrior’s clenched hands, and envelops his being in a wave of vampiric chi. A scream of anguish and release explodes from his enemy’s throat and shatters the space between the two combatants. The enemy falls silent, then falls to the ground. There is no sound in the world comparable to a body; a lifeless husk, all energy expended, soul and will scattered to the winds like ashes; crumbling to the ground. Like the Colossus of Rhodes, the Warrior towers over the fallen cadaver. He faintly notices a scent on the air. It is the wafting sweat of the universe at work, creation and destruction commingling in their swirling fractal of cosmic order. The Warrior breathes it in and looks at his hands bathed in red.
The Warrior understands: you can only grasp your full potential with blood on your hands.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Romilda Ur-Sinus placed her fingertips against her temples and rubbed deeply. She recognized her students to be, by and large, a good group of children. They all quietly sat at their desks, rocking back and forth on the balls of their feet, fidgeting with whatever was in their hands, waiting for their turn to show-and-tell. But seven-year olds, she felt, shouldn’t be so entranced by the morbid and tawdry. Why were these kids so enamored with the seedy underbelly of it all, and why were they inured to it? Hannah, her wide eyes bluer than the sky, had brought in an old copper teapot. It had been a wedding gift to her great-grandmother before the woman’s husband used it to murder an Irishman who had been stepping out with his wife. Sweet, angelically voiced Preston had displayed the shrapnel that had lodged itself into his grandfather’s armpit in Hue. Even Cody, shy but with the heart of a poet, had decided to show and tell about a video his elder step-sister had produced for P.E.T.A.
            Ms. Ur-Sinus raised her head as little freckle-faced Tela finished her presentation. “Thank you, Tela,” she said, and the ginger girl returned to her seat with her father’s World War Two-era lampshade. Ur-Sinus didn’t have the fortitude to right then instill in the girl an appreciation for the gross inhumanity of the object. Instead she turned back to the class. “Argossy?” she called. “How about you?”
            The boy, all cowlicks and coke-bottle lenses, made his way to the head of the classroom. In his hand he held the loop at the end of a red leash. Waddling behind Argossy on the other end of the leash was a shockingly tiny bald man.
            The boy and the diminutive man stood side-by-side before the files of desks. “For Show & Tell,” said Argossy, “I brought my pet midget. His name is Uncle Pappy. Uncle Pappy is not a dwarf because dwarves’ limbs are not in normal… pro… propur –” Uncle Pappy whispered into Argossy’s ear, and the boy continued, “– proportion to their bodies. He is three-feet five-inches tall, but he can become nine feet when the moon is full. Uncle Pappy is allergic to cats. His favorite color is green, but he prefers black girls. He speaks four languages and has wrought-iron kidneys. He killed a man with his… ret… retret –” Uncle Pappy again provided a helpful whisper, “– retractable pincers that shoot out of his wrists like Spider-man’s webs, but his favorite comic book is Doom Patrol. He can run twenty-five miles per hour and pass Doug Benson through his colon. He can play The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway on a comb and split an atom with his eyelids. On his home planet, midgets rule and ride hawktopuses into battle. I like Uncle Pappy because he is good and tells funny jokes. I think midgets are better pets than Muslims.”
            Ms Ur-Sinus suddenly found her fortitude. She didn’t even bother to underline her shock with a protracted stare. “Argossy, I don’t know where to begin! First, Uncle Pappy, if that’s even his real name, is a human being. You can’t keep a human being for a pet! And Uncle Pappy is not a ‘midget.’ That’s a hurtful word. He’s a ‘little person.’ Now, should I give you an itemized list of all the lies you just told? Because other than your extremely offensive last sentence, everything else you just is physically impossible!”
            Romilda Ur-Sinus’ head popped off her neck with the sudden snip of pincers.
            Uncle Pappy whipped the pincers back into his forearm like a lariat. He regarded the stunned ranks of children for a moment. He then about-faced, dropped his pants, leaned over, and pushed.
            Doug Benson’s head emerged with an audible pop. “Who’s up for a pizza party!?!”