Sunday, August 23, 2009

1. Chance Meeting

Audaces fortuna iuvat - Fortune favors the bold. (Virgil)

Aloysius Pumpernickel was his name and yes, he was fucking serious, especially when it came to his name. Everyone knew who he was but not many actually knew him. He was fast and light and either attached to your hip or sailing right by with a shit-eating grin. Most everyone called him Al or Nickel; if he liked you knew it, he would pull you off to the side and say, “you,… you can call me Ally.”

There was nothing really special about the guy that would impress you at first sight. He stood five foot eleven and appeared to weigh about 170 pounds solid. Not that that’s a bad thing, mind you. The one thing about Aloysius that greeted you was those peepers of his. Bright green eyes peered out from his average face and then, he didn’t seem so average, he stood out.

He had this sense of timing that was so righteous. Every day was a holiday. Within that anxious feeling of madness that propeled him on, was an understanding that this bright star would not burn long. Somewhere, at some time, this party would end and somebody left behind would have to clean up the mess and deal with the lost and lonely feeling of abandonment. Not a cheery forecast to say the least.

“Gentlemen are allowed to be tardy, but they must bring a token gift to appease,” Ally would say, “that way you have covered your ass.” He always had to be somewhere right now; he was always running late.

With Ally you learned to expect, ya know, the unexpected. One rule of thumb was to accept the inevitable. There were always chemicals involved. If he wasn’t chemically inconvenienced then he soon would be. Straight to Hell or as Dave used to say, “It’s a one-way ticket to an insane asylum…” to which Ally added; “With free transportation and free meds included.” Expect carnage ahead. The road will be littered with the bodies of those unable to keep pace. There are no prizes for second place. Thanks for trying out but not everybody can make the team.

What is it that propels one forward with the knowledge that fortunes could be lost, youth and health in constant jeopardy? Why does the moth fly into the light? Stupidity mostly, the fucking moth knows better but exercises poor judgment. Like the song says, “I might be going to Hell in a bucket baby, but at least I’m enjoying the ride.” The axiom of, ‘it’s the journey not the destination,” was always true. The ride, well, the ride was going to be bumpy whether you planned for it or not.