I hadn’t seen the Harbinger of Change in a number of days. I kept thinking he would pop up somewhere. But he didn’t. This was probably part of his plan all along. Get me thinking about Change and then disappear for a length of time. I considered changing everything. How long I sleep, what I eat for breakfast, my job . . . but in the end, I defied him. I will not change, I yelled to the absent specter of change.
To exercise the thoughts I started to do everything exactly the same. Counting the strokes as I brush my teeth, always parking in the same spot (even circling the block numerous times to make sure I get MY spot), kissing my wife good night at precisely 10:27 each night; anything to avoid change.
Then it happened: I decided to skip the curly fries with my Arby’s Roast Beef Max. I don’t know what possessed me to do something so reckless. I guess I was wearing a nice outfit and I didn’t want the grease on my fingers to find it’s way to my slacks. Whatever the reason, I rued my decision the moment I realized it. I knew that was it: Change would be back . . .
I saw the Harbinger of Change at Target today. He was shopping for socks. I found this slightly humorous but when I asked him about it he simply said: You either grow with Change or it grows you, more nonsensical platitudes. He had some really odd colors picked out and I felt it my responsibility to point out that you should match your socks with either your shoes or your belt. He looked at me with a sense of pity.
So much time worried about what others think, he said plainly, worried about your socks, your hair . . . the opinions of others. He stopped for a moment and seemed to be thinking. But Change is coming for you and opinions will be the least of your concerns.
Indeed, here you are. I chuckled and tried to lighten the moment. He stood quietly, not responding. Hey there fellow, I don’t even know what to call you.
I am the Harbinger of Change.
That’s a mouthful, I laughed. I tried to present myself as care free and easy going, but it was probably obvious that I was not at ease. How about if I call you Harold? Again, trying to insert humour into an uncomfortable situation.
Regardless of what you call me, Change is coming.
So you keep saying. You got any details on that Change?
He shook his head. No, not yet. It’s not time. He replied. But Change is coming. He repeated himself. With that he looked at his watch, set down the socks, and walked out of the store. He never looked back, didn’t say another word, just left. I was certain I would be seeing him again.
The Harbinger of Change came to town today. He was all bluster and bother spouting nonsense about the shortage of time and the days growing shorter. Never one to shy away from a conversation, I asked him where he came from and where he was headed. He said he came from my future and my past was his destination. I chuckled and asked him if I should go ahead and continue with my Wednesday. He looked flat and didn’t answer, apparently unable to appreciate the nuance of my joke.
I invited him in for a meal; he seemed rather out of sorts, and quite honestly, out of his mind. I told him to buy anything from the value menu that he wanted. He seemed bemused by me but went ahead and ordered a burger and fries. I asked if he wanted a Coke. He looked at me oddly, stating that stimulates will not stop the stroke of twelve. I nodded and smiled as if I knew what he was talking about; a sad chap, obviously mad. But as my grandmother used to say: There but for the grace of God, go I. Don’t ask, I don’t really know what it means either, but it seemed to apply to this situation.
He finished his meal and I walked him to the door. I bid him adieu as I climbed into my truck. He told me he would be back as Change never stays away. I nodded in agreement (humouring the poor fellow), waved pleasantly, put my tuck into gear, and departed leaving Change behind in the parking lot.
Note. This was my attempt at a modern morality tale, complete with my own “everyperson”. For those who are fans of symphonic metal you will notice that Nightwish was the obvious source of inspiration for this short work of fiction. Thank you, Tuomas Holopainen for writing great music with lyrics that stir the imagination.
The train rattles down the track, kicking up dust as it hurdles into the nothing; careening into oblivion as the destination nears. Inside the dining car a solitary figure sits, surrounded by others, on the way to the ferry. The figure sips on a cocktail and is bemused by the thoughts occupying space and time. Another figure, a woman of nondescript age, asks if she could join our everyperson, and they begin to talk.
“Pardon me?” the conversation begins.
“Do you mind if I sit here?” the woman asks.
“Not at all; sit where you like.” Dana takes a chest from the adjacent seat and slides it alongside the stool.
“Thank you.” She sits and extends her hand “Karen” she offers.
“Dana” is the response.
Karen orders a drink and sits quietly for several moments before venture to ask Dana a question. “So, what’s your story?”
“How long you got?” Dana asks half joking.
Last winter I reread some Edgar Allen Poe short stories at the recommendation of my daughter. I was experiencing writer’s block at the time, so i thought I would try my hand at a parody, writing in the style of Poe. What emerged was the story I present below. It is whimsical as well as macabre, but consider the inspiration. I trust you will identify the various themes from Poe erupting in my story. I hope you enjoy this bit of lunacy.
One might think me mad to hear my tale, but that is only because you have not heard it rightly. Thus I have sat down this night to set things right. I am certain when you hear it from me you will not think me so. In fact, you should find me the sanest of all people. No doubt, when confronted with the surety of the facts you will deduce that you would have acted in self same manner.
I was nigh to my twentieth summer when I met my sweet Lulabelle Fee. I had long since turned to loving all living things and had denounced the way of the carnivore in deference to eating vegetable matter only. Continue reading “The Big Pizza: A Macabre Tale of Regret, and Justice, and Anchovies”