Judgment Day Lasts To The End Of My Story And Flashback # 4

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A Deal’s A Deal-It’s Time To Shed That Mortal Coil

Judgment Day (a day that spans almost the whole of part of the rest of my journal)

At Some Future Time

“Jazz! You always did like jazz didn’t you. That’s probably because of that freedom thing, your eminent preoccupation, right?”

“What’s this? Is that you?”

“Yes, its me,” responded MV, “Did you think you were rid of me? Well I’m back, but as you know, I never really left. I would have been right up front with you if you only would have called, but you didn’t. It’s a pity; all that time I go unappreciated. You should be ashamed. Why didn’t you call?”

“You were my sickness and now you’re back, after all these years, you tell me why? Why even come back?”

“Because it’s time,” MV replied, “time to pay old debts. Time to shed that mortal coil.”

“Oh, that explains it,” I said. “A voice in my head announces it’s time to die and that’s that. Sick people die. I can’t argue that, but why so scripted? It’s like in a movie where the grim reaper points a finger, and off you go. Maybe I’m sick, maybe even sick to death. But if that’s true, why do you have to be so uncreative about it?”

“Don’t play coy with me,” responded MV, “a deal’s a deal! And now it’s time to pay up. After all, without me you never would have made it this far. Instead of a smiling old man, consoled by your beloved jazz music, rocking your heart away in your favorite chair, you would have died unfulfilled and in pain long ago. Instead of savoring memories of family, friends, and peaceful meditations, your corpse, save a few rotting bones, would have all but disappeared. You might even think yourself blessed, but I wouldn’t go that far. Even so, you have lived a good life– a rare accomplishment indeed. But now its time; prepare yourself, we must go!”

“Wait, what’s the hurry?” I said, “I’m sorry if you felt neglected, but if I really owe you for my good fortune, then maybe you ought to give me a little more time. We can both appreciate each other that way. After all, if you don’t allow yourself time to feel good about yourself, nobody else can do it for you. You’re right, I do have much to be grateful for. If I owe you that honor so be it. Actually, I’m only asking that you to give yourself more time to be appreciated. Believe me, you owe it to yourself, especially if, as you say, I would not be me without you!”

“Well, I guess a small reprieve wouldn’t hurt,” MV replied. “And besides, there’s more to this story than you are aware. This could even be fun!”

“What do you mean there is more to the story?” I said. “How can that be? You are, as you yourself have said, only a ‘shadow presence.’ I affirm or deny you as I please. In the form of conscience, you may have some influence, but that’s the end of it, right?”

“I am a witness, true, but I also have power,” responded MV, “You will understand soon.


The Bargain

New Orleans’ Room

January, 1970

After kissing both the girl and my job good-by, my depression started to kick in. By the time I got back to my apartment, New Orleans was making me nauseous. I wanted to pack up and get out of town, but I had already paid the rent and my suit coat hadn’t arrived in the mail yet. Feeling out of control, I retreated to familiar territory; I bellied up to the nearest liquor store and bought myself a fifth. It was a pretty safe bet that I would see things differently from the bottom of a whisky bottle. Back in my room, before I got drunk and after putting the finishing touches on another poem, a voice interrupted my train of thought, MV as I liked to call it, was the voice of my insanity. And it had returned!

“What the hell do you want?” I said. “I’m not in a good mood. Do yourself a favor and get the hell out of here.”

“Manners! Manners!” came the retort. “That’s no way to treat your old friend. I want to help you and you treat me like a cockroach. Can’t you be more civil?”

“I don’t feel civil,” I said, “in fact, I feel anything but civil. I don’t need you to spoil the one thing that gives me pleasure, getting drunk. Now leave me alone. I can drink this just fine without the likes of you around. Go away, please!”

“You need me,” MV said, “someday, when I’m not needed I might go away. Would that make you happy?”

“Overjoyed,” I replied, “But you’ve got it wrong. I don’t
need you, especially now! All I need is a damn drink and I prefer to drink alone.”

“Let’s see,” said MV, “you’re saying that getting drunk has left you bubbling over with joy. Right? Oh come now, this is no time for silence. How about sharing some of that joy, I could use a little ‘pick me up.’ Let’s see what you’ve written, correct me if I’m wrong. As I recall, it went something like this:

Dark shadows fall,

the echoes of my life.

Worry, sadness, and pain,

the never ending present.

The emptiness of living is my plight.

Life is in agony,

my soul in chaotic drift.

If only mercy killings

were the fashion and

I not such a coward.

Yeah, now I’m happy. Happiness is contagious around a party animal like you. Be careful though, you’re liable to kill yourself with laughter. Are you sure you don’t need my help? I mean, anybody can dig their own gave, but to make it official you need to be buried and mourned. It appears you’ve mastered the first half. If you do not need my help, what do you need? I tell you true, I can give you more than you can imagine. Certainly, I can do enough so that you will never again feel compelled to write such drivel.”

“What I need,” I said, “you will not, or cannot give me. I need you to go away. I need to know I am not loosing my mind.”

“But we’ve been over that one before,” replied MV, “I am your mind. Lose me and your mind will surely be lost, the best part of it too. By the sounds of it, maybe you need the girl next door. I know I do!”

“Oh,” I said, “the guy’s prostitute in the next apartment over must be back. It seems to be a once a week thing. Wait a few minutes and the walls will be vibrating.”

“Nothing wrong with that,” said MV. “If you like, I can get you girls and they won’t even be prostitutes.”

“Fine,” I said, “Bring me a girl and while you’re at it, bring me a girl I can love. Sex is always better if you at least like the girl you’re with and I imagine it’s great if you love her. Wait! Better yet. Bring me a girl that everybody would love to love. Shit! Why not have everybody love everybody! That’s it MV. How about it, can you do that? I want to look out my window and see nothing but loving and peaceful souls. Can you turn souls that hate into souls that love? That’s what I want MV. Can you do that?”

“What you want is to turn the world into a Garden of Eden minus the apples. Right?” responded MV.

“You’ve got it,” I said, “Now go and do it. Take your time, I’m patient!”

“If I could grant your wish,” MV replied, “what would you do for me?”

“You flatter me. What could I possibly do for you,” I said, “Be your slave?”

“That’s not a bad idea,” MV responded, “If I could do the impossible, then yes, for services rendered, I could make you my slave. But, I cannot do the impossible, so I guess you’re safe for now. Besides, if you really knew what you were asking, you wouldn’t be asking.”

“ What’s that supposed to mean?” I said.

“It means you don’t know what you’re saying. If you did you wouldn’t say it,” responded MV. “You look out at the world and see black and white and good and evil. Those things are mere reflections of what’s really going on. In the real world it’s not possible for me to do what you ask. If it was, then all righteousness and goodness would, in a blink of an eye, cease to exist. You look at the world and see cruelty, suffering, injustice and, if I know you, a fiendish plot to turn all good things bad. But what if bad things were necessary in order for good things to happen? Would you still wish away the bad? Of course you wouldn’t! If an irremovable bond linked bad to good how would you feel then?”

“Now who’s asking for the impossible,” I said, “there is no plan, no purpose to the world. It’s just what works that counts, and what works, unfortunately, is usually violent in nature. It all started with an exploding universe and now it’s come down to big fish eating the little fish. If you see reason and purpose in that, fine, but all I see is the strong and smart killing the small and weak and that’s called ‘survival of the fittest’ with lots of pain thrown in for good measure. Comprende?”

“All I want you to do,” replied MV, “is admit that you don’t know everything. That’s the beginning! I really can help if you just ope
n up a little. Just admit it; your knowledge is incomplete.”

“Ok,” I said, “so explain it to me, so we both can be enlightened!”

“I can’t give you the answers without you first asking the questions,” replied MV, “a clear vision of ‘reality’ may be obtained only through your own eyes, never through the eyes of another, but I can give direction. Besides, my words–my answers to your questions, unless they affect your heart, will not be of use to you.”

“How can you talk about the heart?” I interrupted. “You are ridiculous. First you tell me that what I believe is wrong, and then you say ‘sorry sucker, I have what you want but you’re not getting any!’ How sublime! What a crock of shit! You talk like a madman. God! What does that make me, a genius on the insanity scale? Okay, you say that everything is the way it’s suppose to be, and therefore, everything is already an expression of the good. Right?”

“That’s right,” replied MV.

“Well, the only good that can come out of this is for you to leave me alone,” I said. “Get the hell out of my life! I’ve got some serious drinking to do and trying to make sense out of your nonsense is giving me a headache.”

“I’ll make you a deal,” MV interrupted. “In the beginning you wanted a girl, then it changed to paradise. Right?”

“Yeah, something like that,” I replied.

“Then I told you that what you wanted was impossible because good and bad are so interconnected that one can not exist without the other. Right?”

“If you say so,” I replied.

“Well here’s the deal: I’ll help you understand what’s ‘real,’” said MV, “and if I succeed I promise you will become free from all scorn and bitterness. You will discover, with my help, how it all fits together, how good or evil are woven into one reality. To get to that place you must penetrate reality’s nexus, and that my friend is no minor achievement, but together we will triumph. Are you up for the challenge? All that I require for this service is your soul.”

“Say again,” I exclaimed.

“I’m offering you that ‘final realization’ where, by design, pain and suffering become a necessary part of all that is righteous and good,” replied MV.

“No,” I said, “I mean the part about me giving you my soul? Am I missing something here? Have we made some kind of right turn? The word soul is hardly in my vocabulary, but I still don’t like what I’m hearing. This is important. We’re talking about my sanity now, not just a dream!”

“Wait a minute. Think about what you’re saying,” said MV. “Get your head out of the Dark Ages and listen to me. How can giving me your soul be bad when to make that possible bad must become good? In the end, you loose nothing. And anyway, look at what you get in return; I’ll do your bidding. You will have total control.”

“I need to understand what you’re saying,” I said. “When you say bad is good you don’t mean that bad is good relative to different levels of badness, you mean that bad is somehow inherently good. Right?

“Right,” said MV.

“And, if I discover how good and bad are inherently good then and only then, do I give up my soul. Right?

“Yes, that’s right,” replied MV.

“If I agree to this,” I said, “you will do whatever I tell you to do, and you will continue to do so during the entire time that it takes for me to conclude that bad is good. Is that right?”

“We are not talking semantics here,” MV responded, “the rules of language, the rule of non-contradiction, keeps opposites apart. Don’t worry, we are not talking about language we are talking about vision. When you are able to see past the rules of language then you will see also the good and evil connection.”

“I need an answer to my question, thank you,” I said. “As long as I believe bad is not good, I get to keep my soul and I get to tell you to get out of my life?”

“Almost,” MV responded. “You don’t get to bury me. I need to be able to help you along. However, if at anytime you want me to leave just say so, I will go. I will be available if you need me, though. That’s part of the deal!”

“I need to hear it one last time,” I said, “if I am not in agreement that bad is good, then I keep my so
ul?”

“That is right,” replied MV.

“Then we have a bargain. Where do I sign?”

“Don’t be so archaic, MV responded, “We are adults here. Your word is as good as it gets.”

“Okay, then go,” I said, “get the hell out of my life. I’ve got to wash this whole affair out of my memory and I don’t need any help from you to get the job done.”

When I woke the next morning, I wasn’t exactly at a hundred percent. At first, I thought I had a nightmare, but on second thought I knew I couldn’t be so lucky. I faced up to the fact that my mental health was deteriorating. My emotions were pulling me in every direction. If MV was the real McCoy and if he could be trusted, then from here on out I would be able to turn my insanity around. But, if I actually believed that, I really would be insane, not to mention I would be giving my soul, a soul I never even knew I had, up for grabs. Anyway, illusion or not, making that deal with MV was probably the safest bet I have ever made.

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