Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The One Eyed Jack

If you are standing, or sitting, very still, preferably in a place where you are trapped and cannot leave, waiting in line perhaps, or waiting for a plane, or just waiting for something somewhere you wouldn't usually be, and you are not looking around, and you are not suspecting that anything will happen, and you only want to go away from wherever it is you are, and do anything other than whatever it is you are doing, and you sigh, very deeply, and feel sorry for yourself, he will come.

At first it will seem a welcome diversion. He is not too creepy at first. He is probably blonde, and everyone knows that blondes are less likely to be creepy. Somehow people sense these things. He may even have a mustache, but it's so faint you don't even notice it. Later you wonder if it was really there. His voice is soft, and he has a tricky smile. You think it's a smile. Later you wonder if it really was.

The topic of conversation is familiar. All about the waiting. He, too, was waiting for something somewhere he wouldn't usually be, and sighing and feeling sorry for himself, but misery loves company. He might even say that out loud. Before you know it, you have moved along to topics more of interest to him, such as himself, his life, his likes, dislikes, pet peeves and secret pleasures. Already you know too much about him. Already you wish you had done something other than whatever it was you did that made him think he could sidle up next to you and monopolize your attention and get in your face and start yammering away about all sorts of idiotic notions you had no idea real people actually had.

Such as. He has seen unidentified flying objects. He was in the Air Force stationed in Greece and therefore he knows some things he's not at liberty to divulge, and yet divulge he does. Unceasingly. There are secret weapons systems designed to suck the intestines out of cattle. He has seen too much. Republicans cause cancer, but you knew that, didn't you? Custodians of secret wisdom have passed down for generations the fact that Pope Urbane the Eleventh was yes indeed a woman. Ancient Babylonians invented jell-o. He is letting you in on things. He sizes you up to see if you can be trusted. You understand you are now not at liberty to divulge. Dire consequences. That sort of thing. He has seen even more than too much.

Time will lose its meaning. Eternity is something of which you now have first-hand knowledge. The weather may change and day turn into night, but nothing will ever erase the memory of the one eyed Jack, and the lifetime you spent being near him.

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