Sunday, April 6, 2008

The Question

What is your one thing?

What is your one thing?

What is your one thing?

I don’t know.
What is your one thing? Whatisyouronething? I don’t know. Maybe I don’t have one thing.

This came from Julie’s blog – One Lap Around The Sun.

Today I’m reduced to this – commenting on someone else’s blog – someone else’s original thoughts. Not for the first time I’ve done this. Someone else’s material.

If you’ve noticed, please don’t tell me.

Idle thought. Maybe Hemingway had the right idea.

What is your one thing?

I DON’T KNOW! Alright? Lemme alone.

Maybe …

Maybe I’ll know better tomorrow.

Maybe I will.


See … it’s like this. There are those writers who … write through the pain. Ya Know? Someone dies, someone leaves, the writer leaves … something. And then, at that point, there are those writers who will step into the fire, knowing … knowing knowing knowing that … something will be burned away.

And you can say, “Yes, yes. I know people who would do that.”

And whatever it was that burned away was impure, was slag. And in burning away, that which remains in the bottom of the cauldron is pure – only the essence remains. Truth.

How do they know that? How do they know that will happen?

I don’t write through pain. I already know the truth. In order to burn, fire needs fuel, and there’s …

The hanger was empty. He could see that. The windows – those few remaining unbroken – were caked with years of unattended grime. Even the concrete floor was cracked and uneven, powered like an ancient face. Only the remains of an oil leak connoted the possibility that anything had ever occupied this space at all.

Jack Bunny ground the cigarette underfoot as he entered the tomb-like structure. There was a feeling of profound solitude here – the kind of stillness that defines itself in hoary age. The silence screamed.

Walking carefully through the semi-darkness, Jack easily avoided what appeared to be the machined airplane parts covered by now rotting canvas covers. He smiled slightly. If the original intent of these covers had been concealment, it was doubly wasted. Other than one moldy tire, Jack recognized nothing.

Along the rear wall was a long workbench, still littered with paraphernalia. Here was an incongruous coffee cup, delicate, the remains of something now black covering the inside. Here – and there – yellow note pads had aged almost golden, scattered among the rusting and dust covered saws, hammers, screwdrivers, and safety glasses. The impression was that a large number of people had left for lunch one day, and simply failed to return. Jack smiled again. He knew that was exactly what had happened.

About three-quarters of the way along the bench, Jack – almost by accident – came across the object of his search.

The scrapbook had not aged well. The cover was missing, and the clippings on the first page had aged a darker brown than the sandy colored page. Still, the header on the first article was easily readable – “Buck Bunny Rides Again!” Although the accompanying photograph was grainy, Jack easily recognized the glint of eye that matched his own.

The first article interested Jack only slightly. It was dated in late 1938, and consisted of a speech by chancellor Hitler, defending his decision to invade Czechoslovakia, that country considered by Hitler as being a threat to the German peoples. Another article justified the curtailment of certain human rights within Germany, explaining that this was a necessary – and temporary – step to be taken in order to expose the few subversives hidden among the population. Both articles had the support of the Prime Minister of Great Britain, so it must have been okay.

Jack passed over these articles almost unread. Something written in 1938 would have no comparison to events in 2008. And even if an unlikely comparison could be made, the people groups of 2008 United States would be considerably less gullible than the nation of 1938 Germans …

Satisfied, Jack carefully tucked the fragile scrapbook into a large briefcase, and picked his way back toward the opening that had at one time been a door. With luck, he could make it back to town in time to take Nicki to lunch. She had mentioned coming across a flock of sheep on the sidewalk in front of her house. That was something.

What is my one thing?

That was it. Do you see it?


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