Monday, November 19, 2012

Faces of evil


I didn't realize until this year, how many packages evil comes in, and sometimes it wears a face that seems innocent or vulnerable.
For years as a reporter, I have previously seen evil done to other people, with me as the objective observer, battling on other people's behalf, trying to make sure that evil gets put back where it belongs. It was never anything personal. It rarely came after me -- at least not unexpectedly. When it did, I always knew it was coming, partly because I had somehow challenged it, and knew that I could ward it off when it came.
This year, I got blindsided, becoming a target of someone's agenda -- evil hiding behind a face I trusted, using a voice so sweet I never suspected it until too late -- a puppet show in which even the puppet was deluded into thinking it was on the inside of some great scheme, clawing its way to some level of importance it would never achieve -- as much of victim of the puppet master as I was, because puppets rarely know they are being used or for what purpose, and then are tossed away when unneeded.
My friend said, "what doesn't kill you, makes your stronger," which is true enough, except that sometimes, when you get wounded deeply enough, something changes in you, a vision of the world changes, and you see just how mean spirited the world can be, and how dark inside some people are who you have known for years.
You can't go back and pretend the world is a good place. It isn't. Some people in it are good. But not the puppet masters or their puppets.
In the end, the only thing you can do with evil is resist it, and the only thing you can do with puppets is to cut their strings. Nothing heals the wound a poison blade inflicts. That you have to live with.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Hey, Pauly, I've joined the band Aug. 16, 1979




Aug. 16, 1979

            Pauly tells me I’m crazy when I call him up to say I joined the band.
            He calls it “a hair-brained scheme,” one I will soon regret the way he did.
            I know deep down I should listen.
            Pauly has quit the band so often it ought to pay him alimony.
            But I got this crazy idea that I can work at night while going to college.
            Pauly admits this is theoretically possible, yet tells me I’ll change and I’ll fall into the rock & roll head, just when I’ve made up my mind finally to get a career.
            He suggests I get a real job – something part time.
            I say part time won’t pay the rent where as the bucks the band pays will.
            I’m not like Pauly. I’m used to a regular pay check after a decade of breaking my back loading trust.
            He’s always lived on the fringe, spending so little he never needs to earn much.
            He also borrows and never pays back.
            I have a conscience.
            I’m also a little hooked on the idea of the rock & roll life, something he never loved, but put up with.
            He calls it a crock, an excuse to get laid, and claims I’ll get classier girls at college and won’t have to fill them up with booze first.
            I also like the idea of working with Garrick, a life-long friend who lately I haven’t seen much of.
            Pauly, who has lived most the last decade with Garrick, says I’ll get sick of that soon, too.
            All this leaves me a little confused after I hang up the phone, as if somewhere in the back of my head I know Pauly is right.
I           I just don’t want to admit it.
            I want a little taste of that dingy world before college changes me into someone who won’t find happiness in a drunken date and a heavy back beat. I know I’m going to regret it, but I’ll regret it more if I don’t.