The definition of weakness

November 10, 2011


Maybe they were right. The conservatives. Maybe it was the rock’n’roll. Maybe it was the beer. Or the speed. But it does seem like we were all half mad. Like a love-sick fool who can’t have the woman of his dreams. Either because she is married. Or because she wants nothing to do with him. Or because she doesn’t exist except in some dark fantasy. There was such a desperation to be good. But the hypocrisy was crippling. We didn’t see it right away. The scandals in the Church hadn’t been revealed yet. Daniel Ellsberg was hardly believed. The environment was still saveable. Everyone was denying. We lived in an age of liars. And they were powerful men.  And their opponents. Being honest meant that you weren’t sure. And that was the definition of weakness. Carter lost. Reagan won. And so continued the corruption of the American story.

THE MURDER OF A CANDIDATE FOR A POST DOCTORATE DEGREE

Part 7

Today I began a story. In it a son wants to kill his nagging mother. Martyrs, he believes, should have their wishes fulfilled. After a good deal of thought he decides to poison her by sticking her head in the gas oven. A suicide note was easy to fix. He dictated it to her. His mother was a saint and would do anything he pleased. She was not a strong woman. She hardly resisted. He kept a wet cloth over his mouth. Afterwards he went up to his room to clear his head. There was an envelope on the desk. It was addressed to him. He opened it. Dear son. I will be going out tonight. I will leave your dinner in the oven.

Did I write this story, dream it, or steal it? I went to the library and raced through their periodic section. I didn’t want to be accused of plagiarism. I burnt the story. No use taking chances. The next day I rewrote it.

I know its about me, she said. There is no such thing as fiction. Its just facts at a masquerade. I stared into my hands. They look worried. Palms are like the underbellies of spiders. My hand crawled up her arm. She screamed and fled into the washroom where she plugged in an electric toothbrush. To defend herself.

Making love one night I called out her sister’s name.

One Response to “The definition of weakness”

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