C.W. was in a particularly annoying mode, and he has developed annoyance into a heavily nuanced art form. So just imagine.
“It’ll make you rich,” he said.
“I’m already rich,” I said. Thinking better of it, I added, “Metaphorically speaking.”
“Your species and your metaphors,” he said. “What’s a metaphor for? Can you eat one? Spend one? Cruise around the world on one? We’re talking real riches here.”
“You are the voice of Satan,” I said. It was early and I was groggy from a dream I had concerning Jerry Sandusky and hoe handles.
“You are a stench rising from the rotting heap of unfulfilled dreams,” he said.
“Lookit,” he said. He pulled his suspenders and popped them dramatically, for he was assuming the form of the world’s greatest salesman. “You don’t have to do anything but put up a little money. You will be the lucky seed that falls on good ground and flourishes with neither toil nor spinning.”
“Oh please,” I said. “Don’t just be a carbuncle disgracing the backside of anus mundi.”
“Just listen, will you? Be a vessel waiting to be filled with hope.” He produced a pair of expensive reading glasses, retrieved a flyer from a briefcase, and thrust it at me.
I looked. Across the top bold letters announced the creation of “Fauxlar Panels, Inc.” Beneath this was a large photograph of a house, the roof of which proudly bore a series of dark panels facing the street.
“Know what the problems are with solar panels?” he asked.
“They are expensive,” I said.
“That’s one,” he said. “Want to guess the other?”
“Good,” he said. “I’ll tell you. Orientation.”
My mind flicked back to the dream state and the terror on the coach’s face as he imagined life as a great road traveled in retributive agony.
“I’ll explain,” C.W. continued, addressing me as a devoted pupil sitting at the feet of a master.
“You spend all this money to be the very face of ‘with it green sensitivity’ by adorning your house with solar panels.”
“Yes,” I said, returning to the real world. “And then?”
“You are a dense forest, shutting out all light,” he said, showing exasperation. “Then you realize you have spent your savings but your house faces north.”
“Your house faces north,” I repeated numbly. From the distant recesses of my memory, the screams of the coach broke through as he became the vessel of justice.
“And just what,” he said. “What is the advantage of spending all that money if the result is hidden from view?”
“As in, not visible from the street?” I was beginning to understand.
“Precisely.” He paused and pointed at the picture. “Fauxlar panels. They don’t do anything but they are cheap and you can place them anywhere. Voila! In the eyes of your peers, you are a great dragon guarding the future of the planet and it costs you pennies.”
|Misery shall be the reward of him|
who would build a life of iniquity on a
foundation of mankind's glorification.
- St. Ludicrous of Salvatia
“And you can be a pilgrim on this journey to riches,” he said pulling out a contract. “Just sign here and write me a check.”
I thought about those who become symbols with no underlying moral foundation.
“Have you ever heard of a hoe handle?” I said.