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Guest Writer

Second of five parts ...
The funeral pirate
by Troy Eggleston

es, beware.

Beware of the worm of age. For if you are not careful it inches its way inward and settles with haste.

It is true, all children upon arrival have the capacity to elude vicious cycles that spin and repeat to eventually swarm the will like irritated wasps whose sting is constant.

That is only if they pay attention to the magic, and continue to build upon it. I refer to magic as moments of clarity; spellbinding clarity which peels away at our daily arsenic in attempt to reveal the space beneath the bone. In other words, clarity which bears witness to the original self, before all the exclamations and renovations were added.

But this magic also frightens many of us, so we push it aside while wrapping ourselves in perceived refinement through mundane daily goals. This creates a blanket so thick that, ironically, it keeps us feeling safe and warm while it is actually detaching us from ourselves.

Have you ever stared through a pinhole at a solar eclipse? The experience immediately becomes unspectacular, yet you would become blind if you did not take such precautions. Regardless of how tightly our mothers held us to their naked, sagging breasts, it is deemed eventually that we stray.

It was not boredom that whisked me away, but rather a syncopated curiosity. And what might that mean, you ask? Where is this going, you demand.

I am incapable of apologies so let me continue.

There was a center. This was where I hid until it became so crowded with predictability that I had to explore the outer cliffs, the coveted oasis. This led to a dichotomy born to suffering. To my left were gardens of ripened fruit. There were choirs singing in unison with voices so pure that they never existed.

There were elevated silence and deflated egos. Everything was so lush and alive without excessive movement. You see, thought ceased to exist here ... which is an extremely difficult, yet serene, space to be in.

It is impossible to judge that which has true meaning. How infinitely boring, though! I wanted ever so passionately to recite my own specialized version of it all. I wanted to win the debate, to condemn, to transform in my own illusory manner. Yet, in the process of collecting evidence, I was surrounded by distraction – believing that I could become anything that I wished.

All of the secrets of the world were unraveling in my youthful mouth. My senses were adorned with optimism but conformed by moderation. Yes, I do remember the possibilities, yet it was impossible for me to achieve them.

Why? you ask. Why couldn't you?

Ah, I can see you are young. Beauty has a weakness and it lies in its own vanity. A child also has a weakness and it lies in the beauty that is one.

I am neither making excuses nor sense. An excuse requires love. And sense, well, that requires even more so, and I have none left to give. I am only exercising my right to reminisce.

So where was I before you tried to trick me? Do that again and see what it brings you, thief! My old mind is easily sidetracked, yet I know of you devils.

Memory is betrayal. I would go there, to the left, you see, just before bed.

I would reluctantly cover my right eye with a cold palm. Reluctance. Now there is another beast. It is the opening act for many other misfortunes. Even a fortune can be a misfortune, which leads me to believe that it is a useless word.

Anyway, like any child, I enjoyed being frightened, so much as nature permits. Boo.

"Boo!" said the ghosts in the carnival float just when the Queen had arrived.

There was at any given time a legion of monsters beneath my bed as a child, which is evidence of my theory.

One night, while a bit of faith had arrived after I had covered my right eye, I decided to lean over the bedside to see firsthand what my tormentors had in store for me. Prior to this courage, even my feet refused to dangle over the edge of the mattress. But with my right eye covered I was no longer overcome by fear.

With my head to the floor, my hand pressed against the right as only the left observed. I saw nothing but a lost marble. It had a thousand colors swirling and mixing inside its smooth, rounded glass. What reprieve to know that contained there beneath my bed was not a pit of slashing morbid fiends whose only desire was to pull me under, beneath any light to swish and frolic in their foul mud. But rather, evidence of singularity; a point, a defined point. It was so sharp, though, and perhaps beautiful (I have no reference to such claim), that it terrified me more than any six-eyed wart-infested beast could ever have done.

Ah. Do you see?

I am not crazy, dear reader. You as well are probably confined to your demons. Happiness is not as you think. It is itchy and lonely. But so is the other side.

Beware, for your destiny too may stall and forever leave you stuck in what should have been a mere moment. A phase. I say I was young when I wore this patch and had no other choice. My years marched onward, such as all things do.

I could have changed but I became immersed in my transparent feud. I say with vacancy: no more is there hope.

I have become the consummate funeral pirate – my own destiny is steeped in its own revolution, repeating itself incessantly.

Read part one of "The funeral pirate."

E-mail Troy at leonchester@cosmo.com, and find his previous efforts in our archives.

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