Follow the Crumbs

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: marclevytoo


As soon as he said it, and hardly for the first time, he thought why did I say that? Now, it's said. What's done is not over. How many times does that make? I hear the echoes bouncing off the wall. How many times does it take? Now, what do I have to say? And do?

 

Skeptically, Thomas Wu contested, "Does this mean you have a plan?"

 

Cornered, the Unpaid Internet Content Provider countered, "I wouldn't say that."

 

"Any shred of a plan?"

 

"Sort of."

 

"You mean none."

 

"You mean now?"

 

"It's where we're at."

 

"I'm not as sure."

 

Thomas Wu, a surgeon, was exacting in his expectations. The Unpaid Internet Content Provider was not. As a general practitioner of means to no certain end, he attempted to dispense with expectations. It was an internal struggle. The bouncing ball refused to remain still. It showed.

 

Beneficently, Big offered, "It's still early."

 

It was one of those newfangled nights in January that could have passed for a formerly foggy patch in July. Winds that in January used to blow cold from the north had in the irresistible grip of ebb and flow switched sides to turn balmy and frolic like beach bunnies from the south. Droplets from an indifferent drizzle were falling from the eaves, nowhere near achieving the stature of a respectable January rain, and the heated patio under the roof of the Corralitos Brewing Company remained dry, warm.

 

Thomas Wu pursued, "Without a plan you don't know where you're going."

 

"You can always follow the crumbs like Hansel and Gretel."

 

"Who?"

 

"Do you mean to tell me you never learned about Hansel and Gretel from the Little Red Book of Chairman Mao?"

 

"We did learn about crumbs under Chairman Mao."

 

"Lots of crumbs going around and getting dropped all over."

 

"If you don't know where you're going how do you get there?"

 

"Make sure you take the first step to follow the first crumb first."

 

"You just make this stuff up."

 

"It's the thought that counts."

 

Saying shit has become so simple that any magnitude of prideful illiterate able to find and jiggle an icon and make a mark in a tiny box is apt to be popping off in your face like an infected zit. The grease and sleaze in the crumby mixture is too mean and low down to be deterred by cheap traps that get clogged. Personalities become disordered when hit men make out like bandits. Thoughts and actions, too. How else does a paleface weasel who looks like a tubby polecat get to parrot his lying shuck and jive and thrive? Plumbers deserve reparations for exposure to toxic slime.

 

As easy as saying has become, however, where first numbers, and then pictures, conquered the dour slew foot soldiers of stodgy words with primary colors, and barely concealed breasts, doing remains stubbornly unfazed. Hard still breaks bones. It's no easier to get over now than ever. Tasks require stamina, skills, incentives, emotional attachments, to completion. Hams are not the same as turkeys. Boomerangs strike back. Difficult problems remain uneasily solved. Lifeguards drown in droves and wash up for burial on the same littered beach.

 

The big brains floating on stretchable platforms in timeless deep space, of course, get it. They should. They saw it coming and going. It was their simulation gone awry that caused the vital links to rupture and explode on the medium-sized planet chosen by the game players for the interesting variety of its colors. But, big brains don't shrink from minor snafus and mistakes in aesthetics. Humans were hardly the first failed species to tumble from a peak and heedlessly descend. Diamonds have flaws and skulls get cracked and leak. Smaller brains confined by larger muscles rarely coexist in peace. Shit that is not merely said, but done, does and will continue to happen en masse. Numbers will never be able to dance a lick and pictures depend on open eyes to see. A brain that can't dance is by the definition of the word deficiency, retarded. In a multiverse without beginning or end it will continue to be as it was and is.

 

Thomas Wu said, "It wouldn't hurt to have some data to support your position."

 

"I try to stay afloat and dance on my toes."

 

"Harrumph."

 

"That's too much weight for me to be lugging around."

 

It was not an easy task for a recalcitrant man to protect his knee jerking instincts while remaining unpaid. Avoiding the glare of intrusive introspection comes at a highly taxing cost. Many unsightly stains continued to hang out on the corners like cold hoodlums unmoved by a good reason. Many casualties continued to breathe at their own peril. The fruits of his youthful loins, the no longer teen twins, a sweet peach and a tangy plum, who were adept on an irregular basis in the trade of complex odds, dates, locations, and supporting roles, did not come nearly cheap. Due to the routinely soul crushing injustice dispensed by the Municipal Court of Santa Cruz County, he was commanded to provide and provide and provide regular payments for the exorbitant tuition at the college of their choice, where the fees were even higher than the students, until death do him part. Repeatedly, he was assured that classroom attendance hardly ever interfered with the answers to important questions of the day to be found in the excellent surfing they enjoyed when the waves were head high and higher.

 

Thomas Wu said, "It's time to go."

 

The Unpaid Internet Content Provider said, "Do we all have what we need?"

 

Big said, "Make sure you do."

 

Each man carried a 32 ounce growler freshly poured by skeptical Diane, a local Pale Ale from Capitola, an Amber Ale from Coronado, a Kettle Sour from Monterey.

 

She said, "I'll be looking for highlights on the local cable access news."

 

Big said, "I'll drive."

 

In his newly awoke role as progenitor of a political agenda concocted to correct the imbalance in dislocation of resources, neutralize disruptions in the mind-body problem, and solve disturbances of local peace and harmony in his time, The Unpaid Internet Content Provider was faced with standing up once again before agents of the same inapt municipality to illuminate the transparent merits of his prima facie case. The auditorium of the Santa Cruz City-County Building when they arrived was crowded with members of the distended public intent on sharing a small muddy slice of the collective pie. Among the Supervisors of Santa Cruz County seated on a dais facing the wrong way were totalitarians, wonks, back stabbers, ass grabbers, cheek kissers. Their oblong table was covered with a chintzy plastic oil cloth in an off beige shade that was cut on a bias to accommodate slanting. Odds traditionally favored cheaters with bold skills under those tables. Yet despite the unnaturalness of the upright standing position to bi-pedals, and despite his stature in the indistinct minority, The Unpaid Internet Content Provider as a man defiantly stood sort of tall. The pain was as palpable as a sharp pin in a street wise ass crack. His shoulders were back, tense, distraught. The closed quarters were stuffy. Dare to struggle, dare to win.

 

"First," he said first,"let us acknowledge our oral gratitude to the guiding spirits of deep ground water, buried asymmetrics, cannabis sativa, unleashed cougars, Chumash and Ohlones, oral contraceptives, Toots and the Maytals, and Jerry Garcia."

 

Then, he continued, "To begin anew, I ask again, how long for how many must the contribution of so much suffering in abject co-dependencies go to our civic dumps to be wasted? In that I know I am not alone. You know as well as I. We are confronted by a scourge of unfeeling trimmers, clippers, loppers, edgers, whackers, and blowers spilling over the hill from Silicon Valley. The obscenity of these unctuous rods that ram it, with their oil caressing the pumping pistons, and the crescendo of crankshafts endemic to the abomination of 2 stroke engine ignited by soulless plundering robots, must be stopped from distorting the orbits on which we dependently revolve. Every day I cry along with the late B.B. King the blues."

 

He was on a roll. The electricity flickered and hummed with conductivity. The closeness in the air began to separate. Where there are jagged peaks there will be rocks cut loose to grovel with worms in unelevated valleys. He kept on getting right down to the real nitty-gritty. There is only so much getting of it to be had while the getting is still good.

 

"I try not to say," he said, "because as we know too much said is often more than enough, but still, I will, the unbelievable phrasing, believe you me, as many do, perhaps to no avail, but in this case, believe you me, which you now know I don't say lightly, and not without cause, or regret and sorrow, that decisive action is calling out to be acted upon. Look first to the egregious example of the techno-yuppie dweebs plopped atop the soft seats of riding lawn mowers dedicated to mass destruction at many variable speeds. How do we know they are merely not what they seem? The proof is clear. Are they most certainly robots in unconvincing human disguise? Certainly. Even their so-called dogs are robots."

 

This caused an electric shudder of consternation in reconnoitering Alexandra, not alone as a half-breed robot in the auditorium, though at the studded end of her leash after failures in bunco and bingo to humbly fit in with humdrum humans, however backward, along with her canine companion, Thug, a menacing robot who smelled like cat piss. She struggled against simple odds to maintain the grim inscrutability of her dismal countenance. She had been inadvertently programmed to encapsulate the charm of the witch in the Wizard of Oz. Which witch was pictorially hazy. Was the discomfiting ordeal unfair to her? Tough shit.

 

"These crafty robots must be pulled out by the many short hairs of their insidious circuits and the evil extinguished and exposed to sugary liquid injections employing deathly artificial carbonation until fizzed."

 

Breaking truth to electric power is never a pretty sight. Harsh static crackled and snapped. He did not, however, fade away.

 

"The first of many vital provisions in the comprehensive plan proposed in front of you includes the requirement that a license be obtained by any so-called human impersonator prior to the operation atop one of these diabolical mowers tending to the toxicity of their lawns. The licensing process will require independently conducted genetic testing, blood typing, a cranial x-ray, and an additional brain scan where indicated. How else will our citizens under siege be able to feel secure again from these unfeeling marauders? No way, that's how. Who but a guilty robot with no heart would possibly object?"

 

Thomas Wu, not only honorable friend but eminent physician, proffered a drink of pale ale poured in disguise from an opaque can, and said, "Hydrate."

 

After a satisfying sip, the Unpaid Internet Content Provider licked his grateful lips, and concluded, "In conclusion, let us ponder the ancient military wisdom of Sun-Tzu: Great achievements can be achieved by small forces. Be where your enemy is not. The whole secret lies in confusing the enemy so that he cannot fathom our real intent. Never venture, never win."

 

Though that is never simply that, he proceeded confidently as if it was.

 

"Any questions?"

 

 


Submitted: March 15, 2021

© Copyright 2021 marclevytoo. All rights reserved.

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