Dignity Was the First to Leave

Reads: 317  | Likes: 0  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 3

More Details
Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A look into Paradise Lost.

Submitted: June 09, 2009

A A A | A A A

Submitted: June 09, 2009

A A A

A A A


 
Dignity
 
No one can serve two masters;
For either he will hate the one and love the other,
Or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other.
You cannot serve God and mammon.
Matthew 6:24
 
Chapter One
 
"Ask me my name!" The young, disheveled man screams directly at a clean, shaven, and dissonant face.
"I gives' a damn about your name."
As he grabs the man's collar and forces his eyes to meet his, the hero warns of his wrath, "One more chance. One more fucking chance! Ask me my name."
"Or what? You gonna’ call on those fucking freaks inside your head to kick my ass? Go ahead freak, call one 'em. I fucking dare you to! Call them mother fucker!"
The words fall upon his combatant as he holds his hands tight over his ears to keep something from entering or leaving. "Stop it. Stop it. Stop it!"
Seeing this, he starts to dig in. "I am waiting freak, go ahead call 'em." This is why he does what he does. It is not the money. It is not the jewelry. It is not the car. The house. The wife. It is the power. The power he owns and distributes over his servants in small viles. It is knowing their inner thoughts. Knowing that greedy lust for one more fix. It is the ability to use their addiction against them and to push every single button. This is why. This is fun. It was fun right up to the time he looked back at the freak and saw the barrel of a gun glaring at his face.
"I warned you," he gritted out between clenched teeth. "One more time. Ask me…" He is interrupted by two gun shots. A homeless man with highly polished combat boots, the next customer in line, is the only one to see two bodies crumble dead to the ground. As he rushes towards the carnage, a large, dark shadow of a man wearing a black trench coat disappears around the corner. He looks at the one with the gun. His face is a picture of peacefully calm seas and is as serene as a child's first laugh. The gun is still in his hands. There is no clip and no round in the chamber.
The other's face is as jagged and unapproachable as the northern faces of endless, winter peaks. A worn age shows through the finely cleaned pores of a pampered life. The sadness of it all starts to make the homeless man slip into a world of pity and empty finality. Then his street instincts slap him back into reality, and he automatically starts to empty their pockets. In the right pocket of the one with the gun, he finds a folded twenty dollar bill, just like the one in his. That is all. He wishes he knew the man's name.
On the scarred and aged man he finds a wallet with money and the picture of a house. The house stands on a small green hill overlooking a large backyard, vegetable gardens, and several flower gardens dispersed through out. The house has two parts connected by an elaborate green house adorned by a rainbow of shades of green from within. The part of the house to the left is dark. No room has a light on and the curtains are always tightly drawn. There are rock gardens and fountains on this side. No flowers. Only a lone fruit tree. The other side is clean, pristine, and charming. Flower beds abound and soft, rolling grass flows into a beautiful forest. He checks the address on the ID and puts the wallet into his right pocket next to the folded twenty dollar bill. He leaves the men in a growing pool of blood. Just two more nameless, unidentified bodies. He leaves them so their souls may go their route.
 
Chapter Two
 
One of the souls, the clean-shaven man, passes in front of me. I am Mammon and this is the hell that surrounds me; it is my home. The smell of ever rotting flesh fills the air around me. The dark flames cast an eerie black shadow across the gray, hot walls of the hallway. Everywhere I look, I am reminded of my fate. It seems like I have been cast out of Heaven forever; all because of my Savior's great plan. This misery was not part of my plan. This is not how I remembered it . . .
 
Chapter Three
 
We had all gathered around God, to see what all the buzz was about. God did not waste any time, He never liked wasting time, "I am glad to see everyone." He looked at everyone's solemn and serious faces. They were glaring at each other and making quick little gestures toward each other. The tension was thick; lately, it was always thick. "I have a new plan I would like to share with you."
Thammuz, with a huge amount of sarcasm, speaks first, "Uuuuh, Uuuuuh. Listen. Listen everyone God has another plan."
Belial joins in the mockery, "Yeah, I can hardly wait. I don't care what any of you say, his last one was a great plan." He winks at God and everyone enjoys a small chuckle at God's expense. 
"What were we thinking?" chuckles Mammon, "those lumbering animals were just too freaking huge." He stands up, imitates a T-Rex, and teases Moloch, "And what in the Hell were you thinking? Making a big ass meat eater and giving him little freaking three foot arms." He continues his imitation until Moloch sails a rock towards his head.
"Enough!" screams God above the laughter. "Man, we have definitely been together for far too long! However, all that will change. This time it will work. I am sure you have noticed, Lucifer is not at this meeting."
Daggon speaks, "Yeah, I was swimming and I saw him sleeping over by . . .”
"The river," God interrupts.
"Yeah, the river. But how did you know?"
God smugly points to himself, "Please, this is Me your talking to." He gathers everyone closer. "I have planted a seed in Lucifer's dreams. A seed from which a thought will be born. A thought that will change the Universe. He will wake having thoughts of taking my throne. This is where I need your help." He calls them ever closer together in a huddle and proceeds with his entire plan. When he is finished, all his subordinates stand up and look at each other with confused faces.
"That's a good plan," Thammuz timidly offers his opinion, "but should we …I mean do we dare disturb the Universe? Should we not think this over tea and cakes? I mean let us not rush. There will be time, there will be time."
"Man, blah, blah, blah," Chemos answers. "Don't you ever shut-up? You talk so freakin' much; I stopped believing you a long time ago. I think you lie so much you don't even know what the truth is anymore. Why don't you and Moloch go back to your mountains and do whatever you two do over there. I mean you two spend so much time together, I am beginning to get suspicious."
"Suspicious of what?" roars Moloch. "You want some of this you freak. I'll fucking kill you. I'll send your head home on a platter."
God quickly jumps in, "Enough, enough. There will be no more of this nonsense. This is our time, our time." As God stares each of them down, each ones starts to see the grandiose of his remarkable plan. Each face turns hopeful and all endorse the plan and all understand their part.
 
Chapter Four
 
. . . That was how I remembered it. But somehow I feel left out, forgotten, and betrayed; it has been so long since the fall. Too long. I continue my walk towards my Master's hall. I see the dark wings of the fallen howling above my head. The eternal screams of the damned, the screams I used to love, now sound like breaking glass to my ears. Everywhere there are damned souls, their eyes searching for a hope that will never come. Now, it is my eyes that are searching for hope. Perhaps, the greatest Hell for me is that I cannot escape the memories of the glorious Heaven that I once knew and the plan that I once was a part of. 
I walk toward his hallowed chamber, and I see him sitting like a king upon his mighty throne. His dark wings are folded around his body in a cold embrace. Every breath he takes fills the room with an air of twisted, unjust justice. His cold, gray skin is covered with blood from black hearts. His enormous muscles twist and wriggle under his skin like serpents escaping a perpetual flame. On top of his head is a small winged devil which licks the blood off his forehead and nibbles the rotting flesh off his skin like an evil parasite. His legs are the legs of an animal with tarnished, gold hoofs which tap an evil beat upon the floor. He is indeed a frightful looking creature, until you see his eyes, then he is terrifying. His eyes are an intense red which, when he stares at you, can burn a hole through your soul. His stare will make the strongest of heart cry like a loving babe in the arms of a mother.
I walk closer to him, my body trembling with fear because of the control he has over my fate. My confidence builds. I take a deep breath, flex my chest, and tread toward my master. However, I cannot escape the torture of the eternal booger lodged in my nose, and before I know it my finger is lodged in my nose up to my wrist. I stop to complete this task, but it is too late, he sees me.
“Mammon!” he roars with a piercing scream. “Are you picking your nose in my chamber? You know that I despise nose picking! It is a nasty habit.”
I answer, my voice cracking with fear, “I wasn’t picking it, eh, er, ah, I was scratching it. Yeah, that’s it, I was scratching it.”
“You lie! I despise lying more than picking!” Above his blood stained seat, he springs from his chair like a tiger going for the kill. His arm, his fist clutching in rage, stands above my head ready for the final and eternal blow. He swings his arm towards me with great speed and hatred to kill me, but he stops inches from my head. His fist opens and he pats me on the head like one pats a loyal dog. “Good devil, good devil.”
I breathe a sigh of relief, “Man, you really had me going there! I hate lying, that was a good one. Man, I almost forgot who I was talking to. Good one boss.”
After a short laugh, Satan, the father of the dark, sits back on his chair. He crosses his legs, closes his red eyes, and breathes a long, dark meditating breath and speaks, “Ah Mammon, are you not my blackest servant? Is not your soul the darkest of all?” He then answers his own question, “Truly it is. Your soul is as dark as midnight, dark as pitch, darker than the foulest witch.” His head snaps towards me, and his eyes, reaching into my soul, meet mine. “What is it that you want from me? I feel a presence, not of darkness, coming from deep inside your thoughts. Tell me Mammon will this presence forsake me?”
It felt like it had been an eternity since he looked into my eyes, and my history passed through my mind. I remember the feel of gold in my hand and how it made my heart leap. There was nothing beyond it. The feel of greed is the feel of power. The feel of what spins the world into tangled webs of deceit. I remember the feeling of lust for blood when Cain killed his brother. I remember the thrill of the Oklahoma land rush. All for the one who gets the most land; it never mattered who lost. Or the ravenous hunger that one feels for power and might, ivory, and gold. The Kurtzes of the world make the world. Even the righteous feel greed. All acts of kindness are self-motivated. All for one more good feeling of generosity.
I have always embraced greed as a cruel friend. I must now use greed one more time. I turn toward Lucifer and present my case. "Lord, I have served you well and truthfully. I owe much to you. Yet, I feel this emptiness inside. I have not felt useful or needed since the construction of Pandemonium. Everything is now only mere faded memories. I need to feel the power of greed that you bestowed upon me." Satan turns his back, but his posture shows that I have his deep attention.
"We have left Sin and Death in charge for far too long. It is now time for a demon, a man, to be in charge of Earth. Let me go oh lord and I will secure more souls, but more importantly, I will give you a detailed accounting so you may hear from a trusted servant what the world you created is really like. You need me to go so you can truly believe you were triumphant in the Garden of Eden. Chaos will not let you back unto the highway that Sin and Death created. Sin and death have paid him well, with riches they obtain on earth. When was the last time you even tried to get back to earth? It is like you are old and tired. Do you have the heart to go back? Come with me. Let us view the world you created. I can get past Chaos. Just say the word."
He drew a deep breath, and his thoughts also drift to the glorious days of the scheme of the Garden. He then turns toward the East, "You go. It is your time. For me, there will be time; there will always be time." He never turns to me again.
 
 
 
Chapter Five
 
I faced the West and I have never turned back. I knew he would not go. His pride is still broken from the fall. I remember it like it was yesterday, but it was long ago; the day that changed existence forever. But that was then, this is now. Now it is me who is going to visit Earth, to see the product of the plan.
Here I am, looking into the window of a vacant room on a forgotten side of a glorious city. The window looks down into a small room. A small cockroach walks across the floor searching for any morsel of food. He travels over a pair of boots, combat utility, black covered in a shine of brightness that reflects the under side of a cot. The bug scurries up to leg of the cot and continues his search. He walks over the ashy flesh of a sleeping man which dips and curves up and down like fingers over a dry lake bed. He reaches the opening of an ear. The bug screams, "Wake up!"
"What, what…No I wasn't sleeping, I mean it wasn't my guard. It wasn't my fault!" shouts a man. He paces quickly through the jungle until reality turns the jungle into a small four walled enclosure. He continues yelling to his fallen comarades, "It wasn't me. Just leave me alone. Leave me alone." He continues pacing the room like a caged animal, his hands constantly wiping off the crawling insects inside his veins. He puts on his pants one leg at a time and reaches into his right pocket and there it is, the folded twenty dollar bill. "How did this get here?" He points the bill at his demons. "Did you put it there? Did you? How about you?"
He continues his routine until he quickly becomes exhausted and falls back on his cot. He sits back down and tries to remember why he woke up. He picks up a rag out of a shoe polishing kit and works on his boots. He thumbs through a worn Home and Gardens until he comes to the same page. It is a picture of a home. The house stands on a small green hill overlooking a large backyard, vegetable gardens, and several flower gardens dispersed through out. The house has two parts connected by an elaborate green house adorned by a rainbow of shades of green from within. There is a beautiful Mimosa, his favorite tree, in the front lawn.  He stares at the picture, wipes away a dry tear, looks at the twenty dollar bill, and remembers why he woke up.
 
Chapter Six
 
He puts on his boots and walks out to meet the unforgiving world. The air is filled with singing birds. He thinks, There have never been birds. As he walks toward the corner drug store, he sees the first customer in line pointing a gun into the dealer’s face and shouting something about a name. Again he thinks, Nobody cares about our name. What is in a name? Have the birds always sang so beautifully?
He proceeds, listening intently to the gun welding addict who is still shouting,
"You know what? God cares what my name is. He told me last night. This morning He told me He loves me. Now ask me what my name is!" Those were the last words of the conversation he heard; before both of them were murdered.
 
Chapter Seven
I run over, search the two bodies, and grab the folded twenty dollar bill and a wallet with a picture of a house. I start my journey toward the home of my destiny. I easily find the house and easily walk to the door. Should I? Should I? I slowly creep in, and watch a beautiful young woman packing pictures into moving boxes. The first picture is one of a group of soldiers taking Jesus Christ off the cross, with the spear covered in blood and water next to him. The other pictures are leaning against the wall. There is one of the Nazi Blitzkrieg, one of President Kennedy collapsing after the fatal bullet, and one of the murdered dealer. The woman, sensing a presence, turns and smiles at me.
With a cracking voice, I stretch out my hand, "My name is…"
She interrupts, "Please to meet you, won't you guess my name?"
"What?"
"Oh, I'm sorry. It's just a little saying I have. My name is Mimosa."
"Like the tree?"
"Yes, like the tree. Your favorite isn't it? Now, tell me your name."
"Do you really care? Nobody cares about our names." How did she know about the tree?
"I care, I care deeply for you. I know why you are here and why you will stay.
She proceeds to tell him of the plan. The plan of greed, the plan to sell more and more, just like the many before him. And it worked, everyday I would open the corner drug store and toy with the nameless addicts. It was fun. It was power. Until I saw a man, with a gun, yelling at me about a name.
 
 
 
Chapter Eight
 
As I turn the corner, I tighten the collar of my black trench coat around my neck to keep out the cold winds of choice. I throw the gun behind a dumpster and watch it disappear just like before. Well Mammon, so far, so good. Greed will always be king. I turn down the usual block and turn towards the plaza. On the far, darker side of the plaza sits an older man holding a brown paper bag with a bottle in one hand and a tin cup with a small amount of change in the other hand. A polite woman throws a dime in the cup and says, "Good Morning." Another woman pulls her five year old son closer to her and takes a long route around the man, not even bothering to look him in the eye.
Mammon walks toward the man. This one is easy. Almost too easy. He sits down on the opposite side of the bench. "How are you doing, Sir?"
"Either you are getting better, or my disguises are getting worse."
"I am, and will always be in awe. Your plan seems to be working well God."
"Thanks in part to you. And Lucifer must be somewhat happy. A soul for a soul. That should keep both of us happy."
Mammon ponders a long while as God waits patiently. "Sir, you never told me why?"
God, surprised, answers, "Why? You of all people should know why? How did you feel when you were asked to build Pandemonium? How did you feel afterwards?"
"Useless, not needed anymore."
"Exactly. What is the use of existence when no one knows you are there? All my life I dreamt of being needed, being wanted - being worshipped. I needed a race who needed me."
“I guess you can say we have the greed for need." Mammon looks around and sees a man preaching out of the Bible, a family enjoying a quiet lunch on the grass, and a cop giving directions. "You know this world may work."
"It is working." He turns back at looks at Mammon, takes a drink out of the paper bag, politely wipes the mouth of the bottle with His tattered sleeve, and hands it to Mammon.
Mammon takes a drink, and with a disgusting expression states, "Man, what is this?"
"The blood of Christ."
"Can't you just use grape juice like they do in church?" They both share a small chuckle but something is obviously bothering Mammon.
"What is on your mind this time? Is it how can I let the whole world be flooded, or how can I let millions of people be exterminated, or how can I let people starve and cause famine and drought?"
"No, it is something else." He collects his thoughts. "Somehow, it just seems wrong. I mean, I know that you desired to be worshipped, but it just seems wrong somehow. There is one thing that I do not understand." He pauses. "It just seems that everything is so self-centered."
"Was I being self-centered?"
"Well, yes, …I mean no. Hold on let me give you an example. I often go to church on Sundays. I see everyone so happy and content. But then I see the same people beat their wives or ignore the homeless and needy. Then I see the righteous, generous people try to out pledge each other in charity drives. One day, I saw a young child help a woman cross the street. I got up the nerve to ask him why he did it. You know what he told me? He told me so God can watch and save a place for him in Heaven. His beaming father was so proud of his son. I mean, shouldn't he just help because it is the right thing to do? Why are people like that?"
God merely shrugs his shoulders and answers, "It's a mystery." God’s eyes scan the scene before him. A bus passes by with a black-eyed, toothless TV star plastered on the side telling everyone to watch his talk show. The bus drives past the welfare line where an angry young woman berates the toddler clutching her new dress. On the corner, the cop is now reading rights instead of giving directions. "You know, Mammon, I too feel that they have sometimes lost their way."
"Well, Lord, when the exodus from Eden started, dignity was the first to leave."
God and Mammon sit in quiet contemplation, passing the paper bag back and forth. The autumn leaves swirl quietly above their heads and land softly at their feet. Small birds, squirrels, stray cats, and one man gather inconspicuously in the small ground of yellowed grass around the bench. All is quiet and still; even the birds are silenced by the presence of the two old friends on the bench and blink their eyes with admirable attention.
"By the way, how is my book doing?"
"Fine as always, Sir. In fact, it is a phenomenon; millions of copies sold all the time. It is the one book that continually sells. Incredible really."
God is interested, and Mammon has grabbed his attention, as always, "Why do you say incredible?"
"Well, Sir, there have been many great authors and writers in this time, this world," Mammon holds his arms up and spreads them across the park. "But your book has outlasted all of them. Your book will always be remembered by many. The others, most if not all, will be forgotten in time. Be sure to never stop thanking who ever wrote it. By the way, who did write it?"
God smiles, places his hand across his chin, and answers in a chuckle, "You know there have been so many people involved, I forget. It has never been important to me."
Mammon snaps up straight and turns directly to God. "What! What! I do not believe what I am hearing. Not important! How can you say that!"
God is slightly taken aback, but not surprised. "Mammon, Mammon," he speaks in a fatherly manner, "I am more than written word, more than any kind of word."
Mammon prepared and ready for such an answer retorts, "Ah, but Sir, if it were not for media, would you exist? Would anyone exist if not kept alive through word--spoken, written, drawn, or flashed upon a screen?"
God solemnly answers, "Yes, but language tears people apart. Interpretations, perspectives, misunderstandings. Killings. Wars."
"Sir, you are wrong. Language is merely a mode of transport, unaffected, inanimate. It is only letters and symbols. It is what they represent that rips and tears. It is men's emotions that torture and kill, not words. Do not blame language."
"Are you saying that I would not exist if my Book was never written?"
"No, you could exist through word of mouth, art, music, other media."
"That is not what I meant, and you know it." God appears a little agitated. "Let's say that no one ever spoke of me to anyone. No one ever saw me, heard me. Would I not exist? Would I not be in the minds and hearts?"
"Would you?" Mammon throws back the question, eagerly waiting for an answer.
"Yes."
"Then why did you need to create this world?" 
God furrows his brow, places his chin upon his fist, in the classical Thinker pose, and answers, "It’s a mystery."
The old friends share a small laugh, take another drink, and listen to the peaceful chaos of the streets. "Ah, Sir, it is indeed wonderful to philosophize with the great Philosopher himself. It is the only pure art form left."
"What is? Philosophy?" God questions. "Surely, that cannot be so. What about literature?"
"No, not writing, it has all been done. Sure there are new books and films coming out regularly, but nothing different, nothing unique. It seems all the story lines and plots are used up. Just retelling the same story in a different time and place. You know, Good vs. Evil; Man loves woman, loses woman; Army heroes; Monsters; Blah, blah, blah."
God, again very interested, looks into Mammon's eyes, "You are saying that everything is merely some sort of duplication or reproduction?"
"That's what I am saying." Mammon smugly takes a hit off a cigarette and flicks it into a trash can.
"What about art? Nothing new?"
"No. Well, wait a minute," Mammon thinks about the memories of the past. "Art, I'll give you art, there is still much unique art, totally new. But not stories." They sit once again, in silence. This time it is an uncomfortable silence and God appears anxious.
God asks Mammon, "What is today?"
"Friday. How long are you going to stay this time?"
"Three days."
"Any plans?"
"I think I will just be another face on a crowded bus."
Mammon realizing Sunday will be the third day turns excitedly toward God, "Sir, go to church with me on Sunday."
"No thanks, not Sundays. Sundays I fish." He gets up and starts to walk away.
"Hey, Sir. Thammuz wonders when it will be his turn."
As God walks away, he turns and winks at Mammon, "Tell Thammuz, there will be time, there will be time."


© Copyright 2019 tmrtracker. All rights reserved.

Add Your Comments:

Comments

avatar

Author
Reply

avatar

Author
Reply

avatar

Author
Reply

More Literary Fiction Short Stories

Booksie 2019 Short Story Contest

Booksie Popular Content

Other Content by tmrtracker

Category

Short Story / Literary Fiction

Dignity Was the First to Leave

Short Story / Literary Fiction

I.M.

Short Story / Literary Fiction

Popular Tags