He saw flowers arranged on a deeply stained cherry wood end-table that were vibrant colors of red and yellow in a white porcelain vase and he passed the flowers and could smell their rich aroma giving the colors some sensual presence beyond their spatial limits. He opened a French door and entered a small room that had floor to ceiling mahogany molding on the walls and hard-wood mahogany flooring and old Indian tapestries were hung across them as decorations and in the center of the room was a free-standing slab of a glass desk and two chairs on either side of it. One chair was glass also and of simple construction and this was the chair nearest him. The chair on the other side was made of obsidian and ornately decorated with carvings of the fleur-de-lis and diamond shapes. He sat down on the glass chair and rubbed his hands and waited as his youth grew ever shorter.
Twenty minutes later a man entered the room who was not tall and sat down opposite him in the obsidian chair. He wore a grey pin-stripe blazer with matching pants and a white dress shirt unbuttoned at the top and brown penny loafer shoes on his feet without socks. His face was worn and lined and his brow was furrowed. He stared him down before he began.
Do you think your mother needed this kind of shock. Especially now. Jesus there are times I wonder how I could have fathered such a Satan.
A bemused smile spread on his face as he looked at the flustered old man. And there are times he replied that I wonder how I could have been fathered by you.
The old man closed his eyes and got up and turned to face a tapestry but still he wasn't looking. Then he rose from the glass chair and he saw the old man and felt anger but he did not act on the surging rage that coursed through his being. He left the room for the open airy hall and the flowers and he looked out a window at the snowy environs and he crossed the hall to a small closet. The hall was white marble and three stories tall with a sunroof. He put on a long black coat made of wool and he buttoned it and closed the closet door. Crossing to the glass door out of the house he put his hands in his coat pockets and slipped his hands into the leather gloves he'd forgotten about. He opened the door and the cold stung his face and the wind deconstructed his styled hair and he left.
He walked down a shoveled path through the estate forest. No noise but snow beneath his shoes and the wind that would not stop breezing and blowing and whistling. The trees were bare but looked dead and their naked boughs caught his attention for he had climbed those trees long ago and he went over to the one and tried to climb. He did not know what kind of tree it was or any of them was but all of them were a dull grey in the winter. After several attempts he got his footing and pulled himself up onto a sturdy tree bough and sat and he saw the estate from nature: the house in its decadent decay and the fountain in front of it water frozen solid and acre after acre of fields dusted white and trees. He used to feel awe when he surveyed the place and even happiness but where those feelings were was nothing. The earth he had concluded was not worth his mind's contemplation and he lowered himself from the bough to the ground and kept walking to the edge of the estate.
The grey trees on either side of him recalled the lockers at school and he thought on this comparison. If I the bomb would make and detonate he said aloud would we progress see and sympathy find in time. As a child he delighted in the limericks of Edward Lear and other nonsense poetry and whenever opportunity his way came he took full advantage of it and as quick as his mind was able he made his own not poems. Not poems rhymed but were not poems because he did not want to be remembered for poetry and following that rationale if he did not make poems there was no possible way for that to happen. Faster bastards he continued would shoot and mute all walls for core placement and ancient times limed lemonade to barricade a sum.
He did not know where he had left his scarf. It would have warmed him and he regretted his disorganization. He could see the wrought iron fence fifty meters away and he ran the rest of the path until he got to the fence and he nearly doubled over gasping for breath. The fence was pointed at the top but not barbed and he had learned how to scale it two summers ago. One short energy exertion later he was over the fence and walking quickly down the slick and iced road. He slipped a few times but never entirely fell. Half an hour later he arrived at St. James which was a bar in the wild.
St. James was a one floor pub erected forty years earlier by an Irish family that had since moved out of the area. The façade in the front was noticeably gothic and foreboding and the parking lot to its left side was very small and he saw only two parked cars. The walkway to St. James had not been neatly shoveled but he did not break his neck. He walked up three steep cement stairs that felt as rough cinderblocks and he entered the bar and the door which was wide swung open and closed in great arcs.
The interior of St. James was mostly dark brown wood with walls painted heavy green in parts and all the wood looked polished. Even the exposed rafters above appeared spotless. The floor was not hardwood nor was it tiled but it was poured cement that was smooth and a shade of grey that stopped short of black. Pedestal style tables were set for four all around and the bar was higher than standard but with that higher bar there were higher stools and he took his seat on one two down from the only other patron present who was in a cream colored trench coat and a tweed cap and thick glasses and the poison set before him was scotch in a shot glass the bottle left close by. The bartender whom he recognized as a stout chap with thinning hair and a hanging gut was nowhere in sight but from the soft and distant thuds he heard he gathered the bartender was in a backroom stacking boxes or unstacking boxes or some similar feat of strength. He strummed his fingers on the bar and looked at his knuckles and he found them abnormally knobby.
The man in the trench coat turned his head from his scotch and he looked at him and he said I remember you. You live out there you know he said as he did not quite wave his hands. Your grandfather and I played checkers. It was a damn shame when the doctors killed him or whatever. Let me tell you he coughed into a hand let me tell you something. Your grandfather was a good man. One of the best I ever knew. He built hospitals and schools and all that. And what did it net him. He got the Alzheimer's and he got the cancer and all he did he couldn't remember. Not a damn thing. And he wanted to be remembered. It must be just shy of he thought for a short time maybe some odd twenty years now and you know what. You know for all the good he did nobody remembers. When you think about it the hospitals are up in corruption and the schools are lagging and his damn family well he coughed again present company pardon but his family will just die off one by one. He downed a shot of scotch then continued we try to live on in our sons and our grandchildren and you know what. Why bother. It isn't like we'll be the ones around. Dead in the ground and what have we done. We set the stage and we leave. Nobody ever gets around to living cause they're too busy paving the way for the next generation. I know I did and I regretted it.
The man in the trench coat got up off the stool and stumbled over to him and he put his arm on his shoulder and he said now if you'll excuse me my dear boy I'm going to live a while. I'm going out on the town and I'm he picked up the bottle of scotch I'm going to make something of myself. You come with. I need a driver cause I can't drive when I'm like this. Come on. He considered the man's offer and after some prodding he too got up off his stool and went out of the bar with the man to the parking lot.
The car was a blue Aston Martin from the mid-1980s. Trench coat gave him the keys and fell into the passenger side seat while he settled himself in the driver's seat and started the engine. Trench coat said to him call me Pollock if you must. That is not my name and it isn't important but if you must call me something I cannot think of a better name than Pollock for the job my boy. Now peddle to the metal and giddy up. There is an adventure in town and we are going paint it red and we are going to have it.
The drive into the city lasted twenty minutes and the sky had darkened. He parked the Aston Martin in front of a fashionable club called Vita on a big sign over its doors and he and Pollock got out and they entered. The lobby was small and he gathered it would not pass a fire inspection and a huge black bouncer asked him for identification but Pollock threw three hundred dollars at him and they entered the club proper. Vita was full of pulsing life as live music beat through the black floor and the carpeted walls and multicolored lights blinked on and off at an unfathomable rate. Pollock pulled him into the tangle of dancing and moshing bodies and he did not know what to think of the place. For a time he moved with the tune and he was almost fascinated by the scandalously-clad club-going women but after that time he felt a gentle melancholy resettle itself in him and he moved to sit at a table.
He beheld the men and women in front of him and he saw no planning nor design but he saw the immediate expression of futility and of existence itself in raw form. He pondered how they themselves could have reached the same conclusions Pollock had and he considered their motives. At first he viewed them as children of innocence and of purity but the more he watched them he saw in the men and he saw their false intentions. He asked out loud but to no one is a woman a soul.
When he got up from his seat at the table to rejoin the jiving masses a pale and slender hand grabbed his shoulder from behind and he whirled around and never had such a sense of fear in him exploded. He perspired as he turned. When he had completed a full about-face he saw a woman who was shorter than him but she was thin and sporty and she had a washed-out complexion. Her hair was the color of gold and it was styled rising up to his eye-level. She wore black eye-liner and she wore a low-cut black dress and her fingernails were painted black. She appeared a mix of British and German features. And she grabbed him by his neck and she kissed him.
He left the club clasping her hand and she could barely stand up but it was not long before he reached the Aston Martin and opened the door to the back passenger seats for her and she laid down grabbing a seatbelt as if it were a blanket and he closed the door and he got into the driver's seat and drove away. He told her his name was Pollock. She told him her name was River and that she knew how to go with the flow. He did not smile but he watched the road as it was pitch black out and his night vision was terrible.
He drove back to the estate and the snow there shone in the moon's light. He parked the car near a fence as far away from the guard tower as possible and he helped River out from the back seat and managed to find a part of the fence he could pull back so she would not have to scale it. They were in a thicker part of the estate's woods. Sleeping trees would bare unwilling witness to their irreverence and their revelry. He wished he had Pollock's bottle of scotch with him.
In the night they called out to gods and forefathers who would not answer them. He saw she was shivering cold and he took off his coat and draped it on her and in his sober mind he regarded himself too cruel. She danced under the trees and he saw her dance and he rubbed his hands together and wondered where he had misplaced his gloves. She fell into the snow and he stood watching her and she sat up and asked him if his name was really Pollock and he asked her if her name was really River. She said it wasn't and he said well then what right do you have.
He saw her breath hanging white in the air.
Nevertheless their mindless follies continued. They reached a shallow pond on which he could see a thin and breakable layer of ice. She sat near the pond and he remained two meters away from her standing. She said I feel I can do anything tonight. I feel I can cheat death and live to tell it. I feel I can count the stars. I feel indestructible tonight and I want to throw caution to the wind.
As her hair nearly radiated warmth in its smooth sheen he came nearer and saw how silly his big wool coat looked on her and how it made her shoulders seem gargantuan and he said it's all silly now. There's been no reason nor real rhyme to this night but I feel I have lived more these scant past hours than I have lived my entire life beforehand. Yet I cannot shake the feeling you are in fact a planted siren sent by blinded Fates to and here he paused as she looked at him and he saw how strangely black her irises were and he lost his train of thought.
He picked up his thread. To hinder my becoming.
If you study archetypal analysis you'll find life divided into common parts. The becoming is kind of like the. What is it. There was a good example in an Anthony Hopkins movie like a caterpillar becoming a butterfly.
So you want to become a butterfly a fly away.
Just a comparison.
She got up and she went to move closer to him but she sat back down. I want to fly away with you she said.
At that moment he knew what he had to do. He walked to her and his hands were close to shaking and he sat down next to her and put his arms around her. He saw the back of her bare neck. And he looked at the pond with its thin layer of ice on top and he hated himself and wished he could die at that moment but he resolved to finish it. He grabbed her by her neck and before she could perceive in her impaired mind what was about her he pushed her head through the ice into the freezing waters beneath and though the pond was shallow it was deep enough for his purpose. She clawed at his face and he bled and he saw her legs behind her flailing about but he held her fast and firm and after a while she spasmed and stopped.
Standing up he looked down at her body and he saw the beauty he had destroyed. The sky was changing to its morning color and he ran where he'd left the Aston Martin and he got in and drove from the estate to live an as yet undiscovered life.
A week later the old man entered his wife's bedroom before nightfall. The room's walls were off-white and the floor was light hardwood. Her bed was king-sized and the headboard was made of Maplewood. She was covered by no small amount of sheets and linens and comforters and such and she lay propped up her head and upper back supported by three pillows. He had set a chair to her left side that he could sit down as he felt a pain growing in his legs and could not stand for long amounts of time any more. He was unshaven and looked glum in a red silk robe and gold colored pajamas and velvet purple slippers. She did not bother to see him. She remembered him from over thirty years of convenient matrimony. Her hair was in curlers and had been set by a personal assistant she would only call nurse.
The old man waited to collect his energy and then he spoke. They found the car he was using in Cincinnati. It belonged to Jake Pollarande dad's old friend who they also found murdered in town on Thursday. I think he was found in a brothel.
Doesn't sound like Jake she said.
No not at all. Not at all.
Silence between them. He didn't know what to say. That he was glad to be rid of his son for all his faults and he seemed to him fault personified or that he was sad the bloodline had come to an end as it had. At last she broke the silence.
Darling did they identify the girl.
Yes. She was from the city. Buried last week dear.
But what was her name.
I can't remember. It isn't important.
There's a lot in a name. A name can help a body out in life or it can make life unbearable. I took great pains in selecting our baby boy's name.
He wanted to say all for naught but he did not. Instead he said I know you did dear. I know you did and it was a good name.
I've been making a novena for him ever since. When I'm awake I pray to Mary that he'll be safe. Remember when he had pneumonia and the doctors said he wouldn't pull through. Well I remembered then that my mother said a novena to Mary when I had pneumonia and I made it so I prayed with all my heart and he lived. I know Mary will protect him.
Will you say a novena for him Victor.
I will dear. Get some rest.
She fell asleep shortly thereafter. He never prayed and was not about to start.