Sunday, January 24, 2016

7731. BELOW THE WATER LINE (pt. 142)

(pt. 142)
I used to think up things I'd like to do. I guess
that's not so outlandish for a youngster to do.
I used to want to write prayers. No one seems
to ever make any new prayers; I don't mean
subjective-need prayers, like 'Dear God,
Please make Grammy Evans better and help
my sister Cindy get a new house.' That's just
foolishness. I mean the good, universal,
ever-lasting sorts of prayers that live on from
generation to generation. There's probably only
like twenty of them. I always wanted to write
new ones, that would last. I have one or two
I've done; they work for me, and, yeah, they're
still around  -  but then again so am I. It'll be
after I'm gone that the real test will come. You
can't exactly sit down with your high school
Guidance Counselor and -   when he asks what
you're thinking of doing for the rest of your life  -
just say, 'well, Mr. Kayes, I was thinking of
writing prayers for a living.'
I think that's a pretty good intention. I mean I
guess there are guys who'd answer that same
question by saying, 'Well, I'm going to join the
Army, just because I want a gun and gun training,
and then I'm hoping to kill as many of them
Middle-Eastern suicide-bomber sons-'a-bitches
that I can.' Maybe there are. I don't know. Pestilence
wears a human face sometimes, and all good
intentions go awry sooner or later. Like having
a Padre, say, a chaplain, in the armed forces. Did
you ever think about that, and what it means? What
sort of deal are they trying to make with that?
I never understood it. Some on-staff, collared twerp
who's claiming the inside dope on a fast-line to God,
and means of keeping Him on your side, while you're
out there bombing, shooting, killing and maiming as
many of the supposed enemy on the other side.
If you get a nick or a blown-off arm or something,
from doing it, this fool claims to be able to help you
out with God AND with comfort too. All the while,
of course, the other side has guys who claim to be
doing the very same thing for them. So, what gives?
See, none of this made, ever, any sense to me.
It's the kind of stuff you just walk around with; I
never made any challenge with this stuff, with
adults. They all have already fallen for it all, so
why bother. All around Avenel, everyone was
always droning on anyway, standing for salutes
and flags and fireman's picnics and installations
and church dinners. The assumption just always was
that you'd be in on this stuff, or you wouldn't be an
adult. There was only one guy like that, in Colonia,
just out of Avenel, on South Hill Road, a one-way
downhill from Chain O' Hills Road. Charlie Hultquist
was his name. I'd have to imagine he's dead now,
but I don't know; he'd be about 90 by now if not.
Nice enough guy, I'd talk to him almost everyday
over at my job. Trouble was, he was a Jehovah's
Witness; not that you'd know it  -  he never pushed
or pried. It's just that everyone else already knew,
and they'd tell you -  'don't get him started around
me.' He'd protested WWII, pacifist, religious
principles, etc., and done time for it. I guess they
put him in the clink for a while, for the duration
of the war, whatever. If you mentioned his name
to another Jehovah, everybody knew him, by
reputation; he was famed within their circle for
standing up as he did. Or whatever. When he
was about 65, in, say, 1988, he took a job as a
for-hire limo driver. Started wearing a little
driver's uniform and such. He'd come around
before or after a driving hire, to burn some time.
I could never tell if he was so religious or not
about things. He'd start telling me about things  -
mostly the kind of sex stuff, oddly enough, that
went on in the back of his cars while he was
driving. Senseless things. They'd give him, say,
20 bucks to roll up the smoked window, park on
the beach lot, at Sandy Hook or Sea Bright, and
not watch anything. That's all they had hired
the damn car for! He'd say things. Sometimes
he'd walk around the beach for a while, other
times he'd just sit there for the fifteen or so
minutes, whatever. He'd say, 'Oh, boy, she was
a screamer,' or 'You know, what I saw, yeah,
but I didn't see a thing. They were really going
at it.' By this time I never knew what was really
up, what was true or not, nor why this religious
quasi-legend turned such a blind eye to all this
for-hire fornication, if it was true at all. It all
kind of bugged me. Just, like, way too much
of an adult thing, a bullshit antic. When you
get old, or adult, you somehow start winking,
and putting up with things. No one ever stands
up, or swats some asshole down for being a jerk.
I guess the world is full of compromise. That's
the way things are made, and money. The laws,
they're all made for the deal, and it's always the
insiders and the people with money who know
how to evade or pay off or get around things.
The cops, they claim only to be 'enforcing the
law', but really all they're doing is aiding and
abetting the other side, the criminals. Whatever
the law is, these clowns are sworn to 'uphold' it,
like it matters. Some crooked land-developer pays
off a group of politicians and zoning people,
shysters up a shady deal that is harmful to others,
to the beach or the environment, that has built-in
scams and pay-offs involved, and they get a law
passed backing their subversion  -  like, say, to
keep prying eyes off the beach. The law goes into
effect, and you're walking along that waterfront,
some cop comes by and says he has to arrest you.
For trespassing. It's all a sham, and even if the
fool-ass cop knows it is, he can't do anything
about it. Because he's 'sworn to uphold the law.'
That takes away from him any self-sustenance
about right or wrong, or decision-making on his
own part. It's part and parcel of slavery. Nothing
more; like the Army, where somehow people
willingly give up all Freedom to go and (supposedly)
fight for Freedom. Huh? 'Scuse me? There's no
'honor' or 'valor' involved at all.
Avenel was full of that stuff, as was every Elks Hall
and American Legion and VFW too. It just always
kind of made me sick to my stomach to think about
such dead lives, like Nikolai Gogol's 'Dead Souls'.
I realized I needed out. The local parks were full of
kids, kids and masters -   playground programs that
were playground at all. Kids weaving Indian crafts,
without a story line. Older teens as Park Leaders,
with absolutely no clue as to the past or the real
stories behind what they were pushing. Just herding
kids for their Summer Minimum Wage park pay.
Government hand-out. No knowledge, no learning,
just junk. They used to tell us, about car-license time,
to always remember that 'driving is a privilege, not
a right.' I'd snicker, saying to myself, who the hell
do they think they are; they've made the whole entire
fucking country one huge highway  -  gotta' have a car,
gotta' go here, buy this, have that.' There was no other
choice you had -  urban living was OK, but even that,
other than some paltry rail and bus service, was no
picnic in getting around. Everything was car-oriented,
and they pushed it all. Then they try to foist that one
on you, a 'privilege', granted to you by them? What the
Hell was that? Then a storm comes, or some hurricane
or something, and they say 'all cars off the street, you
can't drive for the duration.' Oh, yeah, I understand.
It's that 'privilege' thing again. I'd have to pinch myself,
and begin to recite either one of my own prayers, or
some pledge allegiance bullshit about why kids like me,
by the daily thousands, were getting shunted off to
Vietnam, to become meat shavings and come home 
in a box. For the 'Privilege' of being allowed to drive.
For the 'Privilege' of some asshole badge-wearer to
enforce some crooked graft and corruption law on
me. I was so ready to disappear, so ready. There
wasn't really even much to say; the whole series,
the entire sequence, had been tied up long
before. What would be the use. Avenel
Park to Vietnam, 1966. It was 
all  about travel.

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