I Wonder If You Always Tell The Truth

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A Waltz Through October (With An Angel In The Shadows Of Autumn)

five years ago to the very day i went out to buy seven candles to celebrate some occasion long since forgotten. i remember it was a thursday because the moon was full. as usual his jaw was dropped and his eyes were wide as if he was peeking through the windows of all the neighbourhood bedrooms. they do say he has a dark side. does that mean he has eyes in the back of his head? that's an odd expression i always thought. i never did like rhetorical questions though. not the kind of chap you want to meet when you're looking for answers and it was answers i wanted; even if i was yet to decide on the questions. if you go looking for something you will usually find something. whether it was what you wanted is anyone's guess. and i, not counting anyone among my friends, wasn't very sure of my destination. now, if you ever saw the sunrise over the belltower of st. joseph's church then you'll know what heaven looks like. having spent the last two years of my life in some kind of mortal purgatory, i have only seen it through serpents eyes. it doesn't dampen the beauty, but it also doesn't help when you're in need of light and all you get is a squinted dawn. anyway, these candles, though secondary on my mind, were still necessary and act as a good an introduction to the next sentence as anything else here. it's all just words after all. it really doesn't matter what order they go in so long as you pronounce them correctly. the only word you can really spell wrongly is wrongly. remember that and you can't go wrong. sorry, candles, yes. one for each of the friends i used to know. one for each of the friends that pierced this obsidian heart. this was a memorial service though. no celebrations. there was no catalyst for such an event. there had been at one time, but not now. all those times had been erased by various acts of treachery and deceit. i have lost count and subsequently forgotten how many needless apologies were torn from my lips. plenty more fish in the sea is a universally accepted phrase of renewal. however, even with the use of poseidon's own staff you couldn't tempt me to wade in those waters again. i should have been a gemini instead of a libra. gemini's just have two sides, libras need to find the balance. i want to be the ragman that doesn't talk; but other times i want to be the ragman whose song of the streets haunts your memory. instead there's always this middle ground on which there are very few attractions and situations that i haven't already gone through twice. and the price gets dearer every time. the price is your patience. the irony of which is, the more it takes the less there is to take next time but it costs you more. is that even irony? probably not. there are very few cases of real irony anyway. modesty and selflessness are often ironic. modesty only so, if you take great delight in declaring it. selflessness however often has it's roots lodged firmly in selfishness. (hmmm less fish. odd how that came up). what that means is that often when someone does something to help another, it's usually because they are doing to make themselves feel better. or just because they like being thanked. either way it's all to do with ego. much like the great tool of manipulation we call love. very confusing word that and one that i don't understand at all. it means far too many things to be of any particular use and gets thrown about all too often these days. when desires were innocent and dreams were encouraged; before patience were spent and love was discouraged, there was an old storyteller used to live in a rented room above the paper shop on the corner of the street. on one side of the shop was a garage and the man used to climb from the window and sit on the roof of this garage and just talk. sometimes he had a point, most of the time he didn't. except to his finger, abetted ably by a colourful linguistic torrent in the general direction of anyone who dared request a little peace from his monotonous ramblings. i hope i never turn out like him. good storyteller though. i always remember the last story he told before he moved away; or should i say, was taken away. he never did finish it. it was called the search for vanity and other fruitless expeditions and went something like..."who is your hero?" asks the stranger, "who do you admire?". "the joker, for he has no fear" answered the patrolman, (one hand painted red, the other green and waving free), standing at the crossroads directing the automobile ballet. the stranger cannot comprehend this frank reply and, thus, bows his head and goes on his travels. the stranger has no name and no home; however he is neither nameless nor homeless. you can call him anything you like and he always has a bed at night. yearning for more than anonymity, (what more can you need?), he rides the trolley to gypsytown to meet an old acquaintance. he bumps into oscar at the fleamarket. aside from a little bruising the reunion passes uneventfully over coffee and smooth radioplay. after an hour they got up to leave on account of offence being taken by the owner of the establishment due to ill-payment and subsequent covering, or lack thereof, of funds for the pair's lengthy and wholly unhealthy menu. at this juncture the pair part company, a certain long-diminished respect has been resurrected between the two. the stranger wondered whether they had met, unwittingly, between past and present. "oscar, that rings a bell" he thought aloud. this drew a few stares. nothing the stranger wasn't already on first-name terms with. he thought back to the patrolman. "what does the joker signify? what did he mean?" the stranger pondered. alas, more questions than answers was once again to prove his undoing. his inquisitive character and dubious temperament had effectively cost him his job at the gas station. though embezzling funds and fluid may have fuelled his exit. and so he became a wanderer. not The Wanderer, (he's from Mexico), and their paths will cross soon enough. with no qualifications bar a masters in pumphandling he set out with the romantic ideals of the drifter lifestyle and a copy of on the road for inspiration. and guidance. behind him he left only his regulars at the gas station, one of which was frank, and his favourite chair. "can't be a drifter if ya gonna sit on yer ass all day" he acknowledged logically and with a wry smile of self-appreciation. he had decided against pawning it and instead donated it to the orphanage to give it a good home. and their cat. the stranger was not against selling some of his belongings. TV, bed, even some clothes to lighten his load. and so the streamlined stranger set off. in search of enlightenment, possibly, a new life, probably, notoriety, definitely. first stop, he decided, would be the highway for a hitch. "i'll save my money for the backwoods buses" concluded the stranger, "easier to get to get a ride on the busy streets than in the beaten, out of town joints". with one last look behind at the skyscrapers and office blocks piercing the sky he realized why it rains so often in the big city. about this time, 11:30am, frank was pulling into the gas station. he rounded the tight bend and came to a jerking stop at his usual pump. "fill er up, bob" he said, in his unmistakeable southern twang. "bob ain't here no more" came the reply. female, soft. imagine franks reaction. he was, to say the least, surprised by bob's absence. after all, he'd been pumping franks gas, uninterrupted, for nigh on five years. after enquiring as to bob's whereabouts, without luck, frank decided to follow the highway out of town, in search of bob. knowing he wouldn't pay for something he could get for free, frank knew bob would hitchhike along the main roads. he drove for at least three hours to no avail. maybe he did not know bob as well as he had first given himself credit. herein lies the irony of bob's predicament. to escape his anonymity he first had to become anonymous. only then can he fashion for himself a new existence. making a brand new being is a task usually reserved for those of a higher purpose. these people are worshipped. if bob could make a new person from himself, would he then be able to free himself from his anonymous torment and find the notoriety he craved. as frank was searching the main highway, bob had already found a ride in a truck drivers cab. so came the moment that bob's new character would begin to take shape. "where to stranger?" asks the truck driver. and so in those three sweet, easy words he was no longer bob, but stranger. his first step to temporary anonymity. in the end, one can't be a stranger forever. "nowheres special, my good man. just drop me where you stop" mumbled the stranger, uncertain of his destination, or indeed, his destiny. "i'm goin' 'cross the border, sir" replied the truck driver, "southways border that is". "anywhere's fine with me, just not here." "what to do first" he mused to himself. in this solitude he noticed a crucifix hanging from the rear-view mirror. "you a christian?" asked bob nervously, not being a regular charlie-church an' all. "ah suuuuure iiisss" came the answer, drawling, stretching his voice. then suddenly snapping it back into it's natural rhythm. "there's only one road, and it leads to calvary" "is that where we're headed?" "maybe" answered the truck driver, "if we're lucky". upon hearing this the stranger decides this is not the direction his adventure ought to be heading. a little unnerved by his companion he holds out in silence until they hit a rest stop. the trucker bursts out of the cab and into the kiosk for the lavatory key and the stranger grabs his escape, always being careful to leave one hand waving free for a ride, and he sprints away from the truck. after a good two hours walk through the blazing sun the stranger happens upon an odd looking structure. what, from a distance, appeared to be a white spherical object, floating just above the horizon, is in reality an abandoned automobile. not stopping to think about his luck, after all he was due some, he dives into the drivers seat and speeds away. a few miles down the road a thought enters his mind, via the radio. it was an advert for work at the drugstore. being in a spot of financial difficulty he sets his sights firmly on the drugstore. a few miles later a second thought enters his head. this one is a little more sinister, more calculated. "taking the job" he thinks to himself "would require some kind of commitment, which i'm clearly not ready for. and the wage is hardly worth the wait.". he had two choices. (well, he actually only had one thing on his mind, but to put himself at ease he put forward a second alternative). he could either drive right on by or he could rob it. having never been the criminal type he thought this might add a little spice to his journey. also, he was already a thief for stealing the car, why stop now. he knew how irresponsible this all sounded but never gave it a second thought. all he needed now was a weapon. a quick scan of the vehicle interior resulted in a few minor candidates. how much damage you can actually inflict with a rear-view mirror is currently proving quite the teaser for some of the worlds finest minds. he then came across a definite favourite when he found a pistol under the drivers seat. loaded. bar one chamber. the robbery plan now took a backseat. was it just a coincidence that he had found an abandoned car housing a loaded, bar the one chamber, pistol? could there be a rational explanation? this was worth investigating. skidding one hundred eighty degrees in the road, leaving the stain and stench of burnt rubber as the only signs of his existence he started back to the location of his mysterious acquisition. about a quarter of mile off the road into the desert he saw charcoal coloured lump protruding from the terrain. warily he approached. a million emotions ran through him, none of them registering. the wheel of emotion slowed, slowed, slowed settling on fear, though nudging towards excitement. his heart was pounding fast, hard. he looked down at his chest, he could see the thump, thump, thump. he could feel the pulses in his neck and wrists. the current of anticipation was running through him like a pilotless freight train. he was now matter of feet from the object. it shape was starting to form through his eyes. peering down he motioned a hand towards it. touching it. feeling it. nothing. no movement, no smell, no nothing. starting to feel a mixture of disappointment and relief he turned to go back to the car. suddenly the pulses are flowing, his heart his hammering and, strangely, his fists are clenched. a figure stands before him in blood-stained clothes. a tuxedo suit, white with black trim. there is blood in his hair and his nails. he opens his mouth. he sighs and speaks to the stranger. "get off the damn set!" "wha-what?" "please get off the set and gives us back our props." "set? props? what about the - " "yeah, props. the car, the gun." after a few minutes of tense dialogue, it is pointed out to the stranger that he has interfered with the shooting of an independently made feature film; of which, not having the backing of a big studio, the director was forced to embrace reality. now, having found a deserted area in the wilderness where he thought no-one would venture he finds he now has half an hour of wasted footage. feeling bad for wasting their time, as unintentional as it was, the stranger offers what now seems an obvious solution. "why don't i star in your film?" he asks, more in hope than anything. "i could be the poor guy roped into the intrigue by sheer dumb luck" as cliché as it was the director felt he had no alternative as this would require the least re-working of any possible solution. and so, only hours after his curiosity led him away from a potential windfall it saw him clear through to another. during that night he thought to himself about his plans. would he really have robbed the drugstore? what made him return of the scene of his crime? how much was he getting paid? all would be answered in good time. and that's where the old man on the roof finished. needless to say that the aforementioned good time has not yet arrived, and isn't likely to either. silly old sod he was. i never said he was a good story teller. oh, i did. well then my reputation as a liar is well-founded and reinforced. a short announcement now. if anyone has heard the joke with the punchline that starts with a z, then there are three gentleman in reception who would like a word. third door on your left, or the fourth on your right depending on your direction. i would say which but i don't know which way you are facing. yes, yes, i know the doors aren't marked but don't worry, there's nothing behind any of them that you haven't seen before. except the second on your left or the fifth on your right. i wouldn't advise going in there. although that's only because i've never been in myself so i couldn't say what you might encounter. i would say to take your shoes off first though. and don't touch anything. seventeen people went in last week and only two came out. of course since then, there has been a seemingly constant stream of voices, raised and whispered, emanating from therein. i think it's some kind of secret society myself. just last night i shared a drunken waltz with a parking meter. i didn't know it would cost so much. it was probably the most expensive dance i ever had; except of course for that time when it took two to tango. though it was nothing compared to what i paid for these new eyes. and they only see in black and white!