Thursday, March 29, 2012

Las Ciruelas

(A story out of Lima, Peru, March, 2012)

Las Ciruelas Street, being blind to the houses on the other side of the church, a squared neighborhood with a small park and the church in front of the white house, the house Chick Evens lived at, owned and lived in, was a quiet street except at certain hours and days, when the old lady from the apartment building next door brought out her seven dogs—to relieve themselves on the park’s grass—the park was next to the church, in which they chased and barked and become simply a nuisance to anything or anybody or creature within ten feet of them; or the bicycle man on the corner of his street, kitty-corner from his white house, was giving exercises lessons to a horde of neighborhood children in the park across the street from his house; or when someone had a wedding at the church, and a big ceremony was involved, or when a few blocks away the disco noises converged in a single night upon them, a sensation, numbness they all felt, fought in the courts, it being a three-story nightclub, its proprietors, old mayors retired from public service, or kicked out because of swindling the public and buying such elaborate businesses as these such nightclubs, and uncaring of the prayers and praises of the neighborhood church and its people, playing their music so loud, too loud for even the preacher to talk, of course this was detached from the lives within the houses of the street—Las Ciruelas, and for the most part they were not conscious of it and most of the time nearly imperturbable—but the nightclub was testy nonetheless, and an annoyance on the residence. As was the fish cafĂ© behind the nightclub, that occasionally made noise, a business that was unlicensed, but nonetheless, overlooked by the municipality—and unsanctioned by the populist of Las Ciruelas Street and its surrounding church members.

The former tenant of the church, a priest where hung an air-mustiness in its beginnings—some ten-years earlier, a two room enclosure, Father P. Pedro Taschler K., had died in 2007, at the ripe old age of eighty-one. He had built his church into a grand place of worship to be sure. A well loved priest, man of the cloth, and during his last days, he was fearful of dying—why?

What innumerable follies could he have had that would bring on this fear: came to the mind of Mr. Evens, in his sleeping thoughts, awakening thoughts, thoughts he wished to annihilate, tedious intervening thoughts. At one point his image came between Evens and his readings, and cast an enchantment over him. He prayed it was not some surprised and hopeless fear he might have. The Priest’s face always had a godly sternness to it, for his belief, faith, so Evens had always imagined, could he be wrong? “I hoped he was not beginning to idle, or I.” Evens garbled.

As he was at the place for old folks, Evens visited him some on those last days, and months.

On one hand, he knew death was the best incitement to live, surely the Priest knew this too. And he knew, perhaps knew—that it was possible, but he didn’t believe it possible—that it was probable someone, somewhere in the far past might have wanted a solution to death, knowing time was his master, perhaps a king, why not? And he went to his wise men, this king, and asked for a remedy against death. Knowing tightly in his hands he held death—that it was nearing and he wanted the power over death: that being, life after the grave, don’t we all. So what would these wise men have done to appease the king? What would Evens have done to appease the king, having to come up with a remedy for death: when death was the grave, period?

Leaning his forehead against the cool glass of his bedroom window, looking over at the park, onto the entrance of the church, the dark entrance where the priest had walked in, and through a thousand times. “Yes,” he said: ‘the wise men would have told the king, what I would have told the king, at that time told the king, had I not believed in anything—or been an agnostic: that his soul will exist, be transformed after the grave, into the city of gods.’

“Alias!” the wise men had found the solution for the king, and saved their lives, yes, it could have been that way: I wonder if he, the priest had taken that into consideration those last days and months?

But the wise men must have known, had the sun kissed the earth, all that man had fought for, all the wisdom in the world, likened to all the stars in the heavens, earth would some day have perished, and someday the stars will have perished, and perhaps give birth to new ones, nothing lasts forever. But he didn’t tell the king that, and the king didn’t ask for that. And so he built himself a grand pyramid, one that would live forever, until that fatal kiss anyhow—just in case his wise men were lying to him.

As for Mr. Evens, ‘Be that as it may,’ he said, ‘providence has outlived chance, which to me is a cause that is imperceptible—lest I am to believe atoms can fly through space any-which-way, causing by chance the creation of life here and there and everywhere, and that is too far fetched (too hard to get a hold of) for my mind.

#887 (3-16-2012) jj