Thursday, 28 June 2012


I've been thinking a lot about him. Not the businessman in a broad sense, but how he relates to me, specifically. I've been doing a lot of research in the past couple days, and to be honest, in light of what I've learned that sounds like quite the presumptuous statement. We should mean nothing to one another.   I am another apple to be plucked. But if this is so, why does he invade our psyches so, the seedlings of his grand tree planting themselves in our lives and splitting them apart with growing roots?

Perhaps I'm just weak. It's a coincidence, another iteration of the businessman who just happens to break my fragile humanity apart.

A long time ago, I was in a very bad place. I was what the common man saw as filth in the gutter, an unkempt man without a dollar to his name. Sadly, I fulfilled the stereotype of the drunken homeless man, spending money given by generous strangers on as much alcohol as I could get my hands on. I worked past my shame a long time ago, but I still feel awful thinking back on it. I will not bore you with the details of how I fell to this state - my job fell through, and I was far from a home that had all but washed its hands of me.

It was a dreary November morning. I was soaking wet and shivering, watching men in suits walk by through the fog. It had rained that night, and the thick blanket I used to cover myself for so many nights had been taken away a week prior by somebody who thought themselves more desperate than I. I swore drunkenly at the sky. "Fucking cocktease, are you going to rain or not?"

I remember that morning quite clearly, and I feel it would cheapen the story to omit anything.

"Excuse me," I heard, and I turned with a frown. It was a man half a foot taller than me, clean-shaven with neatly-trimmed frighteningly orange hair and a navy blue blazer.

"The fuck do you want, kid?"

"Are you hungry?"

"Course I'm hungry, I'm always hungry. Do I look like a man who eats often?"

"Would you like to come with me for breakfast?"

I was taken aback, and at that point felt a piece of myself that hadn't been lost in the haze my life had become. I held on to it, and the shard yielded to me gratitude.

"Sure?" I replied, slightly incredulous. "Thanks, kid."

"I've seen you a lot walking by here," he replied, beginning to walk briskly in that manner of his. "What's your name?"


"You don't look old enough to be a Basil."

"Oh yeah? What's your fucking name then, smartass?"

"Jasper Shaw. Let's go, I'm in a touch of a hurry. Will McDonald's do?"

"Damn, man, anything," I said a bit more quietly.

He'd said that he was in a hurry, but we spent at least an hour eating breakfast. When I questioned him, he said that he wasn't all that worried about being late to work. Although he was two years younger than me, Jasper was the far better man, and I became his pet project. The fruit of his efforts?

The man I am now.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Love Me Do

For a long time, we just held one another. All the tears created by my lovely wife's situation had already been shed and wasted on bitterness.

"What did he look like?" Patricia asked, voice quivering slightly. "He..."

"Shhh," I said, keeping my voice soft. I stroked her silvering hair back, and forced a smile. "Just like they say, right? The businessman."

"Who says?"

"Well, ah, the... internet."

"The internet's wrong," she said sharply. "He looked like you. Since when do you listen to the internet, anyway?"

"Since... stop, he looked like me?"

That just flew in the face of everything I'd read. Then again, I'd only really skimmed the mass of information available about our current predicament, so maybe there's something that I'm missing. That's always how it seems to be - I feel trapped with a puzzle complete save for the final piece.

"You remember that ratty old brown suit? And... and his face..."

"It's going to be alright," I said as doubts began to fill my mind. "We always make it. We always solve the puzzle."

"I don't know, Basil... we're getting old. Eventually you reach a puzzle you can't solve."

"Well, it's not going to be this one," I said, standing tall. I gingerly removed my glasses and placed them in my breast pocket. "I feel like a young man. Maybe I should go put that suit on and tell the man what-for. Who does he think he is, stealing my fashion, anyways?" Patricia laughed softly, in spite of herself. "There's my honey. When are the doctors letting you out of here?"

"I don't know," she replied, removing her own glasses, and blinking up at me. "You look like you've lost ten years without those, you know."

"And you've lost thirty."

The doctors say that they're keeping her for another week, and bringing in a mental health professional. I'm not fooled any more, no pills are going to help us. I signed off on the appointment before I knew, but I'm sure that we'll be able to sort all of it out and get her released soon enough.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Those Who Turn the Wheels

I was born in 1948, the day after Labour Day - a cold September morning. My mother, always the trooper, distracted herself from the pain through the power of laughter. She put the admittedly amusing fact that she had started having contractions on Labour Day through the wringer and never let me forget it. It was like a pet story for her, a piece of her life that she carried on her chest. A piece that you carry with you forever as a token of the fact that you exist and have touched other peoples' lives. I think everyone needs something like that, something they can hold on to. What is my little story, I wonder? There are a lot of things, and I can only feel that it hasn't come to me yet. I'm running out of time to find it, however.

A little bit about myself, to indulge the gentleman who commented on my last post. My name really is Basil, and honestly, it made me sound like an old man long before I actually became one. I work as an electrician for my local public transit system, and I feel pride in my work. I am one of the cogs that keeps the machine working. My eyes aren't what they used to be, but I have been fortunate enough that my hands are still steady and my mind still sharp. I am married to a lovely woman named Patricia, although I do not live with her at present. I am, in fact, going to go visit her in the hospital in about an hour. I ordered a bouquet of morning glory from a local flower shop to brighten her spirits. I know only one thing that I can do to help her, and that is to tell her that I believe her. I know that she hasn't gone mad or senile, because I saw him too.

It's that, or we've both gone mad. But at least if that's the case, we're together, and I think I would be able to bear it then.

Friday, 22 June 2012

The Road the Mule Walks

I can't keep this to myself anymore. I've felt trapped for so long, seeing friends who look beyond what is accepted as normal and become looked down upon as beyond normality themselves. They become the pill-poppers, the institutionalized, those who paint the walls red with their blood or hang tall like the criminals of old. How could I become like them? It sneaks up on you, you see. Once you see just a little glimpse of something wrong, it spreads like a crack and before you know it the world is falling down in silence.

Nobody knows that there's something wrong with me. I play with my grandchildren just like always, I laugh with my friends and coworkers over wine. I don't let uninvited gentlemen bother me until I return home and know that I can no longer hold it back. I can't tell anyone who I know can betray me with a concerned smile, because it would kill me inside. That used to be me. I was the one with the concerned smile and a dagger forged from good intentions in my hand.

Perhaps the gentleman is an arbiter of justice, come to collect me for my ignorance. Perhaps he is the empty masquerade of a being above the sky. Perhaps none of it matters. But I won't let myself be alone anymore. So I've come to you, as silly as it sounds. All of you young people who have to deal with this thing at an age where you can't simply say that you've lived a full and happy life and accept it, all of you at an age where it just isn't fair.

Maybe it's selfish of me to want to count myself among you, but I don't feel like I've lived long enough yet. The furrows upon my brow and the glasses before my eyes betray me.

My name is Basil, and I'm not ready to go quite yet.