Shorter Story: The Man in the Lawn Chair

Once I was trotting tenderly across a rocky, littered beach – its sand boasted seemingly of all things but ease of treading, its air all creatures but people. But wait, here I come across a decrepit man seated in a lawn chair. What a sight, no drink, no cigarette, no salvation, no shirt, no – well, I suppose the withering weeds upon his chest compensated for his striking baldness. His wrinkled skin was colored by years of neglected sunburn; his neck sought to strangle itself; his cracked cheeks were as a single-stranded string stretched o’er a malar pulley; this misty front of such wear bore an expression laden of dry lips and thirsty eyes. As I approached, those eyes traveled the road of sight to mine, and my vision itself became the object of his perception. I ceased my trot; he embarked upon a trail of groanings:

“Desire’s an unruly beast. She flaps her limbs like a hydra, and stirs a man’s guts like a tornado. She convinces a man he is more than he is whilst consuming the ground beneath his footing. She is like the air, passing through and from all things. For each domain of which a man thinks, ‘this here is simple and worthy, an incorruptible activity,’ there too the air pervades. Desire is a stumbling block in the path toward what a man might desire most were he not a creature so pitifully suspended across the vastest of moral bandwidths. Perhaps she is a battle betwixt many demonic legions. Perhaps she is a shattered mimosa, having been dropped by the clingiest of hands. Perhaps she is the subtle instinct under your skin, letting soft hints roll off her tongue, drawing your hopeless corpse into dark caverns and collapsing buildings. Perhaps Desire is the Law which governs the whims of Fate. Perhaps… But I know what Desire is; she is the light in a man’s eyes and the darkness in his heart. She is the mythological beast we whip and torture and toss in a cage, yet not a single persuasion more than a momentary pause is necessary for us to join her forever behind the bars – and you know that adage of old:” he chuckled without a smile, “Eternity comforts only dead men. Welcome to Hell.”

All this was said to me by the man in the lawn chair.

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