Tuesday, March 25, 2014
Allewhorey – A Heartwarming Journey Of Self-Discovery And (Almost) Moral Transcendence
Some of you have been complaining about how I as the Author never truly author anything. So here you go. Feast your mind on the absolute best fiction I could write, replete with similes as excruciating as a humpless camel, cookie-cutter clichés, generic and soulless imagery, arbitrary buildup to the part you actually want to read, and doting veiled tributes that are rapidly wearing reflected all over the place as if by a crystalline particle.
Night had fallen but the desert city still burned, sweating under the sun’s oppressive, scalding hand; and yet she hoped her own blaze was brighter. The wayward woman of youthful radiance roamed the bright streets of downtown Sin City – so deceitful in its splendor –, scouring its most sordid corners for income, opportunities, but hunger more than anything else – hunger she uniquely knew how to quench. At night that citadel of carnal transgression would exude an aura of dreck and impurity, wafting like haloes of electronic cigarette vapor into the unholy huntress’ path, but the same hour gave way to life and bustling activity of every sort, rarely a decent or noble vein among them. The perfect base for her employment, it was fraught with hordes of those beastly degenerates who’d leap to prey upon such vulnerable and desperate workers as herself but unwittingly stumble right into ploys and guiles of her own.
Some scraggly vagrants had unwittingly settled on her turf this particular night with shopping carts and a stringed instrument or two, causing her to recall the dark days before the recession, when she had diligently manned the money box of a burger joint, scraping by on just enough to pay the landlord, the grocer, the government. It was thankless, menial drudgery, degrading to her intellect and to her femininity, but she had performed it of necessity, up until the day the stock market crashed and her post was sacrificed on that sacred altar of corporate greed. While the worker suffered for the administration’s spendthrift policies, the capitalist machine had continued to thrive, pushing its newfound burdens onto the consumer and the laborers, just one of which had been she.
The actions she’d taken immediately following her dismissal remained an indistinct progression of wasteful experiments and enlightening cultural run-ins. At first she had probably scouted around for other low-skill jobs, all in vain due to the scarcity of such highly coveted spots. Then she had taken to soliciting funds at intersections, brandishing signs that asked work or food and wished God’s blessings and all of that bull____, but the rich country had long turned a blind eye to the poor it had created, and the privileged drove past her diminished form without a thought to her plight. In final resignation she had turned to the church, which offered her shelter and meals at the very least, if they came at the cost of her independence and dignity. Compassionate though they were at the best of times, the religious hierarchs could hardly be entrusted with the social welfare of an entire nation’s underclass; their volunteers and resources were stretched thin enough just tending to her, and the archaic views propagated by the church on women’s rights raised many concerns over the nobility and solvency of their intentions, for in their method of liberating the disadvantaged from one set of shackles, were they not at the same time encouraging bondage to another set, of servitude and submission to a wrathful sky-friend invented by warmongers and male supremacists? She saw the pride, the sickening self-superiority beaming in the minister’s face as he took the podium for his sermon or when he mingled with his congregation afterwards; the clergy was an emblem of the sexism entrenched in the American oligarchy by the country’s very foundations, and the scripture it sponsored was a vicious remnant of the medieval days before the enfranchisement of all genders, before Roe, before women were presumed to have any right to make decisions regarding the sanctity of their own bodies. They hailed from a bygone dark age where women were expected to submit to their husbands, where people could and would be stoned simply for being true to who they were and whom they loved; she recoiled that such brazen prejudice could still find a home in the modern, enlightened age, and her shame stung all the more fiercely that she was taking charity from these fundamentalists. Many times she had wanted to halt the processions and show the blind disciples what their leader had really espoused – tolerance for the sinner’s lifestyle, pity for the downtrodden, love and acceptance for those of all backgrounds or characters –, but she knew not the verses that called for these demeanors.
After a wretched, demoralizing month squandered in that haven, she’d resolved to take charge of her own destiny once more, and one night she flew the coop as in a moon trance, intending to seek out more auspicious opportunities. No longer would she lament her tragic immobility by fruitlessly wailing that pitiful song of a caged bird without end. She had turned in final, passionate desperation to the independent scene, taking up part-time, self-employment and formulating a routine path of sorts in the lattice of roadways that she had dutifully followed for the last four years to as respectable a degree of success as one could attain in such an ill respected line of work. She had thought it a thoroughly arduous and unpleasurable occupation at first, one that strained her body to its utmost limits and degraded her female identity, but with time she had eased into it and attained an emotional and physical reprieve that she hadn’t immediately appreciated. As a writer entered another dimension through the portal of his pen and paper, so she had achieved transcendence of her mortal condition, emerged victorious over all those domineering patriarchs who would coerce her into conforming to their faulty images of virtue.
The gaily illuminated parade of vehicles passing the impatient woman frequently blurred into a diverse rainbow of headlights and stolid faces too concentrated on their current tasks to notice her guarded advances. She had learned by now to smile invitingly at certain cars that appeared more privy to the wares she offered, simultaneously keeping one eye wary to nearby pedestrians who would likewise deign to make use of them. Experience had trained her to swiftly and efficiently separate predators from clients as she traipsed along her patrol and to closely estimate whatever payment she might derive from the latter. As if to test the acuity of her perception, a big-ass, gas-guzzling Ford now plodded by on the opposite side of the road, sounding twangy guitars and raspy vocals from within the front cabin. She had never lived in the country – what woman could in this hellhole of a state? – but she knew the marks of a redneck well enough to discern this wayfarer as the pest he is. There was nothing to see from his like but condemnation or, worse, nonconstructive empathy. She’d heard it all before: that she was going to burn in Hell for defiling her inner temple, she should visit this counseling center or that prayer group or this homeless shelter, was she warm enough in the harsh weather, and all those customary pretenses. The condescension tired her exceedingly; did she look a little girl lost in this dangerous world, dependent on others to provide for her financial security? She had now reached 26 years of age, weathered fully eight winters as an adult member of society. Why couldn’t they concede that she was perfectly capable of handling her own affairs? Was it so much to ask that they mind their own business and respect that philosophy of “live and let live” they feigned to cherish?
Listening to the din of traffic flow by, she now registered a confusing signal: the country strings, formerly fading to an indiscernible whisper, were rising in volume again, becoming so glaring that she couldn’t focus on anything else. Her heart rate jumped a beat when she looked left and saw the familiar shape of the pick-up truck; it had made a U-turn at the last light and was creeping towards her in the right lane like a mystical liger stalking an unwary jungle child, slowing as it approached for a climactic, lethal pounce. Oh, God, she thought as she turned about and fled in the same direction, instinctively conceiving to outrun it as one endowed with anti-gravity or to seek refuge under the towering columns and shadows of the Caesars Palace, a lecherous hive for all outcasts such as herself. But her own elements seemed to bend against her success, delivering her unto the severely conservative pursuer, who rolled down the passenger window and leaned far over to accost her thus: “Whoa, there. Are you trying to look like a prostitute, ma’am?”
I don’t know. Do I want to look like a prostitute?
In silent answer she glanced down at the handsome, tightly fitted uniform she currently wore, accentuating her commitment to professionalism and indicating to all passers-by that she meant real business. Cutting off just above her prime assets on both ends, the one-piece, scarlet-laced dress revealed just enough of her character to arouse interest but also withheld just enough for those interested clients who would like to know her more intimately. Looking back up, she surveyed her assailant with intense curiosity, her apprehension temporarily supplanted with relentless curiosity. He sported a scruffy red ring of facial hair and his collared plaid shirt discordantly clashed with the liberated fashion scene of Las Vegas like an electronic keyboard in an orchestral section. His thick eyebrows were arched in what seemed to be genuine befuddlement, his diminutive ears raised in anticipation, and his lips drawn down in a concerned frown. Was he really so daft as to inquire:
“Are you trying to look like a prostitute? MAM.”
“No s____, Sherlock,” was her reply.
“Well, now, there’s no need for a gentle lady like yourself to go talkin’ or dressin’ like that in frigid weather like this. You look like you could use a coat or pants at least, something to cover you in that sorry state.”
“No, thanks, I really don’t need anything of the sort. It’s pushing 90 degrees right now and that’s low for this city. Based on my place of residence, my trade, and my youth, I stand an approximately 6.02 X 10-23 chance of freezing to death, so I’m not all that worried.”
“With all due respect, ma’am, I’m afraid you’re mistaken. You see, this here climate change polar vortex stuff is throwin’ the whole world off balance, including Las Vegas, and it’s way too risky for you to wander ’bout unprotected in this freezing tempature. You could catch hypodermia or the flu or something bad if you’re not covered right. I mean, what if you did get sick and you had to pay the druggist $30, $40, $50 to get your cough meds? See here, ya need to get covered with something ’fore you get stuck with a bill like that you just can’t pay.”
“First of all, hick, it’s ‘global warming’, not ‘climate change’, and I’m no Flat-Earther, but there’s really not a lot of climate change happening here in Vegas. It’s been a barren and inhospitable wasteland for something like the last hundred years and will continue to be for a hundred more. Second, human beings have been getting sick since like the very beginning of time and evolving fashion customs have done literally nothing to stop them from getting sick, nor do I suspect I’d take much comfort after the fact in knowing I had been covered when I first got sick, being miserable and ill all the same.”
“Again, with all due respect, ma’am, that’s not really of consequence. If you aim to ever find yourself a nice job or a husband, you’re gonna have to dress more respectable than that. Here, I got an extra coat an’ jeans in the back you could put on, and I wouldn’t charge you nothing ’cause o’ your economic difficulties and all qualifyin’ you for my assistance. If ya don’t get covered now when ya’ve got no preexistent ailments, you’re fixin’ to go bankrupt soon as you happen to get sick.”
“You’re a total a-hole, aren’t you? Fixin’ to go without full clothing is exactly what’s saving me from going bankrupt at present. If I had been studiously covering myself for the last four years as you so earnestly recommend, I would have lost my single avenue of income a long time ago and been forced to subsist on charity or, worse, welfare.”
“Don’t you think that’s one of those, what’re they called, false dichotomies, ma’am? Gettin’ covered doesn’t have nothing to do with what you do for a living. Heck, if you like prostituting yourself, you can keep prostituting yourself. No one’s going to take that option away from ya. Period.”
“On the contrary, keeping myself covered as a policy is logically irreconcilable with what I do for a living at this relatively early stage in my adulthood. The moment you coerce me into receiving your misguided offers of aid is the moment I lose all chances to subsist by own means. As a physically strong, gainfully unemployed, smoking hot young woman, it makes no financial sense whatsoever for me to get covered and deprive myself of the wage that now allows me to pay my bills.”
“Ma’am, I’m all for paying your bills and living within your means, and you might well be healthy and purty right at this moment, but you can’t count on that to last. After all, you young people often go acting like reckless knuckleheads, like you think you’re invincible. Just think of the risks you take in this whoring trade –”
“I’m a sex worker, actually.”
“– in your sex work, then. The way you’re at it right now, you’re just one unprotected customer away from catching a virus, and then you’ll be wishin’ you got yourself covered when ya had the chance. Kids like you do knuckleheaded things all the time when they go taking their clothes off.”
“That’s a disgustingly ageist and fundamentally absurd generalization based solely in your own arrogance and devoid of reason. Older people make just as many knuckleheaded decisions and mistakes as young ones, probably more due to their deteriorating senses, and they’re just as prone to getting sick from the cold because of their greater vulnerability to physical ailments. Aside from that, you still haven’t presented a single reason why my disinclination to getting covered is any of your ___damn business.”
“Forgive my impudence, ma’am, but you’re talking kind of like a child. Gettin’ covered is just a part of growin’ up and it’s a responsibility we all have to assume some day or ’nuther, lessun we all be looking like lil, naked infants.”
“On the contrary, gettin’ covered has nothing to do with growin’ up; in fact, taking off your covers is an integral rite of passage to become an adult for like 95% of the human race, lessun they all be looking like lil, unsexed virgin children. Your insipid platitude that conforming to some arbitrary societal standard for what’s becoming of an adult is necessary to actually being an adult is all the more ridiculous because your underlying assumption of what that societal standard happens to be is wrong on its face.”
“Well, then, mightun I appeal to your family to persuade you? What would your mother think if she knew you were reveling about half-naked in the heart of Dis big city likun one of the pigs on my ranch? Wouldn’t it give her a better piece of mind to know her beautiful daughter’s at least properly covered wherever she is?”
“Peace of mind.”
“That’s what I said.”
“Right… do you honestly think my mother cares whether I’m covered or not? What do you think I am: some kind of rebellious, emotionally unstable teenager who needs to be constantly squired and protected by parental guardian angels? My mother and father cared for me nearly two decades of my life, exhausting untold time, energy, and wealth so that I might emerge with the capability to survive without their guidance when the time came for me to leave the house, and once it did, I left, never to come wallowing back a childlike parasite. I couldn’t care less about my mother’s present condition and I doubt she gives much of a damn about mine either.”
“Ma’am, I’m starting to lose my patience here. Why don’t you just give me ten for the coat and pants and we’ll part ways with no hard feelings, hmm?” His blank and botheringly impassive stare had collapsed somewhat, devolving into a look wavering between exasperation and outright hostility. As if to assuage his mounting anger, he swatted at a fly that was assaulting his forehead. The act of spontaneous, impetuous violence, so seemingly insignificant in its portent, exposed to her a more sinister aspect of this strange gentleman’s character. Was this the same helpful country boy who had tried to provide her warmth, hope, and coverage not four minutes ago, who had formerly spoken with such clarity and high composure of diction for his background?
“I’m not giving you s___ for your clothes. What happened to those donations you were offering, freely given out of charity?”
“You see, ma’am, much as it’s my posture to value charity, I don’t really take kindly to the kind of obstructionism you been showing to me, and I’m definitely not keen on subsidizing obstructionists. In my Christian ideal of an American utopia, not a single man, woman, or child should have to go without basic covering, no matter their economic class, situation, or upbringing, and no one should have to resort to selling their body in order to make ends meet. ’Cause after all, if we truly are the wealthiest nation in the world, then what reason can we rightly claim for failing to adequately cover every last person living in our great democracy, or at the very least to make those covers affordable enough even for the poorest among us? But we both know that to reach such a goal of securin’ affordable clothing for all 310 million denizens of the country is an illusive, nay, an unattainable mirage on the horizon. Every society, no matter how ordered and micro-managed, is ultimately divided into haves and have-nots, the latter so far outnumbering the former that no voluntary gesture of compassion from the folks at the top nor any surge in supply can possibly effect a market where necessary coverage is available to all at little expense. The i’stinct for material gain is imprinted on the nature of humankind, and so it is that the religious pursuit of profit will always govern the greedy apparel companies, crushing any fleeting concern they carry for the common good, unless, that is, their cutthroat consumerism is controlled through the law. No longer should the establishment allow the fashion industry to continue screwing the American people over for personal benefit. Like most folks with any ounce of common sense, I believe it’s well past time that we as Americans start to value human welfare over business and to substitute our natural selfish pride with a more Christian love for the poor and perennially unclothed.”
“But mere selfishness ain’t the only thing sealed in human nature. Out in the countryside, away from the empty rules and institutions of civilization, the only law of right and wrong is physical power: whoever has the stronger arm, wields the better gun, commands the larger posse gets to call the shots without deference to any other authority. Which of us do you suppose is the more dominant in these ’spects?” The question was rhetorical, as he proceeded with nary a pause for the ominous words to rest upon her skin like the sickly palm of a non-committed lover unilaterally taking their contract past the stipulated boundaries. “Thing is, me and the rest of my brothers in the movement for universal coverage don’t much care for the impediments of this or that legal provision, nor do we go deluding ourselves with false hopes that individual action alone will ever recturfy the crisis we’ve identified in the country’s wardrobe, so to speak, nor are we especially sensitive to the potential costs that mandating coverage might impose on those like yourself who woulda rather go without it. By right of our superior coercive strength and higher moral enlightenment, we fully intend to take whatever courses we deem necessary for your own good, and ifun that means we’ve got to sell you covers against your will, so be it.”
“Are you threatening to rob me? Not only do you have no respect for my independence as a grown woman, but you also have a total disregard for the law.”
“Like I says, ma’am, I only honor the laws insofarus they can be twisted to let me enact whatever agenda I want. If you don’t mind my observing, you’re not much one for the laws either, cuttin’ way short of Nevada’s minimum requirements for publicly acceptable attire, but we can change that now, can’t we?”
He spat the last clause with a sudden rush of GMO-like venom as he hurled a mangy coat and mangled pair of jeans outside the window at her unprotected figure. The pant legs were so shredded that she might as well go bare with as much comfort, and the weighty, long-sleeved top reeked like sulfur of a computer that had exploded from the perverted, chemically reactive experiments of a dubstep music producer entrusted with too much pure beauty to leave unembellished.
“Hey, dude, this crap is broken. Torn. Unusable. How am I supposed to cover myself with something that doesn’t even accomplish its designated purpose?”
“I wouldn’t say they’re broken, ma’am; there’s just a little rip in the fabric here and there, but the whole thing still works just fine. The holes and tears just show how great the material is that so many people tried it on. One great thing about gettin’ covered is the sheer diversity of options you have in what you buy at the marketplace; if you don’t like that outfit, for example, you can head over to the Old Navy ’cross the street and shop around for items that best suit your needs, so long as they cover your legs, cover your chest, cover your feet, and cover your abdomen in the event of prenatal swelling. Heck, I’ll be darned if it’s easy as buying a high-definition TV on Amazon.”
“Do I look like I have 2000 frickin dollars to burn on a brand new television, let alone a permanent home to store it in, a computer to buy it with, and internet access to shop for it? You have to be the most presumptuous, thick-headed bastard I’ve ever had the ill pleasure of meeting, and you don’t even have a name that I know of.”
“They call me the one who knocks.” And with that ambiguous introduction he promptly rolled up the passenger window and slipped away from the curb, dissolving back into the restless flow of the night traffic as if he had never emerged. Flustered and frightened by the encounter, the wayward woman stared at the truck’s wake in silent astonishment, momentarily disconnected from her order of affairs and distraught at the unbelievable stupidity of every clumsy pretense of self-righteous wisdom that had lofted from that puritanical, right-wing fool’s tongue. Discarding the pitiful garments into the gutter, she returned anew to her interrupted procedure, and once again she roamed the bright streets of downtown Sin City.