Introducing: The Red Wing Chronicles (A Stream Of Consciousness Personal Exorcism)

I really don’t know how many people read my blog posts. For the past year or so, at various times, I have posted several pieces with subtitles like “A stream of consciousness rant, or lament, etc. from “The Red Wing Chronicles (A stream Of Consciousness Personal Exorcism). This is my latest book- part memoir of my first 30 years or so, and part stream of consciousness rant. Stream of consciousness is a technique in which the writer’s thoughts are quickly rendered into written words with minimal thought or fermentation. James Joyce, Jack Kerouac, and Virginia Wolf have used this technique in various of their works and when it is successful it often is akin to a jazz improvisation in words.

Although the words often flowed, this was a difficult book to write. My childhood was hardly a pleasant one. It was rife with serious illness, bullying and family abuse. The serious illness was ulcerative colitis, and during a six week stay in a “teaching hospital” (charity ward euphemism) I nearly died. Whether my precarious condition was due to the illness, or patient neglect (as evidenced by permanent bed sore scarring) or both, is conjectural. I will leave descriptions of abuse and bullying in the book, for those who care to read it. A heads up- today there is cyber bullying. The abuse and bullying from my childhood was physical and emotional, and much of it would be deemed criminal today.

The memories in my story trigger the rants, which are often raw and vehemently emotional (but still peppered with my cynical, sarcastic and sardonic sense of humor pervasive in my blog posts). They are also cerebral, and deal with topics such as the fragility and illusory nature of memory, the subjectivity of sanity, the relativism of good, evil and morality, and the hypocrisy of authority.

Catharsis is never easy. Nor is exorcism of one’s personal demons. This book is, I believe, unique; not just in content but in conception. It was conceived and written with my feet up on the couch, staring as if in trance and being steered and inspired by the greatest pair of shoes ever cobbled. My scuffed up, wise and seen it all from the ground up shoes. My dear old Red Wing friends.

Sharia Law Texas Style

They’ve taken control with little resistance. Tribal people with rules, laws and sensibilities from the 7th century. For a time, there had been progress, measured in inches, moving toward the civilized world, but the regression was quick and draconian.

Women are no longer sovereign within their own bodies. The tribal rulers have declared that women can no longer terminate pregnancy after the sixth week- a period when most women may not be aware that they’re pregnant. No exceptions, except endangerment of the mother’s life; not even if the pregnancy resulted from rape or incest.

You may think I’m describing the barbaric patriarchy of the Taliban as they impose Sharia law in Afghanistan. You think wrong. I’m describing Texas, which has signed into law Bill TX (SB8). But although the new law may seem like a blast from the Stone Age past, the method of enforcement is so ludicrous as to render Texas the scourge and laughing stock of the civilized world. The police are keeping out of this- private citizens are tasked to enforce the law!

Yes, any private citizen. With or without standing. Anyone who suspects that someone, however obliquely, has aided or abetted an abortion, can be sued by an abortion vigilante. The plaintiff doesn’t even have to reside in Texas. Any plaintiff who brings forward civil action against an aider or abetter and wins will be rewarded a minimum of $10,000, to be paid out of the defendant’s pocket. And who would be considered an aider or abetter? Included would be the Uber or taxi driver who drove the woman to the abortion clinic; the neighbor who helped fund the abortion, or even pays for the transportation to the clinic; anyone who provided funding for the woman’s health insurance and of course the physician who performs the procedure. Why stop there? How about anyone who wishes the woman good luck, or gives her a hug en route to the clinic? And why should pets be off the hook? If Bowser the Golden Lab jumps up and slobbers love and encouragement to the woman as she’s out the door, should he not share in the guilt? No doggy treats or tummy rubs for him, let’s say, for six months.

Anyone remember the reality T.V. show “Dog, The Bounty Hunter?” You know, the buffed bad ass biker dude who apprehended people who jumped bail? Well, welcome to the new breed of bounty hunters, lurking about, spying on their neighbors, snooping into other people’s affairs and lives. Why, are they not doing God’s work, sparing the lives of billions of zygotes from genocide (we can’t say infanticide; not at six weeks) and earning money in the process?

Imagine the chaos! How would the abortion “Dog The Bounty Hunter” equivalents gather information? What specific evidence would be required? What if they couldn’t find any and made things up? Why, the guilty could be anyone: that rude kid at the local take-out; that despised neighbor who keeps driving over your chrysanthemums; the obnoxious uncle you only see on Thanksgiving, crashed out on the couch after eating too much mince pie. These aiders and abetters are everywhere and must be stopped. And what if some of them do not like being snooped upon? Texas is a stand your ground, open and carry without a permit state, and dog gone it, trespassers can be shot. Think of the excitement- the Wild West mayhem of gun toting abortion snoopers in shoot outs with heavily armed abortion abetters. Ah, the delicious irony, people killing each other over the sanctity of life. Davey Crockett and Sam Houston would be proud!

The Quran does not address abortion. In some Muslim majority countries like Tunisia, and authoritarian countries like China and Russia, abortion is relatively accessible. In North Korea the margin is wide; a woman can obtain an abortion for “important reasons.” The reality is, there is no complete ban comparable to Texas under Islamic law.

Oh that liberal Taliban. Way out in front of the second largest state on abortion. How they must frown upon the primitive tribal beliefs of the extremists in Texas.

Perhaps in due course Texas women will break free from the shackles of the Lone Star State and make a beeline to the land of the Burka.

The Ghost Of Bridget Bishop

Does the name Bridget Bishop ring a bell? It would be remarkable if it did.

Bridget Bishop was the first woman to be hanged as a witch in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1692. Eighteen other women were subsequently hanged, along with one elderly man who was pressed to death. All were convicted of being Satan worshiping witches. Based on what evidence, you may ask? None. They were murdered per allegations, waged by hysterical children and religious zealots. It was alleged by her accusers that Bishop, with the merest of glances, could inflict fits and paroxysms upon them. Her trial lasted eight days. Quite speedy, expedited by growing hysteria within the Salem community, and the absence of deliberating over evidence. There was none.

No doubt the accusers, the law enforcers and the Puritan hierarchy which included the notorious Cotton Mather, believed they were being diligent and dutiful in affecting the harsh will of God. After all, was not the New World the battleground in the war between Satan and God? There were no recantations or regrets, let alone remorse from the righteous Christian soldiers who issued the condemnations and pulled the lever on the gallows. Bishop’s reported last words were, “I am innocent. I am no witch. I know nothing of it.” Were any of the executed truly in league with the Devil? In hindsight, the question itself is absurd.

Fast forward about three hundred years to a quaint California coastal city called Manhattan Beach, where the McMartin preschool was located.

In 1983, Judy Johnson, mother of one of the McMartin preschoolers, reported to the police that her son had been sodomized by her estranged husband and McMartin teacher, Ray Buckey, who was also the grandson of the school’s founder Virginia McMartin. Why did Judy Johnson, who was an alcoholic and diagnosed with acute paranoid schizophrenia, conclude that her son had been sodomized? Because he had a series of painful bowl movements. There are mothers in this world who would have contacted a gastroenterologist if the symptoms persisted. But Judy, a stranger to Occam’s Razor, instead contacted the police. In addition to the sodomy accusation, Judy also made accusations that other McMartin staff engaged in beastiality in front of the children and that Ray Buckey could fly. At this point one might assume that discerning members of the Manhattan Beach Police investigating unit might conclude that Judy was- well, bat shit crazy, and buried the case in the coo coo file and moved on to more pressing matters. But nay. They elected to do something that still ranks at the apex of law enforcement stupidity. They mailed form letters to about 200 parents of McMartin students informing them that Ray Buckey had been arrested for suspected child molestation, and their children should be questioned as to having witnessed, or been the victim of, oral sex, fondling of genitals or buttocks and sodomy under the pretense of taking the children’s temperature. Also, had they ever seen Buckey disappear with a child during nap time or tie a child up? A questionnaire was to be completed and returned in the enclosed stamped envelope ASAP! Then it was off to the races.

Hysteria spreads like wild fire doused in kerosene. Several hundred children were interviewed by an L.A. based abuse therapy clinic run by a woman named Kee McFarlane. A well known local T.V. reporter named Wayne Satz was assigned to the case. It was later learned that Satz and McFarlane had struck up a romantic relationship. Many of the questions posed to the children were suggestive and leading, tantamount to, “Bobby, did Mr. Buckey ever touch your privates? No? Well Billy said he did, and you’re as smart as Billy, aren’t you?” Ah, to have one’s lover leak lurid and lascivious information. Satz was like a pig at the pastry wagon in his nightly reportage.

When the trial began, Judy Johnson’s alcoholism and mental illness were withheld from the defense by deputy D.A. Robert Philibosian, who was also accused of committing perjury. Oh, this milk train had enough for everyone! Such an opportunity to gain notoriety and establish brands. A clinical psychologist for the defense testified that after viewing the videotaped interviews, that the children’s statements were coerced and scripted.

In addition to Buckey, his mother, grandmother and several other McMartin staffers were charged with 321 counts of child abuse. There were two trials; one in 1987 and one in 1990. Ultimately all charges were dropped. Ray Buckey had spent five years in prison. Several children later recanted their testimonies. Not a scintilla of evidence was ever produced. Mary Fischer of the L.A. Times stated that the case was “Simply invented.” The McMartin preschool was later demolished, along with the lives of the accused.

And all of this brings us to Andrew Cuomo, governor of New York, who, facing imminent impeachment, resigned today. Questions abound:

(1) 11 women have accused him of sexual harassment. Some of the allegations, like grabbing a woman’s breast or buttocks, are disturbing. Others are disturbing by their vagueness. Allegations of “inappropriate behavior” or “unwanted touching”could be placed on a wide, subjective spectrum. For some people an embrace, pat on the back or even a handshake may be unwanted. Key question- did he know at the time the touching was unwanted? Cuomo’s m.o. has always been a “touchy-feely” politician of the old school.

(2) Is there any tangible evidence supporting his behavior? Eye witness corroboration? videos, text or sext messages?

(3) At what point do uncorroborated accusations equate to guilt? Is there a general rule of thumb, or better, a mathematical formula or equation? Is there a threshold- say, less than five equals hearsay, one equals he said she said, over ten equals guilt? Are points given or taken away based upon the perceived veracity and character of both accuser and accused?

(4) What ever happened to the concept of due process? Of reserving judgement until both sides have presented evidence and all parties have been vetted? All human motives are mixed motives. What do the accusers have to lose? Or gain?

(5) Why now? Did Cuomo have a lascivious transformation after 60? He’s been in politics for decades. Surely there must be incidences from years ago?

Do I think Cuomo is, at least to some degree, guilty? Probably. Do I think there is at least a possibility he is not? Certainly.

11 women have accused Cuomo. They can’t all be wrong, can they?

Ask the ghost of Bridget Bishop.

When Hatred And Stupidity Collide

There is a now infamous picture of six members of a ragtag group of Michigan militia called the Wolverine Watchmen, standing against the wall of the Michigan State Capital Building, decked out in full battle regalia, staring balefully at the camera. Their AR-15 long guns are visibly brandished, combat ready. They are part of an armed protest staged on April 30th, 2020. Fury and outrage are in the air. Why are they there? Because Governor Gretchen Whitmer, like numerous other governors in the country, was using her authority to affect the greatest good and safety for the greatest number by shutting down her state and mandating mask wearing in the face of the deadliest pandemic in a century. The Wolverine Watchmen believed this warranted dragging her into the street and hanging her. But first she must be exposed. Social media was flooded with photo shopped images of Whitmer with her head on Hitler’s body, and another with her head on a porn actress’s body with the caption, “Gross slut fucks whole state.” Oh, such witty wordsmiths these Watchmen be! The delicious irony. Nazis depicting Whitmer as a Nazi. Do they know what a Nazi is? Do they know who they are? Or perhaps they were deliberately engaging in irony, as wordsmiths are wont to do.

Questions abound. Doesn’t this reaction seem, well, perhaps an eensy bit excessive? Whitmer is relatively young, attractive and one of the few women governors. Would such a draconian response be levied against a gnarled old man? The Wolverine Watchmen, brave patriots all, felt compelled, for the good of the country and preservation of the Constitution, to take action. Drastic action.

The main stream media, according to Watchmen member Adam Fox, had grown overly harsh towards militias, those stalwart sentinels of the American Way (as in way back, before the Civil War). As he so eloquently expressed on a clandestine recording, “They (the media) fucking called us domestic terrorists,” he stated, hurt and incensed. “We want to take that stigma off and let them know who we are because we’re not fucking racists, we’re not White nationalists. We just want our fucking Constitution and we want all these lawless fucking tyrants out of fucking power. It’s that simple.” Could Patrick Henry possibly have stated it better?

Extreme times demand extreme measures. The measure? Well duh. Whitmer must be kidnapped and executed. Plans were drawn, including maps, surveillance and videos of the governor’s property. There were practices and dry runs in the woods. A bridge would be blown up as a diversion, then the governor’s house would be breached and she would be snatched and grabbed. Lickety split. Easy as pie. Yeah. Pulling off the kidnapping and murder of a governor of a major state would be problematic, to say the least, for the Mossad or Seal Team Six. But were not the Watchman highly trained and intelligent operatives, knowing who to trust and when not to talk? As another of the Watchmens’ eloquent orators was recorded as saying if Whitmer was in his clutches, “I’m going to do some of the most nasty, disgusting things that you have ever read about in the history of your life.” Ah, nothing like a suave urbane assassin, radiating charm, a real lady killer if you will.

But, as fate would have it, early on an FBI informant had infiltrated the group, and, perhaps unsportingly, had worn a wire at all times. Soon thereafter multiple FBI agents had infiltrated, and the Watchmen were surrounded from within. At some point, one of the more observant Watchmen could have pondered, one might think, “Who in the hell are all these new guys?” But nay, perhaps they were so focused on their plan that their peripheral vision became blurred, plus those FBI boys can be so ingratiatingly brotherly.

By October 8th, 2020, while training near a barn, the doors burst open and The Watchmen were swarmed by FBI agents. Thirteen men were arrested and charged with plotting to kidnap Whitmer and violently overthrow the state government. Were they White Supremacists? No. Not even White Mediocratists.

And so a glimmer of hope. The dark forces of hate, racism and misogyny may be plotting and conspiring to wreak havoc on our increasingly precarious democracy, but alas, are probably too stupid to pull it off.

Ain’t Nothin’ But A Thing (Stream Of Consciousness From The Red Wing Chronicles)

Slavery. Are we not all slaves on some level and to some degree? We take orders all of our lives from parents teachers bosses cops captains generals and if we rebel there are consequences parental restrictions detentions tickets terminations court martials imprisonments executions racks thumb screws floggings flailings and even god forbid severe scoldings and eyebrow raisings. So behave yourselves watch your manners hold your tongues don’t talk back hop to it salute curtsy bow kneel don’t sass back pull over when you see red lights flashing in your rear view mirror and sirens screech keep your hands on the wheel is there a problem officer yes sir no sir what’s that you say sir I didn’t signal when I turned but officer I never turned the road is straight for twenty miles behind and twenty miles ahead I could’t turn if I wanted to uh oh wrong response don’t give me no lip boy don’t reach for that gun in your pocket boy but officer I don’t have a gun in my pocket I’m just happy to see you double uh oh some people have no sense of humor shots are fired your brains splatter a 9mm is discreetly placed in your hand then those five magic words taught in Cop 101- “I feared for my life.” No video no witnesses no crime. Ain’t nothin’ but a thing.

We think we’re slaves? We think our servitude is bad? Think twice unless you’re Black.

The myth. The great myth that slavery ended when Bobby Lee took the quill from Ulysses Grant and signed on the dotted line. The great war is over slavery is abolished emancipation is proclaimed free at last free at last well don’t be too fast loosening your shackles. Good old Abe as naive as he was appealing to the better angels of our nature why it was all a nasty disagreement and we did keep it within the family we forgive you oh Sons and Daughters of the Noble Confederacy we just didn’t see eye to eye on a few things let’s let bygones be bygones but the Confederacy as treacherous as a coiled snake on a flag kept their hatred alive inside their hearts inside their bones oh Abraham you should have listened to the whispers of the darker angels and broken the backs of the traitor states annexation absorption by the victors the righteous victors The North was voracious enough to swallow The South but temperance was observed in nothing be so temperate as in the handling of vipers their states stayed intact and slavery lived on manifested in different guise in Jim Crow chain gangs lynchings segregation now segregation tomorrow segregation forever slavery dies a slow death and without a stake driven through it’s heart it will rise again not that it ever truly fell.

A flawed but decent man once asked, “Can’t we just get along?”A simple and innocent question a bit odd perhaps in light of his having been beaten half to death by a phalanx of White racist cops getting their ya yas by subjugating a big Black buck. And the city of Los Angeles The City Of The Angels nearly burned to the ground when his oppressors, their brutality rendered forever on video, were yet acquitted. It ain’t nothin’ but a thing.

Was Sisyphus in fact a Black slave, rolling the great boulder of freedom up the steep mountain and just when he thought the back breaking soul breaking ordeal was finished, when he thought he was free at last free at last, the boulder slipping from his grasp just before the summit, rolling back to the bottom oh so near and yet so far so much struggle so much turmoil endured then having to start all over again. Regression is the equal and opposite reaction to progression maybe Newton called it right so to all of you descended progeny of slaves remember your roots and loosened shackles can be ratcheted back up at the drop of a hat so watch each others’ backs and when the wind blows keep a tight grip on that snazzy new Stetson. It ain’t nothin’ but a thing.

Of Dogs And Cats (A Stream Of Consciousness Observation From The Red Wing Chronicles)

Maybe I need a pet. It might be problematic as pets need to be cared for, and I it would seem am eternally on the couch staring at my Red Wings and even if I could get up judging by the scuffs on my revered and wondrous shoes I probably wouldn’t be any more conscientious about tending to a pet than I am to my Red Wings.

Dogs. Dogs make wonderful pets. They are unconditionally loyal absolutely loving categorically devoted to us most of whom are egregiously undeserving of their love and adoration. Most dogs are better people than most people so said the wise man look at us with our wars purges holocausts pogroms persecutions prejudices inquisitions rapes murders and lest we forget our abysmal manners and lack of etiquette using the wrong fork to eat our salad ordering the wrong wine with our entre forgetting to curtsy refusing to bow stepping on feet speaking in tongues telling untruths screaming great lies bursting with pride and behaving like boors.

None of the above would ever be associated with dogs. They love us so dearly slathering us with love pure love sloppy drippy love hysterical with joy at the very sight of us smelling us with voraciousness lapping and licking us with slavish adoration yes I know you naysayers they do sometimes bite and bark the bark always bigger than the bite small imperfections flaws that only make them more endearing. Yes, there is nothing like a dog.

But cats on the other hand. Those hissing treacherous creatures blase’ when we arrive home unappreciative when we feed and pet them as if it’s their imperious due snapping at us scratching us surely they are pretenders vile venomous vipers masquerading as mammals what is their allure why do we put up with them what purpose do they serve other than meowing and making blood curdling screeching sounds dogs despise them what better recommendation to follow suit and I can attest to this: women who love dogs are more tolerant of men than women who love cats so next time the coyotes roam leave the door open.

The Secret Thoughts Of Derek Chauvin (A Prose Poem From The Abyss)

Look at them. All this fuss.

This is nothing new. My first was as a rookie. Got checked superior for adaptability on my evaluation. The same for attitude.

Young Black bitch with her video. Go ahead. I’d smile if I knew how. I didn’t think they were smart enough for smart phones.

“If he wasn’t trying to kill him, then what was he trying to do?” some of them asked. Are they serious? Did they really look at my face? My body language? Did they wonder why my hand was in my pocket the whole time?

I am a White cop and deserve my due!

I once stuck my baton six inches into an uppity Black bitch. Why not? Who’s to stop me? Back in the day.

But that’s not where the true bliss is. Let me tell you about bliss. About power. The hot rush below the belt.

Did you see the size of that motherfucker?!

Subjugating a Big Black Buck. I’m not the first. As old as the auction block- the whipping post. That’s power. That’s bliss.

That’s right. Hollar for your momma. Let’s do this nice and slow. Savor every second. Do you know how good I am at this? I could come in my pants and and none of you would know it.

Now my hands are cuffed as they take me away. Fuck every god damn one of you.

There is no justice in this new chicken shit world.

On Masturbation (A Lunatic Rant From The Red Wing Chronicles)

Whoa. What’s that in my hand? I didn’t put it there, but if not me, then who? And now, gentle readers, a few profound and salient thoughts on masturbation.

I recall hearing from an “expert” that all men masturbate. I don’t recall if all women do as well (clarification. I mean if all women also masturbate, not if all women do it as well as men because they would of course do it better, having superior dexterity in things like knitting and sewing on buttons and handling small diminutive objects in general.) Most male mammalian species masturbate, except for donkeys who have no opposing thumbs, which accounts for their horrible dispositions.

There are thousands of YouTube videos featuring voluptuous young women wearing sprayed on leotards doing intricate, contortionistic yoga postures. Spoiler alert. Women don’t watch these videos. In fact, serious yoginis are contemptuous of them. Only men watch them. Can you guess why? And are you aware that these videos are produced and financed by The American Association Of Carpal Tunnel Surgeons?

Not to get tangential, but not only do all men masturbate, but all men despise yoga as well. Men go to yoga classes for two reasons only: to gawk at voluptuous young women in sprayed on leotards doing splits, and to develop sufficient flexibility in their cervical vertebrae allowing them to perform autofellatio. Well, dream on men. It will never happen, thus proving that all men masturbate, despise yoga, and are stupid as well.

Is masturbation a sin? An unnatural act? Well if it’s unnatural, then why do all men do it? Even The Holy Roman Catholic Church has lightened up. For centuries, priests were told they’d go to Hell if they masturbated. Now they are allowed- providing they use an altar boy’s hand.

So there you are. Take it from an expert.

Take it from me.

Remembering Elizabeth Taylor

On this day ten years ago the beautiful and talented actress Elizabeth Taylor passed away. I never actually met her, but just by being in her presence under special circumstances created a special and eternal bond between the two of us. This is my remembrance and tribute to this magnificent lady.

In July of 1961, at the age of eleven, I was hospitalized for six weeks with acute ulcerative colitis. As my family had no health insurance, I was admitted on an emergency basis to what was then Cedars Of Lebanon Teaching Hospital in Los Angeles. My temperature was a 105 degrees and I was immediately given a series of blood transfusions. It was not until years later that I learned I had nearly died.

Every day, the young interns would come by and make their stops before each room, observing the pediatric patients through the glass walls and taking notes.

Although I was seriously ill, the young boy in the room next to mine was far worse. I was told he had leukemia, and through the glass window separating our rooms I could see him, growing ever more frail by the day-ghostly pale, as if fading from the world.

One day there was great excitement outside my room. An entourage of several well dressed, important looking people were coming down the hall, surrounding a couple: a dark, somewhat slight man with less than perfect skin, and a woman who drew everyone’s rapt attention. It was Eddie Fisher and Elizabeth Taylor.

She really did look like the Most Beautiful Woman In The World. In her physical and creative prime, she radiated beauty- as well as style, elegance and that difficult to define, sadly diminishing quality called class.

She was there to visit the fading boy. I could see her through the glass, talking with him and touching him gently; and I could see the fading boy responding- this beautiful, compassionate woman came to visit him- responding to her grace and kindness and, however briefly, he glowed in her presence.

Within days, his room was empty.

After all these years, I’ve never forgotten the fading boy, or the beautiful angel who gave him comfort when it was most needed.

On Good And Evil (A Stream Of Consciousness Conjecture From The Red Wing Chronicles)

The big question. Are we Good or are we Evil? Such a childlike question, black and white, in a nutshell, either or, no consideration of nuance, gradation, range scale or continuum. What, for that matter, is Good and Evil? Are they relative subjective subject to change in an eternal state of flux influenced by evolving more’s fashions flavors of the month flavors of the millennia ebbs and flows fluctuations of the stock market of the Dow of the Tao the length of skirts and the shortness of breath? No. More likely Good and Evil are pliable, clay in the potter’s hands, bendable, pliant to the smithy’s hammer retooled revised reinvented by whatever authority rules the roost at whatever given time.

Absolute. Absolute definitions of Good and Evil? Says who? You have to believe someone usually god. What god? Whose god? Whatever god you were told of indoctrinated with as a child so many competing gods the god of Allah the god of Abraham or the angel named Maroni (ah an Italian god?) the Yahweh god the The One True God everyone they all think the other god is the false god the cult god who to believe what would happen if you believed in none perhaps you’re a searcher blind wandering with a white cane better go down the right path or you might stumble and fall into the abyss, But, having said all that, there could be a consensus a solidarity perhaps universality yes that’s asking a lot but The Golden Rule is valid independent of a god I don’t want to be whacked over the head with a two by four so I won’t whack someone else with one are empathy and compassion dependent upon the grace of god or are they inherent hardwired people who feel the pain of others and want to mitigate suffering I would posit are good and those devoid of empathy and want to inflict suffering are bad building an orphanage is Good burning one to the ground after the innocent orphans have been tucked in (probably after saying their prayers thus compounding their suffering good god do you need a hearing aid!?) is Evil. But here’s the rub the fly in the ointment the elephant in the room. In a materialistic world a universe of matter and energy and nothing else can Good and Evil be palpable measurable observable under the microscope detectable through the telescope in the world of science Good and Evil have no atomic code no gnome no fossil record therefore they are metaphysical why even waste our time so say the scientists why bother we have better things to do leave these questions to the fools and philosophers go away and debate among yourselves how many angels can stand on the head of a pin. A question. A provocative question. Can there be Good without Evil or Evil without Good? Can there be a Yin without Yang a North without South tall without short rich without poor? But. But what if there is no balance no polarity no eternal law of opposites darkness without light Hell without Heaven?

And so I have descended into the sinkhole the pit the abyss of pessimism of doubt of cynicism. I believe in Hell but am skeptical of Heaven. I have seen Evil. It hovers a malignant mist a halo of darkness I have seen it etched on faces a virus moving through assemblies becoming crowds then the halos appear one for everyone radiating darkness the crowd shifts becomes a mob I have seen the leer of Evil the smug jubilation of the mob the wide mouths obscene gaping holes grinning with glee at the carnival at the warm Summer night’s picnic smile for the camera try not to drool as Black men hang from the trees

swaying in the Summer breeze.