I was happiest as a child alone in the woods, light suffused, everything quiet. Somewhere far off the town held a parade. I was alone in my green cave, darker than morning, trees donning sorrow hats as the sun faded. And the birds quiet. Hint of a coming rain.
It’s the “hints” that most interest me. Door-mouse scratch; footfalls from a distance; daydreaming on a carpet.
A question arrives from the proverbial interested stranger: “what do you do in your cave of making now you’re a grown man?”
I make things up. Here’s a one act play featuring Aunt and uncle Benevolence. It takes place in the United States. I’m calling it Thumbnail Purgatory:
Purgatory, from purge: “an abrupt or violent removal of a group of people from an organization or place.”
Purgatory, in Roman Catholic doctrine: “a place or state of suffering inhabited by the souls of sinners who are expiating their sins before going to heaven.”
“Well that’s it,” said Aunt Benevolence, “the good times are over. It’s time to send the lame and the halt straight back to the dirty boulevard.”
Uncle Benevolence wasn’t so sure. He scratched his purple wen. “I don’t believe, my dear, that there IS a dirty boulevard anymore. It’s been replaced by a heated, closed to traffic, “promenade” with decent shopping.”
“Well,” said Auntie, “we’re going to have to send them somewhere. Once there’s no Medicaid to speak of, and no health insurance for the knock kneed elders and the scoliatics, etc..”
“Well I hear North Dakota is empty,” Uncle said. “It’s mostly empty, anyway.”
“How will we get them there on the cheap?”
“Everyone knows boxcars are cheap.”
They sat for a time side by side in silence.
“It was easier on the old days to just take care of people,” Auntie said after a little while.
“Yes,” said Uncle, “but they’ve gone Pagan now. You know, Horace and shit. The best days are the first to go.”
“When did they forget Jesus?” Auntie asked.
“In America?” Uncle asked.
“Yeah,” Auntie said, “you know, Christian’s bundle, noblesse oblige, shit, even just a minimal sense of national regard for appearances…”
“It was never a Christian nation,” Uncle said. “And the Devil loves a vacuum.”