The Ba(l)d Man

A bald man killing a spider, its guts spilling all over the floor. That was the story. I say story because there was more to this character; I mean the bald man. He wasn’t a bad man. In truth it was a dream about the size of a tall tale. I warned him not to harm the spider. Yet, he did. Someone else was in the room. There was barely any furniture. The door was open, beyond the threshold, a new day, nary a cloud in the sky, and a lone landscape of desert sand and few tumble weeds racing to get across the horizon. The room also boasted a picture window through which I could see a man working on a truck in a white shirt and grey striped overalls, wearing a frumpy painter’s cap tilted up. He seemed a friendly sort with whiskers mounted on a square jaw. He noticed the bald man and I standing in front of the window, forgetting ourselves in our curiosity.

The unknown man in the room sat back on a rocking chair, hat in hand, (or was that a halo?), waiting for us to finish our musings. Then along came a spider. One big damned spider. The man working on the truck flashed us a smile. Then he ran his sweaty wrist across his forehead, leaving a grease mark there, a mechanic’s war paint. He must have sensed something about our predicament, as the bald man hopped around, excitedly. To him, it must have looked like a sudden dance without music through the window. The spider was the size of a small dog, furry appendages, dodging the bald man’s foot stomps. He didn’t appear in any real fear of the spider doing anything, except for making his way across the room.

Then the identity of that anonymous someone else in the room was revealed like a miracle. Hundreds of doves moved together around Him in a disconcerting and dizzying way. The hood of his robe fell about his shoulders. I was surprised we weren’t scorched by his gaze. God’s formidable presence in the chair didn’t stop the bald man’s foot from crushing the spider’s frail body. I felt sudden remorse at the sudden loss of life – what sorts of moral codes did this man live by to kill something so easily? His gleeful expression at having achieved victory over the oversized creepy crawler made me feel even more queasy and upset. Blood, then water spread from the limp body and torn limbs of the spider, some of them obliterated under the man’s boot. I wondered, could God bring him back to life? Then explain Lazarus and his purpose – these events which generate faith, but leave us questioning our own acts. And what justice makes this man pay for removing a spirit, any spirit, regardless of his mask, and may this animal have had any “real” purpose for sneaking into a man’s domain?

I stood back from the water spilling over the step separating the larger room from an alcove. Behind me was another window which opened to a small balcony positioned above a deep abyss. Then it occurred to me, this wasn’t earth. Out of the pale blue sky screeched a giant hawk. I lost my breath and stumbled back toward God. He held the spider, whole in his hands, its many small eyes spinning from the confusion of being put back together like Humpty Dumpty. The bald man took up a chair in the middle of the room. He was there to answer for far more serious crimes… in another lifetime. He, the murderous rapist, enabled by society had thoughts of repeating his sins again and again. And, I was there to testify as a witness. Do you see? He was under my care, and I failed to guide him.

God stood in an immense light at an immense height, his image growing in stature, he picked up the bald man and dangled him over the deep crevice, the room transforming to fit his movements. The man flailed and screamed, God’s fingers released him. His magnificent presence shrunk back to the chair. The room settled back to its original size. The spider had gone on to construct a new web elsewhere, preferably where human beings did not gather, or crawl over each other.

Like blaring trumpets, the question, the obvious question, stood before me like a black robed skeleton, like my own life was on trial, because it was. No words from God except the ones He already delivered in scripture. With that, I peeled off a woolen cloak the color of a newborn lamb, then unfolded the wings beneath it (letting them breathe), ones sewn into my back, on top of shoulder blades and above swollen muscles. Without hesitation, I shot through the window, diving into the cavernous abyss below. With speed and alacrity, feathers blew from my bowed wings, and a strong gust hit my face, whoosh.

These choices, these judgements, “make you grow my Son.” The source of all worlds, all origins, spoke. “The world is better with you in it.”

The giant hawk gave chase, no fear of me, long talons cradled the bald man who writhed, certain of his own demise. These lessons, praise be, might I continue to keep him out of danger. I looked in his cluttered panicked mind. He hoped he was dreaming. The hawk had no intention of using him in the place of slimy worms to feed her young, giant fledglings squalling in a nest atop a rocky crag on a mountain range, miles away. She let him fall; again, he descended. This time, the bald man relented to his fate, his probable fate, as I raced to save him. He passed out, his body dropped like a bag of stones. He woke to see the steep wall speeding by, hooked in my arm, he fell unconscious, again. Mercifully, his eyes closed.

By the time I returned to the room, God was gone, but He left behind a scroll, his decision, not for the bald man, but for me. The bald man sat shaking on the chair like a stricken mutt, his bold demeanor gone, an acrid foul smell revealed that he shat, and pissed himself. He ached to be free of fear’s result. Through the front window, I could see the truck gone. In the vastness of all possibilities, the winds blew walls of sand in his wake. I unrolled the scroll, the bald man’s vacant eyes glued to it. There was not a decree or judgement, but a word on this holy exercise, should I choose to neglect this unwholesome and unsavory man. I had my doubts as we are all tempted to take the path of least resistance. The depths of his deeds and this cavernous abyss, like each other, have no end. Heed such likeness. One word appeared, enlightened with a flame, the charred letters artfully rendered into all the languages of the world; they changed shape on the parchment. A smell of roses floated from a seal gently broken. Only one thing which I read with my tired eyes, ushering myself through the likeness of human beings, that no matter what happens to us, there will always be Love. That single element which saves us all. The glow from the word warmed my soul, and renewed my strength. The room dissolved, and I was back on this hell called Earth.

Published by: frankmarquezwritings

I'm a writer, and have been for most of my adult life. Without making this sound like a resume, I wrote creatively in college, dabbling in poetry, short stories and play writing. Later, I became a journalist, public affairs specialist, copy editor and eventually a guy who ran his own newspaper. Now, I'm back to letting my imagination run wild in some new creations including a science-fiction novel. Somehow, I also managed to teach English to high school kids, and roam the battlefields of Afghanistan as a field historian. Field historian may be a misnomer considering all I did was write abstracts summarizing military unit profiles and missions that included hundreds of interviews of troops and contractors in combat. I grew up in a small town called Gering, Nebraska, before escaping to Pomona, California, where I spent my last two years of high school, graduating from Ganesha High School in 1983. I have a Bachelors in English from the University of La Verne (1987), and a Masters in Education from UNLV (2007). In between, I worked for government - the Army and TSA. I served tours in Panama, D.C., and Tokyo, all thanks to a teacher who encouraged me to see the world before I settled down. As hobbies, I run, hike and bicycle long distances. I have also been known to surf and ski. I now live in my hometown after moving back in June 2015. I get to see family on a regular basis, breath fresh air, and not have to ride the D.C. metro or get stuck in traffic. In fact, I ride my bicycle whenever I can. I'm happily married to my wife Lisa, and we watch over a pack of fur babies, our dog Charley, and three cats Spike, Bootsy, and Franky (his shelter name). If you should ever visit me in west Nebraska, be prepared to feast your eyes on paradise.

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