I Dare Not Tell You
You and your neighbors, good God fearing people will brandish torches and pitch forks and howl and shout. Perhaps the local preacher, an old Filipino man who’s brother of the same profession sells sulfur water in southern California, will try to calm you all with a sermon about peace and tolerance from where he stands on the hood of a red Honda. With a cry, you, now one with the mass, will impale him and roast him over the torches like a weenie on the tip of a fork at a summer camp fire. That will be the end of the resistance and you will eventually light fire to my tower, hoping to smoke me out. Unfortunately for your blood lust, I will not come running out of the front door, nor even come scrambling down the fire escape at the back. It will be assumed that I burned to death inside of the building. Sifting through the ashen remains of my abode will reveal no sign of me, and the horde will retire to their trailers, box houses, or houses out of a box to rest on the sofa and watch a little bit of reality TV while super cooks in the microwave. There’s nothing like a Diet Pepsi over a compartmentalized tray of turkey, mashed potatoes, peas, and cranberry sauce with gravy all over to wash the bitter aftertaste of mob mentality from the palette. Back in solitary cubicles the mass can dissolve into a multitude of tiny fragments, each one certain that it is quiet important and possibly even better than the rest, but most definitely better than all of the goddamn plants and animals that sustain their majestic human existence. Alone under the glow of the great cathode tube glow, the crown of creation sits in black socks and boxer shorts, hairy belly hanging out from under a white T-shirt, flakes of dandruff cascading down from the thinning forest of head hair like a spring blizzard. Driving along in a blue mini van listening to self help tapes and shouting at a pair of overly rambunctious tots in the back seat, his better half, wearing a powder blue valour sweat suit is checking her makeup in the rearview mirror and thinking of things to say to the other moms at the playground that will make them feel as bad about their lives as she feels about hers. All in all, humanity will go on crawling about the face of the earth like a big blind worm groping hungrily at its surroundings.
I dare not tell you how I survived the fire, because you will only hate me for it. Things that spend all of their time groping around in the dark and looking for holes to hide in will never love the heat and light of the blaze. They will even imagine it as a hell and home for demons, creatures unlike themselves. Creatures that do more than consume and wallow fearfully lack the appetites of their step siblings, God’s favorites. Perhaps as you have read this, you have sympathized more with that which I have called "me" than with that which I have called "you." In that case then you are now three teenagers, one with long greasy hair and a heavy metal band shirt on, another with short hair, spectacles and a vintage Dungeons and Dragons baseball shirt, the third, a short skinny Latino in a thread worn red hand me down T-shirt and frayed jeans. You three come to the charred ruins of my apartment building in the white haze of a Daly City afternoon (for the sun rarely breaks through the vaporous apparitions that drift through the air). Everyone else is at work or in school, so the street is very quiet and feels abandoned, as if no one had been there for a very long time. Looking around to be sure that no one is watching, you gather ash in zip lock baggies and then leave as inconspicuously as possible, walking two to the sidewalk and one kicking along in the gutter, (that would be the skinny Latino). I dare not say what it is that you will be doing with that. I dare not say how you learned to travel, for if I do, you might become obsessed with the outward form of it and try to emulate that which you have already done in accordance with this story. I will only remind you, that no one told you what to do exactly. The way was paved for you and by you through trial and error inspired by the etchings left in the cave walls by those that passed this way before you.