20090907

ALL HEROES RIDE HORSES, AND THOSE HORSES HAVE NAMES.



Nobody understands me. They don't get it. My dream is not to fall in love and be happy. It's not to be a well-respected artist. It's not to be a revolutionary or resistance fighter. The Devil's advocate.

I want to be a superhero.

I'd go by the nickname Caravaggio, or The Voice, or The Smith. The variation would be a matter of dialect. I'd ride a black horse called God. I would never rescue the innocent or punish the guilty in a way that is direct and immediate . . . Instead, I'd lead the bad guys around, so that the trouble they get themselves into forces them to adapt, and unwittingly do good things. Always a step ahead of their mean streak. They would learn to live and thrive off of the thrill of generosity, habit-forming good deeds. And I'd disappear and reappear before them - these bad guys - over and over again, in flashes, in little scenes I'd pull together out of nowhere, and I would haunt them all the way down to the core. They'd think they were dreaming. They'd fear me. And my only hero-tool would be a portable theatre, simple props, honesty. I would interrupt so many villains, so many would-be victims, so many times that I would be seen as a pest. I'd be cast out. Treated with disdain. But if only the public knew . . . that I was on a first-name basis with Fate. And the sad few who understand the wisdom in folly, and who sense nobility in the tramp that's me, will seem most worthless. And they, too, will suffer silently. Because my allies are too humble. And the tragic paradox of my hero role dictates that I am forever obligated to the cast of characters of my nightmares. The needle pulling the thread. Always a step ahead. Not really ever playing the game. I am the idiot who rigs the machine in favor of the best possible tomorrow. And this role I accept gladly, even quite willingly, as it is the only way.

The one who will glimpse me most accurately will be my arch nemesis. The one who causes me the most grief. Who knocks me off my horse and kicks dirt in my eyes. And, in return, I will play the most gruesome tricks on him. I will ruin his soul. True combatants, who see each other as the greatest threat. This person is the only one who will ever really see me, who will ever truly appreciate the work I do, and who will ever really need me. My one True Love.

And if the day does finally arrive when there is no need for this distinction between "good" and "bad", my arch nemesis and I will find ourselves in each other's arms, disarmed for the first time, and it will be our crowning moment. And once that moment has passed, it will all be over. The lights will dim, the curtain will fall, and the audience of Heaven will give us applause - but the sound will never reach our ears. Behind the veil, we will be gone.

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