Thursday, May 12, 2011

Small Change

Paul could not fight his gridlock. His company would not find him, as no one wanted to find a Neuman. The feeling of defeat coursed through Paul. He ambled up to the fountain in front of Watershed Heights, the place where he was taught. Knowing Ceili would not come he seemed to be more than okay with the fact. Ceili, Dr. Gallagher, those types of prey were in his past. The Jaguar slumped in the parking lot that it chose so long ago, lined in a row of other cars that seemed unmoving, silent as a graveyard. Jaguars weren't meant for this city.

Paul looked down into the waters of the fountain, though it was a small miracle that the fountain could still work, it was even more impressive that the water was so clear. Paul took what he had out of his pocket. Three Pennies that's all he had. One of the pennies seemed clean and pressed, Abe Lincoln shining glistening face, yet the other side, the inner Abe could not be seen through all the muck and grime that seemed hidden by the shinier face.

The other two pennies seemed to connected by some gum-wadded muck. Paul pawed at them turning them around in his hand. He could tell by the mint date that this penny's seen some better days, he could not really tell where it had been, but the second penny seemed to trail to it. Even as he tried to pull them apart it seemed that the more they became separated the more you could see a marred side, something that should best be left alone he thought. At least they had each other.

This is all that Paul had of his former fortunes. He thumbed them looking into the fountain. Odd he would be one of the first ones (that he knew of) to make a wish. Yet it seemed a sad thing. These pennies, once thought of the full dollar only wishing to find their place in someone's wallet. Yet here he could use one to hope for a brighter day. Just as he placed his hand back in his pocket he looked up to the roof of Watershed Heights. Maybe this was fountain was what they really wanted, he could not buy anything with three pennies. The most these three could hope to achieve was to get lost in one of his developing holes. "No, even if this is for my wish" he said aloud, "This is where at least one will rest."

He turned the shiny single penny heads up, working it over as he thought, tails, placing it on his thumb. Heads up. Abraham looking towards the sky. He gave it a sharp flick and the penny tumbled from the air and into the fountain face down. Tails.

Just as Paul seemed lost in thought thinking maybe the Jaguar could be sold for money. One of the pennies still in his hand severed from the pair leaving the scar fully available unhealed. Just like that, the third penny tipped on his finger before being finally pulled off by his companion. Funny. Paul was going to toss it in after his friend, but it need not his help to know where he wanted to be. Paul looked into the water, 3 pennies face down. Paul shifted looking at the reflection of himself, his suit a different shade entirely, yet he seemed to maintain a sort of trampish appeal. Paul shrugged pacing away. "I guess 3's the charm."

Each penny just needed a little push I guess. Paul would never realize that Mr. Paul Neuman, would probably have scoffed at tossing away any money when he still had his health and his intellect. Neuman was a far way away. The Neuman name no longer existed. To Paul, it only seemed natural, there was nothing fruitful for pennies to keep getting scratched and scuffed if they can't function as currency. He was charitable. From whence it came from fortune it might give birth to some new treasure. He flicked each one, it seemed they were spent right then and there. Spent before they hit the ground. A silent eulogy of whistling wind with a little plop.

Paul contemplated his new situation. What was there left here? He was officially broke. Yet something seemed to poke out through the crack in his former bravado. He looked up to the roof again. It seemed like he was spent too. Yet this idea could be no more ridiculous than the wish he just made. Paul would find his new worth. He was a new man after all. And even if he were to get dropped he probably just get back up, that was just his luck. He sauntered off back to his room. From now on Paul would always land on his feet.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Lights are on but Nobodies Home

Paul couldn't focus. Too many things whirred through his mind. The newspaper declared the Neuman fortunes to be inherited as the company's owner... Paul's father took a turn for the worst and died sooner than anyone expected.

The first thought that Neuman thought of was getting back home quickly to receive the inheritance and carry the legacy. To work to his new position and take his rightful place after this mind boggling ordeal. Yet something in Paul made the idea seem week... made Neuman seem week. This only seemed to resolve as Paul pulled softly on his collar as if feeling tagged with new fate.

There was no way to get home. The Jaguar may be able to run, but it was no match for the sheer mileage that removed him from his comfort place, his workplace. By the time Paul had read half the article he stopped dead, reading something he wish he hadn't. "In the instance that Neuman's heir is nowhere to be found, the company's and Neuman's personal attorney will temporarily direct it in their capable hands." Without warning the lights flicked on.

A line formed and a million kinds of alluring and intoxicating aromas filled the air, the power restored. Paul sat there sapped. There was no way to get home. No way to contact home. And no one who would know where he is, let alone care where he is. This was their plan all along, father probably didn't even have a learning experience in mind. Now the Neuman fortune is secured in the hands of theives. This couldn't have happened. There needs to be justice, there needs to be closure. Paul felt slightly uncomfortable at this realization. The revelation that the Neuman name no longer existed.

Paul walked sullenly out of the dinner having smelled his favorite apple pie. Yet it seemed that nothing would save such a shell. Not even sweets would brighten this sad change. He felt like a broken man, in wallet, in spirit, and in desire. He could not reconcile this future, he could not pitch a new deal, work with fate as a client, expand his resources. He could not contemplate what was next. What was to fix something like this? He thought back on his Rushdie. To be born again first you must die...

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

What We Pretend to Know so that We Need Not Learn

This was Mr. Neuman. Desperate and worry-some, struggling to find the next thing, the next case, the next step. In his state of disbelief that he had really no way to reach his vast earnings, Paul offered a hand to a lovely lady that he barely even knew. It was embarrassing to admit that he had no clue what she did or who she was.

Things are different now. These aren't clients, they aren't nameless faces or commodities anymore. There was a person behind each face and a feeling behind each person that lived around here. Come to think of it, in his valiant attempt to be charitable, Mr. Neuman didn't associate with much of anyone. He clung to what he knew and never attempted to really truly learn what his father wanted him to.

In his mirth Paul actually couldn't remember whether she received his room number, or if she too could only see a face rather than another person.

Shameful, even walking to a restaurant where it seems everybody is gathering Paul Neuman can't really see people. He sees things. What Mr. Neuman sees is disgusting, wretched people that were forced together for their own reasons, none of them actually similar at all. We are all differently pushed together into this place where we learn or choose not to learn from our mistakes. A miserable stripper that is just realizing, as he is, that so many of these people find misery and unhappiness, yet what's more is that they are all growing, more or less. People hate it here and no one can wait until they are finally released from a place so unenjoyable... and yet...

Paul sees something else... Paul sees those who have witnessed unspeakable things and yet their minds cannot help but find refuge in a place where they learn or do not learn, yet they welcome their sorrow along with their refuge. They see through this so-called hell and pull together to form something beautiful... different. It doesn't take much, once you cut through the swearing and the vulgarity to see that 2 friends enjoy themselves through their own means and besides... looking at himself now in the window, who is he to feel any more than they are? He might as well not even live up to his own family given name.

The restaurant was busy, but he managed out the last of his pocket change for some coffee, cheap stuff to get used to a new meager life style. Maybe it wasn't too late to learn. Maybe he might go home after all and take something back maybe he would hear back from CeilĂ­ or--. Paul Neuman almost crumbled, he saw his future pass in front of his eyes as he read an article of his father terminally ill and his lawyer making a statement. His bravado came undone a little, and Mr. Neuman's usually pleasant and peace loving face gave through to a glare at his paper and his shoulders hunched as if his coat stood up on end. This is Paul.

Where Jaguars Fear to Tread

COME ON!! The Jaguar wouldn't only seemed to gurgle. After long months of neglect the car wouldn't be easy to move. I DON'T WANT TO STAY. The car purred, refusing its purpose. Newman had to think, this shouldn't be so hard. The inheritance would still be in his bank account, what was left of it since he got cut off. How inconvenient, pampered beyond his means Paul Newman always had a way out. He sighed as the car finally awakened, but something in Paul made Paul Newman remove himself from the car and place the keys on the hood again, charitably offering it once more. Newman knew that it would probably never be claimed, Jaguars don't belong in these slums they belong in concrete jungles.

He brushed off his tattered suit, but some sort of sun soaked lack of grooming made it a change of coat entirely. It changed to suit his environment, a casual gray. How fashionable Newman thought, but I really must get back home, I've had enough of this debacle of a learning experience. Paul had grown used to using his feet anyway.

It wasn't instantaneous. This sight had to soak in. Newman learned from his teachers his entire life that business was about reading your environment, sensing the words that a picture told even if there were worth a thousand words. However, this scene was worth more than 1000 words, it boggled him. He outlined the steps in his head: 1) Bank 2)My inheritance 3) Going home 4)No more of this place 5)Withdraw money 6)ATM.... wiring... something is missing from this spot.... It seemed that #7 would never come... 7)........Trapped. Not to worry. Paul always lands on his feet.

Newman almost lost himself in all of it. He recovered his sense of dignity and helped a young woman to her feet, asking if she was alright and if she had any idea what this 6th word... ATM of course could have gone off to. Not forgetting his charm and wit that was left from his business past. Less for the audience of 1, more to clutch to what yarn thread of a past life that he could.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Glazed in Fire

It doesn't matter where you go. They say it's a small world, but surely no one intended it to be this small. On roofs, at the bus stop, at restaurants, the soup kitchen, the general stores, Paul Neuman knew it was a joke. It was a cruel fever dream, some sort of hallucination. Those clowns were after him. He knew he could not get away from them, and yet he was drawn to the light of the moon. He dare not go back to the complex to rest, his insides squirmed, holing himself up and curling up on his bed didn't solve anything. The faster he learned, the faster he could return home. It didn't matter that father cut him off for being so lazy, but he really needed this experience. Yet his curiosity betrayed him, the lightness out of his step, he could not dottle around the carnival lest he be lost in its zone null of time.

Truly there was no place to go that the clowns weren't. The joke had gone on long enough. When he finally decided to return to the carnival to improve his sanity, he had not gotten half way through the ticket before he saw audacious woman, a nun he could have recognized anywhere, with clinging to a clown. Paul Neuman couldn't comprehend it. Blocks away on his Jaguar, a tire popped audible for blocks around. Sick joke. A nun with clown. It almost made him grin, a punchline that escaped him, or rather he escaped it. As the fire blazed from the food stand he could barely pay it attention, his fever was hot enough to be in an oven already. The grease fire was reflecting off his eyes with a shimmer that the moonlight paled in comparison, yet his charisma only seemed to take alight, these were not the eyes of a madman, but a changing man.

Nuns were profane. Clowns are everywhere. Paul Neuman smiled, but he was not amused.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Beast Within

The chill never left. Rather the core seemed hot as the core of a star coated in a chill of ice covering it. This feeling must be what occurred long ago before time. When the Earth was young and the Ice Age dawned on the very volcanic awakening of a new world. The new world gave way to Ice coating the ball like a blanket holding back something unrefined.

Paul Neuman's core made him feel sick, made him feel dirty. He took on an illness through the seasons and could not go back to the doctor that filled him with the uneasiness. His fever made him forget that what exactly occurred. He could only recall his features. Paul Neuman could only remember his head poking out of the door in a protective manner, not to insinuate he waited for harm, but for trouble. His mannerisms definitely showed something in his tired expression. Dr. Gallagher more than warmly received him, but his words couldn't be recounted, his actions spoke louder. Paul Neuman could try to go back, but if he were to find that the doctor really was not what Paul Neuman thought he was then it might shake him to his core.

Paul Neuman also couldn't recall why his fever made him want to leave the complex. Maybe he wanted to see if anyone took his Jaguar or even looked at it. Nothing. The keys still curled up on the hood, but the winter days were not kind. Paul was just about to go back up to take a short cat nap when he heard something awful. Awful, but curious. He walked on and on down the street. He came upon the carnival and it overwhelmed him, this would be a perfect time to observe what people like at the carnival, what they buy.

It wasn't until night that Paul Neuman could not take anymore. He couldn't believe he groomed himself as best he could before he entered. This was not the business opportunity he thought it would be. The prizes could did not seem to be of any worth, it seemed as if they could be more plausible meals than the actual concession stand sold. Still he felt caged. He took all night to find an exit, surely his tracking skills dimmed as he could have sworn he marked his exits because of the immediate disgust he felt as he entered. If Paul Neuman learned anything it was how a carnival so scrapped up could still make money. Had it not been his keen sense of vision at night he wouldn't have escaped.

If it weren't for the clowns. Maybe he could rest his mind.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Unexpected

Something was wrong. Though Neuman didn't surrender his grin he seemed to be caught off guard a minute. Immediately he catches himself with practice in interpersonality not giving up a hint of displeasure of the odd greeting he'd received from a possible colleague. "No, no one's hurt. I'm feeling rather pleased myself," this is your one chance Neuman, establish connection. "Dr. Gallagher is it? I was just interested, your doctorate, what is it in? I am a graduate from a rather high establishment myself and I am very curious what a man of your extremely qualified merit could be doing out here in the middle of nowhere."

Neuman was chilled, but far from cold. This very interaction was already filling his throat with ice. He could not shake the paranoia that this doctor was not what he appeared to be, neither his savior nor his compatriot. Each word felt the old business warmth that took years of training, filled with a charisma that could fool an emperor, but his suspicions made him chilled. The very air seemed to slow around him as if it were too cold to retreat to its hearth in the air ducts. Too late to for the air to escape the coming coldness of a new breeze. His Jaguar must be shivering, the keys still sitting on the hood from this morning. Out of season. Out of place. The Jaguar is falling out of repair.