…is a question no one should have to answer.
And likely tens of thousands of Americans will have to answer that question. We’re guessing before the end of the year.
There is no doubt the world is on a collision course with destruction. The human race is aimed for extinction. We are by no means a “half glass full” kind of blog. Our optimism reaches as far as “The glass is still intact.”
And yet, it’s worth thinking about what the future could be.
We’ll put that question direction to you: What would you today if you have no tomorrow?
How about a rephrase:
What would put a smile on your face today if you had no tomorrow?
Just answer the question.
There are many things you could do without societal expectations or obligations. You could go off-roading, quit work and tell your boss off, eat gourmet pb&js.
And then a few days after you figure that out, you’ll start to see an answer to the question we all need to figure out:
“What kind of future would put a smile on your face?”
No societal expectations. Realistically, no repercussions. What could your future look like?
We have half the tools to get there now; the other half we’ll invent tomorrow.
For music, we have lined up in June a review of one of the most ambitious concept albums that we’ve come across — by a debuting folk musician. You’ll want to read about her and her, her historical research, and her wild imagination.
But for right now, the following story I wrote in 2021, when I was homeless for several months.
If you’re not inclined to fiction, at least skip to the links at the end.
PS Yes, the main character is terrible at his job. And that’s often a great thing.
PPS Housing, food, and water are all human rights and not profit.
At Your Service
Opening scene: man in a dark room. The lights are off. Tissues, tears and snot, ripped up bed, if you can call it that; you get it. Black man, or white, or whoever, I don’t care. Anyway.
The words: Jesus Christ, I want to die.
Enter: the hero.
“At your service,” I tell him.
“Who are you?”
“You summoned me.”
“Yeah, sure. I have a contract I want you to sign.”
“A contract? Do I have a job?”
The man is bleary-eyed. Betcha can’t see the hands in front of his face while he’s reaching for me. Fuck. A tough one.
“It’s not a job. I want your soul.”
“You’re going to save me, Jesus?”
“Yeah, sure. Let me know your terms.”
“To save me?”
“For your soul.”
He sits there thinking. Something’s up. But he doesn’t care. You know. I shrugged.
“Whenever you’re ready.”
“I get three wishes?” He says.
“Okay. I want a million dollars.”
I think he sees my eyes roll. The fuck, man. “I can’t do that.”
“I’m not a genie.”
“Who are you?”
I shake my head.
“What can you do for me?”
“Okay. Let’s go for a walk.”
The night is chilly. The poor guy is shivering. I give him my coat. Prolly drool snot all over it.
“Just consider what I can do as the being in front of you.”
“You’re not God.”
“Are you the Devil?”
“Sure. Why not?”
The man scratched his head. Gears are spinning. “So what can you do for me?”
I stop him. Shake him by the shoulders. “Consider me a human.”
“What can you do for me?”
I shake this motherfucker harder. “For the purposes of our contract, consider me human. I can’t give you a million dollars. I can’t give you dragon wings. Shit like that, man. For fuck’s sake, now.”
I blow out a sigh on his face. He wasn’t pleased. Forgot the breath mints, but God damn, guy, think a little.
We continue walking again.
“I want to see the lights by the bridge before I go.”
“Okay. Where’s the bridge?”
“Just down the street.”
“We can do that.”
It’s gotta be around ten or something. Thank God I ate late.
This city is kinda pretty. Haven’t been to this spot before. You gotta watch your step, like, fuck, man, a couple needles here and there. But it’s got its charm.
We get to the bridge. Guy sits down on a bench looking on it.
“Okay,” I said.
He just sits there staring at it.
“Whenever you’re ready.”
“Can I get some time?”
“I mean, sure.”
So we wait.
It’s a literal forever before he stands up. “I’m ready. How do we do this?”
“You tell me.”
“Off the bridge. Looks pretty.”
“Done. Let’s go.”
We walk up on the path. Cars pass by, don’t really care.
“It is beautiful up here,” guy says. Drips some tears.
He tips his head over the side, and the wind blows around what’s left of his hair. He’s loving it.
“Whenever you’re ready.”
“You want my soul?”
“You can have it. But I’m jumping.”
It hits me. FUCK.
“We gotta sign a contract for that one.”
“I thought so.”
“All this works for you? I get your soul?”
“What did you do for me?”
“I walked with you.”
He frowns. Looks down at the river. A minute ago he was ready to add another body.
“We gotta sign,” I tell him.
“We do. But I want something.”
“What can you get me?”
“What do you want?”
“A … I don’t care. A burger from Burgers, Inc.”
“They’re closed. It’s past ten, now.”
I hop on my phone. “There’s a diner two blocks from here.”
He shrugs. “Sure. Why not? Gonna die anyway.”
The diner is kinda cute, not gonna lie. It’s a retro thing—I mean, all diners are, but it’s got a little more charm than your average diner. Just like every other one, to be honest.
“What can I get?”
I check out the menu. It’s fine, place down my card. “Whatever you want. We’re good here.”
He shrugs. Orders some fucking crazy eggs on pancakes on French fries kinda plate. Double shake, with extra Why The Fuck Not. The order comes, I get an omelet.
“Waitress is cute.”
“You like her?”
“Yeah. You can’t…?”
I shake my head. “That’s sick, man.”
“No, I mean, like…”
I chew my eggs. Hard. “Ask her, man. Not my business.”
Waitress brings the check. He asks her on a date. She’s nothing special. She says something like:
“You’re a sweetie, but I gots a boyfriend.”
Something like that. He says:
“Nah, gorsh, it’s okay, yah don’t hafta…”
They get fidgety and awkward and I pay the bill.
“I never thought to ask a woman out before.”
“Obviously. We good here?”
“There’s something else I want to do.”
We walk to the park. When I mentioned needles on the sidewalk, like, fuck, man. I guess this is technically a park.
“I love these trees,” he says.
I shrug. “Want to cut one down?”
Man is shaking. I think he’s pissed. What the fuck do I care? He flips me off. And? Then he starts climbing the tree.
It’s been a couple decades since you could climb a tree, guy. Fucking guy.
He stops. “Fuck.” Laughs a bit. “I gotta pee.” Looks around, pisses on the tree.
Not like I care.
“We good here?”
“Yeah,” he says. “One more thing.”
We walk around. Literally FOR-EVER. Jesus Fucking Christ, guy. Like, I swear he’s a rat in a maze, but this fucking maze is a circle. Everything looks the same here. But then, he finds it. Some little place slightly on the rim of the goddamned city. Lies down on a bench. Looks up.
“The stars are so fucking beautiful,” he says.
I wait. He’s just staring. I wait some more.
This guy! “Hey,” I said. “Whenever you’re ready.”
Another fucking eternity. But then he decides. “Okay. Let’s go back to the bridge.”
We walk back. It’s literally fucking ten minutes from the bench. JESUS CUH-RIST.
We’re back at the edge of the bridge. “I know who you are,” he says to me.
“Okay. Then you know how this works.”
“Okay,” I said. I take out the paper.
“Can I read the contract first?”
I show him the paper. He’s a dumbfounded motherfucker.
“I HAVEN’T WRITTEN IT YET,” I said. “When did you see me write it?”
I take the BLANK SHEET and a pen. “Okay. So. I want your soul.”
“Your ETERNAL SOUL.”
Now I write that shit down.
“What did I give you for that?”
“You walked with me.”
“I bought you food, too.”
“The waitress was cute.”
“I didn’t get you the waitress.”
“Sick fuck. No, but she was nice.”
“Okay. So. Now.” I crack my knuckles. “Your ETERNAL SOUL here, guy.”
“The stars. Jesus Christ, I feel like I haven’t seen them in forever. That was so beautiful, you know.”
He looks over the side of the bridge.
“We gotta sign first. So you glanced at the stars?”
“I’m putting that down. ‘Gave you a chance to see stars.’ Okay. Next?”
Squirms his face. “I asked the waitress out.”
“She said no.”
“Just write it down.”
“Okay. ‘Asked waitress out. (She said no.)’ Anything else?”
“Oh.” He takes off the coat. “Yours.”
Shit. Forgot. “’Borrowed one coat.’” Dear God, my poor sleeve. “Next?”
“I don’t know,” he finally says. “I forget.”
I think a little bit. “The tree?”
“Pissed on a tree.”
He laughed again. “Yeah. Pissed on a tree. Put that on my grave.”
“I was joking.”
All written up.
“You ready to sign?”
He looks it over and smiles. He’s ready. “Yeah. I can sign. You gonna show up tomorrow?”
“You’re killing yourself tonight, my friend.”
“Can we do it tomorrow? You gonna show up tomorrow?”
I look at my wrist—I didn’t even bring a watch, just stare at my bare wrist—and shake my head. Give him a glare. “Ain’t got time for that.”
“Oh. Can I sign later?”
“You can sign any time you want!”
“Can I add things to the contract?”
“I don’t know, I don’t care, but whatever it is, it’s gotta be true. That’s how a contract works.” Fucking numbnuts here.
He does a quiet little smile. Extends his hand. “Later.”
MAN, must have given him the biggest sigh. “Fine.”
“I have things I want to do tomorrow. I’ll let you know when.”
“Well you know how to call me. Bye, Felicia.”
Fuck. Exit: hero, in disgrace.
Those links I mentioned. To quote Dr. Cornel West, the cavalry ain’t coming.
And to add to that — you’re gonna have to be that cavalry.
The French are sick of it (losing their pensions to a trillion dollar company):
South Koreans ain’t having it (not just doctors, but a general strike being organized):
Also Italy and the Netherlands are fed up (protests have been going on for weeks):
Take heart! Look up the other strikes underway! And keep in mind that “organizing” is a big word meaning–talk and listen to your neighbor. Easy peasy.
-Mgmt actually signing off