I woke up to let the seething masses into my life. They accepted my invitation, as always, with all the enthusiasm of the dying. One in particular caught my attention, for he threw himself, naked and ribbed, at my pale ankles when I wandered out of my white bedroom. I shook the man off, and walked into the dilapidated bathroom, characterized by falling white paint chips and pungent mold. The showers were public, but the other occupants left in reverence to me and my body. I went to the back shower head. Upon shedding my robe on to the damp floor, I noticed that I was getting pathetically fat: my hairy stomach covered the beautiful view of my pelvis. Cold water spilled out of the proper and improper places as I turned the faucet. I winced with pain to wash my disgusting body and balding head with coarse brown soap. I rinsed off the oily substance and dried the body with my moldy robe.

My wards gathered around the shower door, I noticed after I stepped out, dripping and only slightly cleaner. "Come, and let us eat," I said, gesturing with the hand not clasped around the two lapels of the robe. They enthusiastically scurried off to the dining hall, and I took the opportunity to return to my quarters. I closed the door, and opened my closet to pick a traditional black suit. So I did, and I thrust my flaccid body into the pants, then shirt and jacket. I choose a red tie with pink and orange Fleurs des Lis. Before leaving the room, I again laid down on my bed to stare at the wan ceiling, considering all the value in getting up. I got up.

As I entered the dining room, the people stood up from their dusty benches and waited, expectantly, for my useless prayer. "Dear Lord, " I started uninspirationally, "please give us all the glory of you and your son, ourselves and the Holy Spirit. We do not ask for money, food, or sanity, but for that which you grant yourself. On that note, you are always welcome to dine with us. God save you, Lord, Amen."

Buckets of scrambled eggs and ham had been set on every table, as well as rustic plates, forks, and metal mugs. The masses sat and began to eat as I walked to the kitchen, where I pulled out a pitcher for our tri-daily wine. From a tap more suited to beer, I squeezed the liquid we made ourselves. It was the color of dried blood and had the taste of mild and watery turpentine. I filled the pitcher unto completion, and carried it back into the hall. I went from table to table, and cup to cup, telling the men and women of my blood and servitude. I then sat down to eat.

Breakfast was always uneventful, but this day would not be. Unlike the others, my new plan would certainly bring about our dominance glory, more specifically, would make it obvious to the rest of the world. We of course, rather I, of course, knew these things, and understood our glory under God. I made it apparent to the rest every morning, and every afternoon they forgot. When most of my people had stopped eating, I grunted, wiped off my mouth with my sleeve, and walked to the head of the tables overlooked by a gigantic, cracked window. Sunlight began to stream into the building, centering, as always, upon me. I started in a cracked but powerful voice.

"I bring you here to eat, but today I will do more. I mean to inspire you, my dear humans, into following me and my crusade." Initially, this was unnecessary-- their devotion to me was unquestioned, at least by me, and these poor people would follow me into hell. "Remember: this life isn't loved by God, and we must achieve in his name. We must achieve in Our name, and reclaim our position in this world of Others. We have no need of oppression, but must oppress, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and your leader Victor Eous!" At this point, the people stood and clapped, enthusiastically and honestly, at the call of my own name. "Meet in the courtyard after your morning devotions to receive my instruction."

At that point, I marched out of the hall with the stride of an overweight man. The patio connecting the dining area and the dormitories was actually attractive, because it had white, Romanesque columns and looked out to an overgrown but appealing series of gardens. They polished the place, on my command, and the due wear was not yet obvious. The morning sun, shining through the wisteria leaves covering the patio ceiling, makes the dreary dorms appealing-- though upon re-entering, I disagreed. I simply returned to my single bed room, and laid down to be rewarded by the groan of a weary bed. I still had my cup of turpentine, so I gulped down the remains and set it on the corner of my small oak book shelf before resting.

When I regained consciousness, the clock read twenty past noon. Certainly the people were done, and waiting for me. I rose off the weak bed and went to my porcelain sink to rinse off my face. I glanced in the mirror, and saw burst capillaries along the underside of my nostrils, as well as the swinging fat dripping off of my chin and cheekbones. I smiled at my sinister self, though only my eyes reflected the act. From then on I avoided eye contact with myself, and walked out my door to the veranda. Off the marble and perpendicularly from the dining room was a path that led immediately to the courtyard. I followed where it gestured with its vicious and sprawling vines until I reached an open area with the dear lads lined up nicely in rows of ten.

Now in front of the people, I placed my hands into already stretched slacks and steadied myself with locked knees. I opened my mouth and said a breathy, "Follow me." I now led them off the courtyard, through a large opening, once a wall, and up along a grassy knoll. Beyond that hill was another grassy knoll, and with the sun grinning upon us, we continued to another. My nose began to spew out mucus, which I dutifully sucked back in. We continued along the illuminated hills, and eventually reached the last. A barren wasteland of untapped resources stretched out in front of us, in all its red, dusty, and vacuous beauty. The only object in our way was a small hut, surrounded by small wooden pikes stuck into the ground and one another. It sat there, offensively, along with woman in the neighboring vegetable garden.

"Well, hello, Victor!" screeched the harpy woman. It must have been some sort of war cry. I, along with my company, took a hesitant step forward.

"Good day, foul mistress of darkness," I responded as I picked up a conveniently placed broad sword. I continued, more confidently, forward. The rest of my party hung back, hugging each others' scrap-clad bodies in admiration.

"That seems unnecessary, Victor, Victor honey," the woman said as she unfolded great and frightening black wings, bordered with talons of steel. It was an interesting sight, with her yellow sundress and un-kept blond hair flowing gently in the heavy breeze, giving the wings an almost inappropriate appearance. None the less, I was frightened. I, however, Victor Eous the Victorious Warrior of the Light, continued and quickened my advance. "You will die, Evil Creature of Utter Darkness, in the name of God and the Holy Trinity. Give me your sins, and let me take your death in clarity," I screamed. The masses of dirty bodies behind me clutched ever more feverishly to one another.

"Stop, Victor. Do not hurt me," she said in her seductive voice. For a moment I was mesmerized, staring at her gentle, tan body and kind eyes. Soon, however, I overcame her line of defense. I was within three yards of her now, closing, and raising my sword, and suddenly with a flash of motion she had child in her arms. He clutched, upset and fidgeting, to her sweaty bosom, and she clutched fervently at him. Her last attempts at life, apparently, involved this child as a shield. She, however, misjudged my abilities, the stupid thing of darkness she was. I did not destroy the child, as she had hoped, when bringing my shining sword down upon clenched neck. As I hit spine, the child fell from her arms, my people cheered in terror, and the woman made no noise, while instead spurting blood out of her severed spinal cord as she fell to her grassy death.

A deafening roar rose from my following, as the jumped and danced in the joy and rapture of my success against the heretical woman. I gestured to the woman's crumpled body with the bloody broad sword, and the cries grew louder and more enthusiastically. I stepped, at this point, over her saturated head and in the direction of home. I skipped up the grass to rejoin my followers, and we together departed for home, leaving the child standing stupidly over his mothers desecrated body. Clouds had covered the dry sky, and a nothern wind picked up. The child's blond hair blew lightly in the wind, and he bent down to touch his mother. Using both his small hands, he massaged her scalp and continued to her neck and ribs. Red covered his hands as he stood up again, looking at us, at me, and running his bloodied hands on his own clean hair.

I remember there was a guy I met named Chris. He was a Mita copier machine repairman and had come to my office to fix ours. Kind of a slick looking guy, a little older, toward the late 20's, maybe 30 on the nose. I was 23 then.

Office appliance repair men being so able to come only one time and remedy the problem they were called in for, Chris came in at least three times in a few weeks, toting outdated parts for our dinosaur copier. Eventually he asked me out.

I was living in a hotel room at this time. He picked me up in some truck. We got po boys and went back to his apartment and sat around talking. As I do with every guy I meet, I perused his CD collection. It was odd to me that almost all his CD's were of bands that were playing on the local "alternative" radio station, none of which I listen to. I found it strange that a man who is older than me is more up to date on the latest music "scene." That was the first and last date with Chris.

There was another instance of this when I accepted a date with a guy who I thought was maybe early 30's when in fact he was almost 40. He picked me up in (another) truck and on the way the restaurant, he pops in this tape of yet another popular band, like Creed or something like Creed. When you don't listen to certain bands on a regular basis, they will tend to sound a lot alike. I don't want to give the impression that I want to stereotype music or that I'm some old fart.

I found this behavior to be somewhat troubling, and maybe it's partly due to how men might perceive middle age. I have a 40 year old brother; he lives his age and enjoys it. He listens to mostly music from when he was younger, which gives a telltale indicator of his age. He is a little crusty about popular music, but I don't mind. I think he's somewhat supposed to. Now, the men I have met might have been a bad example of most middle aged (or nearing middle age) men, but I equate this kind of behavior with wearing clothes that are trendy for people 20 years younger than you thinking that this makes you younger by association.

And then there's me, remember? The 20 something girl these guys may or may not want to impress. Well, I wasn't impressed. I would have been if these guys had acted more their age. I didn't agree to go out with them out of pity. They were both hot looking guys. But they didn't impress me once I realized they were trying to steal their youth from a newer time, one that was already beyond me.

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