Old man at blinds - (c) 2005 by NNN
by H. Millard (c) 2005
H. Millard index

The childless, white haired, lonely old man peered through his Venetian blinds out into the quiet summer night of the city where he barely existed. It seemed he had been peeking out at the world for many, many years. He was a cautious man and knew that he'd be safe from life if he didn't really take part in it. The world was always just beyond him and he was never really in the world. He was never a participant in life. Life was too chaotic. Being a part of life was just too risky and threatening. He preferred to secretly watch the world so he could feel smugly superior when others, the ones full of life, made the pratfalls and the mistakes that humans often make as they try and often fail at various things. No one would ever be able to criticize or make fun of him. He didn't make the mistakes that others make. He had never said or written a word that anyone would be able to use against him. He had never done anything that might prove to be a skeleton in his closet.

For the old man, there had never a right time to get married. "Maybe in a few years," he had told himself for many years. That time never came. There had never been a right woman. There had been many, but none were perfect. There had never been a right time to have children. As the years passed, he laughed to himself at the other people, the ones who weren't as smart as he was, who had many children and who had a hard time making ends meet. "Stupid fools," he used to say to himself. "If they didn't have so many children, they'd be as well off as I am and would have comfortable lives." As the years passed, he barely noticed that his neighborhood was changing. Old white people were dying or moving away and brown people with many children were replacing them one house at a time.

Now, time was running out. All his life, he had failed to let his natural instincts direct him in the right ways of existence, for he had struggled against the struggle to be, and to be more. He had struggled against the struggle itself. He had developed an anti-life will that locked him away from life. He was both the prisoner and the warden in his own jail. He had failed to see the true nature of life and the struggle that we're all in as a natural part of existence. He was to vibrant, vigorous, teeming life what a tidy and well manicured lawn was to a wild forest.

The lonely old man never failed. That was because he never tried. Because he never failed, he mistakenly believed that he had succeeded. For isn’t duality the way of existence? Aren’t we conditioned to think in terms of opposites? Isn’t everything either this or that–day or night, black or white, up or down, good or bad? If so, then the opposite of not failing must be success. Or so, the old man thought. He had failed to see that the duality that he believed in, was only a two dimensional cross section of the multi-dimensional cosmic spinning and its spiral.

As he peeked out at the street, he suddenly felt cold all over and trembled as a shadow moved across his field of vision. He quickly dropped the slat of the blind and stood pressed against the wall next to the window not daring to move. His breath was shallow and he could hear his heart pounding. Beads of perspiration formed on his forehead. Had someone seen him peeking out at life? Minutes passed like hours. When he was certain he didn't hear anything, he cautiously took another peek through the blinds. With relief, he noted that there was no one there. He concluded that the shadow was probably just caused by a passing dog. For some reason, though, he was still cold, and at first he thought this was a little odd since it was a warm evening. Then, for the first time, it started to dawn on him that the cold was coming from within himself, and with this realization came, for the first time, the doubts about his choices in life that had always been nice and safe and middle of the road. He sensed, now, this evening, this minute, this second, that the fires of life were burning low inside him. He was awakening to the fact that smallness had been writ large on his soul and that he had been the writer.

He now wondered what he had accomplished or actually had ever done in life. While the great spinning of the cosmos had been busy running out his clock, he had been hiding from life. Now, he was starting to realize that all the important and meaningful things he thought he had been doing in life were no more important or meaningful than the obsessive compulsive actions of a schizophrenic walking endlessly around a certain telephone pole while mumbling to himself. Now, he was starting to realize that he hadn’t even been as high a creature as a rat on a treadmill–no, he had been born as a food mouse and was raised in a cage as food for the great winding serpent of existence that circled around without end and which rose with vigor to pounce on and devour its food with a gusto that the food itself never knew. He was food for something greater. That was his purpose. He was completely expendable food. Nothing more. He was a consumable. All his life he had deceived himself into thinking that he had free will and that he could do anything. But, like the food mouse, he "chose" not to do much. Yeah, that was it. He could do anything, but he just didn’t want to. He had free will. He was the master of his destiny. He just chose to have no children and to live a quiet life working in an office until he retired. That was his choice. That was how he, himself, had exercised his free will, by damn. So, his self-deception continued.

Now, however, he knew the truth, and in knowing, he became bitter. In his youth he had failed to see the truths of nature. He had no idea of the gigantic cosmic struggle that exists everywhere and at all times and which is as real here on earth as it is in far away space. He had seen the spirals a million times and had not understood or seen the pattern of existence or realize that they are basic. He had failed to stoke his own fires of life and they remained small flames in the night barely dispelling the darkness that is, when there is no struggle to bring in the light.

He knew now that he had always been a hollow husk, and now he was drying up and turning to dust. Life–that set of spiraling chemical and electrical reactions that made some piles of minerals rise up and be capable of awareness while other piles of minerals remained inert--had never really taken hold in him; not in its fullness and joy. It had been a small, weak flame that barely glowed and was not a roaring fire as in many others. While others lustily threw themselves into life, he had been busy limiting himself. While others his age now had grandchildren to warm their aging hearts, he had none. While others could see that they were links in a chain, he realized that he was a broken link and there was now no way to fix it. He was a dead end in his line. There was no way out; no way to rekindle life so different choices could be made. No way to turn back the clock.

The lonely old man went to the kitchen and opened a can of tuna fish. He returned to the living room and sat on the couch next to his old computer–the new equivalent of an old manual typewriter. The smell of death was all about him. It smelled like the tuna fish but was stronger. No matter which soaps he bought, he couldn’t get rid of the smell of life flickering out a little at a time as his cells shut down and were no longer replaced. What was once animate and bursting with energy--that he had damped--was now slowly becoming inert again as life burned itself out. Death was rising as it always must, and although it had been held off by life so that life could make more of itself, in the old man, life had not made more of itself. The prime directive of life had not been followed. He was the last of his line. These things he know knew.

As thoughts of cosmic loneliness and despair flooded over him, he loathed himself and he loathed all others. He knew life wasn't worth living. Slowly, he reached under the pillows on his couch and felt the cold hard object that he had hidden there. He pulled it out and looked at its gleaming dark finish and then quietly put it to his temple. "It’s time," he said to himself. "It’s time." He scratched his temple with the edge of the cool hard surface and then quickly pulled it away, aimed it at the black and white TV set across the room and gently squeezed. The TV exploded to life. The old man's electronic peep hole helped him forget what he had just been thinking and it made him feel good about his existence. He felt invigorated. He could voyeuristically peep as others made fools of themselves and as they experienced the problems of life. "Ha! Look at those people making idiots of themselves. What losers!"

He'd show life that not being part of it was the best way to live. As he sat watching TV, he suddenly had a heart attack and died. No big deal It happened just like that. One second he was alive and the next he was dead.

It took a couple of weeks, but eventually the smell of his corpse caused neighbors to call the police. It turned out that he had no heirs and no living relatives. Soon, his possessions were sold off by the state. His house was sold to a mestizo illegal alien couple with eight kids.

His old car that he had mostly just kept in the garage for years, and which wasn't worth much now, was bought by another large family of mestizos. As the mestizo couple packed all their screaming, laughing, crying non-minding, un-tidy kids in the car and drove off, one could clearly see the bumper sticker that the old man had put on his car years ago that read, "The one who dies with the most toys wins."

It was too late for the old man to know that he had been wrong. In truth, it is the one who dies with the most kids, made in one's own image, who wins.

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Ourselves Alone & Homeless Jack's Religion  

Ourselves Alone & Homeless Jack's Religion
messages of ennui and meaning in post-american america by H. Millard

In Ourselves Alone and Homeless Jack's Religion, H. Millard, the hard to pigeonhole author of The Outsider and Roaming the Wastelands, has put together some of his category bending commentaries on post-American America. The commentaries deal with politics, philosophy, free speech, genocide, religion and other topics in Millard's edgy style and lead up to Homeless Jack's Religion, in which Homeless Jack lays out revelations he found in a dumpster on skid row. Browse Before You Buy ISBN: 0-595-32646-3

Roaming the Wastelands  

- (ISBN: 0-595-22811-9)
H. Millard’s latest sacred cow toppling book, is now
available at Amazon.com by clicking on this link

or by calling 1-877-823-9235.

“A fun–and sobering–thing to read” - Alamance Independent

The Outsider  

THE OUTSIDER - (ISBN: 0-595-19424-9)
H. Millard’s underground classic story of alienation is
available at Amazon.com by clicking on the this link
 or by calling 1-877-823-9235:

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