THFWS & TTM: Before the Phoenix Rises Again…

Before the Phoenix Rises Again…

Stan noticed the man’s eyes before he even recognized that they belonged to Sebastian G. Lodge. What caught his attention was the absolute malevolence that betrayed his intentions long before Stan even saw the gun.

If you are trying to provide personal protective services in a large crowd, it is easy to get lost in a sea of details of the entire crowd. It is much quicker to scan the crowd for the eyes that will tell you their motive from across a room…or a plaza.

If the eyes don’t look right, suspect a motive, then look around for the details that indicate the owner has a plan and the means to constitute a clear and present danger or a threat.

It is easy to spot murderous rage or malice, but Stan also knew how to spot the cold, calculating eyes of a professional sizing up all the other details surrounding your protected charge. Although they too are conspicuous to just the right eyes, Lodge’s eyes literally telegraphed his emotions.

Stan was already reacting instinctively in a very long series of reflex arcs that had been initiated by plan, by practice, and by execution more than enough times to ensure that they occurred without conscious thought or mental action…the Tao of the Gun.

Before he recognized Lodge he had already thrown his body into the path of his adversary…Instinctively, and without hesitation as he drew his weapon a very few milliseconds before Lodge produced his.

He did not have to wait to act…anticipation is the first step in establishing and maintaining control before it can ever be lost.

Lodge’s eyes were like two hard-boiled eggs floating in a bowl of beets…his face was contorted with twisted rage and unfocused pain. He looked like he had been drinking and crying all night, and snot dripped from his nose into his gaping, drooling mouth while he seemed to gasp for air as he began firing at the center of the group.

Four rounds struck Stan as he leaped, still hanging in mid-air; three in his chest, striking his body-armour, as one grazed the outside margin of his right thigh, throwing a small puff of blood, skin and material from his pants into the air as it ripped through everything that stood before it.

It seemed like the whole event was in extreme slow-motion as Stan heard the report of the shots, the whiz of the bullets, the thump they produced on his chest, the sight of Lodge’s semi-automatic pistol recoiling and Ka-Chunking another round into the chamber as empty brass flew into the air, raining down on the courthouse steps with the tinkling ring of death reverberating and splashing around them, although most people only heard the shots themselves.

Stan watched as he saw Lodge’s chest explode before the sight profile of his pistol as he triple-tapped the cardiac silhouette. He did not execute the customary head shot because it was too close quarters to shoot anything but center of mass for fear of striking a non-combatant. He did not have to think about it. That was just the way it was…Instinct…Reflex arc…before thinking.

In crisis, you revert to your most basic level of training.

A head shot through the tip of the nose as far down as the bottoms of the lower row of teeth, or through the ears or just below the base of the occipital region above the spine would have produced a flaccid paralysis kill rendering Lodge unable to even pull the trigger of his weapon.

Stanley knew how to do it…like in Genesis, where “Zofran Knew Sarah, or Rachel, or Hanna…(or better still, all three) and it was Good….” Biblical knowledge involves the most intimate of familiarity…not just how to….but in fact to do, as well as when not to…when there is zero margin for collateral damage.

That’s the disadvantage one faces when they are forced to be fighting on the side of Good…Lodge was not so constrained….did not have to worry about the outcome of his actions, like stray bullets for instance.

Just the same, Stan did the best anyone could have hoped to do in the situation. Stan was the very best of those who did what he did…He was almost perfect….

Lodge was dead before he hit the ground. You could have told so by the sound if you knew what to listen for…like hearing a sack of meat hit the sidewalk from six feet up. Half splat, half thud and no rebound whatsoever.

It wasn’t until he heard Darcy’s scream that he knew for sure that almost wasn’t quite good enough…as he realized that Lodge had fired five times…or how that one fifth round, fired as Lodge was dying, already headed for the ground had ricocheted  off a stone step and struck Frederick in the chest.

As the news cameras captured it, Frederick signed “Carry me in your heart” to Darcy, who was holding his head and shoulders on her legs and next to her swollen belly.

Then all of the members of the group heard Frederick’s best, most sonorous voice in their minds as he told them “It’s still a good day to be me…I have done, and seen and thought things no mere Ape could imagine…I love you all… please protect our children…they are the sons and daughters of Man, the same way Man was the Son of God…their fate lies in your hands and hearts…Remember me to them…and remember to talk to them in our special way.”

He also simultaneously visually signed the thoughts he sent to the members of the group for the benefit of all those who would witness it…either now or later…courtesy of those who would capture that moment forever on cameras…his last living communications with the world.

Thoughts and words that would be subject to much debate as to their meaning for a long time….

As Ash and Merle rushed the other members of the group into the limousine, Stan cradled the body of Frederick in his arms and carried him to the shelter of the vehicle as Frederick took his last breaths.

When Rescue showed up, they pronounced Lodge dead, and tried to bandage Stan’s wound, which Anastasia had temporarily dressed with Stan’s (unused) handkerchief and his tie, but the paramedics apologized that they could not risk “contamination” of their equipment by Frederick’s blood or bodily fluids.

The police were everywhere and nowhere at the same time, taking statements, setting up a perimeter and marking it with “Police Line. Do Not Cross” tape, photographing everything in and out of sight, marking angles of trajectory, cataloging and bagging spent shell casings, drawing two chalk lines, and documenting and sampling every drop of blood that anyone could find, yet somehow seeming to take forever, while fighting and posturing over rank, jurisdiction, procedures, protocols, and press releases, as well as the relative length of every other cop’s penis within a five-mile radius.

Eventually, everyone got back home to the Sanctuary. The police were remarkably blasé about releasing Frederick’s body to them almost immediately.

The group was grateful for that, but it hurt to hear the officer in charge declare “…it would be different if he were a human….”.

A trauma surgeon was summoned to the Sanctuary to attend to Stan’s wound.

Had he been a police officer, he would have been on administrative suspension with pay pending an investigation, but he was not so constrained.

There was no DA willing to charge him until proven otherwise, like a regular citizen could anticipate, but he was no hero either. He had been assigned to protect Frederick who was now dead, and although he undoubtedly saved the lives of the others, there are no consolation prizes for heroism.

Management had no further interests in the case. Frederick was dead and he, as well as the other Primates were now the property of The Home for Wayward Souls as far as they were concerned.

Lodge would have represented the last loose end in the whole equation, had he not conveniently self-destructed the way he did. Management immediately began to begin the process of demonizing Lodge to the public to give them sufficient distancing from his actions.

Management had also suspected that Stan was “compromised” for some time now, but in the scheme of things, his continued discretion was considered guaranteed in a way that would serve their purposes.

The continued safety of the members of The Home for Wayward Souls was in Management’s best interests…at least for an appropriate length of time for the public to forget them and turn their attention back to the regularly scheduled programming of current events designed to promote the economy and the public’s best interest of neurotic consumption.

An additional midwife was waiting for them, but Anastasia took charge of her emotions and focused on Darcy’s care in much less time than anyone…even Anastasia…would have thought possible.

If you are a nurse, that is how you cope. You focus on the lives that need to be saved…and the lives of the yet unborn…postpone the grieving for the dead…its called Triage…you learn about it in school, but when you are forced to do it in real life, you (later) realize how it protected you, no matter how hard it is later to reconcile your grief, for that moment you are protected by the actions you take.

Make no mistake…every time you let one of your patients into your personal space, if you let yourself be touched by their humanity… what you don’t know at the time is that whether you save their life, or not…if you protect and sustain them until they can be turned over to a higher level of care, you will carry those emotions felt and witnessed by you within you forever…or until they get replaced…pushed out…by something worse, or better…as the well begins to overflow….

Darcy was not in labor yet, the fetuses were not in distress…at least not now…but she knew, and Darcy sensed, that to not prepare for the inevitable would be to invite disaster.

Ash called a friend of his who was a Neonatologist at Miami Children’s Hospital. They had been undergraduates at Gainesville together and he played the baritone sax exquisitely. He was to be there…“just in case….”.

They were as ready as they could be, given the circumstances.

And then, when they least expected it, the grief…the realization…the internalization of it all struck them almost simultaneously.

Ash was trying in vain to find a Mortician to prepare the body, when someone suggested a cremation, which was then envisioned as a funeral pyre about the time that Darcy began to weep, then sob uncontrollably.

The grief swept over them like a giant wave as they began to hold, hug, and kiss each other as they surrounded Darcy. In moments like that, grief so shared boils quickly to the surface much more strongly than most people could possibly experience alone, and yet in so sharing they become galvanized by it.

The chimps and bonobos had been in the public area outside the Sanctuary and were celebrating and dancing as the verdict was announced. They also witnessed the news footage of Frederick’s assassination shortly afterward.

Malkira and Lilith were at the rectory awaiting the arrival of the limousine, and been shown their son’s body and allowed to sit with him to grieve. The other chimps and bonobos stood vigil outside.

When she calmed herself a bit, Darcy asked Merle to please administer her a proper dosage of The Fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

Merle agreed that the ability of any of the known effects of the drug to affect any harm to the neonates or to her was extremely unlikely, but he nonetheless felt compelled to ask her if she felt she was mentally prepared for the effects of the drug.

“I have nothing to fear…I intend to embrace all knowledge and experience as it comes to me from this moment on…and I invite everyone else to join me poolside, because I have the distinct premonition that I will be delivering my babies very soon…and since we are all family…I think everyone should experience the event according to their own level of comfort, and that we should all experience it together….”

“Count in on us…me…and Charlie…” (no one ever calls him that but her, btw…) “…right Honey-Cock? As one life (is) ushered out, new life enters…no?” Suki was usually the first to volunteer, or for that matter, the first to get naked whenever the opportunity presented itself.

That was one of her most endearing and charming features…that, and her ability to seem like she was on a trampoline while everyone else was on solid ground all around her.

With that, Ash, Kali and Mark nodded in agreement and approached Merle to accept the Sacrament as well.

Five minutes later, they were all naked in the pool with Darcy, who was sitting on the steps holding the rail with her left arm, bracketed by Anastasia and the midwife on either side.

Much earlier, it had been decided that Darcy would birth her children in the water and for weeks now, the solar heaters had kept the temperature at just below 100 degrees, so as to mimic body temperature. Anastasia had delivered two of her own “water-babies” years before who were now grown, and she recommended it highly.

Kali and Suki set up cauldrons for the scurrying. They were certain the The Ancient Ones would be there for the birthing.

Sobee and Sharma were scampering around in the bushes and flower beds beside the front doors, playfully anticipating if they should have to transform into sentinels, ever on the alert, but playfully good-natured about it all. They could go from chameleon to iguana to dragon in the blink of an eye, and back again just as fast.

Charles called them the “Quantum Lizards”…explaining how if they could transform in “Planck Time”, (basically faster than anyone could measure it…something like 1 sec to the negative forty-third power), then they could do as they pleased, and if they did it in a closed universe, they could expand the interval of Quantum Probability far beyond that.

And even in an open universe, if they could transform back and forth that quickly, the persistence of vision would make them appear to be solid and permanent in whatever form they chose.

“Form is Form, Emptiness is Emptiness…

Form is Emptiness, Emptiness is Form…

No Form, no Emptiness…

An elephant rides a mouse that dances to the song of a guitar with no strings…

Form is Form, Emptiness is Emptiness.”

They were the “Great Embezzlers of Time and Space” as it turns out, and just liked to hang out at the Sanctuary whenever there was something interesting happening and very special doormen were needed.

It was a beautiful night. The moon was full and the sky was absolutely clear.

The ArchAngels were playing a four-hour song cycle they had written several months before in anticipation of the arrival of the twins.

Charles had Lothar set up multiple video cameras to capture whatever appeared in, from or around the cauldrons so as to project it onto the screen that flew above the gardens outside the Sanctuary.

Raul, the talking Cuban Tree Frog was there as well, narrating and reporting for the Intergalactic Geographic Channel in his customarily hushed golf tournament narrative voice-over.

It was a strange and beautiful night. One in which the despair and tragedy of Frederick’s death was nearly eclipsed by the ushering in of new life; where great victories were marred by great personal loss.

Twin souls were standing in the wings, waiting to make their appearance on the stage of Life. It was already guaranteed that they would be loved and cared for in ways for which few children could ever hope or dream.

Not all children await such an auspicious entry into Life, but for those who do, it does not matter if they are destined to become luminary figures the world will long remember, or just another lost soul who found a good place to land for a while.

Jesus was born in a manger. Lincoln was born in a log cabin in the middle of nowhere. Somewhere, right now, a Buddha is being born, although no one knows it yet. No one ever knows what will be the fate of children at the time of their birth. It is enough just for them to be born.

The news of the day heard around the world would be of Frederick’s murder, with an anecdotal reference to the birth of the children in the Sanctuary, but for the members of this church of common mind and heart, it would forever remain a day of bittersweet contrast of the best and worst aspects of what it is to be alive.

This was to be a very special and wondrous night.

2 Responses to “THFWS & TTM: Before the Phoenix Rises Again…”

  1. Thanks for ones marvelous posting! I definitely enjoyed reading it, you happen to
    be a great author. I will ensure that I bookmark your blog and will often come back in the future.

    I want to encourage you to continue your great work, have a nice morning!

    • Such kind words are greatly appreciated. What you read is a part of a four-hundred page novel, which I just recently finished. Every word of it is on wordpress. I wrote it chapter by chapter as it revealed itself to me. My first novel is on one of my pages as well.
      The best encouragement comes from words such as yours, so thank you sir.
      (Now it’s time to go bathe in the well of gratitude.)
      Chazz Vincent

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: