30 January 2007

Dream of the City Gates Pt. 4 (Go Ask Alice)

I looked around my very small room. Single bed. Blue spread. Side table and lamp. TV locked down to the dresser. No remote. Telephone left over from 1955. But out the window the city lights were floating on the night like a thousand small boats in the harbor.

I sat on the bed. It creaked down to its comfort level, which left me with knees higher than my hips, so I laid back and studied the stained ceiling. I could hear people walking about in the room above. The light under my door flickered now and again as too many people went to and fro. People seemed to have more business here than just a night's lodging.

From my case I took various bottles of potions and elixirs I'd accumulated over the years to deal with my melancholy. Pills and liquids - they all meant well - they whispered words of wisdom as they slid through my brain. But I couldn't help but wonder out loud: "Why is my life a perpetual quest for joy, for bliss, while others just seem to carry it within themselves; rivers of joy on which their souls raft laughing."

"You may as well as why this tree grows here and that tree grows there. We have to grow where we are planted, as best we can." said Sutiah stepping in through my window. "Free your mind," he said to me. "And the rest will follow." After which followed a hearty laugh. "What crap."
"Well, I've been trying to free my mind for my entire life."
"Not true, " he smiled. "You've been seeking security not freedom. There is no bliss in security; no animal is happy in a cage. One pill makes you larger. And one pill makes you small - but that means nothing at all. I suggest that you go ask Alice."
"Alice? But how will I recognize her."
"When she's ten feet tall," he said stepping out the window.
"But wait," I cried. "How can I be happy if I am not secure."
He ducked his head back into my room: "I would say that the answer is fairly obvious. Remember no lock or locks can keep the one thing out that can reach us all. So security is an illusion. Bliss cannot flow from an illusion my good fellow."
"What illusion is that," I asked.
"Surely you are not that thick headed are you?" he smiled as he drew a finger slowly across his throat... "I'm meeting Mr. Jones in the bar later - why not join us for a nightcap. Perhaps Alice will be there, though the ceiling is a tad low," he chuckled to himself.
Why not indeed, I thought, while setting out my blue and green and yellow and pink bottles on my night table.

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