Grey Circus

Enzo Rime built models.  He was forty-seven years old, but he looked much younger with blond hair and piercing gray eyes.  He was in the hospital, in recovery – he liked to think he was recovering from life itself.  In fact, that was the problem … life itself.  His parents were unrepentant hippies.  Enzo was brought up in a commune made up of artists, musicians, and farmers. He rebelled early and became a high-school bully; later in life he joined the Marines much to the dismay of his peace loving family.  After several deployments to Iraq he left the Marines to become a mercenary.  He worked for Blackwater Security.  Enzo saw a lot of bloodshed.  He became addicted to the rush of adrenaline brought on by violence.  His security team was involved in cover-ups, the killing of civilians: a case of mistaken identity – collateral damage.  Enzo felt no remorse or guilt – he rationalized, “Bad things happen during war.”  He believed Jesus Christ protected him – after all, he was spreading the word of God to heathens – he was making the world safe for American-style Capitalism.  His only doubts came in the form of letters from his father.  The letters nagged at Enzo.  He felt forced to read them even though he knew the same arguments and disappointments were listed in every letter.  He hated his family and the letters added fuel to the fire: an adrenaline rush that inspired images of familicide.  Of course, it wasn’t real — it was a model, an imaginary construction used to explain probabilities. Enzo had many models to help him repair the unraveling that was taking place in his world.  At one time he believed he was suffering from PTSD —  a side effect caused by exposure to life threatening situations.   Another model indicated he was suffering from the lack of love as the result of being raised by a family of serial killers (a fake scenario like all his models).  His models were intricate and oddly exquisite — woven from scraps of cardboard and string, painted with exotic patterns and symbols. He made a model that described a life of gluttony and greed where he weighed 350 pounds, then he died an early death; but something was off with that model because everything he knew conspired to inform him that he was still alive.  Some of his models grew into enormous mazes that spread across the floor like giant serpents.  Enzo had a model that manifested as an addiction to drugs and other mind-altering experiences.   There was another model where he spread his wings and leaped from a skyscraper only to fall and crash.  Some models described life-altering events, other models pinpointed minutia (washing dishes or using the bathroom)… and some models exhumed locations where life flourished or was extinguished.  Enzo Rime assumed the role of different personalities depending on the model he constructed.  Models were his attempt to rationalize and explain life.

Enzo used aluminum foil and Styrofoam to finish his latest model.  When complete it would reveal the underpinnings of reality.  It would explain the unraveling of physical bodies and worldly structures.   Enzo questioned why another man had taken over his body.  When he peered into a mirror he saw an old, hobbled creature who could barely move.

The model was almost complete.  Enzo carved and painted sigils on the walls of the structure.  A disturbance shook the air and a small opening appeared.  The entrance into the model pulled at Enzo, sucking him into a maelstrom.  Enzo could barely see beyond the storm of gray fog.  He heard a clicking, clacking sound — and saw large Ravens talking to one another.  They were strange, gray Ravens as large as lions, rounding up groups of people and leading them into an enormous gray tent.  Enzo was led to a shabby tier of seats where he was pushed and prodded until he sat down.  The grandstand was rickety and old — it swayed under the bodies that perched on the benches like crows.  When he was a child, Enzo was taken to the circus.  He was scared: horrified by the animals and clowns —  terrified by the freak show — now, he sat inside the model of another circus.  Performers limped and stumbled into the center ring.  They wore tattered costumes, torn threads and patches of gray.  Some of the performers carried knives and some carried forks as if they were about to attend a feast.  They looked at one another with desire, torn by insatiable hunger.  If the intent was to stage an orgy of gluttony it fell far short — the participants could hardly move.  They stumbled around like victims of a terrible plague.  The Ravens chattered and snapped at the performers.  One woman in a gray coat opened her mouth to sing.  All that could be heard was the hissing sound of escaping gas.  Rats were released into the center ring — enormous rats with bristling fur and razor teeth.  The people in the ring could not run from the rats so they just lay down and turned to smoke.  The show wore on with the pace of a mountain moving across a continent.  Finally it was time for Enzo Rime to enter the center ring.  He was pushed forward by a large Raven.  It was the final act and the curtains were beginning to close.

old reflections



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