There is this television screen, three actually, at the mall nearby and I see it and I imagine messages as a person and the trials and tribulations of being born and trying to reach a destination.
There’s a line at a warehouse down the street where creative people wait to receive inspiration. Those who create - whether it be writing, painting, sculpting, drawing or anything - can receive ideas. This ideas allow an ability to bring together feelings into a cohesive image or picture. Stepping inside the warehouse, a large room awaits, and is filled with people. Some speak with one another on different levels of intellectual conversation, just waiting to realize their need to get in line. Nobody knows what will be received by this walk through the line.
The result could be classified either as good or bad, but when feelings that need to be released cannot, people come here. Often, while milling about in the waiting area, screaming people run past, causing those gathered to notice for a moment, and turn back to what they were doing. Distracted for just a moment as an individual felt the urge to feel.
A character sits and waits for a message to be delivered. Waiting around somewhere, he feels the need to be there and never feels the urge to leave. Some force is keeping him there. Another character carries the message and sees the man waiting endlessly. Does he deliver the message or does he simply taunt and dangle it before him, enjoying the confusion wrought upon another.
The only fact James relied upon is his inability to sleep for three weeks, the time since he first heard of the new city-wide policy. Rolling over towards the window, the amount of darkness outside meant there was still time to make a change. Glancing first at the clock laying on the bedside table, and then again outside, James figured there were three solid hours before his life would change, probably for the worse.
“All of the work to get away from this and now I am staring at it again.”
Rummaging through the papers which lay beside his bed, it wasn’t long until James found the letter sent to him by Carson City’s Board of Directors. Eyeing the folded piece of paper, the edges ratted and torn from frequent readings, James picked it up and skimmed the contents, reading aloud to himself.
“Do the recent social and cultural climate in this region of the country, myself in conjunction with the undersigned Board of Directors feel it is necessary to call all messengers residing in the city into permanent continuous employment? All those having received this directive are to report promptly to the Carson Center for Cultural Education on the morning of May 1. Roll will be taken at six a.m. sharp. Those not present by seven a.m. will be found guilty of non-compliance with Carson City Ordinance 387.20, subsection A II, and will meet a swift and rigorous punishment. Thank you in advance for you cooperation in this matter. Abraham L. Wilson, President of Carson City Board of Directors” which was followed by some twelve other names.
Having achieved a level of work considered by his superiors to surpass his peers, James had been used to working at his pace and at the most once per week. Since deciding to strike out on his own just over a year ago, leaving behind the job security provided by the cultural education center, he had cut the amount of work back to accepting a job once every couple of months, which was just enough to continue making progress towards fulfillment of his life’s aspiration. Now with only three hours until the start of the grind and fatigue accompanying daily work, James contemplated whether he could make a difference or not in the situation that would arise with the light from the morning sun.
Setting out from his home a shudder of cold flowed through his body as the front door closed. With a sigh, one foot in front of the other, he began the arduous walk to work.
“Shouldn’t we strive in our lives to slow down and absorb what we’ve been given and what we’ve chosen to receive,” he muttered.
Rounding the corner he blinked twice as he soaked in the scene before him. A line of people stretched back around the corner and out of sight. Taking his place in back he considered the possibility of lingering with those in line but was swayed by an announcement repeating from loud speakers.
“If you are here to work, you will work and please ignore the line. Enter the building immediately.”
The Carson Center for Cultural Education was just down the street from James’ modest two-bedroom apartment; no more than a five minute walk. In the building’s previous incarnations as a library, and before that the city hall, countless windows overlooked fountains and sculptures in the courtyard in front. However, in the two years since receiving its current moniker, the exterior remained gray and nondescript, save for three signs and two doors. The first sign, placed in the center of the front of the building, read Carson Center for Cultural Education. The other two signs were placed above the doors, one on the left and right side respectively. The sign above the door on the left read In, while above the door on the right read Out. Except for these markings, the building appeared every bit as mysterious as an average individual would expect it to, given its purpose.
Inside the building, a remodeling project had recently been completed, placing three large television screens in the center of a large auditorium. I imagine three large visual monitors. One straight ahead, while the others two are angled out to the left and right sides of the hall. Capacity would be around 5,000 people and sessions run in two hour blocks with five sessions per day.
The first hour is composed of viewing the events of the previous day - news, weather, entertainment - and what is though about them, as the people gathered together are told what these events mean to them and how their lives will be affected. A preview of the next day is also offered giving the people gathered what to expect the following day.
As people enter the building they can sit and watch the images broadcast, during which time many things appear to them - advertisements for hair coloring, music videos, news about current events, entertainment and religion - comprising an assortment of messages, directives and orders that either need to be obeyed or dealt with.
These messages are sent off, processed and bought by the people’s mind. For some, they only represent noise and distraction. For some, there is a need to indulge these messages that are impulses for action as they represent ideas that need to be accomplished and to aspire to so others can see the image and recognize it from somewhere. Residents can learn who they want to be, run off and buy it.
The President of the United States created a task force to create a center prototype where residents could meet with the hopes of becoming closer to one another, creating bonds of friendship that might mend the fraying fabric of his once great country. Carson City put together a proposal to become the first prototype city, which was approved by the Federal Government. A final vote by the board of directors passed and within seven months The Carson Center for Cultural Education was created. The first of May was to serve as a test run for a small group of city residents, as the messengers became familiar with the operations.
With a sigh, James set one foot in front of the other, walking around the city. Speaking to no one, himself may be, no one too, his words set to a rhythm to match his pace of walk.
“Shouldn’t we strive in our lives to slow down and absorb what we’ve been given and what we’ve chosen to receive?”
He began to recall the last time an intense period of work began. He was assigned to a laundromat everyday for two months. He would wait for an individual described as despondent and lacking motivation, observe him, record the results and formulate a plan of action. James was called forth, being sort of an expert in this area and was asked to provide a glimmer of light to this individual. Waiting for this person to appear, James had an opportunity to muse on the notions of messages, of what hope is and of helping others to reach a destination in their lives, no matter where.
“Maybe I’ve learned early on to avoid traveling to certain parts,” he mused. “Maybe, out of fear perhaps, I haven’t wanted to fully commit myself to this life out of fear I will be lost. Maybe because of this messages begin to hide themselves away, waiting for those who will seek it, rather than striking an individual from out of the blue.
“Perhaps the soul of a person determines the eventual outcome, as those the message is delivered to begin to believe it is essential to the outcomes of their plans. Just as some messages aren’t used for self gain in their entire lifespan. But in the lives of some, the presence of the message becomes required and without it the individual’s life is rendered onto bleaker days.
“These individuals prey on the message, its yearning to be heard and savor the message for themselves, clouding any meaning and never passing it along to any others.”
As these thoughts began appearing in his mind, James made a decision to hide in a dryer and leave it to his target to stumble upon him in a moment of pure chance and for one month he sat there in the dryer, waiting to be heard or seen.
James thought back to the moment when his good friend fell to the intentions created by the content of his character. Saul had received the same schooling as had James and frequently were the days when they sat and talked. These conversations consisted of their future vocations; their thoughts on life and the elements required for leading a good one and the reason for choosing the path of certainty they had. After years of these conversations, the inevitable topic of discussion was brought to the forefront.
“I wish to be known for something more than a messenger after my end,” Saul sighed. “What will those who come after me, my relatives, what will the view as their path when it is realized that I only aspired to travel this far in life.”
“Why now do you thoughts travel in this direction? Why does this turmoil boil inside? For I too have asked the question necessary to arrive at the conclusion you have just voiced, yet I chose not to answer. Too, I have wondered about what is after me, what legacy I might be responsible for planting, yet I discovered the motive lies not in the end; the motive lies in having a vision realized. What is you vision?”
The venom in your idealistic notions of what we are here for is truly deceiving,” Saul said. “I will not stand for your unvoiced judgement, especially when you too admit to having the same thoughts as I. I haven’t set forth on a course of action; no choice of direction has been made, I merely ponder my current state and yet I’m to be judged in your eyes. I simply want to reflect on where I have gone since making the initial decision to begin this life.
“However,” James began, “the initiation of such a reflection allows other factors to creep in, tainting the vision of what progress has been made,” James said. Hesitant I have been, but I offer you now the question with which your intentions will be revealed. Let me first offer a premise, the foundation on which the question will be asked. You have found a means to fulfill an existence. Through work we accomplish and achieve this existence. Inherent in this existence lies a vision, or an anticipation of an end result.
“Yet if one’s personal character allows for variables to distract, intentions become a short-cut to have this vision realized. Your reflections stem from a need for this vision to equal you intentions, so I ask you what are your intentions?”
“It is no longer enough to stand unseen for something, a principle or what-have-you, that is also unseen. I wish for recognition, an outside justification of what it is that I stand for - an acceptance of what I stand for.”
“Thereby your intentions have been revealed,” James said rising to his feet. “Thereby you have been revealed.”
He pulled the collar of his jacket tight around his neck and continued his pace along the dimly lit empty street. An abundance of eye candy lay before James, so much to look at along the street inhabited by boutiques and storefront windows filled with displays designed to lure locals and wayward tourists who stumbled through this part of town.
A light mist fell which shrouded in his frantic remembrances of the past week. Peering through a window into a vacant store, the magnification power of a few droplets of water left clinging to the window astonished James; they provided. A new visage. Certain aspects of consumer goods and people which rested behind the storefront glass received an amplification, overwhelming to the scope of James’s concentration.
He stopped for a moment and tossed his head from side-to-side, then repeated the gesture, exaggerating the movements. Raising his arms above the head, James cast a glance to his left, drawn by something, not interest, or even curiosity, but from a rippling of instinct borne in his stomach.
Above him white letters stitched on a black awning read “Warm Winds For You Travel Center.” Below it, lurking behind the storefront window hues of green and red and yellow lent a cheerful atmosphere to an otherwise typical travel agency. At first sight most of the employees appeared inviting, wearing wide grins, devices no doubt, used to pitch exotic vacations to customers.
He imagined the conversations that took place between husbands and wives just before setting foot inside the door.
James looked back towards the street employees inside were skittering about and customers gleefully handed money over to these employees for trips.
Glancing down, a brochure in the storefront window caught James’ eye. A man and a woman were outstretched on a warm tropical beach. A drop of water covered their face, enlarging their smile ten-fold. Above their smiling faces were printed words: “Your friends will understand when you leave them behind.”
James’ looked up and smiled, recognizing the rain as it dropped harder from the sky, as he withdrew from his surroundings and muttered to himself.
“Your friends will understand when you leave them behind. Rest in peace Saul.”
At once an extreme vision filled the imposing screens above; a bombardment of light, bright and blinding set forth upon the eyes of those gathered below. Mesmerizing, the blast of light pulsated brilliantly before subsiding abruptly. As it did, a large gasp came forth as an entire breath left the collective lungs of the crowd. An instant later a playful melody descended from the loudspeakers arranged strategically throughout the room. After a couple of seconds, exciting colors formed on the screens, merging and combining into lines and circles and a myriad of shapes that spun wildly in time with the audio streaming forth; a cavalcade of sight and sound enveloping the congregation, inciting them to sway side-to-side in breathless awe. After several minutes the images grew more complex as they built to a crescendo and just as suddenly stopped, leaving nothing but blank screens to gaze at.
Before long an advertisement for toothpaste began to play, accompanied by a happy jingle which managed to elicit some laughter from the crowd. This was followed by a promotional announcement for Giles Ruderick, a local candidate for city council.
Once again, the colors returned to the screen, this time for only a span of thirty-seconds before they screamed together, forming a man and a woman. An audible click was heard over the speakers as the man spoke.
“It’s a breezy day outside but the clouds should be lifting before too long making for a nice day. I’m Franklin Miller with Janis Stevens and this is Carson City’s news for May 1.
Not a sound was created from the audience, enthralled by the image on the screen.
“Carson City’s mayor said he was opposed to any additional development on the city’s far west side. Plans to open an office park had been presented at Wednesday’s meeting of the city council. Construction would take place on an empty lot near Hadley’s Manufacturing.
“Mayor Arthur Jenson III voiced concern over the plan, stating the construction of additional buildings in the area ran the risk of bringing unregulated businesses to the city. ‘We cannot allow outside business entities to steal business from companies that have called Carson City home since their inception.’
“Mayor Jenson is expected to address the matter further at next week’s executive session of the city council. Janis…”
“Based on the results of last week’s resident vote, the Carson City Police Department will not pursue individuals responsible for the robbery at the 132nd Street Stop & Shop, which occurred last Thursday at approximately 1:30 a.m.
“After tallying the votes, residents felt the robbery did not merit the same amount of attention that the apparent double homicide in Stewakergt Park and the hit-and-run accident that caused a 15 car pileup does. Carson City residents felt 73 percent of the police department’s efforts this week should be focused on the bodies found in the park on the city’s northside, while 23 percent of the department’s resources should focus on finding the party or parties responsible for the accident. Four percent of city residents did not vote for any of the choices presented.
“In related news, new guidelines will take affect for the Carson City crimewatch/resident vote. We’ll have details a little later in the broadcast. Franklin…”
“Nationwide people are mourning the passing of one of entertainment’sJR2000great actors. Lou Viracelli, known for his roles in the ‘West of Hollywood’ film trilogy, passed away at his home in Burbank, California. Viracelli, who in the films played a hard-nose cop with a heart, was 67. Films & Flicks, our local video store, has told Carson City news that extra copies of Viracelli’s films have been ordered to meet the overwhelming demand to catch one of Hollywood’s beloved actors.
A file processing office which receives endless amounts of paper. A factory pumps out thought after thought after thought for people to absorb. There was a time when James had been bound to stack of inter-office memos that lay in a drawer in a filing cabinet. Glanced at for a mere five seconds, his fate being stuck until the periodic cleaning ended was almost more than he could bear.
|August 10, 2013
|spelling and grammar check
|August 10, 2013