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Childish Charlie

Posted 29 September 2007, 2.41 pm by shaggy

"I can't do this again, Charles," said Jasmin, a member of New York's finest for the last three years of her life, two of which were almost constant contact with the infamous Childish Charlie.

At first, Charlie was a bit of a joke. Often seen on Jasmin's route wandering with a wooden stick he called Excalibur. He got into a few scrapes, mostly without any injury. But, after awhile, as all things do, it started to escalate into a problem. Charles started showing up on the streets with nothing but pajamas and a bowler's hat, and his infamous Excalibur. And he would do more than sprout esoteric lines-- Jasmin considered herself well-read, but she couldn't recognize what sounded at least to be literary quotations.

Charlie began to "fight for the independence" of a damsel, tourist, or sometimes just the city itself, citing 'decency' as his motivation.

"I know, J."

She didn't know when he had started calling her that, but she didn't feel offended. Like some of her other 'clients', Jasmine had actually grown fond and even protective of him. Even if he broke the law, didn't mean he wasn't at least likable.

"Then why? Why do you have to make my life harder than it has to be?"

She had just de-escalated a very sticky situation. Charles had seen three men beating a woman and decided he couldn't mind his own business. Luckily, someone had already called it in, and Jasmin got there in time to see Charlie riding a dirty mop, wielding Excalibur and shouting "to the ends! To the ends!" She managed to corner him before anyone gave him any attention, convincing him to stay put while she mopped up the mess he was about to ride into.

"I apologize, fair lady," he said after she came back in the pretense of interviewing witnesses.

"Why do you have to do that? " She wasn't sure why 'fair-lady' had offended her, but it did. "I know you can talk normal. I've even been to one of your lectures."

Shit. She didn't mean to say that-- to admit that, when she saw the poster for Charlie's newest lecture at the local college, on the effects of postmodern theory on current literature and film, she hadn't quite believed it could be the same man.

"With modernism, a movement made most famous by the poet T. S. Eliot, meaning and message were difficult yet attainable. With his friend, Ezra Pound, the proverbial shit really hit the fan."

This from a man who believed a mop could be a method of transportation.

"And what did you think," he said to Jasmine. "Does postmodernism have a chance at regaining meaning and purpose?"

"Do you really think I have time?" He answered with silence. "Look, just stay out of trouble, would you?"

"How is the girl?"

"The thugs did her in pretty good, but not only with their fists. She wants to get back to them as soon as possible, or at least that's what she said as she was being put into the ambulance. But the hospital is going to do some good, try to clean her up a bit even if only for tonight."

"Am I done here officer?" She nodded, and he picked up Excalibur. "Then I must return to my castle lest the Queen's suitors storm the gates."

She smiled in spite of everything.

DAY 576:
I've tried to make the appropriate adjustments. I sincerely tried to walk away, ignore the woman's screams... take my medication, be a good boy. But I couldn't help but think, what if someone had rushed in beyond what makes sense, beyond self-preservation, when they cornered her? What would have happened if someone...

Why didn't I mention Barthes? Literary madman that he is!

... maybe things would be different...

Or perhaps Foucault, not a literary pioneer but certainly had enough to say on authorship.

... different... I often wonder what things would be like if one could re-write the events of their life... if a moment could be but the rehearsal or the first take. If the Director is God, does He do a one-night show only, or will there be another season?

God I miss them... I had a dream that I was there the night they were attacked. The thugs saw them, my wife... my children... walking home, trying to mind their own business. But instead of just... being at the wrong time and the wrong place, I was there with them... I was their Heathcliff, storming through the glass, storming through violently just to prove my love, protecting them... I was their Rochester, awaiting their development and growth with avid anticipation. I was their Odysseus...

... but then I wake up, and am no Odysseus. And they are but ghosts that linger, taunting me. They are ghosts that are only in my mind, for, I fear, if any true ghost remains, they would not want me to suffer as I do.

I think I will go for a walk...

Excalibur was to King Arthur the emblem of salvation-- forced, penetrating. Nothing that he loved, as he held it, would fall.

But even Arthur's grip wasn't perfect...

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