The Gallery of Heroes

He stood in the unbearable heat of the hellish darkness and answered the withered man’s question—“Jerry, wasn’t it?”— with a bitter mouth: “No.”

The gnome of a man turned back to his heavy desk and buried his face in its dusty tome as the lone candleflame wrothe shadows aurasome around the hairy reaches of  a balding scalp precariously dusted with thin powdering drifting to snow on the dun rough of his smock. A wrinkled crookfinger upraisingly trembled.

“Aha!” he twinkled fingersomely, jagged nails tracing a chord in the wan light to stir the bloated dust motes that swam like torpid bumblebees in the thick air. His  leathery face fissured into a creaky smile that resembled a rotten red chrysanthemum. “The man with the big guns, Excalibur-like, lost his horn?”

His face fell as he peered past pitted and cracked ancient  mahogany paneling at non-existent holsters and invisible gunmetal. “I don’t expect you have a sword stashed somewhere on your person?”

“I’m naked, asshole.”

The guffaws that issued over the sheafs of bound hide clattersmelt like rotten chrysanthemums, if such flowers smelt of dredged bogcorpses. When gravity slowly descended upon his geriatric mirth and the folds of his face, his expression, robbed by entropy, trembled into its usual position and yellowmaw teeth soberly chopped three simple syllables: “You’re new.”

“You’re telling me. What the fuck am I doing here?”

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3 responses to “The Gallery of Heroes

  1. Somehow your descriptions of the old man sound so solemn in the beginning, then the whole thing just degenerates…into something good.

    “geriatric mirth” haHA, I love it!

  2. Sam, I took a look at your blog site. Nice. From what I can see you do have a knack for words. You write well. And I admire that. It sounds as if we both owe a lot to Joyce. I know I have invested a lot in him. I’m always inspired by his use of language. By his freedom. There wasn’t anything he wasn’t willing to try. And to finish what he started out to do with FINNEGANS WAKE. He attempted the impossible and succeeded. And as disabled as he was. With his loss eyesight. His pain. As a victim of quackery. And with the family problems he had. Through a war. How much have you delved into FINNEGANS WAKE? Have you read it all the way through. I always ask that question because I have tried several times and fail. Yet I think the book has influenced me more than any other book has. Goodness.

    Thank you for your encouragement and the personal note. I never know what people are getting from my writing. Therefore I appreciate your comments. And I would like to meet you someday. Perhaps on Bloomsday. Do I have that right: Bloomsday? My brain doesn’t always pin things down the way I think it should. Randy Ford

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