Being alive is no small chore; I consider it to be hidden knowledge, and the whole purpose of existence. -Intellectual Shaman

The trail is my test. If I can run my miles, and feel a certain way, I know I’m alive.

I watch people on the trail. There’s a retired man who walks with his black and white dog. The man has black and white hair too. He’s retired from a job at Boeing. I can tell he’s an engineer, and he lives alone. There’s a girl who walks on the trail in expensive exercise clothes. She’s skinny and fit, but unhealthy. She is depressed by darkness. She has tattoos up and down her body, and she has been used so many times, there is nothing left. There’s a muscular lesbian who runs with her partner on the trail—she doesn’t seem very nice. There are Mormons who always smile at me, and want to talk. Sometimes I talk to them. I get a kick from being more spiritual than they are, though, it’s probably not true. I try to convert them, and now they try to convert me. We are unsuccessful, but now they’re following my blog.

I tell them, “I’m a poet.”

“Have you been published?”

“No. And whatever you do, don’t check out my blog, you’ll think I’m crazy.”

It works every time. They can’t stop reading, and they think I don’t know. If you want word of mouth to spread faster than wildfire, make friends with a religious cult—be scandalous too.

I always tell them, “Keep up the good work! You are saving lives!” And now all the Mormons in the greater Maple Valley area know me. I am the religious man who is almost Mormon, but not quite. The only woman I ever considered marrying was Mormon.

I kissed her and told her, “I am never going to become a Mormon.” And that was that.

Some of the Mormons accuse me of being an apostate, but I know one can’t win with everybody, even though I try.

My boss accused me of trying to be well-liked to become successful. I think her words were, “It takes more than being well-liked…”

I’ve thought about her words for a couple of years now. Amazing, the power of a simple statement. It’s not that people are a means to an end for me. It’s that, I enjoy people. I find them interesting, and there’s an end in that. If I am trying to get somewhere, I don’t have the time to be charming, and that’s always a shame because I’m a firm believer that it’s not what you do in life that matters, but how you do it. When people remember you, they won’t think of your past positions. Most won’t recall you at all, because you had no affect on them, no emotional mark. If you do leave a mark, it’s usually a brown streak, because you were an asshole.

I was half-way through my run, when I came across something new.

It was a limp noodle pushing a baby-stroller. He was talking to the stroller, placating the stroller, cowering in fact. It was the suburban male. I would’ve thought nothing of it— just chucking him up to a statistic, but then I heard the baby. Some demon deep mature voice was giving him orders.

“Push faster.”

“But your honor, I don’t have the strength.”

“Call me your majesty, damn it! You will find the strength, or I will make you sterile for the next 1000 days!”

He pushed faster. It’s amazing what the American male is afraid of; primarily, losing his manhood, though, it’s already been taken from him, in a myriad of ways… Men are so confused, that they actually think, if they make more money, it makes them more of a man. They start to notice women are more attracted to them, when they have money. Wouldn’t you be attracted to a bank that was giving out free cash? The American male makes me sick. He doesn’t realize, a man is a man, when he stops trying to be something else.

We were passing the woods, and I noticed yellow sulfurous gas bellowing out from the pine trees. I ran-up the hillside to check. There was an experimental hole drilled into the ground. It was reinforced with concrete, and stairs led into a pit with nine stories going down. Running stairs is something I like to do, so I went down. When I got to the ninth circle, it opened up into a chamber.

There were babies in incubators, like in a hospital. The devil was turning them, with his pitchfork. It conjured-up, sausages being rotated on a barbecue.

“Hello Devil!” I said.

“Hello, my son!”

“Oh, I’m not your son; I belong to God.”

“Umm, a believer, huh.”

“Sure am. Did you give that suburbanite a devil child?”

“I swapped his baby out for one of my descendants. My harem grows larger by the day, and like the Catholic Church, I don’t believe in birth control.” He was dressed in red pajamas, and it looked like he spent all day in bed.

“Would you like to meet my harem?” He asked.

“Sure!” I said.

“Bitches, come!” The most gorgeous women entered the cave.

“Now, I know you are following the man upstairs, but why not join me?”

“You mean, sleep with women, who slept with the devil?”

“What? Do you have spiritual qualms about that?”

“No; just that you’ve been around since the beginning of time, doing what you do. I have no desire for my nether regions to burn. Plus, you’re the devil. If I resist you, I will have resisted the strongest force in the universe, aside from God. So, what does that make me?

“Stronger than the devil,” the devil said.

“Exactly! And I care more about being strong than getting laid.”

“You are an uncommon man; go, and God be with you.”

“Thank you, Mr. Devil.” I ran up the steps, and I was more alive at that moment, than at any time in my life.

The End

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