art, COVID19, fiction, horror, leadership, life, pandemic, politics, sociopath, story, truth, USA, writing
A gentle knock upon my door,
Merely this and nothing more.
The man looks vaguely familiar — or even kin.
I don’t care much though for his thin-lipped grin.
“Hello” he states in a warm friendly brogue.
“Hello” I hollowly repeat. He looks like a rogue.
A longish pause between us billows.
Like upside down H-Bomb pillows.
“May I help you?” I ask polite as I should.
“Do you not recognize me, Mr. Ironwood?”
I must admit, he looks familiar yet…
I do not know…perhaps…I do forget.
“No, I do not think I have made your acquaintance at all.”
Feeling all the while that I am being overly formal.
“Henry Holmes. Pleased to meet you in person, at last.”
Here he sticks out a fatty sausage-fingered hand to clasp.
“Very funny. Where did you find my manuscript, my story?”
“I didn’t find it. It found you. And, now, you’re lost. So sorry.”
“Uh-huh. Well, I don’t know what kind of joke this is, but…”
“No joke, I’m afraid that you’re written out of the action.”
“Well, excuse me, but I think you’re confused. I wrote the play.”
“Well, excuse me, but I think you are the one confused. I wrote the play.”
“Nonsense. I am the playwright. You are a player…or more precisely, villain…”
“You are suffering from delusions of grandeur. I wrote the play; it’s full of killin'”
“Whoa. Henry. Wait. You are not Henry a person. He’s a role in my play.”
“Very funny. But the bottom line is this: the editor has cut you out today.”
“Ha-hah. Why am I even talking to you? It’s ridiculous. Who are you?”
“I am Henry Holmes, playwright. And, here I bid you ‘adieu’ …”
“Things change, Mr. Ironwood. Things change. You’ve been switched over to a parallel universe where cruel clowns are put in charge. You know the kind of clown I mean. Like the one in Stephen King’s IT. Only instead of the people of the town recognizing the evil, that the clown embodies, a third are worshipping the clown.”
“There’s no such place! What are you … that was also fiction. No-one in the real world would put an evil clown in charge of a whole town!”
“A town? Oh, my. You are in for a surprise. It isn’t just a town. He’s the leader of the free world!”
“Nonsense! No parallel universe would be twisted enough … it couldn’t survive long … with a cruel clown at the helm!”
“Who said anything about it lasting a long time? Of course it won’t. But anyway, that’s the world where your new role is. They’re filming right now. Better get your butt over there or you’ll be written out of that script too!”
“Who writes these scripts? Shonda? Where are you going? I didn’t invite you into my trailer!”
“Oh, Peter, you are too much! It’s my trailer now. See, I brought the name plate.”
“Henry Holmes. Well, that doesn’t prove anything.”
Peter watched as Henry walked up the stairs inserted a key and unlocked the door. He nearly closed it but stuck his head out to say, “Ta ta! Lot B over at Universal. Tell them Henry sent you.” He cocked his head sideways in a Henry Gibson impersonation and flashed a wide toothy grin much like that of a psychotic circus clown.
Then, he was gone.
The trailer was gone.
Warner Brothers was gone.
Universal was gone.
LA County was gone.
USA was gone.
Earth was gone.
It didn’t explode.
It didn’t erode.
It crumbled to bits.
Without any plans, without any wits.
It fell apart at the seams,
Like shattered dark dreams.
Like a mask full of holes,
Or a lawn full of moles,
A land without souls,
Filled with A-holes.
And then there were none.
All were lost.
Not a world where we want to be:
Where Henry Holmes
Is free and roams
And rules and checks and slays.
You’d like it better in one of my plays.
Where criminals lose and end up in jail.
Clowns may try but they all fail.
Responsible leaders rule with compassion
And no-one falls for a Fascist fashion.
In that world, it’s true that death may come.
But not of sickly embracing what’s dumber than dumb.
Not of enslaving oneself to the yoke,
Not of repeating the words of a joke.
Eschew the fascist fantasy,
And see what leadership can really be.
The link below is a work of “pure fiction” however — the protagonists (one of which is Henry Holmes) and their “back stories” are true. The story linked below, however, takes place in a nearby but parallel universe.
Tales that Explore Real Leadership
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