Monday, September 22, 2008


The lights and sounds of the night’s endeavors gave a rather poignant introduction to San Diego. Not wanting to be a part of the crime scene along with the fact that they had nothing evidence-related to offer anyway, they decided to hit the road on foot. Only Casey had been to San Diego before, but she had little to offer in the way of directions. Thankfully, the bus had a port, allowing Mali to charge her “phone of infinite wonders” as Gordon referred to it. After an unsuccessful attempt to download a digital bible into the sleek piece of machinery, Parker took the lead, likening himself to Moses, though the more obvious reason was to give distance to a very angry Thai girl. Joe made it a point to absorb all he could of his surroundings. He wanted to assimilate every aspect of every place he saw. You never know when a view may inspire a concept, a character, a plot device, hell a story, he thought, not realizing his own grin. Gordon simply strolled along, his gait resembling that of the cowboys of old, as if at a given moment he would be involved in a shoot-out.

“It’s weird thinking about the native Americans who lived here before us. Some tribes went thousands of years without once thinking about the idea of ownership.” Casey’s words perked everyone’s ears except Gordon’s, who was still lost in his own Western fantasy. “I mean really, the rest of the world couldn’t go a generation without labels, it really makes you wonder about the human condition. Was it because they simply believed that everything belonged to everyone and left it at that, or because the notion of property simply did not exist? Maybe they liked the nomadic lifestyle; it certainly would have made for an exciting childhood, that’s for sure. Maybe it’s the simple fact that the opposite must exist somewhere; a balance of sorts. I’m sure Mali could educate you folks on the nature of yin and yang. I’m not saying that because you’re Asian, I’m sayin that because you have yet to put your damn phone down and I’m willing to bet you have a folder filled with bookmarks on Taoism.” Casey hadn’t said that because she understood Mali, she spoke with confidence because she had gone through her phone while she was sleeping.

The night sky was beginning to fill, the sun streaming swathes of orange across the horizon in one last futile effort to cling to the day, knowing time was not on its side. “I believe it is time for some to divulge a deeply personal fact, those are the rules, yes?” Mali’s words were soft like a precocious child, ready to break into song. Everyone stopped, staring at one another curious as to who will step forward. Finally, Parker stepped forward, breathing in deeply, as if he were getting ready for a speech.

“I’m not a virgin.”

“……….What? No fuckin way. So who was the nice bloke who offered a little how’s your father?” Parker was unamused by Gordon’s jest, but instead of getting angry, he simply replied;

“It’s okay though, we love each other and we’ll be together forever and ever. I prayed a lot about it and God was okay with it.”

“Seriously? Bog himself just up and went, go on now ya scamp, give her what for.”

“Gordon, could you please not speak of our love in such a vulgar manner.

The truth is, before I had met Margot, I was addicted to pornography. Crazy, I know and before I get your commentary, just let me finish. I didn’t hold a lot of value to God for a time. It’s not that I was against God or anything silly like that, I just didn’t really put in any real thought or effort into the idea. Then, like Paul the zealot, I was knocked off my horse.

Even after Margot and I started talking I couldn’t stop. It became a habit. Whenever my parents weren’t home, whenever I had time between classes…I did. Looking back, I feel like I separated myself from the act, like there was a moment of detachment, a divide between who I was in that moment and who I was outside of it. I always had the same emotion afterward, but I couldn’t communicate what it was.

One evening Margot was coming over to study. After I hung up the phone with her, I got the urge. I had to and I thought I had enough time to do so, but while I was in the middle of it, Margot walked in. She had come over early to get a head start and in my panic to get my pants up and turn the computer off, I tripped and smashed my head on my desk, knocking myself unconscious. I awoke to find her staring down at me smiling that wonderful smile while running her fingers through my hair. My pants had been pulled up neatly, buckled and buttoned, and an icepack sat on my head, help in place by her other hand. At that moment I knew what I had always felt; shame. I asked her why she had taken care of me, why she did those things for me knowing what I was doing. Her smile cut through my confusion and her words rang in my head like the harps of angels. She said that’s what Jesus would have done. I knew what I had to do in my life and since then I’ve had Jesus in my life.

I know you guys snicker at my zealotry and how much I love to talk about Jesus, but the truth is I just want you guys to be as happy as I am. I wake up every morning happy that God’s smiling down at me and since he’s the one true God, I think he’ll smile on you guys too.

For the first time in his life, Gordon was speechless. The number of times the group had stood dumbfounded had been numerous already in the infancy of the trip, but that moment had been by far the most striking, aside from the gunfire. The first to act was Mali, who smiled and hugged Parker. Casey grinned, allowing Mali to act as a surrogate, communicating the same sentiment. Joe pondered Mali’s reaction for a moment, then it came to him; that speech must have been hard for Parker and even though he had said some pretty naive thing, he meant well and really, that’s all that mattered.

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