I just found this paper on dialectics which is actually an invention of Marx and Engels. This piece is mostly an attack on capitalism which doesn't enthrall me but there are some very interesting insights into the yin-yang nature of systems.
I’m not going out there, Nate, he told me with a smile.
You have to, I said. No, I don’t have to do anything but make a decision and I’ve made it. You have to go, I told him, you promised me, Sean. I lied. He draped the ammo belt across the back of the chair and sat down at the table. What if I told you I lied to you too, that I have a gun? You would never lie to me, Nate, you’ve never told a lie as long as I’ve known you. Sean smiled again and closed his eyes, pulling his stocking cap from his bald head. The sweat suddenly flooded his features. They’ll come through the doors and the windows and the goddamned floor, Sean, they’ll destroy you before you ever know they’re here. You don’t think I know that? he told me. I know you know it and it’s driving me crazy! I’m soft, Nate, I’m old and soft; I wish I’d died in the desert. I couldn’t ignore the visions of Sean’s profile against the dark contrast of his rifle, the smell of the gunfire, the cammo, the blood, his red eyes and the soot and grease across his face, the wind, the sand, the heat, the vulgarity, the frustration, the tears. Nate, he said, I’m too old to go back to being a kid. But you’re too young to die, I told him and immediately regretted it. Are you fucking kidding me, Nate? I don’t mean it that way, Sean. Yes, you do, you fuck! Sean—. I’m too young to die? Sean! This is all I’ve ever known, you piece of shit! He lifted the rifle, removed the magazine and furiously thumbed out the cartridges one by one and they rolled across the uneven table and gathered around my feet. I’m a fucking killer! he screamed, and so are you godammit! I made a gentle attempt for his shoulder but he slapped my hand. What the fuck was I supposed to do, Nate? come back here and stab a fucking badge into my chest and spend my days shooting kids and niggers like you did? that’s what I was supposed to do? Sean—! Fuck you, I’m old and I’m soft and I can’t live this way anymore! This is crazy! Goddamright it’s crazy; it’s all fucking crazy so what’s the difference now? I couldn’t look at him. I stared down at the tips of the bullets in strange constellation on the floor, worthless now, worthless as the tiny shards of glass and wood splinters among them. I’m gonna leave now, I said, I’m gonna get in my car and go home; I can’t watch this happen. He was crying. I walked through the house stepping around the debris and opened the door. I think he told me he loved me before I closed it behind me but I’m not sure.
I always thought I’d go before you, Stephens spoke to the flat unassuming grave marker, bits of freshly cut grass sprinkled across its plaque.
His eyes blinked slowly under the jetlag. He could smell twenty-four hours of unwashed skin waft from under his collar as memories of his brother in Mexico—where they’d spent the most time together—stitched his thoughts like flashes from a blackout drunk. The time they met a registered nurse from Florida in a seaside saloon. She was drunk enough for Karl to convince her to remove twelve stitches from a recent knife wound in his chest, both of them taking a shot of tequila for every rigid thread plucked from his hairy pec. The time he fell from a hotel balcony and cratered the windshield on a diplomatic limousine. The time he took a bullet in the rain in an alley in an alcoholic stupor. The sponge they left in his gut struggled for twenty years to finally get him. Stephens laughed and shook his head. I thought for sure I’d be hit by a bus or a taxi, he spoke to the grave, I thought I’d get cancer again but nope; here we are, you down there, me up here. Children were playing somewhere down the hill outside the cemetery gate. Stephens closed his eyes and listened to their laughter echo among the stones until it was gone and he walked for an hour before he checked-in his hotel.
Chrysalis, a growing collection of very short fiction.
That Night Filled Mountain
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