29 September 2010

Excerpt from my short story in progress

He is devilishly handsome.

"Let us not be so remiss as to disregard the wisdom of the great Roman poet Horace," sermonizes the beautiful man, cheekbones carved by Michelangelo himself. "’For the sins of the fathers you, though guiltless, must suffer.’”

The stone cellar walls play stage to shadow gyrations, the soft staccatos of the torches conducting a ballet of illuminated shapes. His arms dance with bold sensation, every syllable pushing feeling. And the blackest darkness of the room, the limb long slender specters, performs a wicked tango upon the stone. Haunting. Sinful. Intoxicating. This fellow is charisma incarnate. And while the conductor of this hypnotizing production may be the flame, one has to ask who, or what, it may be that conducts the fire.

His listeners, a congregation of stiff black-cloaked figures, watch each and every move of those godly cheekbones as they, in a mutual endeavor, serve as the gatekeepers of his rhetoric, opening and closing his majestic jaw and unleashing the message, its meaning less important than the manner of its reveal. He could ask the men to climb to the highest tower of Heidelberger Schloss and emulate the ravens. They would oblige. Anything Herr Schwarzenherz requests, Herr Schwarzenherz sees done. This is what makes my employer fearful.

Horace could not be more correct if he were a book of balanced equations. Our German state is in crisis following the Great War, a war built upon the idiocies of our parents and all the other patriarchs of Europe. And with defeat, we who are left must suffer. The Weimar Republic is weak, the Communists are leading massacres in die Ruhrgebiet to the north, and there are dangerous men like Schwarzenherz, who always seem to come out of the woodwork when weak and defeated men need a crazed maniac to follow.
I am personally relieved the war is all done. Even in crisis there is still always hope for a safe tomorrow. The suffering now is nowhere near the suffering of a few years past, when black smoke and bombs blanketed the entirety of eye’s vision. Charred grass. Forever gray sky. At the very least, there is color now. And perhaps the war was inevitable and we were destined to lose. At least it is done. I have seen a lot of regrettable things. I have done a lot more. At least it is done.

I am not paid to think. It is a dreadful habit of mine.

Copyright 2010 - Robert M. Montenegro

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