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Sunday, September 13, 2015

Thirteen Is the Magic Number (He Is not a Dangerous Man)



1 He knows that there are exactly thirteen stairs down to the lower level of the house. Six- then the landing (where he takes 3 small steps to turn around) then seven more down to the bottom. He can walk them in the dark. He has, in fact, done so. He’s taught himself to walk them with his eyes closed. And every time he takes those thirteen stairs (with his eyes closed) he thinks about the number thirteen.  Thirteen is the magic number.

2 Thirteen assassinations.  Count them up: 1) Jesus of Nazareth 2) Óscar Arnulfo Romero 3) Jesse James 4) Abraham Lincoln 5)REDACTED- 6) Gaius Julius Caesar 7) Huey “Kingfish” Long 8) John F. Kennedy 9)REDACTED- 10) Robert Kennedy 11) The Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. 12) Malcom X and 13) Ernesto “Che” Guevara. 

3 He is not a dangerous man. You must keep repeating that. Say it over and over again, a mantra of goodwill. He is not a dangerous man. He is not a danger to himself or to others – no matter what they are saying of him. The official story is a lie. The party line is silence. And… who was that? Who is that following him? I’ve seen people sneaking around, following him (always thirteen paces behind him).

4 One thousand points of light, right? But you’re taking it all out of context. Don’t change the subject. He was the director of the C-freaking-IA for crying out loud. I couldn’t draw the power lines any straighter if I had ruler. Don’t change the subject. He is not a dangerous man.

5 He hides downstairs, where it is cool and dark. Quiet. There are people outside. There are people in the office, in the street, on the sidewalk. There are people everywhere – even when the phone does not ring. And he rather not talk to them. Mostly he wishes he could, but the silence both wounds and comforts him and he does not understand that duality.

6 So he hides downstairs, reading books, where it is cool and dark. Quiet. He reads tales told by idiots and histories that could not have been. All the while, he is listening for the whispers. And then, when he hears them, he runs. He runs out into the streets.

7 Thirteen ghosts (of thirteen victims). Thirteen films. Thirteen Email addresses. Thirteen passwords that he’s forgotten.

8 Keep calm and evacuate the building in an order fashion. Out the back door, into the alleyway where… no- no. Not the alley. To the streets, quickly. But he is not a dangerous man. The sunlight is too bright, hurts his eyes. And eyes are everywhere. Is that the phone ringing? He must get off the streets – into a place of refuge, solace. The public library. He remembers the card catalogue as a holy object, a sacred stone. Outside is the sound of car crashes and police sirens. Inside, all is calm. He sits in the back where he can see and not be seen.

9 He is not confused. And he is not dangerous, goddammit. He is not a dangerous man. Across the street is the criminal courts building. He watches a line of unmarked surveillance vans pull up and park. They are listening for him, but the library is quiet. He finds the nearest exit and is gone before they notice.

10 Out the door, around the back, into the park. He is not, I repeat, not a dangerous man. They want to make him into something he is not, change him, break him, control him. They want a vegetative state. They want obsequious mind control. He darts behind the bushes, down into the ravine. His house is invaded, the library surrounded. There is only one place he can go – way down in the belly of a wheel within a wheel way up in the middle of the air. Run to the rock. Run to the river. Run to the sea.

11 Thirteen coded messages. Thirteen aluminum prophets. And they worked great miracles, even to calling down fire from heaven upon him while people watched. Always watching. That’s why he hides. He knows the number of the Death card in the Tarot deck.

12 He is not a dangerous man. The questions he asks are difficult, yes, but not dangerous… If he provokes it is not to dissent. If he dissents it is not to disdain. He is not a danger to be feared or a threat to be neutralized. This is the last paragraph, the final message.  Bad luck wind blows at his back, but even if it seems that he brings trouble, he is not dangerous.  Maybe someone will eventually believe it. He is not dangerous.  

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