I often witnessed two human males, bound by circumstance, sitting together on an old wooden rocking chair. An heirloom from a bygone era when men and women worked with their hands to create things.
Back then, according to historical accounts, people believed that what was good for the goose was good for the gander. Forgetting that murder, hate and lies have always surged through humanity, people believed that a peaceful world could exist if they tried. So they tried by creating a little love with everything they did. This was a world of dreams.
One particular family held onto those dreams a little longer than the rest of history. This family had greater hopes for humanity than any normal person would see as sane. They lived together in a small suburban house, with a garden in the backyard and a greenhouse where the attic should have been. Everything they ate and wore was handmade. Yet, if you’d walked by their house on 4th, you’d likely think as I did, “Why don’t these people make something of themselves?”
According to the father, their state of existence showed that they still dreamt of a world where they could be themselves. In this world they’d not be persecuted for their disbelief in money. For that’s what these things are always about. I’d venture to say that at the core of most oppression is money.
I was rich once. It was pleasant.
The two males in the rocking chair were father and son. The father looked at his son dreaming of unconditional love, which is fairly crazy. I’m not sure I can unconditionally like anything, never mind love it. I’m not a mentally defective fanboy or something. Fanboys and fangirls being the only people who publicly declare unconditional love these days. Except of course for the adult version of the boy in the rocking chair, who’s about to be arrested for trying to torch City Hall. He was misguided by a dream. It’s a shame, for I’ve met so few dreamers.
It’s not his fault though, dreaming is in his blood.
From birth until kindergarten his father, my brother, would rock him in that chair every night before bed. He felt it reduced nightmares about the world. In these tender moments, the father would talk of peace and love, which as you are aware, have long since died in the hellish fires of commerce and politics.
I made plenty back in those days, when killing such ideas was profitable. Now people think ideas like peace and love are so ridiculous that I can’t make a buck off debunking them anymore. My ideas became too ubiquitous for my own good.
Anyway, each night right before the boy reached that temporary state when dreams seem real, the father mumbled the words to John Lennon’s “Working Class Hero,” then kiss his son softly on the forehead and tummy.
The police approach the gruff adult version of the boy. He had ran and ran and ran. But is now about to be caught.
He receives his first blow yelping, “The pain is so big, I feel nothing at all.” The police pause, giving me a look.
“Yes,” I softly respond.
I blame the boy’s father for all my financial gains. Without him I’d not have been so well acquainted with dreamers. Despite not selling a book or video in years, I’ve had a good pile of cash to live comfortably on for most of my adult life. However, I blame his son for my financial losses, because he was not able to inspire his peers to feel as he does. Had he been able to, I’d have something to rail against. The true fault lies with my investment banker, of course. Nowadays it’s just money trying to trump money all the time. Dreams are just too easy to kill.
“There is a deep madness in his blood,” I tell the captain of the police. She’s smiling, feeling proud having apprehended a wanted arsonist. “His family consists of a long line of rapists, murders and thieves, all completely mad. They do whatever they can to spread their odd beliefs. His grandfather was even the mayor of a small town in rural Ontario. You won’t find it anymore though. The madness caused him to bleach the water so that he could end racism. He ended racism in that town alright. He ended anything that drank from that water. Including himself.”
Half listening, the captain nods. Nobody, other than the boy and I, understands how the totality of family history is clashing. He makes no mention of it, opting to sing more Lennon. We’d both been bred as either sinners or saints. The rare times when our family has a reunion there is always widespread disagreement over which side of the family is which.
Had my brother not diluted him so deeply, I could have let him in on a secret I intimately know — that money is the purest expression of love. Like all great men, my only wish is to be resourceful enough to love the whole world. Unfortunately, there are too many suitors.
The beating continues.
“You’re still fucking peasants as far as I can see,” The boy screams, looking right at me.
“Lennon is dead,” I holler back. Suddenly he ends his struggle. They drag him away. My words were a fatal blow.
When he was 16, his family lost what little they had, because I finally convinced them that, with the little capital they could muster from their home, they could do so much for the children they loved. Could put them through college and so on. A few years later, as these things go, they lost almost everything. And sold what little remained.
It was then I bought that chair off them for $15. Each night before I sleep, I rock myself back and forth for an hour or so.
I killed John Lennon, and now I’m killing his son. I’m smiling.