I Be Crawler
“Dominos. That is how I felt my life was like. As the money from my wages became harder to live on so was trying keep up on my medical insurance. Slowly, I couldn’t keep up on my medicines and became more manic. Slowly feeling alienated I gave up. Yeah, I gave up. You have a problem with that? Surely, you need not hear the preface to my woes.
Half in and half out of reality, I started entertaining for money in the common near the business district in the city where I lived. In my beaten up clothing; clothing once pressed and that had sat in on important meetings at work were now reduced to the mirror image of what once they once were. As a mirror image I too became of what I was once.
Twirling my arms around smiling and trying to give reason to nonsensical words, is when I first spotted him. The blurred smiling faces and voices of the crowd seemed to give way to the young man with the huge wavy crop of black hair. I felt as if I was being sucked into his presence. Several coins that bounced off my face broke this strange gravitating pull toward his aura. Picking up the quarters and dimes that I stuffed down my pockets, I turned to where the young man had been standing. I slowly saw the top of his wavy black hair retreating away; perhaps off to college.
I turned back to crowd thanking them in comic stance as I began to cough uncontrollably. Staggering over to a bench where a couple of men in expensive suites sat; I fell down against the green painted seat. The two businessmen looked at me. And after looking at each other, stood up and left. It took me several minutes to stop the hacking cough. I looked up at the blue sly; the portion I could see past the towering buildings.
Frustrated by my condition, I slowly returned to my feet and with the some change in my pockets went to get a hot coffee.
When evening fell coldly over me, I found cover in an alley. Outside of the alley were the colorful neon lights that blazed brightly. And there were the people who began their nocturnal dealings. I saw a figure walk by. The figure, just an outline stopped and turned my way. There seemed something strangely familiar about it. I tried to figure what it was. As I tried to work tired brain cells, the figure with each blinking of the eye came closer. “Take this bag,” spoke the voice with a friendliness and a hint of command. “It has a few fresh donuts and a bottle of juice.”
As I looked at the outline, I had that strange feeling that penetrated my being earlier in the day when I spotted that young man. Before I could say another word he left. “Whatcha got there?” said one of my fellow alley drawlers who slowly emerged from a tired old cardboard box that once held a new washer machine.
“Just a couple of donuts,” I replied as I handed him one.
The next few days I did little of entertaining the citizenry. I was folded in on myself with the spikes of depression and confusion. When, ha-ha, normality came to my tormented mind I returned to the streets. A favorite place at times I frequented, and was allowed to enter; for the proprietor knew I would never cause a problem, was an art gallery. I feasted my weary eyes on fine and not so fine artwork.
I next went into a large white wall room with a high polished brown wooden floor; studying a group of sculptures in the style of the Greco Roman period when I felt a presence behind me. Turning, I saw it was him.
“I thought I saw you enter here,” said the young man with the black wavy hair. He stepped forward I stepped back. “Don’t be afraid.” I couldn’t tell if I was afraid or not. I just wanted to hide. The young man who was dressed in a gray sweat jacket and denim jeans stared intently at me with his dark eyes. I was about to leave when he spoke in a firm voice, “Stop.”
The proprietor walked in at that moment giving the young man a favorable glance and me a disgruntled stare. “Is there a problem?”
“No,” replied the young man. “I was interested in what my friend thought about the sculptures.”
I gave out a nervous laugh followed by a cough. I was taken back a bit. He was interested in what I thought. And called me a friend.
Feeling satisfied, the proprietor left the room. “Now don’t run off like a tiny timid mouse,” spoke the young man coming closer to me.
“Funny, I never thought of myself as a timid little mouse ready to run off,” I replied giving out another nervous laugh and sweating a bit.
“Oh, I think you kind of are. But don’t worry, I’m not a cat ready to pounce on you and devour you.” Putting a hand on my shoulder that seemed to weigh me to the very spot I stood on, “Join me for breakfast---yes?“
“I guess.” Strange and maybe this was the workings of my jumbled mind part of me wanted to throw myself at his feet. Another part kind of thought of him as a giant. As we were leaving the Gallery, I asked, “What is your name?”
“Barry. And yours?”
Barry took me to a diner. As Barry walked in front of me, with a rather relaxed and self-assured stride, I started to feel rather mousy. “Now don’t run off my timid mouse.”
Cocking my head in a questioning position I responded, “Ah, I won’t Barry.”
People stared up at us from their booths. Mainly me. They probably wondered what a proud figure like Barry was doing with a dirty, homeless man like me.
“Order anything you want.” Not wanting to press upon Barry’s generosity and if he was a college student, I knew money could be very dear. I ordered light. “No, you can order more,” said Barry looking over the menu. “Lets order number two breakfast.”
I almost wanted to jump out of my seat when Barry looked upon me. His eyes were so very dark. And they seemed to penetrate me. “So tell me about yourself Patrick.”
Coughing out a nervous laugh I told him a little bit about myself. My past job. Little bit of my problems.
Barry’s eyes seemed, as incredible as it was to become even darker. “Why are you here? I mean you strike me as intelligent and well read.”
“I ask myself that all the time Barry. I tried. When I couldn’t afford my medicine anymore everything seemed to crumble and there was something else.”
“Kind of weird I guess.”
“Just tell me Patrick.”
“Maybe its part of emotional condition but I never felt, well, part of this earth. I never though of myself as an alien, nothing like that Barry. Just somehow this wasn’t it,” I told him giving out another nervous laugh.
Barry leaned over to me, “Listen carefully Patrick. Mankind is not alone on this speck traveling through space. There are other travelers. Other realms.” As I listened, I saw a strange landscape. And people if you could call them that. More like living coils or the way tooth paste looks after you squeeze it out. And covering these strange huge forms was a mass. A living squirming mass. A mass of people---humans. Other landscapes were more pleasant to the eyes. Huge vegetation amidst dwellings that reminded me of the wild brush strokes of Modernist painter Salvador Dali.
I back away. ”What’s wrong?” asked Barry
“I think I’m having a psychotic spell.”
The food luckily came. I felt so embarrassed. I started to sweat. I wondered what the poor guy thought. Yet, I still felt I was in the presence of a great power. And I wanted to again throw myself at his feet. “Just relax Patrick and eat.”
After we ate a waitress came over to our booth. “We are getting complaints from our other patrons.”
“Complaints?” asked Barry.
“Well, its your friend, he’s giving off----rather an offensive odor that is bothering the others.”
Standing up I told Barry, “Thanks for the meal. I really liked talking with you. I, I got to go.” Starting to break into tears, “Thanks for treating me as a person.” Looking around at everyone I hollowed, “AND I AM A PERSON!”
I left the diner.
After that I didn’t see Barry. Though he did seem to haunt my dreams. I didn’t make efforts to spot him. For he had his own life.
One day, entertaining a group of citizens, I began coughing. The more I coughed, the more excited the crowds became. Many threw coins and dollar bills at me. Soon blood was pouring out of my mouth. “Cool,” said a group of teens holding on to their skateboards. “Maybe he is going to croak.”
I collapsed onto the cold pavement. I felt a few people nudge me with their feet. Just stretched out on my side on the cement, I watched all the different types of shoes and sneakers walk by. Eventually, I heard the sound of an ambulance. I felt several hands moving me about. Propping me up and sliding me into the back of the ambulance.
I was put into the local hospital in a large ward. The day before I was going to be discharged, a young intern, I guess that’s what he was, came over to my bed. He spread the curtains around my bed so we could have privacy. Taking off his medical cap, I saw a rising of black hair. “Barry? You work here?”
“No, but I have to work fast.”
“I don’t understand.”
Barry looked intently at me, “I’m going to take you to a beautiful place. Where you can be with me forever and ever. You will be one of my own.”
“With you forever?”
Smiling, Barry responded, “Yes, with me. A prized possession. No longer a stray---mouse at the mercy of prowling cats. It will be beautiful.”
Tears streamed down my cheeks. Not tears of pain or sadness; one of beautiful acceptance. “And it will be forever?”
“Yes,” said Barry whose eyes began to shimmer with a light.
I felt strange all over. My sight became blurred. I had a sensation of many huge, warm objects wrapping around me. I was put in a room or more correctly, a sack of some sort. It was warm and dark. In this strange warm darkness, I thought of what Barry had told me, “About being taken to a beautiful place with him.”
As my mind cleared, I still found myself in this warm, darkness. I at times was jostled about. When the jostling ended light poured forth down upon me. I felt in ecstasy. Blocking out some of the rays of light were these huge tree width objects. I was confused and a bit scared. At the end of these huge thick objects, where shiny pinkish colored plates. My eyes more adjusted to the light; these huge approaching objects seemed to my mind to be fingers. I was wrapped in several with ease. I began to calm down again when thinking about Barry.
With my arms over these immense fingers, I was lifted out into the light. I felt myself elevated up. “Oh sweet God!” I shouted with joy as I continued my ascent. I soon to my disbelief, stopped across from a face of gigantic proportions. The huge, five foot round dark eye that stared at me I knew had to be that of Barry. And crazy as it seems, I wasn’t afraid.
“Welcome my new arrival,” spoke a deep, rumbling voice that caused my body to vibrate.
I heard coming from above the giant eye another voice. “Yes, welcome to the Crawlers Patrick.”
“Ha-ha,” chuckled the deep voice. “My special friend Adam welcomes you too.”
With my hands on the sides of the warm, immense fingers, “I’m yours now. To be taken to a beautiful place?”
“Yes, Patrick my new Crawler.” A huge finger tip slowly touched the top of my head and traveled down the top portion of my back that stuck out of his fist.
“I am yours aren’t I?”
“Yes, and now let me introduce you to paradise and the other Crawlers.” I saw I was approaching a gigantic table. On it was a large Plexiglas dome. I could see inside vegetation, the tops of what appeared to be huts and buildings. Their was even a waterfall.
The giant hand descended through an opening that the other giant hand had opened. As I descended, groups of people came out from among the lush landscape waving and shouting praises up to Barry.
The huge fingers uncoiled from around me. I stepped out among many different types of people. A tall man wearing a kind of tiara stepped forward. On the front of the tiara was a molded image of Barry. The tall man was dressed in purple and red robes. He held a large mahogany cane in his right hand. “As the High Priest of the Crawlers, I welcome you new arrival.”
Behind me I felt the descending a huge object, I turned around. It was Barry’s hand slanted in an angle that sported his index finger. The High Priest sent a gentle hand toward the adult tree width finger. “Your savior Barry.” Looking at the High Priest as I made my way for the finger, I figured what I was suppose to do. I went up and kissed again Barry’s finger. After I was moved off to the side by the High Crawler Priest, others gave their respects.
When the hand returned to the sky above I was sad. I stretched my arms out to the colossal form of Barry. “My new possession, I will always be with you. And tonight we will welcome you,“ spoke Barry’s greatly amplified voice.
The High Crawler Priest put his hands on my shoulders, “Come my new arrival let me take you to your new home.”
I was lead through a beautiful garden trail that was lined with many giant flowers that gave off a beautiful fragrance. Coming out of the trail, I was brought before many huts. A Crawler came up to me, “Welcome, let take you to your dwelling where you shall sleep.” I was taken to a small hut. Inside the stucco looking structure, I saw a bed, several pieces of furniture A few of the pieces looked as if they could be store bought miniatures. Others appeared hand made. Near the table which was made from a wooden string spindle, was a pile of gifts for me. This included giant pieces of candy. Hand made items. A welcome aboard card.
I stepped back out, for later I could examine my new home. Several Crawlers lead me to the waterfall where a group was frolicking about.
I was given a tour of the Crawlers land and village. As I walked, I was given fresh fruit that the Crawlers grew themselves. Still, my heart was on Barry who had brought me to this beautiful place.
Resting for a bit in the Crawlers Village Green, announcement was made over hidden speakers. The voice sounded like the one Barry called Adam. “Greetings fellow Crawlers. Please report to embark removal point where we shall have a special celebration in honor of our new arrival with Master Barry.” My heart was full.
Taken to embark removal point, I waited anxiously for Master Barry. This was all like some sort of fantastic dream.
Waiting, I talked to the members of the Crawler Community.
Everyone gasped, including me, when approaching with his cannon fire steps was Master Barry. We were brought out of the dome, to my happiness, in his hand. Being the man of the hour I was one of the first to be taken out in the great hand. Leaning up against his thumb, I watched us ascend toward the face of our God.
Strangely, I realized I didn’t feel as I had with the emotional malady I was always inflicted with. Had in the process of making me a Crawler, Master Barry cured me?
We were placed on the floor, that Master Barry had set up places for us to sit down. There were even miniature rides for us to enjoy.
When all the large numbers of Crawlers were brought down to the floor, the High Priest Crawler handed us five foot long candles to hold. Candles that were used in the world I once belonged to; for a birthday cake. After all the candles were lighted, the High Crawler Priest began with an invocation. We all stood in solemn attention. “Our new arrival, do you wish to approach our great Master Barry and say a few words?” asked the High Crawler Priest. I nodded.
Still holding the giant birthday candle, I walked up to the base of Master Barry’s bare foot.
“I will never forget your concern for me. Your making me feel special. I am and always will be your loyal Crawler.” Everyone exploded into cheers and clapping. I just stood there before the enormous foot looking up at Master Barry. Blowing my candle out, I placed it down. Going up to his big toe, I placed my two hands on the tip. I was Master Barry’s Crawler.