American Book of the Dead: Ectomorph

He majored in Business Administration, if I recall.

Worked two jobs, one flipping meat-pucks at “MacDonald’s,” the other doing god-knows-what for tenured professors in the Faculty Lounge.

Work-study, working class, work work work.

Body builder man of steel. He pumped iron. Church on Sunday. Awkward in suits. Brawny, bulky. He was no “believer,” really. He followed the regimen of his mother, instilled in him when he was – the ritual – you know how it is when you… whatever, you do your duty, save your soul, try not to think. So soon it’s done. The people leave. He volunteers to… to do, to do, to do.

He lacked the raw gut cruelty to “make it;” he was destined to work hard. Not smart, but hard. Live a life of health, cleanliness, grim good cheer.

Despite the cunning orifice that opened him in dreams.

He hated, feared, despised the night, yeah, blessed be the Early Bird clock-radio-alarm metallic dawn chirp summoning to work:

Command type print; type print command; print type print. Command. Command. Command.

Finally the evening work-out: run push lift stretch fart exhale.

Night came soon and often.

Night swallowed him whole endlessly, so deep he trained himself — discipline, discipline – to know and acknowledge “this is a dream,  only a dream I will wake to work eventually, soon, like… NOW!”

Bob to the surface of consciousness gasping like a diver up for air. Rigid. Startled (scared, actually, scared shit-less). Pajamas soaked with sweat, urine; his wife curled fetal on her side.

Oh yes, he had a wife: stylish, vague; spooked by his “episodes”, never failed to panic; but she stayed, for he was a decent man, a gentle man, built like Achilles, though always tired, tired — well no wonder!

Escaped, again. Always he escaped again.

But one Night — fate, inevitable; the slow violence of Time — he’ll lose the will, the speed, the discipline, to surface before –

Ectomorph, filthy, degenerate phantom (black teeth, mummy lips, cracked, nicotine nails) takes him down. Deep dive down. Merciless.

And worse: calls him back again, back back again, to decadent descent, to the cursed finality of Memory and Sleep.

Beau Cephalus, Writer-in-Residence at /dev/null, is not afraid to speak the Truth to Power. So long as there's a viable exit-strategy. Read other articles by Beau.