I cannot see them, however, and I did not expect them. I did not expect there to be no windows but there are none. I did not expect actual bars but there are many.
And if these are to be my final moments, among the living, as they say, then I shall take but a few of them to explain myself and what has gone wrong. I have it in me to say, to admit, to hypothesize, at last, that it is all my own fault. I had the best of intentions.
The town in which I reside was, in former days, bitterly divided upon itself. Any old excuse would serve for a fight. Citizen against citizen. We fought over which bathroom to use. Over statues in parks. The utility of bicycle lanes. O, you wouldn’t believe the blows we came to. And brother, how can a town such as this long survive?
I had the best of intentions. The town was divided, I will not say it again, and one day, on the Houston facebook page, I observed, to my horror, photographs of yet more fighting. More blows. This time, it was regarding parking spaces.
In my naiveté and I see in hindsight, without sufficient forethought, I commented. Using my false facebook identity, I said, “All you Houstonians suck. I pray you beat the hell out of each other. We don’t do this sort of madness in Temixoch because we don’t suck like you do.”
You should know, between you and me, there is no Temixoch, Texas, but that did not stop the replies. Of the many thousands of replies, I do not recall much in the way of specifics beyond that they were angry. In defending our fair town, all parties turned their ire against he who would besmirch it, which was me.
Bathroom segregators and bathroom unisexers, statue builders and statue bombers, even rabid pro- and anti-leash law partisans, they all came together to praise Houston and insult Temixoch, the latter of which, I was assured, was indeed the most horrible of all possible places.
Against Temixoch, Houston united.
I united Houston further by daily continuing in my Temixochian attacks on the town. I spoke poorly of Houston’s mothers, its babies, its grandmothers’ apple pie recipes. On bridges over freeways, clandestinely I placed signs reading, “Temixoch rulz” and “Temixoch hates everything you love.”
And then, upon my word, I struck upon another idea, my Eureka moment again or for the first time, and announced an upcoming gathering of Temixochians at a local Houston park for the purpose of making fun of Houston. The Houstonians arrived by the busload to face down their detractors. Numbering one hundred fifty thousand in total, they held hands – black and white, gay and straight, bridge dwellers and townhouse owners alike – and sang songs of the myriad virtues of Houston.
It was my finest hour.
Not one soul seemed to notice there was not a single Temixochian to be had, and how could there have been?
Some months later, I attended a party. In my life, I have only rarely attended parties and now I see why. Among those gathered was a candidate for higher office, I forget which. When he came to be asked of his political platform, he said, “Oh, well, I am the anti-Temixoch candidate.”
And in the throes of my inebriation, ill-considered in retrospect, obviously, I chuckled. Rather, I guffawed, if that is a word. I went farther. I said, “Oh yeah, Temixoch! Now there’s a threat! That’ll fix what ails us!”
Of what followed, I have but the foggiest of recollections. You can read the papers, same as I can. I will say merely, in this brief account, that the riot police arrived in the midst of my lynching, and not a moment too soon though I saw they were loath to intervene.
I was arrested on the spot as a Temixoch sympathizer, an offense which, much to my surprise, brought with it and still brings with it the death penalty.
When I die and it will be soon, Temixoch dies with me. Then, maybe, with no more enemy in common, Houstonian will turn again upon Houstonian.
But then again, maybe not.
Is this too much for me to hope for?