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Gerber is your last chance


Chris Knapp was six-foot-two, which is pretty tall, really, but he seemed taller. Maybe he levitated then. We called him “Zeus” for he birthed designs and goddesses from his golden-locked noggin on a semi-regular basis. It’s true, or else it seemed true, which is nearly as good.

On Friday nights, Zeus would hold court at his parents’ house, and we’d gather ‘round drunk and starry-eyed like, well… what’s the word? Acolytes, maybe. Devotees. Young flesh everywhere. We were drawn to him!

But when I saw him last month, he was ordinary. A man. He was just like me, or maybe less. Did this guy even remember his former divinity? Did he remember 1990? I don’t know.

It was disappointing.

I looked for Nicky but when I found him, where the wonder had been, there were guns and conservative memes. No light lived there. And Richard – beautiful, angelic Richard with the violet skin, I swear he was like that once – looking at him now, you wouldn’t know.

Where does charisma go? I wondered. One only meets so many people who glow in a life, the statistics weigh against it. My glowers had all gone dim.

Gerber was my last chance.

I tracked him down to a cul-de-sac house, I won’t bore you with the details. The street was boring. The yard was boring. The house was nondescript. But when the door opened, that all changed, you see. I was pulled within on emerald waves. It was hot and it smelled like lions.

Gerber sat on a peaked gold throne and every time he moved, all that was metal flew at his hands.

Forks.

IPhones.

Paperclips.

He beat on drums and the people surged around him and he might have had wings. “This is unnatural,” I said and it was. Dark shadows lurked at the top of the stairs.

He was like a prism. Like precious stones. I said, “What have you done? What did you do with the others’ light?”

Gerber said, “They weren’t using it.” Then the people – there were two dozen of them, I guess – all bowed to him and I knew I’d have to kill him and take back the light. Chris Knapp deserved it. Nicky and Richard deserved it. Hell, I deserved it.

But before I killed him, I had another question because I always have another question. “But… where did you get it all from? This is more than you and Chris and Richard and Nicky. This is more!”

Gerber laughed and it was Asif’s laugh through Veva’s teeth and he said, “Lots of old celebrities. I drained them dry.”

He said, “To be honest, it was mostly Bono and Johnny Depp.”

Bono and Johnny Depp, I thought. Yeah. Yeah, that made a lot of sense.

Comments

  1. Weird but I get it...I think.

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    1. Hi, Joeh. I thought this one was going to turn out about 3 times as long, so I'm sure there were dots I didn't connect.

      Shorter version: People lose the glow and energy of youth, and it's sad.

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  2. STILL not enough to make me feel sorry for Bono and Johnny Depp.

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    1. Haha. They make me sad. I was never a big fan of either but... That's got to hurt.

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  3. Gerber like the baby food, or Gerber like the knives?

    -Doug in Oakland

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    1. This guy's last name is actually Jonathan Gerber, and he looks so much like the man in that picture I used (complete with drums) that it is the first time I've basically written a piece around a found pic.

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  4. Most of the times I picture u as a dark but good witch in a gothic castle who has many secrets in her brain.I love this story and it's allegory a lot craze but i am not sure i understòod it the same way u mean to .certainly ur talent in writing is still there craze.

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    1. Oh, I'm not sure I ever had a drop of charisma. We all have our talents and gifts. That's just not one of mine.

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  5. How sweet it would be if I could take others light like gerber hmm my light is took by someone like gerber I guess

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  6. Light takers never last long. Either they make enemies that can catch up with them, or they get complacent and forget to cleanse the light of their victim's essence, that special sauce they used knowingly or not to make it their own. The body will eventually violently turn against such impurities, like a lab rat rejecting a sewn on limb. But it won't fall off, or out, or any of the other things light doesn't do. It just rots, fades to black, leaves a void that can't be filled.

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    1. Now THAT resolution has the right amount of darkness to it. When I started putting this together, I pictured it as sort of an old Clive Barker thing, and thought it could have been a lot longer.

      Your warning turned it into a David Cronenberg film and I love it.

      Plus, you're probably right.

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  7. Don't kill him till he's turned la Jolie into a desiccated walking mummy.

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    1. I've read horror novels from the Eighties and know that if I use his powers to do my bidding, then I'm damned, too.

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  8. A lot of us lose our glow as we get older but there are a precious few whose glow increases with age...now I kow why.

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    1. You know, that's true. I didn't think about the older folks who come alive as they get older.

      I probably didn't think about that because I'm self-absorbed and mostly just worried about myself.

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  9. I tracked him down to a cul-de-sac house...

    One of my persistent hang ups is the stifling nature of subdivisions. It would have been better for me to live in a big city.

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    1. I grew up in the Houston suburbs and thought I hated Houston. But for the past twenty years, I've lived near downtown and it feels completely different.

      There are still neighborhoods, of course, but, as Houston is the only big city in the country without zoning, it doesn't mean that your house won't be next door to a vegan restaurant or retro clothing store.

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  10. I meet patients that twinkle. Their souls remain young, despite their age and whatever suffering they've been through. I love those patients most.

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    1. Hi, lily. For years, I worked almost exclusively with clients who were HIV+, and with them, at least, I know there were some that really blossomed at the end. I don't know how it happens, but I guess there's hope for us all.

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  11. I pictured him living in a large storm drain furnished with whatever floated by in time of flooding. More of a culvert than cul-de-sac.

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    1. It would probably be a better character. Culverts do seem more interesting than cul-de-sacs to me.

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  12. This made me burst out laughing! I'm still laughing! I think it's going to repeat on me all day. Loving this writing :-)

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    1. Thank you, Lisa! Unfortunately, my sense of humor usually falls flat, probably due to my not understanding whatever audience I'm talking to. It's always great when someone laughs...

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  13. Oh come on. Johnny's still got a little shine left. Maybe. He just needs another weird role.

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    1. He definitely needs that. A couple of interesting movie choices would help!

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  14. Let's be honest Bono was always a twat.

    Yeah guys can lose their swag too. Women become invisible, men just become old. There are a few exceptions of course.

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    1. I'm starting to think so but it's taken me years to realize it. I was 14 when "The Joshua Tree" came out and 18 when "Achtung Baby" came out, and I hadn't been aware of U2 before that, so I had a skewed view of him at one point. I knew their stuff after the mullet but before the pink glasses.

      Anyway, I* don't have to worry about this happening to me because I was never cool...

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    2. No matter what age, you have to keep your light shining bright! People get stuck in an "story". Live in the moment!! Great write Harry!

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    3. Thank you, Stacy. I really do try and keep doing new things. I write, find new music and books, and went out and got yet another degree when I was ... well, not young. I hope I keep finding new interests because I believe that helps a lot.

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  15. I had a boss like that once. He lost his light so fast it was like someone had flipped the switch to "off."

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    1. I always wonder how it feels from the other side - whether the people this happens to realize it's happened.

      They have to, right? I mean, despite my best efforts, I end up wondering what my 15-year old self or 26-year old self would think about me now.

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  16. Thank goodness for bejeweled waves and paperclip thrones!

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    1. One of these days, I'm going to slow down enough to include some vivid descriptions. Until then, well, I'm getting better, maybe.

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  17. I wonder if he didn't actually steal it--they just gave up and let him have it.
    Also, you have the best writing style--and why am I STILL not getting a notification when you post?! (it's mydangblog, by the way).

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    1. Thanks.

      And you know, there's nothing wrong with entering a new phase in life, I suppose. People are so quick to criticize musicians who stop recording or at least take a step back, but... You shouldn't have to be the same person with the same interests at 60 you were at 19.

      That's not necessarily giving up. But sometimes, it sure looks like it.

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  18. An excellent post, and thought -provoking. My adventures here always turn up something interesting. My compliments, Harry.

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    1. Thank you, Geo! I appreciate that. It makes that I have so many amazing writers and thinkers who stop by here to comment and will completely ignore my posts when they suck. I hope I keep challenging myself...

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  19. Looks like the attention and popularity went to his head and was greedy with the power. I never had charisma so I don't know if it fades. I imagine that it does. People certainly have peaks and valleys. Come-backs are tough to accomplish.

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    1. Me neither. I've sort of felt like the man behind the curtain a couple times - and I work best that way - but I'm never going to be the guy with the charisma, the good teeth, and the smile out front.

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  20. Lisa said it for me.. a wonderful bit of writing xx

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    1. Thank you. I keep trying, week after week...

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  21. I will admit to losing my glow. I lost all hope. I just didn't give a sh*t anymore. I was feeling too old, sick, and tired to give a damn anymore. "If you can't beat them, join them" I thought. That may have been an incorrect thought, but I thought it.

    I'm finally starting to recover physically somewhat. My mood is improving and my thoughts may change. It's sort of like that old Carpenters song It's Going to Take Some Time This Time.

    I tried to reply to your comment on my Blogger post but it won't let me reply for some reason. I DID post a part 2. Maybe I'll post a part 3 soon. I think that will be the end unless I decide to turn it into a longer story.

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    1. Hey, cal! I am not online as much as I used to be, so I miss a lot of posts. I didn't see you'd posted part 2, but I will check it out. I guess that's a good thing that I'm not on as much, even if I do miss a lot. I hear it's good to limit time online. I see no evidence of it yet.

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