Redemption, The Last (act II)

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Cumque manus puras fontana perluit unda

Vertitur et nigras accipit ante fabas

Aversusque iacit; sed dum iacit, 'haec ego mitto,

His' inquit 'redimo meque meosque fabis.'

Hoc novies dicit nec respicit: umbra putatur

Colligere et nullo terga vidente sequi.

Rursus aquam tangit Temesaeaque concrepat aera

Et rogat, ut tectis exeat umbra suis.

Cum dixit novies 'Manes exite paterni,'

Respicit et pure sacra peracta putat.

Fasti. v. ccccxxxv-ccccxliv.

That was the funniest thing about me. Regardless of the situations I would get myself into (whether it be spending somewhere between 29 and 36 horrints per hour on room service for forty-eight consecutive hours at the Hotel Gat, or finding myself writing meaningless stories that are a bit like Umberto Eco's Foucault's Pendulum but nowhere near as cool), I always managed to find a way out that didn't damage anyone physically or emotionally. True, I was never really able to say that I could get myself out of those situations without making at least three of my closest friends greatly annoyed with me. But then again, I figured that there were always going to be at least three of my closest friends greatly annoyed with me at some time or another anyway, so it was just the kind of thing I had to grow used to.

These events would happen to me throughout my lifetime where I would narrowly escape doom with the help of my towel, bowler hat, dry wit, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, bottle of Smirnoff, hope in my dreams, and love of going to parties, having drinks, and dancing with gorgeous females I'd never met before.

Until now, of course. Now I was the only one left that knew the darkest secrets of the Knights Templar, originally a very hairy group of Frenchmen that protected pilgrims as they journeyed through miles of Muslim territory into the then owned Christian Jerusalem, while at the same time took a vow of poverty and shared the same tents with other fellow poor, hairy, French knights/religious icons that had more power than the king of France did himself.

As has been stated many a time before in this collection of writings that I have managed to muster together as I lie here slumped on the tiled floor in the kitchen of my apartment, breathing in my last gasps of air as the wounds of moderation taint my blood with their poisons, none of this would have happened if I hadn't taken it upon myself to listen to what the Semiotics Lecturing Shed had to tell me. None of this nonsense would have ever occurred. I would have probably gone home the next morning, slept through my dehydration, and then followed it up with sushi and a movie.

Besides, aren't the small things in life like sushi and good movies what living is really all about?

Frederic the Italic had left me out in the hall of his apartment complex to be killed. Of course, I've always regarded the guy with the highest esteem, and he was having one of those 'special moments' with Rachael the Italic that would probably drive his neighbors to the brink of insanity as they heard erotic screams and giggles throughout the night and until the break of dawn. [a very important note: by no means do the characters in this series, Frederic the Italic and Rachael the Italic, have anything to do with any of those hoopy REAL Italics. Except for Chris. Yeah, he's Frederic. I mean... [cough]... ummm... [cough][cough]... you didn't hear it from me, capice?]

At first I was scared out of my wits. I knew they were coming. I could hear the sound of their armour-clad horses neighing and releasing excrement on the sidewalk outside.

Questions zipped through my mind;

Had I told my friends and family how much I loved them and how much they meant to me?

Did I feed the cats before I left the house?

And, if I had taken a shower earlier this morning, why was I sweating so profusely now? Stress had never done this to me before... but I suppose this was a rather different kind of stress. The kind of stress you face when you know your life is at risk and you've done little to nothing to make the world a better place.

It hit me, though. I remembered a belief I used to follow religiously whilst vacationing in Fronta Tulip II. It was so simple, so pure. It was also the belief that my great granddaddy, Ford, had lived by throughout his entire life.

The belief was this:

If the universe thought that I was really that important, it would work out a way to save me. And if it didn't, then, well, I suppose there was nothing I could do about it. I was never really fond of the universe either, so our deep dislike for one another evened itself out nicely in the end.

A large, meaty hand clasped around my shoulder and I could hear my bones crunching under the brute pressure that this hand was exerting. It was a feeling that can be best described as, 'less fun that being kicked in the head and the ribs at the same time', or, 'everything that wasn't lemony-mattress fresh'.

Normally I would have broken down to the fear like a teeny coward, tears filling my eyes, and my nerves rattling my entire body into a quivering mess. But not tonight. No, not on this night.

On this night I had seen the remains of one of my closest friends, the Semiotics Lecturing Shed, torn apart in what seemed like an act of bloodlust. I had drank enough booze to have poisoned me seven times over. And I had approached the doorstep of my friend and, dare I say it?... boss, begging for asylum, but was turned down on the grounds of the 'entertainment' he was duly required to give his female guest.

Believe it or not, but this had been one of the most action-packed, and downright interesting nights of my life. Yeah, I know, one of my closest friends had passed away. That got me down. I'll miss that pretentious asshole. He was one of my closest bar mates...

But think about this for just one moment. Try to comprehend the monotony the average 'crazy' ape-descended life form that trudges through every single day of his or her life; The doomed wake up to the sound of gun shots and bombs dropping on their heads. Just another day of the same old massacre for them. The working-class (broad, I know, but still), wake up, go to work, work for the better portion of the day, then return home as the sun is setting. Just another day of work, whilst thinking to themselves, 'wow, is it only Thursday? Well, tomorrow is Friday, and then the day after that is the weekend! Huzzah! I won't have to work for two days and will get to do errands and such instead!' And the farts living off old money wake up, eat salty fish eggs, and throw elaborate parties that are a great way for gossiping, bombastic idiots that have nothing better to do with their lives to talk behind peoples' backs and set up ways of destroying them.

Comparatively, wouldn't you say I was the lucky one?

I definitely would, and I believe it with all my heart to this very day. It had been the kind of nightmare that you can't help but look back upon with a smile. Take for instance a road trip to the Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream Factory in Vermont. Assuming you live in or around Boston, MA, USA, it will take you approximately four hours to reach your destination. And when you finally reach the Ice Cream Factory, you take the tour that lasts all of fifteen minutes, buy a few pints of Festivus, and then come to the realization that there was a Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream Store ten minutes away from your house all along, making this extended and horrible excuse for a road trip completely obsolete. So you remain at the Ice Cream Factory for half an hour tops, jump back into your car, and drive back home, a ride that now takes four and a half hours since it is rush hour and everyone is leaving their tiny cubicles at the office at the same time so that they can go home and be miserably lonely and watch bad sitcoms on primetime television.

It was with that same bitter irony that I was driven to laugh hysterically even as four or five more Templar threw me to the floor and punched off my mandible.

I didn't care in the least bit what was happening to me. So I was continuously having to spit out a few teeth from my mouth every so often as a punch would hit my head with a sickening ~thud~. Big deal. It happens to the best of us.

By the time they had finished with me, I was hardly recognizable. As a matter of fact, the true insane ones would say I looked a lot like an incredibly black, blue, and red Raggedy Andy doll. It didn't matter anymore, though. Nothing really mattered. The Moderators had apparently been watching my beating for the first ten minutes or so, then decided to join in the fun.

They knew I was a goner but I suppose were a bit too humane to finish off the job.

And so they just packed their things and left, Templar and Moderation, hand in hand, singing in their deep, hairy, French voices.

It is true that my spirit will probably exit my body within the next few hours and I will hopefully end up going to a much better place, but promise me this;

Promise me that when I pass you don't cry in sympathy but, rather, in happiness. I want a funeral ceremony like the ones found in New Orleans, with trumpets, and singing, and laughing; celebrating the life lived, not the life dead. I want you all to be happy. I want you all to be happy forever. You deserve it. And for the first time in my entire life, however short the period will still last, so do I.

So do I.

Yossarian Prefect

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