Episode 66: Wednesday – Jax

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He ran his tongue across his lip.

Not another cold swore. Have you been eating too much salt again? Could this be related to plastic? When are they going to start listening to the message? Why are we doing this to ourselves? Was I talking to a woman in my sleep?

Jax tossed his legs over the side of the bed. A second after his feet touched the floor, he was standing. And dizzy. A moment later he was sitting, waiting for the dizzy spell to pass.

I killed a man.

A cool breeze swept through the window and across the room to his bed. He enjoyed the feeling. He vaguely recalled a dream, something about a woman’s presence. It didn’t make any sense to him so he thought about something else.

I killed a man. He was an evil man but he was a man, a human being.

He ran his tongue over his lip again. It didn’t feel like a cold swore. It was something else. He switched thoughts.

I’m going to be saved. We’re all going to be saved.

He stood up, slowly.

Time to hear its message and send it out to the world.

***

It sounded like a faraway amusement park, the muted music and screams, distant calls to the games and clangs of winning players, the roar and rumble of rides…an incomprehensible porridge of sound. Stooped toward the speakers plugged into his laptop, Jax licked a tiny thread of drool from his lower lip. His glazed eyes stared into the noise.

“You must put the evil of Simon Pierce behind you.”

Behind me.

“The rot of him is no longer. The taint of him is gone.”

The rot. The taint. Gone.

“You must not feel regret at his passing. You must be proud that you were the one to stop him. You, and only you had the power, the grace and the presence of mind to eliminate the stench of his influence. You are a hero of the land, a hero of the water and a hero of the air.”

I’m a hero.

“Simon Pierce was the embodiment of plastic, a culmination of all that destroys the world, a bastardization of my message. Now, you must rid the world of plastic.”

I must rid the world of plastic.

“You must rid the world of plastic.”

I must rid the world of plastic.

“You must rid the world of plastic.”

He sat facing his computer, looking into the noise for most of the morning, repeating “I must rid the world of plastic” like a Buddhist monk wrapping his soul around a mantra. The desk in front of his laptop glistened with a widening pool of spittle dripping continuously from his lower lip.

His mind snapped to attention at the sound of a horn honking in the street below his windows.

“Time to spread the word to the world,” he said. “Time to undo the evil of Simon Pierce and take its message to a world enslaved by plastic.”

A long grating sound emanating from his stomach suggested that he eat first.

***

He closed his eyes and let his fingers dance.

OUR CONSCIENCE IS FREE WITH THE TAINT OF SIMON PIERCE BEHIND US AND WE ARE HERO TO THE NEW AGE OF ITS MESSAGES WHERE WE WILL ALL BE SAVED AND FREED OF THE DARKNESS OF OUR CONSUMPTION POISONING THE TERRA UPON WHICH THE TWO AND THE FOUR-LEGGED CREATURES CO-MINGLE WITH THE ONE AND MANY CELLED DENIZENS OF THE TERRA SPILLING INTO THE SHADOW AND DEEP DEPTHS OF AQUA LIFE AND EVAPORATING INTO THE WINGED CREATURES OF THE SKIES AND ITS MESSAGE IS ONE OF HOPE AND LIFE AND NEW BEGINNINGS IN THE ABSENCE OF PLASTIC THE SPOILER OF GILLS IN THE FISHES OF THE OCEAN AND THE BILLS AND BEAKS AND FEATHERS OF THE BIRDS THAT WILL SING AGAIN TO THE RHYTHM OF A JOYOUS NEW BEGINNING OF A CLEANSED WORLD WITH CLEAN WATERWAYS AND FREE OF INDUSTRIAL WASTE AND PLASTIC MICROBEADS THAT ATTACK US THROUGH OUR TOOTHPASTE AND AEROSOLS LADEN WITH POLYETHYLENE AND POLYPROPYLENE WHICH MAKES ITS WAY TO OUR DINNER PLATES THROUGH PLANKTON FEEDING SMALL FISH TO FEED LARGE FISH WHICH WE EAT WITH OIUR LIFE-SUSTAINING MEALS OF GRACE AND THANKS WITH OUR HANDS CLASPED IN MORTAL BELIEF AND HOPE THAT OUR CHILDREN ARE NON-AUTISTIC AND THAT THE MUTINIZED FALSE DESTINY OF THE GENETICALLY DISINHERITED WILL NOT BE SO AND CANNOT BE SO AND NEED NOT BE SO AND THIS CAN BE IF WE STOP USING PLASTIC.

ITS MESSAGE OF HOPE AND SALVATION COMES TO YOU FROM THE LOWEST AND THE HIGHEST IN ITS HOST OF FORMS AND MEANINGS.

END THE DAYS OF PLASTIC!!!!

He opened his eyes and read what he’d written. He never made changes or revised in any way. This was its message and he was the messenger, the conduit of hope and new beginnings and it wasn’t for him to change the messages. He nodded agreement as he read.

This will make them re-think the world. This will make them take notice. Its word is unstoppable. Its message brings hope and the death of plastic.

I killed a man.

***

The long shadows of evenings arriving earlier each day brought feelings that he hadn’t felt during past autumns. He wondered why that was. The park was the same as it had always been. Trees reduced to their infrastructure were the same as every other fall: leafless. But tonight he felt saddened by the passing of summer and fall and the nearing of winter. Or was that really what he was feeling?

I killed a man.

He couldn’t shake it. It was with him every minute. It was there, crawling just under the surface of every minute of the day. It had become part of the texture of his being. He hadn’t done anything illegal other than attempt to kill Pierce by stabbing him to death in his home and, through his blog, incite others to kill him. But none of his followers had killed Pierce and Jax hadn’t been able to locate the writer to stab him to death. Simon Pierce had taken his own life

But Jax MacDonald was the catalyst for Pierce’s suicide. He’d killed Simon Pierce and it was in the name of Ratlas’s’ message of hope for the future of humanity. He wondered if maybe he’d misinterpreted Ratlas’s instructions.

Could I have gotten the message wrong? Could there have been some kind of digital interference that scrambled the message and I got it wrong? No, there is no power on the internet that could interfere with its message. Ratlas wanted Simon Pierce dead. Pierce was a danger to all humanity and a danger to its message. But he changed. He changed and turned his back on his evil and destroyed it. Could he have become a good man? Could he have joined the teeming ranks of those following The Word and Its Many Meanings and helped to spread the message?

Should Simon Pierce have been allowed to stay alive? Did I bring about his death at the moment when I should have encouraged his life?

I killed a man.

He looked around. Two runners who’d passed him a moment ago, now with their backs to him, were the only people in sight. Jax stepped off the sidewalk and into a stand of evergreen bushes where he threw up.

***

He sat in front of his laptop, staring at the screen, seeing nothing. He couldn’t understand his feelings. He’d helped to rid the world of a plague. He’d followed Ratlas’s orders. He’d stopped an evil man from killing kids. Pierce was a kid killer.

I stopped him from killing again. From killing kids.

Something about the screen attracted his attention. He snapped out of his revere and looked closer. Everything looked normal. His eyes scanned the screen. There were a dozen or so icons linking him to a variety of applications and programs. There was nothing out of the usual with any of them, except…

I have mail.

He leaned in closer, unbelieving. He never had mail, not even spam.  He clicked the icon. The program opened, showing one email in the Inbox. He clicked it. The email opened.

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Forty-five seconds after he opened it, the email deleted itself.

 

 

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