The Man Who…
Stream of Consciousness Fiction
The Man who …
So busy with things to do, things to say, things to explore, things to learn and to see that he had no time, even to die.
Cloud gazing as a child had been his preoccupation instead of ABC’s, 1-2-3 or Run, Jane, Run.
Checking out the atmosphere was his muse all the day as he played, sat in the grasses of the backyard with its tree house and ran along the trickling mangroves of 1958, Florida.
While dozing on his mother’s cotton lap in the one room church, he’d listened to the choir singing hymns, to the itinerant evangelists and the trembling voice coming from the pulpit telling the people that there were answers to the why’s of their days and a healing balm for their hurts and sin sick souls.
Pastor John Hackney would fervently point his shaking, old pointer at the ceiling rafters and declare, ‘Look to the heavens for your salvation draws near.’
Child Isaiah pondered these ideas and thought that the sky, like the preacher’s sermons were full of mysteries and puzzling unknowable’s.
Believing but with confusing and competing doubts, he determined that he would find his own answers by studying, mediating, and praying with his eyes turned upward.
On an old record player, his father’s favorite singer, Sam Cooke would soulfully belted out,
“I was born by the river in a little shack and just like the river I been running ever since…
It’s been too hard living but I’m afraid to die ‘cause
I don’t know what’s up there beyond the sky.”
Isaiah thought that big people were full of doubt too especially about Pastor Hackney’s message concerning Heaven as most of them refused to believe that God’s home was up in the clouds.
In school, he learned from the teachers’ projector screens the clouds shapes, formations, appearances and their coming weather conditions just like clothes hanging on mannequins told customers what their seasonal wear would be.
Cirrus, cirrostratus and cirrocumulus were the names of the ever changing skyline above 20,000 feet.
Altocumulus and Nimbostratus with light and dark areas indicate thunder showers.
Then one summer day in 1970, he heard Joni Mitchell’s, “Both Sides Now.”
And he began again to question and wondered about clouds, their real meaning and his own faith.
As he walked he heard, ‘Angels hair, ice cream castles in the air I’ve looked at Clouds that way.
Now they only block the sun, they rains and snows on everyone. Its cloud’s illusions I recall, I don’t know clouds at all!”
And Isiah thought, “I really don’t know, either!”
That seed of doubt planted from a simple song remained with him all of his life just as his questioning faith, did as well.
Several years later, Isaiah sat in his car watching the stratocumulus clouds forming with their dark, gray patches and threatening a downpour.
As he lowered his father’s old naval binoculars, he spotted a man with a male child walking several feet ahead.
He carefully placed the binoculars under the seat where no one could see them.
It wasn’t that the binocular cost millions but to Isaiah they were more valuable than a new car.
Once he had secured his father’s things and was ready to shop for a few items that his first wife needed, he happened to glance at the approaching man and kid.
Taking a good look at the man, he thought that the man looked a little too slender and without much muscle on his thin arms when the man’s left fingers reach down for the child’s chubby arm.
He grabbed a chunk of the child’s plump arm and skin and viciously twisted it with a quick snap.
Immediately, the child’s piercing scream reached Isaiah’s heart and ears.
While the boy stood screaming in piercing agony, the man bend down and with the same vile disregard warned him that the pinch was nothing compared to what awaited him.
The child’s half scream ceased instantly.
As Isaiah looked on, the man picked the crying child up by his arm, opened the backseat, dumped him inside, got into his car and drove away.
Photograph by Andrew Ruiz