Paying With Fire

I’ve been huddled around the paycheck here in the city as I might crowd the flames of a campfire in the wilderness.

In the hunting grounds, my debit card is sheathed in a light-tan leather scabbard. Game is abundant here, but ah so are the hunters. We are a solitary hunter, like the big cats of the jungle, but we do not tend to fight over personal space. We are just awkward about it.

The kill is made, the meal is paid, and I walk away to a greater day. How it feels to kneel on the chest of my enemies and howl to the moon in me. I have meat, I have meat, I have meat, I have meat.

I, man, have meat.

I return to the campfire, huddle around the thrift-store-quality porcelain plate, and I devour. Oh, how most of my life is spent devouring. Oh, how the rest of the time is spent in between.

Is this what it takes to be a thinking thing? To eat and not be eaten. To need?

I need, mostly, for I have found myself void of wanting. I crave, mostly, but still I do not want. I smoke, I drink coffee, I eat carbs. I crave all these things. But I do not even know what I want, when asked.

It’s Christmas time and I am called down from the mountain in which I have become recluse. I am expected to throw away the coals and fire of my paycheck in order to face the bitter winds of winter with my family. Oh, how I wish to be in the warmth of their embrace, but the fire will be cold once I come back.

No, I need to stay here in order to keep the fire going, for I know that I will inevitably always need to return. To the fire and to isolation.

So, here I am, banking the fire at nights, and keeping the fire lit with the tedium of labor by day. I do this for what? The needs and cravings that bring me back to here? The howling to the moon in me? The victory of meat?

Or to keep from the cold?

I’ll be alone for Christmas. I’ll be with the fire, tending to the debit card that I keep carefully sheathed away. I may howl to the moon. I may eat meat. But I will feel only the warmth from the fire that I keep.


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