Sunday, May 07, 2006

Mourning Glory


First, let me begin by assuring you, dear reader, that I do not, under normal circumstances, engage willfully in fistic confrontations, either for sport or as a means to resolution. And may it be further understood that never had it surfaced in my mind, as even the most trifling of ideas, to do so in the sober society of family and acquaintances. Nor, lastly, in my unlikeliest dreams should I have fancied committing this improbable act during—of all somber ceremonies—a funeral.

Being a sane man, I am full well aware of how this could shine unfavorably upon me. I know too that, weighing similar evidence as that which you are to read shortly, I could also be inclined to reason in kind. It is important, however, that you draw your conclusion not from mere “evidence” alone, but from what lies at the heart of this whole unfortunate matter . . . that which only the closest observer could have seen . . . that which escaped the blurred, teary-eyed notice of all present—all but me.

Evidence, you see, is only as valid as the perception of those who deem highly of its merit. One has only to witness the effect and, having failed to observe the cause, feel justified in their condemnation of an innocent man, whose very character lies solely at the hands of a conclusion foolhardily reached. There was such cause in this very case, and I alone am qualified to relate it.
As I have previously stated, I was with family and acquaintances, offering condolences and making idle conversations. Now, it is of utmost importance that I pause here to explain Uncle Mortimer, without whom this story would warrant no telling, and without whom my life would be far happier indeed.

The bitter rivalry between Uncle Mortimer and me had long been regarded as a matter of course within the family and among friends. The hatred was born, and only grew stronger, when Uncle Mortimer charmed and stole my lovely Eloise. Uncle Mortimer was twice her age and his advances were wrong and vulgar! He used his wealth, station, and good standing within the community to beguile her, taking advantage of her youthful innocence!! He knew that we were in love, that she was to be my bride, and yet he pursued and seduced my beloved Eloise!!!
To carry on any further in this manner, and tell of how the girl I loved with an unyielding love shortly became my Aunt Eloise, could too easily fill me with the same fury around which this entire debacle augmented to such a regrettable degree. Let it suffice to say that I had just cause for my feelings which, until that day, had been most impressively restrained.

As I said, I was condoling and conversing idly when, against attempts to remain oblivious, I saw Eloise sitting and holding hands and carrying on with Uncle Mortimer. I don’t mind telling you that this is a sight that riles me to my very soul. I tried to go about my business, but couldn’t help regarding his smug _expression, mocking me. This is what no one else saw!

There resided, across his arrogant countenance, an awful and sarcastic smirk. This had been so for as long as I can recall, and it had driven me to near-madness for just as long, especially since the day he stole the very passion of my life.

Now, I feel I should say that, through monumental efforts of resolution, I had always been able to hold my anger inside, and that I had every intention of continuing those efforts that day. I dare say that I think I should have succeeded, but for Uncle Mortimer’s constant goading, designed expressly for—and noticed only by—me!

The ire I had usually been able to quell now seemed beyond my control, like an untamed beast, unable to behave in accordance with the dictates of reason . . . a beast whose thirst for blood was only strengthened by Uncle Mortimer’s glaring pomposity. What kind of man, after all, could behave so at a funeral?

My anger, my hatred, every ill feeling which had brewed within me, pacing impatiently like a caged brute, now saw its chance for action; and never before had anything been so intent upon its purpose as was my unbridled rage on that fateful, fateful day.

I scarcely had time to take notice of my own actions before finding myself atop Uncle Mortimer, smiting him manfully and trying for all my strength to pummel his conceited visage rid of its contemptuous grin. I had acted so hastily that he never even saw me coming. No doubt, I had that advantage over him, as well as my ferocious, unleashed aggression, by which I was so overcome that I neither heard a sound from the others nor noticed Uncle Mortimer’s attempts to fight back. (I may not have noticed the attempts of an ape, in my state.)

A group of perhaps eight men tried to subdue me, but my pent-up asperity was such that I just fought through them—as if swimming through a powerful wave—landing several more blows across his cheeks and jaw.

The next thing I remember was being pinned to the floor like an animal. Me! No one so much as even lifted a finger toward Uncle Mortimer who, after all, caused this whole rumpus with his smug aspect and arrogant air. And even as the entire room was in a state of hysterics, and even as I was being held to the floor, Uncle Mortimer was still taunting me from across the room, unnoticed by the unwatchful eyes of those around him!

Though completely overpowered, I still managed to gather enough strength to lift my head. It took all that I had, and I could feel my neck strain so that I felt sure it would break. With my last iota of energy, I spit at his still-haughty mien, more or less as an angry gesture, as I held no real hopes of reaching my target. To my short-lived delight, however, the salivary projectile met its mark just as a well-aimed missile meets a cockshy.

I say short-lived delight for almost immediately afterward, I was turned over onto my stomach and—with the employment of the floor and a remarkable amount of pressure applied to the back of my head—my mouth, along with the rest of my body, was forcibly incapacitated.

Everybody else, especially Eloise, was tending to poor wounded St. Mortimer. The way they all carried on was enough to make me physically ill. “There, there Mort, he won’t bother you again.” As if I was the monster! They could never see him for the horrible fraud which, seemingly, only I knew him to be.

After some time, I feigned a seizure and implored that they give me air at once, lest they find themselves attending another funeral. With some more assuring and the convincing subterfuge of a swallowed tongue, they hesitantly released their holds and stepped cautiously back far enough to give me air . . . and far enough to give me a clear route to Uncle Mortimer who, like the others, never saw that I had been liberated.

I knew I’d only have one last chance before being overtaken again. I mentally measured the distance and calculated my steps—all from the corner of my eye, mind you. I remained still long enough for my guards to feel confident that I no longer posed a threat.

I let a full minute pass, writhing and gasping for air. A few of the men, fatigued from wrestling me into submission, even took up chairs and began to relax. Then another minute passed. Then another . . .

I must have waited five uneventful minutes before finally, and most suddenly, springing to my feet, making one last dash at the fiend. I broke through the unsuspecting group, and with both of my hands clasped together as one, I came down upon Uncle Mortimer’s face with the mightiest, most crushing blow yet. I heard the stomach-turning crunch and crackling of bones.

“Stop smirking you villain,” I shrieked. “Burn my body if I don’t tear that supercilious sneer from your very countenance!”

Utter chaos ensued, as I knew it would. I was lifting my fists above my head again when, in a tumultuous instant, I was thrown violently to the floor. This time the pain was more intense. I felt something in my elbow snap, like a piece of celery being twisted. Pain shot throughout my entire body and my eyes filled with water. My head grew faint and dizzy. Everything sounded distant and high-pitched. I knew I couldn’t maintain consciousness much longer, but I wanted to take one more look at Uncle Mortimer, for an assessment of the damage I had done.

I scanned the room as quickly as I could. A confused cluster of legs, feet, and ankles was all I could see from the floor. I had to see his face, and knew I had not much time. Find him! I thought . . . find him!

Just as my cognizance was slipping away, there was a small opening in the pandemonic crowd. I focused my bleared eyes in the direction of where I had left my foe, and before the room faded, I got one last look at Uncle Mortimer . . . still grinning sickeningly at me . . even as they closed his coffin.

1 Comments:

Blogger evil ape said...

I don't know what you're cooking, but it's making me fat.

9:52 AM  

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