Monday, April 12, 2010

The Adventures of Dusky Panther

I've been thinking a lot about love lately. Not really the enamoring, cutesy aspect of it, but of what the fuck it even means. So for my English class where we were assigned to write an inductive paper, I tried to write as personally as I could. I really haven't written personally since I went through a pretty bad mental breakdown a couple years back, so I really wanted to. I'm pleased with it. I also adapted it into a cartoon which I put in Return to Danger Mountain.

Also, this was the first time I used the name Dusky Panther.

"The Adventures of Dusky Panther"
by Brandon Walsh

Note: Due to the legal stipulations of the local and federal judicial systems, all of the following should be examined and interpreted as hearsay.

El Pájaro del Dios. Or, if we are to speak in its own tongue, Rab Tanri Kus.

My father served jury duty last month. There were two waves of people in the jury pool to be interviewed and selected to serve in trial. Of the ten in the first wave, five jurors were selected. In the second wave of twelve, four jurors were selected. My father was one of the four selected from the second wave. The details of the case concerned a woman who confessed to a nurse that after an argument with her boyfriend, he beat her several times around the head, strangled her, causing damage to her eyesight, and forced her to remain in a closet for three days as she slowly neared death. Reportedly, the strangulation was caused not by the man’s hands but by the gun he forcibly shoved down her throat. The woman rose again on the third day, the door opened, and she was admitted to a hospital where she confessed all this to an attending nurse. Subsequent legal action was taken. The jury was apparently ready to hang this man. With the facts already against him, he could look forward to six to twenty years in prison at best. Guaranteed. The first witness called to the stand was this woman.

Meanwhile in the Kalahari Desert, a panther named Dusky rides solo. In fact, the majestic beast avoids all contact from the tempting pleasures of a materialistic world. Dusky Panther keeps it real. Every day a meerkat would peek his head and watch Dusky run by in sun. It certainly seemed odd that the meerkat in question dearly wished to embrace such an untamed beast. He would envision endless days free of lusting for the beast. “Oh, if Dusky would come out to play. Come out to play!” he’d say. But Dusky gave no time of day. The meerkat should have taken this for a sign, but he was engrossed in what he could not understand. He only saw the playful beast, his golden dancer; for he did not feel for it. It was as if his eyes had seen the glory of the coming of the Lord. God help him.

It’s 1974. President Richard Nixon is wondering what happened and probably wondering even more who the hell set off the smoking gun. At first, anger sets in. He feverously makes phone calls to powerful men for a couple hours, chats with his chief of staff, and then is left alone to think in his office. The president flashes back to when he was a child. What he felt at this moment was the kind of awkward feeling he experienced when he had finished an argument with his mother. Nobody speaks, probably because the hurtful words have already been said. The child wishes to refute his statements and just mouth, “I’m sorry,” but can’t. He holds to his words but can’t understand why. His inner turmoil cruelly transforms into self-loathing. As they say, “What had intended to be a homicide turned into a successful suicide.” The child cries in his bed. The President resigns.

It’s 2009. Tyler Scanlan is balled up in the middle of a tennis court and writhing in pain. Across the void is a rich white kid adjusting his racket strings, doing whatever he can to ignore Tyler. The home crowd will never feel anything but hatred toward this person. This is the nature of high school sports. It is nearing the end of a long third set with the rich kid edging his opponent by four games when Tyler suddenly loses motor function of his arms, legs, and torso. A combination of rigorous activity, dehydration, hyperflexion, and hypoxia has initiated muscle contraction. The coaches come to his aid, a break is taken, Tyler swallows antacid tablets, downs a jug of water, stretches most of his muscles, and returns to the court to not only win the match but not give up another game. One would suspect that this was done for a reason.

The meerkat grows frustrated. Dusky will not come out to play, at least not with him. “How selfish, Dusky! Why, I wouldn’t even want to play with someone who stinks!” he’d think. “But oh, where to go from here?” The answer became clear. A cage- a cage! The perfect stage to engage his rage! “But then,” he thought, “what would come from that?” Greatly saddened, he went to sleep that night weeping, asking, “How can a panther play in a cage?”

The defense attorney asked the woman, “Can you identify so and so?” Yes. “And can you tell us who that is?”

“My man.”

And when asked how her injuries came about, she claimed she was hurt in a bar fight.

There’s a certain aura of finality when something dies. A malignant round of applause for the end! If we are to “follow the money,” we’ll find a man who has done everything right for his whole life and has received nothing in return, another who has done everything wrong and is happiest, a small Mexican baby who has died in the arms of his mother because not enough blood is able to reach his lungs, a future alcoholic downing his first drink, a pensive teenager who drives a bullet in his head because someone else did something stupid, a President who finally realizes that nothing has changed, a tennis player who has won his mind but destroyed his body, and a woman who has given up to the might of “her man.” Finally, we have a meerkat disillusioned with unrequited love for a panther. He is aware that the pain in his heart will be unturned and now doesn’t know what to do.

These misfortunes happen all the time. Dusky Panther is quickly becoming one of those things. But no, this is too important to be “one of those things.” This, please, cannot be that.

Life dies at all stages. What we feel to be most dear is dying all the time.
The Ivory-billed Woodpecker, the Rab Tanri Kus, was pronounced as extinct in 1944. This was accepted in the bird watching community until in 2004, when two separate sightings of the bird were found in two remote areas in the southeastern region of the United States. The Ivory-billed Woodpecker is now commonly referred to as “The Lord God Bird.”

Death isn’t the end. It’s a word.