This was a little blurb i wrote while out in LA for the month of November. I was sitting in crowded cafe (sans headphones…the horror) and was amazed at the little nuggets of information I would pick up every now and then. So, I got to wondering: what truth would the universe share if you would only LISTEN? So, yea! Enjoy…
The Whisper Man
The noise in the tavern was grating to her ears. Toto’s Africa played in the background, which unbeknownst to her, was her 8,000th time hearing it since she arrived on this Earth.
Pained guitars and rusty stop signs lined the walls as relics of yesteryear. Yoda on brick. Vegeta and Kakarot. The real Genie. Steam Punk.
This city of El-Lé was like a river, swift and full. All one needed to do was jump in and let it take you where you wanted to go. Your only job was to stay afloat.
She missed her home, the other Earth, which now seemed to her an alien planet. The other Earth was soggy and green. This Earth burned around her, always on fire from the danger that bubbled just beneath the surface. Flames sprouted like weeds wherever the wall was weakest.
The Girl had been sent into the desert for a treasure. This treasure, she had learned, could be confused for another glittering token that intoxicate all who possess it.
Its name is Greed.
Greed is dangerous. Contagious.
Thick and sticky.
Exposed to air, it combusts.
The words “good vibes only” twirled in pink neon by the door to the underground den. For most, the declaration was a simple requirement for entry. For others, it was impossible. The Girl interpreted her presence there as valid reason she had not yet been tainted by Greed’s sweet influence.
But then again, those who are never know.
It was difficult to tell what hid beneath the hoods of the strangers filling the tavern but that acrid and unmistakeable stench of malice was markedly absent. She meandered through the room and sat in the corner with her back to the wall. The Girl closed her unnecessary eyes and listened. Her pointy ears tensed and flexed trying to decipher the noises .
So many noises.
It was during times like this that he liked to slip in, riding on the backs of salutations.
The Whisper Man.
He was a prize to the discerning ear. If you caught him, he would tell you one truth in exchange for his life. The rest are lies.
If you catch him, he won’t have a choice.
Whispers are fragile things.
The Girl had been tracking him for six months, desperate for help after she suffered a setback at the hands of unreliable partners. She followed the rumors from bookstore to bar to back alley, places Whispers are known to wander, when fate delivered to her a Murmur.
Murmurs were easy prey. Gullible and forthcoming, they shared their secrets to whichever ear they found first. It was a simple task to glean his whereabouts once she opened herself to receive even the quietest of Murmurs. If she was right, The Whisper Man would be here among the brain storms and dueling tongues.
The Girl sat for hours among the lamentations and adulations of the city folk until the sounds bled into each other. Greasy bread and stale water cluttered her tabletop leaving little room for her patience while her ears scoured the noisy landscape.
Pricked ears are priceless.
Pricked ears find hidden things.
They found The Whisper Man hiding in the reeds of a cackle on the other side of the room. She reached out and grabbed him faster than a fleeting thought. He burned ice cold in her clutches but it was a pain worth bearing.
She held a cupped hand to her ear and she felt the icy fire of his footsteps get tangled in the spiraling tunnels of her skull. Doomed to perish unless spoken word release him, The Whisper Man plead for his life in a voice typical of his nature.
“…speak your question and hear my truth…”
The Girl had to admit, this maneuver was successful in the past. No sooner did she utter the first syllable, would he fly past her lips. Four times he made this offer and four times he escaped, leaving her no choice but resume her search.
This time, she was silent. Whispers were born to be heard and The Girl knew now to listen.
The Whisper Man asked again, his promises pattering in her head as he searched for a way out.
“…one word, child…..one word and it shall be yours….”
The Girl remained silent.
His steps grew frantic as the threat of falling into the pit of her silence drew closer. If that happened, all hope for the Whisper Man would be no more. Seeing that she could not be swayed to speak, he unleashed his final gambit.
“……trains are expensive….you should fly…”
This nonsense held no importance to The Girl. Trains had been outlawed for half a century and flying would only take her away from this Earth. This couldn’t be what she suffered all this time in desert for. No, though truth can take many forms, she knew she would recognize it when it appeared. His steps grew lighter as the breath that sustained him dissipated.
“….death is everywhere….”
This much The Girl knew. There was only one way to truly lose a companion and she was no stranger to His cold sickle. The Whisper Man began to fade. With his final breaths, he uncovered one last gem she hoped to polish into something valuable. From the sound of it, this was her final chance to receive the answer she had been so desperately searching for.
“….your instinct will lead you to an exit….”
And then he was gone.
The Girl believed the Whisper Man was dead.
She sat for a moment and then exhaled a curse in the breath she didn’t know she was holding. To her, none of these were a great truth worth the time and effort she had put into receiving it. She left the tavern and went out into the morning light, doomed to travel the way she came uncertain whether she had fallen prey to Greed’s viscous quagmire or whether she was close to the treasure she sought.
Close to Happiness.
And so, The Girl left oblivious to the hanger-on clinging to her breathy exasperation as it sped away. Desperate to conceal his presence once more, he found shelter in the gossamer of a lover’s adorations opposite the door.
The Whisper Man.
The Girl gave up on following the advice of Whispers that day and she roamed the desert driven by Greed in her search for the hidden treasure until the end of her days.
And that was too bad.
In exchange for silence, and in time, the Whisper Man would have revealed the great truth of the universe to the one with the fortitude to hold him.
For Whispers never truly die.
And if there is one truth to be learned this day, it is this:
If you ever catch the Whisper Man, you should never let him go.