The Madman

December 5, 2008
By
“Behold the man become machine! My friends, man has become a machine!” the madman shouted desperately from under his crimson mask. He stood in the mud of a nearby ditch, seemingly delirious from the bloody wounds that stretched across his body, bloody from a recent confrontation that not a man seemingly noticed. He stood there, his arms spread out, shouting his lungs out unto the men that surrounded him, who seemingly did not hear. He walked forward, limping and dripping red onto the grass… It was the end. He knew it by some terrible realization and his eyes assumed an expression of sadness: sadness for the fact that he was going away, going away for good, never to come back to this earth, this earth he loved so dearly. But, he limped forward nonetheless, in a pathetic gesture of human strength, holding his arms out into the air and bellowing that man has become a machine. He walked into the middle of the sidewalk, but the passerby continued to ignore him, much as if he wasn’t really there, as if he was an ethereal presence. He dropped on his knees. His torso grew too heavy to support with his fragile legs that spattered the sidewalk a perverse dark hue. His clothes were not those of the passerby. His face was not that of the passerby. His sad smile was that of a man, not machine. He began to weep, much as those that experience a horrible loss do. He looked at his slender fingers. They seemed gentle and playful to him. He bent them and he watched his tendons contract inside of them. He smiled through his tears. He did not sob. The tears merely raced across his face, trying to fall to the ground off of his chin first. The breaths resonated painfully within his chest now, but he tried to stay up, not to collapse, so that he could see the whole terrible beauty of his fingers once more before he left, before he left forever. He did not see the passerby any longer. They had become completely irrelevant. The only objects that mattered to the madman now were those slender fingers that twitched in conjunction with the dropping tears. And he took out a scrap of paper, a paper too old to be of this time, and he spread it hopefully before him, so he could read it for a last time before he left. His chest felt as if it was collapsing, and darkness began to pulsate around the corners of his vision. But he could still make out the words, the words of that time long passed…
“I have lived here for a long time and fought for this vial with a gun in both hands. I lived for the vial that contained a dreadful secret… how to make men happy, or what one may call content. How to do it easily, with a pure burst of chemicals, that is. Permanently too. And I learned what men become when they become content. Machines. Mere machines. Nothing changes and nothing ends… just unending repetition of sameness. Unending repetition of worthlessness… Is that all man is?”
And the corpse dropped on top of the paper amidst the passerby.
“No… I don’t think man ought to be a machine. I can’t believe it, kiddo. Man is meant to live -- to suffer, to be joyous, to hate, to love…” the letter seemed to run on for the eyes that could no longer see, for a body that could not lift itself any longer.
And the men crowded around the anomaly. They viewed it with perfect peace, with a perfect smile on each man’s face, with a lack of bewilderment at the death of a human being. Human? Being? Perhaps that death was rendered unimportant in contentment. Perhaps that death was rendered impossible in their contentment. Perhaps it did not exist to any of the passerby at all. And perhaps the madman never existed. Perhaps it was just a corpse lying on the floor. And the corpse that was once a man left this world forever… never to be remembered. Contentment has a tendency to kill tragedy. There will never be a tear for the madman… for the madman loved life and loved tragedy.





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