I’m not posting my writings to this site in any particular order, however posting a few chapters from my books, mixed in with my other writings might not be a bad idea. With that in mind, here is chapter one from my 1st published novel:
In the beginning there was vanity and vanity said “I hunger”
Eyes look down upon the rumpled mass that lays upon the floor. The body is nothing more than a black figure, strewn up against the far wall, in the dimly lit room. The eyes are not cold, not hateful, nor are they filled with remorse. There is only anger and pain. There is misery bleeding down upon the viewer’s cheeks . . .
Here I am, justa sitting here typing away. There ain’t nobody up, even the sun has enough sense to be sleeping still. But here I am a typing away and you are reading what spills forth from my finger tips. Yep, you are reading and perhaps even wondering if there will be a point to this or thinking maybe he will just ramble and I will grow bored; move on to something else. I won’t lie to you, I have nothing to gain by such deceit. Didn’t anyone ever tell you that when you lie, you have to remember the lies, so you can always get the story straight? Well, I have heard that one and let me tell ya right here and now, I am lucky to remember which TV shows come on everyday that I like to watch, so there ain’t gonna be no frickin’ lying coming from me. I am just too damn old to remember them lies anymore. So when I say sumtin’ you might just wanna believe it ’cause there is no space in my head for lies.
When I say I might ramble along in my words some, it’s the truth. When I say I might add in little things to increase the narrative flow or might be a bit more precise and detailed to create some immersion, it’s the truth. You can believe it is the truth, the whole truth and nuttin’ but the truth. Amen. Really, did you expect anything different? Did you want just the facts, Jack? I suppose I could do that. I could give you just the facts but if that is what I did, what would be the point? You might as well go read you one of them dictonaries thingies and be done with it. That is about how entertaining just the facts are, Jack.
I might have a rambled some but I think you gets the picture I was trying to present to you. You can read as much or as little of what I am typing to you and know one thing for sure. You are gonna get the truth. Are you with me so far?
Like I said in the beginning, it is Friday morning. A day has begun and most will think it is just another day. But it is not just another day. Really it is not just another day. It is the day things changed. That is not really saying much though, I suppose. Any day could be different. Every day could be different. At any moment in time we can decide to do something different and then things change. Almost like one of those high notions, it is I ‘spose. You know them weird thoughts about controlling your own destiny or some such stuff. The kind of stuff they say in them movies or books and even sometimes, people actually say these things. But I ain’t one for them fancy notions, no-sirree. I believe in what I see, what I can touch and feel. Never been one of those stuck with their head in the clouds kinda people. Oh, that might be a lie, in the sense that when I was a little one I might have been but I cannot remember that now. So if it is a lie, it is not done on purpose. I am just too old to remember back that far. At any rate, I’m not one of them stuck in the clouds, high notions type people ’cause I seen the truth. I seen the truth and it ain’t pretty, it ain’t funny, and it ain’t happy. It is damn scary! That is the truth and I am gonna share it with you.
Yep, gonna share all of it with you. No, I am not sharing it with you because of the reasons you might think. I am not gonna tell you because you need to know, you might not need to know. In fact, I am pretty sure knowing won’t help you at all. I am not telling you because I think you can help or change things. Pretty darn sure neither of those will happen either. I am not typing it to you because I feel I have to tell someone. I am pretty sure once I have finished telling you I am a DEAD man and I am not in any big hurry to be dead.
But still I am gonna tell you. I am gonna tell you everything, every detail, every plot twist, every little thing. You’ll get the truth in all its glory. And you’ll get it for one reason only. The only reason I have for giving it to you. Because it is gonna scare the crap outta you. That’s right, that is my only reason for doing it. Kinda perverse ain’t it, but it beats nothing, hands down. Nine ways to Sunday, as they say. It is better to hear the truth and know what you are up against, than to know nothing at all; whatever the reason for the telling is.
Now that you know what you will be getting, still want in? I wouldn’t blame ya if you ran away, ran as fast as you can in the opposite direction. Nope, I would not blame ya one bit. Sometimes I wish I woulda done just that myself. Sometimes I wish I would have gotten up off my fat lazy butt and done some running away when I was offered the truth. But I didn’t. I was like them cats, curious and all and thought knowing would make me better, make me superior or something. So I stood upright and learned what needed to be learnt and every moment wondering just what did I get myself into.
Now it is your turn to learn it. You gonna git ya a backbone, wash the yeller streak away, man up, sac up, whatever they call it now-a-days for being brave. Can you handle it? Won’t know unless you try and Lord knows you might not get another opportunity. Not a lot of people running around with even an ounce of truth in them, let alone anyone willing to give out what they got. But I will give it to you, just once mind ya, but I will.
Looking at my clock, it now says it is 6:30 a.m. I have been a rambling that long? Guess I have but at least it was not totally pointless ramble. I told you that today could be just another day or it can be the day things changed. I offered you something which is rare and hard to find in this world, truth. It falls onto you to decide whether you want it or not.
Well, I’ll be damned! You are still sitting here reading the words I typed to you. I thought for sure you might be one of them cowards. Don’t get me wrong, I ain’t being insulting when I am saying that. Seems I once heard or read something, from some wise man who said something about how we will never know it all and perhaps that is for the best or some such thing. I am just saying that perhaps it might be true. Seeking out the truth is a dangerous thing. Many a person has died for far less, that is for certain. Now, I realize that people die for all sorts of reasons. The reasons can be as varied as human emotions, for sure. Just because something can be though, does not mean it is. A lot die or are killed simply because man is a killing machine. But really man cannot help himself, not even if he tried. Sure, most men and women are not out to do other people or animals or anything for that matter, any harm. But that does not mean they won’t. For fact that is true. But man does not always know or realize why he does things. How can someone fight what is in their nature when they do not know what is in their nature? They can’t, I tell ya. They can’t and they don’t.
That vanity is one sneaky snake, it is you know. It crawls up in man and makes its home and nobody even realizes it is there. Vanity is so sneaky that some people are not even sure what it is. It goes by a lot of names to disguise itself too. Some people call it pride, others ego, then still more call it conceit. Call it what you like, I suppose. It is this belief we seem to share as a human species. That we are superior and that in that superiority we have rights. One of those rights being the right to commit murder. Oh certainly we have made it all proper and square. We can only commit murder when some lawman in Washington says we can. But how the bloody hell that makes sense to anyone, I don’t know. How can it be O.K. to kill some man who I do not know and has done nothing to me but I cannot kill some guy who has raped my kid? Because some lawyer man up in the capital says so? Just don’t make a lick a sense to me. If something is wrong, then it is always wrong. Now don’t go tryin’ to twist my words or some such BS. I know the world has many of them gray areas but we are speaking of murder, of killing here, and nothing else. Well, of killing and vanity.
You see that vanity be so sneaky it even got lost when I was trying to speak about it. It seems like in one of them Bible commandments, there is one where God shows he has some vanity himself. Something about how you should place no other Gods above him. Now is that like saying he’s the bees knees or what? Guess that Bible also says he made man in his image and a looking back at them commandments, I would have to agree. God gave us this vanity we all possess but I do not think he understood just how much it would control and consume us; I do not think he got just how sneaky vanity is.
But someone did get it, well sort of. Probably one of them sneaky politicians figured it out. It takes a snake to find a snake, right? Someone got it and made a law to use it. That law makes it O.K., fine and dandy, to kill people you do not know. It makes it a display of courage and national pride to kill some young kid who never did anything to you or your family. That law says you can kill anyone they say are our enemies. They even added to that law and said we will make you kill, if we need to. We will force you to kill and if ya don’t like it, we will lock ya up in some dark hole. Then they made yet another law that says other than killing for us, you can only kill if your life is in danger. Yeah, someone definitely figured out vanity. They got us killing for them and believing it is good and not killing each other and believing that is good also.
They figured it out alright. But not completely, not totally. They understood that vanity was a part of human nature and they figured out how to use it for their own benefit. They even got that, those who can control, can use. But they just did not get how sneaky it really was and I am betting, even if they did they would never find a way to fix it. How can you fix something that is a part of you, essential to your existence?
Vanity crawls into all of us in those early years. You know, them years that them head doctors call the time of self-awareness. When we, our mind, realizes we are people and that we think more than the other creatures. When we learn we are superior to every other form of life. That is when vanity creeps in. I say creeps in because we do not even see it there. We do not realize we are starting to think of ourselves as superior, we just do it. We begin to believe it and then start to act upon this belief. We crush bugs under our feet, burn the ants with glass; watch them wiggle, see them smoke. We chunk rocks at birds and squirrels, then upgrade to slingshots and BB guns for a kill. Maybe we are less aggressive in our actions and we fish, we entice them onto our line, set that hook into their mouth. Watch them wiggle and gasp for air, as we remove the hook we planted within their flesh. We might even be kind enough to hit them with a hammer before we slice them open and rip out their guts; cut them up and eat them for dinner. We are entitled to, we are superior and we are hungry.
Very hungry indeed and we need to feed not just ourselves; our vanity also needs to be fed. I recall reading sumtin’ ‘bout it in a book many years ago. It got me to really thinking about vanity. The words were sumtin’ like “Vanity well fed is benevolent. Vanity hungry is spiteful.” After reading those words, I began to look into vanity more and learned that vanity may indeed be our greatest enemy and friend. I know that does not seem to make a lick of sense but it makes more sense as you begin to understand the nature of it.
I see you think I am being a bit lecturey on this subject but you have to trust me, it is important. Do you think hearing the truth is going to do you much good if you do not understand it?
So let’s get on with it then . . .
Vanity has been grouped by them religion boss guys with Pride. To me they are different animals, but they think they are the same and who am I to argue with them, right? It is one of those seven or some such sins. In fact, it is the granddaddy of them all, the original sin. It is what Satan did, he got all uppity and God cast him down for it. But there is more to vanity than just making us feel superior, it is also our greatest protector. It being a protector you might think is a good thing but like most everything else, it has its good and its bad.
Being our protector was probably it’s original design. You see, our vanity, our pride, our self-worth, as some of the head doctors call it, gives us reason to get up everyday. It gives us the reasons we need to go on living. Yet, in doing so, lies its insidiousness. Sometimes it has to be sneaky to do so. It has to create lies for us to cope with things we have done or are about to do. It has to lie to us to make us believe in ourselves. It really is the true master of the lie; so much so that we do not even realize it. Just think about it for one minute.
Think of a story, any story you have told many people, over the course of your lifetime. It can be a good story or a bad one. It is not the story that matters really. It is the telling. Go through the story in your mind from beginning to end. Now, go back through it again, this time very slowly. With each sentence, stop and think about it. Is every word in that sentence a complete truth? Did you see the lie in it? Maybe multiple lies? This was were vanity stepped in and created a lie to protect you, to boost your ego, to make that story sound better, more lively, more hip, more cool. Sure it might have been one of those little white lies that does no harm to anyone. It still is a lie and it was the work of your vanity. Looking over the stories you have told the longest, to the most people, you will find it very hard to find a story without any lies. But what did you really expect? Vanity has been your great protector since you were knee high to a grass blade. By letting it protect us from ourselves and others, by letting it make us feel worthy, we all let it in and once it is in, it is only a matter of time before it gets control.
But this is where that very sneaky part of its nature comes in. You see we get so used to vanity covering up our faults and mistakes, even adding to our good deeds, that somewhere deep inside something, perhaps our mind, perhaps our heart, starts to realize that anything we do, good or bad, our vanity will protect us from. It will design the perfect lie, the perfect reasoning for doing things, bad things, even terrible things and we will not even realize what is happening. This is the true nature of vanity. It is inside each and every one of us, guiding us, protecting us, from ourselves and others. All the while knowing we cannot live without it or its lies.
You might be wondering why I bothered telling you all about vanity when I am supposed to be telling you some truths. I will tell you now that it ain’t nearly complicated or anything like that. It is important for you to understand vanity and, in understanding it, you will realize as I tell you the little moments of truth I have to tell, that the things I have done, you could also do. What happened to me could easily happen to you. We are not that different, we both have some vanity crawling around inside of us.
Don’t believe me? Well, that is just your vanity lying to you.
There you have the 1st Chapter. It should be noted that the e-book version looks slightly different than a blog post, as a lot has to do with the device you use to read it. Of course, it goes without saying, that the entire book is not written in the same style.
©-2010 J.B. Thomas