Friday, February 03, 2006

Towels: What Walks with Three Legs at Night

“Sir, how did you get here?” a boy in rags asked in cautious tone. “Sir? Are you…”

Heaps of towels sloppily providing the comfort of a blanket began to rustle until they were abruptly tossed off, revealing a disheveled, gaunt man beneath. He sat up with a few groans and then faced the boy with his head leaned back so his grizzly white beard protruded and his long flowing locks of white hair kept away from his eyes. Squinting judgingly, he began measuring the boy up before discourse.

“I am Ethikos. What business have you with me?” The message was delivered loud and forcefully but a few ensuing wheezes and phlegmy coughs quickly diminished any effect of grandeur. Without giving a pause and for seemingly no reason, the man, Ethikos, reassembled those stained towels of his and slipped under them again, unconcerned.

“Sir…” the boy spoke with a quiver, puzzled and uncertain how to proceed. “We met a few hours ago. I was thrown in this cell…” but before completing, Ethikos jumped up and shouted.

“Vagrant! Thief!” Ethikos pointed accusingly with a mess of towels now abound and one towel, uncertain how to fall, flapped indecisively on his outstretched arm.

“No… please, sir, try to remember - it’s not like that… don't you remember?”

“How dare they shove a criminal in with me!”

“Please, sir, try to remember, I’m innocent as you are.”

“Lies! Treacherous lies!”

“Sir, you’ve been here a long time… today they put everyone in prisons…”

“Everyone?” Suddenly and unpredictably, Ethikos turned calm. “Yes, they are the sorts to devolve into something devious like this. Imprisoning everyone… as I suspected! No one listened. No one ever listens.” Ethikos reclined and, while still mumbling, groped the adjacent ground for his towels and slowly buried himself in them once more.

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