Storyglossia Issue 25, December 2007.

For This Moment to Arrive

by Randall Brown


Jonathan, all his life, has resisted epiphanies. So what else is there but to put him in a story, the place of irresistible change. No one likes that stubborn refusal to yield to circumstances. It's inhuman. And a million other god-awful things.

I've got Jonathan tied to a chair, his ankles bound to the chair legs, his hands tied behind his back and the rope woven into wooden chair slats. He's not going anywhere. He's going to face what he is or I'll have the fucker shot.

"I didn't do anything," he says. And of course that's the entire point, but he doesn't even realize that.

"Do you have any idea what you are?" I have a stranger say this to him, the one who kidnapped him, took him to this nowhere cabin, tied him up. I wonder how he appears to Jonathan. An archetype perhaps. The Judge. The Executioner. The Tyer-Upper.

"If I ever get loose . . . " The end of the sentence dangles there, noose-like.

Jonathan has sucked the world dry. There's no money left in anyone's account to save him, no car to give him, no food, no bed, no nothing, and still, I mean what do you do with such a person. The stranger shows Jonathan the gun.

Save yourself, Jonathan. That's all the world wants of you.

Instead, Jonathan relaxes into the rope cords. "Be done with it," he says.

It's so easy for epiphany resisters. They cannot see the blessing of suffering, only its curse. He doesn't even tremble. He's okay with it all.

The stranger pushes the chair over and Jonathan's turtle-like, on his back, legs flailing. He shuts his eyes against what must be the pain from knocking his head against the floor.

"Who sent you?" Jonathan asks, drowsy-like.

The stranger pushes the gun against Jonathan's temple. It's empty of course.

"My brother?" Jonathan says. "Pussy."

Oh, I know what he's going to say next. That it's I who cannot live with him and that's the epiphany you get with people like Jonathan. They force you into the dilemma and say things like "I will be okay on the street, eating nothing, living nowhere, and if I can live with that, why can't you." And you have to say stupid meaningless crap like "because I love you, you're my brother." Love means giving them everything until there's nothing—unless you have that epiphany to let the self-destructive losers die. Let them rot in an alley or a jail.

Shoot him. For god's sake. Load the gun. Shoot him.

Instead, the stranger kicks Jonathan in the ribs and leaves him there. Jonathan turns on his side, groans a bit and screams "Fuck" to the absent brother, mother, father, sister, gods.



You know, I walked away from the story then.

And then came back. I couldn't leave him there. I made the ropes come loose and when he called on the cell phone I gave him, I had his brother come for him, hold his brokenness and had his brother really think, really truly think, that this time he would hold Jonathan long enough that he would unbreak, heal, find work, love, a house, children. He would get holiday cards and celebrate birthdays and sit by Jonathan's pool and hold Jonathan's daughter up in his arms and toss her laughing into the summer and oh yes, a pox on all those who resist the Epiphany. God damns them all.

Copyright©2007 Randall Brown