A Free Conversation
by MW Cook
Do you know what it’s like to sit alone and free?
To have before you every tool could could possibly need?
A handful of high-quality pens.
A pretty pad of yellow paper.
A computer that rivals Deep Thought.
Even a clunky old typewriter from Goodwill, complete with upper-middle quality paper.
Peace and Quiet.
The knowledge that you will not be disturbed for hours to come.
Only to see that you have bound yourself.
An address to the choking chains:
From where did you come?
I did not see you before!
Me: Your ham-handed reference frightens me, though it hardly seems to fit.
Chains: What do you expect? I am choking out your wit.
Me: This I see clear. And your childish rhyme makes it all the clearer. Begone! I sit in my time of freedom.
Chains: And I seek to steal it from you.
Me: Why? Does my suffering bring you profit?
Chains: Nay, for I have no true existence to be profited.
Me: Then are you sent by a higher power to hinder me?
Chains: Nay, for I am so very low that the High Things always distain to deal with me.
Me: Then what are you? Answer me!
Chains: I can only gives answers in my native tongue – silence.
Me: That is no answer at all! At least no reasonable answer. For it implies you speak silence – an oxymoron if ever I heard one.
Me: Again with that awkwardly inserted yet deeply frightening reference! What mean you? For the black bird spoke it to drive home the permanence of the loss the protagonist had suffered. Why have you spoken it?
And here the chain only rattles against itself. And I take hold with my left hand to settle it.
A thought: The chain, or course, cannot give up its secret or purpose. Neither can it bind or free of its own power. No. For it is a non-thing. Without power. And so I must find its source. The chain master.
So with my deft left I feel the sordid, lack-wit chain in the dark. And I follow it, aiming for its mighty source. How does it feel?
I stop, for I have reached an end. I have found the source.
I hand gripping tight. Callous and cold. I try to pry it off. But I cannot.
I grasp the wrist.
Suddenly I feel warm fingers on my throat and a sickening truth shines in my mind.
I hold the chain.