The following is a short dialogue I penned last night over the course of introspection and the Common Good.
Bear in mind, Caesar was stabbed for the Common Good.
That being said, and only one allusion to a mighty historical figure being made, I hope you’ll view this allegory for what it is.
Ah, yes; what is it?
As I tell my students: figure it out.
Cheers for now.
“What do we do Vice,” his Counterpart mumbled through beer-laden breath.
Vice twirled the lit cigarette about his scrawny fingers, passing the burning torch from one digit to another, the way a gambling charlatan would palm a discreet card. Beautiful unto itself, but a very dangerous episode should one discover the inherent deceit behind the charade.
“Vice?” he said. “Vice? Are you listening?”
With sleight of hand, the ember was suddenly pursed between sneering lips, a plume of smoke reminiscent of an exhaling dragon, as Vice merrily puffed toward demise.
“Comrade,” he said between long breaths, “whatever do you mean?” His devilish eyes glinted in the twinkling moonlight, the two of them sharing the backyard patio with crossed starlight, booze, and smokes.
His Counterpart chewed on his own cigarette, trying to find the words in the moistened tobacco. “Vice,” he spit, “you know what I mean.”
He laughed. He always laughed. Didn’t matter if someone had died or the Way was lost, but Vice always had to laugh.
“What do we do,” his Counterpart blurted. “What in blazes are we to do?” He waved the paper about, dispelling the clouds of exhaled smoke between the two. E’er the best of friends – and the kindest of enemies – Vice was the only one he could turn to in such circumstances.
Vice said nothing, merely puffing along his merry cherry, watching as the bright ember contrasted with the dull night.
Too much cloud coverage and far too much smoke.
“Give me that,” he finally resigned, grasping the paper from his Counterpart’s flailing arm. Even in the muddy starlight, Vice could make out enough of the details plastered against the stark white paper.
Do you wish to be employed with this School District next near?
□ Yes, I would like to be employed with this School District.
□ No, I would not like to be employed with this School District.
Vice mused over the document, turning it this way and that, breathing his rancid smoke over the document a hundredfold afore he passed it back to his Counterpart with a weary sigh.
“Comrade,” he started, “what say you?”
For the briefest of infinite moments, his Counterpart merely stared into the empty void that was the sky. The moon was long gone – hidden by innumerable clouds of Nature and man – and only the faintest of stars bothered to keep sentinel over the two warring allies.
A lengthy pause passed between the two, punctuated by the distinct sound of burning tobacco being inhaled, and the necessary exhalation to follow each breath.
“Vice,” he finally whispered, “I am at a loss.” Vice chuckled. “I owe them this much at least to return.”
With vitriol, Vice spat upon the dry grass.
“You owe them nothing,” he grimaced. “They owe you.”
His Counterpart remained silent, dead as the night.
“Have they – those blackguards, those out-of-touch miscreants – not jerked you and your cohorts around long enough?” He inhaled. “Those bastards in Administration know nothing. They deserve nothing.” He exhaled.
His Counterpart stared into the empty night sky – even the rustle of wind was lost upon the conversation.
“My charges, Vice. What of them?”
Vice lit another cigarette, discarding the spent butt into an e’er present, empty beer can.
“They will manage” he exhaled.
“You,” he grinned, “will manage.”
His Counterpart stirred within his seat, the mostly dead grass chafing under his soles. “What of my charges, Vice?” he asked again. “Are they to manage without me? To learn under another’s tutelage?”
Vice laughed, nearly choking upon his smoke; clearing his throat, he brought his sickly face to that of his Counterpart.
“You believe yourself God’s gift to teaching, do you?” he laughingly spat. “Ah, fortune favors the bold, but idealism favors the foolish.”
He chuckled to the stillness.
“What did your Grandfather say afore his passing? If you believe yourself irreplaceable, put your finger into this bucket of water; then draw it out. See how rapidly the water fixes the breach.”
“Thou, Comrade, art nothing more than a puppet upon a string; to be paraded and marionetted about as one would a rag doll. Those,” he pointed southward, “bastards at Central know naught. What difference does it make if you stay or go?” He drew a long drag from the dwindling cigarette.
“You are lost to history,” he finally whispered.
With disgust, his Counterpart hurled his near-empty beer about the yard, the distant splash of spirits against garage indicating he found his mark.
“Dammit, Vice,” he spat through clenched teeth, “I seek you for advice; not mockery.”
“My raison d’etre is to offer advice, Comrade.” He inhaled. “Doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll like nor accept it.”
He lit another cigarette.
“Look, Comrade,” he began, “admire the beauty of this predicament for a moment.”
His Counterpart sat in stillness.
“On the one hand, your blackguards – whom you vehemently distrust and grow weary of e’ery passing moment – have offered you respite from near-poverty. This is a good thing.”
“On the other, opportunity awaits.”
“Options remain open, Comrade, and a decision need not be made so rashly.” He sucked at the cherry between his burnt fingertips.
Vice returned to flicking the cigarette about his hands, enjoying the simplistic mirth such actions could bring a deranged soul.
With trepidation, long lost in thought, his Counterpart found his ailing voice.
“What of my colleagues? My superiors?” he queried.
Vice exhaled. “Fuck them.”
“And my charges?” he asked.
“And I?” he whispered.
Vice cackled into the darkness, his mad laughter lost upon the night.