Tuesday, May 25, 2010

My Building

Everyone told me I should be proud of the glass and steel monstrosity with its gnarled fingers of art twisting to the top of the tower, looking down mercilessly on the ant sized pedestrians, blocking out the one single thing that I considered a human right: that glowing orb in the sky that I used to count my miserable days on this blue spinning planet. They were erecting it in my honor to say thank you for my years of generosity. My generosity was a poor attempt at repentance for my luck. I smiled politely and told them it would be quite the day when I cut the yellow ribbon! Internally, I would snort, coughing on my own phlegm. I would spit out the globule so it landed and splattered on my shoes and trousers. Dressed to the nines, I was given a respect I didn't come close to deserving. Still, I played the part, keeping my inner most thoughts buried deeply so that they could only attack me in the quietest of nights and the loneliness of days.

I'd made my fortune on the backs of the unfortunate; the ones that simply lost-- right or wrong.. I was one of the "lucky" few who made it through the depression doing better than I had before the world market plummeted, scorching itself on the core of the earth before it began to rise again. At first, I reveled in my profits, literally rolling in money I had enthusiastically thrown on my bed when the market showed promise of return. I quickly grew tired of all the threads that attached the money to me. The parties, the smiles, the cameras and champaign. It was the life of a rock star when all I wanted to be was a recluse. I began giving it away, trying to detach myself from the luck.

The luck wouldn't rub off. I scoured at it, trying desperately to free myself from its grip, preferring to live under a tarp near the unused overpass near my dilapidated house of childhood than attend another ceremony or be sought for financial advice I wasn't qualified to give. I welcomed the night sweats and tremors that overtook me before any meeting, praying that someone with a well trained eye would see my illness and immediately have me escorted from the boardroom or private jet. Wherever it was that the meeting occurred. But it never happened.

Instead, I was given awards for a sense of social justice that was born out of my desire to clean myself of luck. Honorary degrees were bestowed upon me making the entirety of my digestive tract inflame in anger. Sobbing men, women, and children fell at my feet, thanking me for funding the search that lead to their eventual cure. I wanted to kick them in the jaw and tell them their gratitude was misplaced. It belonged to the scientists and thousands of people who gave their lives looking for the answer, not to the man who merely lifted a pen and signed his name on a thin black line. It was beyond irritating.

I tried to give it all away at once, saving not a single cent for myself. Large portions of the money were denied repeatedly due to the enormous tax burden such a gift would illicit on the receiver. That and I was making unfathomable sums of money faster than I could write a check for. The maid takes great joy in polishing the large gold plaque recognizing me as the world's greatest humanitarian in history and the foreseeable future. I feel strangled by it, as if there is a choke collar around my neck and the lead is wrapped around the plaque as a way to remind me of the additional societal expectations placed on me.

Doing nothing was worse. At least repenting offered me some relief from the constant physical ailments. In one sense, I will be glad the building is done as its completion marks the nearing of my final gift to this world. In its construction, I assured a new research facility would be housed, one that would research further into cryogenics and how it truly affects the body. It is clearly written into the contract that I, and I alone, would provide the body that would be frozen and then sliced so thin every cell would be viewable under the microscope. This contingency is buried deep in the paperwork, but it is very solidly there. It was in exchange for the land and covered cost of all the construction.

Along with that paragraph, my will destines all the money to a trust operable under a committee. The members are named, their addresses included, their stipends determined. There will be nothing left except the peace I will find in my icy grave.

*** Prompt provided by Vicki, a follower (of blog sorts) that I greatly appreciate. ***

1 comment:

  1. I can't take all the credit for the prompt as it was part of a post card exchange. Called "if you building it will come" http://www.swap-bot.com/swap/show/61777

    But I do really like this story reminds me a bit of the story of my friends grandmother who owned property at Wacker and Adams in Chicago....Sold it and is more than set for life.....