The Dead Man and the Cure The desert was the apotheosis of all deserts, huge expanding into dusty nothingness in all directions. The dying man walked and his footfalls puffed indifferently. He did not know how much longer his feet or his soul would carry him. His death was certain, for they all had told him. He knew his doom and the incurable pain of the world gone mad. He had visited the church and the ones in robes said he was damned by whatever gods they prayed to. He had studied at the academy in an attempt to find answers to his affliction, but found only the stench of scholarly bull-shit. He had placed his heart in the hand of whore-oracles in a quest for the one solution only to be shattered and sucked like a dry husk. He grew closed to the death and the depth of being, which he hated. He had come to the desert with dead eyes and will to burn. He walked the walk of the last rited and welcomed the sting of the dry sand when it would touch his lips. He walked on and felt the last essence drain the will removing itself. He stared into the open space of a cold- fire heaven fell to his knees and performed the act of contrition for he had embraced the fate of the hollow empty man he had become. In gasp he fell total into the flatness of the wasteland and waited to die. The world was colorless to him before, but now it was black. Later in the curious muse of time a dark natty haired French-man and his beautiful companion with a case came upon the fallen man. The French-man took one look at the man and knew what he must do. The French-man leaned over and placed a small magic plastic puck in the man’s flannel and showed him the life of fun and camaraderie like a brother. They showed him the gift of crazy times, the Zen of air-hockey, and appreciation of odd theatre. Still he lay and they walked away, but before the French-man left he yelled "SHOTGUN!" The dead man stirred the tiniest bit. Next a woman loud and wild came to the man. She picked up his head which where the skin had pulled tight against his body opened his lips and placed a small brightly colored piece of candy in his mouth. The joy of unconditional hugs and a listening ear tweaked at the corners of his taste buds. The man still dead moved a little more. A few moments later an angel appeared over the man. She was very powerful, but also very sad. She saw the man how he could be and all the accomplishments of a future in the light he must undertake. She touched his forehead and gave him hope and he stirred more and returned part of his future to her. They were old souls and would not allow each other to drift in the desert of night. The man still immobile began to feel the nibble of a little feisty lizard on his ear. The lizard whispers the secrets of clothing style to the man and illustrated the joys of her homeland to him. The lizard understood and did her best to let him now how much he has mattered. There where others that came. One man left a mark on his face and showed him how not to care what other people think. The man’s brother who looked a little like Santa told him of great adventures on a high plateau. With the flash of the only cure the man’s cold eyes flew open and he no longer saw the desert. He saw the painted world alive with the love of people who cared. There was no one cure for the man, but all the visitors gave the man what he needed at the time. They gave him a piece of themselves. The man walked on and scanned the horizon, to the painted desert and the hills like white elephants ahead, nothing had changed in the scope of physical reality. He, however, had been changed. The cure of his visitors had awakened him to the essence of life and all the possibilities that those who give bring. He walked on seeing the faces of his visitors every step for the rest of his long life.