Democratic Underground

Truer Words Never Spoken
April 5, 2001
by Johnny_Red

I was sitting in a comfortable corner of the bar with my notebook. We were drinking Guinness and Baileys and talking about the old days, the happy days, the Fonz... I was well into my third or fourth Irish car-bomb when a big biker-looking dude took the stool next to me and ordered a Bud. I was a little annoyed, seeing as the rest of the bar was pretty much empty and I wanted to prove I wasn't an alcoholic by getting drunk with my notebook instead of just by myself.

So I retreated into my conversation with my notebook and Guinness, until this dude said, "Hey!" I looked him over. He was indeed big, and was wearing a dark leather jacket, which is what gave me the peripheral impression of a biker. However, under that jacket he was sporting a bright tie-dye and a thick rope of bead necklaces. This guy was an older Indian of some kind, I could judge by his dark complexion and dark hair and the angular craggy shape of his face. I couldn't really get a good look at his face in the indirect lighting of the bar.

"Whats up?" I asked, trying to emanate my annoyance at being disturbed without being rude to a guy that could beat me black and blue. He didn't seem to notice. "You a writer?" I couldn't deny it, I had my pen in my hand.


"Want to hear a story?" I looked around: the place was nearly empty, I couldn't just say 'No my girlfriend's over there' or 'Actually I was about to leave' because my Guinness was still 2/3 full. This was the first time in my life that I have ever been annoyed at a nearly full pint of Guinness that wasn't spilled all over my leg.

Swallowing nervously, I said "Sure."

"In the beginning, before the first man stood up out of the dust, the different parts of his body were fighting about who was gonna be in charge." He took a sip of his beer and looked significantly at me. I nodded and tried my best to keep a straight face, then decided to hide my incredulous grin in my beer. Was he trying to convert me to some kind of weird nature cult?

He went on, "First the brain said, 'I should be in charge! I make all the decisions, I am obviously the best suited to control this body and guide it down a rational path to safety and happiness.' The legs, however, disagreed. They said 'Who will be carrying this body down the righteous path? We will! We oughta be in control, without us the body would never see the sunset from the top of the mountain, or get back home after a long day's work. We are the best choice to control this new body.'"

He leaned forward and ordered another beer from the bartender. "But then," he said, "the heart spoke up, and said 'I am the repository of happiness, and I am the well spring of life. Without the flow of my blood this body is no more, and without my consent a smile will never cross the face of this man which we all call home. By all rights I should be in charge!'"

The Indian paused for a minute and contemplated his beer. "I have to take a leak... I'll be right back." The bastard left me hanging. He was a good story teller, and even this strange little creation myth had drawn me in. I ordered another Guinness and pondered the meaning of this random encounter. The dude didn't even introduce himself. Weird.

He slipped back into the stool next to me without a sound. He moved with a grace not often to be found in big dudes in leather jackets.

"Finally, there was one more body part interested in running the show. 'I wanna be in charge,' piped up the asshole. It gave no reasoning, nor any passionate speech concerning its merits as a leader. In fact, all it did was squeeze. The rest of the body was dismayed! They were growing more and more uncomfortable by the minute, each organ having less and less space due to the backlog in the intestines.

"Finally, the heart and the brain and the legs and all the rest said 'Enough! You're killing us, flooding us with poison! We concede, you can be in charge.' So the asshole let go, and with a resounding 'Phhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhht' took control of the human race. The rest of the organs were finally able to breathe again, and even though they were being ruled by perhaps the least worthy among them, the pressure was gone and it was good.

"This is why a nice big BM feels so damn good, and this is why assholes are always in charge." With that, the Indian pounded the rest of his beer and slipped off into the night. I sat dumbfounded, not knowing whether to laugh or cry.


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