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Bald Man

I am a street dweller; a creature of the night. Central Park is my half-time home. There are many who live life like I do. We come out at midnight and live aimlessly, stumbling through the park, rambling, starting conversations with strangers, exchanging madness for madness. We know nobody; we are bohemians of the first degree. We never meet the same person twice.

There was a philosopher called Diogenes who carried a lantern around, searching for "one honest man." He never found one. Nobody has a soul; nobody is real. That is our code. We live like Diogenes, searching for one honest man, one with a soul, one who we can rely on.

Nobody had a soul, truly. But on this cool October night, I was ready to break this bohemian code of living, to know somebody. For I had stumbled on an exceptional bald man. We discussed modern times and our lifestyle. He was as simple as could be. He had no thought for politics, no issue you could name concerned him. He was a simple man. A man with a soul. An honest man.

I arranged to meet with him at the same place in a week. He did not care to follow the code of us bohemians, as he followed nobody, and agreed. I met him again, just as arranged. I asked him all sorts of things. It was a grand conversation. For the first time in my life, I knew pure and simple joy. I was talking with an honest man. Sadly, that joy would soon be crushed. For he failed to keep the next appointment. I was not let down, for I knew no honest man could survive in today's world.

Honesty and a soul are valuable qualities and easily lost. However, expecting him to arrive, I waited all night, drinking the absinthe that the poets of the early 20th century did. I valued absinthe, it was my substitute for honesty and a soul. Absinthe has strange qualities. I've often wondered if it causes delusions that stray us from reality or if it gives us another sight. I let myself slip into the void, and let visions fill my eyes. Things that lived like me began to walk past me; things that had no place, no home, dwellers of the night, older than Diogenes, older than men.

The bald man never arrived, and the day came. I stayed in that spot all day, waiting for the bald man. Day always was too real to me. I even fell asleep several times. The cool air of night and the pure fluidity of what we call reality in those hours is my world. We have lost the secrets that primal things held, the secrets of honesty and how the world works, replacing them with the artifice of science and religion. Night fell, and I was about to swallow more absinthe. Lo and behold, though, the creatures of old, the glorious primal fears of man at the very dawn of man, had not left my vision.

The bald man was even among them, walking with them, being simple and honest, living their way. I attempted to converse with him, to know more about his simple way of life, but he was completely deaf to my words. Why, after all, should a man as honest as him bother himself with just another bohemian such as me? I was unworthy, and I knew it. In shame so ever rough, I swallowed more absinthe. More creatures of the night began to walk among the dark road. Checking my watch, I noticed that not a minute had passed since night had fallen. That bothered me not. Eternal night would be so glorious, so honest, and so pure.

I watched the primal fears of man and their mannerisms. They were so incorruptible that I wondered how men had strayed from their path of simplicity and pure beauty. Wanting to see more, I swallowed more absinthe and began giving myself doses of opium: the purity of purities. The sacred things now grew solid and tangible. What a blasphemy modern society is to have removed them! The bald man even grew solid and tangible, and we conversed as we had in nights past.

I had no opinions anymore; not a care for modern society. I had grown simple and pure like the bald man. I began to walk like these primal things, talking with the bald man, and not a minute passed. I was living the life of these beautiful creatures, older than men. Eternal night has fallen on me. I live honestly and purely, for I no longer live.

If one does care to become honest and pure, dwell in Central Park when night has fallen. The bald man or I might decide to converse with you. Make appointments with us, and have absinthe and opium ready. You may be lucky enough to become pure, to become true, to live honestly, and to live no longer.