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"Graffiti Problem"

Sirens. Tim and Dante, fearing that the police are after them, look over to Greg as he finishes up on a piece of work he had thought up. Finishing up, Greg realized the prescience of his friends eyes upon him. This broke him out of his artistic hypnosis and he realized the impending doom of cops that were coming. The friends threw all their spray bottles, paint and tools in their big brown supply bags. The boys head out to Tim's house whom they are staying the night at on this glorious Saturday night.

Once there they talked of their nice works of that night and future planned works. Also they joked about all the little things in their lives. Considering the difficult times they have in their poor neighborhood it seems that these three boys can always find a way to make each other happy. Dante it seemed was being quiet throughout the conversations, only making meek comments. Looking over at him, Greg noted to him that he seemed pretty quiet this night and wondering if he was alright. Dante slowly exhaled and let out with a lot about how he dislikes the local gangs and how they deface the artwork that the boys try so hard to make. The other boy's knew that this was deeper, for they too hated this and used to talk about it all the time too. But after they tried to do something and found it too dangerous to try anything they gave up.

Dante was obviously deeply troubled by something and both the other boys knew why. Greg taking the incentive states right out, "Its the drugs isn't it? Your getting mad 'cause its been a while, aren't yah? You don't need them you know. You can deal without them man, they just aren't worth it. You also know that its those dough bags that you are supplying with money dude." Dante knowing that all this is the truth, gets madder and glares over at Greg. Tim sensing the hostility tried to make a joke to calm the mood, but at a loss. After sitting there for a little while in silence, Dante picked up his hole-ridden coat from the the beat up couch and left without a word. Greg and Tim spent the rest of the night mostly in silence with only small comments between them.

The next morning Greg decided to head off to Dante's to say that he is sorry and to give him his bag full of art tools. Tim had to find odd jobs for that day to help support his family. On arriving to Dante's, right off when Dante answered Greg could tell he went out after leaving the night before. Dante was calm and eyes were still slightly red. Dante let Greg in and both friends said their sorries and hugged. Dante then went on to confess how much he hated life and that the drugs were making him feel much better. Greg tried, as he always does, to convince that the drugs are useless. He told him how its wasting all Dante's money, money he needed dearly. And he is being hassled constantly by the police over it, more so then the police bother them about the "graffiti" as they call it. Dante feeling, though Greg's words are true, he just can't stop. He told Greg that the drugs are his only escape other then making art. He talked again of how he hates life and that school grades, police and just living in such a poor state makes him sick. Greg not knowing what to do, just went and hugged his friend. Both boys soon realizing what time it was and that it was probably best to get working for some money in some way or another.

Tim and Greg met up in their spot late in the night with their art supplies and started talking about their day while they waited for Dante. They never talked about their art until they were all together. Greg felt really urged to express himself tonight more then usual. It seemed that talking with Dante put him up for many good ideas. Hour after hour they waited but Dante never showed. The friends starting to worry more and more about their friend. They soon decided to head out to their homes because the dangerous gangs were coming out and they were not particularly liked among them. They figured they will find their friend at school the next day and he will have a reasonable explanation for his absence.

The next day after arriving at school and having their daily body and backpack search, Tim and Greg were both told by a fellow student that the main office wanted them to go their instead of their first classes. Once their they saw Dante's mother and a officer sitting there. Dante's mother was crying her eyes out it seemed. The cop then started asking questions about Sunday and what they did with and talked about with Dante. Tim having not seen him didn't have anything to say. Greg realizing that this was serious and despite his hatred of police told him all that he and Dante were talking about on that day. The officer thanked him for his honesty and started filling out a paper. Both boys stood there shocked and confused. Finally Tim came out and asked what was going on. The officer just blinked a few times and looked over to the mother. Dante's mum, wiped the tears away from her eyes and told them that Dante had killed himself on Sunday when she was at work.

Both boys stood there and gasped in horror. Tim's legs started to feel weak and he almost collapsed as he grabbed a nearby chair. Greg started to cry after realizing that he could never see his dear friend again. He was mad at Dante that he could do such a thing, but he still loved him and will never forget his greatness. The secretary at the office told the boys they can go home for the day, if they wanted. The boy's decided that this was best as they had to coop with it. They gave the mum a hug and left. The boys soon realized they couldn't have nights together anymore because the pain. They soon drifted farther and farther apart. Later on Greg started to have solo nights and took up even risking it in the day. The ideas that came to him were wild, everywhere and needed to be expresses. It seemed that Dante came out from the grave and entranced him with all these new ideas. One day a famous artist noticed him making a piece and came up to him with a offer. Now Greg dedicates all his works to Dante and in memory of.

"The Man"

The man is quite odd. I have known him for a long time yet we donít seem to think that counts for anything. I talk to him every now and then, usually at night it seems. Whenever I do talk to him it seems to be an argument, but nothing like a fight, just a looking at facts and running them over again amongst ourselves. Always disputing each other and agreeing over some of the smaller things. We rather enjoy it actually, I can tell he does. As long as I have known him he always seems to confuse me, but not in a bad way its more of a light knowing that he isnít exactly set in stone and always knows of ways to surprise me. He never is extremely terrible with surprises either because he seems to be good hearted.

The man intrigued me so much that I had to follow him around one day out of his sights so as to not interrupt his natural activities. As I did I noticed his more reserved side he always tells me about, of course I have never seen this because we have always been forward with each other. He would walk about with speed and decisiveness, as though he were late. Though some times it was true he seemed to do it all the time. Even when he did little tasks like eating he would truly absorb the food, it seemed. Also another thing that set me back was that he would look around, at what, I didnít know at first, but I was watching his head jerk left and right scanning somewhat and targeting on something. Once I followed his gaze I noticed that he was looking at people for the most part and but also other things. He would look in their face and move up and down at their attire and movements. The whole thing made me sort of giggle, because it reminded me of a robot in one of those sci-fi movies would scan a person or an object find out some kind of information. All the day he didnít seem to smile much, but I know this man well enough to say he is happy. After his day of usual busy activities he went home and rested, along with finished some lesser business it seemed. All he seemed to do while there is sit around and be well rather dull by others standards, but his expression showed joy.

The man, later in a conversation, told me more about himself. I had asked to know more about him in general. He just smiled and told me he was a romantic and a thinker. He sort of didnít know anything else to say other then that. Though he told me even if he is a romantic he will not let his love for others take him and let himself be hurt too easily by others. He seemed proud that he was able to stand up for himself. He also went on to say though a thinker he wonít let his thoughts consume or destroy himself or others. He told me that he sort of can see many perspectives and look through anotherís eyes seemingly well, or so he thinks. In the end he stated of the top things he possesses seems to be his respect, his respect for himself and others. In the end though some things cleared up I believe he was confused about himself still and somehow I ended up being more confused then I was at the beginning. So we both continued on and did our usual arguments.

"The Judge, the Wings and the Sting"

The Great Judge judges us all.

You go around the arid Desert happy and free caring. The Judge always warning of the impending weight that will be put upon you, but how can there be such things in such a happy place where no one can harm you. There the Judge stands following you and holding two big black Balls that look like steel. He descends his eyes over all your movements and the Balls change size...sometimes bigger, sometimes smaller. Every now and then a Sparrow flies in and drops pebbles into the Balls and they grow with the pebbles size. Some Sparrows will fly in and with their talon rip out a pebble as if the balls were water. These sparrows though all of them similar on the outside give you different vibes. Some make you feel like you know them. Some give out an alien feeling. But always you seem to either recognize or not know what or who these sparrows are.

As you play in the desert, running and singing and laughing and throwing rocks. You soon come upon a cliff. Here at the edge the Judge holds out the Balls and drops them nearly off the rock-side. You watch and so realize some things that horror you. The Balls are extremely heavy and connected to a chain. At the other end lie your legs as you're pulled slightly over to the Empty Gorge. Inside lies a deep dark and certainly death. You can look at the Judge but he simply backs off and watches. For now you look at that cliff coming slowly closer as your shoes drag on the dry dirt and you realize how easy it would be to give up and just fall. The weight already bringing a bead of sweat to your brow, you wipe it off and pull back.

You feel positive you can pull yourself out with each tug but then you realize that the Sparrows seem to be aggravated by this. They swarm you and cut at you with their beaks and talons. Some you know, some you don't as with before. They give just warnings it seems...maybe they simply want you to take the plunge. This you consider it more and more with each graze on your skin. Still you pull back on the Balls and Chain and you watch in amazement. It seems there were more Sparrows around and seeing you in distress they assemble around the Balls and Chain, and then they clasp them and pull with you. Others from this group seem to try to hold off the other Sparrows. Whether they joined because they saw you not give in or they joined because they felt familiar to you, you might not ever know. Maybe there was some other reason as well.

Then as you Struggle, with Sparrows with and against you, you remember something...a fleeting memory in the sand. There was a mouse being pursued by a great Serpent. Clearly the mouse would lose this race for its life...and you remembered banishing the snake away with some carefully aimed rocks. Then you looked upon the mouse and it became a Sparrow same as these around you. You looked back and the snake was turned into a Sparrow as well and they both flew off. Many different memories came back now and you pulled even harder.

Somehow amongst the Pain and Torture from the Pulling and the Sparrow attacks the Balls were pulled clear and you looked at the Judge. The Judge walked over and looked at you. It was then that you realized this wasn't a normal judge in everyone else's sense...his cloak with hood covering his face. Dark inside but not evil. You stared at him and thought a change in lighting revealed his face but what you saw you don't know. Maybe it was you...maybe it was Him...maybe it was the world. The Judge lifted the Balls up once more and the weight was gone. The Balls shrank again to almost nothing and you continued in the eerie but pleasant Desert once more. This time you felt sure you knew what to do.