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A New Jungle (excerpt 2)

Snapping out of his thought, he was alert enough to see two faces had appeared over him and were making threatening gestures with their hands, their eyes barely contained the glee of evil waiting in their radically enraged minds. The one with features carved with an ice pick and dimples from a previous acne condition smiles and giggles maniacally while bringing his fist within inches of Jurgis’ nose. The other impish looking elven eared fellow giggled somewhat less maniacally but more harrowing and threatening just hauled off and punched Jurgis right in the temple. That was the last thing Jurgis remembers for awhile.

Three times knocked out in however long a time frame. Welcome to America he thought as he floated in the darkness of his mind. There was a light but he wanted to sulk for more time. The deep longing for any of it to make sense was there deep within him but he wanted to sit and be in the dark for awhile. Get comfortable with his depression which he felt was returning. The funny thing he thought, depression makes a person not want to leave the bed and also light is generally frowned upon in that instance. A person depressed is a thing unexplainable unless lived through and survived. Jurgis had plenty to be depressed about currently. It all seemed to catch up with him in that moment; his father, his Ona, their child, Israel, his past mentors who were erased by a local gang for 29 dollars and some six cans of beer. Craziness. Pure craziness. Why was all this happening to him within his time frame of arrival into America till now at whatever time, day, hour this was? How would one even begin to tear this apart in their own mind to make sense of it.

“Jurgis,” said a friendly, familiar voice from the past.

“Yes, Ona?”

“Why aren’t you heading for the light?” She asked very politely with a tinge of…

“I think I still have work to do,” Jurgis said very matter of factly.

“Of course you do sweetheart, head for the light so that you may begin.”

“But Ona, I’m not able to right now, I have some bad feelings about it all right now. Let me please sit and stew and have the rain cleanse this darkness from me.”

“Time’s up for that and you know that is not going to solve this.”

“Ona, I miss you,” he replied so very distraught and with a sorrow tinged, pleading voice. That statement went deeper than even he realized. He had never admitted it to himself before. He just tried to always outrun this part of his past. He hated that she was gone. He had learned to love and she had taught him to be able to love and forgive and be a wise, thoughtful man. A far cry from the angry, scared little boy that he had been previously.

“Remember, it was not your fault. None of it. Not your father, not me and most certainly not this circumstance with these people. You always wanted to take full responsibility for the failure of the world and all failures everywhere. They were not yours to feel guilty for. You could either beat yourself up over it forever or you could put the past to good use, go out there, and figure out what the world is going on that all these people keep attacking you. The Jurgis I married wasn’t a coward, scared of his own shadow. He wasn’t ever taken in a fight, even outnumbered. He never had a desire to sit in the dark and let life kick his butt. If that was the case, I never would have picked you out of all those guys vying for my affection. I knew you were the only one capable and worthy of my love. Years we had Jurgis, they were awesome, stop acting like life stopped because my body released my spirit to fly free. Forget all that. Go to the light and go make me proud that I married you then and would do so now if not separated by this Great Divide. I love you Jurgis.”

With a look around he noticed she was gone and the light that was white was brighter and more defined. He headed finally towards it with a feeling like he was floating towards it more than walking. As soon as he reached the light he was able to see that he was in a room. Back from his dream and looking around again and feeling the part of his temple that had been struck by the elven man’s punch. He tried sitting up but was pushed down or held down by something miraculously strong. Jurgis however was feeling much stronger after that dream, vision or whatever a person calls those things. Weird, he thought and simply popped the restraint off and sat up. Feeling slightly dizzy he reached for the table, cot or whatever he was sitting up on. He steadied himself and began feeling for what was attached to his leg. It was a bell shaped chain pulled tight and leading off further into the room in an even more black section of room. He relaxed his leg and tried pulling the bell away from his foot but was unable to do so. He tried yanking it with a little force and felt a little tug at it and some slack gave way to him. He yanked harder and harder, each time bringing more slack to his throbbing tingly leg and more of the bell was slipping off of his leg. He yanked as hard as he could and strained backwards with all of his remaining strength and off it came with a resounding clank on what sounded to be a tile floor.

That probably got his guards’ attention so he jumped down and hid real low just in case. He was bewildered and lost in the void of darkness but he had something he had not had before. Hope. That was his missing ingredient. He girded up his mind with this precious substance and was busy enjoying that long lost sense of reverie towards it when open popped the door and a very bright light proceeded to startle Jurgis’ eyes and leave him in an even worse vision predicament for precious seconds. Then his eyes adjusted marvelously and he leapt up and caught his soon to be attackers arm in mid punch and spun him while jamming his wrist at the oddest possible angle he could to snap it clean off like a knife removing the front hock of a pig. If only he had known that it was Israel he might not have used so much force but I as a person could not blame him, especially since his day was quite ruined by this juncture. Three knockouts are enough to make a person not willing to lose because they have nothing left to lose. Jurgis had his hope back. Jurgis soon sidestepped another attack from the opposite direction and spin kicked him right in the abdomen and laid him on his bottom for a short while. He was looking around for any more dangers when Israel mumbled a great snort of pain from his spot at Jurgis’ feet on the floor. He moaned and groaned and started to cry. That wrist was probably broken thought our friend.

He grabbed Israel by the throat and said “what have I done to you to have to tolerate this?”

“Great question,” snarled Israel. “Now unhand me you goon or I will not call off my dogs when they come for you.”

“You had me knocked out?”

“For your own good,” chimed Israel.

“Huh?” Replied Jurgis in a questioningly magnificent manner which was laced with sarcasm and a touch of irony.

“You see, “ began Israel, “ I have been a very important man from early on in my life and I have been testing you since you arrived here. I have followed you closely and stayed up to date with your progress through this life. I have known you for a long time and wanted to see if you were still the man you were or if you had changed. Until you attacked us this time in defense, you were quite useless to me or to yourself or anyone. I needed you to get your fight back. I know you have had a rough time of it lately but I’m here to help you on the path to changing that. I need you to trust that I’m in this for your good and mine…well, not my wrists’ apparently. You see Jurgis; I have been in need of good workers to help me in my business. I have watched you because of your early endeavors in Tolo’s shop and your rise to respect on the hard and bitter streets where you fought for what was right and stood up for the weaker underdogs. You sparked a passion inside of me that cannot be undone now. I was severely bored with life until I started seeking out my replacement. You happened to be the one I sought intensely for a myriad of reasons.”

“Why would you follow me?” asked Jurgis. “I still don’t understand any of this.”

Jurgis hung his head and accepted finally a moment to accept Israel’s words and there was a peaceful silence. The room was heavy with anticipation and the breathing was intense. All eyes were on Jurgis even though still recovering. They all were nursing what wounds they had received. The one who was thrown against the wall had found an icepack and had placed it on the back middle portion of his head. The wrist of Israel had swollen up a little and was also accompanied by an icepack. Life was waiting on poor Jurgis to accept circumstances and entwine his reality now to what was started from his past. Confusion. Chaos. None of it mattered or made sense to him in this moment. After a long awkward pause, he looked finally around with a sense of bewilderment and understanding.

“You tricked me and beat me and now want me to help you is what you’re saying? You arranged all this and I’ve suffered dearly and now I need to help you? What a load of crap you’re feeding me. How could I trust you anymore after you have proven yourself unworthy of it. I am on the border of knocking you all out and walking out. This is not how you find or keep good help, Israel. This is not even cool. This is incredulous.”

With that Jurgis got up and ripped off his cuff and walked out the door. Israel was smart enough to realize that following him would not be an option after that. Life was weird, sometimes a person would not be able to find good help, sometimes one would lose good help and then other times a dream employee would spit upon the face of a person of responsibility. Wow, thought Israel. What a thing that had happened that was not part of the plan. His original plan had been ruined by the very unfortuitous intervention of the cop and the thugs in the street and the Fourth Street Locker incident. Now it was all crumbling like pumpkin bread that was baked fresh and wrapped up in plastic wrap. This was a new feeling to Israel, a man used to getting what he always wanted and everyone encouraging him along his path to even more riches with people standing in line just to shake his hand. Jurgis sure wasn’t very cooperative and not acting according to his wishes. He simply had to let him walk and hope that he would be alright on his own but bad enough off to be likened unto the prodigal son. To return was Israel’s only hope right now.

Jurgis walked out the front door and was blinded by a light so bright he went blind momentarily. He took a moment while his eyes adjusted and was again lost in thought while waiting. What a weird little place America was turning out to be was resounding through his head as was other thoughts of an even more pressing nature. What am I going to do he asked himself over and over again. What if I never can find a job, what if I am to walk these streets and be beaten by random thugs or crazy tycoons.

He started running, but with a sore leg it was more of a fast walk with a weird Monty Python silly style. He wanted fresh blood pumping and to find somewhere to eat and grab some water for his parched and screaming throat. He fast walked for an hour before coming to rest at a water fountain which seemed like a good place to drink. He did not notice the sign next to it that said a person should not drink this water due to its chemical content. The bugs stayed away from it but poor Jurgis took a great big gulp with his hands cupping it to his mouth. More like funneling it straight into him. If he was even more desperate he might have injected it for how good it made his throat feel for a moment. Moments later after thinking he was satiated, he started to retch violently. His innards felt like they were pushing through his chest and bouncing of his bones. He horked so hard that he thought his veins and his arteries and eyeballs would become fatal upon explosion to himself. Some person on the street saw this all take place and rushed in to help. Jurgis in a frantic motion pushed the stranger and the stranger started dialing for the cops when one drove past and saw the scene taking place.

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thanks for reading. I will post more next week about Jurgis and his interesting life. Until then, tide over with this and ill gladly do a few other posts this week. Thanks you all! keep rocking the freak whirled.

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