The goings-on of this strange circle in Goshen had, at once, become a nuisance, then he became used to it. He could see the pattern of what they did and better the pattern of who they were. They were seemigly a bunch of spoiled kids and degenerates with nothing better to do than to torment others. They were, it seemed to him, like the types that assumed their supremacy above all back in high school. Those too good for anyone but themselves, not unlike the Socs in the novel The Outsiders. People rotted by a life of priviledge and degeneracy; no moral fiber, no love for anyone or anything, except for this disgusting effluence that might issue forth from the mouths of the loudest among them.
The whole thing was an insult to his intelligence and to his wholesome upbringing; his education, his care for nature, and his compassion for mankind. How things could become the brunt of a very low sense of humor confounded him. Their leader seemed to be a young woman who called herself Music, along with another with the all the decadence of the mystic decay of Ancient Greece, Medea. Medea had a child and prided herself on the fact that she’d managed to keep the party going right through her pregnancy; acid, cocaine, and assorted pharmaceuticals washed down with ample servings of scotch and beer. She rejected God openly and claimed the ancient Snake Goddess as her guide. Both women prided themselves on their ability to manage minor acts of magic, (which Dylan termed Bitchcraft, petty hocus pocus) achieved through the manipulation of the natural forces otherwise reserved for God. They secretly hated men and engaged with them only to procure what they needed to further selfish aims which amounted to little more than an extreme feminist agenda that viewed men as little more than providers of sperm. And as he looked into the disappearance of his painting, Dylan found that Heather was part of their clan; neither as influential or charming as the other two, but not without her abilty to extract and embezzle what she needed for her survival.
The police and State Troopers kept coming back to him with the same message time and again and that too was tiring. They repeated the same message again and again as if he was a two-year-old that didn’t understand that fire was hot. Thanks guys, he’d think. Tell me something I don’t know. “Avoid this, avoid that, this girl’s dangerous.” Mmm hmm, she stole my painting, I think I’ve got ya. I haven’t been near her or any other woman in over a year and haven’t interest in doing so, thank you.
Without knowing it, he’d slipped into paranoid schizophrenia. It was first evidenced with his predilection with license plates and his desperate search for meaning. He’d stopped seeing the importance of his life. On the one hand he felt the world was frustrating his ability to give back. He’d always wanted to be a big giver. The world was holding him back, he thought. And this frustration of his ability to give frustrated him into questioning his existence. Painting, writing, working, none of it afforded him to be the millionaire altruist he dreamed of being as a child. All he’d wanted as a child was to have money to help people with. He was sure, on the surface of it, most people would think his desire to be in a position to give was ridiculous. He was sure they felt that way. He knew it was the way they felt. Money would never be anything but a vehicle with which he could give. It was meaningless as anything else.
He’d seen signs, that this power to give would be forthcoming. But it had already been years since he’d seen these “signs.” Maybe they’d just been mind gamees he’d played with himself, making “signs” out of a yearning to be more and do more for others. Maybe he would always be just as he was; a common person with the opportunity to perform common acts of goodness. Maybe that should be enough, but it felt like settling, settling for being common. Common can be quite righteous, he thought, even noble. Do childhood dreams and aspirations have any place in the lives of full-grown adults?
As he neared the top the hill, he turned around to survey the town of Goshen…
… this, he thought, is heaven on earth and looked to the great stone church in the center of town, then over to the racetrack, and on to the Library and the little carnival at the elementary school. Except for the contaminated public pool, God had spread his Grace on this town for over two hundred years. Population five thousand and holding, all that one needed could be found here if one wished a simple life. Black dirt, Sugar Loaf, the Pines and consistent rain that greened the scene like some enchanted valley transplanted from Ireland. It’s Ireland without the accent, he thought, beauty and love are here, and our accent’s pretty cool too. I love all, he thought, even those who wish me harm. For them my love is a pity for their souls. Their pain must be great.