Scylla the Rock

Scylla the Rock
October 28
Rogue Soldier Bad Cop I always believed in redemption through violence until I became crippled and retired. Now I seek redemption through forgiveness. "...fear, that secret fear that follows every professional to the grave. Namely, that one day, out of a past so complex that he himself could not remember all the enemies he might have made, one of them would find him and demand the reckoning."-LeCarre "Men die and they are not happy"- Camus


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APRIL 29, 2011 1:21AM

Doc Departed

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"Men die and they are not happy."-Camus
     Doc died in my arms.  On the filthy, dirty floor of a YMCA gym as I shouted and then screamed, "Stay with me!  You fucking stay with me Doc!", while I craddled him in my arms he blew his last breath into my face and departed.
    I was new, I was stupid with strength, I was hired as a hammer.  A metropolitan southern city hired me as the new director of internal affairs for the police department.  I was 35, a very hard man, a hammer, I was invincible.  The first day I fired my entire staff; cops back to patrol and civilians off to some other city job.  I was hated, I received death threats, I didn't care, I was a fucking hammer. I was in The Life and thought I could survive unscathed, I underestimated the cost.  No one escapes the Life unscathed.   I would pay later.
    I needed a gym to lift weights and the YMCA offered 20% off for city employees.  There were 6 to 8 of us that arrived each morning at 0530 hrs for serious iron.  A couple of juicers, a few cops, a fireman, me and Doc.  I had been lifting weights since I was 13 and I knew the iron pile protocol; keep your head down, don't look up, work hard and show up each morning.  After a few months I was accepted by the group and acknowledged as a serious lifter.
    That Doc and I gravitated to each other was no surprise in hindsight.  Doc was a marine, served in Viet Nam during the Tet offensive I was retired army and looked the part. Brethren in combat and blood.  We started out spotting each other thru heavy lifts and eventually began working out together.  Doc was a psychiatrist at the local state university medical center saving those the State deemed insane as best he could and I was a fool rooting out corruption in a corrupt system.  We would both soon suffer for our sins.
    I would falter and fall first.  After doctors had taken a drill and a saw to my skull then split my brain in half reaching deep into the third ventricle only to have my tumor erupt into a bloody mess, Doc arrived two days later.  "You look like shit Scylla but your chart looks good.  Get well."  And the he was gone.
    6 months later I was back to the early heavy iron.  Doc had a son, an Army Officer.  We would speak of this son often as we lifted and grunted and sweat.  Our only goal was to wrestle gravity for mastery of the heavy iron.  Then my health began to tank and Doc could not help being a doctor.
As I began a slow death Doc was there. When my doctors wanted to remove four of my vertebra Doc was at the gym to guide me, "They want to get ahead of this Scylla.  Better four vertebra now with clean margins then letting this go to who knows what.".  The next day Sarah and I approved the surgery and I signed the forms granting my medical files open to Doc.
    Later on it was part of a lung and some upper intestines that they wanted.  Doc told me, "You've no choice Scylla.  It's coming to kill you so have the surgery, take the treatments and then fight to gain your strength."  So we did this too.  Six months and I was back to the iron pile.  In accord with our machismo and distain for weakness Doc and I would only speak of workouts and his son.
    Two days after Easter that year, early morning we shuffled into the gym.  Warm up and stretch.  Doc caught my eye, "My son is here and I want you to meet him he'll be back from his run soon."  Grand.  Now to the iron.  As I finished my first set I looked over and Doc was hanging from a pull-up bar, stretching.  More weight. Another set.  I look over to see Doc fly backwards into the wall as if he received an electrical shock.  Then Doc slipped down into a crumpled mess.
    I know death.  I've shot men and stabbed men and strangled men.  Death is an instant off switch for the body.  Dead men fall to the ground, just as Doc had.  I ran to Doc, pulled him away from the wall.  Not breathing, pupils staring and fixed, no pulse.  CPR.
Even after just taking the class I can not remember; is it 15 compressions to 2 breaths or 20?  Or is it 30?  I decide on 18.  I push and pump and push and breathe and breathe.  Doc rasps and gags.  I turn to a gaggle of juice heads and yell to call 911.  They run off like mice.
    Then Doc dies.  It is just that simple.  I am on the floor holding him in my arms when he rattles and exhales and lets go.  I am fixed, I begin CPR anew even though I know in my heart that CPR is all stage acting now.  20 minutes, a crowd gathers, 3o minutes Doc is still dead and the EMTs arrive.  They try and shock Doc back.  This does not work.  I meet Doc's son at the rear of the ambulance.  I have tears he does not.
    So Doc died and I could not save him.  Could I save anyone?  I banished these thoughts.  I am Scylla the Rock...on my good days at least.
On 6 May a few years later I am at the bar in the New Orleans Airport waiting for my son to pick me up.  He is late.  My phone rings.  It is the coroner...I scream into the abyss and the abyss screams back.
    I've failed my family and friends.  My son is dead, Doc is dead.  I am dying.  No one escapes the Life intact.  I am Scylla the Rock, I am unredeemable. 
"I dont' care to to stay with the living."-N. Merchant
"Take note of what you seek, for it is seeking you."-Anon

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Scylla... I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your friend... And your son. You are a wonderful writer and as hard as your posts are to write, they let me, the reader feel your pain. I think you are too hard on yourself... I'm glad to have "met" you here and that we are taking this journey through our pain together. Take care, my friend.
So, do I say this incredible writing, the best ever.. or does my heart beat and pulse with each line between life and death here.
well. Scylla you know the answer as this is not our first late night
meeting. I will leave it at caught my heart.
Sorry if I was too abrupt. You are a brilliant writer. Better to have tried something brave and failed than not to have attempted anything. Write more about running the cop shop. Fascinating. I have major depression. You sound depressed to me. Would meds help?
Ahh, Scylla. I've never known anyone who was as hard on themselves as you are. I'm sorry for the horrible losses you've suffered in life. I wish you peace, my friend.
Stunning writing.
you are a fascinating person!!!!! honestly; you have accomplished far more than most people; you will live forever in your beautiful writing here; I will never forget you. if you can, write some more about your life-- believe me, it will never be forgotten here; you are that rare person who has a special spark
You couldn't save them but you're helping save me, perhaps someone else too. It's not enough but it's something, maybe it will serve some purpose down the line. You wrote you're seeking redemption, now it comes by speaking the truth without running or backing down. The truth is the last hammer you have, the heaviest one.

Your hands have done those things for us, your ears heard the death rattles, your eyes saw the life leave many. Your mind carries all those memories of sights, sounds and touch that no one wants to speak or think of. I hear what you paid for in blood, yours, your friends, your enemies and your son's. You lived it and you speak it and it cost us nothing.

What lies ahead of you has been in my mind and heart. I have no words that will comfort you, my apologies and sorrow won't heal you. I'm here to say I heard the truth and I won't refute it. You've cut more of yourself away than the doctors have, what remains is what's beautiful. I hate the price you paid.

I won't lie to you, you failed to save them. I failed at much lesser things, knowing that also won't comfort you. You know all this but considering what's behind and ahead of you, you can blame yourself or do whatever you need to keep walking. And you will walk this one too because you must. Because you are not a thing, you're Scylla, a man. In the end there is Grace.
You have not failed. You are grand. Your writing is so full of pain and humanity. I have mad love for you, Scylla. Please, stay strong.
I hated to read the tag "my continuing failure". You did not kill them, you tried to save. That is admirable. Your writing is amazing. My heart goes out to you Scylla.
I too have watched more than one person have their last breath. It is out of our hands even though we want to take control of all situations. I hope someday you find peace in the face of all this adversity that follows us around. R
"Since the order of the world
is shaped by death,
musn't it be better for God
if we refuse to believe in Him?"
..."The Plague", Camus.
"The vision of Christ that thou dost see
is my vision's greatest enemy:
thine is the friend of all mankind,
mine speaks in parables to the blind"
...."The Everlasting Gospel", Blake

For me, God is a Trickster.
The so-called "lessons" He teaches us
are hard-core.
After all, He is God, the hardest hombre in the world.
Peter, who has somewhat..petered his rock.

I picture God as that law professor in "Paper Chase"..
Kingston, was his name? Hard but inside

I don't see the purpose for these "lessons" unless
we someday graduate. That is my faith.
I feel honored when reading the stories of your life. The courage with which you face these chapters of your life is admirable. -R-
As always, I'm late to the party...but I want you to know that you are in my thoughts - especially now.

Know that you gave him the greatest of gifts... the gift of touch. He knew that you were there Scylla.

Stand tall Son of Stirling (which just happens to be my favorite place on the planet).
OMG that is life sometimes...
Heavy, yes. Perhaps the opening of your novel...and to your return?
I am so sorry I didn't see this as soon as you wrote it. Scylla. What words are there to give you as you write such a piece. How lucky was Doc to have a friend like you. How lucky all of us, Scylla, to begin to know your heart.
Don't know what to say. Is this real? Yes? What heartbreaking stuff. Breaks my heart. Come on. Let me know.
a mutual friend whom i shall not name
(initials ak)
asked me: "how cum no more scylla posts?"
i said he was suffering the dark night of the american soul
experienced only by the desensitized-
longing to be re-sensitized
back to the face he had
b4 he was born..

she got it. she always does. she digs your wisdom,
as do i,
but she=a shy innocent thing
who would never say, "write, motherfucker!"

i wouldn't either. my pal Mr Jones does
Is this real or fiction? Either way, it's gripping. Here's wishing all goes well for you in the next few days.