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September 29, 2001


To master the Beast is to reduce Him to a stalker.  At best, He is a nagging fear, a gnawing ache.  You know He is in the forest across the clearing watching and waiting.  So you continue in a wide, arc-shaped dance knowing you cannot enter the forest and hoping He doesn't come out.

I have a large picture-window through which I can see the public park that is the backyard of my rent-house.  I have taken to staring at it like a big-screen TV.  On Thursday, I was drawn to the window by a disturbance silent and shapeless.  At first, I saw nothing but the serpentine jogging path that carries the would-be-fit through the park like a conveyor-belt in a beautiful factory.  I narrowed my eyes to a squint.  Nothing.  So I closed my eyes and, in the distance, I could just make out the Beast.  It was as though I were looking at Him through the wrong end of a telescope.

The weather had turned unseasonably crisp and cool and clear.  The Beast loves such weather.  And in the coolness I broke into a hot, panicked sweat.  By Friday, the telescope had been inverted and He was so close I could feel His sweet, warm breath.  I closed my eyes and ran blindly, but I put no distance between us.  The harder I struggled, the closer He got until He was inside me showing me pictures of couples in love and happy families.  He stooped so low as to show me the Normal People laughing in bars, sharing secrets and getting loosey-goosey warm and familiar.

I went home Friday afternoon and appeased the Beast with loneliness.  Then I subdued Him with the only weapon in my arsenal.  I slept.

©  2001 by the beastmaster