Surely he’ll call, that fool, said Didi. Being the responsible one doesn’t mean being responsible for everyone. Maturity came hard for him. Should he really be wasting it on others? If you are beside him, you may call him Didi. If you are beneath him, he’s Mr. Albert!
I’m not budging until I hear from him again, that weakling, answered Gogo. It’s funny me, Gogo, being called to help someone. Being weak and helpless and needing protection myself, I can’t fathom what it is I might do for another when I can’t do anything for myself. What is it again that happened? To who? When?
If he really needed help, we’d have heard from him by now, he’s so arrogant, responded Pozzo. I see it all with mine own eyes. This is a scam. But I won’t see it for long, something tells me. I’ve heard of people being blinded by rage or ambition or obsession, but arrogance? condescension? pretension? I guess this makes me one of a kind. Yay for me, I’ve made it!
He didn’t sound like he was in that much distress for someone in a true crisis, he couldn’t even hold a tune, chimed in Lucki. Isn’t it odd that these others, and all others, consider me a fool for dancing and thinking? I’d like to drop the bags I carry for Pozzo and pick up the things lost by our friend. I’d like to be a free man to honor all men instead of a slave to the expectations of these few. These people, most people, don’t care about other people’s matters. Caring is the only thing that matters to me.
So the four coarse men, having heard of a disaster affecting someone they knew, did nothing while their buddy scurried about trying to mend and save and survive. They waited for a greater plea because they were too inundated with their personal concerns. They sat about a leafless tree, and talked ill about the hapless one, who never talked still about any one of them. He was always giving something, and never taking anything. Someone who just lost everything. The four each silently and secretly remembered when this current victim was there for them in the past – in an emotional instant. That was then but probably now – only now – was he considering what his rationale was for helping those four who would never show in the future, this future, for him. But they had it right. The odds are in their favor. If he was truly in a crisis following a disaster, surely needing urgent response, necessarily he would have to call…again. The clock was ticking. Just the farm aspect alone would be a cause for panic. No feed or hay for the livestock. Animal buildings torn asunder from flood waters. Predators finding easy prey on dumb animals left unprotected by their not-so-bright protector; by his now missing oh-so-loyal livestock guardian dog; by his faux-news-and-olds friends – one arrogant, one mental, one mad, one young – who profess that they admire him so much. Surely the put-upon will call…again.
One who showeth kindness to the undeserving is recompensed in the same manner as the aider of the hyena.
What is the cost of a second phone call by someone who cannot afford not to call? Too much pride (or too much pride still remaining)? Too busy (with full responsibility for that which is before him and no one responsible on the other end of the line after him)? Too frantic (with animals dying or dead, with growing black mold and exploding white maggots at his feet, with a timetable for insurance claims and an urgency to put things back the way they were)? He always tolerated sneering comments, abusive retorts, and apathetic attitudes because he was always helpless and couldn’t survive in this world without the support of someone smarter, wiser, and more decisive. Being socially inept, he has nowhere else to go. Although, I wonder what he did before me? Before us? Before the enlightened four? He must have thought he was waiting for some apparition or deity who would never show. When we hear his plea again, all four will be there in a second. Di-di-did you hear me?
If busy is a reason, he has one.
After all of the drinking and teasing and fun I’ve provided for him at my house all of these years, I’ll hear from him again. What’s so hard about making a second plea for help? I suppose maybe the first few days which have already past – since I committed to come over to re-mediate the disaster – might have been time critical. Even urgent. Maybe he’s picking up the remains of dead livestock. To tell the truth, I thought he would have failed, on his own, way before now, let alone him becoming a success, albeit mediocre, in a field, no pun intended, like agriculture, where he had no prior knowledge or ability or aspiration. Yes, he snapped to the task whenever I called him in my need. Now he is snapped in two. But I helped him on occasion, too. Yes, he patiently dealt with my family members, especially one, without complaint or grudge. No, I don’t feel I owe him anything because that would be a sign of weakness. He would take advantage of my gratitude, and my time, so I must never show it. Besides, I forget now why I was supposed to go go help. Help who? Help why? Help when?
The persecutor must be the one to stay angry, because, to admit fault would allow for forgiveness. Stay angry.
We are making too much of this. Everyone of us has greater concerns than this pseudo farmer does, at least I know I do. Look, I have no earned income and I haven’t had it in weeks. If it weren’t for the residuals from my inheritance, I’d be in quite the fix. In fact you’d be paying attention to me and not waiting on a second plea from HIM! He has insurance, let him grow another tail. He has those freaky Jesus people, let him grow a halo, a first halo. He must have known this was going to happen when he bought the place. Buying a property with a creek. A house in a flood plain. Putting his entire retirement on the line so that he could collect big in his senior years when the flood – he all but created – arrived to make him rich and sympathy-ed. Allowing other people, strangers, to clean up the intentional mess, which I before mentionally attributed to HIM. I should have heard from him by now. He owes me that. In fact, he owes me a lot! I know I’m right. I’ve convinced myself of it. What did I just say? Stupid, stupid, stupid.
In the end, we all grow to be cured of our sentiments. Those whom life doesn’t cure, death will.
We’re not posers are we Pozzo?
Let me sing sad praises to us.
I have a dance that may seem loco
But it goes with my mood as I hear y’all cuss.
Didi fiddles with his broad black brimmer
The boots are stuck on Gogo still
They’re not two thieves but surely sinners
Tell a story to off the chill.
My pied piper Pozzo raves and rants
He sees it all but soon sight can’t
Lucki I sing and shuffle dance
Dumb I become but not by chance.
If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs, perhaps you don’t understand the situation.
How many days have passed since? For that matter, what day is it? I notice there are now leaves on our sad tree. Could it be that we are waiting in the wrong spot? The tree was supposed to be leafless. Maybe the foliage is blocking the signal, like it would interfere with a sniper on a cold November day, a sniper who had more noble intent than we. Each of us four waiting saints wax about their interludes with the tragic one. How they had interrupted him, unintentionally, while he attempted to tell them of his dreams. Cutting him off was not intentional, because none were listening in the first place. Why should anyone listen to another’s private nightmares when they have their own, which are of far more importance to everyone still listening. None wanted him to go away. Each was lonely. Each wanted the loneliness to end. They agreed there is a sure way to do that – end this. But as time passes, the inspiration to do-you-know-what-to-you-know-who succumbs to the need to eat and eat they did. Carrots anyone?
Being alone isn’t that bad. It’s better than being lonely.
The wait continues but time stands still. Yet there are now five leaves on the once barren tree. Didi is singing a song about those five leaves. Didi never sings. When Gogo returns he recognizes Didi’s happiness in song and realizes that Didi would be happier alone. In fact, Gogo thinks he would be happier alone, too. Gogo proposes to Didi that they separate. Didi agrees that they both would be happier apart but that Gogo could not defend himself. They must stay together. They start to argue about whether it is now spring, why the tree is now covered with leaves, where the chicken bones on the ground before them came from, how the wound on Gogo’s leg came to be, who took Gogo’s boots and left another pair that fit him perfectly, and finally decide to converse calmly but immediately run out of things to say. Didi grows uncomfortable with the silence.
Life is full of misery, loneliness, and suffering – and it’s all much too soon.
Gogo is starving. Didi offers him something to eat. Gogo does not care for that particular morsel and hands it back. Didi says he’ll go and get him something else that is more appealing to his palate but does not move. Eventually they begin imitating Pozzo and Lucki, with Didi telling Gogo how to pose as Pozzo. Soon this past time turns to anger and insults which continue unto they both are breathless. Emotionally exhausted, they embrace and pace and face another day waiting for Godot.
Hunger knows no friend but its feeder.
While still waiting, they decide to come up with a reason to leave. Didi, the smart one says that, because Godot has insurance, there is really nothing that they can justify doing for him. If he didn’t have insurance, well, it would be an easier thing to justify, helping their friend who was flooded out. Gogo, the dumb one, surmises that Didi’s conclusion is a moot point, irrelevant to the discussion. Didi counters that if Godot had no insurance his situation would be more critical. Gogo offers that, yes, it would be more critical in the long run, but any victim of disaster has urgency and immediate needs and crisis that insurance can not immediately salve, let alone the intangible of lose and devastation. Didi is insistent. The uninsured will have no home of their own until a long time in the future, if at all. Gogo stands his ground and states that Didi’s moot point is still moot, that it is merely a distraction to take back the floor of discussion, and that it is meant to keep Didi the center of attention in a crowd of two. Additionally, if the uninsured deserve more sympathy than the insured, and sympathy is the point, then those who drowned deserve more sympathy than the uninsured. If the uninsured have less opportunity for resilience than the insured, and opportunity for resilience is the point, then the undocumented workers who are discovered by government officials while seeking disaster aid and then deported, then those who are deported have less opportunity for resilience than the uninsured. Finally, Gogo says, if deciding what is the greatest tragedy is the most important thing in this discussion, it is that one person’s actual misfortune is being subservient to a theoretical and impersonal one. Didi grows angrily silent at such a dumb suggestion.
Reason always makes mistakes but conscience never does.
Pozzo and Lucki return. Pozzo is now blind. Lucki stops at the sight of Didi and Gogo. Pozzo runs into Lucki and they fall, along with all of their baggage. Didi is aroused from his self pity at Pozzo’s cry for help. Didi reluctantly tries to help but then falls into the pile with them. Seeing the mess, Gogo decides to leave. Didi begs him to help. He promises Gogo they will leave immediately if he will help Didi up. Gogo relents but also falls down among them. Soon Didi and Gogo start to nap. Pozzo awakens them with his shouting. Didi strikes Pozzo in order to make him stop. Pozzo crawls away and Didi and Gogo call to him but he does not respond. Next, Didi calls to Pozzo, using the name of Cain. Pozzo now responds by crying for help. Didi wonders if Lucki will respond to the name of Abel and so calls out that name. Pozzo responds again. Gogo decides that Pozzo must be all of humanity.
Humanity comes out in a great many forms these days and there is no end to the things a humane person might say or do.