“You’re free to go.”
The desk sergeant’s admission to permission rang with more irony than it could have at any other time in his life. He’d been awake all night, staring at the artwork and thoughts scrawled on scraps of paper missed at lockup shakedown pasted to the walls with breakfast oatmeal over many years by the many disorderly shut in this box within the box that no longer wanted them, kept awake by adrenalated rage. … free to go …
He was still angry, a rage whose momentum was of such ancient origin that reason held no sway in limiting its inclusiveness. Sure, last night was an outrage, maybe even the biggest straw, but the camel’s back was shattered and he tasted the bitter bile of knowing how he’d allowed others to hold his life in thrall to permission for its entire duration. The fires lit a realization that he was part of a completely saturated society, born free, being told their obligations for continued permission from the first withheld affection to the first understood, “NO,” and for the rest of their life. He’d always sensed the bullshit behind it but never thought about it beyond going along to get along.
Nobody knows who the first person to get away with assuming the authority to grant permission was, but logic tells us that it must have been in an attempt to change the natural course of events and that every newborn was advised of such authority in ever widening circles every generation thereafter.
Folks reacted to his occasional objections as if he were just a spoiled baby. “You gotta tough it out with the rest of us, heh heh,” they’d say.
It got so subliminally uncomfortable one day that he found the son, the American, the husband, father, bread winner, tax payer, home owner, car driver, insurance buyer he'd earned permission to be strolling along a downtown sidewalk imagining he’d just wandered in from the Amazon rain forest watching all the busy people doing who knew what. In consensus reality he was in the middle of his work day when he’d left his drawing board to get another cup of machine coffee to change the stale taste of cigarettes in his mouth, overheard the same joke Johnny Carson told the night before and just kept walking down the corridor of executive offices he’d occupy someday if he kept his nose to the cornerstone, out the door, across the parking lot to his car, drove downtown, parked and his indigenous self emerged. His spirit was claustrophobic. It needed this tiny act of rebellious hooky to get a breath of fresh air for however long he could endure the next sublimation.
His dissatisfaction with maintaining his permission from the stifling stability of the status quo so frightened his wife she withdrew from his dreams of sailing around the world by returning to her family home and withdrawing permission to be with his children. Talking trash and trashing his letters kept them in the dark about their father forevermore. When he had the simultaneous realization that she was not going to return and that he no longer wanted her to, he quit his job, driving his car and cutting his, beard, hair and lawn.
Sitting in the front yard playing music with friends in his new found measure of freedom one day, a crew cut chap from across the street in the IBM ghetto where he lived asked him, “When are you ever gonna cut your grass?”
With a coda strum on his guitar and a shake of his long hair he chortled in reply, “When are you ever gonna get to see the wind blowing through yours?”
That was three weeks ago. Last night there was a knock on the door. The instant the latch clicked open he was rendered unconscious by the door smashing into his face after its being smashed into by several tons of meat. He woke up on the couch to the noise of a foot crashing through the ceiling from the attic as a couple of hundred pounds of the meat remarked, “Gee, that’s not gonna help the sale of yer fancy house. Heh heh.” They charged him with possession of two and a half pounds of cannabis they had to have brought with them; he’d never had more than a quarter of an ounce at any one time in the four months since he’d first tried it, but it wasn’t enough for them. Getting him in a courtroom was?
You’re free to go. Riiiiiiiight!!!