Here Lies The Middle
2 Nov 2022

Now you show up. Now. It’s a good thing too, without you here now we’d all have to be content with just the white oriental lilies and chrysanthemums all lined up like schoolboys next to this fresh pile of dirt – Lord forbid. Suppose it’s better late than never, although we really could have used you back when it was still on life support. Anyway, as they say, let bygones be bygones and there’s just no use crying over spilled blood. Thanks for coming, and yes, it is sad.

Of course, between you and me, there’s no use praising the dead, really, is there? I mean, it’s not gonna know. It just lies there, embalmed by some expert to make all of us a bit more comfortable with appearances – since it was bludgeoned to death by two opposing mobs. I know – totally unreasonable, isn’t it? And such a waste. It never hurt a fly, nor did it offend anyone. And that’s damned hard to do, as you know, these days.

We’ll, I’m not completely sure what happened, and I’m not one to gossip. But… I heard it was walking along, minding it’s own business, when someone from one of the mobs, not sure if it was the left or the right, shouted something taunting and provocative.

For a mere moment, the poor dear, in a flash of anger, retorted.

Well, the one mob got angry and furious real fast. Zero to a hundred in no time flat. And the other mob got ready to step in and defend, but then someone in that mob shouted some completely wild and disproportionate untruth. So, good ole Middle over here, not being one to associate with things that would be too unbalanced either way, turned and said something like “I don’t agree with that either”.

Well. Pandemonium. The first mob declared the poor dear to be the very embodiment of the worst of the other side.

The other side accused it of exactly the opposite, in the same way.

You can imagine the rest. No one knows who actually threw the first punch. But there was a serious beating. Fists. Scratches. Claws. Tears. Stomping. We heard the little ribs crack and someone shattered the ankle as it went down. There was a lot of crying and begging and the poor thing soiled itself – but it just seemed to make the sides angrier.

There were bystanders, yes, but they didn’t want to get involved. They stood back because they didn’t want the fuss to be turned on them. Some of them apparently joined the sides from the back when they started getting those disapproving stares from within the crowds.

Some guys from the one side wanted to call for calm but they were trampled. Apparently they were said to suffer from internalised oppression. One of the prominent members on their side declared that they were enabling the status quo and potentially causing suicides with their callous attitudes.

On the other side? Pretty much the same thing. A few protestors were accused of failing to uphold the common values and traditions of the group, and potentially corrupting the youth. In no time at all both sides were pretty single minded, the onlookers either joined up or left the scene and poor old Middle here… well… you can see.

Not really though because the embalmer really did a good job. Can’t even tell where the temple and forehead was crushed right into the tar. And don’t let that serene expression and rosy cheeks fool you – I heard the whole face was mushy by the time the violence stopped.

Well, yes, it wasn’t really stopped, per se. More like just dwindled. Fizzled out. The crowd’s enthusiasm died down and they were pretty much distracted away by some other little event that came along. A minor thing, but flashy enough to be topical and trending at that particular moment so… you know… hashtag change of focus.

Of course that just happened a little too late for our friend here. Suffered tremendously. Very painful. And lonely. Gosh, should have seen when we had it hooked up to the machines. Couldn’t breathe on its own – they pretty much demolished the trachea. Also, no heartbeat. That beep, beep, beep you might have heard had you been there would be the electronic pulse keeping it going. A lot of folks thought fondly of the Middle and wanted to do everything they could to help, now that the help was a little late and no longer needed.

No bladder control. That’s the thing. It was stinky and nasty and… I mean, you can’t expect people to put up with all that.

That handful of paid nurses from the third world… they did an amazing job.

There was some really nice writeups. Well known and respected. But a lot of eulogy euphemisms. Like ‘passed away’. They kept saying ‘passed away’ like our friend dispersed like a puff of clouds, instead of being gang tortured through the floor into a bloody pulp of a whining, quivering mess.

Some big name journalists – none of whom were actually in the mobs – did pen a piece or two about how the careless utterances and misguided opinions got old Middle into its own mess in the first place. And while they don’t condone actual violence, you understand, they can’t say they mourn the loss too much. Or at least can understand where some in the mobs were coming from, giving the legacy of their suffering, on either side, depending on who you read.

One comedian cracked a joke on late night about it. Bad taste, but what can you do…

Some guy on his YouTube channel claimed the Jews were responsible.

But yeah, look, with Middle actually gone now, does it really matter?

I mean, better late than never is okay as long as you attend a funeral, rather than have one yourself, or whatever.

Oh well.

Yeah.

My kids? Oh, they are fine. Yours?

Good. Good. Oh, that’s really nice.

Well, you must join us at the house. Everyone will be terribly happy to see you. We’ve got those little coconut and chocolate cluster thingies you always used to like so much. Watching your figure? You? Nonsense!

Me? No, I don’t like them anymore. Remind me too much of the way Middle soiled itself as it was lying there, writhing in agony as it clutched desperately to life, screaming and crying all the way.

That’s unpleasant. Let’s not go there. If only someone knew. Or did something. Or whatever.

Oh well.

Look. If you don’t want to come to the house, that’s okay. I understand. A lot of awkward tension and unhandled drama in that room. Truthfully, half the folks there either overtly stopped talking to Middle or just began ignoring it. It’s life, you know. You have to find your crowd and fit in. Pick a side. Get on with stuff. I completely understand.

Well, anyway, it was nice to see you. Don’t wait so long before next time, you hear?

You just want to stand here a bit? In silence, say goodbye.

Mmm. Quite nice to stand and say goodbye instead of being beaten to death and lose all your dignity… but hey.

No, I can’t say it’s anyone’s fault really. You know, with mobs… if everyone is guilty and responsible, then no one really is.

But yeah, okay. Stand here and do what you need to do to get over it. Middle doesn’t have the option but funerals are really for the living anyway.

A message on the gravestone… oh, yeah, can’t quite remember… something about ‘had a lot of friends’ or something. 

Anyway, you take care now.

Damn shame, isn’t it?