07 The ransom of achievement

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The ransom of achievement


 By Randall Sparks


 You can’t sit idle by

Assume promotion

Follow someone’s design

Look up to a mentor


 Once you reach the top

It’s your lead


 No one else can do it


 Don’t look back


 Ego negotiates

It mediates your reality

Qualification adapts

Normal seems arrogant


 It’s not narcissism

It’s the work, the play

The song or art of it


 You become the lens

The instrument of discovery


 Not creation

More like realization


 At times it seems

You’ve been allowed to see

To experience what Magellan felt

Sense something new


 Anticipation just off

Excitement is an opiate


 Sometimes you forget modesty

Feel defensive of your gain


 You’re alone, isolated

From other than a select few


 Your peers

Those capable of understanding

Of appreciation



Is cautiously embraced

Tolerated more honestly


 It goes with the territory


 Often surrounding peers

Experience motivation

Influenced to a similar degree


 Feed off each other's success

And draw from the fire


 A 'think tank'


 A large shift for the psyche

Seems like a baby’s whisper

A minor misstep at first


 Behavior edges toward erratic

Red flags ascend


 Notice becomes concern

And the music stops


 In circles of brilliance

Controversial ideas

Are floated as dry jokes

To observe their impact


 If it’s not serious, it’s safe


 Tangential discussions

Continue for hours

Sometimes longer


 Some vectors serious

Some not so much


 Yet to all participants

Thoughts seem normal

No questions or concern


 Until fear enters


 Someone's comfort threatened

Colleagues run for the exits


 You, become the topic

Your irrationality receives scrutiny

All past references weighed


 Event focus accumulates

Until you become to all

The sum of your difference


 Smiles trade place with distance


 Sanity and conformity

Icy treacherous roads


 Watch the curves

Observe the signs

Go slow


 Achievers rise as heroes

Until venturing beyond normal

When safe zones are breached


 A thin obscure line barely noticeable

A knife a gun a danger we accept


 We pivot quick in fear

Easily startled


 Danger becomes anger

Where did the D go?


 Our trust is fiercely fragile


 Such is the ransom of brilliance

Paid by the chosen few


 The cream that rose to the top


 I chanced to know such a man briefly


 He shared his flight with me

And confessed literally that he was

In fact exactly mad


 And I am the richer for his candor


 Doctor Jonathan Warbel

Died yesterday


 He was a good man

Some would say a great man


 Some would say a mad man


 This reporter would say

That he will be sorely missed


 Sparks - on the record

For the record




The editor’s desk - smile


 Ok Sparks you see this smile?

It's a good piece

Ponderous platitudes but still


 I always tell you, right?

Don’t get too close to a story


 You did, I’m not judging


 It makes it human, fine

Don’t make it a habit


 Maintain objectivity

Reporting is a hard business


 Don’t go soft on me

Keep it sharp that's all


 Sorry for your friend

Take a couple days

See your girl


 Write, don’t write

Whatever helps

I don’t care


 Just feel better

Then get yourself back here


 You're still here?


 Why are you still here?


 Did you not hear me?






Baby, stop


 You don’t have to apologize

Or make excuses to me

For doing your job



Aren't the memories I want


 This is us time, remember?

It should be about us

Me and you

And me of course


 Let’s keep it there


 So you’ve been gone

So what?


 You want to hear about places

I’ve been to since you left?


 You think it’s a job?


 You think the book store

Is about money?


 Think again paperboy

It’s about travel


 Every day I leave

To anyplace I want to go

And I’m back every night


 And the fantasies?

Oh baby!



 Let me tell you about that


 You were, you are

Great when you're away


 Never better


 You’re ok when you’re here



 Silly boy

You think it’s skin on skin?


 It’s not


 That's part of it


 But the bigger part

The way bigger part?


 Is heart on heart


 And missing you

Sets that part of me on fire


 Men think they run everything


 You think you caught me?

News flash paperboy

I caught you!


 I’m the reader

And you’re my private writer


 Both our lives are about words


 I can make you feel great with them

Or not


 Do you hear an apology

For the places I go?


 Your little-boy smile

When you’re on a story?

I think of it


 It seals the deal


 That’s the memory I want


 My mind, can be a salacious place

It’s a terrible thing to waste


 See love, our story

Has two perspectives


 Don’t try to write mine


 I want a lover and a friend

Someone to joust with

Share with


 Someone to watch


 Someone to watch me


 I want you


 So don’t apologize



You’ve got five minutes

To talk about your work


 Then I have several wants

That don’t require talking


 Clock's ticking baby






 Give me a minute

I’m still processing


 Ok, wow


 Are you sure you’re allowed

To give up those secrets?


 Isn’t there some girl code

Or something?


 Work, yeah then



 That’s so unfair


 Yes well


 There was a scientist

Who lived in an asylum


 We became friends


 Bad people put him there

Actually, he put himself there


 Then they killed him


 And they might be after us now

That’s it


 Now for your plans




More on that


 Somewhere toward the end


You said something about

People trying to kill us?


 I think I need more on that



 I thought you might


 I thought it was crazy talk mostly

There's a lot to explain


 To quote doctor Warbel

“If they want you dead

They won’t think twice”


 It’s different now that he's gone


 The call I took at the restaurant?

Could have been them

It was too soon to tell


 I wasn't sure

And anyway

They said they could protect us



 And you thought

I shouldn’t know this




 I didn't know who they were


 People say things

And you go along because

It's a story, right?


 Anyone can make stuff up

You don't want to overreact


 And sometimes there are threats

Maybe something maybe nothing


 So there's that

And I didn’t want you to worry


 I left for your safety



 That's got to be

The stupidest thing

I've ever heard!



 You didn't think?


 I wouldn't want?




 Next time don’t think

Tell me!


 I have a right to know!


 Don't ever do that again

(calming down)


 I am so mad at you right now




Did you tell the police?


 I don’t think that’s a good idea


 Yes officer, an asylum patient

Said someone was out to get him


 My name?


 Of course


 That sounds reasonable



 Warbel chose asylum

To get away from them


 And they got to him


 He could have been

In a police station


 It wouldn't matter


 So protect us from what baby?


 Whoever was on the phone

Said they could protect us


 And they said

I was a threat to you


 So I stepped away

To figure it out


 They think I know something


 I know what Dr. Warbel said

I took notes


 And I think someone's listening


 Whatever they wanted

I figured it was me not you


 So without me around

You’d be safe


 It sounds crazy and it is

But I believe it


 I wouldn't expect anyone

To believe me




Maybe it's over now


 Dr. Warbel shared a lot of stories


 He was their threat not me

That doesn't mean they know that


 Either way

It's nothing we can change


 Just be careful and pay attention

Watch out for anything strange


 So then

Unless you’ve changed your mind


 We’re still in ‘us’ time


 And like you said

That's a terrible thing to waste


 I wouldn’t want you

To have great salaciousness alone


 So you’ll just have to settle



 Give me a minute

I’m processing


 And you’re not off the hook

I'm still mad at you


 What you did was bad


 You’re bad

But I forgive you


 You’re right


 We can't just stop living

We can’t let them win


 It’s like in the movie

Where you’re supposed to run

And you don’t


 Except you're the idiot Randall

For not telling me until now


 And maybe we are doomed


 Or maybe

I’m Thelma and you’re Louise


 As for passion paperboy

You’re not that bad


 Tolerable I’d say

Even when you’re here



 Oh I see



 You think you're funny don’t you?



 I am funny and you know it!


 Come here Louise

(her index finger teasing)






 (she laughs)




And the girl?


 Nothing happens to her

She’s the insurance we need


 She secures his free will


 He’ll ‘save the world’

For her sake


 Everything’s going splendidly



 I was speaking of the associate


 Miss Carnegie?



 Ah yes


 She’ll be fine


 The pieces are set

The game is in play


 She’s scheduled to speak

Saturday at the funeral

For the late doctor


 He’ll find her there