John joins Chuck who is watching the sky full of multiple colored font sprinkled in languages of the world. Twist your head and you’d see a prime; lean forward and you’d catch a monk in his vibrant robes, following his Rinpoche’. Darkness waits behind the riot of spectrum, screened like a Hindu queen in front of a Mughal emperor – protected under the veil holding her wrath in.
“The sky always makes me wonder, Johnny.” Chuck’s voice rasps, vibrating the silence.
“What’s that, Pops?” John lights his cigarette.
“Is nature trying to tell us that there is no right or wrong? There wasn’t one when the hurricane came, flooded our homes and made us beg for mercy, and there isn’t any when it is peaceful, covering us with a magnificent evening as this.” He shakes his head, “Pass me the cigarette.”
“Get yourself together, Pops.” John draws a long one, letting the smoke release in a sleek train of foam, indifferent to the sky and the ramblings.
“I was seventeen when they drafted me and every goddamn day, the sky was a seductive bride, while the ground turned its guts over with screaming and dropping bodies, drenched in blood.” Chuck pauses, drawing the tobacco in, cooling his thoughts.
“All is fair in war and love,” John looks up for the first time.
” Johnny, it is always about who is a bigger bully; who owns the trigger; who wants to go back into the snuggling arms of his woman versus who is out there, with his chest open like a fool, willing to take a bullet, calling it a day.”
“Bullet or not, nature always wins, Pops.”
“Aint that a bitch? She holds the trigger of turning us into monsters or confronting us with one.” Chuck squashes the butt under his boots. “By the way, why do you keep calling me, Pops?”
“I like it and it just seems right.” John stretches his long, boyish legs.
“Let me be the judge of that, Johnny.” Chuck presses his hand hard over John’s shoulders, forcing the layers of skin into his bone with a gentle smile.
“Whatever you say,” John peels the ground, suddenly unsure.
“You can call me, Pops. Chuck grins and pats his back. “Just remember, what I said about bigger bully. Come on, let’s get back to our cell.”
The evening lifts the veil as if letting the darkness creep from an enormous, puffing cigarette.
Above in response to Moi’s picture challenge