Sitting in Charlie's darkened living room, the light from the street filtering in through the blinds, they passed it between them quietly, each inhaling deeply and professionally until the bomber of a joint was nothing more than a sticky tab of brown paper that would not light no matter how hard Charlie tried.
"Stop flicking that thing, man. You're giving me a headache." Rosa said, leaning back on the couch and nearly disappearing into her coat.
The window unit pumped heat into the room.
"Sorry." he said, putting the lighter down and scraping the resinated roach off of his thumb and onto the edge of the ash tray. The heater shifted gears and settled into a different tone. "Rosa," he continued, "I may be crazy, but I think all of this has happened before."
"Huh?" she said, almost asleep, her feet slowly making their way up onto the couch with the rest of her.
"I mean everything, everything that happens. Like elections and wars and death and, well, shit. . . just everything. . . Ya know?"
". . .hmmm, yeh. . . right. . ." she said through a sleepy haze.
"I mean the way we think of previous generations as backwards and uneducated, innocent, the whole nine yards. . . why should they be so innocent? Did our parents simply appear and POOF! there we were? No of course not. . ." He lit a cigarette as he spoke, pursing his lips, continuing to speak around the cigarette. "What. . .we. . .per. . What we perceive as just beginning to happen is really not just beginning to happen, it's just that we are only now beginning to perceive it. For instance, how long have people been sucking toes? Hmm? How long? You might think it'd be a relatively recent perversion, but I'd be willing to bet that hunch-backed, club carrying mongoloids were sucking toes ten thousand years ago. My point? Well my point is that people aren't as original as they like to think. . . People make a huge stink when there is a murder or a gang-rape or whatever, but what they don't seem to understand is that those things have been going on for so long that their outrage is misplaced. Benobo monkeys. Ever hear of them? They basically do nothing but hang from the trees and fuck all day. You should see the positions these things can achieve what with their prehensile tails and all. . . They have group sex, incest, anal sex. . . all of it right out in the open, right in plain view of the rest of the population, who if they aren't too busy fucking, often sit and watch while masturbating. Meanwhile, we, WE have laws against nudity, laws about who you can and cannot marry, what sex they have to be, exactly how far removed they must be from your family, etc. . . Who came up with these things? Us? Our parents? Their parents? Nope, this stuff has been going on for tens of thousands of years, since before we stood upright when our little rodent ancestors scurried around collecting nuts. . . But today we have law enforcement telling us that in response to recently growing problems, laws are needed such as laws against oral sex and exposure. . . I say that it's just a pretense to allow them to pull the noose tighter around our necks. These things are supposed to take care of themselves naturally. If an exposer keeps it up, he is eventually trounced. If the oral sex goes on, well, I still can't figure out what would be wrong with that, but what I mean is, these things should be left to nature. If someone exposes themselves to someone else and the person who is exposed upon, so to speak, does nothing about it, or doesn't have someone else do something about it, well then I guess someone got away with something naughty. Children are raised to hate and raised to follow their parent's example. Boys born to hunters would die for the right to have their guns. Why? Because they need them? Not likely in this day and age. They would die for them because their fathers felt that way. Why then, did their fathers feel that way? because their fathers felt that way, ad infinatum. Guns have never been an absolute necessity of life. The American Indians made it for many generations without them and did quite well, thank you, that is, until the Europeans showed up with cannons and rifles and bombs. . . Most every healthy young Indian who died for the next five hundred years was killed by a bullet. Why? Control. It's not necessarily bad to pass things down until it becomes almost a matter of course that the youngsters learn it. Lions all learn to hunt or they die. It's not a bad thing for them to pass down to their children, but humans have filled their children's heads with such garbage that it makes me sick. Is it just me," he asked the now soundly sleeping Rosa, "or do the same families seem to be the ones in control, generation, after generation. . . Kings and monarchies, presidencies, tribal chieftains, the whole gamut, there always seems to be that alpha-male thing going on like in those Jack London wolf novels. . . I grant that it's an entirely natural process, but it seems to me that we have pretty much rid ourselves of every other semblance of hierarchical bestiality, why not that one? We don't mate with our relatives because we know it'd foster regenerative traits, we research ways to make babies born without vital organs live long, empty and confused, unseeing, bitter lives, but we still have the same alpha-males making our decisions, governmental and economic. . . Why? Because by the time we are old enough to give a damn, the alpha male is firmly in place, his seed gestating and waiting to be placed onto the throne of power just as his father grows nearly weary enough for us to topple him. I hate to sound bitter, Rosie, but it seems like breaking that cycle, in any of its modes, not just political, is impossible. That barrier is thrown up everywhere. I go to the grocery and find the old man behind the counter, his son working in the stock room waiting for him to die so he can do some remodeling and really get the place going, when all that's really gonna happen is he'll pass it on to his kid. Where's a guy supposed to break in? What's to be done? All I've been left are two strong legs and this accursed mind. . ." He lit another cigarette, lost in thought. He had been sitting on the floor in front of the couch. His head leaning on Rosa's back. At least he thought it was her back, he couldn't be sure it wasn't a handbag in the giant pockets of her coat. Whatever it was, it was good and he could feel her breathing and smell her smell. He finished the cigarette and got up to get a blanket for her.