Well, here’s another story mostly about nothing. Nothing happens in this story. If you read the story and then the Postscript, you’ll know what I’m trying to get at in my poor fashon.
Just Another Khazi Story
The street was dirty, of course, and the wind was picking up dust and flinging it in our faces. The usual dregs lay about, mostly oblivious of us as we strolled by. Khazi was carelessly whistling some old forgotten tune, hands in pockets as usual. The way you walk with your hands in your pockets I think is nice in its gate. Maybe that’s one reason I like Khazi so much. Khazi has style, just doesn’t care, does whatever comes to mind and is a free soul.
I guess everyone’s free now, though. There’s not much to do, anyway, except stand in lines sometimes. Other than that, we’re all on our own.
We’re the Lost Brigade of the Survivors, Khazi says. We’re not much to look at, we all have bad manners and are pretty shabby inside and out, but we’re still here. That's more than can be said about most of the previous population. The civilians, another of Zhazi’s terms, were the first to disappear from this modern life. They couldn’t take it, I guess. Too much of a change for them. Too much stuck in the old routine to adapt. It’s just us and the big shots. We don’t associate with the big shots. They’re all comfortable over in the Enclave, guards on patrol.
Sometimes Khazi and me walk by and throw stones at the barricades and fortifications. The guards just ignore us, as they’re usually leaning against various obstructions, looking bored. We’re no threat, we’re just riffraff. Riffraff Raferty is another name Khazi calls himself sometimes. He’s pretty funny, usually.
This day we strolled over to the park. It’s not much of a park anymore, though. At night it can be slightly dangerous. It’s just that sometimes someone gets frustrated or something and picks a fight at random. It never amounts to much, except when knives are drawn. Then it can be messy. Everyone’s used to messy, so it really doesn’t matter very much to anybody. A lot of stuff is just ignored. Why bother?
Mostly the park at night is just sleeping bodies. Khazi and me don’t sleep in the park. We stay together in a grimy room in a half-demolished building we like. We like it because of its unusual architecture. It used to be some kind of a high-class musician’s rehearsal building we figure. There’s old smashed pianos and stuff scattered around in various rooms.
Khazi says he would have been a great musician if things hadn't changed. Kahazi says a lot of things.
I think I’d have been in a carnival. In the freak show probably, so I could scare and disgust civilians. I can be pretty repugnant. I think this characteristic of mine is one reason why Khazi hangs around with me. I’m honest. I mean, grubby and rundown as we are anyway, why not be what we appear to be?
The girls around aren’t much to look at, either. They all pretty much gave up on that a long time ago. Now everybody’s sort of the same, except for the few who look pretty anyway. These usually end up in the Enclave. Khazi says it’s nice there, been picked up by some big shot’s procurer. Khazi tells me about it sometimes. I believe it because Khazi is one of the pretty ones, too, in a way. At least in wearing shabbiness with some style.
We’re the new generation, or the most recent. Abandoned, mostly. It’s hard enough to keep yourself alive without little ones to take care of. We don’t blame them; parents are worn out by the time we can get around by ourselves, so we're just left on our own to survive as best we can.
Khazi and me have been pals for a while now. Sometimes I suspect we stick together just for convenience. I mean until something better comes along. After all, either death or a more advantageous situation are the only two choices any of us have to look forward to. But down deep I really think Khazi is just as scared as me, and staying together is the only real security for both of us.
I guess I’ve been lucky. If you don’t have a steadfast ally to watch your back, bad things can happen. Loners don’t last too long. Thugs on patrol and all that.
Well, we spent our day like every other day, not much to tell about it. I’m sitting in our dingy little room right now tonight writing this down. Khazi will come over to me in a little while, sit next to me and read what I’ve written. It’s always the same comment: “You keep writing about nothing.”
Well, nothing is all we have now, so I think all these nothings of our lives should be important to us. That's why I write them down; even though I know no one will ever read them.
Sitting together now, I turn my head close to Khazi’s, breathe Khazi’s breath, and smile.
I think my little stories don’t say very much. I mean, they just like describe what happens on some random day. I like that because that’s how almost every day happens, and hardly anybody writes about just another day kind of stuff.
Usually in stories some big event is going on, something special. I like these little stories of mine in which nothing special ever happens. I like them because within these nothing-special moments, something special is actually happening, we just don’t notice them.
I think every little moment is special to us, more special than the big events. We’re usually just pawns in big events, but in all our quiet, usual moments it’s all about us, and we have time to look around and notice what’s going on. Notice the little details that make up most of our lives.
Noticing these little details we notice ourselves. Usually, we’re not even aware of ourselves. Not noticing ourselves, we accumulate a lot of lost moments. Blank spaces in our time. Our lives are full of blank spaces, unremembered. Unremembered time as if we weren’t really there, as if we weren’t even alive in these moments.
This is why Khazi’s friend writes everything down. All the non-events of his days. He considers these essential to his life, because he knows they are all he really has. If you read the first Khazi story, you’ll see they don’t have a lot of time left, so every moment is special, even though nothing special happens in these moments.
Also, Khazi’s friend is in love. Love makes every moment special. If we’re not in love with every single moment of our lives we’re not really alive, I think. We’re not really there. So Khazi’s friend notices and writes it all down. He’s in love and therefore in love with every moment. He doesn’t want anything forgotten, even though he knows no one else will ever read the love that he has written about.
It’s only important that he knows that love of every moment, and that he remembers them. That’s all he has, and I think that’s all we have.