A lesson in karma from the Morlocks

This past weekend I had a major breakthrough in the burgeoning field of PTSD management: I went out on Saturday night like a normal person.

I saw the loser who sexually assaulted me in the flesh in the same room for the first time since I confronted him.

It went well.

I have a lot to say and write about that interaction. There was both vodka and learnings. Stay tuned.

I’ve been going back over the thousands and thousands of words I’ve written but haven’t posted because much of it consists of fragmented jeremiads, poor formatting, and using “fucking” as a placeholder. One of the aspects of Saturday I’m focusing on is my developing sense of justice and its proper scale.

Back in the last week of July, I wrote several pages exploring the relationship between sexual trauma and justice. It never went anywhere because it just devolved into way too many words about the Categorical Imperative. I TA’d Contemporary Moral Issues for two years; I can do Kant. 

But in those pages from late July, I found this snippet:

Maybe he’s walking down the sidewalk, and a grate opens up underneath him. He plummets down a metal chute — with exposed rivets —at an angle about twice that of the giant slide at the State Fair. Steep enough to frighten and disorient, but not too steep where he’ll land with a pain-ending THUD at the bottom. I think I need the pain to continue.

It’s a perfectly fine paragraph. Could be tweaked in a few places, but I think it captures the capricious nature of justice, and the imagining the loser getting slide burn seems right. I hit save and haven’t looked at it since July.

However, considering how my late AUGUST went….


I try to comfort myself that, despite a constant worry about the wages of my sin and how I’m bound for Hell, it actually was the Morlocks who were summoning me. Maybe they needed recommendations for good Eloi in town. But, the Morlocks know all the good Eloi places; that’s there whole thing.


What are the Morlocks trying to teach me about karma?

I was visiting Detroit. Just standing on a sidewalk. My friend Chloe down in Austin asked me to send her some pictures of urban decay. Next door to the art deco grandeur of the Guardian Building downtown, I found a misbegotten four-story late modernist brick and glass curio. Judging by the weathering on the FOR SALE OR LEASE sign, it had been empty for a few years.

I went down the block from my sightseeing companions to get a good angle of this hawt hawt ruin-to-be. As I was lining up the shot, before I could even snap one, a fiberglass —emphasis on “glass” —utility cover gave way underneath me. Shards fish-hooked themselves into my lower leg, and my foot ended up wedged among live electrical cables. I could feel the buzzing volts.

Luckily, the paramedics —and the cops and the fire department and building security and public works —had me out of there in less than twenty minutes. They all let out audible sighs of relief when they saw my leg. I figure first responders in Detroit know life-threatening wounds when they see them. Their lack of concern comforted me greatly.

I was lucky. It was ugly, very ugly. But it was ugly in a cool way. The nine year old boy inside me couldn’t stop marveling at the gross. When the hematoma burst at the Urgent Med, and a baseball of grape jelly blooped out onto the tray, the nurses all came running. Apparently, I was giggling so loudly and maniacally, they thought I was coding or something. I have been told more than a few times that many happy sounds I make come across as ghastly, and my ghastly sounds are happy.

When I came across that snippet from July, the Pope-shaped vestigial twin that still feels free to comment on my thoughts and actions immediately perked up…

“Seeeeeeee?!? That’s what you get for even imagining hurt coming to another person. Now go punch yourself in the head a few times until it sinks in.”

Then he made an ooooooo noise and mockingly said “Forgive. Forgive. Forgive” like he’s a ghost fading into the ether. Just to get even more under my skin. He’s annoying.

I don’t for one second think going thru the fiberglass had anything to do with what I wrote —or even thought —a month prior. That’s not how time works. If my words have any predictive power whatsoever, then why am I not feverishly cranking out Expanse erotic fan fic?

I think any “lesson” regarding this confluence of imagination and decaying infrastructure goes backwards in time. I need to figure out what events and incidents are tied to my past. And what are just stupid stuff that happened. 

The most common reaction from people whom I told of the Morlock attack was, “Of course that happened to you.”

A lot of stupid stuff happens. That stupidity has nothing to do with any previous stupidity.


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