Fate, The twists and Turns…chances.
A course set in motion, there is no
Stopping it. Too much thinking and
Chaos follows. The guides know the way
And scramble dissension to dust.
1557 Nuremberg, Germany
By the river, the two friends stood
Drying off from their swim as this
Mysterious silver-haired local aristocrat
Watched them closely. Heinztel’s eye
Saw a glimmer of chance, while Jon’s
Eye saw shadow and suspicion. This
Stranger had come upon them so friendly
And polite…but as Jon glanced up to the
Bridge where the man’s associates
Watched and laughed subtly he could
Not help but wonder more. These men
Of the city sure seemed complicated.
Then Jon looked above…the moon was
Rising full and bright, larger than normal…
A super moon, shaded red…almost like it
Was tainted with blood.
‘I would appreciate the opportunity
To meet more people of your district, Sir.’
Heinztel said to the man. ‘I’m new
Here and would like that very much.’
‘Ah, of course.’ The man said as he
Proudly brushed the lapels of his coat.
‘You will meet them if you come to the
Party tonight. You will meet all the right
People.’ A sly grin slid across his face.
‘That would be GREAT, thank you so
Much, Sir!’ Heinz finished drying off
Then put his shirt on fast.
‘Why don’t you go up to the bridge
And introduce yourself to my friends?’
The man nodded once to Heinz. ‘And
Allow me a moment to talk to your
‘Yes, Sir!’ Heinz smiled fast then started
Off to the bridge in a hurry. ‘Thank you
So much again, Sir.’
The man turned to Jon still smiling, subtly
Blocking his view of his friends on the bridge.
‘You are his friend, Jon…yes?’
‘Yes, Sir. That’s right.’ Jon answered humbly,
And very polite. Such men of the district he
Had seen before from afar…They walked so
Confidently and rarely spoke to commoners;
A little intimidating.
‘Such fine young men, such a fine you man
You are.’ The man said slowly. ‘It’ good to
See. Too many are, well, just…rather oafish
When they go about.’
Jon let out a little laugh, but wasn’t sure of
The man’s direction with his words. ‘Thank
The man stood quietly a moment thinking.
‘How would you like a job?’
Jon hesitated. ‘A job, Sir?’
‘Yes.’ The man said. ‘A job working for me.’
‘What kind of job?’ Jon asked.
‘As my personal assistant.’ The man
Went on as he stood a step closer.
‘I could use someone like you very well,
And would appreciate your company.’
‘But Sir, you barely know me.’ Jon
Answered awkwardly. ‘What kind of
Job could I do for you?’
‘Oh, the details can be worked out over
Time.’ The man said very carefully.
‘It would be very good for you, meet the
Right people…good work.’
‘What kind of work?’ Jon asked.
‘Oh, business…affairs of the city.’ The
Man answered. ‘Do you have any skills?’
‘Well, I’m an artist.’ Jon said.
The man laughed, almost sneered. ‘You
Are an artist? You do not look like an
An artist…you look like some kind of
‘Huh?’ Jon laughed a little. ‘What do
You mean I don’t look like an artist,
What are artists supposed to look like?’
‘Oh, I meant no offense.’ The man said
Shaking his head. ‘It’s just that artists tend
To be rather...’ He held his words. ‘Never
Mind…What I am offering you is a better
Opportunity. A good one for you. A generous
One. Take it.’
‘I don’t know.’ Jon hesitated. ‘This seems
‘No, no, you think too much. Seize
The moment boy.’ The man pushed.
‘What I am offering is a grand opportunity.
A chance of a lifetime.’
Jon thought carefully. The man’s offer
Was so generous, so kind, so amazing.
But to a complete stranger, why? He
Thought of Heinz, how he would jump
At the offer without thinking. Was he
Thinking too much? His insides seemed
To turn cold…And oddly enough, twilight
Was coming fast…darkness, the shadows
Of night approaching. And there, rising above,
Was that huge red moon.
‘Well now, come on.’ The man smiled
Very sure of himself as he
Leaned closer, almost towering
Over him…He was tall for a man
Of his seasoned age, taller than
Most of any age, ‘Come on, take
‘I don’t know.’ Jon answered as he
Put on his shirt. ‘It’s a grand offer.
But I would like to think about it
Some please, if that’s alright.’
The man laughed. ‘What’s to think
About? Are you slow with your
Mind boy?’ He kept laughing. ‘But
Of course, you must be. Such a naïve
Young boy…new to the city, yes, I
Know your kind well.’
‘My kind?’ Jon winced.
‘Well, yes, you know.’ The man went on.
‘The quiet, scared little country boy, afraid
Of change, of the city, of the world.
Scared to take a chance. This is
The chance of a lifetime.’
Jon listened, but the man’s sincerity
Was quickly becoming aggressive.
‘I just want to think about it.
Aren’t there professionals who would
Suit you better?’
‘No, no,’ The man grinned. ‘I have
Keen insights and read people very
Well. I know what I like and I
Seize it. I don’t waste time. I like
What I see in you.’
Jon really hesitated then. He could
Swear that the man’s eyes resembled
Those of the wolves he had seen as they
Watched the goats in the meadow back
Home…A wolf and his prey. ‘I just
Need to think about it…I just
Started with my art…This is so new
Still…I just have a feeling – ‘
‘You have a feeling?’ The man
Laughed. ‘A feeling about what?
You’re afraid…Having a feeling is
Just mystic nonsense. No, no, art
Is not for you, it’s a waste of time.
What I’m offering is huge…huge
Darkness came upon them faster…
Shadows were falling everywhere, down
Around the trees, the bushes. He could
Barely see the bridge now, or Heinz
Or the other men. Lanterns were being
Lit in the distance it was so dark.
‘I’m sorry, but if I have to answer
So quickly…Then I have to say…
No thank you, Sir…At least not right
The man sneered. ‘Are you some kind
Of idiot?’ The man asked impatiently.
‘Do you even realize what I’m offering
You, do you really?’ The man stood
Very strongly then, his head tilted
Slightly but determined. He tried
To control himself, but there was
Clearly something working furiously
In his mind…He did not like hearing
No for an answer, not at all.
‘Jon…The world is a big place.
I realize it is new to you. But I can
Tell you are a sincere simple boy.
Yes, I know your type…From a small
Village, life on a farm somewhere…
Very sweet and simple…
Simple kind parents with simple
Values…raising vegetables, sheep or
Goats, maybe some cows. You have
Simple sweet dinners with your
Family…gentle hugs and kisses every
Night…milk and simple sweets
Before bed…playing with your friends
In the afternoon, smelling flowers…
Splashing around in the water, little
Boys playing. I am an excellent judge
Of people. I know you.’
Jon stood listening, holding his breath
With raised brows…wordless.
‘Don’t be embarrassed boy. I
Understand.’ The man went on
Confidently. ‘But you have to grow
Up sooner or later…And make your
Place in the world…with the right
People.’ The man paused, watching
Jon carefully, completely sure of
Himself. ‘My friends, my associates
And I are…men of influence in
The city, in all cities. Men of business
And tactics…Men of decisions. We
Shape Kings…business. The world
Needs guidance, and direction…or it
Will become a world of chaos. So many
People not knowing how or what to
Do with their lives…so afraid of what
Could be and what could not. So many
Little lives out there…lost and undirected,
Not knowing how to think or believe. The
World needs guidance how to do those
Things…My associates and I will manage
These things…and guide the world into the
Future…manage history, and how
It should be learned. There is no
Need to think too much…instruction
Must be done carefully. Now don’t
Be insulted…but you are just a
Boy, a simpleton…What you need
Is someone to guide you.’
‘Guide me?’ Jon was expressionless…
Thinking quietly of all he knew, had
Seen and experienced, his mysterious
Night visitors came to mind. ‘I think
I should go, Sir.’ He began to step
Away when the man grabbed his
Arm strongly…with an iron grip
That was surprising for his age.
‘Jon.’ The man said deeply, almost
Growling. ‘You know what your
Problem is…You’re one of those little
Stuck up farm boys that struts around
Living such a charmed life…Shirtless
And sweet, oh how nice…What you
Need is a painful lesson on how the
World really works…Boys like
You were never meant for anything
Special. Boys like you need to
Learn their place in this world…
You were born to serve…to give
Service. You were all born either
To be a soldier or to be entertainment.
Which is it going to be?’
Jon gasped at the man’s words. He
Had never heard anyone talk that
Way…to say it, even think it.
Something inside him snapped. ‘Who
The hell do you think you are
Talking to me that way?’
The man held his arm tightly. ‘I
Can say anything I want boy. I
Make decisions for those making
Decisions. Now I tried to be kind. But
Now I’m telling you. From the moment
I saw you, you were mine. Accept it.
I will own you…break you, or I will
Make your life miserable.’
Jon tore his arm free and pulled
Away. ‘I’m leaving now.’
‘This is not over boy.’ The man said.
Just then, a woman in a fair looking
Dress walked by with her child And
Smiled wide at the silver haired man.
‘Mr. Henry! I got your flowers today!’
She was absolutely giddy. ‘Such a
Sweet man! Thank you so much!’
‘Mrs. Schiller, anything for you my
Lovely lady,’ the man turned and
Beamed with such a kind honest looking
Expression so fast it was frightening.
‘Such a fine cook and good wife. I
Enjoyed the dinner with you and
Your husband last night so much.’
‘Such a charming man.’ She smiled
Then disappeared up the path to the
Mr. Henry turned sharply to Jon as
The boy watched him in shock.
‘Everybody loves me boy, everyone.
I get what I want, I make it
Happen.’ He glanced in the direction
Of Mrs. Schiller. ‘A simple woman.
You see…she knows her place, and
She’s happy with it. And you will
Know yours, Jon.’
Jon swallowed and stepped away. ‘I’m
‘We’re not done Jon.’ The man said eyeing
‘I’m leaving now.’ Jon said, backing away.
‘Jon…we’re not done talking yet.’ The man
Jon continued to back away nervously.
His blood was racing, thoughts and
Instincts furiously turning into something
Else. He breathed hard as sweat
Beaded on his forehead. There was a
Powerful need to back away, to separate
Himself from this man…then there
Was a cracking sound, the trees were
Swaying in the wind. A heavy bow
From the tree above them close by
Snapped and crashed to the ground
Between him and Mr. Henry…His
Eyes widened in surprise as he looked
To Mr. Henry.
Mr. Henry’s eyes widened then, as he stared
Deep into Jon, he sensed immediately
Something had happened. ‘Jon?’
‘I need to leave.’ Jon said.
‘Boy – ‘Mr. Henry began staring deep into
Him, now he was deeply interested.
Jon turned sharply to the bridge, to
Mr. Henry’s friends…and their horses
Nearby. Their ears twitched and muscles
Shivered and their feet began to
Stomp anxiously. No words, no
Thoughts, just feelings…as that’s
What animals understand. Panic
Filed the horses as they yanked their
Tethers free, then they turned to run.
‘Your horses are leaving…’
Mr. Henry turned to the bridge to see
Jon’s words come true. He gasped, ‘What?’
Shock. But when he turned back
To Jon the boy was gone.
The men on the bridge called out angrily
And frustrated to their mounts. What
An inconvenience. They had no choice
But to quickly cry out for assistance
And chase the animals…The strange
Moment at hand had been disrupted.
Jon disappeared quickly into the shadows
Through the trees and then the back streets
To return to cottage apartment beside
Marcel’s home. Thoughts of what just
Happened overwhelmed him. His talk
With Mr. Henry, the man’s words! Had
He really said that? The weight of
It all…Then the branch, the horses…
Had he done it, or was it some higher
Hand watching? What was going on?
It wasn’t right, it was too much. He
Couldn’t think but had no choice.
Guidance? Men of decisions? Place in
This world? He had seen and met
Enough personalities already, they just
Got bigger and bigger.
Once back at his cottage apartment he
Took a breath in the hopes of some
Sanctuary relief…But when he went
Inside he found everything disturbed. His
Meager belongings were all a mess,
Someone had gone through them. And
Worst of all when he looked at the walls,
All of his artwork, his drawings were
Angry and confused he looked
Around. His belongings were there, just
The artwork was missing. Why?
Minutes later, alerted by the noise, a
Yawning Marcel appeared in his open
Door wearing his nightshirt. He saw
His young friend running around frantic
And sighed. ‘Ah, I’m sorry they didn’t
‘What?’ Jon asked in surprise.
‘David was here…with his friend.’ Marcel
Casually replied. ‘They needed some artwork
For tomorrow…for his display. He’s
Going up North tomorrow.’
‘His display?’ Jon asked.
‘Yes.’ Marcel answered. ‘He needed the
Work. More money. You know he has
A family to support. He hasn’t been
Doing well lately. I told him he could.’
‘What? Why?’ Jon said angrily.
‘But that’s my work.’
‘Now Jon,’ Marcel said, ‘Come on
Now…they’re just drawings. You
Can make more. David is older,
He has trouble with his hands.’
‘But those weren’t for sale,’ Jon
Told him stepping up to him, ‘Those
‘Jon, come on now. Don’t be so whiney.
It’s just artwork. You’re young, you
Can make more.’ Marcel laughed.
‘He had no right to do that!’ Jon
‘Jon.’ Marcel went on like some
Reprimanding parent. ‘Don’t take it
So seriously. You can male more.
We help each other here. That’s
How things work.’
‘That’s how things work here
In the city.’ Marcel told him with
A stern, relentless brow. ‘It’s
Called paying your dues…We help
Each other…You help your elders…
And then one day, someone helps you…
When you’re older.’
‘Paying your dues?’ Jon laughed.
‘That’s right.’ Marcel insisted firmly,
Like law. ‘Paying your dues. That’s
How things work.’ His expression
And demeanor told him there
Were no options on this.
Jon was horrified. The attitudes
And words he was hearing today!
He couldn’t even find a word to say,
Only anger…only rage.
‘Don’t look at me that way, boy.’
Marcel said as he turned to return
To his bed. ‘That’s how it is.’ Then he
Was gone…It was done, settled.
There was no fighting this. Marcel
Knew everyone…A frightening
Picture became clear, like the
Lessons he learned back home.
He was no one to fight against Marcel,
The fight would be one-sided and
Unfair…Unjust victory by a custom
Well established. Then he sat on
His bed and furiously wondered on
How much and how fast the city
Was teaching what it wanted.
It wasn’t long before Heinztel appeared,
Very excited almost aglow of the good
Time he had. He entered the room
Grinning from ear to ear nearly
Singing, ‘Life is GREAT!’ But when
He saw their room-like apartment
He froze. ‘What happened?’
‘A great life happened.’ Jon said quietly.
‘Marcel let that artist down the street
Take my work.’
‘What? Why?’ Heinz said in shock.
‘Oh, I’m so sorry. That’s awful.’ Then
He looked around. ‘Did he
Take anything else?’
‘No.’ Jon answered.
‘Well, hey…’ Heinztel said as he sat
Beside him smiling. ‘Come on…I
Know it’s awful. But it isn’t so bad…
You can male some more. And I
Have wonderful news! I made some
Great connections with really amazing
People. They really like me! Things
Are looking better, I promise!’
Jon eyed him numbly. ‘Better?’
‘Yes!’ Heinz insisted. ‘You watch I am
Going to make it here, I will…It
Will be great for both of us. The men
I talked to are really wonderful
And want to help guide me to greatness.’
Jon studied him quietly before
Breaking the mood. Then he told
Him what happened by the river
With Mr. Henry. The words, the
Tone…the suggestions… ‘There is
Something not right here. I don’t
But Heinztel wasn’t about to surrender
His hope so fast. ‘Maybe you just
Misinterpreted things, misunderstood?
You’re still new here…People are
More aggressive, they behave differently
Than back home.’
‘It didn’t feel that way.’ Jon insisted.
‘I know you feel things. But they can’t
All be right. Come on now.’ Heinz tried
To make him smile. ‘Maybe it was
All just…a bad day?’
‘A bad day?’ Jon laughed. ‘How come
When it happens to me it’s misunderstood
But when it happens to you
It’s different? Would I say it so
Fast if I saw it wrong?’
‘Something is not right here.’ Jon
Said. ‘It’s been that way since we
Got here, at least for me. Pushed
Or told one way or another…
Guided to understand some other way?’
Heinztel grew more serious. ‘Come on.
Think positive. Don’t ruin this for me,
Not by some feeling.’
‘I don’t want to ruin it for you. I’m
Not truly trying to ruin it.’ Jon told him.
‘It happened…I would be a fool
Not to think about it.’
‘And I have to think about what
Happened to me.’ Heinz defended.
‘Then I need to think alone
For a while…saying anything
Right now seems to ruin it.’ Jon
Answered as he stood up and
Went outside to think alone by
The bench under the window.
The city…The clustering, the
People…working, chasing, believing
Each in their own ways. A horde
Of independent views gathered
Together to build a civilization, order.
It all seemed the same…To the
Left, the loud and proud…lavish
And entertaining…To the right, all
Business and bold, impressive and
Ruling. What would the future bring?
Those men, Mr. Henry, had the
Heaviest words…Guidance. Was
Civilization chaos without it? It
Sure seemed that way with an endless
Cast of characters…loud and demanding.
Yes, the city was constantly making
A big impression.