#TheDevilsMalware (The Continuing Adventures of the Gleaner: Episode 20 #AdventCalendar Edition)

The Devil’s Malware 20.1

Forest Hills Squirrel w grain


(We rejoin our hero leaving MacDonald Park as he heads to his family’s old apartment a few blocks away.)

I watch a squirrel as I leave the park.
I lean in and give a listen in the frigid air.
What menacing plot do you withhold, little fella?
What perilous underside do you keep hidden?
Any whispers of ‘the plan?’ The ‘plan in hand?’
Are you harmless rodent?
Or Devil’s minion?
Do you speak with the same tongue as the plastic squirrel that taunted me from the wall of Lord and Taylor’s on 5th Avenue?
Do you hiss with the same frightening frequency that tortured me on the Queensboro Bridge?

I lean in closer.

I hear nothing.

No satanic voices.
No maniacal laughter.
Just a squirrel foraging through the snow.

Perhaps it was all a dream.

I found a painting in the trash.

And everything else was imagined.

Just bedlam of the brain.

The Devil’s Malware 20.2

Forest Hills Mosaic cropped

I pass under the Forest Hills mosaic.
The old stomping ground.
I heard the tennis grounds were turned into a music venue a few years ago.
Nothing lasts.
Nothing stays the same.
Always changing.
Light and dark fighting for supremacy.
Up and down.
In and out.
Nothing stays the same.
Infinite universe. Infinite possibility.
Always in motion.

The Devil’s Malware 20.3

Mother Mary w grain

I walk by our old church.
My daughter went to school here.
This place still looks the same.
Thank Jesus on High.
The church and the school still look the same.
In a town where everything is constantly being smashed down and rebuilt back up and smashed down again and built up again, it’s comforting to see something that hasn’t changed.

Something lasts.

The Devil’s Malware 20.4

Nativity 1 w grain

I pass by one of the church’s Nativity scenes.
They wait to put the Baby Jesus out on Christmas.
Always waiting on Jesus.
We’re all waiting on Jesus to come back.
It’s a brilliant way to give us something that feels eternal in a world where everything is smashed down and built up again.
And smashed down again and built up again.
Make us eternally wait for something just beyond our grasp.
When I finally see the Face of God – the God we created and created us simultaneously in this universe of infinite possibility – I’ll be sure to tell him Jesus was a brilliant move, man.
Brilliant move.
Jesus said, “l’ll be back, kids. So play nice and stay busy. Never know when I’ll be back. Play nice. Stay busy.”
And then, in the arms of angels, he checks out on us.
And leaves us waiting and waiting.



I dig Jesus, man.

Faith of a mustard seed will move a mountain, man.
What are we if we don’t believe in something?
Got hope.
Think about the Trinity, man.
In an infinite universe with infinite possibility, why can’t God be the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit all at the same time?
The universe is crazy, man.

The Devil’s Malware 20.5

Nativity 2 w grain

I feel a shiver.
Not from the cold.
I feel a shiver through me like electricity.
Like what I felt on the bridge.
I hear the same hissing sound I heard back on 5th Avenue.


You’ll say I’ve gone soft in the head…

…but do you see what I see?

The Devil’s Malware 20.6

Santa Gnome cropped w grain

The Santa Gnome is watching me.
And laughing.
I hear the gnome speak.
“Still got the plan,” the Gnome hisses at me. “Still got the plan in hand.”

(Tune in tomorrow for the next installment…)

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