by Ryder Miller
The night before had been dark and stormy, but now the city was clean, and the
sky was clear. The streets were still moist and there was a chill in the morning air. Dauphin looked out over the city streets
with trepidation. It was early Fall, the days were getting colder, and he needed to find a new place to live. He had rarely
ever left the house.
His father had said the he would provide for him, and an idyll time it had been.
He spent most of his time sitting and contemplating. Dauphin's father had eventually went the way of most of his kin, but
his story was different. His father had been a movie star having gained rolls in a number of Horror movies. His father, Saul,
had wings and could fly. Hollywood paid him, but probably not as much as the real stars. His father was just an oddity. Daupin
had inherited the strange looks, but his wings didn't work. He had the long nose and pointed ears. He also had the scowl.
Saul provided funds for his son with royalties from his movies. He had left him in the strange old house on the hill, or so
Dauphin wondered why he didn't have a mother, but Saul said that he had shaped
him from pieces of clay. That was the way of their kind. On the full moon night of the leap year one can pass on their thoughts
to a new generation. One could sculpt the future of ones kind. But now Saul was gone. He had found his resting place for contemplation.
Saul had found his place in front of the building of the Director's Guild. His
strange visage greeted anyone who walked into the building. But Saul's life had been different. He had to disguise himself
in Hollywood. He had to wear an overcoat which made him look hunchbacked.
"Oh life, life is long and hard," he would tell Dauphin.
Saul would tell him how he wanted to be human, how he wished he was like everybody
else. His fate would be to harden, but he had a long life. Hollywood was corrupt and nobody cared about his story or his struggles.
They had given him a job. He shouldn't complain or argue that he was unique. He should just be happy. They didn't have work
for more of his kind. The directors eventually argued that they could now use special effects.
Saul once talked with a receptionist who told him that he should be happy that
he didn't wind up at a freak show. A starlit of any kind was not in the future for Saul.
Saul got tired of Hollywood and the movies, and moved north to the bay area. He
found an old abandoned house on top of a hill. The city grew around it. It was there he envisioned his replacement. Dauphin
would understand what his father was trying to say by him when the time was right.
Was this the time Dauphin thought when the man arrived at the door and told him
he had to leave.
"We have been mailing you letters for years. You never responded," said the representative.
"I didn't ask you to mail me anything," Dauphin replied.
"I am afraid you need to go," he said.
"My father gave me this house."
"You haven't been paying the property taxes," said the man.
"It's my father's house. He paid the property taxes. I just lived here."
"You look kind of strange. Is there something wrong with you? Maybe the social
services can help you?"
"I don't need no help. I just want you to go," said Dauphin.
"You don't understand. This is no longer your property. You need to leave."
"I am too young to go. Where should I go? I don't want to harden yet."
"That may be the case, but I am afraid you need to leave. If you stay it may be
"Where should I go? Can I live at your house?"
"Sorry. Maybe you should ask your father?"
"He is a hardened man. How much time do I have?"
"You have thirty days and then we will bring you to court."
"I am not ready to harden yet. Where should I go?"
"You should ask your family. You don't need to leave immediately, but we are going
to demolish this building. You didn't pay the taxes and now you must leave. The property is owned by the city," said the representative.
"They were my father's taxes."
"They are now yours. You didn't pay and the land lord is making you leave. Sorry."
"I'm sorry also."
The representative visited him a month ago. Dauphin was sad now because it was
getting colder and he didn't know where to go. He didn't know who to call. He didn't know what to do. He decided he would
go and speak with his father. He knew where to find him, but he had hardened. Saul may not be able to talk with him.
Dauphin decided to walk to visit his father at the Director's Guild. His wings
were not strong enough to allow him to fly there. He put on a cap and his father's long coat so that nobody would notice that
he was different. He wandered around the streets, but he knew where he was going to. He had visited his father before.
Walking down the street a woman noticed him and gave him a strange look. One guy
bumped into him and told him to look where he was going. If he had strong wings he would have flown even though he was told
that it was not okay to fly anymore. Saul told him that people hadn't understood flying for hundreds of years. His kind had
not been allowed to fly for years. His father explained to him how he had to make the efforts to fit in. The hat would hide
his ears, but what about his strange nose.
He didn't mean to scowl, but he couldn't help it. The day was growing warmer and
he began to smell under the overcoat. A big construction worker walked past him and scoffed. An old woman gave him a sad but
annoyed look. A group of young kids made him walk out of their way.
After an hour he found his father sitting on the doorstep of the Director's Guild.
He looked at his once famous father which time had forgot. His father flew through the air in one movie. In another movie
he scared a starlet. He got punched in the nose by the good guys in another movie. In one movie they burnt down his house.
Now he was in his last role protecting the Director's Guild. They had given him certain things, but not everything he wanted.
Dauphin wanted his father Saul to talk. When he was younger he expected his father
to know everything, to know what to do in every situation. He learned later that his father wasn't Superman or 007. He was
just Saul, old and embittered. Dauphin realized now that his expectations of his father were unrealistic. He had decided that
he had had enough. He walked down to the Director's Guild and decided to make his place here.
Dauphin wanted him to say something, he wanted another lesson, but Saul just sat
there with almost a smile on his face. It was a disconcerting grimace. Dauphin moved closer, but he couldn't hear anything.
He put his fingers in his ears and still couldn't hear his father.
What was Saul trying to say with that grimace Dauphin asked himself? Why didn't
his father tell him to read the mail after he had gone? I guess he had chosen to say something by picking the Director's Guild
to end his days and continue his contemplations.
Dauphin was knocked out of his contemplative mood by some passerbys.
"Get out of way you freak," said a man who walked past him towards the entrance.
"Hey be nice. Leave the poor freak alone," said a woman with him.
Dauphin decided to walk in the front door to talk with the person who owned the
As he walked through the door the security guard looked at him sternly and asked
him where he was going.
"I am going inside the building," said Dauphin.
"Who are you here to see? We don't usually let your kind in here," said the security
"That is my father outside sitting in the entryway. I want to talk with someone
who works here."
"Who do you want to talk to?"
"There are a lot of directors here. Who do you want to talk to?"
"Someone who knew my dad."
"Your father, you mean that rock out there?"
"You try anything in here and you'll wind up in the slammer. I think you should
leave soon," said the security guard angrily.
"I need someone to explain things," said Dauphin.
"You are going to have to figure things out for yourself," said the security guard
as he put a hand on his shoulder and started pushing him towards the door.
"Alright I'll leave you you human," said Dauphin who was beginning to remember.
To stop being a problem he walked out the building and sat next to his father.
The security guard walked back into the building, but as he walked away he said, "Your kind lost and will continue to lose.
If you are still here the next time I step outside there is going to be trouble."
"I will be leaving soon, you hominid."
Dauphin decided to spend a few minutes with his dad before leaving. There was something
he was supposed to realize when the time was right. It seemed like the time was right and Dauphin was remembering a lesson
his father had told him.
"We are different from the rest of them, you and me," his father said.
Dauphin didn't know what to say.
"You're not listening are you?" said Saul.
"Yes I am. I don't know what to say," said Dauphin.
"They descended from the apes, me and you, were metaphysical," said Saul.
Saul continued, "The future is theirs. There are not going to be a lot more of
us. Our time is coming to an end."
At the time Dauphin realized that he had never seen anymore of his kind. He had
seen statues which his father said were once alive. But that was the way of their kind, when the time was right, when the
spot was picked, one would harden and spend the rest of their time in contemplation. One could revel in reflection for the
rest of their sedentary existence.
As Dauphin walked through the streets he saw a woman with a child sitting on the
"Do you have any money you could spare?" she asked someone who walked in front
"Sorry," said the man in the business suit.
Dauphin turned to look at her and she grew scared and angry.
"Get away from me freak," she yelled. The baby began to cry.
Dauphin kept walking until he found a store which was selling television sets.
In the store there were half a dozen televisions broadcasting different stations. On one television there was a war movie.
On the news someone had just recently been shot. On a paid advertisement a woman was advertising a liposuction technique.
Saul never bought a television for the house, and Dauphin found himself disturbed by what the televisions were showing. There
was a car crash, a woman yelling, a man with a gun.
An impatient store attendant walked up to him and said, "If you are not buying
anything you have to leave."
Dauphin scowled and then walked out the door. He thought he had figured out what
his father was trying to say to him. His father had not prepared him for this. Dauphin didn't get out of the house much, and
to think about it now he realized that it was usually only at strange hours when there were not a lot of people on the streets.
They were different as his father had said. Dauphin had decided what he was going to do. He had decided where he was going
Dauphin decided to make his way back to the house. He saw a vendor selling hot
dogs on the street corner, and stopped by to ask for one.
The vendor handing him the hot dog and asked him for a dollar.
Dauphin took a bite and said he didn't have any money.
The vendor grew angry and slapped the hot dog out of his hand. He had a knife in
his hand and said, "If you come back I will use this, you freak."
Dauphin arrived at the house still in a bad mood. On either side of the steps which
lead up to the rock porch there were rails. Dauphin need the rails to make it up the stairs. The weight of the world was weighing
him down. His legs were growing tired. He had decided that here was where he was going to rest. He would settle here on the
rock porch and think for the rest of his existence.
He had figured out what his father was trying to tell him. They were different
than them, and their time was over. Dauphin wouldn't have children, but he would be a piece of art. Life was short, but art
was long. From his spot on the hill Dauphin looked out over the city and was happy that he was not one of them. They had become
scary enough, and didn't need anything else to scare each other.
Copyright Ryder Miller 2004
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