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Short Stories to Contemplate #3: The Story of Paul Nothingness


There once lived a man who every man that has and will ever exist could ever wish for his wealth and power  or  comprehend it. No man was like him, and no man could be like him and not a thing that exists could be as significant as his own existence. He breathed meaning and purpose in everything he touched. He was not a giant or anything  godly, he was, as far as he and the world knew, just a man. A man blessed  with  so much  wisdom  and  creativity  that  he  changed the  whole  world. In his  time  and  all  the  times  that  followed, his technologies and inventions shaped human  kind  forever. Nobody  knew  his  real  name  for  sure, he never  gave  it. Every  citizen  of  the planet, from every  background  and  culture,  referred  to  him simply as  Paul The Great.
In  his  nights  of  victory  and  success , never  failure, he  was  consumed. Everything  he  did  or  pursued  was  a  success  and  he  considered it his offspring. He  never  had  kids  of  his  own, not  because  he  could  not  or couldn’t  help  those  who  couldn’t (therefore himself) but  because  he  never  thought  of  it  as  fair. What  was  this  thing  that  is  called  “life”  ,he  would  contemplate. Although he  never  failed  and was perfect  in  every  way  that the  universe  could  allow,  he  couldn’t  answer  that  most  fundamental  question  of  existence. Essentially  to  exist  is  to  live. He  educated  man,  gave  him  and  taught  him  anything  he  would  need  to  fend  for  himself  and  advance civilization but for him  the cause  of  progress  was  a  lost  one. Not  one  with  meaning, no end – no point.
Paul had  problem  that  eluded  him  and puzzled  him  the  most. Even  with  his  ingenuity  and  wisdom he could  not solve it. You see, he was unable  to  be  happy or sad. He  felt  numb  and  vacant. He  never  got  to  see  the angels  or  the  colors  that  make  the  world  shine  with  beauty. It  was all  grey and gloomy for him. So he dived into the  vices  and  aids  that would  help  him  feel  anything. His  first  choice  was  drugs, as  much  as  he  can  get  and  as  extreme  as  they  can  get  without  losing  himself. He  sought  help  from  professionals, the  best  that  was  available. Still,  he remained  gloomy.
“There  seems  to be  nothing  wrong  with  you  at  all,” they  said, the men  in  their  cardigans, gold rimmed  glasses, with feathers on their heads  or those in  white  coats. They  did  all  they  could, traditional  and  experimental. Still  the  world  remained  tasteless.
He  hired  artists  from  all  over  the  world with  all  sorts  of  talents (singers, dancers, fire-breathers, jugglers, comedians, bands, singers, groups, orchestras, actors etc)  from the eccentric to the common.
His reasoning was that art is  the  best  medicine. It makes us act  in  ways  never  thought  possible, reflects  humanity  and  transcends  any  world  of  logic  and  understanding. His problem  was  of  the  same  nature, elusive and incomprehensible but very much present. Maybe  art  would  help. Maybe  art will  reach  out  to  him  and  open  up  a  layer  of  his being  he hardly  visited. Excite  some  part  of  him that  the  science in the  world  failed  to  recognize.
At  the  end  of  all  the  mediocre, interesting, puzzling  and  masterful  performances he sat on the balcony with  a  glass  of  whiskey  dangling  in  his hand and watched  the  sunset  from  his  balcony.
His  maid  ambled over from behind, stood and watched with the same thoughtfulness and quiet. After moments of silence, she quietly asked, “Sir, are  you feeling any better  now? Any different?”
There was  faint smile in his  face, very  distinct  to  him  all  the  years  she  had  served  him, “As well as can be expected.”
“It did not work?”
“No, not at all.” He sighed. He turned to her.
For the first time she could see traces of what looked like peace on his face, not lifelessness. A knowing of some kind.
“I’m sorry, sir.”
He did not respond for a while, until, “You can go now. I will see you all tomorrow morning.”
The next morning Paul was found hanging in the entryway to his balcony. He had killed himself.
On the floor there was a note, it read:

Dear World

This is what I am. That which does not feel.



I hope I did not upset you. This story was meant to be a story that one of the major characters in Before the Cult, my novel, tells the main character. It was supposed to have a major significance. For some reason I can’t recall I did not include it.

You can find a lot of meaning in this story, a lot is imbedded in these simple sentences.
If you would like to discuss this I am open to discussion, email or comment.

Thank you for reading. If you enjoyed this please like, comment or follow.

” Towers…
Deity forged architecture
Swirling in and out of form
Enveloped in the arms of dark matter
Towers…mercurial and flowing…” – Agalloch ‘Birth And Death Of The Pillars Of Creation’


4 thoughts on “Short Stories to Contemplate #3: The Story of Paul Nothingness

  1. This is an interesting concept – in fact there are many interesting ideas and concepts within the general, principle you have set forth.

    You mentioned this was originally part of a larger piece that was supposed to be included in a book, but for whatever reason, it didn’t make the final cut?

    As it stands, and I do hope you appreciate honesty, I think you need to perhaps sit back with it – and consider some editing and “cleaning up” of the basic grammar etc. I’ve read the first sentence about 8 times now – and with each successive reading, it seems clearer to me, and yet, I realize, the “tone” of this is set as if you are verbally telling a story. And maybe, it would seem less “convoluted” and dense if it was an actual spoken story. But for me, personally, my head keeps tripping over it – and so the rest all sort of falls into the same place.

    As for whether this piece has any reference and relevance to the prompt in question? It certainly does. And can. Clearly the story behind this – and please don’t misunderstand or consider that because I think there are “technical issues” that this isn’t an interesting, fascinating possibility to explore, – so, right, the character’s story, certainly represents a struggle and decisions, choices, a search for meaning, and then, surrender.

    As I’ve mentioned, this snippet was written for something else – and I would say to you that if you wish to consider it for the prompt, then, please, go ahead – submit it.

    The prompts – specifically the Tarot card references are points of departure. I offer information and ideas and then set out some guidelines and hope to set people thinking and creating. And I think there are some very interesting concepts here, within your piece. How you interpret the prompt is open to you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You have really made me happy. I appreciate honesty. Really invaluable stuff you have said there.
      I found it stashed away on my computer, cleaned it up a little and copy and pasted. I really have no idea what to do with it, I find myself unable to face it or spend a lot of time on it since it was part of a work that was personally painful. Since larger work was so close to home.
      With all that said, I think I will go back and improve it as soon as I find the strength.
      Thanks for the amazing feedback. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well I’m glad to hear that you weren’t upset by my comments. 🙂

        Often, when something is initially written, and it comes from particularly dark and painful personal places, then it can be difficult to edit, or clarify thoughts and ideas. However, this doesn’t mean it can’t be done. But it’s the ability to distance yourself from the work – to be able to read it objectively. And sometimes that just takes time. You’ll know when and if you are ready to do so. And that’s all okay.

        If the prompt still interests you, then you can always think on it, choose one or two aspects or elements about the card, and write a new story. It’s up to you.

        Take care and I hope you have a great week 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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