We kicked the shit out of Plato. Just kicked out the living shit. And
nobody really felt bad about it either. It was real late and we were
all sleepy-drunk-tired, maybe dreaming, and he just kept insisting,
nudging up against us and insisting, between us, insistent, and saying, “Hey, hey guys, let’s talk about philosophy-kings! Let’s talk about the
Republic!” None of us had any patience for him -- we’d just run out.
And he -- a tired old man and scraggly, breath reeking of salmon -- sadly, had
no place among us by the dryer. That entire house was cramped, legs
propped between legs, arms reaching for elbows and sweat, and yet, we’d
scrounged a small space to gulp beers. “Guys,” he said, crowding us,“allow me let me tell you about the Forms of the Good!”
But Drone said: “Jesus, man, get the hell out.” Then shouted, then
shoved, then showed off a
flexed barbed-wire tattoo his parents didn’t know about yet. But the
man recovered, cleared his throat,
then stuttered, “Fine. But how would you feel about a little Socratic
Already, he was nothing more than dust to us, rust, and to us, we
decided there was nothing left
but to toss him in the trunk. The trunk of Drone’s dented, purpled
Grand Prix, drove him to the
football field, so we could do him a favor.
All four of us, we pulled him from that trunk -- leaving the ice scraper
and antifreeze behind. For a long time, we just kind of screwed with
him, took a few jabs at him, bounced around like Muhammad Ali calling “Pop, pop,” and swinging. Swinging “sting-like-a-bee” fists an inch
away from his lips; we wanted to bust him up. The goal posts shoved
shadows down around us.
“Please, friends,” he begged. “I have done no wrong. I have done no
wrong, and yet you will have me die an innocent man?”
“Pop, pop!” we called, slapping him up some, listening for cheers from
the ghosts crowding the bleachers.
He said that he’d known a man once, who’d asked for some hemlock, and
could we oblige him as well?
But all Drone heard was hammock. And he said: “Dudes, this dude thinks
we’re getting him a haaaammoooooock,” and then laughed and “pop-popped’
him some around the guts and kidneys. It was getting late, so we
crammed his furry head into the end zone, then drove home, sputtered
off, put-puttered off, and left our philosopher-king to puke it up,
sweat it out -- whatever it was that had him.