The Fiend

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John was sorry. But he couldn't do it anymore. He told them he was having a breakdown. That it simply didn't mean much anymore. That he'd like to relax. Retire. Fish. His mother frowned and said she'd have him ready soon. Some home cooking perhaps. But he was never ready again. He quit, she said. He quit he quit he quit. A failure. Went mad.

John has been placed in the Smithsonian. Everyone remembers he was the best. But like all good things he broke down. Automobiles break down. So did John. A spectacle while he lasted. An attraction. A success.

He's encased beside The Spirit of St. Louis. Shaved. Reaching up. Of course his fingers have been replaced.

Ascent, Sierra Club, 1969