The Ecphorizer

Doug Chang

Issue #27 (November 1983)

The rhythms of a life winding down

Five pigeons slowly strutted across the dingy concrete plaza in the center of the park. With a relieved sigh, an elderly man painfully fell down onto one of the many grafitti-covered park benches. His shallow wheezing coughs floated out easily as he slowly caught his panting breath.


The last leaves of Autumn returned despondently down to the earth

moved faster and faster, thought the man, and now it was hard to keep up with it. He failed to realize that life wasn't so much accelerating away from him, but he was slipping back because of his senility. Although the day in general dragged endlessly on, specifically it raced well ahead of the tired man. For him, a day seemed to last much longer than a month.

He wore a brown woolen coat, replete with food stains in some places and threadbare regions in others. His overall appearance was that of a rat, an old, sick rat with coarse patchy tufts of graying hair.

The cool air swirled down the shaded lane, scattering the bits of paper and dust in little clouds. The poor man's joints ached wearily as he uneasily shifted his seating. There was an aura of gloom that hung heavily over him, oozing out of his clothes, his hair, his labored breathing. Deep tired sighs involuntarily escaped from his frail heaving chest. A heavy chin dropped slowly down in tandem with his thick, crusty eyelids.

The snores began and a kid laughed shamelessly as he walked by. The pigeons wandered over the sleeping form, perplexed by this new object in their domain.

No one knew, or even cared, for the bedraggled man, mach less his youthful dreams as a class president of fifty years ago.

He burned with such the sane ambition, in many ways he felt exactly the same as the man in his fevered dreams. He had gradually seen his peer group culled by the incessant summons of the master Death, and now he sat alone on the park bench, weathered by a tumultous life and steeping in mindless reverie.

The last leaves of Autumn returned despondantly down to the earth that first spawned them. For years the man believed that Winter was only a preparation for Spring. Now he mutely wondered if he could make it through just one more Winter, to the rebirth, the time that caused him his one real joy in life.

The sun began to set, shedding its last glorious beams that pierced the air over the city. 

Doug Chang, a Silicon Valley teenager , word processes his output on an Apple II.  He is engaged in starting up a magazine of his own and has been viewing out so-called production facilities to learn the ropes.

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