The watchman is crazy.

The watchman is quite certain that everyone else thinks the same, and he can’t blame them.

What others don’t understand is that being a watchman is a calling, and if the calling leads him to do strange things, then it’s not his fault if others see him and think he’s gone off the deep end.

His first task was to eat bitter and painful words, and although they tasted wonderful, he soon found that he had to sit down from all the extra weight that had settled like a rock in his stomach. So he sat for an entire week amidst the exiles, and whenever they walked past, they all acted as if he were the funniest man on earth.

Next, he had to act like a child playing a game of war against himself. That time, crowds of people had gathered and stared at him trashing a block of clay with the largest piece of wood he could carry. That time, the crowds had looked at him with pity in their eyes; the kind of pity that is only reserved for the sick.

Neither of those tasks were as bad as the one he has to complete now. He tries to prepare himself for the next 430 days, but how does one prepare for the impossible? He feels he will wear his very bones into the ground; see them melt into his clothes and the ropes binding him, and wait in horror as his body gradually becomes one with the soil.

Nonetheless, he prepares. For the next few days, he spends more time in the kitchen than he ever has in his entire lifetime, and his house is glowing warm from all the grinding he’s done. The crowds frown at the unusual activity, and when he begins to bake, they express their disgust before dispersing. The ceaseless huffing and puffing of burning excrement keep them away, and for a few days, he lives his life in blessed silence and solitude.

Eventually, they return. They’ve come to stare and point and whisper among themselves, but he’s immune now as he lies down on his side and begins to eat.


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