Excerpts from Spring 1958 Edition
The desert sun is beating down with such force that I can hardly breathe. I know it will only be a matter of hours now before it destroys me. Somehow it seems to know that with only a glance it will stifle a human life; this makes it seem to beat all the harder. Looking right into its mighty face, my eyes see nothing. They no longer can focus the sun and this bothers me terribly; a man should at least be able to see his murderer.
Although I hate the desert, it no longer frightens me. The sudden pangs of fear and panic no longer grip my heart. I lost the wonderful power of fear days ago - wonderful because with fear there is hope, a burning drive for safety. Now without fear, the battle is already over. I'm content to die right here without any further effort towards saving myself.
This is where I was born and now, some thirty years later, it will be my grave. In a way the barren land is my home. We seem so much alike: fruitless and barren. As my eyes gaze across the white sands, I realize my life holds little more than the desert. What have I gotten out of life? Now with plenty of time to think, my mind drifts back over the past thirty years.
Born to parents of a slightly below-average income, I learned early in life to go after what I wanted and stay at it until my purpose had been fulfilled. With five children in the family, it was always assumed that no matter what we had, we shared and shared alike. Our family was a nice one with plenty to eat and plenty of love. To Mom and Dad these two things were the only real essentials in life.
In their lack of education, they captured the innocent desire to live for the sheer joy of living. To me they were fools. I left my family in my mad race to success, never looking back to see how I had crushed them. Oh, for another look at my sweet mother and a handshake from my dad! Oh, to have little Susie jump into my arms and kiss me! Little Susie, the baby of the family, held a special place in my heart that for years has been replaced with love for myself only. Suddenly my heart aches for Susie and the rest of them.
I have found success, or what I have thought was success. I have cheated and lied and made more money than I can ever spend, and yet, even now I am possessed with the desire for more.
The same, selfish, lustful drive deep in my soul brought me to this desert, and now it will kill me. In search of treasure I have followed the sun, and it has led me to my own kind. The desert and I are alike in every way, we have so much of nothing.
Now the sweat has stopped pouring from my body, and the burning of the sun has made my face so dry I can't even smile. (Not that I want to, but I want to see if I still know how; it has been so long.) The sand is choking me and stinging my cheeks. I don't want to think anymore; I want to die. My heart can no longer stand the pressure of my throbbing body. In the silence I can hear it weaken. Now for the first time in days, my eyes catch a glimpse of the sun. It is seeming to smile so I smile back.
It is not the innocent who suffer; theirs is but a fleeting moment of agony; it's the greedy and selfish who suffer, for theirs is eternal.