(1) I think we all know that FK, KF, Caine, and LaCroix aren't my creations.
(2) Everything else below is my creation.
It was four in the morning, and Kwai Chang Caine was in meditation. Then, he was no longer so. Something drew him to the radio, and he turned it on.
The station was set to a talk station, and a man with a raspy voice was speaking.
"Identity... What is it, really? Does it have meaning, or not? Is it something that makes us feel good; something that tells us who we are? Or is it something different... a justification for our evil deeds?
"Is it something that we use to distinguish ourselves from the aimless, zombie-like mass milling about on the streets and sidewalks -- since we in no way look different from them. Our own uniqueness is lost as we do the same as everyone else: live, work, die.
"We believe the one thing our mothers tell us as children: 'Remember that you're unique, just like everyone else.' Is that not a paradox? How can we be unique, or have identity, when we are an inseparable, indistinguishable part of the masses? The very atoms that make up our body are the same that make up the next person's -- a carbon atom is a carbon atom is a carbon atom.
"Faced with such facts, what do we do?
"Do we create a high and mighty moral system for ourselves? Do we say to ourselves that we are different because we follow the laws of a God too aloof to show proof of Himself to lowly man? Do we believe that somehow 'belief' and 'behavior' make us different?
"Do we hide in an executive's office, looking below from that comfortable refuge with a triple vodka in hand, forgetting the fact that we must eventually leave that office and return home, going there amongst the streams of humanity, returning to the same house with the same family, a house and family that are identical to the ones all around it?
"Do we become cynical, lose all hope, and willfully dive downwards, relishing in evil and depravity? Do we become thieves, liars, and killers, because we know that nothing matters in this world?..."
Caine didn't have a phone in his house, but there was a pay phone across the street. He dialed the number.
. . . "Apparently there is a soul out there who feels that there is something to add to this subject. Kwai Chang Caine... a priest from our very own Chinatown. Tell me... Caine... what do you believe?"
"I believe... that you are a very -- wounded -- man. Your pain and uncertainty are very evident. What was it that destroyed your hope, your optimism? What made you turn the world into a hell -- in your own eyes? What makes you see a flower, and know only that in moments, it will shrivel to dead remains? What makes you see the mosaic of humanity and see only a colorless mesh?"
"You are a true optimist," smiled LaCroix. "What makes you believe that I see the world as a hell?"
"You... fail... to see things as they really are. It is just as bad to see the world as a heaven without fault, as it is to see the world as nothing but fire and brimstone."
"But am I seeing things in a slanted way? Am I wrong in anything I have said?"
"There is very little that is right or wrong in this world. Or even correct and incorrect. There is only harmony and disharmony. Your heart and your statements are in disharmony."
LaCroix looked at the microphone, his face a mask of glumness. He looked at his hands, as if both hands were the arms of a Roman balance. "What is harmony?"
Caine heard his soft whisper, and understood what lay between the lines. "Harmony is not pleasantness or goodness. Harmony is that which flows with the whole, and promotes a better good. And good is not always sweetness and niceness. Sometimes good can take the form of the most horrible plagues or disasters. Death is harmony, just as much as life."
Caine hung up soon after that, and LaCroix wrapped up his broadcast by saying, "You have all heard it from the mouth of a priest, and I hope you have learned as much from it as I, and that is something that I say only once in a long, long time."
In his own thoughts, he added, //And you, Nick, would do especially well to have listened . . . and learned. He might have accused me of being in disharmony, but I think he could have spoken for you, most certainly.//
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