Deus Ex Machina

June 1, 2011 § 1 Comment

Image by moMents fiXats via Flickr

Deus ex machina ( /ˈdeɪ.əs ɛks ˈmɑːkiːnə/ or /ˈdiː.əs ɛks ˈmækɪnə/ Latin: “god out of the machine”; plural: dei ex machina) is a plot device whereby a seemingly inextricable problem is abruptly solved with the unexpected intervention of some new event, character, ability, or object, often considered an “act of god.”

His name was Roberto Constantino Alvarez and he taught me not to believe in god. He was a superhero and he was just a man. He was a trained federal agent and he was a son and a father and a husband and a decorated veteran of a war no one had ever thanked him for. He had brown eyes and olive skin and he always laughed before you could finish the punchline. He was born on August 5th and he died on his birthday 46 years later. He loved soccer and his family and the scent of oncoming rain in the summer. His name was Roberto Constantino Alvarez and he died for absolutely no reason at all. And I will never forgive him for that.

His name was Roberto Constantino Alvarez and he was a boy scout as a child. He knew how to tie knots and climb trees and make fire from nothing. He was especially skilled at climbing trees and could swing from tops as if it were instinctual nature. He preferred birch trees partly for the challenge and mostly for an admiration of Robert Frost. He did not ever yell or scream like most children. He always spoke with poise and balance, letters and words forming off his tongue with chaînés turns. He was an admired child and a loving son and he had brown wavy hair. His name was Roberto Constantino Alvarez and he forced his parents to bury a child. And they will never forgive him for that.

His name was Roberto Constantino Alvarez and he graduated college with honors. He dormed with his brother and they repeatedly got drunk with bright green Japanese liquors and they always skipped 8:00AM classes together. He did not lose his virginity until 21 and he married that same girl. He was abducted into some three-letter government agency right out of college and he loved every minute of it. His brother became a banker and they eventually stopped speaking. He wore a gold school ring with his wifes initials etched into the side and when he was gone for long periods of time he would trace the letters with his fingernails and think about making love to her. He was attempting to give candy to a local Iranian child when a militant shot him in the leg. He spent 4 years behind a desk before returning to work overseas. His name was Roberto Constantino Alvarez and he left his brother behind. And he will never forgive him for that.

His name was Roberto Constantino Alvarez and he was ejected to some far away island as part of his employment. He enjoyed the sun and the soccer but hated the hurricanes. He lived in a small town that had bars on the windows and gunshots at night. He lived at the top of a hill where he could no longer smell the scent of oncoming rain in the summer. He was friends with his neighbor who was old enough to be his grandmother and he checked on her every afternoon and she made him oatmeal raisin cookies even though he was allergic. He used to scale the palm trees in his neighbor’s yard to remove the coconuts before a hurricane. He would make his two children watch so that they would grow up with an equal appreciation for climbing. The summer of 1998 was his last blistering season on the island. He never got the Labrador he promised his children. His name was Roberto Constantino Alvarez and he died in front of his neighbors eyes. And she will never forgive him for that.

His name was Roberto Constantino Alvarez and he had a tattoo of the devil on the back of his leg. He was a certified scuba diver and he was terrified of drowning. He didn’t know how to spell sovereignty and he always bought as many girl scout cookies as he could afford. He climbed all the palm trees in his neighbor’s yard during the summer of 1998 and told everyone he would use the fruit to make a cake for his own birthday. He knew how much his children loved coconut. He did not ever smell the hurricane that was baring down upon him but the TV confirmed it was there. He sat with his family in the dark as a category five beat against their door. He told his children not to fear mother nature because we were all her children. His name was Roberto Constantino Alvarez and he died before he ever baked a coconut cake for his two sons. And they will never forgive him for that.

His name was Roberto Constantino Alvarez and he always tripped while wearing flip-flops. He never ate a mango and he didn’t know what the Pacific Ocean tastes like. He was clearing debris from his neighbor’s yard when she complained of having no electricity. He thought it would be simple when she pointed to the tree limb that had lazily fallen into the power lines in her front yard. He was day dreaming when he seemingly soared to the top of the utility pole on the morning of his birthday. He was humming a tune whose name he could not recall when he struggled with the branch that was robbing his neighbor of amenities. He was reliving a thousand regrets when 765,000 volts ran through his body in a single instance. He was already dead when his lifeless body came tumbling towards the ground. His name was Roberto Constantino Alvarez and he died doing a simple and good deed. And he will never forgive himself for that.

His name was not Roberto Constantino Alvarez and he did not scuba dive or graduate from college. He hated coconut and he never fired a gun and he didn’t believe in marriage. He was awkward around children and he did not ever leave the United States. He does not exist but his story is real and he was one of the kindest human beings who ever lived. His name was not Roberto Constantino Alvarez but he did die plummeting back to earth and he did die surrounded by people who loved him and he did die senselessly for no apparent reason at all. And I will never forgive god for that.

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