Winter is Coming
Richard J. Garfunkel
It’s a cold morning up here in Mount Watch Hill. The heat has been on, the water has been shut off to the hoses and the frost is on the pumpkins. All the neighboring houses have been festooned with the medieval incarnations of the spirits. Of course living in Tarrytown and nearby Sleep Hollow immerses us into the lore of the Headless Horseman, and all the fol-do-ral of the Hollywood version of All Saints Day.
Oh! How we as kids cringed at Bela Lugosi, with his eastern European smarmy charm and his deep-set icy eyes staring into the innocent pale blue orbs of some English damsel. We watched in rapt fascination as he leaned over her pale virginal neck and caressed it with his razor sharp bicuspids. It was what we didn't see that we imagined, and that imagination stirred our sense of lust and craven desire. It was a combination of controlled manageable horror on one hand, and sexual ardor on the other. The protagonist was an innocent girl, always blond, thin with pale skin, and from an impeccable background. She is vulnerable to the dark side of life, that nether world of shadows and violence, where death lurks nearby. The antagonist; the monster, a cold bloodless creature, who travels variously through the night as a bat or wolf, now poses as the suave sophisticated foreigner, dressed impeccably in the formal uniform of the cocktail hour. He engenders the ultimate struggle between the forces of good and wholesomeness and the banality of evil. Her true and virtuous patient lover will sacrifice himself to protect her virtue from the alien lure and onslaught of the living death representing society. This living death is symbolized by her loss of virtue. The living death of the “scarlet letter.” It is not death itself, but “living death” that is worse, much worse.
Of course now the lines are not drawn as clearly. The victim is more willing, not as innocent, more exposed. She is a temptress of sorts. She has tasted the forbidden fruit more than once, and is willing to venture over to the dark side, the forbidden zone now and again. Her passions have been stirred, and she feels that she can handle the challenge of the fates. Her, now and again, lover cannot satisfy her newly exposed desires enough. She is bolder, more exposed, less covered, and open. Maybe he is not willing to be as adventurous, maybe he is the cautious, and a more fearful emasculated type. She has the testosterone, while he is more androgynous type with his feminine and sensitive inner self-showing more and more often. Now the blurred differences between good and evil are more difficult to discern. When this new antagonist wanders into the scene and ingratiates himself with our potential victim, we see not the clear warning signs. He is like us, he is everyman. He is life itself, fraught with the ambiguous characteristics of compromise and acceptance. We accept everything today.. Nothing is wrong, there are no universal truths. There is no clear-cut answers, only hazy non-articulated rationalizations.
>Maybe this creature is a priest, maybe a doctor, maybe a counselor, maybe some mental patient who didn't take his daily suppressant. Society has justified his existence, tolerated his foibles, and rationalized his aberrant and flawed behavior. Society has allowed this creature of the dark side free reign to harvest his victims at will.
>Wow! How times have changed! rjg