October 18th 2007
What started as an idle threat eventually took root and bore unwholesome fruit as I pondered and obsessed over the death of poor Christoph Mueller. Anyone so adept at rendering sorrow must surely have an eye on the grave and an ear to the dirt. There's a hole dug for him already in some rotting backwater town that coughed out its death rattle decades ago when the railroad pulled up its last tracks. I leapt at the chance to throw in the first shovelful of dirt. The early bird gets the worm, even if the worm is destined to get the artist.
So I set about to write a woeful little psalm to play at Mr. Mueller's funeral. Something to hone the prayers of the mourners to a razor's edge so that they would slit the belly of Heaven open like a sacrifical lamb to bathe the earth in saving blood. Instead, I ended up with a legend song: Mueller as Beowulf, Paul Bunyan, John Henry. A tall tale to trumpet the horrors that Mueller has unleashed upon this grim world of ours. An aural companion to his visual depravity.
Most people don't get a personalized funerary score. It could be viewed as morbid. I, on the other hand, can't think of a more fitting exclamation of life for someone whose veins flow black with ink and whose brain throbs feverishly to the yelps and mountain hollers of backwoods Appalachia.
It doesn't matter that Mueller is still with us. Time's a relative bastard, and since Mueller's left more of a mark, a broader target on which to focus our sorrows, than most dead folks, I didn't see any point in waiting until his body lay rotting in the ground to celebrate his life's work.
So I find myself holding the lyrics to "The Death of Christoph Mueller". Sure he's got enough time to pen a final verse for himself. Hopefully it will be bleaker than my contribution, but he may pull a surprise on all of us and devote the rest of his days to drawing rainbows and sunshine. It doesn't matter now. It's out of his hands. There's enough sadness in the pages of that journal to bathe more than my black heart in anguish. More sorrow than should ever fill one man's life. His work is done. Yet he trudges on.
The shadow of Christoph Mueller lies long and dark on that road, and as he bleeds ink onto those pages, the encroaching blackness of his form swallows up ever more souls, each holding their breath in wait of what fresh horrors may fall from the nib of his pen.
Zebulon Whatley, October 18, 2007
Go here to pay your respects.
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