Friday 3 March 2023

WHY IS JEROME SAD? by Maxine Flam, double espresso

 An extraordinary ability always comes with a price. This unintended consequence of using this ability caused Jerome problems and made him sad.

            Jerome was not a normal child but had the gift of seeing into the future. The first vision occurred on June 27, 1914. Jerome saw that Archduke Ferdinand and his wife would be assassinated the next day and a great war would follow. He told his mother, Lydia. She laughed. No one would believe a young boy of four who made such an outrageous statement as this. And this made Jerome sad. When it came to pass that on June 28, 1914, the Archduke and his wife were assassinated and a month later, all of Europe was at war, no one believed that Jerome actually predicted these events. It was a coincidence.

            As Jerome aged, the visions increased. He saw Germany’s defeat in WWI and the Versailles treaty that ended the war. But he also saw that Germany was treated harshly and put in an untenable position. He didn’t understand all he saw; he was only nine but he knew the future looked bad. And this made Jerome sad. He tried to talk to his mother about this but she laughed again and said, ‘Jerome, the war is over. Be happy. A child your age should play and be with friends – not fret about things he can do nothing about.’

            Jerome’s visions came randomly; there was no rhyme or reason, except they always foreshadowed a doom of some kind. When a vision appeared, it caused Jerome great consternation because he knew he couldn’t do anything about it, but he said to himself that one day he would act to prevent a terrible occurrence from happening and make a difference.

            Jerome’s vision that liquor would be outlawed came to pass, but it didn’t matter. The roaring 20s had arrived.  Times were prosperous. Jerome’s father made lots of money bootlegging liquor for the mob. It didn’t matter that there were mob hits and many people were killed. Booze was plentiful. Some people distilled their brew in private and went blind because of it, but the smart people went to the underground bars known as speakeasies. These places were always packed. Jazz became popular. People would dance to the Charleston all night. The years passed and people were driving automobiles. Telephones were plenty as were radios. Herbert Hoover ran on the slogan, “A chicken in every pot.” Still, Jerome was sad.

            Then he saw the day that would change the world: the stock market crash on October 24, 1929. He tried to warn his father, but his father dismissed the teenager. Before it happened, his father said, ‘Nothing like that could ever happen.’ But it did. The rich were thrown into poverty. People committed suicide. Jerome was 19 and was sad because, as always, no one listened to him. He had to find a way to leave home and find someone who would believe he had the power to see into the future. He wanted to stop some of the terrible things he saw before they happened.

            The year was 1933. The Nazi Party won the election in Germany. The Versailles treaty caused the German people to look for someone to deliver them from the crushing inflation they had endured for years and bring back Germany from the brink of ruin. That someone was Adolf Hitler. Jerome foresaw another World War, more devastating than the first. Germany would again be at the center of it. Hitler would inflict unspeakable horrors on millions of people. Jerome was beyond sad because he knew if he told his parents, they would dismiss him as always. He decided to go to Germany and try to warn the people whom Hitler would kill. He sailed across the ocean and when he arrived, he went to the largest Catholic Church in Berlin where he told a priest what he saw: a second world war was imminent with more death than the first. The priest thought the visions were the Devil’s handiwork. Jerome left and went to the head Rabbi of Berlin, saying the Jews would be persecuted. They would be forced to wear yellow armbands; their business would be looted and burned, and then the people would be herded like sheep into ghettos, labor camps, and concentration camps. The Rabbi thought he was a lunatic. He went to the Gypsies. They invited him to stay and eat. When he told them what he saw, they laughed at him. No one took Jerome seriously. His heart was broken from all the sadness he felt. The newly formed SS carefully watched Jerome and arrested him for being a threat to the Fatherland. As he sat in a jail cell, he saw the future flash in front of him: the entire world is at war, the cattle cars, the gas chambers, and millions of dead bodies. It was too much for his eyes to see. He closed them and when he reopened them, he saw his future. He would be shot tomorrow afternoon after being interrogated.

Jerome never prayed before, but suddenly he blurted out, ‘Dear God, why did you give me the gift of seeing the future when no one ever listened to what I said? It made me sad to witness all the suffering over my lifetime. The only good thing is I won’t be around to see what is about to happen.’

            As he put his head in his hands, tears streaming down his face, he heard a booming voice say, ‘But I will see it all. And now you know how I feel, as the One who created them.’

Jerome sat there for a moment, overwhelmed by what he just heard, and wept uncontrollably.   

About the author 

Since becoming disabled in 2015, Maxine took up her passion for writing. She is taking classes at the local college in writing and analysis. Maxine has been published several times in the Los Angeles Daily News op-ed section, The Epoch Times, Nail Polish Stories, DarkWinterLit, and CafeLit


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