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Friday, January 11, 2019

A Message for Doctor Schnabel



Doctor Schnabel, hello? Oh… Doctor Schnabel, I’m sorry I missed you. I’m just calling to tell you that I’ve noticed something sorta’ weird.  Really weird, actually. I wanted to ask you about it. I would have come in for a consultation, but...well, whatever. I know you’re busy. It’s okay. Whatever. Perhaps I can just tell you about it, and you can get back to me whenever.

So, the thing is, I’ve noticed an increasing amount of ear wax in my ear. Ha. Ha. Of course in my ear, right? Where else would ear wax be?  So I’ve got all this ear wax building up. And it has a weird smell. Peppery, I suppose. Like Old books and pepper. I checked in Dr. Tarrec’s Demonic Signals and Sigils for Protection and Exorcism, but he says nothing…well, not nothing, but very little about ear wax. He says that clotted ear wax may indicate the approach of the demon Asmodeus, and I’m quoting here, “slowly moving through the planes of existence, slowly, not an instantaneous transition…” I’m not really sure what most of that means, Dr. Schnabel, but I am worried about what may be diableric activity in my ear canal.

You don’t think this could be related to the converging telluric comments I mentioned to you last week, do you? I told you about the strange patterns I’ve been seeing magnetic clouds of steel dust floating over the city, right? Dr. Curtis says… You know Dr.  Curtis, right? He says, ‘no.’ But whatever; he’s not an ear, nose, and throat doctor, like you. He’s only a doctor of philosophy. So what does he know, am I right? I mean, that’s Socrates, right?

But he says that it’s not a magnetic thing.

And, did I mention that there are blood stains on my pillowcase in the mornings? Though I’m not convinced that it’s my blood. I don’t know where the blood came from. I don’t know whose blood it might be. It could be mine, I suppose. But if it is mine, I might have to ask – “who’s been in my house? And why?”

I was at the grocery store yesterday, just picking up my weekly groceries… anyway, I started smelling something. I was all the way over in aisle eight – by the bread. Nowhere near the meat department, and I started noticing the smell of rotting meat. Then I realized something: That’s not the smell of rotting meat, it’s the smell of rotting me. That’s not something to worry about is it?

By the way, did you see that thing on television last night? About the tornados in California? And all the Satan worshipping celebrities that are setting their own houses on fire? The owls have been watching, of course. The fires, I mean. Why would owls be watching television, right?

Anyway, I really appreciate your help, Dr. Schnabel. Like I said, I’m sorry to have missed you. This is probably nothing – just the ear wax and the unidentified blood.  Oh, and the telluric currents of magnetic steel dust… Oh, and the smell of rotting me. Just that. So… I guess we’ll just let the lab work decide for us.

Only… only… It’s not one of those bacterial rumor infections is it? I’ve been reading abou-

Beeeeeep.


Monday, January 7, 2019

Jesus Might Call President Trump a Mother%*@#er


  
Incoming freshman Representative, Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) set Christian tongues a clucking last Thursday with her stated intent to “go in and impeach the motherfucker”  - referring with that vulgarity to to President Donald Trump. Many Christians shake their heads and wag their fingers, lamenting the decrease in decency, and the collapse of civility, and et centers

But me… I just wonder if Jesus himself might not have called President Trump a “motherfucker” or something similar.

Hear me out.

I know, of course, that Jesus’ admonition to love our enemies (Matthew 5:44) and the apostle Paul’s advice to “…let no unwholesome talk come out of your mouth,” (Ephesians 4:29) would seem to negate any chance that Jesus might use such an uncouth epithet, but I still think there is a case to be made.

Look for instance at the fiery invective that Jesus used against his enemies, the Pharisees, in Matthew 23 – particularly verse 33:  “"You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?” (NIV).  We’ve probably read this verse enough time to buff away the jagged edge of these words. So we need to remind ourselves just how uncivil Jesus was sometimes.

Here Jesus is describing his enemies as snakes, as the children of vipers. In the context of that culture and that time, Jesus was condemning them as disgusting and defiling children of the devil (that ancient serpent – Revelation 20:2). This is no polite ecumenical discourse. This is bitter polemic. This is nasty partisanship. This is abusive, ad hominem attack. It may not have been “motherfucker,” but it was just as nasty.

We like to keep our Jesus clean. We like to keep him out of the gutter – and to keep the gutter out of his mouth, but Jesus’ interaction with the Pharisees was, at times, quite ugly. we tend to forget (willful, perhaps) that “[p]olite ecumenical dialogue among different religious groups is a happy modern invention (Meier 338).” And since the division between the two is often indistinguishable, it’s true of political discourse as well.

Would Jesus have called President Trump a Motherfucker? I don’t know. In Luke 13:23 he called Herod Antipas a “fox” (more specifically a “vixen”) – and it wasn’t because Jesus thought Herod was handsome or clever. It was a pointed, and insulting criticism on par with calling him a poser, jackass. 

Would Jesus call President Trump a Motherfucker? I don’t know – but I think a case can be made that he might.




Meier, John P. A Marginal Jew Vol. III: Companions and Competitors.  Doubleday. New York, New York. 2001.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Let’s Exorcise the Pentagon




I’d been working at Stella’s bowling alley (12 lanes - 24 hours) for about a year when David George came back. You might remember how he got us both fired from Alvin’s Speedy Lube and Parts after he convince me to help him disinter the body of President Lincoln. He’d gone into hiding after he tried - by his own self, mind you – to dig up the bones of Geronimo. I might not be bright, but I try to not make the same mistake twice. David George though, he gets an idea in his head and he can’t shake it loose till he’s tried, and usually failed. My therapist, Dr. Schnabel, says that’s an “ideomotor response.” Me, I don’t think David George’s an idiot, but he does get some weird ideas from time to time.

Anyway, after the trouble with Geronimo’s bones, David George disappeared for a while. Sheriff Jackson came round a couple of times to ask me if I’d seen him. If I had to guess, I’d say he went back home to Enid, Oklahoma but I didn’t say none of that to the sheriff.

Like I said, I was working at the bowling alley; I’d just finished fixing the pinsetter machine on lane eight. It’s funny: David George always said I wouldn’t know a wrench from a wrestling match, but I was doin’ all right there at the bowling alley. A steady job and regular paycheck and all. I was wiping the grease from my hands when Stella came into the back and said, “Go ahead and take your break, Judge. There’s a fella at the bar looking for you. Just be back in fifteen minutes. Trash needs emptied.”

“Holt,” he said as I sat down next to him. That’s me, by the way. Judge Allen Holt.  It’s my name, not a title. Like that actor guy. “Holt. How’s it hanging?”

“David George!” I said. “Man! I haven’t seen you since…” I looked around. Sherriff Jackson and his deputies bowled there sometimes. “I ain’t see you around since… you know,” I whispered.

“Yeah,” he grinned. “That was a bit of a mess, wasn’t it? But that’s all behind me now,” he said.

“No more trouble?”

“Nope.”

“No more crazy plans?” Maybe I should have known better. He just sat there grinning, and I knew it would be something.

“Listen, Holt,” he said and leaned in real close to me.“You and I both know that whatever trouble we’ve gotten ourselves into, it’s still the black hearted politicians and dead heart stringers that are spreading blindness in the city.”

Now, I didn’t follow this too good. David George is always sayin’ stuff I don’t quite understand. But it ain’t the stuff I don’t understand that gets me in trouble usually. It’s the stuff I do understand – like what he said next.

“What we need to do is perform an exorcism at the Pentagon. If we want to save the country, we have to drive the devils out of the government – starting at the Pentagon.”

“Didn’t someone try that already?” I asked him. “One of them poet types back in the sixties…

“I don’t know anything about that, Holt.”

“Yeah. The poet and Doctor Spock.”

“From Star Trek? Judge Allen Holt, you don’t make no sense sometimes,” David George said. “This ain’t no hippy crap or science fiction garbage. What we’re going to do is perform an honest-to-God exorcism to drive the demons right out of the Pentagon. We’re going to do it, and we’re going to do it right, Holt. Honest-God, a real old school exorcism using one of the Latin texts from the Vatican.”

“But,” I interrupted, “we don’t read Latin. You know I barely read English so good.”

“This does present a problem,” he said, but David George never dwelled long with a problem. “But not an insurmountable one. There are plenty of other reliable texts we could use.”

“Where are we going to find a reliable exorcism ritual, David George?”

“That’s the easiest part of the whole thing, Holt.  My sister has one.”

“Your sister, Rosemary, has a copy of a workable exorcism ritual… in English?”

“Sure,” he grinned. He never stopped grinning when he had an idea. “She took a parapsychology course at the community college last summer.”

Now this is where I should have said no. I know that now. But there are natural fluctuations in all things – in ages and in wages. David George explained that there are unusual magnetic fields caused by strong currents of water near the Pentagon and that the push and flow of tidal adrenaline pools affected the course of national events. He said it was a sort of silent alarm, and that a truly silent alarm is heard by no one. He explained it all to me.  “Like Shakespeare said, ‘it’s easy to mistake a bush for a bear.’”

I don’t know what any of that meant.  But we did get that ritual book from his sister and we did hop a Greyhound bus for Washington D.C. And standing outside the Pentagon in the employee parking lot we did read it.  Out loud and everything.

And this is where you’ll ask me if the Pentagon building began to vibrate and turn orange?  Did evil emissions spiral up into the air in a swirling black vapor of death? Did ill-omened effluvium spill out over the walls? Did the world hear the silence of cancelled screams?

No. There was nothing. Nothing at all.  The security guards drove round to us in a little electric golf cart and told us to leave. So we left. Took the next bus home. Most of David George’s ideas are crazy and get us into trouble. But I couldn’t help hoping that this one would be different. I suppose the fact that we didn’t get arrested this time is different, but still it was disappointing.

Back home, I went to the Catholic church my mom used to drag me to and I asked the Father what it failed. “Father, why didn’t it work? Why couldn’t we drive the demons out of the Pentagon?”

He answered me: “The demons in the gospels responded to Jesus’ commands to be gone because they knew and believed, and what is more, they feared his power. You and your friend failed at the Pentagon because the demons that work inside that building neither know nor fear the power of Christ.”











Wednesday, December 5, 2018

One Void Is as Good as Another – A Holiday Nightmare




The holiday season falls hard upon this far-west suburb of hell. Snow and fog mingle in the hissing air. But the denizens of this gloaming community – buzzards or wizards all – decorate their homes and gardens with garish displays, each one more gaudy than the last. There are robot elves with flashing lighted eyes and pickled reindeer, frost frozen snow men and flaming torches in every yard.

Meanwhile, an exploded diesel locomotive rumbles through his Christmas nostalgia, and whispering voices taunt him from behind the curtain. “There will be heartburn and hemorrhoids,” they say. “There will be fruitcake.” But even this, he thinks, is better than the silence that crushes him in his sleep.

She changes the subject – from across the room – she changes the subject, but not the setting, not the void. The void is vast. The void is forever. Awkward pauses and dead air stretched into infinity.

The disconnect makes everything everything. It’s all one, and all is one snake biting its tail singularity. He is disgusted with himself. The fuse blows. The basement fills with smoke and the stars in the sky are all crooked. He will eat alone. Yes. He knows this. He will eat alone. Hunger cares nothing for the silence. One void is as good as another.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Latimer Coulter Loved His Work



Latimer Coulter loved his work. It pleased him to do something he enjoyed, something he and his family could be proud of. He was serving his country, protecting the people and places that he loved. And he got to work outdoors with good friends. He liked it so much, he even liked Mondays, God bless him. 

He frequently found himself singing during his shift – quietly, to himself. It filled the silences. He was happy, why not sing?  Sometimes the other guys asked him about it. “What’s that you’re singing, Latimer, another hymn from church?”

He’d grin and nod. Today, again, he sang a song he’d heard in church the day before. 

“I’m just a poor wayfarin’ stranger,
travelin’ through this world of woe.” 

He hummed the melody inside his gas mask and fired another canister of tear gas into the screaming mob of immigrants on the other side of the wall. 

“I’m just goin’ over Jordan.
I’m just goin’ over home.”

God, but Latimer loved hiswork.
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