Mortaljive: The Rest is Silence

There is no still point in all the Universe, and that is the rock upon which I stand

Thursday, June 30, 2005

DETECTIVE NEPTUNE IN "CHRIST, THE SCREAMING AVENGER"

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CHAPTER FIVE: HELL HATH NO FURY...NO, WAIT, YES IT DOES!

I was sitting quietly in a pew, listening to a man wearing a golden robe speak about eternity. There were maybe a dozen or so other parishioners in the church. Capuchin monkeys ran up to us, holding small metal cups that kachinkled with the sound of coins mating. On the back wall a grotesque Christ was frozen in suffering, at least until He began to struggle and writhe, at last breaking free and falling hard onto a marble floor. The priest did not look up, but signaled to an anteroom, where armed guards appeared: they ran up to Christ, threw Him back on the Cross, and pounded iron nails into His flesh. Christ lifted His head and began to open His mouth. The capuchin monkeys with the money cups giggled. I turned to a woman on my right—she put her fingers to her lips, urging me to look forward as she began to eat her own fingers. Looking back to the front I saw the Christ open His mouth with great effort, and heard Him let out a howl that welled up from the blackest hole of hell: He was screaming and screaming and screaming, “God! Wake up! Wake up! Wake up!” until the ceiling of the church collapsed, leaving us covered in ruins. A black sun spit ivory seeds like fireworks as a pollock sat on my shoulder and whispered into my ear: “Whatever happened to lunch?” I woke up. My head hurt, and I was still hungry.

+++

He walked again in the world, on a mission, on a quest. He scanned the local businesses: a nail salon, a T-shirt shop, a taco stand…He looked and moved like a dead man. The sun was cooking the day into carbon, the air balked, but He kept on walking. A small market, a guitar shop—wait, it had a recording studio in the back. He looked at a display guitar, and heard an amp tweaking radiant fuzz from the rear of the store. He walked into the building, His eyes on fire, His mouth forming a silent scream. A Man with Long Hair greeted Him.

“May I help you?”

And so the screaming began.


+++

She towered over me, Amphitrite in all her thrift store glory. My head felt like a ceramic bowl made out of broken noses. My eyesight was blurry, and my breath was not so bad, really, considering.

“Put that thing down,” she said over my bleeding head. “What are you, an asshole?”

“Don’t answer that,” I offered, sensing that someone was behind me. “She’ll only argue the point.”

Behind me, holding a Club wheel-locking device, stood Artemis, in her volleyball bathing suit, squinting at me like a badger. “Men are pigs!” she exclaimed.

It appears my ex-wife was shacking up with The Goddess of the Wood, who took my visit a little too personally.

“Just keep that thing away from my Lazy Susan,” I mumbled as I sat up. “Next time, instead of hitting a customer, consider jamming your head into a hydraulic press.”

Artemis smiled. She always was a sick fuck.

I smiled back, and reached out for my ex-wife’s hand. She offered it, then struck me on the top of my head with a baseball bat. Hell hath no fury like a…no, wait, yes it does. Hell indeed hath a fury.

My head felt like porous gravel placed in a blender and set on puree. I know these girls were having their fun, but enough was enough. I grabbed the wheel-locking-post-modern trident and struck the ground of the store, sending out a shock-wave and exciting the old Newport-Inglewood fault to the tune of a 5.7 earthquake. You have to show these women what’s what, these women with axes to grind and time to grind them.

I still hadn’t had lunch, and my sense of humor was now doing hard time in Gitmo. I don’t care that my ex has taken up with a humorless virgin goddess, that is her problem. I do care that she has probably bitched about me ceaselessly, and her girlfriend has taken the bait. At least I told myself this just before another blow to my head sent me face down on the cement floor. I reached for the trident and struck once again, sending out a 6.3 jolt along a previously unknown, deeply submerged Santa Monica/Boyle Heights fault. The girls fell over a display. Fuck ‘em. Southern California could crack like a cheap bicycle seat, for all I cared.

Blood trickled down my face. Actually, my head trickled down my face as well. I decided I needed to get out of this store. China and other ceramics were strewn everywhere, and Amphitrite was doubled over on a display case. Artemis was still Goddess of the Hunting over by the Hawaiian shirts rack. I started to black out once more after Artemis picked up an end table and bludgeoned my skull again and again. What had I ever done to her?

Blackness surrounded me, but I had just enough of the old Neptune “Mojo” left to spike the floor one more time, sending shock waves to the edges of the Pacific Tectonic Plate. Their eyes wide, Amphitrite and Artemis fell in a heap as the store shook in a violent convulsion, the ground splitting, the floor rocking, the windows bulging and retracting. I had to get out of this store. I had to go get lunch. And somehow, I suspected, I had to go stop that Jesus look-alike who just drove by in a van with a huge speaker on the roof, a speaker that broadcast a searing scream of hopeless fury.

He drove the New Word Van as the road buckled, the rash of earthquakes opening vast fissures in the asphalt. Methane fires erupted on the sidewalks, and light standards vibrated like flames. He drove into the night of the Second Day, the Second Hour of the Cross, the Agony of the Old Way ripping apart the Hope of the New. Who wants a taste of Daddy? Who wants this kiss of Death?

Helicopters darted in the sky. Looters ran wild in the streets as earthquake upon earthquake broke the city into pieces. Fires burned without restraint, and grown men dropped to their knees in the street, asking God to take them into Heaven. The sun vanished like a felon in hell, and light denied all alibis. He shuddered in agony as he drove the van to kill the Sleep, and the Second Night was the Second Hour on the Cross. One more hour, and one more fool.

Wake up. Wake up. The End of the Dream is come.


+++

TUNE IN FOR CHAPTER SIX OF DETECTIVE NEPTUNE IN CHRIST, THE SCREAMING AVENGER!

Next Week: FOR IN THAT SLEEP OF DEATH WHAT DREAMS MAY COME!

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Wednesday, June 29, 2005

NO RUNAWAY BRIDE, NO MICHAEL JACKSON--QUICK, LOOK! A RACIST MEXICAN STAMP!

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CNN reports that an animated Mexican character, Memin Pinguin, is performing an humiliating stereotype that blacks in the New World refuse to portray. The bad blood between the descendants of slaves (and whoever else they mated with) and the descendants of the indigenous enslaved (and whoever else they mated with) is said to have stemmed from an argument that originally took place back before God put White People on the earth.

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GEORGE IS BECOME DEATH, DESTROYER OF WORLDS

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PREZ SPEECH, JUNE 28, 2005

The President killed 'em
The way he always does
Laid them out on blankets
Past tense, they were what was

Gathered into piles
Arms and legs and eyes
Sitting at attention
While Georgie speechifies

There is no greater glory
Than to die for packs of lies
Hey, it ain't no secret
He who lives so truly, often truly dies

He wore his best mortician's suit
Wore makeup, was not pale
Georgie told America
"We got a tiger by the tail"

Got ourselves a President
A champion of the rich
He's a true friend to every shortcut
A profit margin's bitch

He should have his own show
Call it "Stump the Band"
Filled with all the Vets
Who've lost their legs and hands

Some folks suggest I'm bitter
Say I should cut him some slack
But too many dead and wounded
Too many lives attacked

It's not that I don't get it
This ain't no mystery
When a nightmare is played out
They call it History

+++

(these words were originally posted in comments at Corrente)

CHAPTER FIVE OF DETECTIVE NEPTUNE IN CHRIST, THE SCREAMING AVENGER WILL APPEAR LATER TODAY

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Tuesday, June 28, 2005

TUESDAY MUSINGS PARTS 1 & 2

PART 1

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The President's face is covered in blood.


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The President's hands are covered in blood.

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His wife tells a good joke about him jacking off a stallion.

America enjoys a good laugh, now and again.

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PART 2

Take me out to the desert
Take me out to Iraq
Buy me some hommus and pita bread
Whoops! A bullet just went past my head

And it's moot, the reasons for going
We're there, so why not make hay?
And it's One, Two, Three Strikes you're dead
For the USA!

+++

Monday, June 27, 2005

JUST A DIRTY RAT

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Ah, tender is a living thing
It hasn't got a chance
When the bullets start to fly
It hides in happenstance

Flesh and blood, skin and bone
Heaped upon the pyre
In cahoots, the men in suits
Will throw you on the fire

If you protest, if you invoke
The freedom of your thoughts
You'll stand accused of sordid acts
Of treason and of plots
Those little snots

(bridge)
Those little snots, they rule the world!
Those little snots, they fight like girls!
Those little snots, they torture cats!
Those little snots, those little snots
Those dirty rats!
Your president is just a dirty rat!

Stay at home, live your life
It's how we'll win the fight
Spend your money on something
Our economy burns bright

Get yourself a massive car
A gigantic SUV
Burn the gas into the stars
It's what keeps us all so free

Love your children, keep them close
Dress them up in polka dots
Someday we'll ship them off to war
And tie them up in knots
The little snots

(bridge)
Those little snots, they rule the world!
Those little snots, they fight like girls!
Those little snots, they torture cats!
Those little snots, those little snots
Those dirty rats!
Your president is just a dirty rat!

Inside the mind are artifacts
Inductions dangerous
The crafting of a strategy
That brings to death a kiss

Our leaders dance upon the floor
With Muertos, sin and sorrow
They glide about as music plays
As if there's no tomorrow

Dance with death, Mr. President
Hold on with all your might
Death is not a skeleton
It's what turns off all the lights
You little snot!

(bridge)
Those little snots, they rule the world!
Those little snots, they fight like girls!
Those little snots, they torture cats!
Those little snots, those little snots
Those dirty rats!
Your president is just a dirty rat!

+++

(the image of the boy and his dog is from a picture of my late grandfather, circa 1898--he fought in WWI)

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Sunday, June 26, 2005

HAPPINESS, DUST

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The face that you wear
The skin that you trust
Happiness, happiness
Happiness, dust

They locked the doors
They took the key
I can't get out
I cannot see
This game is fixed
The advantage is known
They took the cash
That bird has flown

(chorus)
Dance on the line
And make us all smile
Laughter and grandeur
When you're in the aisle
When you're in the aisle
The world is alive
Give us a smile
Just for awhile
Give us a smile

It's always a joke
It's always a riff
Give me a drink
And please make it stiff
The market is hollow
The money ain't clean
I'm running on fumes, now
I'm running away

The reasons are many
The answers are few
The moment is fleeting
I mean, wouldn't you?

Time to release it
Time to unwind
No more pretending
No more spit-shine
I'm running on fumes, now
I'm running away

(chorus)
Dance on the line
And make us all smile
Laughter and grandeur
When you're in the aisle
When you're in the aisle
The world is alive
Give us a smile
Just for awhile
Give us a smile

The face that you wear
The skin that you trust
Happiness, happiness
Happiness, dust...
Dust and a smile

+++

Saturday, June 25, 2005

THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT

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I got myself a cave-girl
And she built a cave-girl pole
And every night she grinds it
Because she knows her role
Desire is just a damsel
Who shaved away her fear
I got something over here
It spends like twenty bucks

I got myself a goddess
Who dances in the rain
And everytime she shakes it
I go a bit insane
Her ass is like an opera
Where grown men start to cry
She has got a secret
She'll share with any guy
For twenty bucks

(chorus)
America! You shake it fine!
You forge ahead
I come behind
Or are you just the sublimating kind
On the outside looking in
Ain't nobody getting in
The heart of sorrow
Do you have twenty bucks
That I could borrow?
C'mon
C'mon
The heart of sorrow

I got myself a goddess
Who holds a winning hand
She handed me a discard
And whistled at the band
I could see the future
Where my mouth is making love
I could see a paradise
But then push comes on to shove
And that ain't nice

The sun is burning China
The wind is blowing 'Nam
Go ahead and shake your head
Pretend you understand
I practice counting dollars
But I see you walking by
I could live forever
If you would never die
And that's the spice

(chorus)
America! You shake it fine!
You forge ahead
I come behind
Or are you just the sublimating kind
On the outside looking in
Ain't nobody getting in
The heart of sorrow
Do you have twenty bucks
That I could borrow?
C'mon
C'mon
The heart of sorrow

I got myself a cave-girl
And she built a cave-girl pole
And every night she grinds it
Because she knows her role
Desire is just a damsel
Who shaved away her fear
I got something over here
It spends like twenty bucks

I got myself a goddess
Who dances in the rain
And everytime she shakes it
I go a bit insane
Her ass is like an opera
Where grown men start to cry
She has got a secret
She'll share with any guy
For twenty bucks

(chorus)
America! You shake it fine!
You forge ahead
I come behind
Or are you just the sublimating kind
On the outside looking in
Ain't nobody getting in
The heart of sorrow
Do you have twenty bucks
That I could borrow?
C'mon
C'mon
The heart of sorrow

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Friday, June 24, 2005

I LOVE THIS POSTER!

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I found this image at Neon Bubble.

After seeing it, I wanted to join the circus, and the zoo, and the Republican Bladder Brigade: I want it all!

Visit the the General and/or google "Operation Yellow Elephant."

No more Chickenhawks! If you support the war then go and fight in that war! The days of the Free Pass are over!

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Thursday, June 23, 2005

LIBERALS SHOULD EAT SHIT AND DIE!

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Liberals killed Jesus
Liberals killed Christ
Liberals are naughty
They are never, ever nice

Liberals eat babies
That have yet to be born
Liberals are a curse
And they deserve our scorn

Scorn, baby, scorn

(chorus)
Conservatives are God's Chosen
They fight the Lord's good fight
To spread the loving gospel
And make our lives more bright
But when you see a shadow
A hater of what's true
Know that it's a liberal
'Cuz that is what they do
They really do

Liberals are traitors
Who should die and go to hell
Liberals all smell funny
You know they kiss and tell

Liberals hate America
They hate the proud and free
Liberals will not embrace the Lord
But they'll embrace a tree

Tree huggers, faggots, let 'em die

(chorus)
Conservatives are God's Chosen
They fight the Lord's good fight
To spread the loving gospel
And make our lives more bright
But when you see a shadow
A hater of what's true
Know that it's a liberal
'Cuz that is what they do
They really do

Liberals hate freedom
Of that you can be sure
Look inside their dirty minds
For thoughts that are impure

Liberals are homos
They'll hump your native son
And then they'll want to marry him
They think evil is for fun

Evil is for fun, son

(chorus)
Conservatives are God's Chosen
They fight the Lord's good fight
To spread the loving gospel
And make our lives more bright
But when you see a shadow
A hater of what's true
Know that it's a liberal
'Cuz that is what they do
They really do

Liberals killed Jesus
Liberals killed Christ
Liberals are naughty
They are never, ever nice
No, they are never nice

+++

IT'S ALL SO VERY, VERY SIMPLE!

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In an episode of Seinfeld called "The Opposite" the character George Costanza, played by Jason Alexander, decides to do the opposite of whatever his instincts tell him to do. I googled this episode and found that I am not the first to wonder aloud at the political ramifications of such an approach to life, but here I go anyway:

George W. Bush really is George Costanza, sans Jewishness and friends. Every choice he makes, had the opposite choice been made, would have benefited a far greater number of the world's population than by going his "gut" route. Some examples:

1. War in Iraq--his "gut" was telling him to make war in Iraq since the 1990s. Had he done the opposite, and not brouth war upon Iraq, thousands of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis would be alive, un-maimed and otherwise as nature made them. Do not waste anyone's time with a "But the Iraqis are so much better off without Saddam" rationale because "they" are not. The tribalism held in check by a nut-job tyrant has now been unleashed and shows no signs of slowing down until the last Hatfield shoots the last McCoy. America is safer? That must be why the Terror Alerts stopped appearing after our elections. We are one dirty bomb (or such-like calamity) away from the Rapture crowd becoming the Children of the Corn.

If George goes against his gut on this one...

2. Cutting taxes, largely for the wealthiest class: we are now in debt up to our spleens, and while privitizing profit and making public the costs looks good in a board room, it plays havoc with the backbone of the country. The Great Middle Class was the lynch pin that kept this nation from collapsing in a heap. Instead of working to shore that group up, we have wealthy people building higher and higher walls and armed entrances and how-do-you-like-living-in-a-two-class society?

If George goes against his gut on this one...

3. Clean air and clean water. George's gut tells him that regulation is anti-business, and so must be adjusted for today's market realities. Cough, spit.

If George goes against his gut on this one...

4. Turning Gay Americans into the "Other" to keep his funadamentalist supporters happily agitated is so low it looks like up to me. Turning teenage girls into litmus tests for abortion foes, and women in general into mere props for "life-affirming laws" is the magic of turning the personal drama into a public quarrel. Either a woman has sovereignty over her own body or she does not. Do people "love" abortions? My guess would be "no." Are these procedures used to inflict pain upon fetuses? My guess would be "no." Or is this all a difficult reality that, bottom line, no matter what, "the state" shall not impinge on the rights of the individual over matters concerning his or her own body? Shall we make men undergo "sperm counts" to make sure they aren't killing any in the shower?

If George goes against his gut on this one...

5. Global warming...

If George goes against his gut on this one...

6. Social Security!

If George goes against his gut on this one...

7. Healthy forests!

If George goes against his gut on this one...

8. Leave No Child Behind except most of them...

If George goes against his gut on this one...

9. Everything else that harms the poor at the expense of profits to the wealthy, who don't need the help.

If George goes against his gut on this one...

10. Nominate an arrogant, incendiary absolutist to be our country's #1 diplomat to the United Nations...

If George goes against his gut on this one...

I'm sure you can think of more. He is "The Opposite of Everything That Is Good."

It's a talent that is over-rated. George "Costanza" Bush: When he listens to his gut, we get shit on everytime.


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Tuesday, June 21, 2005

DETECTIVE NEPTUNE IN "CHRIST, THE SCREAMING AVENGER"

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CHAPTER FOUR: LAZY SUSAN IS THE MACK!

I waited for my brother, Lord of the Underworld, to take us to lunch. I have a soft spot in my stomach for lunch: sandwiches and soups and salads and iced tea…you know, the lunch munch bunch.

Lunch. Just say it and live it and love it. I wanted lunch so badly I could imagine going and eating some: yeah, my desire for lunch was really kicking in, big time. I was in the lunch zone and ready for grub. Not grubs, grub.

Hades appeared at the door and spoke:

“Someone took my wallet!”

“But what about lunch?” I asked pointedly, keeping on topic, keeping it real as strange, churlish children are fond of saying.

Haddy sighed. He can never tell if I am joking or not. That makes two or three of us.

“Come on, let’s go downstairs—I had it when I was talking to Demeter…” he said, and down into the detainee area we strode. I looked into the holding cells and asked why couldn’t we just let them go, why are all the gods—our contemporaries—still in lock-up?

“Because they’re suspects,” answered Haddy.

“What’s the crime?” I asked, just to pass the time until I would be eating lunch. Maybe a chicken salad sandwich, some iced tea…

“The crime of Spiritual Vagrancy, Loitering and De-mythification,” he muttered, then added, “Anyone here seen my wallet?”

Wotan shook his head really slow, like Lurch from the Addam’s Family. I liked the Addam’s family, almost as much as I liked lunch. Did Lurch like lunch? Yeah, my word, but I'm sure he did. Wotan looked at me and said, “Uhhhnghhh.” No wallet.

I got tired of the “who has my wallet game” and took it upon myself to YELL so everyone could hear me—remember, I can conjure waves and earthquakes (okay, I used to be able to) so I sure as heck can drum up my brother’s billfold. “WALLET: REVEAL THYSELF!” I screamed, and was promptly smothered with about twelve-thousand hands over my mouth. Twelve-thousand.

“Shh!!!” the hands exclaimed.

“Take your hands off…actually, some of you could put your hands…”

“Shh!!” the hands seemed to say a second time, confirming my suspicions about the first time. Talking hands. Ah-hah!

“What’s the big deal?” I said, though it was muffled by the multitudinous meat hooks on my face. I stopped struggling, and looked at the scene in front of me: A sea of gods parted, and there, in a fetal position in the last cell of the jail lay Vishnu, asleep, while his girlfriend, Lakshmi, slowly massaged his feet. She was beautiful, and I instantly wanted to offer her my feet as a gift, including as many of my toes as she could stand.

“What’s a nice avatar like you doing in a place like this,” I said, doing my best impression of a complete jackass.

She looked up with doleful eyes, put one finger to her lips, and said quietly, “Please to be shutting the fuck up.”

This was big stuff: I mean, I was quite the CEG (Chief Executive God) back in the day, but Vishnu? Vishnu dreams the world dream, baby--all of existence would vanish without him, and he performs this little trick while asleep and laying upon a coiled-up snake named Shesha. Sure enough, the little reptile lay underneath him on the floor of the cell—I could just make out his little tail, or head, or butt. But I didn’t get it yet: Vishnu dreams the world dream while floating in eternal waters. What was he doing here? We must be, gosh, five miles from the ocean!

Lakshmi continued to rub Vishnu’s feet. I leaned in to hear her speak: “Someone is trying to wake him up. Someone is trying to disturb him.”

I whispered back to her: “Would you like to go to lunch?” She rolled her eyes at me. She’s quite an eye-rolling gal, that one is.

“Why is someone trying to wake him up?” I asked, miming putting food into my mouth so others would get my hint about lunch. Did anyone get my hint? Did you?

“To end the manifested Universe and cancel the Cosmic Dance. He will awaken, the dream will end, we will all be gone, and what dreams He may conjure in his next round no one can say.”

“Keep rubbing his feet,” I said. “I have a plan” I didn’t really have a plan, but while she was speaking I was fumbling about in my pockets and I found Haddy’s wallet. Lunch was back on the table!

+++

Saturday morning: gray clouds and cool air. The coastal fog envelops the western horizon, the great nothing of the sea. The streets of Santa Monica are quiet.

He walks east up Pico towards Lincoln. He walks but he does not see well: His eyes are failing. Each day is an hour on the cross. Each day is the torment. Each day is the sacrifice.

His wounds have begun to weep the sorrow of his blood, again as in an endless Passion Play. His head a halo of lacerations, He turns down Lincoln towards Rose Ave. The Rose is the flower, the beauty and the Thorn.

He must find the Romans. He staggered toward the new Golgotha.


+++

I left the jail, and my brothers, to go and SURPRISE! get some lunch. I decided to tell Haddy about his wallet later on: good news ages like a fine, red wine. I think.

I walked down Culver to South Centinela, then north. I didn’t know where the heck I was, but I couldn’t go back and ask my brother: he might want his wallet, and that might affect my lunch, and then where would I be? Rose Avenue? I don't think so...

I walked briskly: no diners in sight, no fast food, nothing. Nervous about the possibility of missing out on lunch, I broke into a gallop until, quite unexpectedly, I glanced inside a storefront window as I ran by and saw it, the prize, the wonder, the greatest item ever called an item: She was everything and more. A Lazy Susan. Oh, Lazy Susan, you're not so lazy, you're just waiting for someone to come along and spin you, spin you, spin you…

I wrote a poem about a Lazy Susan more than fifty years ago:

The relish tray is in front of that guy
Across from me
But one spin of you, Sweet Sue
And the relish tray is in front of me!
I am Neptune!

Seriously, Lazy Susan is the Mack!


I walked into the store, my brother’s wallet in hand, and proceeded to buy the Lazy Susan. While handing the cashier the money I looked up and saw that it was my ex-wife staring back at me. My first thought was casually pornographic, but my second thought was flight. She spoke:

“Get a third thought yet?”

I tried to distract her by suffering a stroke, but she merely stood over my cringing form and grinned. Oh, she knew me. She knew me well.

“Hello, Mrs. Me. How have you been here thing going?” I asked, choking on a small chunk of chunk-style bile.

“Oh, you know, working in a thrift store, living the life. Are you still fucking that girl in Marina del Rey?”

There is no good answer to that last question. If I say ‘No’ that means that I was fucking that girl and if I say yes that means that I am fucking that girl. Women understand “Eternity” in a way a man never can: once put there by a Goddess’s anger you can never, ever get out. Ever.

Amphie (nickname, naturally) lifted up her foot and rested the heel of her shoe on my crotch. If I didn’t know better I was one non sequitur away from a stiletto-heeled evulsed penis. Just one away. Solamente uno.

I turned to look out the window, hoping that the world would end when I saw what appeared to be the Christ walking across the street, muttering to Himself, slamming his knuckles against a street sign.

“Hey, Amphie, look, its…uh, could you move your shoe? Thanks. Look, it’s Jesus of Nazareth.”

A sharp blow came down upon my head, and blackness followed. Thick and dark and full of the shadows of pain.

+++

TUNE IN FOR CHAPTER FIVE OF DETECTIVE NEPTUNE IN CHRIST, THE SCREAMING AVENGER!

Tomorrow Night: HELL HATH NO FURY...NO, WAIT, YES IT DOES!

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DETECTIVE NEPTUNE IN "CHRIST, THE SCREAMING AVENGER"

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Here, for the reader's convenience, are posted the first three chapters of our story, in order and translated from the original gibberish...


CHAPTER ONE: FACE DOWN UPON THE SANDY SHORE

I awoke face down at water’s edge, the way I always do. The air was stale beer and sour onions. Actually that was my air, the air I was exhaling, my gift to the world. Here, have my air, I have flavored it for you.

I rolled onto my side as ocean water crept up my legs. Legs. I had legs. Good, I thought. I may need them.

The water got to my waist and retreated, leaving foam and bits of trash at my midline, my mean-high-tide. I reached down and felt around: ah, I was wearing pants. They were wet pants, but they were mine. No shoes, but some colorful socks, now soggy and itch-inducing. But oh so colorful.

A larger surge of water forced its way up to my neck, so now I was picking out bits of Styrofoam and kelp from the kinky hair on my face. I used to be young, with hair like a god. Actually, I am a god. I'm on a mission, a job so secret, so discreet, that even I don't know what it is.

I am chosen by the Sun or the Stars or the Atoms: I am chosen and I wake up on a beach or in a harbor (or that one time in an aquarium) and go find a crime or a mystery or panic in a child's eyes, and I go to work. Only when the job is done am I released: I go out with the tide and drift far away, or I jump from a plane into the deepest part of the sea, and there I wait for a time. Then blackness, sleep and dreams of sparkling bays and beautiful women and dolphins teaching the children to swim. I dream of white sand and men blowing conchs and girls giggling as they glide along with me in buoyant waters. The air is warm, the breeze is sweet, the days are long, the nights like heaven. I ride the hippocampus, and fountains pour wine, and love is impossible to deny. And then it all ends: I awake face down at water's edge with a job to do before I can leave. Yes, I am a god. And yes, I am a Private Detective. Here's my card...oh, it's wet. I'll tell you what it says: "Detective Neptune, the Only Detective Who is Also a God."

+++

I looked up and saw the pier to the north. It looked familiar. The Santa Monica Pier. Good, I thought. I like Santa Monica. I looked one last time at the sky above me, the canopy of space, and saw a young boy's head peering at me. He had a small plastic shovel, and was wearing a bathing suit with a picture of an animated sponge smiling on it, and he had a goofy grin, and long eyelashes, and he yelled at me, "Sleep time is over!" Some modern cherub, some Cupid variant, prodding me on towards my task. His mother yelled from higher up on the sand, "Daroj! Don't speak to stranger!" I rolled away and stood up, towering over the boy. He pointed to the strand, and bade me go there. "Goodbye, Daroj." I made my legs move, and they protested mightily. I was marble, an old marble statue, and I was going to Venice. It hurt to walk.

+++

"Jesus is Lord, and will sing to us and make the laughter into music, and the light will shine forth, and you will be there, and you--but some will not. Some will never see light again, but only the blackened heat of endless sin, the hard and burning embers of the dead..."

He had ended up here, alongside the vendors and the tourists, smiling in the sunshine, making friends, preaching the gospel, saving souls. The days blended into each other, and the charms were chipped away as the years thinned the thickness of time. His clothes were dirty, his hair stringy, his teeth cracking and abandoning ship like maddened sailors. The once long and gentle hands were hard, black with the oils of fried food and digging in trash bins. He had begun to shake, his nerves seared from the heat of life, exposed on the rocks to be picked at by the vultures.

He saw the winter sun move into spring, and the sunsets of the south now disappeared behind the coastal mountains. The sun set in private, and he could no longer remember why it mattered. He coughed and struggled to find a trash barrel with some decent food in it. His left arm was becoming claw-like: he reached into the wreaking barrel with his right, only to fail as it shook violently in the can, rattling the sides, scraping his knuckles, making bloody his flesh. He cried and ran, and dodged the couples strolling and he dodged the addicts and ran around the skateboarders: he found a hollow in an alley, and shook and gagged and fell in a heap. His right hand struggled with a greasy piece of discarded fried fish. He pulled it with effort to his mouth, but dropped it. He began his death rattle, the Preacher of the Word, one of God's own missionaries, here by the water at the end of the world.

"For the Lord will preserve us all, and unto Him we will return..."

A great pain shot through his skull, his eyes betrayed the lightning and thunder of his life, and stiff he was no more, but empty, and dead in the silence of the alley.

+++

The next morning there was no sign of the preacher's corpse, only a bit of tagger-like scrawling on a trash bin. It read "But I will find my Vengeance, and None shall escape my Wrath"

He had come.


+++

I walked up to the parking lot, then crossed it to the boardwalk, and stopped to sing to the pigeons. A few homeless types were out, and the air was wet and salty. I sat on a bench and waited. The job would come to me. The job would come.


+++

CHAPTER TWO: CRAZY JESUS WREAKIN’ HAVOC ON MY TIME

Dost thou wander about at night, calling upon demons to help thee?

I have grown to enjoy sitting on benches. Park benches, piano benches, garden benches, doesn’t matter what kind of bench, I enjoy sitting on it. As I sat on the bench in Venice, I sang to the pigeons. These are the lyrics:

I’m a Private Detective who sings to pigeons
Doo-dah, doo-dah
A Private Dick with an accent thick
All the doo-dah day


The pigeons move their heads in rhythm to my song. Next time you see a pigeon, sing “doo-dah, doo-dah” and you’ll see what I mean.

Being a God and a Private Detective at the same time causes the occasional head to turn, but let the occasional head turn, says I. Let the head turn. Pigeons don’t turn their heads. They just bob them back and forth like real estate agents.

+++

Hours had passed and I still had no clue what I was doing in Venice. What was the job going to be? My first wife, Amphitrite ("the third one who encircles the sea") used to say to me, when I got around to making use of a conch and would finally call her, she’d say “Are you still fucking that girl in Marina del Rey?” She had a mouth like a sailor, and an ass like a sailor too. I used to like sailing with her, now that I think of it. I wonder what happened to her. Her lips tasted like tuna, but without the mayonnaise.

+++

It was getting on towards noon. The beach crowd was in ascendance, and the vendors were setting up all their wares. Sunglasses, lotions, potions, lava lamps, beads, and on and on. The Temple of Merchandise in the Salty Air of Venice. I was now hungry.

I headed over to the Argentineans for empanadas and soda. “Give me two chicken and one veggie.” I was reaching for my money when I realized I hadn’t worked in fifteen years, and in my pocket was a mixture of sand and paper scraps, but no money. I looked up at the Sun, to Apollo, and held my hands aloft, the sand sifting through them onto the ground. The air spoke to the water, the memory spoke to my hope, and coins appeared in my palms, which I produced for the food. I paid for my food and left a seventy-five cent tip, modest but not pathetic. Apollo’s been tight with his coins these days, but detectives can’t be choosers. Or can we? I hate indeterminate effluvia.

It was exactly twelve o’clock when I returned to the bench and unwrapped the empanadas, cracked open my soda, put the warm dough to my mouth like my father Chronos used to do, and suddenly I had a symphony of pigeons assembled in front of me. I tore off a few pieces of my pie and threw them down.

As I ate my portion, I had a vision of a man running in an alley. He was surrounded by fire.

+++

His eyes were new and dilated, like a fawn in a meadow. Everything came at Him like wild music. When a white hollow fills His eyes, He becomes the white hollow. If the sun seeks Him to harm, it burns only His shadow, and the rain of radiation spills along His margins. He runs in the narrow places, an inhabitor of form once spent, newly released. Three days of Darkness followed by the Blinding Light. Three days of Progress, then the Storm.

He runs down the alley, through the tiny backyards, up the lanes. He heads where promises were forgotten, where God had left His only Son to die. His eyes are become the white hollow.

Three days to go.


+++

I finished my repast and rubbed my belly. It was then that I smelled an odor, an unpleasant mixture of sweat and rotting fish. It was me.

When a God bathes it is a beautiful thing. Cherubs and nymphs and all sorts of luminous beings fly about with soaps and salts and balms, and water flows through trumpet vines and laughter rises like bubbles. I love a good bath. Anyway, that’s what I told the arresting officer when I was standing buck naked at the outdoor shower. I guess the afternoon is not the best time for public hygiene, but if not me, who? If not then, when?

I was escorted into a squad car and driven, nay, chauffeured
to better surroundings. I felt zesty and clean. And handcuffed.

+++

At the Police Station I smiled to all the quaint workers who had never seen a God up close before: it’s quite a thrill for some people. Most of those who have seen a God up close are under the impression that all Gods do is rape and eat all the leftovers, and there is a dollop of truth in that observation. But we have tempered our wild ways, just like everyone else, except Russell Crowe. But I digress…

I sat in a cell next to a man whose skin was darker than the absence of light, darker than the moon in bleakest shadow, darker than coal in winter. He scowled at me, then laughed, then said, “Who is you?”

I love it when people ask who I am. “I am Neptune! I am a visitor to these lands! I can’t help you!” is my usual reply.

So I said to the ebony man: “I am Neptune! I am a visitor to these lands!” He just shook his head at me and said:

“Got enough crazy niggas without Roman shit. I saw some motherfucker, ah, I done…” He turned his head away.

“You have piqued my interest, stranger,” I offered. “Tell me more…”

“A man on fire, fool. Crazy Jesus wreakin’ havoc on my time. He on fire but he don’t burn, and that’s some shit, motherfucker.”

I thought of my vision. I thanked my new friend, and asked the guard if I could get a conch. I had a call to make. I assured the guard there would be a bucket of Perch in it for him if he could make the wheels turn a little faster and bring me a shell pronto. I don’t think he knew what a Perch was. His loss, really.



+++


CHAPTER THREE: BOWLING FOR JESUS

He ran out of the side alley onto a wider road: he was heading west by northwest on Pacific Avenue. Choking and crying, He fell to His knees and dug His nails into the road. A Mazda swerved and missed Him. He rolled toward the curb, climbed up and grabbed a chain link fence. He pulled His body up the chain link as upon Golgotha, and lifted His feet above the sidewalk. His back to the fence, he scaled upwards like a snake, His arms twisting behind Him as He rose skyward. No one even looked at Him. Those in traffic watched the road, or talked on a cell phone; those traffic see blindly.

Up He rose, eight feet, ten, above the sidewalk, into Light that came from High, the pure whiteness of Perfect Light! The Body, the God, the Sun Door! “No,” He screamed! “No! No! No!” His face smeared with sweat and dirt, His eyes aflame, He wrenched His hands out of the chain and fell to earth, the malign indifference of concrete shattering His left ankle. “No!” He screamed again, then ran up Neilson Way, running and stumbling and gasping…

Marie was drunker than usual, and cracked in the afternoon sunshine, and was muttering to herself when she saw Him running toward her. ‘Isn’t that’…she thought. “Hey, Preacher, what’s your hurry? Save me, baby…” she warbled, dropping her pipe, drooling on her chin. “Ha the fuckin’ ha!” He ran at her, grabbed her neck, flung her against a low brick wall until she was bent backward, her feet kicking out. “Hey, ow, what the fuck…” sputtered Marie. “Ow…”

He pulled her head up, held it in front of His and bellowed: “Wake up! End the Dream! End it! End it! Wake up! Wake up!”

“Wake up?” answered Marie. “I haven’t even gone to bed yet. You wake up!”

He looked into her and saw nothing: he flipped her backwards, her body doubling like paper as it fell behind the wall. She landed on her neck with her face going north and her torso facing south. She would never wake up again.

He turned and ran.


+++

I waited for my conch for what seemed like minutes until a young officer with a nervous tic embedded in his scalp approached.

“They want you at the front desk,” he quipped.

“What about my conch?” I asked.

“Front desk,” was his witty rejoinder. He smelled like a thirteen year-old boy at a summer camp for bad cheese. I followed his trail to the front. When I arrived I looked up at the desk officer and nearly shat out my spleen: it was Hades, God of the Underworld, my brother and one heck of a handball player.

He spoke: “Will you excuse us?” I said “Sure.” He said, “Not you.” I said, “So then I won’t excuse you.” He wasn’t sure if I was joking with him, which was fine with me. I wasn’t sure either. Officer Cheese Ass left the room. I found myself alone with my brother, which is awkward enough without which I was recently arrested on Venice Beach for Public Nudity or something equally normal.

“What the fuck, Neppy?” he started.

“What the fuck indeed, Haddy,” I replied. “Why are you here?”

He led me to a series of monitors on a rear wall. There I could look into the various holding cells and observe all those who were detained inside. I must say, I kind of liked sneaking a peek at everyone. I imagined myself getting a little take-out, maybe an ice chest with a twelve pack, setting up a beach chair and settling in for a long viewing…I had to stop thinking like that. Haddy knows me like the back of his head, which is to say he can’t always see me but he can smack me easily enough.

“What do you see here?” asked Haddy.

“I’ll ask the questions, here punk,” I responded.

“Isn’t it “here, punk” and not “here punk?”

“I’ll worry about the punctuation here, punk…wait, you’re right.” I have a way with my brother, a way that makes him instantly tired.

“Look at the monitors—who do you see?”

I peered at the rows and rows of screens. “I see men in jail, hard men, soft men, crinkly men, Mercury, various losers on the edge of nowhere, Vulcan, society’s disposables, Zeus…hey wait a minute. I know some of these people. Dionysus? He changed his name to Jim Bacchus, had a sweet career drinking Hollywood dry. What’s he doing here?”

Hades bade me look at a second row of monitors: the ladies. Hera, Athena, Megan from Whole Foods, Demeter, Diana, Serena from Starbucks, Venus—they were all there. What in God’s name…

“Exactly,” said my brother. “Look again.”

Holy shit! Krishna, Kali, Ganesh, Coyote, Hanuman, Dick Clark, Garuda, Shiva—ooh, Maya…

Hades pointed to another row of monitors, and then another row of monitors until I turned to him and said, “Enough with the monitors! I see Osiris and Isis and Toth and Wotan and Eagle and Fox and Norm Crosby! What does all of this mean?”

My brother shook his head—well, he didn’t really shake it, he kind of swept it sideways and then looked at me with that Guardian of the Dead look and said, “You have to find out.”

Well, good! Now I knew what my job was! Every deity known to humanity was now locked up in a jail in Los Angeles, though it wasn’t really a jail and Los Angeles isn’t really Los Angeles. Short story: many years ago some enterprising movie producers needed a stunt double for Los Angeles for a really nasty disaster sequence in a film. Turns out everyone loved the stunt double so much they didn’t ask Los Angeles to come back, and no one ever noticed the switch. L.A. is rumored to have moved to Morongo Valley.

It was time for me to take command here: I looked at all the monitors, I looked back at my brother, then I looked at the floor for a little bit, then I looked over at a set of car keys on his desk, then I looked back at my brother, but he was looking at the floor, so I looked back at the car keys, and he looked over at the monitors, so I stood in front of the monitors so he would look at me, but he was now looking down at his desk, so I crawled onto his desk and lay with my back on it and stared right up at him: bingo! I caught his eyes. “Can we get something to eat?” I asked.

All of the gods in the world had been summoned, but by whom? And why? We gods are a troublesome lot, and many of us took it personally when our stock began to fall lo those many years ago. I vowed to get to the bottom of these gods, which was an unfortunate vow, but not unfortunate enough to make me skip dinner. Dinner, I thought, was a sure thing. Hades looked like he had cash.

+++

The sky was purple and pink and sandy red, and seemed to touch the land with regret. He turned up Pico as the sun vanished behind the coastal foothills, a last exhale before the coming darkness.

Up ahead, on His right, stood Pico Lanes, and Friday night was running at a sprinter’s clip. A Youth Christian Group had rented out half the alley, and laughter and providence exploded down the lanes, and pins rolled with righteous clamor, and crosses upon crosses were filled in with their scores. He pressed His face against the glass entrance. A couple coming out swung the door suddenly, and in He fell.

Lisa Kopinsky rolled her nine pound ball down the lane, crossing her fingers and praying to Jesus to make the pins fall down. Reverend Beesdan looked about the lanes and smiled: children of the Lord rejoicing in simple play! Aaron Toolin and Enrique Alvarez pumped quarters into the Claw Game, and squealed and yelled and protested.

Friday night at Pico Lanes, and soon the black lights would come on, and the balls would glow in luminescent colors, and the music would fill their ears.

He heard the prayers, the callings. He spied the Children and the Good Reverend Beesdan. His eyes filled with tears; He stepped down to the lower level, and strode to the center lane, and turned. The black lights were born: the thunderous bowling balls a mad carnival of colors, a vibrant jungle in a disco ball of light, and the music pulsed and the pins were the crashing of atoms and everywhere the Light and the Flashing and He walked unto the Lanes and strike upon strike and squeals of joy and He lifted His arms and The Sun Door began to open and only blackness poured forth. He paused, then found the world again: He spied a child in a t-shirt, and on the t-shirt was God on the Cross, and He screamed, “No! No!” and the pins were flying and the lights were lightning and storms in Hell and brimstone and poison and screams, screams, screams! “Wake up! Wake up! Wake up!”


+++

The news accounts relayed as how a gas line was the main suspect in a bizarre accident at the Pico Lanes. An emergency triage had been established in the parking lot: bodies were covered with sheets, paramedics were working feverishly on tiny, lifeless forms, like broken marionettes, the children of laughter, the last hurrah of a dying world. The good Reverend stood in the lot and fell to his knees. That night was the First Night: Two more to follow.

+++


TUNE IN FOR CHAPTER FOUR OF DETECTIVE NEPTUNE IN “CHRIST, THE SCREAMING AVENGER”

Tomorrow: LAZY SUSAN IS THE MACK!

+++

Monday, June 20, 2005

WAKE UP AND SMELL THE INTERNET

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I love blogs. I love bouncing around the Internet and reading blogs and writing comments and going blah-blah-blah. People on TV and Radio have been going blah-blah-blah and the writers in newspapers have been writing blah-blah-blah my entire life. My entire life. And why not? Let's all go blah-blah-blah. But I have to look up.

Right now I think the world is batshit crazy and ratshit greedy: the two greatest shits there ever were. Some people believe that the Bible is the literal word of an actual, tangible god, which is batshit crazy. I used to respect people's right to their own crazy ideas, but not anymore. They keep shoving it in my face, and that makes me monkeyshit mad. The batshit crazies teamed up with the ratshit greedies and are smearing their feces everywhere. It's quite a sight. But I have to look up.

I want to stop thinking about all the insanity, all of the horror, all of the all. The world is still unique and interesting and awful and vulnerable and remorseless and grand and harrowing and everything you might want in a planet. It really is.

Check out this site for a little bit of pleasant nothingness: Cybergeography was a nice break from the filthy, addled lie my country insists is its purpose to be.

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Come back again sometime, 'ya hear?

+++

p.s. On Wednesday the fourth chapter of Detective Neptune in Christ, the Screaming Avenger will appear. It really will.

+++

MENTOR MENTORIA

I dropped in over at Corrente where Xan had a post about Army recruiters changing their tactics and I felt a cold, lifeless shudder down to my toes. I posted the following song as a response...

Mentor Mentoria

Hold me close, my favored angel
Help me see without the light
The bonds of a true friendship
Hold the key to what is right

Restless are the legs that carry
A youth into the world
My heart is hidden treasure
My life a precious pearl

Show to me the paths of glory
That await us in the sun
We will find what we are seeking
And one day we we will be done

(chorus)
Get along my handsome soldier
Get along, my precious son
With my hand upon your shoulder
I will guide you on and on
When the guns all get to blazing
When the bombs blow up your rig
Remember how I held you
In the grave I helped to dig

Love, it is a given
Trust is always earned
Life is flaming fire
Be careful or get burned

It is a wonder and a mystery
This life from God above
Some He will abandon
And some He will but shove

Look ahead to countless mornings
When the sun shines on your eyes
We will laugh about forgiveness
The dead no longer cry

(chorus)
Get along my handsome soldier
Get along, my precious son
With my hand upon your shoulder
I will guide you on and on
When the guns all get to blazing
When the bombs blow up your rig
Remember how I held you
In the grave I helped to dig

+++

OPERATION YELLOW ELEPHANT

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TOP PRIORITY: OPERATION YELLOW ELEPHANT WILL SAVE THE YOUNG REPUBLICANS THE INDIGNITY OF COGNITIVE DISSONANCE AND POST-POST MODERN SELF-ABASEMENTS!

HELP OUR COLLEGE REPUBLICANS AND THE WAR EFFORT!

VISIT THE GENERAL!

SAVE OUR COUNTRY! SAVE THE COLLEGE REPUBLICANS!

YOU'LL BE GLAD YOU DID!

+++

Sunday, June 19, 2005

HAPPY FATHER'S DAY, JOHN BROWN

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god is made from putty and rock and fire
and placed on mountains and clouds
and
on a couch somewhere

god the father is a mother
a troublesome foe
you

because a coin has two sides
when it stands on its edge, eternity affirmed
we wait for it to fall

god is semen and egg and toast
and river and gate and computers
chaos and chaos and chaos and
sleep

a long time ago we put god in chains
made god a slave
to jump through hoops, clouds
real estate
windows
war

we use god like a golf club
the big head for longer drives
the flat one to eat the rolling earth

america is mad when sorrow speaks
"just use the club! the big one! praise god!"

my father became a man when he was old
before then?--furies, booze, suspicion, disdain
ah, but when he aged
he saw his hands as angels
and walked his dog
in the cool of the evening

there is not a box in the world
stop trying to put things in it
when you wrap a gift
you are already inside

+++

Saturday, June 18, 2005

HOLD ME CLOSE, MY LITTLE DARLING

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+++

Friday, June 17, 2005

GEORGE W. BUSH IS A WHAT?

GEORGE W. BUSH IS A LIAR! GEORGE W. BUSH IS A LIAR!
GEORGE W. BUSH IS A LIAR! GEORGE W. BUSH IS A LIAR!
GEORGE W. BUSH IS A LIAR! GEORGE W. BUSH IS A LIAR!
GEORGE W. BUSH IS A LIAR! GEORGE W. BUSH IS A LIAR!
GEORGE W. BUSH IS A LIAR! GEORGE W. BUSH IS A LIAR!
GEORGE W. BUSH IS A LIAR! GEORGE W. BUSH IS A LIAR!
GEORGE W. BUSH IS A LIAR! GEORGE W. BUSH IS A LIAR!
GEORGE W. BUSH IS A LIAR! GEORGE W. BUSH IS A LIAR!
GEORGE W. BUSH IS A LIAR! GEORGE W. BUSH IS A LIAR!
GEORGE W. BUSH IS A LIAR! GEORGE W. BUSH IS A LIAR!
GEORGE W. BUSH IS A LIAR! GEORGE W. BUSH IS A LIAR!
GEORGE W. BUSH IS A LIAR! GEORGE W. BUSH IS A LIAR!
GEORGE W. BUSH IS A LIAR! GEORGE W. BUSH IS A LIAR!
GEORGE W. BUSH IS A LIAR! GEORGE W. BUSH IS A LIAR!
GEORGE W. BUSH IS A LIAR! GEORGE W. BUSH IS A LIAR!
GEORGE W. BUSH IS A LIAR! GEORGE W. BUSH IS A LIAR!
GEORGE W. BUSH IS A LIAR! GEORGE W. BUSH IS A LIAR!
GEORGE W. BUSH IS A LIAR! GEORGE W. BUSH IS A LIAR!
GEORGE W. BUSH IS A LIAR! GEORGE W. BUSH IS A LIAR!
GEORGE W. BUSH IS A LIAR! GEORGE W. BUSH IS A LIAR!
GEORGE W. BUSH IS A LIAR! GEORGE W. BUSH IS A LIAR!
GEORGE W. BUSH IS A LIAR! GEORGE W. BUSH IS A LIAR!
GEORGE W. BUSH IS A LIAR! GEORGE W. BUSH IS A LIAR!
GEORGE W. BUSH IS A LIAR! GEORGE W. BUSH IS A LIAR!
GEORGE W. BUSH IS A LIAR! GEORGE W. BUSH IS A LIAR!
GEORGE W. BUSH IS A LIAR! GEORGE W. BUSH IS A LIAR!
GEORGE W. BUSH IS A LIAR! GEORGE W. BUSH IS A LIAR!
GEORGE W. BUSH IS A LIAR! GEORGE W. BUSH IS A LIAR!
GEORGE W. BUSH IS A LIAR! GEORGE W. BUSH IS A LIAR!
GEORGE W. BUSH IS A LIAR! GEORGE W. BUSH IS A LIAR!
GEORGE W. BUSH IS A LIAR! GEORGE W. BUSH IS A LIAR!
GEORGE W. BUSH IS A LIAR! GEORGE W. BUSH IS A LIAR!
GEORGE W. BUSH IS A LIAR! GEORGE W. BUSH IS A LIAR!
GEORGE W. BUSH IS A LIAR! GEORGE W. BUSH IS A LIAR!
GEORGE W. BUSH IS A LIAR! GEORGE W. BUSH IS A LIAR!
GEORGE W. BUSH IS A LIAR! GEORGE W. BUSH IS A LIAR!

+++

Thursday, June 16, 2005

FUN WITH PLATE TECTONICS!

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Los Angeles: Just had another earthquake...we also had a tsunami warning on Tuesday. The Giant stirs...

Image was liberated from here.

+++

Any similarities between the earth shaking and Neptune's moods are possibly coincidental.

+++

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

DETECTIVE NEPTUNE IN "CHRIST, THE SCREAMING AVENGER"

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CHAPTER THREE: BOWLING FOR JESUS

He ran out of the side alley onto a wider road: he was heading west by northwest on Pacific Avenue. Choking and crying, He fell to His knees and sobbed. A small pickup truck swerved and missed Him. He struggled toward the curb, climbed up, staggared across the sidewalk and grabbed a chain link fence. Pulling His body up the fence link by link, His metal Golgotha, He lifted His feet above the weed-choked cement walkway. Turning His back to the fence, he scaled upwards like a snake, His arms twisting behind Him as He rose skyward. No one looked at Him. No one saw Him. The cars buzzed along, pedestrians hustled past, but no one turned their head: just another freak doing something freaky. His face contorted, He continued his climb.

Up He rose, eight feet, ten, above the sidewalk, into Light that came from on High, the pure whiteness of Perfect Light! The Body, the God, the Sun Door! “No,” He screamed! “No! No! No!” His face smeared with sweat and dirt, His eyes aflame, He wrenched His hands out of the chain and fell to earth, the malign indifference of concrete shattering His left ankle. “No!” He screamed again, then ran up Neilson Way, running and stumbling and gasping…tears ran along His cheeks like the last sad river at the End of Time.

Marie, homeless and hopeless, was drunker than usual, and cracked in the afternoon sunshine, muttering to herself when she saw Him running toward her. ‘Isn’t that’…she thought. She saw Him. She of all saw Him. “Hey, Preacher, what’s your hurry? Save me, baby…” she warbled, dropping her pipe, wiping the spit off her chin. “Ha the fuckin’ ha!” He ran at her, grabbed her neck, flung her against a low brick wall until she was bent backward, her feet kicking out. “Hey, ow, what the fuck…” sputtered Marie. “Ow…stop it, asshole!”

He pulled her head up, held it in front of His and bellowed: “Wake up! End the Dream! End it! End it! Wake up! Wake up!”

“Wake up?” answered Marie. “You wake up, you fucking weirdo--hey, what the...!”

He looked into her and hissed: He flipped her backwards, her body doubling like paper as it fell behind the wall. She landed on her neck with her face going north and her torso facing south. Marie was no more.

He cocked His head to one side, then turned and ran.


+++

I waited for my conch for what seemed like minutes until a young officer with a nervous tic embedded in his scalp approached.

“They want you at the front desk,” he quipped.

“What about my shellphone?” I asked.

“Front desk,” was his witty rejoinder. He smelled like a thirteen year-old boy at a summer camp for bad cheese. I followed his trail to the front. When I arrived I looked up at the desk officer and nearly shat out my spleen: it was Hades, God of the Underworld, my brother and one of the last, great petty bastards.

He spoke: “Will you excuse us?” I said “Sure.” He said, “Not you.” I said, “So then I won’t excuse you.” He wasn’t sure if I was joking with him, which was fine with me. I wasn’t sure either. Officer Cheese Ass left the room. I found myself alone with my brother. "Listen," I began, "I needed a shower for crying..."

“What the fuck, Neppy?” he interrupted.

“What the fuck indeed, Haddy,” I replied. “Why are you here?”

He pointed to a series of television monitors on a rear wall. There I could look into the various holding cells and observe all those who were detained inside. I must say, I kind of liked sneaking a peek at everyone. I imagined myself getting a little take-out, maybe an ice chest with a twelve pack, setting up a beach chair and settling in for a long viewing…people in jail. I mean, someone would start doing something awful soon enough. I had to stop thinking like that.

“What do you see here?” asked Haddy.

“I’ll ask the questions, here punk,” I responded.

“Isn’t it “here, punk” and not “here punk?”

“I’ll worry about the punctuation here, punk…wait, you’re right.” I have a way with my brother, a way that makes him instantly tired.

“Look at the monitors—who do you see?”

I peered at the rows and rows of screens. “I see men in jail, hard men, soft men, crinkly men, Mercury, various losers on the edge of nowhere, Vulcan, society’s disposables, Zeus…hey wait a minute. I know some of these people. Dionysus? He changed his name to Jim Bacchus, had a sweet career drinking Hollywood dry. What’s he doing here?”

Hades bade me look at a second row of monitors: the ladies. Hera, Athena, Megan from Whole Foods, Demeter, Diana, Serena from Peet's Coffee, Venus—they were all there. What in God’s name…

“Exactly,” said my brother. “Look again.”

Holy shit! Krishna, Kali, Ganesh, Coyote, Hanuman, Dick Clark, Garuda, Shiva—ooh, Maya…

Hades pointed to another row of monitors, and then another row of monitors until I turned to him and said, “Enough with the monitors! I see Osiris and Isis and Toth and Wotan and Eagle and Fox and Regis! What does all of this mean?”

My brother shook his head—well, he didn’t really shake it, he kind of swept it sideways and then looked at me with that Guardian of the Dead look and said, “You have to find out.”

Well, good! Now I knew what my job was! Every deity known to humanity was now locked up in a jail in Los Angeles, though it wasn’t really a jail and Los Angeles isn’t really Los Angeles. Clarification: many years ago some enterprising movie producers needed a stunt double for Los Angeles for a really nasty disaster sequence in a film. Turns out everyone loved the stunt double so much they didn’t ask Los Angeles to come back, and no one ever noticed the switch. L.A. is rumored to have moved to Morongo Valley.

It was time for me to take command here: I looked at all the monitors, I looked back at my brother, then I looked at the floor for a little bit, then I looked over at a set of car keys on his desk, then I looked back at my brother, but he was looking at the floor, so I looked back at the car keys, and he looked over at the monitors, so I stood in front of the monitors so he would look at me, but he was now looking down at his desk, so I crawled onto his desk and lay with my back on it and stared right up at him: bingo! I caught his eyes. “Can we get something to eat?” I asked.

And then I thought: All of the gods in the world had been summoned, but by whom? And why? We gods are a troublesome lot, and many of us took it personally when our stock began to fall lo those many years ago, and we became mere shadows and dog names. I vowed to get to the bottom of these gods, which was an unfortunate vow, but not unfortunate enough to make me skip dinner. Dinner, I thought, was a sure thing. Hades looked like he had cash. I was going to spend it like there was no tomorrow, which was true at the time because it was still what I technically refer to as "today." But that was then. I mean, then it was now, but not any more.

Man, I'm hungry.

+++

The sky was purple and pink and sandy red, and seemed to touch the land with regret. He turned up Pico as the sun vanished behind the coastal foothills, a last exhale before the coming darkness.

Up ahead, on His right, stood Pico Lanes, a popular spot for bowlers, being that it's a bowling alley. I'll give bowlers' one thing--no, wait, I won't. Anyway, a Youth Christian Group had rented out half the alley, and laughter and providence exploded down the lanes, and pins rolled with righteous clamor, and crosses upon crosses were filled in with their spares, their strikes, their tawdry little gutter balls. He pressed His face against the glass entrance and His eyes grew large. Two young girls going outside to smoke swung the door suddenly, and in He fell into the mad sounds of pins crashing, pin ball games doinking, children yelling. It was loud. Bowling alley loud.

Lisa Kopinsky rolled her nine pound ball down the lane, crossing her fingers and praying to Jesus to make the pins fall down. Reverend Beesdan looked about the lanes and smiled: children of the Lord rejoicing in simple play! Aaron Toolin and Enrique Alvarez pumped quarters into the Claw Game, and squealed and yelled and protested.

Friday night at Pico Lanes, and soon the black lights would come on, and the balls would glow in luminescent colors, and rock music would fill their ears.

He heard the prayers, the callings. He spied the Children and the Good Reverend Beesdan. His eyes filled with tears; He stepped down to the lower level, and strode to the center lane, and walked as if on water to the center of the middle lane, some feet toward the pins, and then He slowly turned around. The black lights were born: the bowling balls became a mad carnival of colors, a vibrant jungle in a disco ball of light, and the music pulsed and the pins were the crashing of atoms and everywhere the Light and the Flashing and He walked unto the Lanes and strike upon strike and squeals of joy and He lifted His arms and The Sun Door began to open and only blackness poured forth. He paused, then found the world again: He spied a child in a t-shirt, and on the t-shirt was God on the Cross, and He screamed, “No! No!” and the pins were flying and the lights were lightning and storms in Hell and brimstone and poison and screams, screams, screams! “Wake up! Wake up!" He yelled above the din, above everything. "Wake up!”


+++

The Los Angeles Times reported the tragic event as follows: apparently a gas line was the main suspect in a bizarre accident at the Pico Lanes, and many casualties occured when the Friday night crowd panicked and bolted for the entrance doors as fire shot throught the lanes. An emergency triage had been established in the parking lot: bodies were covered with sheets, paramedics were working feverishly on tiny, lifeless forms, like broken marionettes, the children of laughter, the last hurrah of a dying world. The good Reverend stood in the lot and fell to his knees, his hands bleeding from the two fresh wounds above his wrists. His eyes were white fire, and then he was no more.

The night was the First Night: Two more to follow. Two more to go.

+++

TUNE IN FOR CHAPTER FOUR OF DETECTIVE NEPTUNE IN “CHRIST, THE SCREAMING AVENGER”

Tomorrow night: LAZY SUSAN IS THE MACK!

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DON'T LOOK AT THE FACTS!

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Don't peer into space
Don't look in the light
Don't learn anything
Just shut your eyes tonight

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Monday, June 13, 2005

FOR SALE: OWN A PIECE OF HISTORY!

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Mid-Eastern Triplex, close to shopping, airports, museums, stunning private gated "Green Zone" a great refuge from hectic environs. Patio, spa, hot tub, formal torture rooms, stainless steel kitchens, mother-in-law guest house. Recent electrical, plumbing upgrades. A real taste of Mesopotamia! Bay windows, river views, mosques, churches, morgues. Byzantine catacombs, granite tombs, some ordnance, spacious countryside, patio w/arbor. Dead people promptly buried! Large ditches, mass graves, great for funeral enthusiasts! THIS IS A PROBATE SALE! DO NOT DISTURB TENANTS!

Listing by Norquist, Perle, Wolfowitz & Cheney, Residential Brokers. Closed Mondays. Call today!

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Estate Rendering from National Geographic, an Equal Opportunity Cartographer, Lmtd.

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Saturday, June 11, 2005

CAN I GET AN AMEN, KHEPRI?

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Proposed Unity Prayer

Dear Father/Mother, Mother/Father, disembodied abstraction, Creative Life Force, Uncreated-Creating, Uncreated Kickin' It, we do beseech Thee for guidance, wisdom, grace and whatever else You got lying around and aren’t using anymore.

We know You don’t like questions that require updating old, sacred texts. Your days of churning out rules and directing priestly writings are over and done, gone and good-bye. You wrote the Universe, and then either got the biggest case of Writer’s Block in history, or You went off to go backpacking in a worm hole, or both, or neither. Are we getting warmer?

Anyhoo, dear Alpha and Omega of Everything, we ask, with all due reverence, that You inflict some minor maladies on those who would justify rotten behavior, crappy manners, murderous adventuring and the suppression of “equal rights for all” by invoking some specific, alarmingly cruel understanding of Your ways. If You would be so kind as to visit mild nausea, dizziness, headaches and the occasional spastic colon upon the hate-mongers, we would be forever in Your debt. Kind of like we already are.

Thank you, dear Silent Void Mimic, shall we take Your usual non-response as a “Yes?” We thought so.

May You never trip on Your Totality, and may Total Consciousness give you enough of a break so You can catch up on Your summer reading.

Amen

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Thursday, June 09, 2005

TACO BELL UNVEILS NEW "DEATH CHALUPA"

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There was a lot, and I do mean "a lot" of industry buzz about the unveiling of Taco Bell's new DEATH CHALUPA.

Frankly, their Blasotcyst Burrito was an utter failure, except amongst the infertile crowd. But DEATH CHALUPA seems to be catching on with the I Want To Die While Restrained In Fabric set. Add hot sauce and cheese and carry on, my wayward son, carry on!

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HERE, REST HERE FOR A TIME

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Here, rest here for a time...
Come back when you need to
And go when you like as well.

Be not afraid of the Universe.

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Wednesday, June 08, 2005

DETECTIVE NEPTUNE IN "CHRIST, THE SCREAMING AVENGER"

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CHAPTER TWO: CRAZY JESUS WREAKIN’ HAVOC ON MY TIME

Dost thou wander about at night, calling upon demons to help thee?

I have grown to enjoy sitting on benches. Park benches, piano benches, garden benches, doesn’t matter what kind of bench, I enjoy sitting on it. As I sat on the bench in Venice, I sang to the pigeons. These are the lyrics:

I’m a Private Detective who sings to pigeons
Doo-dah, doo-dah
A Private Dick with an accent thick
All the doo-dah day


The pigeons move their heads in rhythm to my song. Next time you see a pigeon, sing “doo-dah, doo-dah” and you’ll see what I mean.

Being a God and a Private Detective at the same time causes the occasional head to turn, but let the occasional head turn, says I. Let the head turn. Pigeons don’t turn their heads. They just bob them back and forth like real estate agents.

+++

Hours had passed and I still had no clue what I was doing in Venice. What was the job going to be? Who would be quarry, my task? My first wife, Amphitrite ("the third one who encircles the sea") used to say to me, when I got around to making use of a conch and would finally call her, she’d say “Are you still fucking that girl in Marina del Rey?” She had a mouth like a sailor, and an ass like a sailor too. I used to like sailing with her, now that I think of it. I wonder what happened to her. Her lips tasted like tuna, but without the mayonnaise.

+++

It was getting on towards noon. The beach crowd was in ascendance, and the vendors were setting up all their wares. Sunglasses, lotions, potions, lava lamps, beads, and on and on. The Temple of Merchandise in the Salty Air of Venice. I was now hungry.

I headed over to the Argentineans for empanadas and soda. “Give me two chicken and one veggie.” I was reaching for my money when I realized I hadn’t worked in fifteen years, and in my pocket was a mixture of sand and paper scraps, but no money. I looked up at the Sun, to Apollo, and held my hands aloft, the sand sifting through them onto the ground. The air spoke to the water, the memory spoke to my hope, and coins appeared in my palms, which I produced for the food. I paid the kindly counter-lady and left a seventy-five cent tip, modest but not pathetic. Apollo’s been tight with his coins these days, but detectives can’t be choosers. Or can we? I guess we can but choose not to, which means we are, in fact, choosers. I'll be damned.

It was exactly twelve o’clock when I returned to the bench and unwrapped the empanadas, cracked open my soda, put the warm dough to my mouth like my father Chronos used to do, and suddenly I had a symphony of pigeons assembled in front of me. I tore off a few pieces of my pie and threw them down.

As I ate my portion, I had a vision of a man running in an alley. He was surrounded by fire.

+++

His eyes were new and frightened, dilated, like a fawn in a meadow. Everything came at Him like wild music. When a white hollow fills His eyes, He becomes the white hollow. If the sun seeks Him to harm, it burns only His shadow, and the rain of radiation spills along His margins. He runs in the narrow places, an inhabitor of form once spent, newly released. Three days of Darkness followed by the Blinding Light. Three days of Progress, then the Storm.

He runs down the alley, over fences, through the tiny backyards, up the lanes. He heads where promises were forgotten, where God had left His only Son to die. His eyes are become the white hollow.

Three days to go.


+++

I finished my repast and rubbed my belly. It was then that I smelled an odor, an unpleasant mixture of sweat and rotting fish. It was me.

When a God bathes it is a beautiful thing. Cherubs and nymphs and all sorts of luminous beings fly about with soaps and salts and balms, and water flows through trumpet vines and laughter rises like bubbles. I love a good bath. Anyway, that’s what I told the arresting officer when I was standing buck naked at the outdoor shower. I guess the afternoon is not the best time for public hygiene, but if not me, who? If not then, when?

I was escorted into a squad car and driven, nay, chauffeured to better surroundings. I felt zesty and clean. And handcuffed.

+++

At the Police Station I smiled to all the quaint workers who had never seen a God up close before: it’s quite a thrill for most people. Most of those who have not seen a God up close are under the impression that all Gods do is rape and eat all the leftovers, and there is a dollop of truth in that observation. But we have tempered our wild ways, just like everyone else, except Russell Crowe. But I digress…

I sat in a cell next to a man whose skin was darker than the absence of light, darker than the moon in bleakest shadow, darker than coal in winter. He scowled at me, then laughed, then said, “Who is you?”

I love it when people ask who I am. “I am Neptune! I am a visitor to these lands! I can’t help you!” is my usual reply.

So I said to the ebony man: “I am Neptune! I am a visitor to these lands!” He just shook his head at me and said:

“Got enough crazy niggas without Roman shit. I saw some motherfucker, ah, I done…” He turned his head away.

“You have piqued my interest, stranger,” I offered. “Tell me more…”

“A man on fire, fool. Crazy Jesus wreakin’ havoc on my time. He on fire but he don’t burn, and that’s some shit, motherfucker.”

I thought of my vision. I thanked my new friend, and asked the guard if I could get a conch. I had a call to make. I assured the guard there would be a bucket of Perch in it for him if he could make the wheels turn a little faster and bring me a shell pronto. I don’t think he knew what a Perch was. His loss, really.

+++

TUNE IN FOR CHAPTER THREE OF DETECTIVE NEPTUNE IN ”CHRIST, THE SCREAMING AVENGER!”

Next week: BOWLING FOR JESUS!

+++

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

THE LAST WHALE

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Before we married, my wife and I borrowed her father's Ram conversion van and headed south through Baja California (two consecutive summers!). I think it was in '96 when we spent a rather extraordinary night in Camalu, a surf spot on the Pacific Coast about 200 miles south of the border. Local fisherman position their colorful boats at the base of the cliffs there, and surfers ride waves at a point near the wreck of a freighter named the Isla Martin.

On June 30th, the second full moon of the month (a true blue moon) was just rising in the east as the sun set in the west: for a brief time my wife and I looked at both as the land to the east was largely flat and the ocean to the west afforded unimpeded views. We were parking overnight on a bluff (we were charged a modest camp fee) away from some buildings and surf shacks closer to the point. As the night progressed we drank wine and sat by the van, and the tide was rising and pounding higher and higher on the sides of the cliffs. Sprays of water shot up and the ground thundered under the assault. We walked around the bluffs and loved every minute of it, and the water rose and crashed higher and higher against the cliffs.

I'm not sure of the exact time but somewhere after 10:00 p.m. there was a commotion by the surf shacks. People were running to the cliff's edge and yelling and pointing excitedly, and Donnna and I looked out to the wreck of the freighter: something large and luminous was floating past it, coming toward the bluffs. Below us the tidal surges were coming harder and harder--we went down to the bluffs and saw an enormous form being borne by the water: a whale, a blue whale, larger than any animal I had every seen. It was being jostled against the bluffs, then the ocean would recede a little, then again the giant was shoved against the bluffs in a tidal surge. A couple of the colorful boats used by the fisherman were dashed on the rocks, with at least two of them having their outboard motors broken off and cast on shore at the base of the cliffs. The whale moved slowly south for what seemed like a long time, following the coastline, until he (or she) drifted out of sight. We watched and watched, and were saddened but also awestruck.

The next morning I looked to the south: the tide was now very low. About a half mile from us I could make out a form lying on a now revelaed beach. We walked towards this vision with our dog jack.

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I scrambled down the rocks to the whale, while seabirds circled and cried about its corpse. Jack and Donna followed. I walked off the length three times: it was 30 of my strides, or roughly ninety feet in length. Jack decided to climb the whale, perhaps so he too could have a story to tell when we returned...

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My name is Jack
I found it dull on an elephant bull
So a climber of whales did I be


We saw what appeared to be a wound on one side of the whale, but could not be certain if it was a gash that caused its demise or was indeed a tear that occured while it was tossed roughly about against the rocks. It was sad, but also beautiful.

May I be borne along by the sea and laid to rest on distant shores...

We continued our drive south and had a few more adventures: getting stuck in the sand of a remote beach, being yelled at by Federales who ran at us as if we were bandits, the vast desert between El Rosario and Guerrero Negro--we listened to Roy Orbison and The Traveling Wilburys and drove and drove and drove.

When we headed north to come home we looked west as we drove through Camalu, but we did not stop. Jack smiled though, and rested his head on Donna's lap.

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Monday, June 06, 2005

WE WENT THATAWAY

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Hey, America! Let's go for a drive!

Woo! Woo! Plenty of open road!

Wow, look back there! All those soldiers were alive back there!
But now they're dead, and we won't be seeing them anymore.

America shouldn't use its rearview mirror without restraint!
"Hey, we killed a bunch of people in a war built on
lies and greed."
"No we didn't," says whoever is driving. "Uh-uh."

Wow, look back there! All those other people blown apart!

"Hey dad, you just hit a whole lot of people!"
"Shut-up! I'm not pulling over!"
"But dad, shouldn't we..."
"Shut-up! Shut-up! Shut-up!"

Hey, America! You're moving forward!

Plenty of open road! Go, Empire, go!

+++

Sunday, June 05, 2005

FLATTENED DISC UNIVERSE

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I love frisbees! I love to throw them into the wind, with friends, at a disc golf course!

I love frisbees! I love the desert! I love throwing frisbees in the desert!

Oh, no! An alien has taken over my frisbee! What do I do?

I will learn to live with the alien who has taken over my frisbee.

Sometimes I skip the frisbee on asphalt or cement. Better hang on, alien!

End of this portion of FLATTENED DISC UNIVERSE!

See you next time!

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Saturday, June 04, 2005

WEDNESDAYS ARE NEPTUNE'S OWN

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"Detective Neptune in "Christ, the Screaming Avenger"" will appear as a regular feature with a new chapter published every Wednesday.

Thanks for playing!

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Friday, June 03, 2005

GOD IN THE FLESH

Critical thinkers
Shake on the vine
Here come the killers
From time out of mind
The gathering's over
The ashes are fresh
Let's break this camp apart
Let's hit the road
Let's burn the evidence
Do what you're told
We are an empire
God in the flesh

Gathering preachers
See blood in the sky
Crosses and anger
The Lord of the Flies
Pointing their fingers
Whippin' the crowd
Let's break this camp apart
Let's hit the road
Let's burn the evidence
Do what you're told
We are an empire
God in the flesh

Insincere angels
Bringers of fire
On the road to Damascus
Found a good liar
Where is the covenant?
What is the deal?
On the road to Damascus
A license to steal
A license to steal

Let's break this camp apart
Let's hit the road
Let's burn the evidence
Do what you're told
We are an empire
God in the flesh

Let's burn the evidence
Make dark the heart
Let's burn the evidence
God in the flesh
God in the flesh
God in the flesh
God in the flesh
Let's burn the evidence
Do what you're told
We are an empire
God in the flesh

Critical thinkers
Shake on the vine
Here come the killers
From time out of mind
The gathering's over
The ashes are fresh
Let's break this camp apart
Let's hit the road
Let's burn the evidence
Do what you're told
We are an empire
God in the flesh

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(lyrics by MJS)

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Thursday, June 02, 2005

WHEN MUSIC SPEAK, WE DANCE THE ANSWERS

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These lyrics were originally posted at Corrente back when Condi Rice was wowing them on the beltway, with her "actionable this, actionable that" patter. I re-post it here because I was watching Beetlejuice today and felt the Calypso rhythm calling...

SWAT THE FLIES AND SHAKE THE TREES

I was shaking the trees when a monkey fell out
He landed hard and he started to shout:
"Why everybody always messing with me?
I’m just a stupid monkey in a stupid tree!"

I was swatting at flies when the monkey came round
He got real mad and he jumped up and down:
Why everybody got to remind me
I need a fly swatter and a strategy!

(chorus)
Come on down now, come on down
Come on down now, come on down
Swat at the flies that are buzzing around
Swat the flies and shake the trees
That stupid monkey just do what he please

I was drinking a soda in the Lone Star state
Looking at the sky and thinking of fate
Just then a monkey on the radio station
He say: Don’t ask me nothin’ when I’m on vacation.

I was dodging a bullet in the sands of Iraq
I was hoping my buddies had covered my back
Just then a monkey fell out of the sky
And gave us fake turkey and a plastic pie

(chorus)
Come on down now, come on down
Come on down now, come on down
Swat at the flies that are buzzing around
Swat the flies and shake the trees
That stupid monkey just do what he please

I was shaking the trees when a monkey fell out
He landed hard and he started to shout:
Why everybody always messing with me?
I’m just a stupid monkey in a stupid tree

I was swatting at flies when the monkey came round
He got real mad and he jumped up and down:
Why everybody got to remind me
I need a fly swatter and a strategy!

(repeat chorus)

+++

photo is of Sir Lancelot
(Lancelot Victor Edward Pinard)

Sir Lancelot was from Trinidad
And sang many a Calypso song...


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Wednesday, June 01, 2005

DETECTIVE NEPTUNE IN "CHRIST, THE SCREAMING AVENGER"

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CHAPTER ONE:

FACE DOWN UPON THE SANDY SHORE

I awoke face down at water’s edge, the way I always do. The air was stale beer and sour onions. Actually that was my air, the air I was exhaling, my gift to the world. Here, have my air, I have flavored it for you.

I rolled onto my side as ocean water crept up my legs. Legs. I had legs. Good, I thought. I may need them.

The water got to my waist and retreated, leaving foam and bits of trash at my midline, my mean-high-tide. I reached down and felt around: ah, I was wearing pants. They were wet pants, but they were mine. No shoes, but some colorful socks, now soggy and itch-inducing. But oh so colorful.

A larger surge of water forced its way up to my neck, so now I was picking out bits of Styrofoam and kelp from the kinky hair on my face. I used to be young, with hair like a god. Actually, I am a god. I'm on a mission, a job so secret, so discreet, that even I don't know what it is.

I am chosen by the Sun or the Stars or the Atoms: I am chosen and I wake up on a beach or in a harbor (or that one time in an aquarium) and go find a crime or a mystery or panic in a child's eyes, and I go to work. Only when the job is done am I released: I go out with the tide and drift far away, or I jump from a plane into the deepest part of the sea, and there I wait for a time. Then blackness, sleep and dreams of sparkling bays and beautiful women and dolphins teaching the children to swim. I dream of white sand and men blowing conchs and girls giggling as they glide along with me in buoyant waters. The air is warm, the breeze is sweet, the days are long, the nights like heaven. I ride the hippocampus, and fountains pour wine, and love is impossible to deny. And then it all ends: I awake face down at water's edge with a job to do before I can leave. Yes, I am a god. And yes, I am a Private Detective. Here's my card...oh, it's wet. I'll tell you what it says: "Detective Neptune, the Only Detective Who is Also a God."

+++

I looked up and saw the pier to the north. It looked familiar. The Santa Monica Pier. Good, I thought. I like Santa Monica. I looked one last time at the sky above me, the canopy of space, and saw a young boy's head peering at me. He had a small plastic shovel, and was wearing a bathing suit with a picture of an animated sponge smiling on it, and he had a goofy grin, and long eyelashes, and he yelled at me, "Sleep time is over!" Some modern cherub, some Cupid variant, prodding me on towards my task. His mother yelled from higher up on the sand, "Daroj! Don't speak to stranger!" I rolled away and stood up, towering over the boy. He pointed to the strand, and bade me go there. "Goodbye, Daroj." I made my legs move, and they protested mightily. I was marble, an old marble statue, and I was going to Venice. It hurt to walk.

+++

"Jesus is Lord, and will sing to us and make the laughter into music, and the light will shine forth, and you will be there, and you--but some will not. Some will never see light again, but only the blackened heat of endless sin, the hard and burning embers of the dead..."

He had ended up here, alongside the vendors and the tourists, smiling in the sunshine, making friends, preaching the gospel, saving souls. The days blended into each other, and the charms were chipped away as the years thinned the thickness of time. His clothes were dirty, his hair stringy, his teeth cracking and abandoning ship like maddened sailors. The once long and gentle hands were hard, black with the oils of fried food and digging in trash bins. He had begun to shake, his nerves seared from the heat of life, exposed on the rocks to be picked at by the vultures.

He saw the winter sun move into spring, and the sunsets of the south now disappeared behind the coastal mountains. The sun set in private, and he could no longer remember why it mattered. He coughed and struggled to find a trash barrel with some decent food in it. His left arm was becoming claw-like: he reached into the wreaking barrel with his right, only to fail as it shook violently in the can, rattling the sides, scraping his knuckles, making bloody his flesh. He cried and ran, and dodged the couples strolling and he dodged the addicts and ran around the skateboarders: he found a hollow in an alley, and shook and gagged and fell in a heap. His right hand struggled with a greasy piece of discarded fried fish. He pulled it with effort to his mouth, but dropped it. He began his death rattle, the Preacher of the Word, one of God's own missionaries, here by the water at the end of the world.

"For the Lord will preserve us all, and unto Him we will return..."

A great pain shot through his skull, his eyes betrayed the lightning and thunder of his life, and stiff he was no more, but empty, and dead in the silence of the alley.

+++

The next morning there was no sign of the preacher's corpse, only a bit of tagger-like scrawling on a trash bin. It read "But I will find my Vengeance, and None shall escape my Wrath"

He had come.


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I walked up to the parking lot, then crossed it to the boardwalk, and stopped to sing to the pigeons. A few homeless types were out, and the air was wet and salty. I sat on a bench and waited. The job would come to me. The job would come.

NEXT WEEK: CHAPTER TWO

CRAZY JESUS WREAKIN' HAVOC ON MY TIME

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