Thursday, May 29, 2008

Detective Neptune in "Christ, the Screaming Avenger" II


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 Argentinians 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 over time (hah!) 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 reasonably fresh 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.



Tomorrow night: BOWLING FOR JESUS!


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