Thursday, May 29, 2008
Detective Neptune in "Christ, the Screaming Avenger" VI
CHAPTER SIX: FOR IN THAT SLEEP OF DEATH WHAT DREAMS MAY COME!
I want to sleep the way I imagine normal people might sleep—heavy and gone and assuaged and caressed with magical sleep when the night is moist with its certainty, its dominion. I want to lay my head on a pillow and vanish into a mist of myself, the weight of gravity bearing me to the floor of the Universe, the bed of everything, the sleep of reason, the land of dreams. They don’t even have to be sweet dreams, or lusty or hopeful: just dreams that construct a perfection of a vanishing release would be nice. I want…
I opened my eyes and was glad I did. Artemis had dragged her scrawny ass toward the front door, looking, I think, to smack me again. Los Angeles’ west side was on fire, it was flames and fissures and fire in the hole, in every hole as embers climbed into the darkening skies. I pulled myself along the floor toward the front entrance, with my Club Trident in my right hand and my left reaching back to fend off the Goddess of the Hunt. I did not know where my ex-wife was. It was a small shop, but she could be under any number of things: the collapsed roof, the clothing racks, whatever. I still wanted lunch: it had been close to two days since I last had eaten in Venice. It seemed like an eternity. This is all wrong on so many levels.
I made it to the door and stood up: outside in perfect silence was a little boy staring at me, the one who had urged me up from the sand at the beach some two days before. He pointed to the sky: holes were beginning to appear, small holes at first, like tiny rips in a cloth, then expanding, evolving, widening. Holes and whorling mists of broken clouds in a universe that was fast becoming one giant upside down toilet bowl. I turned back to ask the boy what he knew about the crazy sky, but the boy was gone.
Artemis made one more attempt at my head—she held up a replica of the Maltese Falcon, a black icon from a Burbank Studio promotion, and swung it hard, missing me and striking herself in her cheek, knocking herself backwards. What a great bird! Artemis looked up at me and passed out. I shoved the door against her prone body, wedging her against the wall as I slipped outside into the chaos of the City of Angels. That last earthquake must have been a big one--shit was jumbled up everywhere. This reminded me how hungry I was. I considered making myself a little something, maybe a sandwich or some cracker and cheese…whatever. Wouldn't you?
I figured my brother, Hades, would be pissed at me, which was his right. After all, I had taken his wallet and gone earthquake crazy in L.A., but forgive and forget, that’s what I say. I looked back down South Centinela and saw the back of a van making its way slowly past the rubble and methane fires on the street. It was the van I saw Jesus driving. Maybe he knew of a good, solid, earthquake-proof restaurant: we could have lunch, like His father and I used to do in the old days. I wiped the broken glass from my face and headed after the van. If He had cash maybe He would pop for lunch and I would be able to give Haddy his wallet back without any hard feelings. Brothers can be so petty.
I looked up at the blackened, pixilated sky as Los Angeles burned. Oh, well.
This time the music would be His. This time the notes would be like sulfur, the lyrics like balm, the Rapture made into a concert, the concert made for a God, the God asleep, dreaming the World Dream: For in that sleep of death what dreams may come must give us pause, but no pause comes.
The Third Hour on the Cross, the last awful hollows, the body in agony, the soul bereft, the Hour and Eternity and Life and Death and Here It Comes because It’s Always Here…
He steered the van, eyeing in the rear view mirror the impressive speaker system inside, a mobile concert waiting for an audience, a release from the gift of the Martyr, termination and release and nothing.
Shaking, He lifts the CD and puts it in the slot: the amplified cries of the One, shaking His fist, shaking His arms, wild and sweating and on His final quest. Take me off the cross. Take me off the cross. Take me off the cross.
The van moved up South Centinela and headed for the Pacific Area Jail, where on the floor, curled up, Vishnu held the key. Wake up, little dreamer. Wake up, Oh Uncreated One. Wake up and end the dream. Take me off the cross. Take me…
The van careened along, striking two cars at the intersection of West Washington. There were no police. Three people staggered out, saw Jesus, and staggered away. The city was on fire. Jesus screamed and screamed and screamed, and put the CD in the slot. Jesus had His voice caught in the binary grooves of a plastic disc, a disc that, played loud enough, would end the dream, and pain would be gone forever. Come off of the cross, dear Jesus. We put you there and keep you there and you will never be free, unless You End the Dream.
He switched the dial, and turned up the volume, just another guy in a van listening to loud music while the city lay in ruins and flames licked at the sky. The last hour on the Cross was going to be the Last Hour, period. Was there no mercy but the mothering of total annhilation?
He reached His hand to the volume button and watched the numbers go up: 8, 9, 10…11, 15, 21, 29…35, 40, 44…when a messiah screams, people listen. He drove towards the jail, the speakers blaring His soul, His agony. He was come with the vengeance of the Lord, the retribution of the wronged.
Vishnu stirred on the cold, hard floor of the Pacific Area Jail. Jesus was indeed going to be dropping by, and things were going to get very loud.
I looked up after the van but it was too fast. I was not going to be able to catch up to it. Man I was hungry. I held aloft my trident and knew what I had to do: I would go back to the jail. Maybe they would be serving lunch. I was really hungry, and even though I think Jesus is up to something it doesn't mean I don't eat. Check the contract, look at the fine print. Neptune eats, damn you! Neptune eats!
Man I was hungry. I headed back for the jail: it has kitchens and it has food. Not great food, but food. Food for me.
I looked up as I walked, and wondered about the holes in the sky. They were big. And they were getting bigger. And the fires were burning, flames shooting up like dragons on meth. The whole city was in chaos.
Damn, but I was hungry.
Tune in tomorrow night for the final episode of CHRIST, THE SCREAMING AVENGER!
Chapter Seven: I’M READY FOR MY CLOSE-UP, MR. DEMILLE!