Thursday, May 29, 2008

Detective Neptune in "Christ, the Screaming Avenger" V


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. Very much so.


He walked again in the world, on His mission, on His quest. He scanned the local businesses: a nail salon, a T-shirt shop, a taco stand…He moved like the dead. 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 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, resplendent in her volleyball bathing suit, squinting at me like a badger. “Hey there, pigfucker!” 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. Her smile gave me the willies, willies I would have gladly given back.

I smiled, and reached out for my ex-wife’s hand. She extended her reach, 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. It was sometimes a furry fury, but that's another story. For another time. Not now. Nope.

My head felt like porous gravel placed in a blender and set on chop-chop. 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. I really don’t care that my ex has taken up with a humorless virgin goddess. Good luck to her, says I. However, I do care that Amphitrite has probably bitched about me ceaselessly, and her girlfriend most decidedly had 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: she hates my earthquakes due to her motion sickness. Heh-heh. I kept one eye on Artemis, who 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's your goddamn point?" I cried as lightning bolts shot out my eyes.

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 the hell out of here. 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 CHRIST, THE SCREAMING AVENGER!

Come back tomorrow for the Good Friday Special: FOR IN THAT SLEEP OF DEATH WHAT DREAMS MAY COME!


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