Ormazd´s Big Bash
Or The Farce of Life
By Russell Rosander
“Thwack.” The sound of the flyswatter hitting the desk was startling in it´s intensity. The fly buzzed lazily away in a crazy zig-zag pattern towards the window. The window was awash in golden spring sunshine. The fly swirled the glowing dust motes as it flew.
“Damn,” the President of the United States said with a grimace. He was feelin´ frustrated this morning. He hadn´t heard any good news for a month. He sometimes wondered, secretly, why he ever wanted this job.
Back on the campaign trail, he mostly imagined it would be glamorous and exciting to be President. Everybody kow-towin´ to him and calling him “Mr. President” like he was some kinda god, but it turned out to be mostly, a big, fat, pain in the butt, an onerous responsibility where everyone seemed to want something from him, and everything was, just, too damned important.
Lately, swattin´ flies had become his most pleasurable activity. Just him and the fly, in mortal combat – for the fly that is.
Yesterday, he´d got one. It´s guts splattered across a freshly signed, important environmental bill. How much more important was that, to the fly at least, than the officious words on the paper. He´d had to order another copy from the Government Printing Office. “Your tax-payer money at work – heh heh,” he thought sarcastically.
There was a knock on the door, causing the President to flinch because he had been in such deep thought, musing on the matter of flies. The White House Chief of Security stepped in. It felt like an invasion to him.
“Good Morning Sir. I trust you slept well?” Gawd, how the President hated all this phony politeness.
“Oh. Hi Bob. Beautiful morning, isn´t it? He replied to the question with one of his own. He felt that Presidents should not be asked questions, but ask them and receive answers. What was the point of becoming the most powerful person in the world, if any dip-shit could question your wisdom and authority. He resented questions, even as innocuous as Bob´s. Who was serving who here, anyway? It would be a good day, and he would sleep well if he damned well, felt like it!
“Yes sir, it is.” Bob responded condescendingly. “I hope I´m not interrupting anything important.”
“Yes sir – what?,” the President thought as he suddenly realized that he had forgotten what he´d asked Bob. “No, nothing of great importance” he said not wanting to bring up the issue of the seriousness of fly swattin´. What is it then?”
“I´m afraid there´s been a security breech here in the White House, Sir.”
“Really! And how did that happen?”
Bob gulped spasmodically before answering. “It seems, what appeared to be, a homeless man managed to get past security and into the building. We don´t know how he did it yet. An aide saw him heading for the Oval Office.”
“He was seen, but not caught?,” the President asked.
Bob gulped again. “No Sir. We haven’t found him. We did find and envelope , addressed to you. He dropped it in the hallway. Your perfectly safe though,” he added quickly. “There are already several Secret Servicemen on guard outside the door!”
“(Sigh) Do we know if he´s armed, or strapped with a bomb?”
“No Sir, but were not taking any chances. Were airlifting you and the first family to a safe place immediately.”
“Damn! I was supposed to play golf with the British Prime Minister this afternoon. I´ve been waiting for a chance to whip his butt!”
“Arrangements are being made to cancel, diplomatically of course, as we speak. We don´t want you exposed to any foreign nationals for the moment.”
“Surely, you don´t suspect the British Prime Minister is behind this `homeless person´ thing, do you? Tell me your joking!”
We can´t take any chances, Sir. It´s just protocol.
The President and his family were evacuated to Camp David. He had had the presence of mind to order that the White House be fumigated in their absence. “The bugs were gettin´ mean around here, and who knows what the homeless man brought in.”
The British Prime Minister was secretly brought to Camp David too, at the President´s insistence, and they did, finally, play a round of golf on the private course. The President lost by two points.
British Security was happy to send the Prime Minister with the President. They were always relieved to get him out of their hair. They also needed a safe place to put him because their own security at the embassy had been breached in a identical way and at the same time. In both cases, the raggedy, flea ridden, intruder had not been caught. It was if they had vanished into thin air. How could there have been two of them? Yet, there must be two of them, because how could one filthy bum have been in the same place at the same time. In both cases, the only evidence of their ever being there, was a dropped envelope.
Both envelopes were rushed to an F.B.I. forensics lab to be tested for fingerprints, letter bombs or lethal powders. Nothing was found except identical invitations to the recipients to a weekend party. There was no return address or any indication to where the party was to be held. Only the times and dates, commencing next Friday at four in the afternoon. Food, refreshments and entertainment would be provided, as well as transportation and other accommodations. No R.S.V.P. requested, as if one could reply, and signed by the C.I.U., Creator of the Infinite Universe.
So far, the news had been kept out of it, but Homeland Security had issued an orange alert, and the media were already clamoring for an explanation. It was only a mater of time before someone leaked it. An organization the size of the U.S. government couldn´t keep a secret if they tried, and the British!, let´s just say they´re a mite open.
The President continued to amuse himself with a flyswatter at Camp David to relieve himself from the drudgery of his, `Gawd-awful´, important life. It was difficult for him to take any of this seriously. When everything a person does achieves the status of being important, then nothing is important.
The C.I.U. was up in heaven, having afternoon drinks by the pool with his favorite consort, Marilyn Monroe. The blond bombshell was as beautiful as ever.
He had recently taken a liking to the name Ormazd, because he liked the sound of it. It had a ring. “Ormazd the ormazing maker of mazes…” He, rather, disliked being called “God”, because it sounded too pretentious and officious. Not that he minded that much. Whatever people wanted to call him was, actually, fine, but he sure wished they´d stop making him out to be some kind of vengeful dictator, which he, definitely, is not. And he didn´t want praise. A little acknowledgement was fine. It was an old name, one he had used before, as the ancient Persian Zorastorian´s chief imaginary deity, the principle of good, creator of the world and guardian of mankind. It had been the matrix of many religions that had followed.
Actually, he seldom took anything that went on down on earth very seriously. After all, he had designed it so that it would take care of itself and evolve on it´s own, but it was a vast source of entertainment for him. It was a work in constant change – he could create, well, into infinity.
On the table next to his lounge chair, he had a small, portable T.V. with gold rabbit ears. It looked like something out of a Jetsons cartoon. He used it to monitor events down there. It was his favorite comedy show.
Marilyn was laying on her own cheap plastic chaise-lounge, over on his right hand side, wearing a skimpy bikini and her big sunglasses. “Marilyn” was the name she had been using since the middle of the last century, when she had been a movie star and a major pin-up doll. She was also the Virgin Mary in a previous incarnation. She did errands for the old man from time to time, just helpin´ to tweak his creation a bit, which it needed every now and then, in exchange for the good life.
Ormazd was laughin´ his head off, watchin´ the latest show on his T.V. He´d come up with this scheme to play an elaborate joke on the world´s biggest ego-maniacs, he loved practical jokes, and also, to teach them a little lesson in humility. Marilyn thought it was a hopeless cause, but he was havin´ fun, and that´s what mattered.
She thought, sometimes, that he had a lot in common with them, but she knew that it wasn´t really true. They were, basically, a bunch of bores, and none of them had his laissez-faire or terrific sense of humor.
On the walkway between the house and the pool, was a pile of filthy rags, and a pair of old tennies, held together with duct tape, where he had changed into his customary, white, Colonel Sander´s suit with white shoes and spats. The reekin´ pile was attractin´ a lot of flies. Flies were among Ormazd´s favorite creatures. He had created a lot of them. They were humble, yet persistent, in their efforts to annoy, even the highest and mightiest of delusionists.
“Marilyn, dear, would you mind fetching me another drink please? I don´t want to miss anything on the T.V.. Maybe another one of those fuzzy navels. I´m really getting to like those. I may get quite drunk this afternoon. I haven´t had this much fun in eons!”
He turned back to the T.V. as Marilyn got up. “Look at those idiots! They don´t know whether to shit or go blind! Damn, they take themselves seriously!”
Marilyn replenished their drinks at the pool-bar and came back with them. She re-adjusted her sunglasses and towel and laid back down as Ormazd watched her in his peripheral vision. Then, something caught his attention on the little T.V., and he burst into fit of laughter. He looked back at her with tears in his eyes. She gazed back at him with wonderment. “Gawd, how she loved older men!”
The Reverend, Bobby Jackson sat in front of his dressing room mirror while a pretty, young, cosmetologist tried to tame a stubborn tuft of hair sticking out of his pompadour. He was convinced that she was tryin´ to seduce him, `cause she kept leanin´ in close, and her pretty breast kept touchin´ his shoulder.
At the moment, it was more of an annoying distraction than a pleasure. He needed to be at his pulpit in front of the cameras for his weekly telecast, usin´ all his concentration on the delivery of his sermon, in five more minutes.
He supposed, that the devil must tempt him more than most men, because he had been in the business of savin´ the souls of ignorant men and women for more than forty years. He closed his eyes for a moment, and prayed for strength. He was tempted , to just tell her, to cut the damned thing off, but he was afraid she might make the mistake of thinkin´ he was talkin´ about his penis. Well, that thought gave him a chuckle!
He believed, with out a doubt, that he was among the favored of men of God, for his long devotion to the Lord. He received sacks of mail from his T.V. listeners weekly, telling him what a good man he was, and sayin´ how much they admired him and sendin´ five dollar bills and bigger. He had come to believe, that he was, truly, God´s chosen, and suspected that, in fact, he was the long awaited Messiah, although God had never told him as much, because he wanted him to remain a humble man.
He wished God was a little more conversant with him than he was. Sometimes, God gave him little enough guidance. His wife was currently out of town, visiting their grandchildren in Memphis. He wanted God to tell him what to do about her. She had become a priggish woman as she had grown older, and he thought it was rather unbecoming. Even though she fawned on him, he found her most unsatisfactory. Divorce was out of the question. How would that look to the congregation? And then, there was the matter of money. He had amassed a fortune doin´ God´s work, and how do you divide up the church he had built? Women to the left and men to the right? It was clearly impossible. If he only had the courage to slip a little arsenic in her orange juice, but that was surely the devil talkin´. If God intended for him to bear the burden of her, then he would have to bend to God´s will. Honestly, lately, it seemed like, every direction he turned, the devil was temptin´ him to commit another sin.
Take this invitation to some party he had found on his breakfast table this mornin´. His body guards had told him it was delivered by some, flea ridden, stinkin´ bum, who had, somehow, managed to get inside the compound. They had tossed him out on his mangy ear. This was, surely, a note from the devil himself, proclaimin´ to be the opposite. He was a sneaky bastard, invitin´ him to take part in, God knows what, debauchery.
Well, he´d certainly pass on that one, and stay right here, enjoyin´ the pretty cosmetologist. What was her name? God was certainly generous in offering her to him. He must be mighty pleased with the work he´d been doin´ spreadin´ the Lord´s word. His love for him was, truly, a wonder!
“I think I´ve got it,” the young woman said. “I´m pretty sure that wild hair will stay down now. Thank God for Pomade!”
“Good. It´s time for me to go lead the worship. Be sure to be here when I get back to help me get this make-up off. It makes me fell, downright, sissified wearin´ it.” He said.
“I´ll be right here, at your service!” she replied cheerfully.
“That´s what I like to hear!,” he grinned at her. “Yep,” he thought. “she definitely wants me. I wonder if she goes for rough sex? I could teach her a lot. Pointin´ out her wickedness, could, very well, save her from damnation!”
Ormazd and Marilyn were watchin´ the funny little TV set on the veranda. Ormazd was fiddlin´ with the knobs, tryin´ to get in the official Iranian television station. He moved the gold antenna ears a smidgen, and the picture suddenly cleared.
The Iranian President was standing stiffly behind a podium at a news conference, with armed guards on both sides of him. The backdrop was a huge TV screen filled with scenes of rioting in the city.
“This is irrefutable proof,” he snarled as he held up the invitation, “of the treachery of the west, and their puppet dogs, the CIA!”
“The CIA, thinly disquised by the pseudonym, CIU, has sent this, disgusting, invitation to our holiness, the Ayatola, in an attempt to lure him into the clutches of western decadence. Who else, but these vile servants of the Great Satan, would devise such a heinous plot!”
The scene behind him segues into another, showing masked and helmeted policemen, who were, in fact, the Presidents most trusted henchmen and torturers, roughly shoving a crippled beggar into an armored van. “We have apprehended their messenger, a spy, posing as an innocent beggar. He has confessed, and been sentenced to death, in accordance with our holy law!”
A mob, surrounding the van, is shouting epithets, and spitting on the, poor, emaciated man. They shove each other, vying for attention before the cameras, lifting their fists and shouting angrily, “Death to America! Death to the CIA! Death to the Great Satan!”
“Oh my Ormazd! You´ve done it this time! That poor man has nothing to do with this! You´ve got to do something!” Marilyn gasped.
Ormazd stood and sighed wearily. “I´ll be back in a minute.”
When the van arrived at the prison, the beggar was gone. The only thing found inside the van, were two of the policemen, fast asleep, with their pants down and their fingers up each other´s butts.
The monastery was perched on a steep hillside that was terraced by natural benches where picturesque rows of grape vines grew. They were connected by paths and stairs that were cut into the rock centuries ago.
The monastery buildings were carved, high into the cliff and were as austere as the escarpment itself, offering little comfort to the people who lived there, although, it did have a great view of the valley below.
A brown robed monk climbed the, worn, stone steps wearily to his stark cell after toiling all day, in the vineyards, under the, sweltering, hot, sun.
He chanted, prayerfully and silently, with each labored step. He had lived here for twenty years under a vow of silence, which he considered penance for not being good enough to be accorded a place among the angels. He suffered in humiliation for not to be among the favorites of God.
Then, one day, while tending the vines, his eyesight had gone blurry, and he had a vision, in which Jesus told him that he loved him.
He´d passed a note to the Abbot during his weekly consultation where he was asked how he was doin´, describing the miracle.
“Don´t worry about it,” the Abbot had said, “The nuns get those all the time.”
He couldn´t understand it. He was sure the Abbot would praise him in congratulation for his accomplishment. Wasn´t it proof that he had become one of the favored? Might he, one day, sit on the right hand of God? God had, surely, realized that he was a better man than most for living such a pious and selfless life. Didn´t he, at least, deserve more than some flippant response?
He opened the door to his cell and looked around his impoverished dwelling. There, on the narrow stone bench that served as his bed, he saw an envelope.
He opened it with trembling hands, and removed the gold printed card from inside. His lips moved with the words as he read them. When he was finished, he turned his eyes towards heaven. “Thank you Lord!,” he said out loud. “A sign, at last!”
Ormazd looked adoringly over his right hand at Marilyn. She had fallen asleep after they had made love. She was tired and had fallen asleep. They had been busy makin´ preparations for the big bash all day.
He had no particular dislike of monks in general. In fact, he loved them as much as he loved everyone else. They were mostly just humble and confused people who were trying who were tryin´ to figure it all out, but this presumptive little shit he´d left the invitation for was way over the top. “Does he really think I´d prefere him over Marilyn Monroe? What an ego!”
He smiled as he watched her snooze. She bore little resemblance today to the woman that had born his son, depicted so many times in icons and paintings and sculpture by the old masters of the past.
These days he insisted that she adhere to a strict regimen of birth control. Neither of them wanted any more sons runnin´ around gettin´ themselves crucified.
He had tried to warn the boy. “They´re just too damn mean yet. Give `em a while. If you go now, you´ll only find a few that will listen to what you have to say about love and kindness and you´ll just get those folks in trouble with the others.”
“But someone needs to plant the seed!” he´d argued.
“There are already people out there practicing love and kindness quietly in their own way. I put the seed in their DNA a long time ago.”
“Then someone needs to point the way!” he insisted.
“Hell,” Ormazd repliedm “When the time comes there´ll be plenty of signs. All that mean crap they´re doin´ to each other and their planet down there will seem so stupid, they won´t be able to turn around without trippin´ over one. You can´t speed up evolution. It only happens when there´s the greatest need, when their survival depends on it. When they reach the brink of their own self destruction, they´ll either get it or perish.”
But the boy was headstrong and wouldn´t listen, so he went down there anyway. Just as another son, the one they called Buddha, the enlightened one had gone and others before him. They went full of the compassion and idealistic fervor of youth. “They never listen,” Ormazd thought. He supposed he had been the same way when he was young, but that was so many eons ago, it was hard to remember.
All in all, the little monk wasn´t all that bad. He and Marilyn had debated whether to send him an invitation at all. At least the little guy confined most of his self degredation to himself. It had never occurred to him that life was meant to be enjoyed in love and communion with others; and it never would, as long as he stayed in that damned cave of a monastery. Omazd had given the Abbot his response to the anouncement of the kid´s `vision´ in hopes of gettin´ him outta there and off his self-denial kick.
It was always fear that blinded people from the truth about what they really needed. He was deathly afraid of being rejected by his imaginary and separate god. The C.I.U. had never been separate from his creation. In fact, he was still creating it; he´d never finished. “Hell,” he thought, “I´ve never rejected anyone no matter how bad their behavior was of how they defied their own self interests. I favor them all!”
The little monk needed to open up and live a little, make some friends, love others and be loved in return, instead of becomin´ an isolated, pious, pompus, perfectionist, self important little prune driven by fear and guilt. That would never cut the mustard. “Sheesh!” That´s why he had decided to give him the invitation. The C.I.U. himself loved a good party!
Ormazd look down on Marilyn layin´ beside him, asleep. “Gawd how I love her!” he thought. She had left him once to persue a dicey affair with that rakish rascal, Jack Kennedy. He´d never blamed her and she´d never regretted it. Jack had refused to divorce Jackie and it´d broken her heart. It was the love of his humanness and all it´s foibles that had gotten her into the situation. The C.I.U. had had a fling or two himself. In creating humans, he had become, in a way, human himself and was evolving right along with them. These affairs seldom worked out and generally, they only caused a lot of anger and hurt all around. Such were the lessons of live.
There was never really any need for forgiveness or appologies. She was part him and he, her. She was the yin to his yang. They were one and always would be, whether together or apart.
Actually, he´d really liked the young man and despite rumors to the contrary, he´d had nothing to do with his assassination.
He was not a vengeful God.
In western Montana, high in the bitterroot mountains, a log cabin, constructed with enormous white pine logs sat on a grassy slope leading down to a small lake. A few horses grazed lazily in a meadow at the south end where the water was shallow. Red-winged blackbirds nested in the cattails that grew there in profusion. The sunlight glinted off the surface of the lake as a soft breeze rippled the water.
This “ranch” produced nothing marketable. No herds of cattle competed for grass with the elk and deer that roamed through there. The horses were only for pleasure. The place looked “rugged” only from a distance. The cabin contained twenty-five bedrooms and every modern convenience known to man.
“I´m going to kill you, you little son-of-a-bitch!” yelled a florid faced man as he kicked air through the door of an office on the third floor.
Joe Childers was a big man in almost any way you could describe one. He was breathin´ hard as he watched the little, rat faced, pekingese disappearing around the corner at the bottom of the stairs. He was a high-strung man whose blood-pressure would probably contribute to his demise one day.
The dog circled back and yapped angrily at him up the staircase from a safe distance, causing Joe´s face to redden even deeper. The dog momentarily stopped barking, and let out a low growl as he bared his sharp little teeth, acting braver now. One of the maids, a thin boned, country girl, whom he considered nothing more than a stupid child, stepped behind the dog and looked up questioningly. Joe glared back at her with obvious disgust.
“What!” he yelled, as he turned and spoke into the mobile phone he clutched to his ear.
“I am not yelling at you!” he yelled at, a still, louder volume. “It was the damned dog! He just pissed all over a ten thousand dollar Persian carpet, right in front of me while I was talkin´ to you!” There was a pause. The maid and the dog were still staring up the staircase.
“Why should I give a fuck where they go! Tell that, stupid fuck, general to raze the whole, god-damned, village! We bought it from the government. It´s their problem!”
Joe was the CEO of one of the biggest mining consortiums in the world. The village was in Paraguay, sitting on one of the richest deposits of high grade lithium ever discovered. Lithium was the new gold, valuable beyond belief as the demand for smaller rechargeable batteries, that would power tomorrow´s automobiles, grew. Mining it would make him ten times richer than he already was.
“Fuck the protestors! Fuck the President! Tell him that our mercenaries will make sure he doesn´t live another day if he tries to screw us!”
The maid picked up the little dog and was turning to walk away, when he yelled, “I want my breakfast ready in five minutes, or you´re fired!”
After splashing some cold water on his face and takin´ a couple of blood pressure pills, Joe arrived at the breakfast table. His wife, Julia, was just finishing. She had been chatting with a young man who was sitting next to her. Their mood shifted into “compound low” as he entered the room.
He glared at the young man. He was his wife´s tennis pro, and he looked the part. Julia had insisted that he come along with them on their summer retreat. Joe was sure something was going on between them, but he hadn´t caught them at it, and she denied it emphatically.
Julia´s face was drawn tight and shiny, the way many rich women´s faces get after too many face lifts and botox treatments. It gave her a stony, imperious look that was both false and impenetrable.
“Why hasn´t that damned Sheriff got here yet!” He asked impatiently. He had reported that, when they arrived here, a couple of weeks ago, the cabin had been broken into, and totally trashed. A lot of valuable antique art pieces had been destroyed, and the insurance company had insisted on a police report before they would consider paying off. The Sheriff was supposed to bring it this morning.
“Do you think it was wise to call them?” his wife asked.
He hated having his judgment questioned by her. He looked at the tennis pro as if to prove a point, but the young man just sat there with a look of bored indifference. “How else do you think we´d get our money back?” he asked as if she was an idiot for asking. “They don´t even know David exists. Anyway, that party was months ago and we weren´t even here.” David was their youngest son. He´d thrown the wild party during which the damage was done, last fall, while they were in Greece.
She threw her napkin on her plate and started to get up. The tennis pro responded instantly and started to pick up the rackets on the chair next to him. She wanted, about as much to do with this situation as she wanted a case of the clap. “Johnny and I are going to play a couple of sets. Have fun with the law!” she snapped.
Twenty minutes later, the undersheriff arrived in a four wheel drive patrol pickup. “Nice place you got here,” he said. He was a young cop, but knew the area well, because he had grown up here.
“We´ve put a lot of money into making it that way.” Joe responded.
“When we were out here before, we found a paint can in the barn with the name `David Childers´ written on the lid, sir. Could you tell me the last time he was here?”
Joe´s defenses ratcheted up a notch. “He´s our son. He goes to Harvard. I can´t remember when he was last here. We saw him during Christmas at our London home. Must have been last year sometime. He probably picked up that paint as a favor to the house painters.”
“Oh. Does he happen to drive a little yellow Jag? One of our deputies remembers seein´ one in Deer Lodge last fall. You don´t see many of those around here. He musta gone on about it for a week.”
“Sounds like my son´s car, but there must be more of them around here than you imagine.”
“I suppose so,” the policeman said. “There´s been a lot of rich people and celebrities buildin´ summer homes around here lately. They must think the land is still cheap. Could have been one of them.”
Joe felt a little relieved.
“The one my deputy saw, had a couple of high school girls in it, from Noxon. One of their mothers called us about it too. Seems the girls didn´t get home ´till the next mornin´, lookin´ kinda ragged. She found a bindle of cocaine in the pocket of the girl´s jeans. She´s had that girl in counseling, ever since. Pretty expensive for the woman. She works in that little café just east of town on the highway. You´ve probably seen it, or even had a piece of pie there. Real good pie.”
“No, I don´t think I have. Well, it couldn´t have been him.” Joe was feeling a little queasy now. “He´s down in Cancun right now, with the spring break crowd. I´m pretty sure, he only dates college aged women.”
“You wouldn´t remember anything about a big party here last fall, would you? The rancher down the road says there was a lot of cars goin´ back and forth all night long, and he could hear the music from his place, two miles away.”
“We were in Greece on business then…Look. I hate to put you through a lot of trouble for nothin´. Why don´t I just drop the whole thing. I´ve already replaced everything, anyway.”
“That might be best, sir. Very nice of you,” the undersheriff said as he put his hat back on. “You have a good day now.”
“Damned hick faggot!” Joe said to himself after the pick-up pulled out. “For a minute, I thought I was going to have to bribe the son-of-a-bitch.” To top it all off, he´d had to pee the whole time the lawman was here. Why did those things always happen at the most inopportune moments? “I´m going to kill that son of mine, next time I see him. This is all his, damned, fault.
An hour later, he was snoopin ´ in his wife´s bedroom, looking for evidence of adultery.
He really didn´t give a damn. He had his own side stuff often enough. That hot little belly dancer in Dubai was more enthusiastic about him than Julia ever was anyway. He just wanted something he could throw in her face when they argued about it.
“Well, ho ho ho! What do we have here?” he asked as he bent down to pick up an envelope on the floor.
He should have been exhausted, but he was still amped up on the crank. Bill, the drummer, had given him some during the last break. It had been a pretty good crowd. They´d whooped and hollered it up in the beginning, but they´d thinned out before the last set. It was often like that in these two-bit roadhouses. He´d been playin´ in ´em since he dropped out of high school in his sophomore year.
He thought he´d have made it by now. He knew he was good. The best. Nobody could play licks like he could. With this band alone, they´d made nine CDs, and he´d written most of the material himself, the best of it anyway. They still had boxes of them gatherin´ dust in the motor home, because, for some reason, not many of ´em had sold. Only a few, usually from the display they set up behind the bar wherever they played. “People in these places ain´t got no taste,” he thought.
He had a bunch of songs they´d never recorded too. The band didn´t like playin´ ` em. He tried to tell him that they needed more raunchy, bad ass, sexually charged shit, to get them more on the cutting edge, but they wouldn´t listen. Maybe it was time for a new band. These guys were gettin´ on his nerves lately anyway. All they wanted to do was get high and practice. Practice practice practice. He was tire of it. He didn´t need to practice. He had it down! “These guys are just holdin´ me back.”
They were out back now, smokin´ some weed before they had to break everything down and pack up. Personally, he was more interested in washin´ some of the sweat off and straightenin´ up a little, and goin´ up front to see if that pretty little brunette was still hangin´ around. She´d been givin´ him the eye all night. He still had some of the crank in his pocket, and it would serve those guys right if he left with her without helpin´ load up. “I wonder what kind of car she´s got?” he thought.
He came out of the bathroom and strutted back across the stage towards the bar, where she was still sittin´ alone on a stool. He knew he looked good!
Suddenly, he tripped over one of the amp or speaker cords, and crashed into the drum set. “Fuck,” he said, sprawled out on the floor. He reached up and felt blood on his forehead, where he musta cut it on the high hat.
Then, he looked up and saw the bass player, walkin´ over to the girl. She was smilin´ at him. The bass player looked at him up on the stage, where he sat with blood runnin´ down his face, so he raised up his hand, and gave him the bird.
“He must be pissed `cause I crowded him out on that last number and wouldn´t let him do his solo,” he thought.
Then the bass player and the girl walked out the door together. “Fuckin´ asshole! Runnin´ off before we even started to break down! And to top it off, he couldn´t keep time worth shit tonight, `cause he was so jacked!”
He looked back down, and there, on top of one of the monitors, was an envelope, someone had left. Maybe someone was sharin´ some good dope with the band!
He opened it, and pulled out the card inside, then turned the envelope upside down over his had. Nothin. He unfolded the note and read it. “Damn! A party! I wonder if they´d pay us to play?”
The bartender was washin´up the dirty glasses behind the bar. “Hey Frank! Did you see who left this here?”
Marilyn and Ormazd both liked music a lot, but they were not impressed with the act they had just seen on the little TV. The bass was so loud, it had made the little speakers buzz. “Maybe we should ask old Tom Edison to install a tone knob on this set, so we can turn it down a little.” Ormazd said.
“I´ve had enough of that,” Marilyn told him. “I´m going over to the pavilion to hear how Mozart is coming along with that new sonata he wants to debut at the party.”
“I´ll go with you,” Ormazd said. “I want to see how the building is going, myself. Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo are almost done with the ceilings.” The Pavillion, where the party would be held, was a true wonder. The greatest architects in all history had designed it. There were arches and spires everywhere, beautiful atriums, filled with exotic plants and waterfalls, and huge cantilevered dining rooms where one could look out picture windows down on the stars below.
Soon, they were inside the most opulent building ever imagined.
Duke Ellington was practicing on the piano with a small quartet on a stage built by William Shakespeare for his new play. Ormazd loved the Duke. All the greatest musicians played like they were giving something back to the creator, for the gift of their existence.
The two old masters, with brushes in hand were putting the finishing touches on the ceiling. It was far looser and more abstract than either of their earlier works. They were not the types to rest upon their laurels.
Picasso and Diego Rivera were both making frescos in the ballroom. They were absolutely, diabolical. Marilyn hoped they wouldn´t offend anybody, but she knew they would. “Hell,” she thought, “some of those assholes could use a little offendin´.
She´d asked Ormazd why he was being so nice to these jerks and throwing a big party for them. He´d said, “Nothing shames a megalomaniac more than being one-upped. If they were going to try to compete with `God´, they had a lesson to learn.
On the way back out, they passed through the foyer. Several Cro-magnons were painting pictographs on the rough stone walls. There was a fire in the center, that the guests would have to walk around. They claimed that in the flickering light, was the only way to see the magic of their drawings. Ormazd was a bit concerned that it might scare the guests. One could easily imagine one was entering the gates of hell. He remembered the first humans, who, having just left the jungle to go out on the plain, had lost their fur. It was a wonder they´d survived. He had given them the gift of fire to keep themselves warm on cold nights, out on the savannah. Most of his gifts were double edged swords that could be used for either good or evil. He wanted his creations to be free to make their own choices and to learn the reasons for making the right ones on their own.
Once they were outside, Marilyn decided to get into her little VW bug, and go down to earth to get a couple of Big Macs and orders of curly fries for lunch. Earlier, they had watched the Chinese Prime Minister on the TV in his secret dining room, sneakin´ Kentucky Fried Chicken, and it had made them hungry for junk food.
The Reverend Richard Butler had been nappin´ in his rocking chair on the veranda of his quarters. He had just woken up from a bad dream in which his entire compound burned to the ground. He had built the Aryan Nations Church and paramilitary training camp on a dirt road just outside Athol, Idaho. He´d hoped it would grow, but so far, they only numbered about fifty. He was sure people would wake up and join them once the fighting started. Right now, it was a struggle to convince them of what the mud people were up to. They were like ostriches with their heads in the sand, but he believed they would eventually come around. They just didn´t seem to get it that their race was at stake!
Somehow, that crazy invitation the bum had thrown over the razor wire on the wall last week had figured into his dream, but he couldn´t remember now. It was still in the trash outside the gate, because the trash collectors had refused to pick it up when they went by. He was pretty sure one of them was of mixed race. He was tempted to fire an R.P.G. at the truck the next time they passed without stoppin´. See how they´d like that! There was a lot more firepower here than even the government suspected.
He wished he could open up his church to the public, but they´d been forced to keep it closed to but a few believers. Government agents and the Jewish media were always trying to infiltrate them. Now, the only way he had to spread the word was over the internet, through his network of patriots in the prisons and paper they printed occasionally and drove around in the middle of the night and stickin´ them in people´s mailboxes.
They´d made the mistake once, of inviting the Spokesman Review in Spokane to come and take pictures of inside the church. He´d figured they could use the publicity. They had it spiffed up real nice. There was a huge, red, swastika flag draped behind the alter and portraits of Jesus and Hitler on either side with the Aryan Nations symbol above them. They´d only used the opportunity to talk trash about them in a Sunday supplement. He hadn´t thought the Cowles family, who owned the paper, were Jews, but evidently, they were.
He´d chosen the Pacific Northwest, because there were so few niggers here, and he´d thought it would be a good location for their new homeland, but he´d been havin´ second thoughts. The locals had started up a new Human Rights Taskforce in Coeur d´Alene for the purpose of runnin´ them out. Who woulda thought that the hippies and real-estate people would be marchin´ together against them? They didn´t even like each other!
He´d got a bunch of his young skinheads to go to their meetings, and they´d gotten into fights when they tried to pass out their literature. An they call US closed minded. Ha! They also threw a pipe bomb at the leaders, Reverend Wasserman´s, house, but they´d missed the fucker. The police never found enough evidence to hang it on them, but they knew who it was alright!
Right now, they were tryin´ to organize a parade in Sandpoint in honor of Adolf Hitler´s birthday. The City Council had tried to stop it by insistin´ that they put up a huge bond before they would issue a permit. But, our lawyers stopped that. They woulda had to enforce the same rule on the Lyon´s Club for the Forth of July parade. And the funny thing was, they´d used A.C.L.U., kike, lawyers who said it was a free speech issue! Those idiots would never win! They fight themselves! And, look at that fiasco that went down up at Ruby Ridge near Bonners Ferry. They´d tried to get one of our sympathizers, Randy Weaver. Didn´t that make them look like a bunch of fools!
The day before the party, Marilyn went down to earth in her little VW bug to go shoppin´ for a new dress and to get her hair done. She wanted to look her best.
Ormazd was out in his garden, sitting on his favorite rock under the umbrella of a huge bodhi tree, broodin´. The tree was heavily laden with fruit and needed to be picked, but the gardeners wouldn´t go near it because of the snake.
Watching Joe Childers and the Reverend Butler had depressed him. Joe was a modern industrial tycoon, a despoiler of the earth as well as the human community, and a throwback, in a way, having all the predatory savagery of the early hunter/gatherers. He was a man for whom money is God. For him, it justifies every cruelty and dishonest act. He uses all his great intelligence in the pursuit of it, having no consideration for anything else. Within the wall he has built around his soul, there is no love, no kindness, only what he considers his possessions, and they are never enough.
He believes that with enough money, he can pre-pay his way into eternity, as if he could, by merely having gobs of the stuff, buy immortality. Human life on earth doesn´t come for free. It requires a lot of nurture and maintenance, and is a team effort. This was way over the top. He considers himself a realist, but his walls are constantly being breached by reality, as if to taunt him. He has created a personal hell, and yet, he believes himself to be one of the most fortunate human beings on earth. Not all rich people are like him. He has a cruel and criminal mind.
The Reverend Butler was another matter. Once again, Ormazd recalled the story of mankind, when the newly hairless humans left the jungle and went out on the plain because of overpopulation and lack of food. They had learned to survive by watching the great animal predators and scavengers who lived out there, and had developed predatory skills themselves. The hunter/gatherers roamed the world in search of prey, using all the cunning and cleverness they possessed to survive.
They traveled in small bands for protection, as the lions did, and for a long time, because they were few, hardly ever crossed paths.
They still had the curiosity and fertile imaginations of children and, in fact, made no distinction between what was imaginary and what was real. They came up with all sorts of goofy theories about how they and the universe came about. Many of their deities resembled the fierce animals they had learned to survive from. Each band, over time, came to believe that what their band had contrived, was the only, correct version. They each named themselves “the people” and believed they were the favorites of the Gods……and everyone else was dog-shit. They practically all did it. As populations grew, and there was, once again, fierce competition for food, they became even more adamant about it.
Interestingly, the Reverend Butler, isn´t even wanting for food. He goes to Safeway like everybody else.
As the population situation turned to crisis because the hunter/gatherer requires a lot of space, crisis is the catalyst for change, they came up with a new idea. Farming and raising animals. This held a lot of promise. The bands that adapted it, didn´t have to travel around all the time anymore, but they still needed to protect what they raised from those that didn´t go that route. They came up with a new invention called “The wall”, and the concept of the private ownership of property was born.
The next problem needing to be solved, was that protecting things was taking up as much time and energy as farming. And then someone came up with another brilliant idea. Since everyone who didn´t belong to their band was dog-shit, why not capture a few of those others and make them do all the work.
Actually, this idea has only started to go out of fashion in the last couple of hundred years. Partly, this was because they had invented more efficient tools for farming, and don´t need all those slaves anymore, and partly, it was for another reason. A sign, indeed, that mankind was slowly evolving.
Some of the people, not that many at first, started to realize that the slaves were a little more human than they originally thought and they could see that they were suffering. All that suffering was hard to look at every day. Of course, the people who were suffering knew that slavery was a bad idea all along.
Some of the “masters” started letting their slaves go, but others thought this was evolution going backwards. However, even those in favor of freeing the slaves were not willing to allow them into their tribe and enjoy the bounty they had labored so hard to produce. Many were terrified. They considered it a threat to their “way of life”, so they hung on to their hatred of other tribes as fiercely as wild beasts with prey in their jaws. Hence, we have the Reverend Richard Butler. Fortunately for the rest of the people, he has retreated into a prison of his own making, complete with razor wire on top of the walls. Hopefully, he won´t last long without garbage pick-up services, and will just bury himself in it.
Ormazd yawned. “People always seem to see themselves as the end all of creation,” he thought. “actually, they´re, smack dab, in the middle of it. Maybe it´s because it´s so difficult for them to see into the future and couldn´t see what he had in mind.” The C.I.U. has never taken a day off to rest, Saturday or Sunday. Creation keeps goin´ on, wondrously, every minute of every day.
“Oh!” he thought out loud, “I´d better call Marilyn on her cell phone. I just remembered that I need to ask her to pick up some more chips and salsa for the party. I don´t think we have enough!”
The night before the big bash a new comet was discovered. It was seen streaking across the night sky, seemingly out of nowhere. Looked at through a telescope, it was shaped, kinda like, a VW bug with a long tail that sparkled, like multicolored fireworks.
At last, the morning of the first day of the party had arrived. Marilyn spent the first part of the morning helping the caterers, who were preparin´ delicious dishes from every part of the world.
She was also preppin´ the wait staff on techniques for dealing, with some of their guest´s, strange peculiar preferences and attitudes, particularly, those of men about women. It turned out that she needn´t have bothered. The women were already aware.
There were so many cultures with so many crazy rules, that someone was bound to be offended, no matter what. There would be hundreds of megalomaniacs here, and some of them had peculiar ideas of their own. They would include people of every stripe, both men and women. The best she could come up with, was for the workers to not become offended themselves, not a satisfactory solution, but in the interests of peace, well, it was only for a weekend.
Ormazd was working out the details of a plan that would get everyone here simultaneously. Each would be plucked up from whatever he or she was doing at precisely four o´clock, and be deposited on the front steps of the pavilion. An identical angel substitute would be left in each of their places, so they would never be missed.
When they were returned to their lives, for most, it would seem that they had been dreaming, but when they discovered all the small acts of love and kindness the angels had done in their absence, they would begin to wonder. Some would scramble to undo the “damage”, while others would simply scratch their heads.
After the initial greeting ceremony, Ormazd planned to become an invisible force, which was his natural state, and gently try to guide adversaries away from explosive, chance encounters.
There were bound to be a few collisions. It was quite a task trying to guide them all at once, but then, he was the big guy. He seldom used force as a form of guidance. If he tried to control every thing on earth, directed the drama like a tyrant in the wings, mankind would never gain the experience they needed to learn anything. What he hoped for, was that everyone would relax and enjoy the food and entertainment.
But, as expected, there were a few incidents.
The Pope, evidentially, believed he had walked into the devil´s den, and started excommunicating everyone who was there that was catholic, just because they were there. It didn´t stop until a previous Pope, pointed out to him that he would have to excommunicate himself , as well. Later, he got into a deep theological discussion with the Ayatola, and found out that they actually had a lot of views in common. Much more so than he had previously thought.
Then, one of the food servers, who had died as an Iranian suicide bomber, had thrown a fit when the scoundrel who had talked her into strappin´ on the bomb and blowin´ herself up in a crowded marketplace, asked for more falafels.
The President of the United States got upset when one of Ormazd´s pet flies landed on his soup spoon just as he was about to slurp.
The Chinese Premier thought he was being poisoned when he took a bite, after dippin´ his McNugget into something that resembled catsup.
A powerful Jewish Rabbi got angry when someone told a joke that was a bit off color, about a guy who said his grandfather had died at Auschwitz . He had fallen off his bulldozer.
The entertainment was extremely good and went off well.
Mozart debuted, not one, but three new sonatas he had never written in life.
Elvis did a wonderful impersonation of himself.
Harpo Marx played a hilarious Hamlet in the Globe Theater, under the direction of Shakespeare himself. It seems William has loosened up a lot after a few years in heaven.
Sylvia Plath read some new poems, but had switched to comic lyrics, because she wasn´t depressed anymore.
Van Gogh presented a new self-portrait with both ears still on, and Edvard Munch created a new pop icon called “The Smile”.
There is so much talent in heaven, and everyone, was anxious to give their best.
When it was all over, and everyone was going home, only the little monk was dissatisfied. He continued to protest, that he had been cheated of his rightful place on the right had of God. Ormazd tried to explain to him, that he loved everyone and didn´t have any favorites on earth.
It was Marilyn who rightfully belonged there. They had had an argument once and she had told him, “What´s all this about “Father, son and holy ghost business about”? Shouldn´t that be “Father, son, daughter and holy woman”?” He said “Whoa, it was those religious folks that came up with that. You know how they were back a couple of thousand years ago in the Middle East. Hell, a lot of ´em still are.” Marilyn laughed. She knew alright.
But nothing could quell the young man´s protestations. He was finally sent home after being told that he still had a lot to learn down there on earth.
“In the end,” he sighed, “the whole thing probably didn´t make much difference. He and Marilyn and Jesus didn´t need to be worshiped. All he wanted was for his creation to get along and live in harmony. Mankind would struggle on along the path to find the way of life, and would someday discover that it was there all along, in plain sight. It was up to them whether they succeeded or failed. He hoped, eventually, they would get there and take the next step. Maybe, he had made the same mistake as Jesus, and had been trying to push evolution along. Maybe he had just gotten impatient in his old age. Maybe, over the eons, he had gotten to be little like the American President, who found himself wanting to do just one thing that wasn´t important. Or, maybe he was just an old, anthropomorphic, dinosaur, past his prime. But then, his true self, imperceptible, inconceivable and at the heart of all things, was immortal and he could afford to wait.
He had to admit, though, that it was fun.
The heavenly choir, at the end, sang a new verse to “Angel, Be Mine Tonight”, and he had sung along with them. His voice had sounded like the billions of insects and other creatures that sing on hot summer nights in the jungle. He really had enjoyed himself!
And then, of course, Marilyn Monroe had served drinks at the bar, and she was so lovely.
And amen to that.
Barra de Navidad, Mexico 2013