Missive the Fifty-Third
Sense of Purpose.
DATELINE: Saturday, January 27, 2001, at 0200 hours CDT.
Conway, Arkansas, USA
By D. Ebenezer Baldwin Bowles
CornDancer & Company
We are going broke in the glow of the embers of glory here at Cricket Song. The material world is not ours to master.
If the pen is mightier than the sword, nothing is more terrifying than the naked page to the onlooker who is required to clothe it with words.
If the sword is mightier than the pen, nothing is more terrifying than a six-foot, naked, screaming Celtic warrior, his scabbed skin covered with dung and tattoos of dried blood from his vanquished enemy, his hand-forged and battle-hardened sword in hand, to the onlooker who is required to engage him in battle. (They're so complex, these strings of prepositions and modifiers. Did I get the than-to structure right?) Imagine the reaction of the Roman legionnaire, average height five-foot-three-inches, who stood downhill and downwind, holding a bronze shield and a slave-made sword, while he waited in the phalanx set to stop the charging Celts.
"Well, do you think you are going to live forever?" the commentator asked the gloomy woman in the grandstand on a hill above the battlefield.
The Lady with The Book Is Looking for John.
"No, but nor shall my foe. I am sent to destroy the Head of Science," she said in a tenuous voice. "The time has come on the Earth to glorify the Mother. I am the lady, the angel with The Book. I want John the Baptist to eat that book. When he eats it, the Head of Science will die. To have him eat The Book, that is my calling."
"Takes all kinds," Oksob muttered from his perch in the Opposite Loft.
"The inner weavings of the mind and the media…." the mistress of the hacienda said, speaking incompletely, her words drifting into the ether with the barking of the dogs.
What does that mean?
"It means fifty percent off," she replied. "I'm goin' to go down to the store and charge me some clothes."
Do you have a purpose? What is your calling?
"My calling hasn't come yet," the pharisaic lay figure said to the priest. "It's going to come shortly, my purpose, as soon as I rid myself of this bipolar disorder."
Old Baldy's Identity Is Soon to Be Revealed.
Old Baldy stepped to the plate. We had moved from the sacristy to the ballyard, but the crowd had not yet arrived. Spectators all, they were too enthralled by the charge of the naked Celts.
Out there in the wasteland beyond Cricket Song, smack in the middle of the Age of Dissolution, there are a gaggle of arenas, but not enough members of crowds to go around.
"To hell with the Celts and the Roman Legion," Old Baldy said, chewing on a roulade. "I've killed several of both, mounted the head of one fine specimen of Celt on a pike I stuck in the ground outside my front door. Decapitated him myself, I did. With a well-honed Japanese blade. Let the head stay there 'till it became a polished skull. Can you imagine how long that took?"
Jude the Jackdaw launched a preemptive strike, accusing Old Baldy of duplicity. "Don't be modest, Earthquaker. I know who you are. You killed five thousand today. Own up, or we shall appropriate billions of credits from the Parliament and launch an initiative to penetrate to the interior of the Earth, discover your secret."
"Go to Hell," Earthquaker shouted.
A Matter of Instability, Movement, and Collision.
"All I wanted to tell you was that I am not here to grow hair on the top of my head. Now you come forth, seeking to expose me," the blunt one continued. He turned away from Jude and appealed to the thin technician, who had been sent by The Committee to cure his disease. "It has nothing to do with the interior. It's strictly a matter of instability on the mantle, of movement and collision on the crust. A coiffeuse would go wanting were she to live in a village where every head looked like mine."
"Thank goodness for diversity," Oksob retorted with uncharacteristic levity. "Clarity fled long ago."
"But I'm cigarette free, I'm nicotine free, I can taste the apple and the orange again," the lady with The Book sang upon entering the ballyard.
"Who won?" Jude asked.
"The Celts won the battle, but the war…. That's entirely another issue," one of the late arriving spectators shouted.
Doom's Day, or Paradigm?
Which Clock Shall We Watch?
The lobbyist S. Basset leaped to the stage and tried to grab the microphone. He stumbled over several tiny indications and three or four signs that were scattered to stage right. A Futurist bouncer showed a little compassion and lifted him up. This time the lobbyist grabbed the mike. "Something is afoot. Something very, very large is afoot in the land," the self-proclaimed prophet of disclosure prophesized. "The Doom's Day Clock is ticking, but the Paradigm Clock is the one we should watch. It nears midnight."
Could it be a new war that's afoot?
If so, against what?
"It can't be against evil," the lady of The Book said. "That's an old war."
"I think S. Basset just wants us to be scared," Jude the Jackdaw opined. "They tell me he's heavily vested in pharmaceuticals."
"Be scared," the Earthquaker warned. "You cannot war against natural forces."
Guilty! Let the E.T. Cover-Up End.
"Hear me," the prophet shouted. "I come to draw a formless line in time and space, a Paradigm Line. It exists in the minds of human beings and can be crossed in a single day by virtue of a formal announcement from the leaders of nations. Or it may take months involving a graduated process of disclosure built strategically upon scientific announcements and political events."
"Sounds like he's reading from a book," the bouncer said to the grip's assistant.
An announcement about what?
"The verdict. What else would he announce-about but the verdict," the Earthquaker rumbled, knowingly.
"The verdict proclaims 'Guilty!' to the charge of extreme intransigence by the State," S. Basset shouted. "It is no longer a matter of whether there is extraterrestrial intelligence in our midst, it is a matter of how are we going to deal with it," he said. "Let the E.T. cover-up end. When the extraterrestrial presence in our world is formally acknowledged by the primary institutions upon which we rely, the Paradigm Clock will strike midnight and a major portion of the world view to which we have held allegiance for thousands of years will be discarded."
"All bets will be off," Jude nodded.
"Who would have the courage to announce it?" a peanut vendor said. "It ain't about to happen soon."
The crowd could see the prophet's mouth moving, but his voice had fallen silent. A union man had cut power to the microphone. The bouncer dragged the prophet from the stage. In the shadows of the apron he broke a few bones.
C. C. Isosceles, the Master of Ceremonies and part-time organist, emerged from behind the curtain, strolled to the front edge of the stage, commanded the electrician to turn down the ballyard lights, and asked the crowd to join him in reading a message he found stuffed in a bottle.
It was cast upon the seashore by a squall a short time past, a mere aeon or two before the landfall of Hurricane Salome. "I found it on my sunrise walk along the level shore," the organ grinder whispered to the breeze.
In the dim light he appeared as a lamb, Mr. Isosceles. He glowed with a strange radiance that commanded everyone's attention.
The Lamb Reveals the Identity of the Writer.
"Quiet, please," he said. "Look. I'll scroll the message in lights across the top of the scoreboard. The legend on the backside of the parchment purports that it was written by a man known as Saint John the Divine from the Island of Patmos."
When the Greek script began to crawl across the rectangular window of the enormous lighted screen, most in the crowd rummaged through their purses and backpacks for their universal translator goggles.
"I went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the little book," the words revealed. "And he said unto me, Take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey. I took the little book out of the angel's hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter."
"I wonder," the lady of The Book pondered as she deciphered the script. "John the Baptist.... John the Divine...."
How could she have known?
[ EDITOR'S NOTE: Fare-thee-well, Mike Siegel, on this last night of your gig. ]
WATCH FOR MISSIVE THE FIFTY-FOURTH
on Tuesday, January 30, 2001.
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