April 5, 2015
Pesach and Jesus
So anyway, a proper wharf sizzler blew through here to soak all the remnants of Pesach and the planned egg hunts this weekend.
Sister Incontinence and Sister Bombast had to run all around the grounds of Our Lady of Incessant Complaint to gather up the Easter eggs and stow them about the Rectory and the School and the Library where normally urchins of small stature were not allowed so as to let the Hunt go on.
Pastor Nyquist had the same problem out at Immanuel Church and same for the Methodists and the Episcopalians and the Unitarians, all of whom had to employ such real estate as was available each to each. This is an Island and there is only so much land for each Church to be allocated. The Lutherans had their Easter Egg Hunt run around the parking lot maze under several dripping tents, which worked really well until Tubby sat down in a blubber and a wail out of frustration of getting through the maze to find any eggs at all. Eunice went out in some sympathy to hand the boy a plastic egg which he opened with great joy to find a one dollar bill. And so he jumped up and celebrated and we suppose this is supposed to teach the young the values of Christianity and Capitalism at the same time.
The Unitarian church fortunately shared a boundary with the CFSM next door and the Bishop holding forth during the absence of Rev. Jason, who had left with a Mission to convert the people of Indiana to sensibility, was able to combine resources to bring the whole thing off quite well, for both of the pastors knew that it really was all about the kids just having a good time.
Everyone knows easter eggs and the Divine Rabbit who visits the most Sincere Egg Coop in the world have nothing to do with Xianity or any of its trappings -- its all a game for kids to enjoy and pretend to be Capitalists exploiting natural resources and all descended from ancient pagan rituals. So for Reverend Freethought, of the Unitarian Church, it was all good anyway. So what if your neighbor believed God was a Flying Spaghetti Monster -- there was truth in all religions.
The Tibetans held a brunch and the Island Agnostics Society held a crab boil that got rained out at the Cove, so they all went over to Mountain Pizza to finish up their gathering.
This weekend everything pretty much shut down in an unusual fashion, much as is the style in Old Europe during holidays of the Saints. This may have something to do with murdering cartoonists in Paris and it may have something to do with the slaughter of the innocents in Egypt and it may have something to do with the Stompers stomping all over the Middle East, the Daess trying to generate the Apocalypse because they are nihilistic and do not read the Koran or the Bible, which has caused the local people to re-attach themselves to their own religions, for good or for ill with greater fervor. Or at least rope in their families who now are seen as something which can be destroyed by blind, ignorant, foolish, bumptiousness armed with AK-47s. That certainly, did not exist before this time.
In the Household of Marlene and Andre the annual Seder drew to a close on Friday. Occasional Quentin passed out under the table due to too much wine. This celebration was to commemorate something that happened a long time ago.
There was a plague of toads and then of locusts and then it rained for 40 days and 40 nights while all the Second Borns got together for a really nice lamb dinner after escaping slavery. Which is why they all eat library paste and drink wine. The library paste is supposed to remind you of bricks and the wine helps forget your troubles and take away the taste of bitter herbs, which is not a bad idea, really. God knows why you would want to stick something bitter in your mouth and chew on it, but people do it anyway.
Over at Marlene and Andre's, everyone settled in for a feast. Marlene and Andre celebrated Pesach at the Household on Otis in the usual haphazard manner. A table got laid out, actually it was the coffee table in the main room, with the usual condiments of horseradish and walnut mush and salad from the dollar store. Marlene had saved up her pennies and gotten a donation from Suan to get a lamb shank from the Encinal Market, so they had the meat and the bone at once. All the parsley was doing well, so they had the dipping greens from the ironmongery garden out back. Occasional Quentin, as the obvious childish one, got to ask all the questions, even though Adam really was younger in physical age.
A visitor named Baba kept insisting on her needs. "I need to have clean and kosher napkins. So give me yours," Baba said to Quentin.
Given that the household was normally chaotic, so went the Seder once again this year as per Tradition. Island-life Tradition.
Instead of asking the proper questions from the Haggadah, Quentin came up with his own. "Why did G-d let Hitler kill all the Jews?" Quentin asked, and naturally it was all at the wrong moment. Martini came in then and drank up the glass of wine left out for the Prophet on the edge of the table, which caused Andre much grief and severely put out Marlene who put her head in her hands.
"I need to sit where it is warm on account of my condition," Baba said. "Since you have the comfy chair, I am doing to take the divan and the settee for my feet. We are supposed to be comfortable on this night of nights anyway."
"Is anybody going to eat that egg?" Tipitina said. She had given up on her own Catholic upbringing to attend this dinner and all of it was confusing to her.
"Where's the damn cracker I saw around here earlier?" said Marsha. "I wanna get into that sweet stuff there with the walnuts and raisins."
"That's the afikomen," said Marlene. "You gotta go find it now. It's hidden. What are you doing with the effing prophet's wine you dimshit!" This last part was screamed at the hapless Martini.
"Because there is no god and he hated the Jews," shouted Andre at Quentin. "Now read the questions we gave you on the list!"
"How can I find any damn thing in this effing s***hole of a place! It's an effing s***storm here!" Marsha said. She was a woman with a tongue on her, so to speak.
"Gimmee some more of that wine," Snuffles said, for the bum had also been invited in as the token foreigner, or maybe the prophet, although there was a lot of doubt about that last part.
The new kid, Adam, also was there. "Yo dude. Don't bogart that bottle man!"
"Why are we doing all this crap," Quentin asked. "Why is this night different from any other?" Adam was younger in physical age but all agreed that Quentin was much more childlike, so to him were given the questions.
"I need water," Baba said. "You have the napkins already over there. So the water jug should be over here by me."
"There you go," said Andre approvingly. "You finally got it right. We basically doing this to commemorate our delivery from slavery."
"I dunno about that. We be free? I think we be pretty effed up." Adam said.
"Dude," said Arthur, who had returned from far off Minnesotta and his failed attempt to hook up with a gospel singer there. "You don't know nothing about slavery. Lemmee tell you about my man Malcolm X . . .".
"Adam, I am watching you on the alcohol, buddy! You gotta go to school Monday!" Andre said. "I mean it!"
"Yuck! This stuff is bitter!" Adam had a mouthful of green silage from the odd plate in the center with its four divisions and he spat the mess into a napkin.
"Dat odder stuff is schweet," Snuffles said, and he ploughed a matzo into the haroset then shoveled the pile into his toothless mouth with only a moderate amount of flying crumbs, dripping wine sauce and spittle trajectories.
Adam got shut off from the wine and after that things went a bit smoother. And Marsha told her story of escaping across the wide country from the servitude of Jersey, her beating by her husband there and her shame and her battle with the booze, and Javier talked about crossing the vast Sonora Desert and then the Border at the Rio Grande and working in the fields with los Migras and sleeping under the trucks to get away from the sun, and so it was learned that each of us had been slaves in some form, either in Egypt or some other place and had crossed the vast ocean on dry feet and soaked straw and clay bricks with the hot salt of tears and sweat. All knew exile and wandering and the pain thereof.
The matzo bread was found by Adam after a great deal of clambering under Andre's shirt and so the proscribed was allowed now and with each glass of wine the far off hills began to skip like rams and old stories were told and so, although it was not a perfect Tradition, it was a Tradition of that household, this year in fear and shame, next year in virtue and justice, with the next year always getting postponed until the next and this sort of delay had been going on since the time of Moses when they refused him a Visa to Palestine.
"Hey I led the people through the desert for 40 years and kicked serious ass over that golden calf idol thing, I deserve entry to the Promised Land."
"Sorry dude. Go back to the desert and do not pass Go, do not collect 200 shekels. You should'na busted up those tablets I gave you. Talk about a law breaker! Your papers are not in order."
"Oy, I knew it; G-d is a German. Vey iss mir!" Wailing, sackcloth, ashes. The whole bit.
"When I invent Germany, then you really will be sorry. You stiff-necked people I parted the Red Sea for you and got you out of that Egypt where the cockroaches are as big as housecats. I have no idea why I chose you."
"I am not so sure it is to advantage to always be Chosen. 40 years in the desert without even a decent map."
"Okay so I relent a little bit. I give you a peak on what the place looks like. The place your family gets to settle -- maybe with some quibbles with the neighbors -- every neighborhood has got to have neighbors. So there! See that . . . !"
"Oy, mein Gott, mein Gott! Is beautiful!"
"Hey what did I say about taking my name in vain? There you go again, Moses. You always get yourself into trouble."
"All right you said that, but you never wrote it down . . . ".
"Yes I did!"
"On those effing tablets you broke in a rage, you imbecile! Moses, Moses, Moses! In you I have entrusted the patriarchy for five thousand years worth of generations and this is the way you act."
"I don't get to go in for just, like a little bit?"
"Not even a short vacation?"
"Maybe some fruit from a tree there . . . ".
"Don't go there Moses. I am still sore about the last time fruit was involved."
"How about like one of those house-swap deals like they do . . ."
"NO!" Voice of thunder. Mountains cracking. Skies clouding over.
Jesus Contreras, in order to avoid that terrible dream in which he became the actual original Jesus, who suffered all kinds of mean, nasty, cruel things like scourging and thorns and piercings and crucifragem and heaps of insults on top of that even, and Jesus, our Jesus (pronounced hay-zoos), went through all that in his dream last year, so he made the effort to stay up all night. So Jesus went to hang with his buds at Silvio's place and they all sat around watching Incredibly Strange Wrestling and drinking beer. Naturally, this sort of thing petered out for most of his homies in the early hours of the morning, precisely the most dangerous time for dreams.
In terror, Jesus snapped abruptly awake amid all his snoozing mates and made a beeline in the dim light of the DVR screen to the bathroom where he ran into Maggie, the Irish girl who had fled her hometown of Wicklow so as to escape getting sent to the Magdalene Launderies on account of getting pregnant out of wedlock. The boy absconded and the child died. In any case Maggie stood there in her nightshirt, woozy from Trazadone, and Jesus stood there, unsteady from beer and lack of sleep and anxiety.
"Whats your problem," Maggie said.
"I can't sleep," said Jesus. "And I gotta piss."
"Don't let me stop you," Maggie said. She was an Irish girl with red hair and could be short.
Jesus stumbled to the loo and managed to get most of the stream into the pot, splashing a bit, and all was fine until he reached for a paper towel with his pants still down and fell over into the tub, taking a towel rack and a shampoo shelf amid a great clatter of noise with him in his wooziness. In a tangle there he freed himself from his pants and the towel rack and that is when Maggie came in wondering what the hell as the entire house was then asleep save for those two.
"What the hell are you doing?" Maggie said.
"I am taking a piss if you mind," Jesus said.
"It looks like you are trying to bathe with the laundry." Maggie said. "Are you all right?"
"I fell," Jesus said. "So is the nature of man."
"Let me help you, you sodding fool," Maggie said.
So that is when Maggie disentangled Jesus, but without finding his pants and when they went back to find where Jesus was to sleep, Jorge had already taken the cot in a drunken stupor, so Maggie offered her bed and so that is how Jesus got through the final hours of the terrible Easter time -- by sleeping with Maggie in her bed without his pants and when both of them awoke the following morning there was a resurrection of a kind that was handled in the usual way. As is the nature of man. And Woman.
The Editor strolled the aisles of the Island-Life newsroom, shutting off this and that desklamp with a feeling a great change was coming. Soon there would be another parting of the Red Sea, another passage across the desert. The moon was waning, but still glowed with three-quarter force from that red eclipse of last week.
We may have evaded disaster but yet more is to come. Something may have arisen, but there remains more to save. Spring erupts as it always has with tremendous force, scattering seed pods hither and yon. And the girl on the ferry with the dancer's tights and short skirt still haunts the dreams of Denby as he trolls for another gig to take him out of this place, this broken place of dying dreams that always smells of cheap wine and cigarettes.
Out in the estuary the Iranian spy submarine El Chadoor continued its patrol and observed all of these things. From far away came news that the Daess had been defeated in Tikrit and that the US had finally lifted the sanctions off of the Country and allowed nuclear power development to go on with some stipulations.
"I think it is strange that we combine our resources with the infidel to bring down the Daess," said the First Mate. "And now we help to liberate the lands of our former enemies, the Iraqis."
"It is not so strange to find friends among those with whom we have common cause. So it was in the time of the Mongol Hordes, we also collaborated with the West to save the world." said the Captain, who knew something of history, peering through the periscope. "After all, blessed is the man who takes but one step towards God, for he shall enjoy the fact that God will take two steps towards him. This means, there is always some hope."
Then came the ululation of the throughpassing train from far across the water as it trundled from the gantries of the Port of Oaktown with their moonlit towers, letting its cry keen across the waves of the estuary, the riprap embankments, the grasses of the Buena Vista flats and the open spaces of the former Beltline, through the cracked brick of the former Cannery with its leaf-scattered loading dock, its weedy railbed, its chainlink fence interstices until the locomotive click-clacked past the shuttered doors of the Jack London Waterfront, trundling out of shadows on the edge of town past the old Ohlone shellmounds to parts unknown.
That's the way it is on the Island. Have a great week.
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