OCTOBER 1, 2017

DAY OF ATONEMENT

 

So anyway Martini found a French Horn at a garage sale and he brought it back to the Household even though it had no mouthpiece. Friday everyone was in the main room and Martini brought in his horn with a mouthpiece he had made of wood.

"Martini," Suan said. "You have been good all week; don't blow it."

"BLAAAAAT!" Martini went.

"O for Pete's sake," Suan said.

"Next year in Jerusalem," Martini said. "Happy new year!"

"Martini," Marlene said. "It is not the New Year - it is the day of Remembrance. And besides, you are Catholic, not Jewish."

"Ah well, same diff," Martini said. "Catholics are just Jews with a layer of brocade and the Pope. And I remember all kinds of crap. BLAAAAAHHT!"

"For Pete's sake, what are you doing with that horn? Put it away," Marlene said.

"This be my Chauffeur."

"Chauffeur," Marlene said flatly

"Yeah. Ram's horn. Announcing my penitence and shit," Martini said.

"Martini, you are Catholic and you are drunk -- which are two problems in themselves. Give me that horn NOW!"

"Promise you forgive me," Martini said.

"I forgive you for being an idiot. But first give me the horn."

Also unclear on the concept was the Angry Elf who approached Denby as he stood on the street with his crutches waiting for the bus. The Angry Elf wanted forgiveness too.

"Wwwwhy," Denby asked reasonably, looking around for weapons.

"Cause you know people talk. An' I wanna feel comfortable. I got deals on the back burner, bein' put off."

"Comfortable," Denby said. "You want to feel comfortable."

"Yeah. It be the day of forgiveness and crap."

"Please go away and leave me alone," Denby said.

"But I want forgiveness," the Angry Elf said. It turned out that some of the Elf's connections had found out he had been hassling innocent people and he was getting flack about it. It was hurting business.

"Are you even aware of the crimes you committed," Denby said. The bus was taking its own sweet time. "Are you at all sorry for what you have done?"

The Angry Elf shrugged. "I aint proud about some of it, but you know business is business. Some deals you lose and that is just the way it is. So we can make a new deal, right?"

"I do not think you get the forgiveness thing," Denby said. "As a Jew you are a bad example."

"You better not say that again," warned the Angry Elf just as the bus arrived.

"Eff off you lousy example," Denby said as he climbed aboard the bus.

"Talk about sorry, I am gonna make you sorry!" shouted the Angry Elf who stamped his feet.

The Angry Elf returned to his rooms at the top floor of the Asylum for Demented Managers and smashed glassware with a hammer in frustration before arranging for the punishment of a wayward "mule" who had siphoned off too much. Denby had moved out more than two years ago from the same building when the Elf had first threatened him, so for the time being he vented his frustration upon objects and the hapless few in his immediate vicinity.

In the Household of Marlene and Andre, Little Adam was watching the news on his laptop with Andre. Much of the news was about the devastation suffered by Puerto Rico, an island that had once been overrun by 1950's gangsters after Cuba fell to Fidel Castro.

In the public media Lin-Manuel Miranda -- the author of a popular stage production -- said to the President of the United States that he was "going straight to hell." Miranda added, "No long lines for you. Someone will say, 'Right this way, sir.' They'll clear a path."

a petty Mafioso who admires Meyer Lansky

In the face of all that the President commands in terms of power, Miranda is no more powerful than Denby facing a petty Mafioso who admires Meyer Lansky. But people who abuse the tools handed to them by the People so as to get the jobs done, people who abuse the trust placed in them, need to be told to their face what they are. More people, not fewer, need to kneel in protest against injustice and the white poisons that destroy our neighborhoods.

The hour got late and Little Adam was put to bed. Others retired to their niches and cots in the cottage while Andre looked out from the porch at the Bay and the distant lights of Babylon across the water, thinking about the Past and silently atoning in his own way for the things had done. Soon the traditional celebrations of the Island would come to keep everybody busy, each looking to occupy him or herself with the illusion that all would be well and perhaps when the Book is sealed on the final day, much will be forgiven, if not by man, then at least by One who is not named.

Soon it would be time for the annual Dias de Los Muertos

Also looking out into the darkness at that moment, the Editor stood on the back porch of the Offices. Soon it would be time for the annual Dias de Los Muertos, and the annual Crossover to the Other Side by Denby. The old box elder tree hung its branches over the yard, still embedded with anchor chains, anchors, shovels, belaying pins.

In his life he had seen and done many things, some of which he was not proud, and some of which he rued with the patient desire that what had been written and was now sealed included some judgement in his favor. In his own work, he expected of himself a charitable approach toward his creatures, even those that did not acknowledge him.

Still the Editor did all he did in fond hopes that somewhere out there beyond the curtains of darkness gleamed a like mind. Or at least one of a more forgiving nature than his own. He turned and returned to the small pool of light cast by the desk lamp.

From from far across the water, the night train's horn sounded from beneath the light-studded gantries of the Port of Oaktown, keening across the waves of the estuary, the riprap embankments, the flat expanse of the former airfield that was now sanctuary for the Least Tern, the grasses of the Buena Vista flats that was now the Jean Sweeny Open Space Preserve, the construction zone of the old Cannery and its detritus-strewn loading dock, crying over the dripping basketball hoops of Littlejohn Park and dying between the Edwardian house-rows as the locomotive click-clacked in front of the shuttered doors of the Jack London Waterfront, trundling out of shadows on the edge of town past the Ohlone burial mounds to a mysterious unknown future.

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