Friday, September 17, 2004


I Make a New Friend

Things have not improved much. It's still dark as the inside of a mole. Not a flashlight in the place. And anyway our resident ontologist, Tom Aquinas, tells us that they wouldn't work even if they did exist. I don't pretend to understand his proofs, but they sound reasonably scholastic, in a medieval, quasi-Aristotelian sort of way.

I'm feeling my way over to the chaise-lounge where I left my laptop, not that it's going to work any more, but, you know, when a very big person who can apparently see in the dark bowls me over.

He is instantly solicitous. "Gosh, I'm sorry," he says. "I was looking right past you, didn't see you there. Let me help you up."

And he does. And to my surprise, I can sort of see him. He gives off a reddish glow.

"Are you okay?" he says, brushing at my clothes. "Didn't break anything?"

"No, no, I'm fine," I say. "But you look awful familiar. Do I know you? The red horns, the goatee, the red tail--I could swear we've met before. Have you ever been to Oxford, Mississippi? Faulkner's town?"

"Many a time," he says. "I love the South. Republican territory."

"Oh," I say politely, "you're a Republican?" Thinking: just what I need in my life, another Republican.

"Well," he says modestly, "I sort of helped organize them."

"Yeah?" I say.

"Sure. Back when the Dixiecrats started jumping ship, going Republican. I was sort of the brains behind all that."

"Wow," I say. "History in the making."

"You got that--" he starts, but is interrupted by Yahweh.

"What the hell," the Lord of Hosts thunders, "are you doing in my back yard?"

"Hey, Big Guy," my new friend says easily. "Long time no see."

"Didn't I expressly tell you never to--darken my door again?"

"I know, I know," the red guy says. "But I thought, given the general darkness around here, maybe it was time to come up and bury the hatchet. Let bygones be bygones. Hug and make up. Get back to the good old days when me and you used to throw dice on whether Job would crack under pressure. All that."

"Never!" Yahweh shouts. "Get out!"

"Hey, fine," my Republican friend says. "I'm going. Just thought you might like some help rigging up emergency lighting. I've got a little experience in that line, you know ..."


The red guy laughs a little, claps me on the shoulder, says "Nice talking to you," and leaves, humming an old Blue Oyster Cult song from the eighties.

Yahweh turns to me. I can't see him, but the turn is unmistakable. You can practically hear the black heavenly air going oh shit. "What did he say to you?"

"Nothing," I say. "We were just making polite chitchat about the Republican Party in the South. This was--after he ran me over."

"Are you sure?" he says, leaning in close. I can smell his breath, he's that close. "Because, you know, I can go inside right now and check the records. And if you're lying--no, shitbuzz, I can't check the records, we got no power. Damn it! Well, you'd just better not be lying, is all!"

I swear up and down that I'm telling the truth, and he finally believes me, sort of, and stalks off.

Man, I think, this is major. And then I can't think of anything else to do, so I feel my way down onto the chaise-lounge, lift my laptop into my lap, open it up, and put my fingers in the home position. Then I stare off into the darkness, and imagine myself blogging.

<< Home