Tuesday, September 14, 2004


The Night the Lights Went Out in Elysium

I'm starting to think this isn't a half-bad place, heaven. One neverending cookout. Ribs, chicken, catfish grilled to perfection. The best barbeque sauce outside of Memphis, Tennessee. Sun and bright green skies all the time--no clouds, no rain, no night. Ever. And the sun doesn't burn your skin. No sunburn ointments. No skin cancers. It's California without the smog and the dermatologists.

And nothing bad ever seems to happen.

Well. Today's been sort of an exception. There was that strange squall when Bill came and upchucked on us. But even that passed in the blinking of an eye. It was amazing. One moment we're all drenched in stinking sewage--and I am somehow wearing rain gear and hip boots, and brandishing an industrial-strength umbrella (I'd been in shorts and t-shirt when the cloud approached!)--and the next moment we're all dry and warm again. I'm back in my shorts and t-shirt, with no signs of the rain gear.

It was like Bill's upset stomach was an anomaly that should never have been, and was automatically righted the instant it occurred. Clouds in heaven? Acid rain in heaven? Not a chance. It happened? No it didn't.

And to top it all off: we've got internet access here. I mean, what more could anyone want? An endless sunny fly-less cookout--with blogging and net-surfing. Tell me that ain't heaven!

Then, suddenly, the lights go out. Like somebody flipped a switch.

"Oh, shit," Yahweh says. "What now?"

"If you do this to pick my pocket," Allah says, "I have nothing in pockets, Yahweh."

"I didn't do this," Yahweh says testily. "Honey!" he calls out. "Mary! Bring some candles!"

I hear a door open and close. Somebody trips over a child's toy. Then, Mary's voice: "Yahweh, is that you?"

"No," Ba'al's voice says. "It's me. But you don't need to stop, baby."

"We don't have any candles," Mary says. "They don't sell them at Walgreen's."

"Right," Yahweh says disgustedly. "Because it's never dark in heaven. Shit. Now what're we going to do?"

Doug? Mullah Billdoug's voice says inside my head. What's going on?

We just lost power, I think.


Heaven went dark, I think.

Damn, he says. I knew it. Rove beat me to it.


He got to Olivia first, performed the forbidden experiment. It's all over.

What's all over?

It, he says. Everything. They've won.

They? I think. Who's they?

Who do you think, he says. I mean, they don't call them the forces of darkness for nothing.

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