Left: Buddha statue at DIVINE CONNECTION, Black Mountain, NC.
SETTING: The various major deities, saints, and other characters in Daisy's personal theology/head/belief system/etc, have decided that they should have a meeting to discuss possible layoffs and related employment issues stemming from Daisy's ongoing theological crisis.
Our Head Deity, The Blessed Mother, calls the meeting to order, and first says the Amina Christi.
Immediately, there is dissension. St Francis asks if it is appropriate, under the circumstances. Buddha rolls his eyes, but says nothing.
Blessed Mother (herein known as Maria): I beg your pardon!? (narrows eyes) *I* am in charge here! I'll say whichever prayer I please, thanks.
St Gertrude: (smugly) You'd better SHUT UP, Francis!
Francis (seemingly allowed to do anything he wants) starts singing Grateful Dead songs: Just a box of raaaainnn, I don't know who put it there...
As if summoned, Jerry Garcia enters the meeting-place, and nods at Maria and Buddha, "Hey!" he says, good-naturedly.
St Gertrude: (eyeing Jerry suspiciously) And when did YOU get out of purgatory? I don't remember signing the transfer order!
Jerry shrugs, lights joint, passes it to St Francis, who inhales deeply. They shake hands in some odd familiar way; they are obviously old friends.
St Francis: Look, me and St Stephen sprung Jerry, okay? It was a long while back and I didn't see any reason to argue with you about it.
St Gertrude: (eyes flash disturbingly) I see. (glares at the two of them) I should have known! (mutters to herself, obviously angry)
Jerry passes joint to St Gertrude, who declines with a flourish: None for ME, danke schön.
St Francis (to Jerry): She runs purgatory, which is a really shitty job. She is always in a bad mood. (pauses, exhales) They needed a German to do it.
Jerry: Well, that makes sense.
Maria: CALLING THE MEETING TO ORDER, lets settle down, peeps! (cheerfully ignores pot smoke) Is anyone else coming? Buddha? Any of your fellas? Who is this---Shanti--what?
Shantideva enters the room, does not look at anyone but Buddha.
Buddha: My friend from the 8th century, Shantideva!
The meeting-room inhabitants look Shantideva up and down, in a mix of curiosity and skepticism.
St Francis: So why is HE the big shit all of a sudden?
Maria: (sighs) I only work here.
Buddha: He has answers to her questions, Francis. Now, come on, you know the drill. You were the big shit once. Daisy still adores you, so learn to share. (rolls eyes again) Honestly, I expected more from you, Francis.
St Francis: (chastened and defensive) I just wondered. (addresses Maria) And how come you always get to stay in charge, no matter what shake-ups happen in management?
Maria: Daisy and I go way back, further than the rest of you. (primly) And besides that, I always ANSWER HER PROMPTLY. (looks at Shantideva) And in... may I say it?... understandable language!
Shantideva: (stoically) She is ready to move on. She needs more than the Christian tradition can provide.
Maria: Oh, well, aren't WE special?!? (sniffs in superior fashion) Actually, I am also the High Priestess of the Tarot, Saraswati, Guanyin, Isis, Spider Grandmother and closely related to Maya, Buddha's mother; as you can see, our names are almost the same. Maria is merely my most recent, Latin name. I cover a LOT of ground. (to Buddha) Isn't that right, Siddhartha?
Buddha: (sighs) I'm afraid so.
Shantideva: (thoughtful) Oh well, in that case... I had no idea. (smiles at Maria, then bows deeply)
Maria smiles beneficently.
At this juncture, a conservative-appearing, slightly-spooked New Englander with a bow-tie enters, looks around nervously and sits, uncomfortably.
Maria: HOWARD! I am so glad to see you! It's been ages.
Howard: Oh well, you know how it is... (mumbles)
St Francis: Oh, not HIM again. He gives me the major creeps.
Jerry: Who is that guy?
Maria introduces Howard Phillips Lovecraft to the group. Buddha keeps his distance. Shantideva appears fascinated.
Howard: Sorry to be late. (takes out notepad) What did I miss?
St Francis: Where is JG Ballard? Now, him, I could get along with!
St Gertrude: Ballard will be in purgatory for QUITE A WHILE! (sneers for emphasis) It will take longer than a couple of Earth-years to get him out of there!
Howard suddenly recognizes St Gertrude, lets out a scared squeak.
St Gertrude: You disgusting, ungrateful, repellent, sick-ass little WORM! (torrent of Teutonic invective follows)
Maria: Gertie, careful, he served his time! Go easy on him! (unrecognizable cuss words, probably Middle German, flow unbidden from the mouth of St Gertrude) Gertie! Easy!
St Gertrude stands up, dramatically: You know, this is serious business! We may be out of a job, here! THOSE TWO! (points accusingly at Buddha and Shantideva) They are going to mess up OUR JOBS! They are DISPLACING US!
St Francis: Nah, not me, my job is safe. Like Maria says, me and Daisy go way back. Remember that time I called in that miracle and told her that her kid was safe? That was great magic, no? (chuckles proudly) She told everybody about it.
Maria: (indulgently) Yes, Francis, we know... you and Daisy have talked about it hundreds of times...
St Francis: Well, it was some of my BEST WORK.
Jerry: (nods vigorously) The really good part was when Daisy's customer asked her about the prayer of St Francis, so Daisy KNEW the miracle was straight from YOU ... dude! That was some awesome shit! It was like the icing on the cake of the miracle, just in case there was ANY doubt. (Jerry high-fives St Francis) Freaking awesome! (takes out second joint, lights it, passes joint to St Francis)
St Francis beams in satisfaction: Yeah, that last part was a nice touch. Daisy appreciates that stuff. (inhales deeply, passes to Howard, who pauses... then, looking fearfully at St Gertrude, inhales and coughs)
St Gertrude, glaring at Howard: You are responsible for most of Daisy's nihilism, you know! You and Ballard! I intend to SQUEEZE Ballard for that.
Howard pales, gulps, visibly quivers, brushes invisible dust off his black suit.
Jerry: (smiles beatifically from cannabis intake) Lighten up, Gertie!
St Gertrude: (livid) SHUT UP! (points at Jerry) YOU are the reason she picked up THAT--- (points at joint) after abstaining for 23 years! You should be ashamed of yourself!
Jerry: Me? What? I just play music, okay?
St Gertrude sputters in righteous indignation, once again lapsing into Middle German. James Dean enters, dressed exactly as he was when he struck oil in GIANT.
Shantideva: Wow, cool. I had no idea HE was gonna be here.
James Dean: How's it going? (waves at Buddha) Wow, its been awhile!
Buddha: Hasn't it? (the two embrace warmly)
And finally, St Jude and Elizabeth Taylor enter; Liz gives note to Maria from Jimi Hendrix, explaining that he couldn't make it. Liz immediately asks if there is caviar.
Shantideva: (visibly shaken) I thought this was a VEGAN meeting?
Liz: Ohhh, sorry! (giggles) No cheese either?! But DAISY--?!
Maria: Yes, Liz, I know... Daisy loves cheese, but we are being polite for the sake of Shantideva.
St Francis: (rolling eyes heavenward) Who is THE BIG SHIT with Daisy right now.
Liz (covers mouth in her famous naughty-little-girl manner, notably used to excellent effect in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf): Uh-oh! Somebody is jealous! (giggles again) Is there any... wait, no alcohol, right?
All meeting participants shake their heads in unison. St Gertrude is suddenly indignant again and snaps at Elizabeth: I can't believe you don't KNOW this stuff!
Liz: Excuse me, ladies, but I go to a lot of these things, you know? Just like Jerry does. (waves at Jerry) It's hard to keep up.
St Gertrude: You should have stayed in purgatory LONGER, but like HIM (points at Jerry), you had friends in high places to spring you early. (glares at Liz)
Liz: (winks at Gertrude) Deal with it, sister! (sits beside St Jude, who appears to be an old friend) I paid my dues!
St Jude: Yea, O dearest Gertrude, verily I say unto you, she hath paid the ransom.
St Gertrude: Oh so now you are going to go all King James on my ass?
Maria: ORDER PLEASE! Let's try to get along!
St Gertrude: That's easy to say when your job isn't in jeopardy!
Buddha: Oh--stop being so histrionic, Gertie. That melodrama might work on those desperate burning souls in purgatory, er, uh, I mean samsara, but it doesn't go over so well with the rest of us.
Howard nods emphatically.
Liz: Purgatory is a DUMP, I couldn't WAIT to get out of there.
James Dean: I'd have to agree with you on that.
Liz: Jimmy! (squeals delightedly) Haven't seen you since we filmed GIANT! (the two hug and start a long catch-up session, as the other deities start chatting with each other.)
Maria sighs, and realizes this meeting has been mostly a waste. Too much socializing.
AND she will have to manage Gertrude better next time.
And so, our very first DEAD AIR Deity meeting gets off to a rocky start. Thus, we will have to revisit our deities at a later date.
This post was inspired in part by the good Doctor Jay's post. Thanks for inspiring me to write about these things, instead of simply wringing my hands over them.
Sunday, October 2, 2011
Left: Buddha statue at DIVINE CONNECTION, Black Mountain, NC.