the bad folk orchestra : BRRO

the bad folk orchestra are the media production team for the Babylon Refugee Rescue Operation. Our founders were wandering mystics. Their cause, to build a sanctuary for homeless pregnant women on an organic farm that is a school for midwifery, is called the Babylon Refugee Rescue Operation. we forgive your criticism and desire your contributions.

badfolkorchestra@gmail.com

This Document has but one purpose : to evolve into a sanctuary for homeless pregnant women on an organic farm with a school for midwifery.
It's success requires that you interact organically with it. This document's purpose will be arrived at as the proof of it's completion.
Long before then, this document will have acquired 501(c)(3) status with the IRS.
We will have met the Board of Directors
They will have agreed to the charitable nature of the chartered trust, appropriate relevance, and pragmatic necessity of the Babylon Refugee Rescue Operation.
One might now ask, how does a document evolve?
This document will evolve by the process of filling in the blanks on the provided diagram. As the names of the members of the boards of directors of the charitable trust,
the media production team (the Bad Folk Orchestra), the midwifery school, the mother farmers, engineering and maintenance, and the clientele are filled in - we shall see to what extent these forces interact harmoniously, to which extent in unity, and to which extent dissonant. All efforts on the parts of these individuals to interact will be recorded within this document, in section 6 - Creation.
this page is the beginning of section one - revelation, in which the purpose of the BRRO is revealed, and the actions to be taken to complete those purposes are briefly outlined, to be detailed in sections 2, (the bad folk orchestra) 3, the midwifery school, 4 , the mother farmers, 5, engineering and maintenance, 6, creation



The Bylaws of the Mother Pharm Project Charitable Trust

I. Name

1. The name of the organization shall be The Mother Pharm Project

II. Board of Directors

1. The Mother PHarm is to have a Board of Directors who shall serve without pay and consist of community members familiar through other walks of life with one or more of these 6 facets of the operation. The Board must include a specialist in each of these fields.
  • non-profit administration
  • agricultural practices
  • midwifery
  • modern medicine
  • disaster relief
  • presently being a pregnant woman who is not homeless.
A Board Member may be be a considered specialist in as many as 2 of these fields - though there must always be at least 3 members, but no more than 6.
2. Board members shall first serve one term of 9 months, to be followed, if acceptable to the rest of the board and the Administrative Council, by a second term of 1260 days.
3. After these two terms, members must vacate the board, being ineligible to serve on the board again for at least the length of time they have previously served.
4. Vacancies shall be filled by the Board, with the recommendation of the Administrative Council.
5. Board members with more than 3 absences in their first term, or in any 9 month period of their second term shall dismissed from the Board.

III. Officers

1. The officers of the board shall consist of a Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary, and Treasurer nominated by the Board.
2. Elected officers will serve in their elected positions for the length of their term, unless, by unanimous consent of the other members of the Board with the Administrative Council sitting in the role of the Officer in question.
3. (a)The Chair shall preside at all Board meetings, appoint committee members, and perform other duties as associated with the office. (b)The Vice-Chair shall assume the duties of the Chair in case of the Chair’s absence. (c)The Secretary shall be responsible for the minutes of the Board, keep all approved minutes in a minute book, and post said minutes in an online database open to all. (d) The Treasurer shall keep record of the organization’s budget and prepare financial reports as needed.

IV. Committees

1. The Board may appoint standing and ad hoc committees as needed to oversee the main functions of the Mother Pharm - to acquire property, dedicate it in perpetuity as a sanctuary for homeless pregnant women, and at that location operate social mechanisms appropriate to the care of our core clientele. These social mechanisms being
  • an experimental farm producing Renewable resources for the use of the Administrative Council
  • the study of midwifery and advanced obstetrics - endeavoring to maintain a forum for educational opportunities for those seeking to enter obstetrics from traditional and modern perspectives as a means of arranging for the health care of the Administrative Council.
  • regular workshops on disaster relief preparedness training to serve as a benefit to the general community, as well as of our core clientele ( keeping in mind that when disaster strikes, the entire community may become homeless, including the pregnant women).
  • a media production team ( to be known as 'The Bad Folk Orchestra ) to produce educational entertainment while documenting the three social mechanisms listed above.
V. Meetings

1. Regular meetings shall be held once per calendar month, separated by at least three weeks time.
2. Special meetings may be held at any time when called for by the Chair or a majority of Board members.
3. Agendas shall be posted online at least 4 days in advance.

VI. Voting

1. (a) A majority of board members constitutes a quorum. (b) In absence of a quorum, no formal action shall be taken except to adjourn the meeting to a subsequent date.
2. Passage of a motion requires Unanimous Consent. On any issue to which the board cannot unanimously consent, the Administrative Council shall have deciding vote by their unanimous consent.

VII. Conflict of Interest

1. Any member of the board who has a financial, personal, or official interest in, or conflict (or appearance of a conflict) with any matter pending before the Board, of such nature that it prevents or may prevent that member from acting on the matter in an impartial manner, will offer to the Board to voluntarily excuse him/herself and will vacate his seat and refrain from discussion and voting on said item.

VIII. Fiscal Policies

1. The fiscal year of the board shall be (start date to end date)

IX. Amendments

1. These by-laws may be amended by a unanimous consent of Board members present at any meeting, provided; a quorum is present, provide a copy of the proposed amendment(s) are provided to each Board member at least one week prior to said meeting, and the Administrative Council also is in Unanimous consent.

2. Administrative Council - The administrative council shall be made up of our core clientele. The Homeless Pregnant Women on the farm will be required to sit in council with one another every other day ( missing no more than one in every three sessions unless having received prior consent of the council to have an extended leave ). This Council will be responsible for assisting the Board of Directors and the Heads of the four essential Social Mechanisms in maintaining the Mother Pharm as a resource for those who will sit in that council after their pregnancy has ended.

3. Assistants to the Administrative Council - after their pregnancy, members of the Administrative Council may stay on the Mother Pharm as assistants to the Administrative Council for a period to last no more than 1260 days. In this role they will be responsible for preparing the individuals on the administrative council for the decisions which will come before them. They will also in this time be responsible for developing and acting on a plan for where to go at the end of their term as assistants.

4. The Bad Folk Orchestra - the Bad Folk Orchestra shall be responsible for producing any documents or media appropriate to the needs of the Mother Farm in seeking to improve the quality of life for all Pregnant Women the world over.

5. Liberty of Conscience - the Mother PHarm will incorporate an interfaith meeting space in which residents may practice their various faiths through whatever forms of worship, meditation, ritual, ceremony, prayer or celebration is most appropriate.

6. Until such time as the Mother Pharm has property donated to it for dedication in Perpetuity as a sanctuary for homeless pregnant women, the Bad Folk Orchestra shall operate as a media production company attempting to raise awareness of the needs of our core clientele.

7. Any funds raised by the Bad Folk Orchestra before there is a Mother Pharm Property and Administrative Council upon it to receive them shall be set aside in sacred trust to be given directly into the care of the Administrative Council on the Mother Pharm when it does come into existence.

8. In the event that no such council comes into existence on such a farm within 1260 weeks of the formation of 'The Mother Pharm Project', then all savings within the charitable Trust will be turned over to the Salvation Army.

9. The Bad Folk Orchestra will be empowered to make use of one sixth of one sixth of monies within the charitable trust for activities appropriate to the successful completion of the Mother Pharm project, acting within a budget approved by the Board of Directors.

10. The Remaining 5/6 of that 1/6 of the Charitable Trust shall be considered a discretionary Fund to be used to pay fees appropriate to state, local and federal administrations.

11. The Remaining 5/6 of the Charitable Trust shall not be invested in such a way as to lose value.

12. In compliance with local codes, and in consideration of Disaster Relief Readiness, Bartered Workers on the Pharm shall be allowed to maintain temporary camps and residences on the Mother Pharm for 2 terms - a 9 month introductory first term, and a 1260 day second term. After completing an introductory term, they must apply to the Board and Council for continuance. After the second term, they must vacate the Mother Pharm for as long as they had previously served before applying to serve again.

13. Bartered Workers on the Mother Pharm ( anyone not on the Administrative Council or Board of Directors ) cannot be compensated monetarily by the Mother Pharm Trust for their efforts. Third Party Grants of compensation to Bartered Workers must be first accepted with Unanimity by the Board and Council, and cannot be arranged using the Legal or Tax Status of the Mother Pharm as an Umbrella.

14. Compensation for Bartered Workers shall consist of access to surplus resources not used by the Administrative Council.




ARTICLES OF INCORPORATION

OF

The Mother Pharm Project

The undersigned incorporator(s), a natural person 18 years of age or older, in order to form a corporate entity adopts the following articles of incorporation.

ARTICLE I

NAME/REGISTERED OFFICE

The name of this corporation shall be The Mother Pharm Project

located at 
(street address, city, state, zip).

ARTICLE II

PURPOSE

This corporation is organized exclusively for charitable, scientific and educational purposes (pick one or more), more specifically to Establish a Sanctuary for Homeless Pregnant Women on an experimental organic farm that incorporates a midwifery school and center for disaster relief preparedness training as a charitable Trust. To this end, the corporation shall at all times be operated exclusively for charitable purposes within the meaning of Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as now enacted or hereafter amended, including, for such purposes, the making of distributions to organizations that qualify as exempt organizations under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as now enacted or hereafter amended. All funds, whether income or principal, and whether acquired by gift or contribution or otherwise, shall be devoted to said purposes.

ARTICLE III

EXEMPTION REQUIREMENTS

At all times shall the following operate as conditions restricting the operations and activities of the corporation:

1. The corporation shall not afford pecuniary gain, incidentally or otherwise to its members. No part of the net earnings of this corporation shall inure to the benefit of any member of the corporation, except that reasonable compensation may be paid for services rendered to or for the corporation affecting one or more of its purposes. Such net earnings, if any, of this corporation shall be used to carry out the nonprofit corporate purposes set forth in Article II above.

2. No substantial part of the activities of the corporation shall constitute the carrying on of propaganda or otherwise attempting to influence legislation, or any initiative or referendum before the public, and the corporation shall not participate in, or intervene in (including by publication or distribution of statements), any political campaign on behalf of, or in opposition to, any candidate for public office.

3. Notwithstanding any other provision of these articles, the corporation shall not carry on any other activities not permitted to be carried on by a corporation exempt from federal income tax under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as now enacted or hereafter amended.

ARTICLE IV

DURATION

The duration of the corporate existence shall be perpetual.

ARTICLE V

MEMBERSHIP/BOARD OF DIRECTORS

The corporation shall have one or more classes of members, as provided in the corporation's bylaws. The management of the affairs of the corporation shall be vested in a Board of Directors, as defined in the corporation's bylaws. No Director shall have any right, title, or interest in or to any property of the corporation.

The number of Directors constituting the first Board of Directors is 
, their names and addresses being as follows:
Name Address






Members of the first Board of Directors shall serve until the first annual meeting, at which their successors are duly elected and qualified, or removed as provided in the bylaws.

ARTICLE VI

PERSONAL LIABILITY

No (member) officer, or Director of this corporation shall be personally liable for the debts or obligations of this corporation of any nature whatsoever, nor shall any of the property of the (members) officer, or Directors be subject to the payment of the debts or obligations of this corporation.

ARTICLE VII

DISSOLUTION

At the time of dissolution of the corporation, the Board of Directors shall, after paying or making provisions for the payment of all debts, obligations, liabilities, costs and expenses of the corporation, dispose of all of the assets of the corporation by Charitable Contribution to the Salvation Army. In non case shall a disposition be made which would not qualify as a charitable contribution under Section 170(c)(1) or (2) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as now enacted or hereafter amended, in such manner as the Board of Directors shall determine.

ARTICLE VIII

INCORPORATOR(S)

The incorporator(s) of this corporation is/are:






The undersigned incorporator(s) certify(ies) that she/he/they execute(s) these articles for the purposes herein stated.

Signature & Date

Dramatically, the Add Diction cycle occurs between 'Are not the fallen saints the least of all people?' and 'the S.A.T.I.R.E.



It was a while before they saw each other again. Two weeks and three days - to be exact. Ishmael dropped off a flyer on John's soundboard at the Vineyard. It advertised a musical event -
"Add Diction - the tragedy of Djim Crow, a six song story ,
by Chaonarchy Girl.
Catering by Food Not Bombs. "
John showed up, and found that the girl he'd thought he'd seen was not just a dream. He also found that Maggie and Ishmael had become a real item.
This is the show they witnessed, one girl on guitar, in a park near the courthouse.
Add Diction : The Tragedy of Djim Crow

E: 7 generations wrong
7 Generations Wrong
(E A B B7 & D)
Djim was a bird
biologically he was a raven
but they called him a crow
that was just as wrong
as everything else

Seven generations ago
his grand-daddy's Grand-daddy's Grand-daddy
started eatin' tobacco
dopamine receptors fired
and consciousness swelled

Had to be a half smoked butt
and you always needed more
so he organized the other birds
because ravens are bigger and smarter
they bossed the crows around

Seven generations went by - by
and the ravens kept gettin' high - high
but the crows, they had the numbers
and so they took control
and even though he was a Raven
they called Djim a crow

Oh the murders of crows
oh - oh the murders of crows
they claimed to be ravens
that was just as wrong
as everything else

A: the blind cat
The Blind Cat
(A G F G)
Djim crow he fled / across the waters yeah
across the San Francisco Bay he flew / he flew to Berkley

Djim met some other crows / outcasts like him yeah
rebels in the hills / like him they were really ravens

They sat on a fence / scouting a yard filled with treasure
but the yard it was gaurded by / a Norweigian Mountain cat

Yeah this cat killed a Raven / everyday, and Djim, he watched
he studied as that cat / killed his buddies

One day Djim flew in
He feinted and he hopped and he dove and he rolled
He feinted and he hopped and he dove and he rolled
He feinted and he hopped and he dove and he rolled
He came up underneath that cat
sank his talons into its neck and plucked its eyes out

all the other birds flew down / collected all of the butts on the ground
and named djim their leader / they had found a way to get what they wanted

now all of the smokers yards protected by cats and dogs were haunted
by djim and his ravens because he feinted and he hopped and he dove and he rolled....

D: frat house dog
Frat House Dog
(D G A)
(E A B B7)
In a Frat house yard there was an old Saint Bernard
And he saw the ravens fly in

He didn't get violent, No he sat there all silent all silent
Then he motioned to Djim

He lifted his paw when Djim let out a caw
Revealed the ends of two smokes

He gobbled one up bumped the other with his nose
Backed up so djim could come close

Djim caught the hint hopped up the a squint
Grabbed the butt in a cautious approach

Djim ate it up emulatin the pup
It tasted strange it was his first roach


The Dog said 'Friend, I hope you comprehend
That now everything has changed

You been on tobacco, that's fine far as that goes
But this green, well let me explain

Normally birds don't understand dog's words
but well, it's plain that you can hear me

Time to trade habits, if you can stand it
let the green butts set your mind free

G: upward spiral
Upward Spiral
(G C D)
Chorus
Well Djim and his ravens / They all got stuck on that herb
moved on up from tobacco / became sensimilla birds
It was an upward spiral, climbin' high into the sky
It was an upward spiral, higher than they could physically fly
They followed that dog's owner / on his runs up to the hills
They had to find the source / they had to get their fill
Djim lost his flock in Mendocino / they flew off chasing the car
He found some potent hemp growing / Late at night beneath the stars
He took that upward spiral / climbing high into his mind
he'd never been so inspired / he'd never felt so refined
Well a condor / Laughed at Djim nibblin that herb
It was quite surprised, that Djim was quite unconcerned
djim asked about his Ravens/ the condor offered to help him look
"I'll teach you to soar the sky. Listen to me forget your doubts."
And it circled around him / djim just flappin in one place
He was circlin upwards / takin djim to the edge of space
It was an upward spiral, climbin' high into the sky
It was an upward spiral, higher than he could physically fly
The whole time that eagle was talkin
Djim was stoned he loved the sound
He never even noticed they were higher than the clouds
Then the eagle started laughin
He knew djim was above where he ought go
The air was too thin for djim's meager wing span
And he plummetted to the ground below
It was an upward spiral, climbin' high into the sky
It was an upward spiral, higher than he could physically fly
the whole time that eagle was talking djim was stoned, he loved the sound
he didn't even notice / they were higher than the feather clouds
looking out to the horizons / mountains, oceans and the trees
the earth's curvature enlightened him / viewing all he saw there was no thing to see
the eagle started laughing / it knew djim was above where he ought go
the air was to thin for djim's meager wing span / he plummeted to the ground below
it was an upward spiral / climbin high into the sky
it was an upward spiral / higher than he could physically fly


Bm: branches and leaves

Branches and Leaves
Bm D#m Em C#m
Bm G Bm G Bm F#
Djim Fell, He fell, Djim he fell from the sky
Broke his fall with a tree, bringing down brtanches and leaves
crashed into the yard of an old cloudy eyed guy
who relieved his glaucoma with the marijuana weed
(Instrumental chorus)
When he fell, yeah, when Djim fell from the sky
And broke his fall with the tree, he also broke his wing
The old man was in his yard getting medically high
Playing his guitar, teaching his parrot how to sing
Djim's fall was also broken
by roaches the old man was done tokin
crash landing he scavenged and eased his pain
(Instrumental Bm F# G Bm F# G Bm C# A#)
Then Djim understood what was spoken
By the man who was smokin
as he answered a voice inside the house and explained
"I dunno I can't see Tell you what it seems to be
An angel fell from heaven with a devil on his back
broke his fall with my tree bringing down branches and leaves
now it's cawin' at my Parrot & my parrot's sqwawkin back
just like I'm calling to you
just like your sqwawking at me
I swear they're talking like you and me

Em: adding diction
Adding Diction
Em Bd6 Bd9
Am Dd Am B7 Em
Refugees of the drug war
Adding Diction to the Libretto and the score
Five strange souls Riding in a car
Parrot, Raven, 2 men, 1 St. Bernard
Stories they told Stranger than the stars
Parrot translating as they drove to a farm
Refugees Of the drug war
Five strange souls Riding in a car
DEA agents, brainwashed, heavily armed
Going to invade a Marijuana farm
aVictimless crime, the law cause all the harm
Refugees of the drug war
Five strange souls meeting in a field
Four Raven crows, nibbling the yield
One Raving Farmer, Rifle in his arms
Fires at the decoys, the other birds swarm
Refugees of the drug war
At the edge of the field the reaping of the yield
farmer chasing ravens, guns blazin
DEA in self defense, mistaken
The Dealer and his dog, with pistol tooth and claw
Refugees of the drug war
Only one left living was the parrot, don't you know
Violence met Violence, then silence did grow


Refugees of the drug war
Adding Diction to the Libretto and the score

our founders were wandering mystics

Tales from Cafe Queequeg
By Henrietta Lawson
3 stories 14 songs and the memory of her face
Edited by aninvisiblepirate
Editors note
This collection has three guiding principles
Life, as such, ought never be organized. Within it may be created service boards and committees directly responsible to those they serve.
No matter what you do, someone will find fault with it.
If I can't make music, I don't want anything to do with your revolution.
I am aninvisiblepirate. My promise to you is to follow through with these principles. The mission of this work of cubist proesetry is to create a non-profit organization. That non-profit organization is to be refered to as 'The Babylon Refugee Rescue Operation', or, informaly, 'B.R.R.O.' . B.R.R.O.'s purpose is to build a midwifery school on a farm. At said school, the preganant women will take part in a council that decides the future of the school. Homeless pregnant women will be welcome to come there and barter their need for midwifery. They shall be welcome to stay on, postpartum, until done Nursing their child, as either a midwifery student or as a productive member of the Farm and School Operations.
I'm not real much of one for words. I took a good gander through the dictionary, and tried to do the best I could.
Henrietta was the best thing that ever happened to me - so it's appropriate, I guess, that she died.
She found me near the Iron Hills Yard (outside Birmingham , Alabama) . I was drunk and stupid and she was beautiful. Her tattoos were homemade, her hair a natty patch of dreads (silvery on the ends with lighter guards, bottle caps and wing nuts), brown and black clothes sewn together in patches with dental floss, a guitar and steel toed boots.
Henrietta Lawson, gravel voiced punk hallucination singing old timey surf music blues. She called 'em 'Threnodies', said it meant songs sung by mothers for sons lost at sea and at war. The dictionary don't agree, but I do.
She came upon me in the brush, on a vacant lot next to the tracks and asked if I'd seen any east bounds. As we were on the east end of the yard, I thought that this showed her inexperience. So I got smart.
"N'aw, lady - just a few southbound freighters carryin snow to Hotlanta," I said, in my best clever bumpkin voice. “Now c’mere and lemme get a look atcha," I finished - swaying as I spoke, but still speaking clearly. I’d only had twelve beers.
A knife flicked open in her hand as she smiled, "closer you look, more it'll cost. Now give me a beer."
I was pleasantly surprised by her style. Not just some hobo wannabe - she had all the guts, gumption and gear to get the goods in the great big giveaway that is the American rails and roads. But I couldn't give her a beer. “Ain none, s'all empy." I said, slurring a bit now in shock and admiration, "but I ain open the whikky yet."
Well, one thing led to another, and we watched each other's backs from Birmingham to Wendover via San Franpsycho, Seattle, and somewhere else. It was months and months of street corner busking, on ramp sign flying, hitchin' by thumb and hoppin' freight from college town to big city to Podunk. T'was a fun trip - really, t'was.
She taught me guitar, shared snippets and vignettes from her stories, and told me of her dreams to peacefully overthrow the government by building Midwifery schools/community centers on farms in every town and village.
We were never physically intimate - she didn't like to be touched - wouldn't even shake hands with anyone. I gave up trying to figure out if she was straight or, well, you know, all that gender equity stuff. Even trying to read what follows here, I can't get an even line on any of THAT. It is in recognition of this that I've gone to lengths to try to hide my identity and all. Wouldn't want to obscure the beautiful confusion of her image.
Then, one day in Maryland , we were crouched in the stow hole of a Grainer car - facin' the car behind us, watchin' them wheels.
"I've been thinking about trying to publish my stories. Somehow they need to become capitol and then become farms," she declared, staring down at the blur of railroad ties and rocks. "But if I make money, it'll get corrupted. I need to find a way to UN-MAKE money," she growled.
I was drunk, and said something vague, "you could always just post it on the internet and hope for the best."
"FUCK, it's not a world worth living in if I have to do ALL the work,¨ she raged as she stood up. With a snort she pulled a great swallow of Jameson's down her gullet and laughed, “HA!"
Now the wind on the outside compartment of a grainer car is an endless test of skill. See, I was rolling the last of my tobacco and herb into a big spliff, protecting the precious cargo inside my shirt by pulling my hands in through the sleeves. This is, obviously, a fairly immobile position.
Maybe that's what inspired her - my inability to act. Maybe me sitting there, armless because of my preoccupation with compulsive consumption and addiction in my lap was so thick and rich that she ... well, I dunno.
"This world ain't worth saving. D'ja ever wonder if a person could derail a train by jumping under it,” she asked the whistling wind at the top of her voice.
I was looking at my hands in my lap in my shirt through the neck hole. Peripherally, I saw her move - felt the train jump a little as it plowed on. She'd dropped down between the cars. Two hours later the train slowed down enough to get off. With her guitar case filled with these stories and her six-string, I set out to mourning.
These stories aren't mine and they aren't yours. They belonged to a woman who believed that by giving away copies of her stories as gifts, she could sit back and watch the 're-evolution' that would inevitably result.
Farms and community center focusing on pregnant women, sustainability, and emergency preparedness training - Henrietta said the world would get better if they were built. So please, build em. If ya like the stories, make a copy and give it to a friend. I'm just a worthless punk. I know of no way to make her dreams come true. If you do - well, what are you waiting for?
The pages were all arranged in order, with hand written, paper clipped copies, all in one 3 ring binder. The first thing I read was the end - but that comes later. It made me want to read from the start - which actually caused the end to change.
Anyways - then I started in, and there was this little essay, and then a table of contents, the story was told in all of its crazy, disjointed fashion.
Once, when she and I were drunk in the garden of Za'ats coffee shop (a 24 hour freaker's respite on Frenchman’s in New Orleans ) she leaned over her chair's arm at me and said, “gonna be dawn soon. We'll go sleep. I finished my book. I don't know what to do with it."
"What's it about,¨ I asked, none too brightly.
She looked away and rolled a cigarette. She was big on that sort of thing - carefully thinking out her answers and stuff.
"It's my response to the Christian Establishment's plan to go to Mars. No where in the Bible does it say we go to Mars - but there's George 'Jesus is my favorite political philosopher' Bush saying we go to Mars. The dischord just set me rolling. So I rewrote the King James Bible from the point of view of modern gutter punkery - I don't know if they'll call me a blasphemous heretic or not." Then she quoted some scriptures about being all things to all men, and leading foolish women out of their houses with fables. She whispered to me, "I'm rewriting the Bible, and it's freaking me out. I gotta vent, or I'll go crazy. So listen to me. I'm writing it like it happened tomorrow or something and I HAVE to do it. There's a million people in my head - tribes and nations, shepherds and city folk. They're screaming, wailing, tortured by their own ignorance. Everybody in the world that ever died is inside of me. I have to write, or they'll never get out - and what good is it? They've been forgotten by their children's children - by a billion people who live to eat, shit, and watch the sports channel. I won't toss my pearls out for them, they'd rather have pigskin."
She, as you will see, was real big on the Bible. I never held it against her, and don't have much to say on that subject, except, ‘beware the dork side of the farce’.
aninvisiblepirate

And, uh, yeah. Now, about Henrietta...
(Dm, G7, A7, Dm - until the end of time)

Wiggle Room

Well I'd like to tell you a tale
about some things that are true
I'll warn you before we sail
that I'm also gonna lie to you
as you take in what I exhale
it'll be inevitably misconstrued
these little finite words always fail
to capture the infinite truth
there's just a little bit of wiggle room
between the nighttime and the day
there's just a little bit of wiggle room
won't you let the music play
there's just a little bit of wiggle room
between the warp and the weave on the loom
there's just a little bit of wiggle room
There was this girl Henrietta
And you know I'll never forget her
I met her in a train yard
we was trespassin and drinkin hard
we rode them rails HARDCORE rovers
from Birmingham to Wendover
she taught me so many thing
like that the universe is made up of strings
and that all the strings are wiggling
There's just a (guitar solo) little bit of wiggle room
between the cradle and the grave
there's just a little bit of wiggle room
won't you let them chillun's play
there's justa little bit of wiggleroom
between midnight and the moon
Now I guess she musta been insane
cause she tried to derail the train
one moment when I turned my back
dropped between the cars
left her blood on the tracks
the train just kept rollin
36 inch steel wheels...
There's just a little bit of wiggle room
between the cradle and the grave
there's just a little bit of wiggle room
won't you let them chillun's play
there's justa little bit of wiggleroom
between midnight and the moon
Henrietta left behind a guitar in a case
3 stories, 14 songs, and the memory of her face
So I sat there in the dark,
feeling infinitely small
And I thought of how she used to sing
that the universe is made up of strings
and that everything that you see
emantes from those strings wiggling
There's just a little bit of wiggle room
between the particle and the wave
there's just a little bit of wiggle room
between Satan and the saved
you just gotta find a way to celebrate
your way through the doom and the gloom
In the begining was your Mom
and everything else is wiggle room

Rest In Peace


Tales From Cafe Queequeg
By Henrietta Lawson
the genesis of cubist proesetry
The Genesis of Cubist Proesetry
Haere mai. haere mai. haere mai.
Aroha. Aroha. Aroha Nui.
In the begining, there was your mom. WORD.
Relax. You and I are the same - we are alive. Were this not so, I could not transmit this message, nor could you receive it.
This message will not self destruct - in fact, it has a seemingly impossible mission to become self replicating. Just like you and me.
How is that going to happen? LOVE
Self replicating. These stories, and the songs that enliven them, are a little thing I like to call cubist proesetry. They have one purpose, which may or may not involve your own personal entertainment.
In 1999, I set myself a goal - to create documents that would, of their own merit, flower into a school for midwifery and advanced obstetrics. It should be a non profit school on a farm. Homeless and dispossessed pregnant women should be allowed to come there and be taken care of. Their stay should be allowed to continue until they are done nursing their child. In that post partum period, their stay would be reckoned as barter - either in learning to take part in midwifery, or in helping to operate the institution and farm.
Lastly, all major decisions about the state of the farm would be brought before the pregnant women in council. In them would rest all decision making authority.
A crazy experiment?
Maybe.
How do we get from here to there? Well, first there is a bit of gossip, one girl telling another about a conversation she had with a boy she likes. ACTUALLY, she is telling the boy about the conversation that she had with girl. From the point of view of the story that unfolds, this song gets sung at the very end.
I told John, about what I told Christine
when she asked me how I knew that I loved him
she wanted to know how it feels
I realized that it wasn't the things that turned me on
but that it was the things
that made
me
feel real
So I said,
"It's not because you're beautiful
It's not because you're your sweet
It's not your conversation or the politics of what you eat
Those are all just evidence of accidents
NO it's not because you're beautiful, but
that you're the same kind of ugly as me
That gets me to thinking about Salvation
as most everything will do
and about the consecration of
the rare and holy few
'cause you see
Jesus was a homeless guy
and more Buddhist than Lao Tzu
And though He never heard an electric guitar
For the love of Pete I tell you, it's true
Jesus,
was more punk rock than you
everybody's hiding, evrybody's hiding oh everybody's hiding
hiding from themselves
Blending in is the biggest sin
But My Brother stood up on the mountain top and He shouted
'We'll all be refugees until the last of us is out of jail
We'll all be refugees while there are still bombs and guns for sale
We'll all be refugees until everyone has enough food
We'll all be reugees while our lives are based on the crude'
That's why
I say
It's true
Jesus
was more punk rock than you.
Yeah, you and me and everybody else too
I feel lonely, I feel dull
like a whet stone and steel you sharpen and you hone me
it's not because your beautiful
but that you're the same kind of ugly as me"
Well you can guess what that answer got me
A blank stare, no one there
I thought maybe I'd gone too far
again
But that's when John shocked me
Taught me he were learning to dare
and he said,
"I'll never be perfect
I may never even be right
But I can quote Dylan Thomas like a dumb ass
and rage rage rage against the dying of the light."

In the long and the short runs, we've only got all the time in the world. I've learned in the terrain that that is a pretty tight limit. There's not much time.
-Henrietta Lawson
77 S. Washington st.
Sylvanwood, Vespucia
96420

Henrietta Lawson's ' Tales From Cafe Queequeg'


Are not the Fallen Saints the least of all people?

PART A : ARE NOT THE FALLEN
The shopkeeper turned to the security guard and said, “Okay, so, uh, you're in a position of authority now. You can't just go acting aggressively from speculation. You've gotta start with communication and work towards confirmation. First things first."
* * *
Neither you, nor I, are characters in this story I am about to tell. We can't be, we're not in Paramus , New Jersey . I've never even been there.
Right now, three people sit at a table outside the mall. Two are employed there; the third is a random transient whom they found re-rolling cigarettes from the ashtrays.
One of the two is Mall security, the other managing partner of a cafe. They are female and male, respectively. The transient is also female - somewhere in her mid twenties.
They do not know it, but their meeting here is not random chance. Rather, it is a form of geometry. It is, of course, an accepted principle that two truly parallel lines will never intersect. They may appear, through convolutions of perspective to do so, to overlap even. The reality is that each stretches on infinitely, ever separate and distinct.
And so, these three folks are right now involved in the unlikely process of bringing the influence of one perfectly straight line to bear upon another.
They're kind of like gravity, which, nobody really understands. Everyone can feel it - like with music, anyone can hear a melody. Many people can describe it in general terms - predicting exactly what will happen, when and how with considerable accuracy. These attributes of gravity's effect are the foundation of modern science. Yet still, the power of attraction which governs all bodies in the material universe is known only by what it does - not what it is. So I'll be describing them, and attempting to predict the outcomes of events using the passages of their interactions like planets through the Zodiac, but in reality, the truth is beyond us. Unless, of course, gravity IS that quality of inexpressible truth that we call music (as differentiated from sounds)- in which case I shall be absurdly surprised to discover that there was truth in my prophecy.
* * *
The transient wore no shoes. Purposely. She reckoned this was part of her most necessary and appropriate homage to the Native blood in her veins. That same blood which colored her cheeks quite unexpectedly when the manager of the coffee shop bumbled pretensioussly to her defense.
He was tall and young - at least too young to run for president, but clearly mature enough to be a congressman. The look in his eyes as he came to her defense showed more than sympathy and caffeine. It was, perhaps even more than just appreciation of the exotic beauty of the girl. If one looked closely into his grin and bearing, mischievous defiance hid behind his affable propriety. One might guess that there was a back story...
...he had, as the old Dusty Springfield song goes, been 'taking time to make time' with the security guard. Having known her and her ex fiancé for most of his life, he now relished the opportunity to flirt with her which had come about when the 'ex' marked the fiance.
The petite, dark haired security guard had come into Cafe Queequeg this morning. This was her daily ritual. Today she complained of the cold, among other things.
"This uniform is going to drive me nuts! Short sleeves and polyester, ugh! In the morning I’m so cold I get goose bumps," she said while watching the parking lot through the window.
"Maybe this mocha will warm you up," he replied softly - with a hint more depth of tone and warmth than he usually gave his patrons. He also held the cup up, instead of setting it down, so that she was forced to look at him to get it. This she did, with a quiet 'thanks'. As he reached out to set it down he paused to begin a sentence, “I’ve been thinking. We should get together for lunch after work. I think we both should get off at the same time."
She kept looking at him, feeling (as many would) the pregnancy of his offer. “We should both get off at the same time," she repeated with tongue in cheek and eyebrow raised. "Why not. Lunch at two thirty," she finished. But he wasn't done.
"And a cigarette together at eleven, to plot our curse,” he stated, turning now to look at the next customer coming in.
“Sure, but don't get all mushy on me."
He laughed once with a closed mouthed 'humph' and said, “mushy. No, not yet. You first."
***
At precisely eleven she met him at the employee exit door. As they exited, he admired the crisp lines and soft appearances of her neck and ear against the sunglasses, hat, and shirt she sported as parts of her uniform. As he did, she was turning her head to notice - and immediately begin reprimanding - the transient.
* * *
"Okay, so, uh, you're in a position of authority now. You can't just go acting aggressively from speculation. You gotta start with communication and works towards confirmation. First things first," Ishmael said, between drags on his hand rolled cigarette.
* * *
That smoke (residual, vaporous evidence of paper and dried organic matter rapidly oxidizing, causing reactions in the mind and physiology of those involved) has an inverse relationship to the symbolic value of these words. But this story isn't about you and me.
Both ladies were now rolling cigarettes from his pouch. Maggie had left her menthols in her locker.
"I'm no good at rolling, Ish, could you...". She was looking down, at the mangled wreck of an attempted roll-up. Self loathing tainted her face. He guessed that it was over forgetfulness and manual ineptitude.
Her reluctance to admit even that little failure in planning had set off Ishmael's 'insecuradar' – his acute awareness of the neurotic tendancies that all people betray in their speech patterns and body language. He decided to begin pushing at the cracks in her armor.
"No problem, my pleasure. Tobacco is for sharing, but please, call me Ishmael."
The other girl with them snorted a little laugh. He smiled at her while rolling Maggie's smoke.
"Melville,” he said, raising one eyebrow inquisitively. She smiled broadly in return, raising both for a brief fractionof a moment. Thus encouraged, he continued, “this might work for ya, too. I used to work for Starbuck's. Used the money from stock options and credit they helped me achieve to open a coffee shop of my own, here, in the mall. I call it Cafe Queequeg, Sea Cues, for short.”
She let out a mouthful of smoke with that sensual effort that allows rings to form. “I thought they made you sign a non-competition agreement, intellectually property, and all that Jazz,," she said, while watching him watch the smoke ring dissipate.
"Oh, they did. I waited years before making my move. When I first opened, they opened another of their stores inside the Mall here, too. Rent went up the next quarter. Some folks thought it was the end of me until their new push button machines alienated half their customer base. I floated away on Queequeg's coffin," he responded while appreciating that she had formed another large circle of white in the still air.
Their table was protected by a concrete umbrella that some practical engineer had plopped on a pole that ran down into the table. It had been here before there ever was a Starbuck's outside of Seattle.
He watched Maggie's mixture of fascination and uneasiness as the transient sent another small ring to sit in the largers' center, like a pupil within an iris. She made a funny face and looked at her cigarette. It had gone out. "These things are hard to keep lit, and they're pretty harsh."
The transient spoke up with, "American Spirits are like that - pure tobacco - an acquired taste. None of that artificial garbage the big boys'll push on ya." She gestured at the ashtray she'd been picking leftovers from at 11:00. "Thanks again, Ishmael. And you too, Maggie."
The other woman sat back quizzically, "what for?"
"For letting me stick around."
Maggie sniffed, sat erect in her spot, and relit her smoke. "Don't thank me, he's your patron saint," she drawled through a mouthful of white whisps.
All three fell silent for a moment. Ishmael chose that moment to make the aggressive statement he'd been composing in his head throughout the dialogue, reckoning that her response to this would tell him if they had a chance at real compatibility.
* * *
"Okay, so you're, uh, in a position of authority now. You can't just go acting aggressively from speculation. You gotta start with communication and work towards confirmation. First things first."
* * *
He'd never before been anything but cordially platonic with her. She was great at that. They were both healthy and well employed. On paper they were perfect. But, it was in verbal and intellectual sparring that real attraction began for him.
She inhaled sharply through her nose, flaring her nostrils and causing the cheap silver painted plastic badge on her chest to sparkle dramatically with reflected light. Her tone and choice of words then reflected his, "Okay, so that's interesting. I'll do my job the way I'm trained, Mr. Manager.” She took another drag, "these are harsh, but I kinda like it. Look, miss, what's your name?"
The barefoot bohemian riot grrl replied, "Ellemenopy Cuares Tiuvi." Maggie rolled her eyes and made as if to stand. The grrl quickly and coldly defended herself. "It really is. It's three different family names that my full blooded Dineh mother harvested from my father's family tree."
Ishmael desperately attempted to reroute the conversation. "Dineh - Navajo, right? So sharing American Spirits with you turns out to be something more than just a random act of generosity," he said while turning meaningfully toward Maggie.
She felt his drift and responded. "Okay, point taken. Elle, can I ask you a question or two, for the Espresso Jerk's benefit?"
"Sure, Margaret," came the transient's reply. The espresso jerk hid his chortle in a false cough, as if choking on smoke.
"Okay, so you're barefoot, heavily tattooed, wearing clothes that look like you rarely change them, and here you are re-rolling cigarette butts in an employee's only area. I speculated, on seeing you, that you were transient. Is that true?"
Ellemenopy took a sip from the travel mug she carried with her everywhere, wiped her mouth with the back of her hand and said, "if by transient you mean homeless - no. This land is my land. If by transient you mean 'constantly in motion', then yes. Transient? I'm half immigrant, half native. My ancestors betrayed and warred with one another - but I own all of my own flesh and time. Truth is, I prefer the terms Refugee and Sojourner."
Maggie stubbed out her smoke, and half yawned, "and your purpose here is?"
The girl looked down at her dirty bare feet. "I’m walking the Appalachian Trail right now. Hitched into town to go dumpster diving."
Like some dramatic lawyer on the networks, Maggie stood and pronounced, “well, that's another on my list. Part of my job is to keep this area clear of 'undesirables'. Barefoot hitchhiking scavengers qualify immediately. I won't call the police and trespass you - but you can't do any of those things here. I've got to get back to the clock…" With that, she began walking, then turned."…and you, Mr. Ishmael, I will see later," she called with a smile as she donned her shades.
He sat back and looked at the girl. She was rolling up the tobacco from a couple more snipes - including the remains of Maggie's. Smiling, all the while she hummed a little ditty.
"Yo ho, yo ho, it's a Pirate's life for me," he sang along, having caught the tune immediately.
Since they'd met, each had had been quite amused, albeit seperately.Now, for the first time, they laughed together.
He then said what he thought was the nicest thing you could ever say to a woman you barely knew, "I feel like buying you some shoes. Nuevos zapatos, vamanos!"
* * *
Maggie's cigarette hadn't refreshed her as she'd hoped. Not that anything was likely to have - as much as it normally would. Flirtation with Ishmael and jousting with that vagrant would normally have recharged her engines fully - like the deep breaths of a swimmer between strokes of controlled violence that propelled her through time's waves.
Today, first thing in the morning, the surf overtook her and nearly drowned her. She had gone under and been washed up on a metaphoric shore after the mad chaos. Inside her head it felt like she'd struggled against sands and currents in a battle she only won through surrender. To complete the metaphor badly, the coffee at dawn and smoke at lunch had been the compulsive paroxysms common to those who nearly drown.
Since the breakup of her long engagement, she'd been trying to reach the mercy shore by daily, mechanically working the clock and sparring jaw to jaw with anyone who'd engage with her. Ishmael had guessed well on which buttons to push, because such is conversational conflict for Maggie - the fuel with which she oxygenated the flame - the flame with which she beat back the cold and damp dark of common loneliness.
The rogue wave that had struck her had doused all hint of spark - only work remained, with the exception of Ishmael's unexpected forwardness. That little bit of warmth from him perhaps began to compensate for the spattering of blood among scattered, shattered teeth that newly decorated the sidewalk and doors near the recycling bins at the maintenance entrance of the mall.
When she found it, she hadn't even been in uniform yet. Before breakfast, before coffee even - a hazmat and law enforcement issue had sent her tumbling. Calling the police had been like that first underwater moment when one realizes that the tide is in control. Putting on her cheap copy of the crisp blue uniform and speaking to the real law had been surreal.
The cops were pleased. They already had the culprits in jail. The evidence she'd been assaulted by seemed important in piecing the story together.
The three men in custody were in varying states of brokenness. However, like Jesus and the two guys they hung him with, only one is really important to this story. His name was Mike, but his handle is Nimrod. People only called him Mike when their purposes were official, familial, functionally formal, or unfriendly. When administrators, cops, or just generally fastidiously nosy folks insisted on knowing what his parents called him, he would respond, "My dad calls me stupid and my ma calls me sweetie, but their both wrong - It's Nimrod."
The odd concentration of coincidences that make this story seem like it's worth telling all seem to involve him. For example, he and his pregnant girlfriend lived in Ishmael's garage. Above it, actually, but they paid for half of the garage as well. None of these three owned a car - but Ishmael kept the space open in case he had visitors who needed to use it.
Nimrod operated a sort of political activist's social club called the 'Info shop' out of the garage. It had 1 photocopier, 2 laptops, 3 printers and a wireless router. Like the food on the Apollo rockets, it was a dehydrated anarchist's collective - just add liquid.
Here's where the synchronicity begins to strain credulity. Elemenopy had spent the previous night there, on the garage floor. Nimrod knew her as 'Chaonarchy Girl' - a notoriously elusive percussionist, puppeteer, and provocateur in the positive protest posse.
When he wakes from the anesthesia, he will be in a hospital bed in the basement of the county courthouse. His jaw will be wired shut. The other two will be in much worse shape. In fact, only one will be still alive. Those two will be in beds across the room, 24 feet and 2 walls of wrought iron bars away. Nimrod will be able to hear the flat line beep of the dead man's monitor. In his heart and head he'll fear that the sound might be creating a gravitational pull that forges parallel lines in his relationship arc with his as yet unborn child. "And never the twain shall meet," he'll mutter Shakespearatorily.
Once upon a time he'd used the initial 'Q' as a name. Those two found out why he'd been saddled with the handle 'Nimrod' while serving as a marine in Iraq . Whether in a combat zone declared by international custom or one hidden within the paranoid obscenity of the domestic 'war on Drugs', Nimrod was a mighty hunter and warrior.
Like his namesake in Moses' syncretism of the Egyptian, Hebrew and Sumerian histories of Babylon , Nimrod did it all with strutting pomp and circumstance before the Lord. In the name of God, as proof of the wrath of the Son of Man, Nimrod WAS destruction.
The military had trained him to act with the ruthless efficiency of extreme prejudice. He took it all a step further by reading up on Samurai. Somewhere in the philosophical cocktail of a 'Born Again Crusader Samurai' he thought he'd found a real solution to the BIG questions. This solution led to a dishonorable discharge.
In the wild rush of the hunt, he went AWOL chasing down attackers alone when he should have stood sentry. When he returned (having dispatched 3 enemy insurgents) he found the other four in his party dead. They'd done well, taking out 3 enemies, but two remained to become 'remains' at Nimrod's discretion. He was VERY discreet. Then he buried his two new trophies, reconnoitered the 3 decoys he'd already dispatched to bury as well, and waited for relief.
When they found him, 3 days later, another insurgent had joined this American's democratically (they'd voted with their violence) selected pile.
Found culpable in his fellows' fates for abandoning his fort, he received no benefits or hope of pension from Uncle Sam.
His mental martini of martial methodologies and messianic delusions was mixed twice - shaken by PTSD ( post traumatic stress disorder ) and stirred with a Marijuana swizzle stick. This habit he'd picked up from some Caucasian Rastafarians who were prominent in Paramus Peace protests. These self described 'Agro Redneck Peace Punk Rasta’s' with mullet dreadlocks hanging down on their dirty wife beaters and Carhart's overalls were prominent members of the local dumpster diving scene.
The dead man's flat line will signal the nurse, cops and doctors. They will bring to him paper and pen on a clipboard with which to write out his statement. It will speak for itself, in his inimitable style of absurdly egotistical self awareness, writing of himself in third person, in ALL CAPS.
AND IT PLEASED THE LORD TO GUIDE THE HUNTER TO THE MARKET PLACE OF PARAMUS . THE LAST CRESCENT OF THE WANING MOON FORMED DIANA'S NECKLACE AND THE MILKY WAY HER GARMENT AS SHE DANCED IN THE HEAVENS WITH ORION.
NIMROD FOUND THE CHAONARCHY GIRL, A NAVAJO KOKOPELLI COME TO SING REDEMPTION TO THE PEOPLE OF PARAMUS , IF THEY SHOULD CARE TO LISTEN. NIMROD FOUND HER BESIDE THE DUMPSTER OF WHOLE FOOD GROCERY , EATING ORGANIC BLUE CORN CHIPS WHILE DRINKING LEMONADE.
"YO HO," HE CRIED.
"ALOHA," SHE REPLIED.
GLEANERS, THEY SAVED FOOD FOR A DOZEN MEALS AND BROUGHT IT TO THE STORE HOUSE OF FOOD NOT BOMBS. IN TRIBUTE, THEY CLENCHED CARROTS IN THEIR FISTS AND HELD THEM HIGH.
THE NAVAJO WOMAN WAS WEARY FROM 1,000 BAREFOOT MILES. HE BID HER RECLINE ON A CUSHION AND WENT BACK TO THE GLEANING ON HIS BICYCLE.
THE LORD LED NIMROD TO A TEST OF STRENGTH AND CHARACTER. TWO SERVANTS OF DESTRUCTION, POSSESSED BY DEMONS RELEASED BY METH-AMPHETEMINES, LAY AMBUSH WITH WOODEN 2X4 PLANKS.
THE HUNTER BECAME THE HUNTED. ONE BLOW TO THE MOUTH THEY DELIVERED UNSUSPECTING, KNOCKING THE WARRIOR FROM HIS RIDE. A DOZEN OTHERS EACH DEVIL ATTEMPTED, BUT NIMROD WAS UNTOUCHABLE.
DANCING AS A LION AMONGST JACKALS SOME 100 YARDS, HE NAVIGATED THE CROSSROADS BENEATH FLASHING AMBER AND CRIMSON LIGHTS. IN THE LOT ACROSS THE STREET FROM WHERE HE'D HAD HIS FACE CRUSHED WITH ONE FELL BLINDSIDE, HE FINALLY DISARMED ONE OF THE TWO CURRS WHO DOGGEDLY NIPPED AT HIS HEELS. GRASPING THE PLANK HE'D RIPPED FREE, NIMROD DELIVERED TO EACH A BLOW TO THE NECK IN A FLUID MOTION OF THREE TURNS - STRIKING FIRST THE OTHER PLANK ON THE FINGERS OF HIS WOULD BE ASSAILANT, KNOCKING IT FREE, THEN EACH OPPONENT ONCE TO THE PLACE WHERE NECK MET JAW. HIS BLOWS HAD SUCH FORCE THAT EACH COLLAPSED UTTERLY.
TAKING UP BOTH PLANKS , THE HUNTER RAISED THEM TO THE SKY IN CRUCIFORM. THEN NIMROD KNELT, PLACED THE CROSS ON THE GROUND BETWEEN THE VANQUISHED, AND WEPT.
Finishing, he wept again.
A sheet now lay over the face of one of his assailants. The one with the mangled hand. He would never know that he had lost the use of his fingers - at least not in this flesh.
Though unabashedly Biblical in his life, Nimrod was among the 'unchurched'. In fact, he saw himself as a force of social erosion sent to bring down false churches and idolatry through dissemination of propaganda and collective reasoning.
He lay back and thought about the teeth he'd lost, chuckled a gurgling chuckle and sang through his shattered mouth,
"YO HO, YO HO, WE ARE THE INVISIBLEPIRATES
IT IS BETTER TO STAND ALONE THAN TO STAND WITH THE ENEMY"
* * *
John Evan Bonhoff awoke in the den of his father's McMansion. The book he'd fallen asleep reading, Herman Melville's 'Moby Dick', lay open faced on his lap, half crumpled between his legs. His glasses lay on the table beside the chair. Before trying to find the spot where he's drifted off in the book, he put on the spectacles. They corrected only for distance - but he felt more awake with them on.
There it was; the Pequod at sea, Starbuck commanding Queequeg and Ishmael, brooding Ahab colluding with the tortured elements of his soul to hunt down and destroy the ghosts (real and imagined) of his past.
The book was a gift from the Cafe owner who bore it's protagonist's name. To John it marked an important passage in their relationship. That DYNAMIC was far more important than the passage of text he now marked with a flyer that had come with it for an event this afternoon.
He looked at the rumpled paperback in his hand, then slapped it against his palm. Between the flyer and the fiction, he should be able to knock off a third, perhaps half of the items on the list of things to do today now taking form in his barely conscious, near alpha state mind. After starting coffee brewing in the kitchen, he began his standard six item list on a piece of paper. It would remain with him in a shirt pocket all day. Yesterday's list had been written on the back of the book marking flyer.
1. Hallelujah! (Number one never changed, yet for one simple word it held for him a long and varied stream of meanings. They would change throughout the course of the day, though the syntax, text and punctuation stayed the same)
2.W.O.R.D.-W.E.P.T. (Number two had been the same for some 18 months as he worked on a handbook for technicians running the A/V side of Christian worship services. He was stuck on some point, subconsciously caught in a crux that kept him from completing the careful construct)
3. Ishmael (Three was frequently in flux; rarely if ever the same thing two days running, though often the same item appeared. Today he planned to get coffee at CQ and make a show of reading the book until Ishmael came to talk. The barista was a regular rhythm guitarist for their congregation's contemporary worship band. Not the world's best guitarist - but the secret line of credit behind the state of the art equipment the Paramus Vineyard Christian Fellowship used. A most important relationship to cultivate.)
4. Jms 1:27 - Food Not Bombs (Item 4 was always headed James, chapter 1 verse 27, the injunction of the brother of Yeshua ben Yosef that 'true religion' was to visit the 'widowed and the fatherless' . Ishmael knew of #4 on the daily list. He'd given him the flyer for FNB as a means of outreach facilitation. Apparently this hippy sideshow soup kitchen in the park looked to Ish like a fertile mission field for the 1:27 fundamentals )
5. Read Bible (Number 5 never changed either. It may seem self explanatory, but it has its deeper meanings. He found himself ALWAYS wanting to read Scripture. It interfered with most of his other tasks. He wrote this item each day so that he could cross it out, and thus by transference place an arbitrary and acceptable limit on how he buried his nose in the Jehovah's little instruction manual for life on earth. It was to him as intoxicants are for some others - an addiction. He attempted to manage his endless attraction to deific diction by making lists of other things he must first complete, before he got a Biblical. The theory rarely regulated his bibli-idolotrous obsession.)
6. Find someone to kiss (this last one was why he hadn't finished a checklist in nearly three years. As a healthy, reasonable and well spoken young American, he was mystified by the lack of play in his game. He owned his own home, had paid his college debt down by half, and was actively involved as the sound engineer at his church. For such a man to go 33 months without a date was a typical travesty of the modern scene. Girls yearning for nice guys tend to share the same jerks as the good time girls did.
He had come to kid himself recently that the passing of the 32nd month would mysteriously herald the thaw - that the ice formed over the stagnant pools of his hormones would crack and dissolve as his passions sprang vernally to life in the transition from 32 months of monkishness to 33. Preferably with a girl who liked Jesus, too.)
His 6 item, 12 word list completed, John poured the coffee and pulled his cell phone from his pants pocket. It was nearly dead for having spent the night in his pants, leaving a small bruise on his thigh where he'd rolled over on it - instead of on his father's electric bill. It would have to be plugged in before he could do anything else.
It was already near the end of the lunch hour. He normally wasn't so nocturnal. The night had passed with intense cross referencing of Jonah, Ahab, and their respective marine mammals. Dawn had come Homerically, rosy fingers tickling him to sleep while he read.
He looked at his reflection in the refrigerator's chrome. This look of unshaven dishevelment was not a decent public face - so he factored in a shower to his already busy schedule.
* * *
Chaonarchy Girl let herself back into the Info shop through the second floor apartment window by climbing a tree, dropping to the roof, and swinging down the drain pipe to cling to the ledge of a window which she had spotted as being slightly ajar from the ground.
"Yo ho, yo ho, " she hummed to herself as she broke into Nimrod's bathroom. The nice yuppie this morning had known the tune as well, in a present and singable sort of way. She hadn't asked him about it. If she had, he'd of mentioned the Pirate of Paramus, Nimrod, and she wouldn't have had to break in. Instead, she presumed that he'd picked it up from the new Pirate movie where the guitar player plays his own dad.
She'd been recently indoctrinated by Nimrod into his circle of 'Invisible Pirates', whose them song was it's an invisiblepirate's life for me
'We sail the seas of knowledge, liberating minds from the bondage of Oppression and depression.
We are the Invisible Pirates, we come to redeem the time that was wasted on hatred by shining the light of love.
We are the invisible pirates, it is better to stand alone than to stand with the enemy.
yo ho yo ho it's aninvisiblepirate's life for me'
PART B : SAINTS
The main thrust of Nimrod's Pirate movement was called Pilgrim Diplomacy. What it all added up to was the concept that the hyper materialist mainstream of American society was the antithesis of the teachings of all the preachers of Peace. Chaonarchy Girl couldn't agree more - and so had gotten stuck on the Piracy motif.
It was already in her heart and head because of the time she had spent with the A.R.R.R. team - American Rainbow Rapid Response. These hippies, punks and activist do-gooders were gypsies whose only purpose was to arrive at Disaster sites and feed the needy. They lay in wait at all times for the chance to rescue the lost and lessened. By sharing they dared to care about every segment of society. That is only really possible after a disaster - as your ivory tower liberals and gated community conservatives normally cannot be cared for because of their elitist pretensions. They don't NEED your love.
A.R.R.R. had beaten the Red Cross and FEMA to the center of the destruction wrought by hurricane Katrina - which is how Chaonarchy Girl met them - in Waveland , Mississippi. She had barely survived the horrors of those events by staying in the one bar in New Orleans that stayed open throughout. When she found the ARRR crew, she found a family she'd never really known.
That event, some years ago now, had brought her out of the dream of her earlier life, and thrust her into service as a way to avoid servility. Now she could barely remember a time before. She didn't want to, to think of the family she had lost in that storm.
The ARRR crew had serious backing from a major Organic Farming syndicate -and she'd come entrust her life to their new methods. With this background, the world of Invisible Piracy was a clear and simple progression. The activities they pursued, in an attempt to keep the corrupt world from fouling the planet before the next generation had a chance to enjoy it, fully empowered all of her feelings of isolation and hope. It was almost like the next set of instructions on a treasure map.
But I digress - back to the bathroom window that she was coming in through. Nimrod and his pregnant fiancé were nowhere to be seen. Before too long, however, friends of his showed up to prepare for Food Not Bombs. They had a key, and the knowledge that told her that her moment as a house guest was likely about to come crashing to a halt. Nimrod was in jail, and might not be out for some time. They'd found out because one of them was the brother of an EMT who'd been called to the scene. Nimrod, having been through reconstructive surgery was still unconscious, lying in gurney. That sort of thing has a way of disrupting one's schedule and social engagements.
She resolved to try to visit him in jail after this afternoon's feeding in the park. She didn't know of his sedation, and so found herself erroneously making the choice between rushing off to see him now, or waiting till after the feeding. She chose the latter option - mainly because no better venue existed for her than a FNB meal. There was free food (keeping with her freegan oportunivore sensibility of eating free food whenever possible), playing her drum, and chanting down of Babylon to be done . She wouldn't miss it for the world.
There, in the Infoshop, the dumpster food was converted into soup, salad and stir fry while she sang : Compost for the future
(DAE until the end of time)
We are the compost for the future / I Am freegan
I consider it my patriotic duty to eat at soup kitchens
Just think of all the energy that goes into growing food / and getting it to the table.
just think of the community that knew that it was still good / they've done all they're able
It takes an effort of will / to keep Love from the landfill
someone saved the excess / as a Patriot I am blessed
I won't let it go to waste / love is a season I can taste
We are the compost for the future / I am freegan
I consider it my patriotic duty to eat at soup kitchens
Every good thing that you throw away / speeds the end another day
I'm jumpin in your dumpster / saving you from your waste
PART C : THE LEAST
After singing her compost song she helped carry the food and drum to the park near the courthouse. 3 buckets they brought; one held dishes, one soapy water, and one pamphlets and stickers of the grass roots/subversive variety. Such was their typical Food Not Bombs feast.
The jail was adjacent to the courthouse, so visiting should be easy from there. Before they left, she considered calling to establish visiting procedures, then laughed. In her experience, the best method for inviting discordant chaos was to make detailed plans. Entropy as a social force was more real to her than democracy and its attendant beaurocracies.
Rather, she focused on Positive Manifestation, believing that the 'dream of All Falling' that is life would add up in the end to the universe conspiring to make her dreams come true - often before she even grasped the necessity. For example, she had been reluctant to let the yuppie buy her sandals today. He was sweet and all, so she couldn't turn him down, but she knew that she didn't really want to be shod with the responsibility.
Ellemonopy Cuares Tiuvi liked to joke that because her mother had needed 21 letters to give her an eleven letter name, the most appropriate rebellion for her personally was to become a 'rampant minimalist'. In all things she worked to use less and less resources at all times. She did not allow this tendency to distract her today, as efficiency and pragmatism superseded, enlightening her path. Quivering her arrows of locution and acquiring quietude, she accepted the sandals. 'I'll find someone who needs or wants them before I have to carry them very far,' she rationalized to herself.
By this means the WORD turned about her, from noun to verb, and back again. In the midst she stumbled against materialism while trying to remain receptive. Therein she was blessed. To visit Nimrod in jail, she would need to have some sort of footwear. This very sort of coincidence was what she considered a 'relativistic miracle of Providential Bumbling'.
Her image of Nimrod was changing. She had learned his legal name, Quentin Michael Gallegos. It was like some loss of innocence from which she hoped their friendship would recover. It forced her to think of his ethnicity. He looked less Hispanic than she did Navajo, and few enough people ever guessed her indigeounous origins.
The buzz from FNB said he was accused of two counts of assault, along with which came the concern that perhaps the Fuzz would soon be about the house to Investigate, Interrogate, and other wise implicate all over the place.
"Clearly," she mused to them aloud, "Paramus Food Not Bombs will soon be undergoing some radical changes." This struck the others silent in their preparations.
Because she'd been taught that tuning one's instrument was proof of the musician's love for the listener, Chaonarchy Girl set about tightening the strings on her Djimbe before they went off to the park. It was a hand carved, chalice shaped West African hand drum. Fur trim and pigment speckles remained from the goat whose hide made up the head.
On her knees, on the concrete floor, with her drum half tuned, she looked at the coffee table. There, in a basket labeled 'liberate this literature - yo ho!' was a paperback copy of Musashi's 'Book of Five Rings'. It was an older printing, from the 1980's. On the cover, a painting of a Samurai, all old school and terrible in his aspect, confronted a photograph of a businessman replete with all the accoutrements, including trench coat, briefcase, and rolled up newspaper wielded like a Katana.
She laughed aloud. The entire cover was designed to convince young urban professionals that the book was full of business strategy and such. Nothing could be further from the truth, she felt. Musashi's book of Ronin Samurai ethics - the heigh ho of two swords (or two heavens) as one - had as much to do with business as Mozart did with Bluegrass music.
The book stood out to her with that odd and hallucinated quality of intuitive shadows that told her that she should bring it with her.
'Yo ho, yo ho,' she hummed to herself invisibly, wondering how long it would take to get sick of the pirate act.
* * *
Ishmael met Maggie as intended after work. The two went directly to his place so that he could change before they went out to lunch. She drove. An avid walker, he lived only half a mile from the mall, and did not own a car.
In her car he said, "should I apologize for being pushy? You know, about the cigarette girl."
"You're not getting mushy on me now, are you, espresso jerk? You promised me that I got to get mushy first," she retorted, between drags on her mentholated, prefabricated chemically adulterated emphazema starter kit. KOOL - the taste itself was sometimes enough to turn her on a bit. It reminded her of her older brother's best friend - the rebellious kid she'd been engaged to for three years before cutting it off 2 months ago. He’d done nothing wrong - except procrastinate. That, in itself, was a form of doing everything wrong. Betrothal will wear a woman out. Some rebels just never clear the big hurdle and become proactive.
"Point taken," he said with a smile, only to amend it with, "I think. I want to go see the Pirate movie again. I went and saw it with my renter, Mike. I've been thinking it'd be nice to see it with a girl."
"You want to go see a movie about a theme park ride? Twice?"
"I just can't get that song out of my head. That, and all the characters in it go nuts - it reminds me of an old saying, 'everyone goes crazy, so you gotta go nuts on purpose, otherwise it'll sneak up on ya when yer not paying attention'."
"HA," she barked, "I wish Eddie had heard that one. Maybe we'd be married by now."
He took a long drag and considered that her throat had constricted while saying that. Perhaps she had suddenly remembered the common logic of not discussing old lovers with potential paramours.
"Yeah," he decided to set the conversational jib tactfully, "It hit him pretty hard. But I guess he found religion after you. He's been in the congregation at the Vineyard lately."
She barked the same laugh now, twice, then spouted, "Yeah, I guess Jesus snuck up on him after old Mags cut him loose. Talk about going crazy. Look, um, do you mind if we don't talk about him?"
"Now you're getting mushy," he observed.
"Yeah," she breathed, a bit of inquiry and resilience in her tone as they pulled into his drive.
He climbed out saying, "I just need to get these clothes off - they smell like work," and leading the way to the door. As he unlocked it he asked, "did you need to freshen up at all?"
She grabbed his shoulder and turned him around. Pushing him to the door she planted a solid kiss, lingering a breath and a bit, and asked, "I dunno, is that fresh enough for ya?"
He smiled, "no more apologies."
"Not for a while, " she whispered as their lips met quite mutually.
It broke off some moments later as they both were distracted by the arrival of two police cars (a squad and an unmarked crown Vic) in the drive.
* * *
John spent the next three hours of his life making his way to the shower. First of all, he preferred not to use any bathroom facilities but his own. This very minor idiosyncrasy was almost fetishistic - he also never used public toilets and minimized the use of those in other's homes. He often went to great lengths to keep his sense of decorum sanitary.
After getting enough charge on his phone to make it home, he hopped on his Vespa. He rode that moped to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription and several batteries he needed for the church's wireless mics. The Pharmacy in question was at the mall. It was then just about noon. By the time he left the pharmacy it was nearer one than twelve. He began to fret about getting home, showering, and getting back to the cafe before Ishmael left.
That's when he saw Maggie, whom he'd seen many times but never properly met. She was 'that cute security guard with the bright smile that he hoped to see more of'. She stood admiring his Vespa. As he walked toward it she looked up. Seeing his prescription bag, she quipped, "You won't be riding this baby under the influence of medication in my parking lot, will ya?"
He was ecstatic, she was already smiling! "Wouldn't think of it ma'am. I do all of my drugs at home," he lied. He'd taken the last Adderol in his old bottle at the bubbler in the mall. The cognitive dissonance of untruth left the greasy aftertaste of the day’s first pang of guilt in his mouth, which didn't mix so well with the chalky pill residue.
He tossed a leg over the scooter. She laughed three soft 'ha'-s while looking down at his foot kicking the stand.
Looking back up, she felt suddenly daring, and said, " You know, you seem like a nice guy, and I've had a really long day. Want to have lunch tomorrow?"
His mind raced. Having just told her that he did his drugs at home, she asks him out. Was this some bad sign, or just a coincidence? He was happy to have the great social equalizer rolling off the tip of his tongue when he said, "you know, I'm the sound guy for a revival at my church tomorow. It takes up the whole afternoon."
She felt like the Phoenix , suddenly spent and ashen in her heart. Crestfallen, she donned her big mirrored shades while looking away into the sun, saying, "oh..."
He hurried to placate her, "you could come by the church, I'm ..." only to be cut off himself.
"No, that's alright. I use my rosary beads as the string chain on a light in the attic, with all the other kitschy doo dads I've outgrown," she said coldly - still looking up at the noon day sun. Turning her head to face him she concluded," Have a nice day, sir," perfunctorily. Without a smile, she turned and walked back towards the mall.
"Guess not," he muttered while strapping on his white helmet after frowning for a moment at the black scuff marks on it from a recent fall. With a puttering vroom, he zipped off across town to his house.
He'd acquired the 4 unit building at a tax auction. It was there that he met Ishmael in the act of buying his own place.
John lived in the smallest apartment, renting out the other three to pay the bills. The building was self sufficient when only two of the three rented. Typically he had a bit of profit. The rest of his income was generated with a part-time teaching position at the same community college where he'd gotten his own teaching degree.
From the driveway he saw that order was descending into chaos: a mess had formed. A tenant had moved out and left the dumpster overflowing, with furniture set beside it. Something, or someone, had gotten into it all, leaving several bags ripped open. Garbage had been haphazardly strewn on the grounds.
"Good thing I haven't already showered," he mumbled to himself, taking off his helmet. He brought his Adderol and AA batteries inside, grabbed some trash bags, a pair of rubber gloves and set about the task of acting like a landlord for a while.
The realization hit him that this delay would cause him to be unable to make it to Cafe Queequeg before Ishmael left. Resignation hit as he mentally reviewed his list.
The kiss had come up and smiled, but his faith had gotten in the way. His former tenant had ensured he'd miss his carefully planned posturing. 'Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us,' he quoted to himself like a mantra.
The drugs they gave to help him through the day were for cluttermindedness. They wouldn't help him with this failure of the best laid plans to bring some small fleeting joy into the straying of mice and men. So he sat and read from Psalms before his shower.
* * *
Food Not Bombs served from 3 until 4, or until the food ran out - whichever came quicker. The 4 pm limit had to do with their observance of a convoluted mix of Ital Rastafarian and modern hippy traditions. They always ate before they smoked pot - and puffed their sacramental green herb at twenty minutes past four, every afternoon. Within the countercultural (and to a degree mainstream) communities, the 4:20 tradition could be found. It had sprung from somewhere in the smoky haze of Hippy antiquity. All around the world people followed this habit, and everywhere there were differing local myths of its origin - both rural and urban.
The three dread locked suburban Rastas were certainly not typical of all Food Not Bombs crews worldwide - they were just the local face. These particular rope heads didn't care whence the 'fort when he' meme had sprung into the collective consciousness. They were just happy that it had. They so enjoyed the rite that whenever they saw the number 420, in any form, they counted it as auspicious. Continuously they spied out addresses, phone numbers, and license plates - any numbers, anywhere. In this odd and herbaceously enhanced pastime they found endless numerological and (so they thought) prophetic messages.
Chaonarchy Girl was amused by them. Although she was also dreadlocked and believed in the Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah (which is a rough translation of Ras Tafari - 'the head to be feared' in strict etymology from the Ethiopian - with the cultural weighting of the Solomonic dynasty), she was not Rasta and did not smoke pot. She was allergic. Usually the mere smell gave her a stomach turning headache. Not that she avoided those who did indulge. Other people's habits were their own. She held no illusion that she could or should try to impose her preferences on them.
From 20 feet away she sang songs of freedom while playing beats on her Djimbe. It weighed a quarter of her own 130 lbs. From carrying it around and playing it wheresoever she went she was as toned as any person really ever need be. It was the largest of her 9 possessions. There were also 2 sandals, 1 poncho/serape, a pair of under/swimwear, 1 sports bra, 1 shirt, 1 pair cargo pants, 1 travel mug and one camper's special multitool knife with fork, spoon, and needle nosed pliers (among other useful) gadgets on it.
She carried nothing else but a passport and the copy of Musashi's Book of 5 Rings. The passport was property of the United States Government - and thus was only hers in a by the, of the, for the people sorta way. The book she thought of as belonging to someone else - she'd already read it and was only carrying it because she felt like it wanted her to.
To a Niabingi beat of bum bum ding, bum bum ding , bum-bum ding-ding-ding bum ding, she sang - segueing from Lauren Hill's 'I get out', off the MTV unplugged album, to a song she'd written herself after listening to that album
We all
became widows(Sojourner Truth)

We all Became Widows /Two thousand years ago
We are in the middle of a story/ and the story is a song
There is a WORD in the beginning/ to WHOM all the other words belong
Speak of love and you are singing/ and the world will come to you
Until all the World is singing/ there is nothing else to do
we all became widows/ two thousand years ago
we shall never be orphans/ we shall never be alone
no matter what we do with our hands/ this world is not our own
we are children sojourning/ we are pilgrim diplomats
in all things love discerning / singing light in the expanse
we all became widows/ two thousand years ago
In this sentence/ we are spoken/ the Syntax of the Christ
He is the Axle we are the spokes/ on the spinning wheel of time
we all became widows/ two thousand years ago
* * *
PART D : OF ALL PEOPLE
While she sang, John arrived, seeking his opportunity to reach out to some lost soul. As with everything today, he was late. The FNB boys were clowning about while cleaning up. As usual, they had nothing left but dishes.
He came along at the hip and funky end of 'I get out', catching all of 'widows'. He loved it, and wanted to get his worship bands to learn it - so was inexorably drawn into Chaonarchy Girl's distinct olfactory penumbra. In the midst of her smell, he was captivated by the fluidity of her mellow dirge.
He wasn't sure how to respond after her hands came to rest on the drum head between her thighs as she leaned, perched on the edge of a planter box. He clapped lightly and said, "Bravo, Hallelujah!"
She looked up at him, the natty mess of her hair obscuring half of her face in an impossible mass of Tarzan vines and spider webs. They were not the meticulously cultivated, glorified cornrow mullettes of the two white FNB boys, nor the perfectly coifed bees' wax creations of the Asian Trustafarian. Rather, they told the story of long abandon, festooned with beads, cocooned with red green and gold embroidery floss, in one place bearing a wing nut and in another a fork bent into a ring, the tines spiraled to become the mounting for a green tiger's eye stone.
John asked her if she was a Christian.
"Brother, probably not in the way anyone else is. I have experiences that point me to the Bible for truth. When I go there, the Bible tells me that the churches are all corrupt. So I don't dwell in corruption, " she replied vaguely but with certain sincerity.
He thought he was in his element now. "But the word says not to forsake the fellowship of believers, not to bury you talents in the ground," he obnoxiously misquoted and paraphrased.
"I sing songs of love and the love of knowledge where peaceful people feed the hungry. I am more than a monkey, not quite a monk. Jesus has NO quarrel with me. Nor have Buddha, Lao Tzu, and Krishna , neither even Socrates."
He didn't know what to say. This was the second time today he'd had a beautiful young woman pierce the heart of his thrusting faith and doubts with a seemingly offhand comment. He found himself looking at her arm, in an unfocused way, at the tattoos there.
She saw this and hummed ,'I've been a bad bad girl,' the starting line to Fiona Apple's song that finishes 'I've been careless with a delicate man'- but didn't hum that part. Instead she said, "I'm horrible. What a way to say hello. I see you looking at my tattoos, and I feel like talking. Let me tell you about them."
She walked over and put her arm through his, leading him gracefully to a picnic table.
"I hope you don't find me too forward, but it feels like you've found me for a reason." Saying this, she turned herself to sit opposite him and place one arm on the table by the elbow. She used the other to point to two men's names with dates beneath them on her arm.
"This top one is my father, the bottom my husband. They died on the same day, in the Hurricane Katrina storm surge that destroyed our home in Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi . I was different, then. Clean, and neat, and oh so very well employed at a casino. In one hot minute, I became a widow and an orphan. These were my first tattoos."
He looked up into her eyes, recalling his list of things to do. Here she was, redeeming the time, making sense of it all for him. "Hallelujah, " he said, smiling in relief. Remembering himself, he put two and two together and B4 he got to three was apologizing, "I'm not making some weird judgment. I was thinking of an unrelated thing. My condolences."
She looked at him as his eyes fell bashfully away.
"You don't need to apologize for saying Hallelujah to anyone, ever. I know your heart. If you'd really been happy about the end of my men, you wouldn't have ever let on," she was saying across the table, her hand now pointing to the tattoo of a heart run through with a long skinny crucifix like cupid's arrow. She continued, "no, I think you're one of those divine innocents. Your faith is eating you up."
He locked eyes with her. The question on his wondering face never needed asking, but he tried to speak around the foot in his mouth, and it came out mumbled, "how.." only to be cut off with the answer.
"It's a gift, this knowing other people's pain. Comes from growing up poor on the Reservation and then losing everyone I ever loved to Katrina, which is a Greek word that means Cleansing. My brain has been washed clean. Tabla Rasa."
He was nervous, she knew, shifting in his seat. Still, she felt compelled, "you're all caught up in something. You came here as some sort of good deed, like a missionary evangelist, or something. Jesus wears you like a wound."
He was breathless, now repeating the bittersweet phrase that was in danger of becoming a refrain, "how..."
"No, I'm talking, " she said, cutting him off. "Just listen. I don't know you, why you're here, or anything like that. My song moved you when you were trying to find something spiritual in a place where po' folks share their food," she paused to breath. "I've seen it many times. It's always the same. You were thinking of an unrelated thing. What was it?"
He was laid bare. That phrase, 'Jesus wears you like a wound,' had made him feel naked and small, as if he were cowering at her feet.
"I make lists, lists of things to do," he explained, "you reminded me of mine."
She felt like an oracle. The fullness of her thoughts made her giddy. It was without doubt or malice, all completely just compassion and knowledge that she said, "before I followed the money to my ruin dealing cards, I earned a degree in behavioral psychology. Let me guess. You've been diagnosed as being able to afford pharmaceutical speed. What're you on, Adderol? Sounds like you're being treated for short attention span theatre. Or, ADD, as they call it. If I'm right, show me the list."
Unconsciously he retrieved his list from his breast pocket and reached out. With a pang of delayed alert he remembered item #6 and became, like a type of Adam, ashamed. He tried to withdraw, "um it's not what you think."
She playfully snatched the paper and looked at it. Immediately, she began reading from the top, "Hallelujah," she sang in a soft contralto echoing Handel's Messiah. "WORD/WEPT - what's that?"
He didn't know why, but he answered, "It’s a thing I'm working on. I'm stuck' actually. It's supposed to be a manual for audio techs for churches, but I'm getting lost in the middle."
"How, " she asked, inverting the rhythm and tone of his previous mantra of discomfiture.
"I'm trying to find a way to have both scripture and science together in the same space. One or the other I can do - but combining them is, I dunno, hard. I'm not sharp enough. I keep using to many words."
She pulled the Samurai bushidocon out of her back pocket, saying, "hear me. This book will help. It's about how to use two swords at once - and why. It applies to many other things. Promise me you'll read it."
He was a little shocked at how sincerely and swiftly he did.
"Number 3 - Ishmael?"
To his continuing amazement, he said, "He's a member of my church whom I'm trying to help on a ministry project."
She smiled a laugh as large as the sky, a beam of light setting her aglow from behind as the gathered clouds parted.
"That's out of my league, and maybe too close to home," she began, taking a pose of conspiratorial roguishness. "Number 4, Food Not Bombs, with a scripture reference. James 1:27. I know that one! 'Pure religion is this : to visit the widowed and the fatherless'. Well I'll be, ha ha and hallelujah. Here I am, doubly bereaved and telling you about it all ready, right when, where and how you came looking for just such a waif."
The shock that went through him was incredible. He tingled all over, feeling as if a miracle were occurring. Then, in his head and heart the apprehension of item number six was becoming so great that his mouth went dry, his eyes lost focus - and then it all passed when she spoke.
"Man, before we go any further, I just want to say thank you. Nobody talks like this. Number 5, Read the Bible. I see you've already made notes here, with a different pen, of psalms you've read, or are going to read. Item six. We-eh-hell, monkey feathers," she said. Then she stopped, folded the paper and placed it back in his motionless hand on the table. Next she shifted her weight to hold that hand as she walked around the table to him.
It was too good to be true, he thought, as she became a silhouette by passing between him and the sun, and was resplendently arrayed by its glory of warm light and shadows as she sat next to him, bringing his hand to her lap.
Beyond her, he saw, oh so very unexpectedly, Ishmael and that security guard from earlier - walking with two police officers. They were headed toward the jail.
The moment had changed. Seeing the guitarist from church with the girl who had spurned him so harshly after leading him on turned out to be enough to spring him back into his own insecurities. He stood - stepped away from her - found himself still holding her hand - for otherwise the paper list would tumble and blow in the breeze.
Ishmael saw them and said, "John Bonhoff, Elemenopy," he cocked his head, "of all the strange things. If I weren't certain it couldn't be true...". He realized then that he was speaking aloud. He also became self consciously aware that he was holding Maggie's hand as Chaonarchy Girl smiled a Pirate's Leer at him.
"YO HO"
* * *
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