Quetzalcoatl

I’ve been watching the weather lately. I want to drive south, but a big storm system has been moving through the Southwest, and I try to be prudent. Best to wait a few days!

I was browsing various sites on the web this morning when I heard a weird hissing sound. I looked away from the computer monitor and saw this!

“Shit! Who or what are you?!”, I exclaimed.

The strange creature laughed.

“I am Quetzalcoatl, Larry! I’m surprised that you didn’t recognize me.”

“Well, now I do. So what’s up?”

“Oh, nothing much. It’s a bummer being an obsolete god consigned to oblivion. We never really die, but the more believers we have, the more vigor and power we have.”

“Yeah, I can imagine. I wonder if writers like Neil Gaiman might help?”

“Can’t hurt!”

The weird figure gradually faded away. An interesting encounter indeed!

Larry

Loki

I was writing away this morning. A pernicious habit, but one hard to kick! Another Norse god slowly manifested himself here in my kitchen.

“You must be Loki!” I said. I know all of these northern deities from years of reading Marvel comics back in the day.

I said, “You are the bad guy, the villain in Norse mythology. I hope you don’t mean me any harm!”

Loki smiled and said, “Oh, don’t worry, Larry! I’ll be nice! Thor and Eos told me about you. We were down at the pub talking and having a few brews. Jesus was there, but they had to kick him out. He and Zeus got into a fight. I think God is going to pay the bail for Jesus. Not a good thing for the Christian religion for Jesus to be in jail!”

I enjoy celestial gossip as much as anyone!

Larry

Thor

My sister Linda and I have been having a bit of a dispute about evolution. I was typing out a response to her, trying to calm troubled waters, when a Norse god suddenly appeared before me in my kitchen.

“Hi, Larry!”

The god had his hammer in his hand. A big hammer. I was just amazed.

“So what are you doing here?”, I asked.

“Just thought I would stop by for a visit. Eos told me you about you.”

“So what, do all of you gods just hang out together, all of you from different cultures?”

The god smiled at me.

“Yeah, there’s this little pub where we congregate. We chat and compare notes.”

“Well, that’s certainly cool to hear about! Is it okay if I write about this? Will I be accursed?”

“No, it would be fine if you post about this! Nobody believes your stories!

A Visitation From A Snow God

I’ve quit the newspaper delivery job, although I will miss it. Such fun driving the same back roads very day!

I was sitting in front of my computer monitor this morning. I need to get some sleep, but it’s hard to tear myself away!

A figure appeared before me on the breakfast nook bench where I type out this stuff.

A white-haired elderly man with new snow dusted upon his hair and shoulders. I was startled; I said, “Who the heck are you!”

“Hi, Larry. I’m one of the winter deities. My name doesn’t matter. I’m partially responsible for the cold weather which recently descended upon the Midwest, and I watched you while you laboriously scraped frost from your truck’s windshield yesterday. Winter’s a bitch, right?”

“Yeah, I don’t like it. So why are you visiting me this morning?”

“I’m here to offer you a bit of encouragement, as Eos told me that you might be driving south.”

“Well, thanks! You can’t tell me your name?”

“I don’t need a name. I come to the Midwest every year and do my duty.”

I left the visitor and went back to bed for a while. He’s most likely out there generating more snow and frost!

Larry

Charon

Early Sunday morning, well before dawn, I was out on the back roads, driving along and delivering newspapers. I was listening to a BBC news program on the truck’s radio. I wish I could talk like that!

It’s a vulnerable position to be in. What if I had a flat tire, or engine failure? It was cold out, so I just hustled along, hoping to end the route by getting home so I could sleep.

As has happened before, a figure slowly materialized above the stack of bulky Sunday papers over on the passenger side of the bench seat.

“Hi, Larry! I’m Charon. Do you mind if I put this barge pole behind the seat?”

A gnarly wizened man wearing a Tyrian Purple watch-cap. He peered at me. I’m getting used to such visits!

“Yeah, go ahead. You have a dog with you, it seems! Three heads?”

“Cerberus is my buddy these days. He won’t bite! He is many thousand of years old and his teeth aren’t much of a threat now.”

One head of the dog looked at me. That head seemed alert and ready to bark, another yawned as if bored, and the third one seemed to be asleep.

“I’ve heard of you — so how’s business over at the Styx?”

“Truth to tell, Larry, it’s getting kinda old. So many people dying! I’m tempted to send some of these folks to meet Saint Peter! Let him decide where dead souls should go!”

“Yeah, I can understand. So what are your criteria for judging souls?”

“Well, their record comes along with them, and I peruse it. I have to say that most humans are scum! How to fairly judge such irrational creatures?”

“Well, don’t ask me! I’m just glad that I don’t have to judge them! What is your opinion of the current candidates for the coming American presidential election?

“Oh, don’t get me started! Why is it that such fools try to run for office? Great material for comedy and parody, but give me a break! You benighted humans need a new FDR!”

“Well, maybe so!”

The mythical figure faded away and I listened to some virtuosic guitar improvisations by Django Reinhardt.

Larry

Kokopelli Shows Up

This is an enhanced crop from a photo of a petroglyph in the desert Southwest, an ancient depiction of Kokopelli. It was recorded by Bev Wigney:

It was early Sunday morning and I was driving down a bumpy gravel road, way out in the boonies of Adams County, Illinois. I was feeling rather pensive, as financial woes have been weighing on my mind.

Oh, well, get the newspapers delivered, and maybe things will turn out well!

I heard a strange noise in the cab of the truck. It sounded like the calls of coyotes processed through some sort of digital filter, a very chilling sound. I noticed a disturbance in the air — an entity of some sort was gradually materializing in the truck, just over the pile of newspapers yet to be delivered!

I’ve become accustomed to such intrusions into my routine. A visitation was imminent, I figured.

This time it wasn’t a minor Greek deity, but a Southwestern American character, a creature I’d never met in person.

“Hi, Kokapelli! What brings you here, so far from your usual haunts?”

Oh, how strange — a figure with a hunched back, the effect produced by a backpack loaded with stuff I was curious about. His face looked rather canine, with a long snout and an expression of amusement.

“Oh, I was bored this morning, and I’d been hearing about you from some of the other minor deities.”

“You have the reputation of being a trickster, Kokapelli. Please don’t fuck around with me! I’m just trying to do my job and get home safely!”

The god-creature chuckled.

“Oh, don’t worry Larry, I’ll try to be civil! You’ve been the talk of the celestial community lately, and I’d get a kick out of talking with you without destroying you utterly, which of course I could do easily!”

“I’d certainly appreciate that boon! What’s that in your tunic pocket?”

“It’s a flute made from a Bald Eagle’s bone. I’ll play you a couple of tunes, if you would like.”

“Sure, play away!”

Coyote (one of his many names) played some plaintive music for me; the pentatonic tunes seemed to express the sorrows and regrets of the native folks who were displaced by the militarily-enforced advent of poor land-hungry Europeans back in the previous centuries.

“Nice playing, Kokapelli! Thousands of years of practice make perfect, right?”

“Yeah, I guess so. Hey, I need to take off — there are some new-born desert tortoises and lizards which need my blessing!”

Well, that encounter was ample material to occupy my mind while I drove home!

Larry

I Meet Atropos

I was doing my job early Saturday morning, driving along rural gravel roads and delivering newspapers to news-hungry customers while they slept.

It was a misty-drizzly morning. The overcast sky ensured that the dawn would be late. I mulled over in my mind what would happen if the sun were to disappear down a black hole, or just wink out and not rise at all. How would humanity cope? Of course there would eventually be mass famine, once we were deprived of sunlight and the taken-for-granted boon of photosynthesis. Maybe a few bands of humans would survive for a while, burning the dead trees and coal in order to keep warm on a frozen earth. Surely reproduction would come to a halt, once it became clear that humanity’s reign on this planet was coming to a chilly close.

Somber thoughts indeed! I scanned the eastern horizon for a glimmer of the dawn I hoped would come.

Suddenly I heard a faint humming sound in the cab of the truck. What could it be? I looked over to the passenger side of the bench seat and saw a disturbance in the air, a peculiar purple-hued rippling.

The figure of a wizened old woman clad in black robes appeared, perched upon a stack of fresh newspapers and cackling to herself. Oh, what now? Couldn’t I finish my route in peace without these anomalous intrusions?

“So who might you be?”, I asked with tones of resignation evident in my voice.

“Hi, Larry! I’m Atropos. I’m sure you have heard of me. Those barbarous northerners call me a Norn.”

“Okay… so to what do I owe the pleasure of your acquaintance?”

“Oh, I was chatting with Eos the other day. She says that you lack credibility these days and are also tolerant of godly intrusions.”

“Well, I guess that’s true.”

I glanced more closely at her face, all spider-webbed with wrinkles and sprouting clumps of hairs in odd places. I had a question for the aged deity:

“I’m aware that you share an eye with the other two Fates. What the hell is that in your empty eye-socket?”

“Ha! That’s my little buddy, an Etruscan Shrew. She gets a cozy little cavern in which to curl up and sleep, and I get a furry barrier against chilling breezes.”

“Oh.”

I was a bit taken aback, but I could understand her reasoning. I continued:

“So you are the wielder of the ‘abhorred shears’, I guess, eventually cutting every human’s thread. Can I see them?”

“Oh, surely, Larry! Take a look!”

The ancient goddess withdrew a pair of scissors from a fold of her cloak. I said:

“But those are just Fiskars scissors! What happened to the fabled bronze shears?”

“They just got so worn down that even Vulcan couldn’t fix them anymore. Snip, snip, snip! I’ve done a lot of cutting during the past eons, and these Fiskars scissors are so sharp and efficient!”

The old goddess chuckled with a glee that I found to be rather unsettling. She peered at me and said:

“I’ll show you something that you might find shocking, if you like. Are you game?”

I sighed. A revelation from the Fate who terminates us all couldn’t be good!

“Well, okay. What do you have to show me?”

The crone gestured, and a strand of something which glowed pale blue appeared between her fingers. The edges of the cord-like strand weren’t well defined, fuzzily fading into the dark background. A slow bulging pulse periodically traveled along its length.

“Do you know what this is, Larry?”

I was almost afraid to ask.

“Oh, just tell me, Atropos!”

“This is the strand of your own life! Watch while the scissors approach…”

Slowly the plastic-handled scissors opened over the frail cord.

“Atropos, cut that out! Why are you toying with me?!”

Perhaps a bad choice of words…

Atropos chuckled and darted me a merry glance.

“Don’t worry, Larry! Just teasing! You have a fair amount of time left! You’ve been given a bonus by the Powers That Be, as several other deities want to meet you. Now I have to leave; I have an apprentice to train. You humans have so many awful conflicts that I can barely keep up these days!”

The old woman faded away. I have to admit that I waxed pensive during the remainder of the route!

Larry

Meeting Another Deity

I was running late on my rural newspaper delivery route yesterday. A couple of conversations with chatty customers, a photo opportunity I couldn’t pass up, and the need to stop and put a quart of oil in the truck — it all adds up! As I neared the end of the route, bumping over gravel roads near Payson, Illinois, the impending sunset caught my attention. “Might be a good one!”, I thought.

It’s tricky navigating the twists, turns, and potholes while still keeping an eye on the sunset, as the sun had found an opening in the clouds and was blazing through it in a manner which left blue spots floating before my eyes.

As the sun once again became obscured, a favorable development from my point of view, a winged figure swooped by me through the open truck window and perched on the back of the seat. Eos at sunset? Surely not!

I looked over and saw a rather strange sight. Another winged humanoid, but this one was male and had leathery bat-like wings, as well as a smirk upon his Irish-looking face.

I exclaimed, “Who or what the hell are you?!”

“My name is Dysis — people and gods in the know call me the Lord of the Dusk. Eos told me about you, that you have been photographing our domain, the sky, so I thought I would drop by for a visit.”

“Oh, I don’t know about this! I’ve never heard of a Greek god named Dysis! You look more like a mutated Malaysian Fruit Bat!”

“I admit that I don’t get the publicity that Eos always seems to find. That bitch is a shameless self-promoter! Posing for Renaissance painters, sleeping with that blind dirty old man poet back in the old days in Greece — she’ll do anything for good PR!”

“So you’re a friend of Eos?”

“Well, a bit more than a friend. I freely confess that I’ve been courting her for eons, but she always rejects me. She has this idea that sunsets are second-rate compared to her fancy dawns. Kinda pisses me off, but I’m still smitten with her.”

Dysis gestured towards the west-facing window of the truck. “Now take a look at that, Larry! Isn’t that a nice effect?”

I said, “Yeah, that’s good all right! I like the molten-brass strands contrasting with the clouds.”

We drove on in silence for a while. The sunset evolved. I said:

“Dysis, if you are in charge of this sunset, how is it that you can be down here riding with me in my truck?”

“Larry, a sunset like this isn’t a one-God job! I have about thirty sprites up there doing the grunt work. They are coming along well, though most of them still have to use templates in order to get the patterns, the mackerel and fractal-like sequences, started well. Here’s one developing as we speak!”

Well, I have to say that I’m always interested in meeting and talking with local deities! They seem to seek me out.

Larry

Eos Gets The Blues

It was dark, very early on this past Wednesday morning. I was in the process of delivering massive hunks of advertising, each one weighing about four pounds, to rural newspaper customers. Somehow the American holiday Thanksgiving has been co-opted by commercial interests. So what else is new?

The sky was overcast as dawn approached, and it looked like I might not have any photographic opportunities. I’d just have to wait for another early morning with favorable clouds.

It wasn’t very cold out and I had my window down as I buzzed along the gravel roads, listening to a CD which documented the wonderful interplay between tenor sax player Lester Young and singer Billie Holiday.

Once again I was startled by a fluttering figure flying into my truck; of course it was my friend Eos, Greek goddess of the dawn.

“Damn, Eos! You always give me a start when you abruptly fly in like that!”

“Well, Larry, what am I supposed to do — send you a formal announcement?”

“You aren’t looking very happy this morning. What’s wrong?”

“I’m just kinda bummed out. These overcast conditions don’t give me much of an opportunity to strut my stuff. I gave the apprentice sprites some pre-mix Dull Red Glow to spread around, but that’s about all I can do on such a dismal morning.”

“So what — you’re gonna just hang around with me and try to bring me down too?”

“Oh, no, Larry! I was hoping that you could cheer me up!”

“There’s something I’ve been wondering about, Eos. Why do you single me out? Surely you know that I’ll write about our encounters on my blog. I thought that deities such as yourself try to avoid publicity; after all, this is an oppressively Christian nation, and in general people don’t want to read about old deities still doing their thing.”

“I single you out, Larry, because you have blown any credibility you might once have had. You write about events in your life, but you always seem to veer off into fantasy! Nobody will believe this post, for example.”

“Well, I can’t help that. So you think that this post is more-or-less under the radar?”

“Oh, yes, Larry. People will think, ‘Larry’s having another one of his spells!'”

I drove on in silence for a while. I narrowly avoided a collision with a deer. Eos broke the silence by saying:

“You think I always have rosy fingers? Take a look at this!”

I glanced over at the winged goddess; she seemed to have swollen and become threateningly large. Her fingers had become coal black. Oh, what now? All I wanted was to finish my route, but here I had a scary goddess in my truck!

“Behold, Larry, the Sooty Fingers of the Doom! One touch and you are toast!”

“Oh, cut that out, Eos! Gosh, you’ll have to try harder than that to bring me down!”

We bickered back and forth and eventually as it became light out the quirky deity flew off to take a nap somewhere. I was relieved, truth to tell. Hanging out with deities can be stressful!

Larry

Another Talk With Eos

I was driving down a long straight stretch of gravel road this afternoon, limestone dust billowing in my wake, my ancient truck’s engine burbling happily, with Schubert’s Fifth symphony playing on the radio. Parenthetically, that symphony is one of the truly happy works of European music, right up there with Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony. Schubert had decided to quit his teaching job and his ebullience is reflected in the Fifth. I was happy because the Quincy classical music station wasn’t playing over-rated and bombastic second-rate music; in my view the best of modern movie music surpasses the bulk of 19th-century “classical” music. I’d rather listen to Ennio Morricone or Bernard Herrmann than Rachmaninoff or Tchaikovsky. But that’s just me!

It was warm and sunny out, and the landscape seemed to be enjoying a last respite from the frigid rigors sure to come before long. My window was open and my elbow extended out into the slipstream.

A feathered humanoid form whooshed in and settled on the back of the seat next to me. What was Eos, Greek goddess of the dawn, doing out in the middle of the afternoon? I thought that she generally slept the afternoon away after the exertions of her morning tasks.

I said, “What are you doing up, Eos?”

“I just couldn’t sleep ‘cuz I was so excited! Look at this!”

She handed me a scroll of what looked like silk.

Taking my hands from the steering wheel and steering with my knees, I spread out the scroll. The lettering and illuminations were ornate and brilliant, looking like something out of the Book of Kells. The fabric wasn’t silk — it was even smoother, and it seemed to glow with an interior light like the screen of a laptop computer. Back-lit fabric!

The lettering was in a script unlike any Earthen script I had ever seen.

“Okay — you have to tell me! What is this?! You know I can’t read it!”

“Larry, it’s an official permit! They have issued this to me after I pleaded and begged for oh so many eons. This scroll gives me permission to try some new and innovative dawns! The only catch is that I have to create them where no human will see them.”

“Well, that’s certainly cool! But what is this weird fabric the permit is printed on? It’s kinda like silk, but that glow…”

“It’s a new fabric woven from congealed photon strands exuded from the spinnerets of cosmic spiders which weave their webs within dark matter thickets, way way out there.”

“Do tell! So who or what weaves this wondrous fabric?”

“We have some new weaver sprites in the shop; they were raised and trained just for this work. They aren’t much to look at, and don’t welcome small talk, but they do have a way with the warps and the wefts, don’t you think?”

“So how will you find places where no human will ever see your innovative sunrises? We’re almost everywhere these days.”

“I know of several areas, like certain areas of the Australian Outback and the Gobi Desert. Antarctica would work, as well.”

“But what if some human happens to see one of these sunrises?”

“I have permission to kill them and feed their corpses to certain ancient and amoral deities. Cthulhu was the first to sign up.”

“Oh. Wait — how do I know you aren’t just making this up? Trying to entertain yourself while you are idle this afternoon?”

“Wouldn’t you like to know, Larry! You can find out by hanging around one of the areas I mentioned. Don’t count on our friendship to restrain my wrath!”

The goddess smiled at me and flew out of the window; she disappeared into the distant clouds.

This encounter gave me food for thought during the remainder of my route!

Larry