Thursday, June 08, 2006


For a Day I Believe

You should see the religion they have down here. I don't know if your attention spans can bear it. There are definitely too many details to spring upon you, since you probably need to get going by next line break. I wish it could be summed up in a quiz. Which Desparate Housewife Are You? And you click on it and you are met with an animation of two rabbits grooming a radish. That might do it.

Stark sober before you, I say this is exactly what we faced at the steeple near the inlet between the Efflift River and the Touleres Bay. Four of our rag doll friends had really taken an aggressive stance in preaching to us, all of them raised as Polemites, well-versed in the books of Herman Melville and bred with a most acute vindictiveness. They take a very compassionate stance on mariners which I feel is lacking in modern times. Fleur hates seafood, but doesn't seem to begrudge its captors. We agreed to attend church with them, for which they would trade us a backpack full of tuna and six train tickets. Fleur is okay with tuna, I am okay with tuna.

The chapel was very bright and lovely, sculpted in a porcelain, similar to the faces of the worshippers. A dark pearl lining crossed under our feet. The curtains were thin and translucent. It was small, there was only seating for ten meager, aside from the throne, where laid a very large radish. At his side, each with a very piercing gaze which went well past the boundaries of this country, two tall rabbits methodically stroked at the radish flesh with sponges strapped to their hands. They wore brown work trousers and black boots, with belts and laces left undone.

The dolls gave me a sense of heaving from behind and I felt that I shouldn't sit, but make acquaintance first. I approached the throne and noticed on the desk a nameplate which read "Leo." My position gave me a central perspective, where I noticed not only the great quantity of skin which had been wiped from the radish, but also the cameras mounted on all corners of the room. Not video cameras, but mounted chassis and lens engaged in periodically taking flash photography. This gave the illusion of the presence of an attentive press. But the Polemite dolls responded contrarywise and seemed stricken by awe and reverence at the wonder of the sudden blinding lights.

I began to speak but one of the rabbits quickly swiveled the nameplate to face the radish. "No, you are Leo," he said, in scolding tone. This slender rabbit (to the left) had a darker black fur and I felt instantly that he was controlling my mind or deceiving the world or dispatching thieves with great subtlety.

I've often wondered how I would address royalty and I felt this moment was now upon me. I chose a very warm and informal voice. "Yes, thankyou, well. I am so glad to be among the Polemite friends and I feel very shaped by your traditions. There's no question that I'm a changed man and that I now have loftier aims than ever before. No, don't esteem me like you would a seaman. I have no harpoon. But I mimick his movements on land. I do the things he would do if he were here."

I looked at the radish and his attendants for some reciprocation. They were still. Although the lighter rabbit (to the right) broke character for a moment to coax me, "Give him a minute. And the dolls will translate. Just..." He made a quick little comforting circle with his paw.

I dipped my head and laid wait. Sure enough, the stench in the room began to rise. The influence of the odor was so great that I began to feel the vast power of the root and a very poignant, sincere gratitude for the cameras which watched over me. The dolls chimed in, chanting, "My death / Your feet / My bread / Your counting / Your numbers / Your death."

"Mmmnn," I shook my head. "Thankyou, that's... adequate. That's great. There is so much to learn here." The smell was hairsplitting. Fleur says my moustache was all fanned out. "I am not marooned. I sail on the earth. I cast off from my bed. You're right. For sure, I see it now."

Fleur and I left, feeling great ease coupled with great astonishment. We both swore that should be ever print counterfeit bills again, the visage of the radish and his keepers would grace the centermost oval without question.