Thursday, July 17, 2014
Well, it was a bit of a shock, but after I kicked the bucket, I found myself on the Rainbow Road leading to the after whateva. Rainbow road, not Ferry road? Well, there was the name, right on the sign. Though a nice lady named Sharon gave me a donut and a coffee to go, and would only accept coins. Peculiar I thought, but she showed me the way. Nice little country road, winding in among the trees. Tramped pretty solidly by the thousands who have walked down these leafy vales before. Turns out people think you can take it with you. They all seem to be burdened with baggage (some of the load they carried when they were alive) which Dickenesque self judgement seemed to be pretty universal. Even I could see the nice gravel of the road I trod upon frost up with multi coloured hoar around feet which seemed to still not work right. At least I knew I was on the right bridge! I didn't think the BiFrost Bridge would looke "quite" like this, but then who am I to judge. The rainbow road was littered with suitcases, boxes, weapons (!) and other detritus of lives spent, well, living.
Like all good things, the long pleasant road came to an end. And there were the judges. Not the ones I would have chosen given the circumstances, but I guess they would do. Farther along, visible from up on the hill here on the left, a harrassed white robed dude trying to deal with a row of computer monitors which seemed to be awfully overkill considering his lineups were NOT terribly excessive. In fact, hardly any at all. The big line up was for team Hell on the on the right. There, almost on the road was the bouncer himself, the "Lord of the Flies", looking just like a 1950's horror movie. Head of a fly, body of a big tough dude covered in tatoos which shifted and moved in a MOST disconcerting way. He didn't look very comfortable, as he was standing out beside the road shivering in what was clearly the bouncer's spot out front of a night club inpired version of hangover Hell. Again, not what I was expecting, but then, at least it was sulphurous and full of demons and lost souls as far as I could see from where I stood in line. Over by the main entrance were the Lord of War, Lord of Famine, Lord of Pestilence, and Lord of (I can never remember) looking bored. "Right", I thought, "Walmart greeters". The Lord of War was tossing bullets at the Lord of Death, trying to get his exposed ribs to ring in tune, while Death kept twisting because "It tickles...quit it". The Lord of Conquest had his nose in a travelogue, and was planning his next trip, but kept coming up with "Hmmm, Afganistan looks nice" and I heard Famine sarcastically remark "Yeah, its always worked for you before! Sure, go for it!" Conquest would look up with a puzzled look, obviously confused and kept muttering things like "terms of victory", and other weasel words to convice himself that he still had relevance in a modern world. Famine convinced him to go back inside and "change into his lawer's clothing". This (I thought) explained much. Dipishits and bullies. About what I expected.
A bus load of heavy metal fans were arguing with the fly lord about why they should be there, and the fly lord kept calling in his buzzing voice for more skin lined books with the metal heads' life histories to prove they had not been bad enough. Finally the big guy slammed the last of the books shut, leaving a huge cloud of cocaine dust in the air (all that was really left of their lives) and sent them back to their bus. The bus driver blew bubbles at them and mocked them, I could not "quite" get a glimpse of his face but the voice sounded very familiar. As did the bubbles. And then the Lord of the Flies came to see what I was up to. An eager soul elbowed his way past me, dropping the baggage he had been carrying and I took this opportunity to look at what he had flung to the dirt. Turned out it was his street clothes in a cardboard box, his clothes spilling out into the ditch. I picked up the empty box because I had an idea.
The box said LG on the side. So I walked up the harrassed bouncer and he pronounced in his buzzing voice "So now (buzz buzz) who are you and (buzz buzz) where can I find you on my (buzz buzz) list of books? "Oh", I said "I'm just here to install the air conditioning". And I held up my box that said LG on the side. I figured a dude who had the head of fly would not be too bright. And was not disappointed. "Air Conditioning!" (buzz buzz) "This is Hell, we don't DO air conditioning". I replied "Oh come on. I'm not talking about on the dance floor (I could see over his shoulder a place where the lost souls were writhing in what I shall for the moment call a "dance floor". Turns out, I found out later, that it really WAS a dance floor, and the "lost souls" were actually being forced to try out the latest Shakira dance moves. Yup. It was Hell all right) I mean, look at your Lord of War, he's still sweating bullets!" They were too...real bullets! In response to this jibe, War sweated a few into his cupped hands and flung them at me. They went supersonic with fierce crack-crack-cracks as they passed overhead. Flies turned on him in anger and picked out a few of them out of his skin. His tattoos took the opportunity to try to get a bite in on me. I moved back a bit.
"Say, (buzz buzz) has anybody seen Conquest? We are out here doing our dooty and where is Conquest? (buzz buzz) Death pointed out that Conquest was studying Afganistan again and they all in unison said "Yeah, that has always worked for him before!" Conquest had just come out the door in time to hear himself being mocked and hurredly volte faced. None saw the look he gave the rest of them.
"so (buzz buzz) what made you think to try to sell air conditioners in hell?" "Well, I figured there would be a market. Its a job." I set my box down and dragged up one of those ubuquitous cloth slung chairs abandoned by the road and offered it to the big guy. I dodged a snap from the wolf tattoo on his wrist, and dragged up a chair for myself. It promptly collapsed on me...the way they do. Ever hear a fly laugh? Fortunately, there were plenty of the stupid chairs. "Yeah (buzz buzz) I know what you mean about it being just a job. Just like this one. (Buzz buzz). "I could make jokes about how my dogs are tired, but then, I am tired of hearing them. (The tattoo'd wolfs on his feet growled at each other) Well, its getting late in the day so you may as well take off. See if you peddle your (buzz buzz) air conditioners to St. Peter. He is (buzz buzz) just up the road. Its time for Hell to Party! Want to drop by, (buzz buzz) we have been practicing Shakira dance moves! "Nah, got to get to work", I replied.
Conquest met me on the road, his white horse prancing and nibbling at the fresh foliage along side the road. I sort of felt that he didn't belong with that crowd, but then, upon reflection, where would the one be without the other? "Well, you pulled that off", he said, "with a little help from me justsoyaknow. Not as much as all that though, you picked your time well, that undisciplined crew were tired and had been on duty all day. Did you notice your book was right there on top of the pile? I swiped it, here, you can hang onto it. Sooner or later, it will drag you back down this road though." I took the book, and placed it in a formerly discarded possibles pouch which had been abandoned by some colonial wars soldier who knows how long ago. I liked the fringes. The leather was embossed with hunting scenes which ran around the front and in behind. I was hoping to get away from Hell's influence long enough for the embossing to stop moving. I asked Conquest "So where do I go from here?" "Well you could check in with the opposition. He is just up the road, and for today, He has taken on a form you can understand...the old silliness of St. Peter and the pearly gates. Don't underestimate His intelligence, and think it is equal to the Lord of the Flies...He got you some luck today." "Why would he do that?" "Well, I think He wants you as my assistant." "You work for Him? The first of the four horsemen of the apocalypse? Really!" He chuckled, the sword belts creaking a bit in the setting sun and the Calligae kicking up little dust clouds as we walked. The horse knickered but I noticed that she did not leave any horseshoe prints. "Lets make camp in that clearing up ahead on the left. I will explain it all to you" said the Lord of Conquest, as he kicked together a pile of duff and reached for his flint and steel. "Is that any wine left in that box over there?"
And so, with that, the adventure began.