12.24.2012

If you can make it here... and back again

A minor god stirred uncomfortably in his sedan bed. The circumstances of his conveyance were well short of expectations, and he hadn't the faintest idea why.

He had taken great care in selecting his high priestess and up until now she had been properly attendant to the various rituals required to nourish his divine essence.

Well...

To be perfectly honest, her efforts at recruiting new followers had been meager at best. There was really only the one, not counting a handful of casual worshippers who would only occasionally show up at the temple on the high holy days. Or what they seemed to think were the high holy days.

They did certainly seem enthusiastic, at any rate.

The daily sacrifices had been forthcoming, if without the degree of pomp and circumstance one normally expected from that sort of thing.

And in truth, his exhaustive search had pretty much begun and ended with her. The gods of rain and thunder were dogging his footsteps, he'd seen her through the window and made a snap decision. Something about the hair and the eyes... but she'd proven herself fluent in the divine tongue, hadn't she?

It didn't make any sense. The temple was in disarray-- he had thought that the giant carrying boxes of holy artifacts out the door had been a raider until the high priestess and her consort assisted them-- and here he was being carried in a third-rate carriage to god only knows where.

Which god he had no idea, The others whom he had conferred with at the temple upstairs (the nerve of these humans. At least he had one of his own, and it wasn't a walk-up) were of no help.

Worse, She continued to refer to him by the name of a far more powerful god of his pantheon. Did they all look the same to her? It scarcely seemed possible. That fellow had longer ears, a ridiculous nose and mouth, and far more important responsibilities. He now sat in a box at the lap of his high priestess, who was sitting on (in?) a rather large specimen of the local metal beasts.

And now the beast had begun to lurch back and forth

This wouldn't do at all. The small god let loose his full fury.

Aw fuck!

What happened?

You guys, Anubis just pissed and shat the carrier.

FRAMINGHAM, MA--  We had made it 30 of the 225 miles to a chunk of Brooklyn full of barely-converted lofts which will no doubt become the next East Coast hipster Mecca once the final consensus has been reached that Williamsburg is 'over.' For the record, I can more than see the appeal. The residential hub growing on the skeleton of defunct industrial space has the air of an urban coral reef, with quite a bit of impressive use of what was already lying around. And where this is good for artists and entrepreneurs, it's bad for corporate brands. I didn't see any evidence of a national chain the whole time I was there.

We had planned to leave two hours prior, and were expected to arrive two hours hence, so that my passengers might pick up their keys and, you know, actually move into their goddamned apartment tonight.

Actually pulling over to the rest stop was a somewhat tricky maneuver  because that involved a lot of merging to the right, which meant borrowing the eyes of the crimson-haired witch riding shotgun, as the now-putrid cat carrier on her lap was obstructing my view of the mirror.

Forty minutes, some scrubbing, two cigarettes, half a can of deodorizer, and a layer of  kitty litter added to the floor of the cat carrier and we were back on the road, almost certain to be more than an hour late.

BROOKLYN, NY

"You look like a man who needs a drink."

I told him about the drive down, having to pay the toll for the RFK Bridge out of pocket (in fairness, neither of my friends had ever driven in New York City and they more than made it up to me, but that hadn't happened yet), getting yelled at for not mounting the curb in a 14' box truck in order to make a K-turn, the dusty-ass half-finished loft that was being pawned off on them while their actual apartment was being finished, a brief barrage of shouting that belonged to a man who had, it turns out, a faulty definition of the word "hopefully," and the twenty-seven eight-by-ten color glossy photos used as evidence against us..

"So, basically, like I said."

"Pretty much."

"As your attorney I suggest you go over there and get a PBR and a whiskey shot. It's three dollars. Then do that a couple of more times. It'll be great."

Gotham City Lounge is a tiny bar on Myrtle Ave in Bushwick, Brooklyn. One unisex bathroom lit with a dim red light, a pool table with a ten degree tilt towards the corner pocket closest to the door, a Marvel Versus Capcom arcade cabinet, and a wallful of DC comics iconography. In other words, a nerd dive bar.

Pretty much the perfect place to meet someone I used to play D&D with in high school. Especially after the hit my wallet had taken earlier.

DORCESTER, MA, 2001

You can have all these for free so long as I never see you playing with that premade beginner deck again.

My life has been blessed from point A by an abundance of generous nerds. Often in ways far more beneficial, but for someone I saw mostly at lunchtime and often not even then, the huge pile of Magic cards on the table was pretty fucking good.

Thanks, man. That's awesome

No problem.


John Ezzard was a somewhat tightly wound, weird, smart, good kid. This gesture was no doubt borne out of a sampling of those attributes. He genuinely wanted me to have the kind of library of cards that one needed to have on hand to build a deck that could compete (or really have any frame of reference whatsoever for what was good), and he also genuinely didn't want anyone to be sitting at his table with the weak shit I'd been bringing lately, having just recently started playing..

I feel positively shitty that I can't think of a damn other thing from then I could possibly write about him. People who took a better effort to get to know him have better stories to tell, but in my world, he was just someone who existed on the periphery, quietly being a pretty cool guy.

So it goes...

"Twenty-eight years old and dead of a fucking heart attack. I haven't said so much as a word to him since graduation. Then I get an invite to his funeral from his fucking Facebook account."

"Same here, man. Shit ain't right. I just found out that one of my friends from middle school got stoned and killed his friend in a car crash. Now he's looking at jail time."

"Man, the kid who hit ahead of me in little league got the other end of that shit. And the driver was an asshole from my Scout troop who hid behind his older brother whenever someone stopped taking his shit with a smile. Not the first car he wrecked, nor was it the second car his mother bought for him.

"... Are we one-upping each other with this shit now?"

"... uh, kinda..."

"Man, if there's some cosmic force that's decided that we aren't already perfectly aware of our mortality, it can take the next dozen or so years off if it likes"

"It won't."

"Yeah."

This was two weeks before Sandy Hook. A lot has been said about that tragedy that doesn't need to be repeated here, but my hope for the survivors is this: That one day, a couple of decades from now, they are able to drink beer with good friends and joke darkly about it.

My friend re-joined the people he'd arrived with as I got another round. I walked up to him as a tall blonde woman tried to make a point about descriptive linguistics.

"That went way over my head. Probably because I've been drinking since eight. But here, Let me refer you to my smarter counterpart. This is Pat. At any time of night, when I'm drunk, stoned, or drunk and stoned, I come to him with my shit and he always responds in a way that's helpful and enlightening."

A superlative introduction by someone who was instrumental in my learning how to be cool, as a nerd. In the early days of this blog, I might have introduced him similarly.

My new acquaintance and I proceeded to tipsilly argue about "irregardless," "decimate,"  and "enormity" until people needed to leave. We were in perfect agreement about irony, which is kind of refreshing in that neck of the woods.

On the way home, the downside of the neighborhood became apparent on the way back to my friends' new would-be apartment when I found that the 24 hour grocery operated through a bullet-resistant package passer after midnight.

There is only one way it is possible for me to ride in a Fung Wah bus without coming out of it with banged up knees, and that's getting to the front of the line. They cram a seat anywhere they can manage, and as such there's only one on each bus where I can sit; the one in the very back, right in the center of the bus. No seat belt, nothing to hold on to.

There are worse ways to travel.

I hope that those who are observing (or, as is more likely given the time of posting, have already observed) any of the holidays that fall upon the Solstice enjoy(ed) them thoroughly.


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