Archive for the ‘evil’ Category

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An Answer: Pagan Mythology in the Shur

January 25, 2018

ithadows

An Answer: Pagan Mythology in the Shur
Matthew Sawyer AKA Mr. Binger

“The power to manifest your will is what makes you a god,” Mr. Binger, a community lecturer and alleged pagan-sympathizer, announced to the sparse persons in his audience at the University of Superior in Wisconsin. The stiff wooden seats in the auditorium discouraged attendants from sitting, so many stood bunched near the dark exits at the back of Webb hall in the Holden Fine Arts Center.

“I said it.”

They were listening, but the fact was only evident in that none would leave. The fifteen Fahrenheit degrees below freezing, outside this late January afternoon, could never dissuade a single of these burly Midwesterners – all were plump in their gender-agnostic winter clothes and accustomed to the stark weather. Mr. Binger imagined they murmured so that he felt motivated to tell everyone again about a dead religion.

“The Chosen are gone,” he told everyone lingering. “The heathen will never leave their desert. There are no terrorists here, not in northern Wisconsin, so no will be coming to hang me upside down and unzip my guts.”

Someone then grumbles. Mr. Binger thinks the coarse complaint had come from a girl, ahem, a youthful eighteen or nineteen year old woman, but the sound was difficult to distinguish. This year, just as every year, everyone suffers colds, fevers and coughs throughout the winter. Awoken from hibernation, the contagious bug inflames faces and makes cheeks red. The blush was never because the cold weather outdoors. The people of Wisconsin knew so much to always bundle themselves up to their eyeballs.

“You kids have started smoking again,” Mr. Binger said to himself. “That doesn’t help.”

“Okay,” he admits to his audience, “The content is graphic, blasphemous to the Abrahamic religions, Hinduism, the Canadian Eskimos, but as I understand, you are all adults. Also, this lecture qualifies as point-two-five of a credit for sociology, anthropology, creative writing students? Studies like those, here in this school?”

Without a response, Mr. Binger adds, “That wasn’t rhetorical, that’s really twenty-five percent of one whole credit. So, all you young people are privileged to choose, what, four lectures of this sort for a full credit. I suppose that’s better than spending your time on social networks. But, I suppose nowadays you can do that at the same time, too.”

“Yeah,” answered a muffled voice. This one had sounded suspiciously feminine.

Mr. Binger requests in general, “Well, turn off your phones and keep the volume low. I have to say that every time. And no taking videos, please. I hate seeing myself online. No pictures of me; it’s enough that I keep coming up on stage.”

“The other thing you should know,” Mr. Binger warns his audience, “This is a lecture; this is not a story. You might think this is fiction because it all sounds pretend, but this is true anthropological history. Living people in the past believed this mythology. Just like the Roman Empire and its Catholic Church, these pagan beliefs and practices still impact us individuals and our nation in the modern age. Our world began in this past.”

“What I have to present to you is information, facts. Whatever I say does not go beyond what I tell you. This is not going anywhere. There are no pagans, there are no more Chosen. I am not advocating any religion. Besides, heathens consider us all Unchosen – people who are told what to believe. I’m telling you about the things pagans believed before any of us were told.”

A stomach growls the same moment Mr. Binger stops abrupt. An echo of digestion joins the reverberation of the speaker’s voice in the tall lecture hall. Mr. Binger then ignores a subsequent noisome body function, notably not his own. The distance between him and his disperse audience allows him immunity against anything but the sound. Spread so far apart from each other, nobody acts assaulted by wafted winds.

Immediately past the ill-timed eruption, Mr. Binger says, “Okay, the universe has always been.”

“It’s hidden dimensions are only now unconcealed,” he clarified. “Forget a flat earth, the Big Bang, an expanding universe and that ridiculous contracting universe theory. Heat death? Pff. This is what pagans in the Shur believed.”

“The universe has always existed, it will always be, and there is only one universe, concealed by veils of darkness. There is space, right, but it is genuinely infinite. Space has always been there, stretched beyond the reaches of light.”

Mr. Binger pauses again. This time, he sees more uncomfortable seats have been taken. So few people stand near the exits that light from the vestibule outside is seen streamed through glass windows set in the doors. More attentive faces stare up at the elevated man, but their communal affect is of boredom. Mr. Binger has endured the reaction before; it has been each time when a reader stops reading.

“I know I’m not speaking your language, folks,” he told everyone. “You’ll get what I’m saying, I’m from here, Wisconsin, south of Madison.”

“Cheese-eaters,” a young man whooped from shadows next the exit.

The audience replies with Mr. Binger and moan a correction in unison. “Cheesemakers.”

Chuckles are quick to die. In the brief meantime, Mr. Binger says with a smile, “Think of it like this – beyond the light in the room, there is an invisible veil. Beyond that veil is darkness and another veil. There is then more darkness and another veil.”

“You get the idea,” Mr. Binger explained for everyone. “The veils are as infinite as space and the darkness themselves.”

“Pagans had a name for that darkness, for the darkness was alive. The darkness was life itself – enough life for all the dead matter in the universe.”

“That living darkness between the veils of space was called Mitencohli,” Mr. Binger deigned for his audience. “Mitencohli was consumed by Rudra, but not the mightiest-of-mighty Hindu god we know on our world. This alien Rudra was a sentient element from beyond a deeper veil. Rudra was the god who tasted life at the dawn of creation.”

“Before that breakfast, there was matter in our visible universe and beyond the veils of space, but nothing was alive. Well, Mitencohli; the living darkness was alive. We now know about the alien Rudra, and his mother and father, the flesh-less Wenwi and his obese wife, Tecolent, but they were not technically alive – not in the narrative sense.”

“These three were sentient elements before they became gods; Rudra was to Wenwi and Tecolent as Helium is to Hydrogen. He was always inevitable, as was his brother Awaran – as the pagans believed. All three consumed the living darkness trapped in the skeletal chest of Rudra, for Rudra barely contained Mitencohli, but he holds on. That is why we have light.”

Mr. Binger clears his throat and he helps to redirect the droning thoughts of his audience. He waits while one old-fashioned university student finishes scratching graphite against desiccated hemp pulp. Mr. Binger then asks, “Where did Mitencohli and the sentient elements come from?”

“Like I said, they have always been there. Without the life of darkness, the sentient elements remained inert.”

“How do we know this?” he further asked.

At the same time, Mr. Binger declares, “Tablets.”

A single cough then a throat clearing from squeaky seats prompts the speaker to explain, “Sandstone tablets were smuggled out of the Shur years ago – after the fall of Khetam and the Chosen were decimated.”

“They were old – the stone tablets were – ancient. Pagan.”

Yet excited by the illicit discovery and the mythology that was unveiled, Mr. Binger interjects, “We learned, Rudra tasted the living darkness when Mitencohli went hunting for food. The darkness first touched the sentient element – that’s an important point, a universal truth. Life was hungry, then itself was eaten.”

“Ahem,” he said upon realizing the topic of his speech had gone disjointed. “Or, rather, amen.”

For the sake of clarifying himself, Mr. Binger specifies, “The stone tablets were fragile and they were already crumbling – some were broken and we recovered only pieces.”

“We don’t know who the author was. Or, maybe, the artist: because the mythology had been recorded in hieroglyphs.”

“Those hieroglyphs were pagan, almost Sanskrit. Some scholars might legitimately say the etchings resembled a poor rendition of the Japanese alphabet. I am, of course, referring to my critic, social justice activist, Dr. Eric Dwyer.”

Mr. Binger ignores the diversion inflicted by the memory of his critics. He tells everyone, “That’s not important. I had nothing to do with the translation. I haven’t even seen the remains of the tablets, ever. They are not anywhere on display.”

“All the same, I am talking about the pagan mythology. It doesn’t matter what anyone else has to say. We don’t need the original stone tablets, not any more; we have digital copies. It is what it is – mythology.”

Eager to return to his speech, Mr. Binger first makes a personal observation. “I can tell you one thing, the pagan hieroglyph of a cat looks like a cat.”

“So, you know,” he reinforced for his audience.

“The mythology of the pagans,” Mr. Binger repeated. “An artist, who had been paid to reproduce the hieroglyphs, he called the mythology, ‘Mortui’ philosophies – ideas on death, I suppose.”

“M. Sawyer,” Mr. Binger identified for everyone. “Mortui is what he had written in his sketchbooks. No one in academics calls the mythology that. It’s just pagan; that is what the Chosen and heathen called them.”

“That artist, by the way, tried to capitalize on his copied drawings, too,” Mr. Binger said in segue. “Nothing wrong in that.”

“He sold designs of monsters made directly from the hieroglyphs. Being hieroglyphs, you know, his monsters looked just like the graven images. No copyright infringement there. You might even find a t-shirt online with one of his designs. All I know, no one is buying that, either. I certainly don’t get a commission.”

Only a constantly accelerating sound of steam in boiler pipes accompanies an abrupt return to the topic Mr. Binger first introduced. “The pagan mythology,” he said.

“There was Rudra and Wenwi and Tecolent, I told you about them. They were sentient elements; the last born from the first,” Mr. Binger summarized. “Wenwi and Tecolent were first, you understand. It was a dual role.”

“There was Mitencohli, too, but the living darkness was not a sentient element. Some early scholars identified the alien god with space and the veils, or the darkness between the veils.”

The speaker grumbles in his throat then clearly states, “No, the living darkness is alive. The darkness is life. Mitencohli had been consumed by Rudra and that led to creation, as in life across all the veils of space. Animals, plants, plankton, people – three sentient elements from beyond a deeper veil imparted life to all of us, all the worlds throughout all of space.”

“But, the living darkness forever consumes Rudra from within. You see in this metaphor, life itself is ravenous in any shade. Yet, because of the life inside him, Rudra was made a god. He’s hungry, always skeletal, but never dying. Rudra always, desperately, gropes for the life that escapes him. The living darkness that comes leaked from his bones feeds both his parents, too, Wenwi and Tecolent.”

As if unconscious, Mr. Binger motions to shuffle non-existent notes upon an invisible lectern stood invariably out of reach. The speaker never requires reminders when he speaks about M. Sawyer’s Mortui philosophies, although cards would have helped straightened the track ahead of him. ‘The line lain after,’ Mr. Binger thinks in quick retrospect, ‘That may have also been straighter.’

Nevertheless, the speaker progresses to his favorite part of the mythology. “After feasting upon the living darkness excreted from their nuclear son, Wenwi and Tecolent, now hungry and alive, consume each others waste. Still, life was never enough. Tecolent, the tablets tells us, she feels so badly starved that the goddess perpetually consumes herself.”

“The origin of good lays here, at this part in this mythology,” Mr. Binger specified for his note-takers. “Selflessness. All else is just trying to eat you, because the fateful alternative is greed.”

“Unable to bear life without his wife, Wenwi feeds himself to Tecolent. He does so throughout eternity and she grows obese. Wenwi appears only better preserved than his son, Rudra, but he, too is consumed by the living darkness inside him. And all his flesh is gone – Tecolent eats him raw. She eats what Wenwi gives her and, too frequently, she grasps for more – just like her son. She then became the Mother of Grossity.”

“Upon the cannibalism, Wenwi and Tecolent no longer bear living children – the darkness they expel was made impure and only monsters now come to bear. These creatures are born starved for life.”

“The first abomination was Awaran,” Mr. Binger bulletined. “This shapeless hunger, one given a name, attacks Rudra. Upon his half-birth from the waste of his parents, Awaran kills his suffering brother. Rudra was easily overpowered, you understand, for the living shadow always eats the god from within. I say so in the present tense, because them being gods, you know. Their stories never end there.”

“They ate their children,” Mr. Binger stated in his raised voice. “Newborn monsters are usually eaten at birth because Wenwi and Tecolent had also tasted the living darkness. And, so, they were the hungry gods of creation. I would claim we are the lucky children who got away, before our parents began consuming themselves. We didn’t get out of the house, but we are hidden behind the curtains – of space.”

“I’m talking about the veils beyond the reaches of light,” Mr. Binger immediately explained for his audience. He admits aloud, “I’m afraid I’m losing your attention. Hold on.”

He promises the occupants of Webb hall, “I’m almost done. I only have to tell you about one more alien god. There are others, but they a lesser gods, powerless sentient things of the universe. Their names are accordingly unknown.”

“This last one, Awaran, too, consumed the infinity of living darkness inside Rudra, and he also became a god. Awaran was a monstrosity, but the corrupted flesh of his family did not define his shape within the veils us mortals can see with our own eyes. The tablets tell us so much.”

“We, the first children of Wenwi and Tecolent, before the corruption, we perceive Awaran in the form that had helped him part the veils of space and discover our world. The tablets describe him for us. They tell us what happened and why this alien god is a milestone.”

Mr. Binger corrects a personally important misconception. “This is where scholars begin calling these entities from the pagan mythology Elohim, like, from the Bible, the Christian Bible. That’s in Exodus, if you want to look it up, the pluralistic gods. They’re probably not the same thing, but you never know.”

“Chosen called them Elohim,” Mr. Binger remarked. “So do heathens, to this day, if you can find any to tell you so and they don’t eat you first.”

“There are those stories today about the monstrous children of Elohim manifesting inside Khetam, about the time heathens breached the Chosen’s Wall. Nothing is substantiated. War time horror stories, Dr. Dwyer concluded.”

After stopping himself, the speaker inhales then says, “The tablets tell us nothing about these Elohim visiting our world. Although, they do teach us how Awaran parted the veil into our space. Understand, the pagan were warning us the Elohim were coming. Rumors about what had been witnessed in the ransacked Promised Land were meant to be confirmation their monsters are here on our world. I guess, we’ll see.”

“From behind the deepest veil of space,” Mr. Binger said with a lowered voice, “Arose another entity like Mitencohli, the living darkness. Awaran discovers the one called Ithadow – for this was the name all sentient elements sing throughout time. This is the name heard throughout the cosmos – the noise in space, like a vibration. The sound led Awaran to this new source of living darkness.”

“You see, the tablets say, Ithadow – actually, the name cannot be pronounced and Ithadow is just convenient to say –  this entity had come hunting for the living darkness Rudra consumed. Ithadow survived upon the living darkness. Without this food, it consumes both the first and the escaped monstrous children of Wenwi and Tecolent. Awaran had discovered Ithadow draining life from these worlds between the veils of space.”

An anxious shuffling of feet and the one or two persons heading toward the back doors reminds Mr. Binger he had again broken his promise. “I know I told you Awaran was the last Elohim I was going to talk about, but Ithadow, like Mitencohli, is not an Elohim. That’s just what scholars and lay-people say because it’s also convenient, but it’s lazy. Neither Ithadow nor Mitencohli have ever reproduced. They don’t fit all the categories that would make them into gods we would accept. Neither have minds as we know a mind, nothing there in all we have been told.”

“I’ll tell you what pagans believed Ithadow looks like, because this entity was not like the living darkness. Ithadow has a shape.” The speaker had spun a finger over his head that same moment he spoke. Mr. Binger then says without motion, “A manifestation that cannot be perceived by the mortal mind. The image of Ithadow in the eye of a living being brings madness.”

“Nevertheless, pagans created a hieroglyph for Ithadow. The entity is portrayed as a jellyfish with long arms and claws. The whole thing is inside a crenelated shell that sits at the center of a web. I’m not going to draw it for you. Besides, I’m not an artist. All I could do is scribble something you would see if you did lose your mind. And there isn’t even a chalkboard here on stage with me, so you won’t get that.”

“About that web,” Mr. Binger rejoined himself, “It’s a part of him, like an external digestive tract. Ithadow spins the web, casting his guts beyond the veils of space. The web is how Ithadow hunts for food. Strands of the web of Ithadow throughout the universe taste the living darkness in all things that are alive. Following these strands is how Awaran passed through our own veil.”

“The story on the tablets say there came an eternity when there was no more food for the Elohim. The strongest of them, Awaran, traveled to the cusp of space searching for even his own offspring he might consume. There, he glimpsed the web of Ithadow shining as a star where there were no stars to be seen. Following this light, and a vibrating chant, Awaran breached our veil where Ithadow had already come through into our space.”

Mr. Binger stalls then says through a firm face, “Pagans warned us the web of Ithadow had already touched our world. They feared what else was coming.”

“Like the ancient Sumerians, pagans in the Shur believed evil more than often prevailed over good; not in any sense of morality nor justice but of sheer strength. The only recourse against any ill was to appease a stronger evil. Awaran was said to be that candidate, so I guess pagans had some hope. And, yet, it was only by the example set by Wenwi that they persisted so long as a people. Heathens, as you know buried all of them alive in the sands of the Shur – archaeological excavations had verified that as fact generations ago. The way was made clear for their Living God, as heathens would say.”

“Yes,” Mr. Binger affirmed in the course of a sigh. “Pagans worshiped there own desert demons – Uzapu, Lord of the Waste, Beomouth, Thilimoth – and mythical beasts, like the lekko and lanters…”

“Paws and claws and the other, like a lion with a skull like a moose.”

“Oh, there is scientific evidence a few of their bizarre cryptoid actually existed, for instance; the damned mehtad, the slovenly mwele and the sly strumatru. They may be real and alive today, out there, hiding. That’s all I’ll say about that.”

Mr. Binger pauses only to refill his lungs. Full again of stale winter auditorium air, the speaker recommences.

“Ahem.”

“When the web of Ithadow touched our world, and it woke these sentient elements, the web also evolved the minds of sensitive human beings. Heretical prophets foresaw the coming of Awaran; they predicted the emergence of the greatest evil. These visions were passed onto their children.”

Mr. Binger stipulates, “I’m not here tonight to talk about our own earthbound pantheons, that’s a speech I can give later. All of you are probably on the edge of your seats waiting for me to tell you what Awaran looks like.”

“He looked like his parents,” summarized the grinning speaker. “Until he tasted Ithadow. Awaran drained an endless flow of life from the web of Ithadow, but it was not enough. The Elohim follows the intangible intestinal tract upstream, if you will, and he discovers Ithadow.”

“Did I mention Ithadow was as large as our own Milky Way galaxy? A single strand of its web would easily swallow our planet. Truly, pagans had told us we are indeed inside the exuded gullet of Ithadow, his web, with all the ghosts of living darkness around us, waiting to be digested.”

“That’s us,” Mr. Binger said as he points his finger at himself and everyone in the audience. The few remaining listeners might be counted in a single breath. He tells each of them, “So you know, those ghosts in the web; we’re them. A little piece of living darkness constitutes each of our souls. We are Mitencohli, at least, that was what pagans believed. And that is why Ithadow has come to consume us after we die – once that darkness escapes our fractured shells.”

“Anyway, Awaran could not possibly consume the mindless Ithadow. Ithadow is immense and powerful. If anything, Awaran was in danger that he, himself, was eaten.”

“His brother, Rudra, contains all of Mitencohli, sure, but the living darkness is different. I told you that, yeah? Mitencohli was vast, yet, the living darkness is without dimension. Ithadow, on the other hand, is real; made of matter and not energy, nor something astral or ethereal. Nevertheless, Awaran makes Ithadow bleed and the Elohim escapes our space with blood on his hands. We’re not told how.”

“Before Awaran passes our veil back into his own space, the alien god is so famished that he licks the blood of Ithadow from his fingers.”

The speaker stops talking and he stands still an exact three seconds before saying, “Then Awaran changes.”

“Awaran begins to become Ithadow.”

Mr. Binger admits, “Now, there was not enough blood – Awaran did not consume all the blood off his hands.”

“No matter,” he judged. “The Elohim grows myriad skeletal arms, Awaran becomes vast and he realizes, simultaneously, the mistake he had made.”

“Before tasting Ithadow, Awaran had consumed the living darkness leeched from the bones of his brother, Rudra – as did his parents, Wenwi and Tecolent. The living darkness also consumed Awaran from the inside, so they were once not so different. Both Rudra and Awaran were skeletal and starved. The blood of Ithadow helps Awaran retain his portion of living darkness, but the cost is terrible.”

“All that remains of Awaran are his countless bony arms and his skull. Ithadow allowed the hungry Elohim to keep his head. If there was any thought given toward the mercy, I suppose, Ithadow probably imagined he and Awaran were the same – two suffering space gods.”

“I can tell you, pagans tell us Awaran covers his shame with blood. The Elohim is draped in blood as if the gore was clothe; the robe of Awaran. There’s a pagan hieroglyph that depicts that robe as a rain of blood.”

Hoping to illustrate the image for his audience, Mr. Binger pokes a single finger into the air as if he taps at raindrops. “You know Awaran is near when blood rains from a clear sky.”

“There you go,” he punctuated. “The creation of our world, where we come from and where we go after we die – according to the extinct pagans of the Shur desert. The living darkness inside each of us will be consumed by an armored jellyfish – with pincers.”

“If the Elohim don’t eat us first.”

“Ithadow will get them in the end, then what will happen?”

“Will Mitencohli reemerge and again cover all the veils of space with darkness? I don’t know.”

“Where is our God in all this?” Mr. Binger spontaneously conjectured. “The god of Abraham, El, or the Christian Yahweh? One in the same, I suppose. Our living god? The tablets briefly mention the arrival the true god – a prime creator.”

“The Chosen tribes sacrificed him in testament to their power,” the speaker answered himself. “They claimed this god was mortal. Killing him was proof that mankind itself was divine. Chosen doctrine reduced the heathen Living God to being merely an awakened sentient element, like Uzapu.”

“Yet, Christians, like heathens hiding in the Shur, expect he will return.”

“The big difference how these two religions worship God is where Christians believe Jesus is coming back, heathens fear the living god will never return. They beg his memory with prayer and bloody sacrifices to bring him home again and build his kingdom in the Shur.”

“If you ask me,” Mr. Binger said mocking his own invitation, “And I realize I have not been asked, but I’ll just say, there is no God. Of all the disappointing revelations in my life, that has been my the most grand.”

“Heathens would accuse me of arrogance, just like the Chosen. At the same time, my brown hair and green eyes are proof enough for them that I descend from a Chosen tribe.”

“I don’t care,” a brave Mr. Binger postulated. “I’m not worried, and neither should northern Wisconsin. We’ll never see a heathen here nor anywhere in the United States. They can hide in the desert, and die there waiting for the god who will never return.”

“Thank you,” Mr. Binger then expressed to the single other shape remaining in Webb hall. He or she was standing in shadow near a door.

Moving off stage, the man ruminated aloud, so loud he is heard all the way in the back. “It’s getting cold out there, I’m worried about my car battery. You know, when it’s cold, it sucks the life out of everything. What would pagans know about that, huh?”

“Or heathens, or even Chosen – they live in a desert.”

Descending stairs stage left and into empty chairs, Mr. Binger finishes speaking upon saying, “Although, with weather like this, it is tempting not to just go into the Shur.”

-_END-_

Are you curious about the Chosen, heathens and these faiths in the Shur? The final incarnation of Matthew Sawyer’s Pazuzu Trilogy is available from Amazon

The Waste Book One
The Waste Book Two
Gaunt Rainbow

 

Other stories from Matthew Sawyer (AKA Mr. Binger) available from Smashwords

Hardcover and soft cover books available from Hulu

 

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The Waste – Third Revision of a Vision

September 5, 2017

waste one .jpg

Dear Reader,

A word from the author…

Readers hate this story. And if you are one of those critics driven to warn others, you might as well copy and paste any of the following:

“How many false starts does this book have?”

“Tons of grammar mistakes and incomplete sentences.”

“Is English even his natural language?”

I am saying, if you’re a persnickety nag, you will loathe my writing. And you will miss everything I have to tell, because, who else can speak for me?

I persist regardless the persecution! Here I am, and I insist The Waste is an epic story. Well, anti-epic; it’s tragically adventurous. What is here is a novice’s effort to create a story on the scale of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings or Stephen King’s The Stand. But my tale is different. There is no good versus evil. Everyone here is an un-redeemed sinner. There is only evil in this desert world called the Shur. God is gone, and that has left an opening for demons and alien gods to fill that void.

That supernatural struggle is reflected in the religion and the very same absent god of two theocratic combatants. A demon plays these factions against each other. That is probably where readers complained about encountering false starts in my story – you are meant to follow a demon and not any tangible character through the books. I meant the original titles – Pazuzu Book One published by Llumina Press and my self-published Pazuzu Trilogy – to reflect my intention.

The Waste is actually in its third revision. I self-published the thick volumes twice under my pseudonym, Mr. Binger. The Waste is a two volume edition of what I wanted the book published by Llumina Press to be. The out-of-print Pazuzu Book One, though, only told half the story, and people weren’t buying it. That brought an end to hiring a professional proofreader. All we have got is a Libreoffice spell-checker. I hope readers have seen through the multiple revisions and incarnations of the story, I do correct typos as I go.

The Waste is always the uncensored pinnacle of the story. Whereas, a single novel would easily tell the tale, I always imagined two volumes. Just like the New Testament, there are two parts – a resurrection and an apocalypse. The trilogy split the story into three suggestively titled books – Manifestation, Emergence and the meaningless Abeyance – but that did undermine the whole idea to revise Christianity. The Waste, Book One and Book Two, is what readers should have got. — Matthew Sawyer

Hardcover books are now available from Matthew Sawyer’s Storefront at Lulu.com.

Cheaper paperbacks and ebooks will be available from Amazon soon.

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A Consequence of Reflection

July 15, 2017

Who is more dangerous to you as an American citizen?

A president who lied to Congress about an extramarital affair.

– or –

A president who lies to America about colluding with an enemy state.

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Man of Vowels

July 17, 2016

He lost his hand
There in the sand
Lost because a game he plays
That man with one hand.

Does he raise hell?
Does he raise the dead?
Does he take bad dreams
And put them to bed?

Soneone must follow him
Leave for us a hint
Trinkets that might reflect light
A trail of needles and pins.

He sleeps alone
So who would know
If he stays in his room
Or where does he go.

Listen for a grunt
Hear the furniture he bumps
We will know what is true
We will discover his stunts.

 -Matthew Sawyer

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Once Gramps Had Come – A Christmas Story

December 19, 2015

An essential piece of Christmas has been missing forever, almost as if it has hidden itself. In the story Once Gramps Had Come by Matthew Sawyer, that hidden piece comes out to perhaps breathe clean air, eat or maybe stretch its legs. Whatever is done, this short tale starts in a Nursing Home. A homely man who calls himself “Gramps” offers immortality and the holidays are coming up.

Once Gramps Had Come by Matthew Sawyer

Once Gramps Had Come
Matthew Sawyer

Thursday, November 21, an ugly, old man comes to the Nursing Home. He is not the slightest seemly; not handsome like the weathering of a familiar leather jacket, nor noble like the bark of a gnarled oak. The man is ugly. Frightening, yet he looks a lot like that knotted tree and ragged hide coat. Presumably present for the terminal long-duration care and rehabilitation available here at Nueva Buena Vista, the terrible creature introduces himself to other residents. He calls himself, “Gramps.”

Mr. Breckell, who regularly assesses his own hearing, believes he has misheard the name. He shouts from his seat of padded linoleum. “What did you call yourself? Cramps?”

Mr. Breckell assumes and also asks, “Is that what’s wrong with you?”

The ugly old man lumbers near the only fellow whose spoken to him. This Gramps or cramps sits down on the stiff, yellow cushion next to Mr. Breckell. The new old man creaks and his joints crack when he bends his legs then he adjusts his seat. The racket is disquieting to everyone in the day-room. Mr. Breckell tells the creepy, wooden man next to him, “You sound like you’re going to break.”

“I do fear it,” Gramps answers.

Before he forgets, Mr. Breckell asks him again, “What did you call yourself?”

“Cramps,” Mr. Breckell swears he’s heard again.

He suggests to the badly weatherworn stranger, “Cramps, I would change that nickname. You could then go talk to someone else.”

“I think you are mispronouncing it,” Gramps tells him.

“Me? How about you?”

Gramps, or still possibly cramps, immediately interrupts the fresh argument. “Are you afraid of dying, Mister…”

“Breckell,” Mr. Breckell automatically replies.

“Sure,” he then insists. “Yeah-”

“I can help you live forever.”

Mr. Breckell finishes his thought. “But I get less fidgety the older I get.”

He then pauses, gazes into impossibly seeing and dense cataracts then tells cramps, “I don’t think you can help yourself. By the look of you…”

Mr. Breckell shakes his balding head.

“I know the worst of it,” Gramps promises his indignant comrade. “You can help me.”

The idea makes Mr. Breckell chuckle. “I will see what I can do.”

With yet no response, he asks the ugly stranger directly, “Who are you?”

“Everyone has forgotten me.”

Mr. Breckell tells him, “Welcome to Anonymous-Anonymous. The ladies across the room cry about the fact at weekly meetings.”

Gramps adds, “And any who do remember me, and if they still believe, they think I have gotten lazy over centuries.”

Mr. Breckell assures him. “That’s just how it feels.”

Pink light glows behind the opaque eyes of the stranger. “I’m telling you, Mr. Breckell, there is another way. You can live forever.”

Mr. Breckell laughs and the sound grows. He stops his guffaw when Gramps admits, “But there is a horrible exaction. There are crimes you must commit.”

“Go figure,” Mr. Breckell says entertained and newly curious. A meager rush of adrenaline reminds him of the shadow of being a young man and alive. Enthused that little bit, he grins and banters. “What evil things must I do. How many children do I need to eat?”

“The children are never eaten,” Gramps declares.

Mr. Breckell tells him, “Then that explains why you’re so scrawny. Tell me, mister, who are you?”

“I told you.”

“Oh, no you don’t. I am not about to wake up tomorrow and remember my name is Al Z’heimers. Who are you?”

The ugly stranger next to Mr. Breckell tells him, “The Krampus. The, the Krampus.”

“Huh?” Mr. Breckell grunts without purpose. His recollection is vague. He goes on and says, “Remind me who that is. Are we talking about Christmas? The elves and the magical Saint Nick, right? Not the Jesus and Christian Santa Claus, correct?”

“And not the American who drinks Coca Cola,” specifies the Krampus.

The name, or its shaded memory, fits the horrid personification here in the ugly stranger. The monster tells Mr. Breckell, “I am his nemesis, his companion and cohort. The folklore all across the world will tell you the same.”

The Krampus rants. “But I refuse to do his work. I won’t do it and I only want to pass away – and join our brothers. Somebody else can be remembered to be the Krampus. And he or she can be that until the end of time.”

“End of time, you say?” Mr. Breckell repeats. “That’s the part that includes living forever you were talking about?”

“If you do those things you must do.”

“And what does that mean? What do I got to do?”

The Krampus scowls when he says, “Make toys.”

Jokingly, Mr. Breckell answers, “Well, how do we get this operation done? I can live forever and do that.”

“Hell, what are all the toys for?”

The Krampus reveals in earnest, “They are the years of your life. Each toy is a day, you live one day for every toy you make. And you must keep them secret.”

Carried by high spirits, Mr. Breckell continues to play with the ugly man. “That can’t be bad. I suppose I can make seven toys in a day, or make fourteen or even seventy.”

“Saint Nicholas takes them away,” replies the Krampus. “And you will die if you do not have even one made and hidden away. Then, at least, you will live that single day. You can use that time and make a new toy that you can stash away.”

Having never truly stopped, Mr. Breckell laughs aloud once again. “Are you telling me Santa Claus steals your toys.”

The Krampus alludes, “A thief by any name… what would he do if he was ever successful and he murdered me?”

“You are telling me, you can die if Santa takes away all your toys.”

“You will die, Mr. Breckell,” declares the Krampus. “When you become me.”

“Hold on,” Mr. Breckell says and stunts the conversation. “You told me you wanted to retire. What did you say? Pass away. You can do that if you let Santa have all your toys.”

“There is something else you must do,” states the Krampus solemn and cold. “Someone must take your place. Someone else must always be the Krampus or we will never be at peace.”

Unswayed by any prospect this whole week has presented him, Mr. Breckell remains engaged in his lively discussion. “I don’t know about your offer, mister. I heard that Saint Nick character was one tough hombre. You know, burglary is his thing – creeping down chimneys and eating cookies and all.”

An idea occurs to Mr. Breckell. “Hey, I have never seen the jolly old man. I know for a fact my parents put all my presents under the tree. I never heard from you, either. Or were you part of all those pagan parties before the twentieth century? Before my time?”

“I was hidden,” answers the Krampus. “Me and my toys and my workshop have been hidden all your life and longer. Saint Nicholas had no toys to give to good girls and boys.”

Mr. Breckell rambles, “So Santa Claus canceled giving away presents because he couldn’t rip you off…”

“What about his little helpers? Where are his elves?”

The Krampus shakes his head, gasps then sighs. “I am so tired and I cannot bear the things I do. I can no longer bear my guilt.”

Mr. Breckell wonders aloud, “Why? What have you done? You make toys.”

“Listen,” musters the Krampus. He leers into Mr. Breckell’s face. “You can’t just take them – I never did. I gave them warnings. They get two?”

“What are they and who are them?” Mr. Breckell asks. He is not one bit interested in hearing any admonitions.

The Krampus tells him, “The first warning I give is a lump of coal. I put it in their stockings.”

“Are you talking about kids?” indicts Mr. Breckell. “I was just kidding when I mentioned earlier that I was hungry. Certainly no veal.”

The Krampus ignores the man’s comments and he continues speaking. “The second is a bundle of twigs bound together with reed. After that second year, I just come and take them.”

“Where – where to?”

“The North Pole. I hide my workshop there in a cave washed out by ocean waves.”

Certain who they are talking about, Mr. Breckell shouts, “Why?” Not one deaf head in the day-room turns.

The Krampus confesses, “Children can make your toys for you. That’s allowed if you keep them under your control.”

“Slaves?”

“I use a potion brewed from an extract of mistletoe. I mix it into their porridge of ice and snow.”

Mr. Breckell mumbles at a volume hardly overheard. “You brainwash children with poison.”

He then judges aloud the beast by his side. “Inhumane.”

“No, no, the potion makes them happy.”

The Krampus’ speech sounds scrambled.

“Don’t you see? Saint Nicholas has no workshop in the Arctic Circle. He doesn’t have any elves. All of that belongs to me. He takes away my toys and the children who are glad they help the Krampus stay alive.”

“What does Santa do with the kids?”

“I suppose he takes them home. I don’t know, I don’t know… I don’t care.”

Mr. Breckell says proud, “It’s good to know he is still a good man.”

“Is he?” cries the Krampus. “Is he, Mr. Breckell? The Sinter Klass hunts us, sir. He will not let our souls rest and he only wants to keep us desperate. We are forced to desperately make toys to stay alive.”

“Hold on,” Mr. Breckell states and mimes as if he physically pulls in an equine’s reins. “Who are you talking about when you mention ‘we’? Certainly not you and me.”

“There is only now you,” replies the Krampus.

“What do mean?”

The gnarled creature tells the man, “Mr. Breckell, you agreed to take my place.”

“No,” Mr. Breckell objects. He has stopped laughing. “How did that happen?”

“Because you spoke to me.”

****

The nursing home vanishes from all around Mr. Breckell. The Krampus goes, too. Rather, old Mr. Breckell has himself gone. The elderly man discovers he is alone atop snow and an iceberg larger than his poor eyesight might measure. He shivers only a little because the air and ground are both cold. Mr. Breckell does not already know it, him standing outside fully dressed overlain with his nursing home bathrobe, but for some inexplicable reason the man is lucky he is not shaking more. Foremost in his audible mind is, “I have been teleported to the North Pole.”

“The dirty scoundrel,” grumbles Mr. Breckell. “What am I going to do now?”

He recognizes a scraggy voice whispering from out of his own ears. The voice of the original Krampus tells him, “Watch out for Saint Nick. Your brothers are watching you.”

“Hey, get back here,” Mr. Breckell shouts. “Send me back! I didn’t agree to anything.”

As the voice falls further away, Mr. Breckell hears it say, “The souls of your brothers depend on you to keep our peace. Hide. Hide and make toys.”

“Wait a minute,” Mr. Breckell begs the voice before it is gone. After no answer except a frigid gust of wind, one that chills his limbs, he appeals to the overcast sky. “Where am I suppose to go?”

“He said he made a cave,” Mr. Breckell tells himself. As if he knows the direction, he marches toward the ocean side.

Along his solitary journey, he first asks himself, “Who are the brothers?” Further along, Mr. Breckell answers the question.

“I bet it’s you,” he says to himself, meaning the voice he recognized was the Krampus he met tonight in the day room at Nueva Buena Vista.

He chides the Krampus he knew while tramping downhill into deepening snow. “Some wretched fiend looked at you and found a fool to pass a curse onto.”

“That’s what this is, isn’t it?”

The question is rhetorical. The hypothetical answer is, too. “Some eternal life this is, I tell you.”

A gunshot makes his insane reality legitimate. A bullet immediately blows snow and steam from a hole made into a snow drift concealing most of his thin and aged body. Hidden so, he has avoided injury.

“I got you,” declares a hoarse old man with yet a jolly shout. “I found you. Where are your toys?”

Mr. Breckell says without hunting the horizon for the shooter, “Santa Claus, is that you?”

A skinny man wearing a long gray beard and longer, hairy, green coat shouts back. “I’m Ole Nick, to you. Ho.”

Ole Nick pauses and asks the rookie Krampus, “You’re a new Krampus aren’t you? ‘Course, I haven’t seen you for over a hundred years. And I’ve been looking. I promise you that. I guess I’m just lucky everybody hasn’t forgotten about me.”

The stretched elf laughs aloud. “Ho, ho, ho,” then he fires a shot into the air. An AK-47 then swings over his head once more and unleashes a burst that drowns speech.

Dropping the weapon, Ole Nick tells the new Krampus, “I said, Christmas is coming this year. Show me where you’ve hidden all your toys.”

“I don’t know,” pleads Mr. Breckell. Challenging the safety of his snowdrift, he raises his head and looks over his shoulder. Saint Nicholas comes up behind him, following his target’s fathom-deep foot prints.

“I am feeling charitable all of a sudden,” promises Santa Claus, “I’ll give your a break because you’re so brand new. Look at you – your wrinkles haven’t yet turned into bark. Give me all your toys and I’ll let you live this year – well, at least until Spring.”

“You’re going to kill me?” asks the unbelieving remnant of Mr. Breckell.

Ole Nick grows serious. “You, your kind and your undead hive mind are an abomination.” He spits. “Ptah, you all-in-one and everlasting…”

“The Krampus is a dreg of Creation, the root of jealous anxiety. You don’t feel it yet, but you will quick enough. I exist to clean you up.”

The human that yet survives claims, “This is crazy. Please, let me go. Take all my toys. Please, just allow me to make more.”

“Your type of immortality is a mad idea,” judges Santa Claus. “Well, I’m the balance. You must die – after Christmas this year is sorted out”

The Krampus stammers. “Just take my toys, leave me in peace.”

“I will rescue the kids, too,” Ole Saint Nick pledges.

“What kids?”

“The ones you hypnotize and they make all your toys.”

The Mr. Breckell inside the Krampus tells Santa, “Take them. I’ll make my own toys.”

Ole Nick chuckles. “And just like all your brothers, you will be disappointed to find you can’t keep up.”

Mr. Breckell asks even though he sort of knows, “Who are my brothers?”

He is ignored. Instead, Ole Nick waves a rifle into his face and commands him, “Show me your toys.”

“Yes, yes,” replies the Krampus. He then takes Saint Nicholas to his lair.

The entrance to the ice cave is near. Truly, the two eternal spirits have almost always shuffled through snow over the length of saltwater carved caverns. Having arrived at the cave mouth, the Krampus points toward the dark hole. Uncertain of the intention of the man with the gun, he invites Saint Nicholas inside using only a nod and an arm gesture.

“There is candlelight inside,” promises the Krampus and Mr. Breckell knew.

“You go first,” Santa responds. “I’m right behind you and I’ve got an automatic weapon pointed at the center of your back.”

Before either spirit steps further toward the underground, gaunt and pale children fizz out of the hole as if they were bubbles jumped from a boiling cauldron. All of them smile. They shout in song, “The Krampus!” Apparently impervious to the freezing cold, the skinny kids banter with each other in the snow wearing only pajamas and slippers.

“He doesn’t look like the Krampus,” one boy observes.

A smaller girl tells him, “He smells like the Krampus.”

And the boy replies, “He doesn’t look like him.”

“He will look like one in a hundred years,” another child answers.

Boggled, Saint Nick wonders rhetorically, “What poison?”

Ashamed because of this evidence left by a guilty brother who had come before him, the one who had been Mr. Breckell claims, “I’m sorry – it wasn’t me.”

“You will commit this same crime one day soon. You always do,” Santa retorts. “I’ll be back and shoot you. You can join your brothers… and there will always be another one like you. There has always been.”

Although the children are reluctant, Saint Nicholas gathers them together and puts all the boys and girls the Krampus has kidnapped behind him. He tells the Krampus, “You can make as many toys as you want until then… enough for next Christmas, I expect.”

“You want the toys for Christmas?” reiterates the desperate Krampus. “But they are the days of my life… I’m sure we can work something out.”

The inconceivable notion brings another, “Ho, ho, ho,” from Ole Nick.

“Give me your toys,” Santa Claus orders the Krampus with no condition or exception.

“Please,” the Krampus begs Ole Nick while the children go directed back into the cave to haul out all the unwrapped Christmas presents.

Santa salutes the Krampus, “I loathe your kind – that is just the nature of Creation. Because of you, it has been a hundred years since the world has truly seen what Christmas was meant to be.”

The Krampus presents a feeble defense before the dangerous elf goes away. He says, “Is Christmas all about gifts? Toys that are better made to save the life of a man?”

“You are not a man,” answers Ole Nick.

Near sundown, after a day that seemed to last months, Saint Nicholas tells the Krampus, “I’ll be back before sundown to clear out the rest of your lair. Merry Christmas – you better be gone by then.”

Confused and having nothing sensible to say, the Krampus who had once been Mr. Breckell watches Ole Nick go. The tall, green elf presses the rear of his caravan of gift-bearing slave children. Establishing distance between them and their slaver, Santa Claus calls back to the Krampus from across tundra. “You’re going to die… I’ll kill you myself.”

You can’t hide forever. – you will come out and find another…”

“Even before that, you’ll start collecting slaves…”

“Then I will find you again.”

“You better get those toys made!”

****

After the once been Mr. Breckell finds the recipe for mistletoe poison, and he’s discovered a new lair for his toy workshop, the following news is broadcasted on Christmas day. While half of the United States still awaits dawn, WSIN television newswoman Sue Niam reports in an urgent voice,

“How do I describe it? These worldwide incidents of the opposite of breaking-and-entering are simply pandemic. Homes all over the globe – the United States, Russia, China, the United Kingdom and even Israel – everywhere – have seemingly been forcibly entered by persons who resemble the sixteenth century Father Christmas.”

“Father Christmas is the Jenny Craig Santa Claus who wears green instead of red. Viewers are probably most familiar with him as the Ghost of Christmas Present in the Charles Dickens story A Christmas Carol.”

Ms. Niam pauses on-air live and she asks an off-camera someone, “Is this a hoax?”

The preened television personality then continues describing, “Images and videos captured all over the world portray a single identical intruder in all these incidents – intruder is not the word for him – because he leaves wrapped presents then disappears”

Her cameraman is told, “Charlie, this is one man. How can one man appear at once in millions of homes?”

The response from the cameraman is loud enough to register on the recording. “I hate wrapping presents.”

“Hold on,” Ms. Niam tells Charlie and her viewing audience. “Reports are coming in saying the intruder carries an automatic military firearm. Our Santa Claus is shooting pets.”

After a moment spent quietly listening to her earphone, Sue Niam tells her audience, “Gunfire has been exchanged… witnesses have reported skirmishes between the intruder and armed homeowners”

Interrupting herself, she states, “We have a caller from Arizona.”

“Hello, Mister Rood? You said you exchanged gunfire with the man dressed as Father Christmas.”

“I sure did.”

Eager to curb the mania in her caller’s voice, Ms. Niam says, “We’re just now learning about the hundreds of incidents. These armed encounters seem focused in the Western half of the world.”

“America!” rallies Mr. Rood. “Damn, yeah.”

Ms. Niam cautions the man from Arizona. “Please, language, Mr. Rood. And it is Christmas Day.”

Mr. Rood grumbles, “Libtards.”

Refocusing the report, Ms. Niam asks her caller, “Can you tell us what happened to you this morning?”

“Yeah, sure,” Mr. Rood grants with heavy breaths. “I heard that sucker rattling my front door at four AM. I don’t go work at Walmart until six fifteen so I heard what was going on.”

The caller raises his voice.

“He come in my house with the ‘Ho, ho, ho’ and touting his rifle. Well, I brought mine.”

Interested in summarizing the witness, the television reporter asks, “How was the gunfire initiated?”

Yelling because of adrenaline, “I shot first – the man was in my home. He shot at me but I think I got him. All the authorities got to do is follow the blood trail. That’s red enough for Christmas for you all.”

– End –

If you liked my story, the least you can do for me is send me a Christmas card. You can do that by buying this story on Smashwords. Merry Holidays (how does that sound?).

– Matthew Sawyer

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Monster, Monster

August 17, 2014

Monster, Monster
Mr. Binger

“Monster, monster,” a homeless man cried all night. In the day, he shouts at people, “Keep away.”

I am there at a pharmacy where outside the man squats in tattered tan trousers atop a flat, overworked cardboard mat. I’m too intimated and won’t ask him questions, but three identical kids do interrogate him.

“What do you mean?”

“I’m a monster.”

He thinks he’s been coy afterward because of the reply. Bloody, un-brushed teeth flash from inside a nettle of black whiskers.

The mother of the children calls off her offspring.

The family had a dog, too, and now that is gone. The animal never barked but I did spot a small mutt on a leash. I watched it tangle itself in the tether. That same leash now lies loose on the concrete sidewalk.

“Where’s Princess?” the mother asks her kids.

They tell her simultaneously, “I don’t know.”

“She belongs to you,” the mother reminds her children. “You’re suppose to take care of your animals.”

“I’m a monster,” shouts the homeless man.

The family has moved away from him and into the parking lot – and the homeless man did not address specifically them – but he sounded as if he was next to us. I paused near the fleeing family when the man’s voice sounded as if it came from the very ground beneath us.

“The bum got her,” explains the smallest of the family. He is a thin boy. His hair is also lightest. And in this guise of simple innocence, he states, “He told me his name was Mister Gobblings.”

The middle child, an equanimous brunette girl, shouts back a question for the homeless man.

“Are you a troll?”

The shocked mother quizzes the littlest kid, “You talked to him?”

The woman does not wait for an answer and instead flails at the oldest, another girl. “Were you watching your brother?”

“I was with her,” states the tallest and darkest of the children. A sharp thumb spears in the direction of her smaller sister.

Both feel the same responsibility for their little brother – a disappointment in themselves is plain on their transparent faces. Their mother acts the opposite and she looks ridiculous in her outrage.

“Well, we’re lucky the homeless man didn’t eat your little brother, too.”

The oldest child begs, “Mom…”

Her mother answers, “You heard what he calls himself.”

“Mister Gobblings,” repeats the youngest.

The homeless man yells again, “I’m a monster.”

The words make me jump.

My own shock disorients me.

Once I have recomposed enough of my awareness, I recognize I eavesdrop on the family’s conversation in the pharmacy parking lot. I avert my attention. The woman’s voice lingers in the air and I recall I heard her call for help.

“Hello, police?”

She uses a mobile phone, I saw so before I turned away my face. The rest of her summons occurs out of my range of hearing. Also vanished from my sight, I assume the woman goes away and takes her children somewhere safe and middle class.

“I’m a monster,” shouts the homeless man.

I do not look at him but I do feel certain he does not tell me again. I think he would say the same to me over and over, except other customers enter the pharmacy. Three immature men and an older teenaged girl stop walking before any pass the homeless man.

“What did you say?” growls a gruff young fellow.

Another boy among the three asks the transient, “What’s your name?”

Curious, I approach the encounter. Cautious, I stay quiet and shield my body behind the youngsters. Fast food has ensued me these teenagers provide plenty of cover, even at their early ages. Unfortunately, their extra padding insulates sound and the conversation within their circle remains mostly incomprehensible. The only words I do hear is when the homeless calls himself, “Mister Gobblings.”

The older kids chuckle, I clearly hear them laugh. I watch the older girl who stands between two of the three boys. There were two guys on her left before I glanced at her bouncing bottom, then I look back and I see that she jogs in place with nobody opposite her last male companion on her right.

She screams, “Who are you?”

The homeless man stays hidden from me. I assume the young woman was shouting at him until I hear his reply. The echo of his voice comes from behind me, from further away than a city block but not far.

“Monster, monster.”

The remaining adolescent couple drifts apart and plainly show the self-deprecating transient has gone. They have vanished, too, when cops arrive.

“He’s over there,” I tell the police and point east. “You can hear him calling – it’s a warning. His name is Mister Gobblings.”

“You heard that?” one of two trim female officers asks me after she and her partner exit their squad car. A smile drifts unto her flush cheeks. She clarifies, “I mean, did you hear that from somebody?”

“I heard him say his name,” I tell both police officers.

The second professional woman comments, “Uh-uh, everybody knows you’re not suppose to ask him his name.”

She snickers then her amusement infects the first cop I spoke with.

“I’m just trying to be helpful,” I plea. “I don’t want to get involved, not really.”

“I didn’t make the phone call. I didn’t see anything that’s probably not on camera – look, it’s a pharmacy.”

My gesture toward the roof of the building goes ignored. The first officer tells me, “Sorry. Mister Gobblings is a hoax, an urban myth.”

“Huh?”

“Everybody knows about him. You don’t ask him his name.”

The second brusque lady claims, “If he tells you his name, you’re marked for life.”

Disoriented, I claim, “But the teenagers…”

The second officer interrupts me and states, “That explains everything.”

“He’s gone now,” opines the first.

They both then wish me, “Good day, sir,” and they go into the pharmacy. Outside, I only stammer, “I never asked his name, I only overheard him say…”

-_End=

Gnawing for more? Read more from Mr. Binger and the originally author Matthew Sawyer at Smashwords

 

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Mary of Bethezuba One Day Lost Her Mind

August 12, 2014

One Christian mystery that believers are content is left among the addressable riddles of their unknowable Lord is the Eucharist. That sacrament with consecrated bread and wine transubstantiated into human flesh and blood is merely scorned by skeptics. The obvious inferences of cannibalism is pedestrian. Authors such as Kenneth Humphreys and Joseph Atwill do consider the problem, but they and few others deeply discuss the origin of this terrible miracle.

Someone knows for certain. When I was a curious adolescent, somebody from my Protestant church mentioned the ritual of communion began so that pagans might be lured into the Christian belief. The language of blood and gore was only a metaphor. Savages liked those sorts of things.

“Nobody can know for certain what Jesus said or what he did,” my pastor preached as much in a sermon. He stated the equivalent of…

“The New Testament was a wonderful compilation of second and third-hand testament. Hearsay.”

Every author except Paul was suspect. That apostle was a special case, and even then, he appeared late after the crucifixion. Understand, the congregation in my hometown believed the Good Book was just another book. Faith and Trust in the Lord were the true messages. All the rest was dark and barren.

“Jesus did live and does still,” the faithful there say today. “He was resurrected.”

Essentially they tell us that He lives in our hearts and its all very probable the One-True-God will come back. “Jesus does live,” after all, as vaguely circular and mysterious as that sounds. There is the whole consideration with the Living Word and who might that be. The identity of this spiritual being and the Holy Ghost are yet comfortably unknown. There is probably something relevant about them in the dusty Old Testament – I bet somewhere in Psalms.

The Protestant church in my hometown held up the latter early Epistles of Paul. They contain all that anyone needs to know about the Faith. Followers insist his approach at gathering the flock was the best, the most productive. He surmised himself in a letter to the Church in Corinth, Greece.

“19 Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. 23 I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.”

1 Corinthians 9:19-23 (NIV)

The subterfuge and Paul’s naked hypocrisy are considered merits where I come from. “Any means to an end,” people there say. “As long as those ends justify their means.”

They mean those means are for the good of local Protestants at service on any particular Sunday in a year. Those same honest, hardworking folks dependably vote Republican, too, regardless their personal interests and living wages. Any suffering done wherever it comes from is in love for the Lord. Principles like this scapegoat in Southern Wisconsin are truly born twisted and deformed.

My contempt grows overt despite my attempt to stay sublime. Forgive me, and please permit me to talk about the Liturgy again. I do appreciate a patient reader. I, too, am inclined to think the morbid sacrament was not merely a metaphor. There are black roots to this aspect of the Last Supper.

Whereas, I fail to find accreditation or an example, I have read Shakespeare created a woman he called Cannibal Mary for use in his plays. The character was a suspicious parody of the Virgin Mary – although, this seems as much gossip as the Canonical Gospels.

My writing itself is about to become positively sanguinary, so I will first express I do understand there is community in communion. Any event in which food is shared generates camaraderie. The symbolism is visually primal; images erupt in which families are brought together, strangers are met at meal times and friends are made. Bonds are renewed.

Yet the message of fellowship is divorced from what makes the Eucharist memorable. Just before, I abruptly mentioned a ghostly Shakespeare’s Cannibal Mary and I will return to that point, for she is my true subject. The New Testament verses which bring me to consider the woman are purportedly born out of the very mouth of our exalted savior. It is written…

26 … Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” 27 Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 This is my blood of the[a] covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”

Matthew 26:26-28 (NIV)

The author of Luke was a little more succinct…

19 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 20 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.”

Luke 22:19-20 (NIV)

Come on, look at what He said, it’s elementary. Jesus was talking about cannibalism. He said it more plain than when my mom told me,  “Take your brothers fingers out of your mouth!”

Why would the messiah even bring up something like that? Where does the idea of eating Him come from? But people remember He said it.

I cannot think of anywhere in the Old Testament that mentions anything pertaining to the stomach-churning presumption. The topic isn’t really discussed or even so much attributed to heathens. We are not suppose to eat each other, I know that. There are criminal laws against it in the United States of America.

I suppose people eat the Passover lamb, but what does that have to do with anything religious? I was taught Jews once made blood sacrifices to God, but I never heard anything special about the flesh of the animal. And the goat was certainly never a human being… well…

I assumed the kosher carcass was discarded as a matter of course. I never cared, it was what the Jews did and don’t anymore. The leftovers would not miraculously return the following year and be the same lamb. An idea like that was pagan, especially if a person was substituted for an animal sacrifice during an equinox or more often a solstice.

Today, the more liberal observers of Judaism cannot possibly believe their individual quests to discover God have anything to do with killing people – that goes against the Sixth commandment. The act is desperate and mad.

And a Mary of Bethezuba is one who smashed that binary commandment one day she lost her mind. People across the civilized world heard about the incident and remembered it for a long time. Indeed, I told you I have read Shakespeare referred to the woman involved as late as the 16th century. This was Cannibal Mary. Her story maybe inspired the ritual of consuming loathsome symbols. She perhaps contributed an apparent message to the Last Supper.

The Romano-Jewish scholar Josephus documented Mary in his history “Jewish War,” 75 CE.  Josephus was born in a Roman-dominated Jerusalem and emigrated to Greece, so the ‘Romano’ part of the preface describes the scholar as a citizen of the ancient Roman Empire. Indeed, the Emperor Titus Flavius Vespasianus made the man his historian.

Josephus documented the Flavian campaign to destroy the temple of Jerusalem in 70 CE. Actually, I believe trouble started four years earlier in 66 CE when statues of Caesar were to be erected in temples of every order and denomination. The Emperor was to be worshiped as the supreme god. Fundamentalist Jews could not stand that, nor would any devote Christian or Muslim in this age.

The scholar Josephus wrote about a siege Titus waged against those who denied his divinity. The Emperor surrounded the three walls of Jerusalem with his Roman army. The whole population was punished. The Roman army stopped food and water from entering the city. And to exasperate the deprivation, Titus let pilgrims enter the starving chaos Jerusalem had become so that they could celebrate Passover then never leave. No one was let outside the walls.

Josephus wrote the captured population turned against itself. Hungry gangs roamed inside their prison looking for food and treasure. They are written to have found a wealthy widow with her newborn child. Her name was Mary of Bethezuba. She became perpetually robbed. Thieves took her food until Passover came. The beleaguered woman then snapped. Mary went crazy.

The woman slaughtered her son, baked his corpse and started eating him after the ritual fast ended and the day was done. Thieves smelled the roasted meat, followed a sickly-sweet aroma through the dark and found the source.

Discovered, Mary presented to her habitual robbers the uneaten portions of her child. “He is a myth to the world,” Josephus stated she claimed. He said the woman’s revolted oppressors fled. People for centuries have remembered for themselves what happened at the siege. Nobody needed to read what a Roman scholar wrote.

I feel inclined to believe the tale is repeated today. Here is the origin of Transubstantiation, its symbols carry vague and needling and unshakable meaning. And it is the muddled story of Mary and the sacrifice of her son at Passover that makes the Last Supper unforgettable. We remember vicariously the bread is the flesh of her infant child. The blood is his. The woman’s convoluted damnation possibly made the Liturgy memorable.

The constant controversy involves dates. The tedious piece of this research in summary testifies Rome sacked Jerusalem and destroyed the temple a second time in 70 CE. The Gospel of Mark, in which whose author first records the events of the Last Supper, was also written about 70 CE. Scholars think 70 CE is more precise because the author of Mark mentions the destruction of the Temple Jerusalem. The dates of both these events incriminate themselves in conspiracy because their proximity.

The authors of the Gospels had certainly overheard something about the infamous Mary of Bethezuba. If they were Jewish, Gnostic or freshly Christian, I imagine news from Jerusalem would have been the priority of his day. Atrocities in the Promised Land would have most certainly overshadowed reports from a besieged of Masada. I think much of the struggle was incorporated into their books. Scholars have even stated the conflicts with Rome are what the Book of Revelation is about.

Christian apologists argue the Gospels have been preached by word-of-mouth since about 40 CE. The possibility may have merit, but there is no proof. The Apostle Paul never talked about the Last Supper, nor the birth of Jesus nor His life on Earth. Before the Gospels, we sinners only heard about what He had done for us and what we needed to do to show Him our appreciation. The First Apostle Paul wrote down as much. We can’t know what people said then to each other in conversation. Technically, we can’t even really know what Paul said was not made-up.

And you, reader, have no reason to believe me until you see for yourself. Read, just go ahead and read. Even then, people believe what they want to believe.

 

– Matthew Sawyer

 

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