Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Phoenix


Mr. H and Fleur said that they’d prefer it if I didn’t come with them to confront the preacher. I followed them anyway at a distance and after a short trek I was able to find some decent cover from which to view proceedings. A column of smoke billowed out from the small hamlet. All the inhabitants were placing their costumes, all that rubber, grease paint and ribbon on to a huge fire and as each individual threw their skin on to the flames they were given an instrument by the preacher himself. Each time he reached into a large box filled with violins, mouth organs, a large variety of brightly coloured Kazoos and an old standpipe that had been drilled with holes. There were also a large number of empty plastic containers that were handed out along with requisite tools for their rhythmical thrashing.

I watched as Mr. H and Fleur walked around the queuing villagers and through the rippling haze of burning costumes. When they reached the preacher I couldn’t hear what was being spoken from my inaudible vantage but watching carefully it was clear that the conversation was focused on the moustache problem. Mr. H angrily prodded the radish and then waggled his finger at the preacher. After H had finished making his case the preacher took a moment to think. Finally he spun about, bent down into the box that housed the instruments and spun back hitting Mr. H with a Tambourine in one hand and then artfully following up with a blow from a rubber chicken with the other. H reeled backwards as Fleur quickly came to his aid. She immediately tried to protect him, cursing the preacher man and lunging at him, swiping towards and missing his head in retaliation as two of the villagers rushed to restrain her. The preacher kept pointing to Mr. H’s top lip with a huge smile.

From what I could make out I think H sustained a small cut to his brow. At least I could see that the radish had gone. Fleur was gently let go and the village that had seemed content to patiently wait out the fracas that had momentarily halted proceedings once again turned to its endeavors with a shrug. My two new acquaintances left the smoke filled square as the preacher picked up a small round object and popped it into his mouth. It was the radish. Mr. H’s moustache was only hidden after all; the art of illusion comes easy to a preacher.

Suddenly, just as I was about to hurry back to the encampment I heard a branch snap behind me. I spun around. “Good morning!” A well-spoken male voice said in a whisper. The man didn’t look too threatening in a tight, pink jump suit. “And who are you?” I said whispering back.
“My name is Kallerakal and actually it’s not my name anymore its Marjorie or Marge for short if you like. I came up here a while ago after reading all these self help books and I thought ah, to hell with all this king stuff, I did used to be a king you know, that really was my name…” I nod. “Anyway so the thing is it didn’t take me too long to work out that all those cats down there are barking. So I refused all that doll get up and they made me look after the err…” He paused for a moment and pointed over to a small enclosure filled with old gentlemen in orange jump suits, “…to the err, to the wanker’s over there and…”
“Wanker’s, Who?” I interrupted perplexed.
“Ah, well, you see, some of the old men in the village get…some of them got caught cracking one off.”
“Cracking one off?”
“Yes, you know what I mean don’t you, shaking the fat-man, bashing the Bishop. Cracking one off for Christ’s sake, you must have heard of that?” He graphically articulated with his fist.
“What, so they lock up all the…” I laughed as I said it, “…the wanker’s”
“Well yes, anyone who gets caught of course.”
“And you get to do this job in a tight pink cat suit?”
“Yes.” He said, looking down and over his attire objectively, an excess of blood ruining an otherwise honest but pale complexion.
“Well if it was me old boy I think I would’ve taken the Barbie outfit.”

We both turned back to the village and to a chorus that one might hear from an orchestra pit before a performance. “What’s with all that I said?” pointing down towards a small, growing crowd hacking away at the production of polyrythmns and an attendant sea of grinding disharmony. “Wannabes, sycophants and madmen.” Said the redundant king.

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