Jim Meirose

From Dans L'odeur de la Sainteté (In the Odor of Sanctity), a work in progress

(Chapter #24 - Reflections on the Pretended Contradictions Ascribed by Father Girard to La Cadiere in Her Answers Before the Chancellor; With Observations Upon the Said Father’s Memorial Entitled Demonstrations of the Impostures Etc.)

               It looks like we’re the only two hung out in this place but let’s test if it’s true by asking; Hey, Pal. Some place eh? What you in for? Hey—so in reply the man in the fuzzy-walled space’s fingers rattled across the loose pins shafts and keys hung to his saxophone as he shifted his grip turned in surprise toward the suddenly sudden questioner, saying, I’m waiting for St. Peter to show me the way. Y? Oh, ah--hey, pal, talk about synchronicity slash Deja vu slash holy Ya yah, whichever one applies you see, my name is Peter—and I’ve found that your blood pressure level at start is 152/112 which is way too high, indicating you’re in a hypertension stage 3 hypertensive crisis; not to take lightly. But, go on take the risk this one time because you’re committed and the audience is already gathered, but wait hold up who’s that man with that saxophone? And say after the upside down dying way he had to get put through—talk about being through the mill this was only three quarter through the mill someone uptop took pity on the sax man brightened sunlike blanketing Peter the man all smothery as, Oh yeah? Peter, eh? Are you St. Peter, keeper of yonder pearly gates doubling as emcee of the pick the jackpot door game—but oh, no. I won’t even ask that. You can’t be him. You’re a fucking mess. What’d some mob try to lynch you to an oak but you broke away? Yes took pity and told the biggest guy at the top, that one; yes that one; remember that one? What’s this fuzzy-floored space all tall wide and blinding? That one which believed and followed and then well you may not see it this way big man at the top who from at his bottom spot based on the slit he can see through the little slice of the reason why for everything and also the little slice of the reason why not he—oh, no, never mind, that doesn’t really matter—gosh oh gee silly me, how easily we can be turned into blubbering assholes by circumstance. You’re dead and how it happened isn’t pertinent at all. You’re dead and waiting to see St. Peter too. Okay, so—to start the obligatory while-we-wait small talk—what happened to you? Looks like your end was pretty rough. What gives? But don’t take all fucking day. It’s just a lead into the next line of this speech, which is, Ah, yah we shall get to the point grant me leave not too often must something be put before you in this lengthy of a manner, but; from his bottom spot based on all that no I’m not about to repeat to the point of silliness and unbelievability—no no—too long gone on to make any point way way past the pointy point of diminutively diminishing returns so here it is. I got beat up for a week by my master’s enemies, and then crucified upside down. I must have died from that because ended up in a sandwich shop which doubled as a cathedral taking some kind of aptitude test so my next assignment will be up my alley, but—bright and nice nice and bright go there though the clock of my life is ticking away promise to tell me when my time is close. I fucked up the first question in the test so I guess I’ve been sent here to have my existence erased. Thus, here’s the full deck fanned out before you all face up read from left to right it says, after the upside-down crucifixion and lashing and all that, blah blah blah so forth and so on and also ad infinitum, he was cut a break and told, My man, your road has been rough and the deck you played from was played through for you like you were no more than a pack of muddied invisible Venusians—that’s too bad man. But you know that’s funny. I might end having my existence erased too. See, for some reason I got split into two people so don’t try to tell me no don’t even try, that the terror of seeing the end coming is the problem. Each of which is as me as the other and the other got put in the place that’s next for me, but—if St. Peter doesn’t come back from the crapper or from taking a smoke break or whatever what have you, I’ll hit the deadline where my split can’t be sustained and whatever hidden time and space masters currently man the controls will push this and pull this and pop pop pop just like you, I’ll be erased clean and neat like some high quality Binney and Smith smooth number twos scribbledehobbles whose eraser is an absolute virgin clean as a whistle and will rub me out you’d never know God ever wrote my existence along all this time. The end itself, no. The end comes and goes fast when one’s passing through why is the end taking so long to come. My half here and the other half there, will pop away to less than nothing. The very Venusians which by the way you also will be granted the ability to see sliding up around through everyone and everything—if that blasts your mental hot buttons then you are not suited to leap a level yet so take care; when the veil is pulled open into just that tinyslit of gross verticality, you will also see the two positions and their specifications which you have been granted. Wow. Where’s your other half? Oh, she’s playing a gig at some hotel in Argentina. Man, thank God my virtuosity is unchallenged so that even with half of me not there the music is twice as good as any other saxophonists of this era; it is worrisome it is depressing to be forced to take cover in conversational interaction with the saxophone man chit chat him up this is a great place to die, you know. And, thank God, again because my virtuosity is unchallenged, my half in the hotel is managing to be so into the music that the lack of there being a saxophone over there to play is not an issue—see here, the saxophone is with me here. Nonliving things cannot parse apart function separately and then smoothly merge together again as the two of us warmblooded fleshmen will when Damned Peter shows and points to the correct door—but I digress. The privilege of choosing the one or the other and to nip the edge off the tension of straining and pushing to birth out the correct choice that’s best for you, here is the format in which you will be provided with the documentation, and, why die in a stony cold clinical situation when the disease is tagged as terminal? Since this is one of the more exotic realities which your puny talksound semaphore system cannot portray, here is your narrative yes this is you yes this is that hey, man, here; let me run something by you. Tell me what you’d do if you were me. I can see the gig going on in my head after all half my brain’s there so I should be knowing something. Anyway, here’s the thing. This drunk fat guy in uniform who acts like some boss came up to my other half and just at the peak of the bridge of an astonishingly up-tempo jam based on that old mud tune Cherokee, pulled our hand off the sax and cut off just before the big fat climax, and stopped the music. Seek multiple downhill sweet afternoons of resting reclining reading or watching. He opened his eyes; yes this is you; and perceived the streetlights streetmovement and streetnoise to form about and before him; yes this will be you pay close attention; he paused before a small sandwich shop approaching on the left and; yes this will be you don’t be distracted just accept; paused before a chalkboard sidewalk hand lettered; yes this will be you pay close attention; sloppy script across the top stated Henry’s sandwich shoppe; agreed. I also see this as abuse of art and my half-brother—get that, half-brother; ha ha ha ha I’m my brother shit shit shit—I foolishly thought myself an only child but my brother was hiding in me all this time. I bet you got a brother in you too—but don’t check now. Do that later. Anyhow, long story short—we are not sure down here in the far-prior space what that damned flat black rectangle is that every home in that future we’re in will have from one to ten of the fat guy’s top-bundlepack said quite oddly, play Blood Red Roses—and my half-brother bleated in his ear, I don’t know no freakin’ Blood Red Roses. And the fat guy says all dark and ominous, Well you better learn it before the big guy we’re waiting for gets here, because it’s him and his shack-up honey’s favorite, and if he comes up and asks for that and you can’t play it, even if you don’t cuss him out like you did me, it will be curtains for you and your little tinkly shit-sounding amateur braying mule of a jazz-band. What do you think of that Peter? Jesus Christ man, how many times must you be told that yes, this will be you, yes, do read on; how pretentious of such a hole in the wall-joint—not counting digital handhelds uh uh why did I say that I’m here they’re there that last was a line of gibberish if you ask us no don’t doze off. Are the walls spackled or unspackled or what, uh oh, they didn’t tape first the wall-joints that’s why the whole job looks like poop they must have had on their minds how they wanted to impress by adding pe to the butt of the word shop. What could they have been thinking meaning of planning on selling to take upon their tiny butty-butt butthole of a juicejoint such a fancily precious word as shoppe it is so dumb that, you must tell me the truth—is that not the shit Peter? Yah yah, how dumb is it—taken aback by this booming multiple lunged chorus from within the shoppe it seemed like, he passed the menuboard and spun leftwise; yes this not only will be you but actually is that whole was and is and will be a progression of evenly spaced hypnogogic moments threaded together, ah—keeping busy is often the best drug so; you see what tricksters your betters are, Peter; yeah we’ve just replanted you with your name upside down crucifixion tends to render the name you go by no longer needed. Anyway; the fat guy went on crowing like an old-time foggyhorned leggy non-saxhorn chickenshit with a giant fake jelly-gut strapped on, saying, Plus, you and your amateur copycat garage-banging outfit must not realize how lucky you are to play in this space—so as your overheated locomotive runs out of coal your name is one of the first things you choose to shovel in your dyingfast firebox just like in that old fashioned roundy-the-whirlyworld in approximately eightysome days Technicolor soundie where the whole train feasted on itself down to nothing in the midsummer desert-hell of some superdesolate outback yah that place with the big assed humpty-dumpty stupid looking holyrock—giving Peter another reason to hit the green button stop the machine the rollers whine the big greasy filth-caked orange drive motor cuts out and the paper tangles wraps shoot up no yes right in the eyebeams of the corporate betters touring the zoo judging from their pitch-black suits and flat affects—but what happened next in the movie is not unknown—didn’t you see as you came through the lobby the photos of famous guests on the walls, who over the years included not just four Argentine presidents but also Albert Einstein, the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Savoy, famous Nicaraguan poet Rubén Dario, acclaimed Italian conductor Arturo Toscanini, and many many others! Lord God, he just shouted it in my other half’s ear—if I was there I’d have clubbed the fat muttfaced plumpboy down a notch shorter, but—the other me handled it pretty well, well, maybe almost pretty well, but I digress; down that fork in the railroad it is lost all in the grainy black and white past it is—but God not again another layer of onion peeled back want to cry wipe eyes scream and shout take up guitar no that’s a dead instrument Benadryl maybe huh Benadryl Benadryl huh huh God my God lets go. But down this fork up the railroad he steps off and passes into Henry’s and—vespers can that be vespers need to see need to enter fully, and; big big vault over all stonecarved oldworldy superheavenly chanting to singing and every melody across the between—heavenly light shafting down all around. What does the word sheet in the phrase sheets of gold leaf mean huh huh oh great big fatman? Hey, my word, if you weren’t the savior’s chosen favorite I’d nickname you Slick Willy the jackass—and finally he told the bigfat bossman wannabe loudly, Man, I don’t know what thurible-style stenchpot you been smoking your face over, but I can’t play a song I don’t know and never heard. So get lost. Windowstained softly sweetly murmering highvaulted solid stone big and tall style mostly super-ancient home of God gaped up super-saying, Enter, Peter, enter and sit on the golden divine mercygraced throne before me. Look into the center of that golden haloed most hallowed most costly fifty-ton solid gold holy sharp spiky-rimmed monstrance. Here we go barefoot across the glowing coals, in the loud noise of the hushed crowd surrounding; will he break the Guinness record or not—will be or not will he, oh my, let the foot down down already we don’t need these big fat feet anyplace and sit and be told the respective properties of the choice you face. Come sit no your face questions no not face-question; I think your worry that’s the same as my worry is eroding down the downsoundy whirligig greasy seeping stinky slick cliff-faces we supposedly wear behind our ears. Or words and gestures equaling the same; if you want to continue in our employ take the seat as told this moment if not more-soon or even this instant—an instant being roughly a tenth or fiftieth or some kind of triangular cakelike spotlessly plated dessert so sweet like these lines of prose equaling no more than sit down and listen up. I am the boss, this is a church, merry Christmas, with no mice at all. Scattered handclapping rippled the surface of the studio audience in response to this statement. Each audience member in its own way thought, I will merge with him seamlessly after St. Peter arrives. But if I don’t go there and merge with myself before the union rules say the gig needs to wrap up for the night, then—well I told you already. The end of the gig—that’s my deadline. Yes, yes, trust me, a very clean place this used to be, at least in the very early century that this one happens to be all about believe in us yes worship here yes and you and yours never will need to throw themselves alive on their deadspouse’s flaming buy-bye pyre at midnight next to some big filthy holyriver full of falseprophets’ ashes implants and yah even less that a few dozen dead pacemakers drifting around, so—testing and reading the appropriate handbooks is required before doing most potentially dangerous things is required. Driving cars locomotives cruisers steam shovels motorcycles airplanes forklifts and more require testing and licensing. Fishing selling real estate buying a gun practicing law selling alcohol practicing medicine dentistry et cetera yes all require testing or licensing or both. Using words though having free speech though yelling and shouting and talking chatting whatever what have you does not require testing or licensing or both. Okay? So why can’t you just go out the door now and go to the gig yourself? Otherwise if you choose to stay waiting, here are your only remaining choices sweet Peter sweet—not your name yes we know but quite close enough. Venice city. Focus on that cluster of leering rough-hewn gargoyles out there over the altarspace. Listen you them; they will ask a dozen questions. The answers you give will determine which afterlife slot you’ll be slid home into. What could be simpler? Sit and be casually natural and answer as best you can. So—stare hard at the gargoyles. See there’s four doors there. If I pick the wrong me and my better half are both toast. Only one door leads to the gig. There is such a thing as the insanity defense but there also should be the stupidity defense the ignorance defense the illiteracy defense the stubborn defense and the rebellion against authority defense the drunken defense the brain injury defense the amputee defense the paralytic defense the incontinence defense and more yet and more the opposite of yet whatever yet means duh duh duh, you stupe; but zipping this all up in the right sized burlap bag before tossing it in the dark manure-saturated superhot cow barn to join all the other sealed bags of total confusion which by the way is more and more volatile than masses of sealed bags of ammonium nitrate saturated with fuel oil leaning in the dark waiting but kill time killing this does not yield any results at all. Nully null. One of the others has a lump of coal booby prize worth one dollar behind it; plus a luxurious model frowning all pouty prettily and mockingly giving us the ol’ thumbs down. Another one has a new Buick behind it; with another luxurious model waving over it smiling some kind of brand new Steinway piano keyboard kind of mouth. The other wrong one of the four I have used earlier successfully. And the last one opens to the path leading me some quick back way I hope so I can get to the gig and merge with myself and survive—thus you must keep on staring as hard as you can—and wait and stare and stare and wait, and—here comes the first question—stare; don’t talk; don’t dare say, Yes, I am. Or that you’re getting nervous because the hotel gig is slipping through too fast. Or that it’s very very hard to play like that when you’re only half there. One two three—blow your nose that sometime causes things to slide along better here’s what passes for a tissue hereabouts—twenty forty sixty—stare but no, wait why’s the dark nothing? In the designated space gathering together to a nothing out from which will push out the first of the twelve fatal questions, but; pop pop pop he melted back past now somehow pop pop so fast it already had happened when it finally did and white dimmed stage lights swiveled up down around to pitch black light pitch pop blacker pitch blackest fasten your belts fellow travelers we’re notching this bullet train up past the world record which has stood for a millennia—the wheels are lifted from the track, my God! I swear on all that’s Darwinian that this train is riding the thickness of the underair don’t worry tribes of smart clean men with a minimum qualification of a bachelor’s degree took the challenge to design this baby using only slide rules paper napkins used envelope backs and dull stubby eraserless miniature gold dollar store-bought pseudo-pencils; and this exact style of Japanese invented train got there so fast Peter tumbled end over end into the stone seat in Henry’s sandwich shoppe and just when he thought he was in the pan safely words came nearly sucking him inside out in a tumblesauce back’ards over the fire saying the following this is a fact get read here they are; All right Peter, we’ve discussed your interview.
               You are assigned to the post of heavenly gatekeeper. Congratulations. But, remember--pondering the definition of any word leads to the discovery that examining that word too closely leads to that word being caught in the lie of pretending it’s got meaning when it has no meaning at all but is just a valueless sound. So at last here it comes here it is this is it pay attention I’ll fade back away now just answer right from the gut yes the gut. I got my doctor kit in my pack—let me cuff you—let us see—my word man I read your blood pressure as 142/112, which is still way too high. You are in hypertension stage three, of a hypertensive crisis. Man, for once in your life, relax. For once in your life, stop running flat out like you do. You got to relax, Peter. Yah yah yah, I know what you’re thinking; you’re thinking that both heaven and hell are no doubt full of doctors who will be more than willing to help you. But you conveniently skip over the truth that by the time you are in either location there it will be far too late. But anyway, open your eyes, calm down that’s right. How bad is it to be you really, Peter? Is it bad as playing bass in a superfast jazz improvisatory millennialistic superheated ovenfresh flapjack of an ensemble for all eternity? Tell me the truth for one time please. The truth. Is it really that bad to be you?

Jim Meirose's work has appeared in numerous magazines and journals, including Calliope, Offbeat/Quirky (Journal of Exp. Fiction pub,), Permafrost, North Atlantic Review, Blueline, Witness, and Xavier Review, and has been nominated for several awards. Published books include: Understanding Franklin Thompson (Exp. novel - JEF pubs (2018)), Sunday Dinner With Father Dwyer (Exp. Novel - Scarlet Leaf Press (2018)), Inferno (E-Chap - Underground Voices), Mount Everest and Eli the Rat (Lit. Novels - Montag). Visit www.jimmeirose.com to know more.
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