APRIL 8, 2012


So anyway, the rain finally let up for a bit, leaving promise of yet more thunderheads to come. This past weekend, folks all streamed out into the sunshine, and then, encountering weary shopkeepers who had given up on trying to squeeze another dime from a stony economy, found doors closed everywhere as the perfect storm of Pesach conflated with that Easter thing and everybody took time off to eat baked hams or roast lamb.

One thing led to another in that place which was dark as a tomb

Easter is, of course, when the Magic Bunny of Fertility got schlockered in a bar and wound up feeling crucified for days afterward with a terrible hangover. It was only when the Enchanted Chicken of Galilee dropped by with nice warm Mexican hot chocolate that the Magic Bunny revived himself. One thing led to another in that place which was dark as a tomb where somebody had forgotten to lock the door so that a fat man in a red suit came and stole all the toys and ran away in a sleigh with flying reindeer and pretty soon that chicken was laying eggs everywhere, which goes to show you, if you want to be a good Samaritan, better take precautions, like a basket of condoms.

There were some Apostles and some Hindus and somehow Mary of Magdalen got tangled up in this to create what would become the French Meringovian dynasty, but that is all very confusing for the Pharoah smote the First borns, which may be an allusion to abstract jazz. Pharoah Sanders is a nice man and we really do not think he would actually hit anybody. It may have something to do with walls of sound rising like the tidal waves of Galilee or the Suez or whatever.

the wine helps forget your troubles

There was a plague of toads and then of locusts and then it rained for 40 days and 40 nights while all the Second Borns got together for a really nice lamb dinner after escaping slavery. Which is why they all eat library paste and drink wine. The library paste is supposed to remind you of bricks and the wine helps forget your troubles and take away the taste of bitter herbs, which is not a bad idea, really. God knows why you would want to stick something bitter in your mouth and chew on it, but people do it anyway.

Over at Marlene and Andre's, everyone settled in for a feast. Marlene and Andre celebrated Pesach at the Household on Otis in the usual haphazard manner. A table got laid out, actually it was the coffee table in the main room, with the usual condiments of horseradish and walnut mush and salad from the dollar store. Marlene had saved up her pennies and gotten a donation from Suan to get a lamb shank from the Encinal Market, so they had the meat and the bone at once. All the parsley was doing well, so they had the dipping greens from the ironmongery garden out back. Occasional Quentin, as the obvious childish one, got to ask all the questions, even though Adam really was younger in age.

A visitor named Baba kept insisting on her needs. "I need to have clean and kosher napkins. So give me yours." She said to Quentin.

Given that the household was normally chaotic, so went the Seder once again this year as per Tradition. Island-life Tradition.

Instead of asking the proper questions from the Haggadah, Quentin came up with his own. "Why did god let Hitler kill all the Jews?" Quentin asked, and naturally it was all at the wrong moment. Martini came in then and drank up the glass of wine left out for the Prophet on the edge of the table, which caused Andre much grief and severely put out Marlene who put her head in her hands.

"I need to sit where it is warm on account of my condition," Baba said. "Since you have the comfy chair, i am doing to take the divan and the settee for my feet."

"Is anybody going to eat that egg?" Tipitina said. She had given up on her own Catholic upbringing to attend this dinner and all of it was confusing to her.

"Where's the damn cracker I saw around here earlier?" said Marsha. "I wanna get into that sweet stuff there with the walnuts and raisins."

"That's the afikomen," said Marlene. "You gotta go find it now. It's hidden. What are you doing with the effing prophet's wine you dimshit!" This last part was screamed at the hapless Martini.

"Because there is no god and he hated the Jews," shouted Andre at Quentin. "Now read the questions we gave you on the list!"

"How can I find any damn thing in this effing s***hole of a place! It's an effing s***storm here!" Marsha said. She was a woman with a tongue on her, so to speak.

"Gimmee some more of that wine," Snuffles said, for the bum had also been invited in as the token foreigner, or maybe the prophet, although there was a lot of doubt about that last part.

The new kid, Adam, also was there. "Yo dude. Don't bogart that bottle man!"

Why is this night different from any other

"Why are we doing all this crap," Quentin asked. "Why is this night different from any other." Adam was younger in physical age but all agreed that Quentin was much more childlike, so to him were given the questions.

"I need water," Baba said. "You have the napkins already over there. So the water jug should be over here by me."

"There you go," said Andre approvingly. "You finally got it right. We basically doing this to commemorate our delivery from slavery."

"I dunno about that. We be free? I think we be pretty effed up." Adam said.

"Dude," said Arthur, who had returned from far off Minnesotta and his failed attempt to hook up with a gospel singer there. "You don't know nothing about slavery. Lemmee tell you about my man Malcolm X . . .".

"Adam, I am watching you on the alcohol, buddy! You gotta go to school Monday!" Andre said. "I mean it!"

"Yuck! This stuff is bitter!" Adam had a mouthful of green silage from the circular plate in the center and he spat the mess into a napkin.

Adam got shut off from the wine and after that things went a bit smoother. And Marsha told her story of escaping across the wide country from the servitude of Jersey, her beating and her shame and her battle with the booze. Now she was come unto the Household of Marlen and Andre where all quaked with anxiety should the fierce landlord learn there were 15 people living in the one bedroom cottage in embarrassing poverty as the Great Recession had hit everybody pretty damn hard. And so it was learned that each of us had been slaves in some form, either in Egypt or some other place and had crossed a vast ocean on dry feet and soaked straw and clay bricks with the hot salt of tears and sweat. All knew exile and wandering and the pain thereof.

this year in fear and shame, next year in virtue and justice

The matzo bread was found by Adam under Andre's shirt and so the proscribed was allowed now and with each glass of wine the far off hills began to skip like rams and old stories were told and so, although it was not a perfect Tradition, it was a Tradition of that household, this year in fear and shame, next year in virtue and justice.

While Jose had gone off to get properly drunk during the weekend, so as to escape all the religious fol-de-rol, and Javier was still out jousting with his latest flame, undoubtably getting permanently injured in the process, Jesus Contreras took advantage of Javier's absence to snag the man's sleeping quarters in the closet after downing a pint of vodka mixed with datura left over from when they had dealt with Cmdr. Terse, Ex-marine and practicing A-hole. The datura had driven Terse a bit crazy, but Jesus had felt good enough about it, for he was a decent, moral and non-authoritarian fellow who was also well soused with cheap vodka.

So Jesus went to bed in Javier's cubicle and had a dream which felt quite real.

He dreamed he had been mistaken for the original Jesus

He dreamed he had been mistaken for the original Jesus and was being dragged off to be crucified.

This was not a pleasant dream, BTW.

There he was at Golgotha and all the disciples were all there, laughing and passing around a bottle and he was stretched out on the wood there. Somebody placed a nail and he saw a hammer raised and he freaked out while Peter was laughing his ass off as if it were some kind of joke.

Down came the hammer and he felt . . .nothing. They did the same thing at his other hand and his feet and then raised up this cross from which he hung with his knees pointing out to the side, quite unlike the pictures and icons he had seen from early on.

"Hey! Wussup guys!" Jesus complained. "Whatchew nailing me up here for?"

"You drunken tosser," Peter said. "You be tied up there with hemp. It's all a fake."

"O for crissake," said Jesus. "What's this all for?"

"Shut up and look like you be dying," Paul said. "We need a rally martyr for the rebels against the Romans. Keep still and look hangdog now."

Time passed and guys crucified for real started dying to either side of him. This started to look pretty bad.

"Lord, forgive me for I am a wicked thief who set up a bogus hedge fund and stole the retirement funds of many a widow," the man next to him said. "My name is Bernie, Jesus, I know you can forgive me."

"Eff you and go to hell." Jesus said. "You god-damned bastard".

More time passed and he started to feel uncomfortable up there as the light faded from the day. "Guys, how long is this going to take? I am getting hungry and thirsty here," Jesus said.

"Dammit," Peter said. "Would you shut the eff up or you will spoil everything!"

One of the centurions, looking bored as hell, lifted his lance and jabbed Jesus in the side in a sort of offhand way. Shut the eff up. You bother me.

"Ooo," said Timothy. "That's gotta hurt!"

"See," said Peter. "You be quiet, now."

Eventually the light faded entirely and the entire company on the hill packed up their excursion lunches and all the tour guides gathered up their charges to go.

"Hey!" said Jesus. What about me? You cannot leave me up here on the Sabbath and all that!"

You idiot, the whole idea of crucifragem . . . is to leave the poor sods up there permanently

Paul looked at him with pity. "You idiot, the whole idea of crucifragem by the Romans is to leave the poor sods up there permanently until their rotten bones fell from the cross as a horrifying warning to everybody else. Those heathen don't give eff all about the effing Sabbath."

"You gonna just LEAVE ME HERE!" Jesus said in a panic voice. "Whatever happened to 'community?"

"O for pete's sake," Peter said. "We'l be back later so you can be properly resurrected and stuff for the marketing angle. Just hang tight."

Sure enough, the guys came back a few hours later with some women, including the foxy Mary Magdalen, and so Jesus had a raging boner as they all carried him to the tomb.

"Hey," said Jesus. "I'm not dead yet!"

"Shut the eff up," Judas said. "You gotta be a rally icon for the insurrection."

"Judas, I thought you were my friend,"Jesus said.

"I am your friend," Judas said. "Those effers wanted to crucify you for real with a lot of thorns and whips and s***. You gotta thank me, man. Now shut up and be buried properly for a while until you can resurrect proper for the Media!"

That's when they rolled the stone across the opening

That's when they rolled the stone across the opening leaving Jesus there in the dark and the increasing cold. It got terrible cold in the tomb and he began to shiver. What it they do not come back for me, Jesus thought to himself. He began to despair about all that had happened to him. All he had done for the apostles and the people and now here he was abandoned in a tomb, an intended marketing tool for political ends. A glimmering appeared around the heavy stone of the tomb and even though it had gotten quite cold, still his friends had not come to rescue him.

That's when Jesus woke up in Javier's closet from his dream. In his tangled nightmares and tossing and turning he had jabbed himself in the side with one of Marsha's knitting needles and all the bedclothes had tumbled down to the side while a cold wind now whipped through the open side window chilling the entire apartment. He stumbled out of there and through the tumbled heap of sleepers in the main room to the fresh clean air that rushed along the shore.

That's where Toni, the Wiccan witch, found him as the dawn began to glimmer on the edges of the distant hills. A little ways off dark figures poked through the washed up sea wrack left behind by the tide, hunting for anything that could be remotely useful.

"I had a terrible dream," Jesus said. "I always got the bad end of the stick and I died."

"It's okay," the witch said. "We all get reborn in the end. It's all good. Is that blood on your shirt? Are you hurt?"

"You don't need that coat," a woman with bottle-cap eyeglasses said. "You have a hat already. I need a coat so I am taking this now. Goodbye." And so the woman left with the coat of Jesus. She had needs.

From far across the way, the long howl of the the throughpassing train ululated across the sanctified waves of the estuary and the Easter lilies of the Buena Vista flats as the locomotive wended its way past the dark and shuttered doors of the Jack London Waterfront, headed off on its sanctified journey to parts unknown.

That's the way it is on the Island. Have a great week.