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Snake and Sandalwood

You know the story of the werewolf — a human turns into a raging animal when moon is full — I’m sure.

Well, the old ones, the ancestors, did not tell stories like that for their health — they told us so we could get by. They knew they were gonna die, they wanted to leave us some tools for survival.

The werewolf story is simpler than the truth, but it is the truth like an algebraic equation. People have different people inside them than they know about — and some of them are animals — and when the the external conditions of the universe are right — doesn’t have to be “the moon is full” — they come out.

My job — and I was terrible at it! — was to find people when they were about to pop — and be there to explain the transformation to it. I was, as I said terrible at it! I was truly bad.

I intellectualized it too much! I said I bet you want an explanation! And I would get into Munchhausen’s trilemma which is: all explanations must end in one of three ways.

First way. The reason you just smelled sandalwood and turned into a giant snake is this universe was created by a giant witch. And she wanted you to learn what it is like to be a human who denies he is anything but a human and then turns into a giant snake. Call this the path of the unexplained explainer because — why is there a giant witch? Why did she create the universe? Why did she want you to learn what it is like to be a giant human who…etc. etc. These questions have no answers, these facts have no explanation. The first way the PUE is unsatisfactory.

Second way. The reason you just smelled sandalwood/giant snake/etc. is giant witch, giant witch is because atoms make a giant witch, atoms are because the laws of meta-possibility generate a universe in which atoms that make a witch come about, laws of meta-possibility are because of the Law of Love and Strife, the Law of Love and Strife are due to the Profound Desire of the Gods, the Gods and their profound desire were birthed from the cosmic Egg, the cosmic Egg was laid by the Eternal Fowl…etc. etc. And indeed, etc. These explanations never end. They are unsatisfactory.

Third way. A circle. The witch was created by a book that makes everything in it come true and it was written in by…guess what. A sandalwood-aroma-were-snake. The third way is unsatisfactory.

So the newly birthed cobra-man, sneaking through the pipes of the city had me by his side explaining Munchhausen’s Trilemma.

My boss fired me because “WEREWOLVES DON’T WANNA HEAR THAT SHIT.”

God I took some shitty jobs after that, typing and word-processing in the towers, being ignored by the lawyers who were dissatisfied with my work because they couldn’t even be bothered to see me as a person.

And then the changes happened in me. A full on death-with-a-scythe emerging from my pot-bellied flabby form when the moon was full.

What a fool I had been to think a snake wanted an explanation. And emerging from that fool another fool. And from that fool a full on death.

Gradually my ear could hear the chime, a very high note. A smell of sandalwood. A lot of people didn’t hear it but a lot of people did.

I walked down the street and opened the door to the basement beneath the store that sold plumbing fixtures and other items for minor home repairs. It was a flight of stone stairs. They were damp and I smelled the mildew but beneath the mildew clear notes of cold air.

All the different passageways from all the different basements joined into the central atrium. Wolves, snakes, and deaths were convening. Who were they waiting for? The lectern faced the assembled monsters.

I took my place and picked up my conductor’s baton. I rapped it twice on the lectern.

“Let us begin.”

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3 thoughts on “Snake and Sandalwood

  1. I love this! I want more of it, too. I’m fully invested in what this gathering will lead to. I feel like now would be a good time to break out that great Oliver Twist quote “please sir, I want some more.”

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