This was not written from a traditional Norse perspective. This is a story about Loki and the old gods...how once they stopped being worshiped by large numbers of people, they lost their power. Instead, humanity worships it's consumer obsessions, namely, in what I have here, fast food companies. We are living in a world where Ronald McDonald is far more recognizable to the public than any mythological god. Loki sees in this new world order, money is akin to belief and seeks to use that knowledge to overthrow the fast food industry, aka the "new gods"
Take it for what it is.....maybe you'll find some funny bits in there....
Old Gods, New Tricks
You CAN teach an old dog new Trix
It’s been said that there’s a place where old gods go to die. No one ever mentions the free basic cable. One eye stares at the screen in utter disbelief. Dead gods are still gods, you know.
“ And now, breaking news just in, regarding the recent and bizarre happenings in our local prison…”
“ This is Kate Macalister, reporting. Three hundred and thirty three convicted child molesters were found dead at approximately three thirty-three a.m. And as if that isn’t strange enough, each convict was a member of a recently formed occult group called ‘Brothers of the Blood’. Referring to themselves as an Anglo-Saxon positive nature religion, they received tax-exempt status earlier this week. What’s more is the board of corrections just yesterday approved an outlandish petition, asking the state to provide what they called ‘the fundamental objects as are appropriate to accommodate our legally recognized religious ceremonies and activities’. This list included items such as ‘one whole boar, roasted or live’, ‘one keg of fine mead, or Bud Light, at the board’s discretion’, and ‘a large replica of a 10th century war hammer, bloodstains optional, or access to the utility closet’. The state was willing to negotiate, offering pork chops, non-alcoholic beer, and a wooden mallet, which was to be confiscated immediately after the ceremony. The Brothers begrudgingly agreed, and the inmates received their ‘objects of faith’ around 2 a.m. this morning. To answer some pressing questions about this dangerous ritualistic behavior in our state’s correction facility is the head of the board of corrections, Mr. Lye-smith. Welcome.’
“Thank you Kate.”
“Mr. Lye-smith, I was hoping you could shed some light on this subject for us here. Why did the board approve this petition?”
“Well, with everything going on in the world today, the face of religion is changing. Evolving, if you will. The board felt the approval of this request was a sign of the times. Things are complicated now, and even prisoners need a faith, something to keep them going during their incarceration. Now days, the white bearded judging father in the sky doesn’t seem to inspire the sort of reform that it used to. Therefore, we are willing to accommodate requests in a manner we feel is befitting of an incarcerated individual. Naturally we keep a healthy balance between our accommodations and the allotted funding for state prisons. To sum up my point, the political correctness so prevalent in today’s society had us by the nuts.”
“Well, certainly you could have predicted these sorts of problems. Do you see the connection between the approval of this petition and over three hundred dead inmates?”
“Not particularly, Kate. The men received their supplies, consecrated the chow hall in a rather moving ritual involving the mallet, cooked and ate their pork, toasted to their gods, and retired to their respective cells.”
“Is the board treating this as ritualistic murder?”
“Suicide actually. Normally, this time of night, the prison is relatively calm. Except the occasional ‘you said I got top tonight!’ and ‘dear god, not the broom again. I have cigarettes man, brand name’, the night had passed without incident. A couple of minutes past three-thirty, the night guards heard the distinct sound of ‘I dedicate my death to the Brothers of the Blood!’ echo through the prison halls. They rushed to investigate, finding each man dead, in a pool of blood, with a poorly made shiv in his jugular. Shortly after that, here I am , on live television. Hello, America!”
“Here he is, folks! Thank you Mr. Lye-smith. Now the board has generously granted us an exclusive interview with the one surviving member of the Brothers. He was known as Trix, the alias he assumed during his membership in the group. He’s joining us live from his cell at the prison. Can you hear me?”
“Certainly, Kate. Good evening.”
“I believe it’s morning, actually…”
“Oh? Well, good morning then. I’m still struggling with the concept of measured time. My apologies.”
“Um, no problem. Now I know that you go by the alias ‘Trix’. I feel a bit silly calling a grown man that, and I bet the folks at home would love to know the real name of lucky survivor.”
“I bet they would Kate. My name, in all that it affects and implies, is Trix.”
“On to my first question then. How did you manage to avoid this whole fiasco?”
“The day before the petition was approved, I tied my testicles to a young man of Hispanic decent, while he yelled ‘I’m a baaaah-d little goat!’ In the middle of the prison yard. About the time I was getting around to introduce him to my friend Dirty Sanchez, the guards came and promptly introduced me to the kind folks in the psych wing.”
“ And was this stunt at all related to the secret occult rituals you took part in?”
“Don’t you find the combination of ‘secret’ and ‘occult’ an error on the side of redundancy? The occult, by it’s very definition and nature is secretive, don’t you think?”
“I’m sure it is, Trix. Would you care to share with us your role in petitioning the board to supply this ‘ritual’?”
“ My pen was firmly set in the direction of authorship.”
“And what exactly was the religious significance of this particular ceremony?
“You mean the eating of the boar? Or should I say, pork chops?”
“No, I am certain I am making reference to the child-diddling pederasts bleeding to death from severe puncture wounds.”
“So you’re saying this was pre-meditated?”
“Wiccans meditate, Kate. We prefer a more hands-on approach.”
“Whose hand exactly WAS on this, Trix?”
“Mine, of course.”
“And it doesn’t phase you that you’ve all but confessed to murder on live TV?”
“You call it murder, I call it state-funded creative problem solving.”
“So what did you hope to achieve with all this?”
“Other than a nice bloodstain on the system of corrections?”
“They worshiped the old gods like blind sheep. The nice thing about blind sheep is that they have no idea where they’re going, and they’re too stupid to care. I was hoping to use that to my advantage and harness the power implicit in a mass sacrifice to restore myself and a few old friends, buying the opportunity to crush the new gods of the American consumer by beating them at their own game, all while simultaneously ridding our great nation of over three hundred racist perverts. All in all, a good day’s work. The results, however, are too fresh as to be evident.”
“And who exactly ARE these ‘old gods’ they worship?”
“Myself, among others.”
“And you are?”
“Loki Laufeyson, also knows as Loptr , the sky traveler, and my friends are known to call me Lodur as well. A now-defunct deity of mischief, chaos, and anything I damn well please.”
The eye blinked for a moment. When the screen appeared again before it, the god-cum-inmate was gone from sight, leaving a bewildered news anchor behind. The body attached to the eye felt a pleasant, surging tingle, and the mouth of that body slowly formed a wry grin. “Too fresh to be evident, hmm? What have you done now, brother….”
Low Key Plans
I’ve always loved my brother’s house. So big, so manly, so full of beer. Not to mention well-muscled warriors and buxom wenches. Everyone waxes poetic about the Valkyries, but they weird me out. Never trust a woman in metal underwear, that’s what I say.
I had already helped myself to a good portion of mead, and it only fueled the power slowly gathering over the old homestead.
In about thirty seconds, over three hundred souls, rich with blind belief and useless to the world would be arriving to unknowingly fund my first endeavor in the world of business. All in all, I think so far it’s worked out for everyone. These guys had shitty lives they were about to return to upon parole. Certainly an afterlife of fighting and drinking can’t be all that bad, and there are no children at risk here in Asgard. The folks of one of those square states are free from a large group of predators who were sooner or later going to be released once again into society. And myself, my brother, and our friends would gain enough energy to allow us to oppose those forces responsible for our waning.
Unfortunately my brother would be arriving right about NOW.
“Well, hello…’Trix’, is it? Don’t you know tricks are for kids, brother?”
“Well then put me in short pants and send me to the toy store, you old fart! Well, what do you think….”
“I think you don’t just go around gathering power for no reason other than to be a nice guy. So go ahead and tell me your off the wall idea that will seem to do us harm, but then end up being something much greater than we expected, so that we can once again scold and punish you.”
“Funny. Really, I’m about to wet myself. Anyways, you know how you always ramble on in a drunken stupor about the good old days and how those cursed humans, the new bane of your eye, are killing us with the free will we were so kind to grant them?”
“And your point?”
“I know how to get rid of the new gods. Without expending much of our newly gained power. We could at least be marginally influential, at worst. The best-case scenario? We beat them at their own game and come back into our full power.”
“How do you propose we go about beating them at a game we know nothing about?”
“A game we know nothing about? The game is blackmail, and we are veritable experts at that! We can get THEM to come to US. We get them to willingly invite us into THEIR jurisdiction. And then we pull the proverbial rug from beneath their feet.”
“What gives a god their power? Belief, sure. Belief works. We’ve tried that before. But let’s try something NEW. Let’s not view it as the mortals work for us. Let’s view it as WE work for THEM. For cold, hard cash, no less. Enough cash, in fact, to buy out their temples from under them. I’ve already posted fliers. It’s called Rent-A-God. ”
He nodded, but it was at that point the angry mob of dead prisoners gathered outside began to get a bit obvious.
“I’ll leave you to attend to their afterlife, brother. We’ll discuss your plans when that’s settled.”
Even the pederast experiences disillusionment.
“Oy, where’s the beer?”
“Where’s the Valkyries?”
“Where’s their newly expanded day care?”
“Cheat!” “Liar!” “Rogue!”
“Why thank you. Welcome to Asgard, home to the Aesir. My name is Loki, and I’ll be your deity this evening. Please allow me to create a pleasing illusion while you await rebirth as befits your previous incarnation. I’m welcome to suggestions, what would you like in your life after life?”
“I’d like a lynch mob. With real niggers and everything!”
“I’d like to experience a true spiritual enlightenment while receiving fellatio from a young Japanese boy.”
“I just want my mommy”
Heads swiveled. The young girl stood at the back of the crowd, her red pigtails and sweet, virginal appeal drawing quick reactions from the inmates.
I snapped my fingers, and they were gone into oblivion, undoubtedly having the time of their lives without realizing they were to shortly start at the bottom of the chain. Pity.
“Hello, there, Mister Loki, sir!” She giggled. She fucking GIGGLED. Sickening.
“Wendy, I want to go home. It’s disgusting here, no offense.”
“Did I tell you to speak, bitch? Who’s your goddess?”
This was barked at Dave Tomas, the founder of the tiny hamburger stand that grew more than he’d ever dreamed. They always marketed themselves as father and daughter, but everyone knew that wasn’t the whole story. The WHOLE story was probably best left untold, in fact.
“Oh you are, Wendy, you. I apologize for my eagerness.”
“That’s better. Now run along and let mummy tend to business.”
I can’t help but smile. The kid has spunk. In both senses of the word, apparently.
“I see you’re still trying to whip him into shape.”
“Try being the operative word. He was so manageable when he was a mortal, but here, in death. What an IDIOT. I’m surprised he had the wherewithal to start that damn hamburger stand in the first place! Now getting down to business, I have a problem…”
“And you’d like my help. But, of course, I’m expensive, let’s get that straight. I have a bit of power right now, and have no interest in using more than absolutely necessary. So what’s wrong, and what do you need?”
“I’m just going to have to show you. You won’t believe me otherwise. Turn to channel five. The news is about to come on.”
I push the button, and there’s good old Kate, smiling vapidly into the camera.
“More strange news just in this afternoon. Don’t panic folks, but it seems cows the world over have began to turn a bit…well…square. Even stranger, it seem their milk is somehow freezing and it appears to be…am I reading this right…chocolate milk shake? Authorities say….”
I turn it off. I’d seen enough.
“So someone’s gone and turned herself into the goddess of cattle, hmm? Nice. Where were you when it happened?”
“India, of all places. Checking on the newest international location. Beef-free, of course. People started cheering me. I crowd-surfed. They built a shrine.”
“And what would you like me to do about it?”
“Well, I checked the stock market about five minutes ago. Two other companies are right behind me. Mickey-D and Star’s Bucks. To the best of my calculations, they’re going to achieve god-hood in less than a month. Mickey-D is a direct competitor. In fact, the only reason I’m above him right now is that the economy is failing and my dollar menu is better. And Star is just...a nutcase, not to mention dabbling in YOUR territory. Hell, she’s all but called herself the new Trickster, and a good portion, if not all of the barristas are practicing chaos magicians she’s managed to convert to her way of thinking. Now she is powered by Wi-Phi. If technology advances any further there, she could become almost unstoppable. In fact, that artificial omnipotence is how I found out about Rent-A-God. She found your application for a business loan. It was denied, you know.”
“I know, but I’ve found some independent funding who’s agreed to help out with the wet work as well.”
“He’s just not the same since he got possessed by Satan. He has such a big heart though. When Mickey bought out hell, it was the all he could do. I hear they actually both enjoy the company. I also heard he’s a crackpot. I’m reserving judgement. What happened anyways? I can’t believe he’s lost enough power to actually agree to help you.”
“Well, once people started worshiping Christianity instead of him, it was only a matter of time. The damn burnout lived like a fucking monk. Only thing he spent money on was getting stoned, and the bible belt alone supplies enough for that. He may be crazy, but he’s rich crazy, and I’ll trade sanity for money any day.”
“So you really think the only partner you’ll need is a slowly fading stoner who randomly bleeds from his stigmata? I can offer you an inside guy. THE inside guy. Terrorism. He’s going through some issues, but according to the news, HE’S the reason the economy is in ruins. All the blame is starting to get to him. Last night he was curled up in a corner, his rag askew, rocking back and forth muttering ‘but I’m just a noun. I don’t wanna be a god.’.”
“Sounds…useful. Geez, Wendy, you have to offer me a bit more than a schizophrenic part of speech…come on…”
“ I can have jobs lined up for you in seconds. The money Mickey and Star would be willing to pay would more than cover the buy-out. Mickey is furious that he dropped below me just moments before becoming a god. Now he has to build up the power again, though not much. Star is a direct threat to how you do your job. The entire nature of chaos will be changed. You’ll be obsolete. Everyone knows that once a new god has assumed god status any and all duties of the archetype belong to them, and do you know where you get to work then? Do you? The Shades! You become part of the afterlife illusion the new god creates for the poor souls who die still believing in you! You and your whole pantheon are days away from that fate! Send Jesus to Mickey’s tomorrow if you don’t believe me about the money.”
With that, she was gone, leaving behind grill marks on the floor. It looked like Jesus was about to have his second coming.
May I take your order? * loki comments *
“Like, reach out and touch faith, man. Your Personal Jesus has like, arrived, man. So you’re Mickey. Far out.
“Jesus Christ, come inside before someone smells you.”
“Hey, man. This is pretty groovy. I dig the golden arches. Reminds me of a calf my pops used to know. Wicked.”
*Dear me, the Son of God is fucking baked. Ha, Mickey, enjoy that one! *
“Are you Jesus Christ, part of the holy trinity?”
“Reporting for duty, man. Let’s like, bake the doughnuts.”
“Burgers, Jesus, we make burgers here.”
“Right on. What should I do, bro?”
“See this? This is a fillet of fish sandwich. That is a large hill covered by a crowd of eager, hungry people. Now repeat after me…’Mickey-D tastes so good’
“Mickey-D tastes so good”
“You love Mickey-D and Mickey-D loves you.”
“You like, love and stuff, bro. And you get love back. Trippy.”
“You love Mickey-D so much. You should spend more money buying their fine products.”
“IDOL WORSHIPERS! MONEY-HUNGRY SWINE! BRINGER OF FAMINE AND BANE OF THE CARDIOLOGIST, BE GONE!”
“Yeah, man, that’s Satan. Sometimes he totally shits on my sunshine, yah know? But he’s my bro. Bro’s are for life, man. Yeah, dude, I’m allergic to like, fish, man.”
“It’s not real fish. A combination of synthetic proteins and solidified cholesterol flavored with artificial ‘tastes so real you can hear the ocean’ seasoning. Now go sell some fucking sandwiches.”
Praise the Lord
“ On a positive note this evening, Mickey-D launched a new campaign to promote the new and improved taste of their now famous fish sandwich. The unusual thing is that it seems Jesus H. Christ, formerly known as the Lord of Hosts, is serving as the new mascot for the restaurant chain. The crowd cheered as he tossed bread and fish to the masses, brining to mind his famous Sermon on the Mount. Religious authorities are saying this could very well be his second coming, and while it seemed Jesus was a bit worse for the wear, the events foretold in the book of Revelations may not be far off. Oddly enough, Christians barely noticed the event, as Mel Nibson’s latest movie, “ Jesus, Mary, and Me” broke box office records today, and the theaters were flooded with devout fans. One critic has said this poignant film is proof that Mel is indeed the last scion.”
I turned off the news. If gods could throw up, I would have. That is, if I wasn’t knee deep in the 2 million Mickey-D forked over for that publicity stunt. He may have been stoned, but then, so was most of the audience. His speech “like, you give love, and then you get it, man. And that’s just far out” seemed to really strike a chord. Thank god the crowd had dissipated for the most part before he got to the “die you infectious boil on the ass of creation” bit.
“Oh, brother dear. You’ve been leaving your toys in the office again. If you MUST run “Rent-a-God” out of Valhalla, please at least pick up your mess…”
My brother deposited what appeared to be a quivering bundle of dirty rags at my feet, turned his back, and disappeared down the hallway.
“I…I….who am I? Why am I here? Praise Allah! Who is Allah? MECCA! JIHAD! What? But I’m just a noun…..noun….no…ou…n…”
Terrorism. Nice. Thanks for the gift Wendy. The rags unfolded a bit, leaving piles of sand on the polished wood floor.
“Hello. Wendy told me about you. I believe your name is Terrorism?”
“I….well…that’s what THEY call me.”
“The people on the magic light box.”
“You mean the news. On the television.”
“I….I’m….Wendy said I’m a god now.”
“In a sense, yes, you just may be. But I’m going to call you Sandy, ok?”
He slowly rose to his full height, still rocking slightly. Every so often, the rocking was interrupted by a twitch or jerk, and a new pile of sand would drop.
Now to truly appreciate this next bit, you must understand the way Sandy’s perception was currently operating. In my experience, I am simply enjoying my pipe and teaching my newfound friend a bit about the nature of his current state of reality. And giving him a brief lesson about why I no longer associate with dictators. But to the point, what SANDY was seeing was quite different. As a concept, he was rather malformed. Gods brought about from misconceptions or senseless violence tend to be fucking nutjobs..
Right now what Sandy sees is a seven foot tall man. With black hair tipped in flames. Dead pale skin. (thanks to last week’s trip to Not Gothic) And a rather sardonic grin currently being held together with black leather cord, blood just now forming scabs. Sandy’s visual world is pulsing in pink and green and he sees and hears this entire monologue told in one breath, exhaled out in a long stream of pungent smoke.
“Sandy, you are what is known as a concept. I think you may be a bit disillusioned at the moment. Mad, even. No, you are very definitely mad, mad, mad. As a hatter, in fact. But no matter, I am on a first name basis with madness and I’m going to cure you. Not because I like you, or even care about you in the least. No, I am going to help you because I need you. And I’ve always found that my best work springs from my most selfish motivations, hmm? Now, you were living in a country called America. America used to be a great nation of freedom, but, as with all things, it is variable. Take Hitler, for example. All I did was suggest that maybe art wasn’t his forte, and that perhaps he should look into a nice desk job. Next thing you know, the Jews are all dead and I can’t find a decent kosher deli for the life of me. Why? Because he had free will. He could have given everyone ice cream and kittens, but nope. He decided to burn people in giant ovens. You win some, you lose some. Back to my point. So let me start off with a few facts. First, yes, you were a noun. Now, you’re a god. Why? Because Americans are pussies. There has been terrorism since the beginning of time. It’s all subjective. The “terrorist” is simply someone who happens to disagree with you. Let’s say you tell me ‘Loki, you have a giant pink rabbit on your head.’ And providing I haven’t hit the booze too hard, I most likely won’t be wearing such a thing. I would say to you ‘Sandy, I beg to differ. I am most certainly not wearing a giant pink rabbit on my head.’. Now, according to the Americans, you have every right to destroy me, my family, and in fact, anyone who happens to be on my side of the disagreement. That, my dear little loon, is terrorism. A disagreement. You don’t look like a disagreement to me. A bit of an internal struggle with your sudden incarnation, granted. But, like it or not, the current American culture has glorified you to the point, that you as YOU, not a noun, has popped into existence. Glory in it. Thousands of people every day are late for their flights, subjected to full body cavity searches, deprived of their nail clippers, all in your name. Dark skinned folk the world over are detained in tiny rooms or looked at with faces of mistrust and outright hate, all in your honor. Wars are fought, the price of oil skyrockets, and the entire system of American economics crumbles, all because of you. Do you have any IDEA how much power you have right now?”
I get a glazed stare and trembling lip.
“Well, you know, I…I… never really th..th…thought of it that way.”
“Repeat after me, Sandy…’I am not a noun.’
“I…I am not a noun.”
“I am more than what the white devil pigs have made me.”
“I am more than what the white…white devil pigs have made me.”
“I am a powerful and important cog in the puzzle of the universe.”
“I AM a powerful and important cog in the puzzle of the universe.”
“I AM A GOD”
“I’m pretty sure I’m still a noun.”
“SAY IT! I AM A GOD!”
“I’m a god.”
“Once more, with feeling!”
“ I AM A FUCKING GOD!”
“Now, let’s get down to business. Currently there is a Kentucky Colonel trapped inside his new production plant. It seems there’s been a problem with the…well, for lack of a better word, let’s call them chickens. Can you go through small passages without being seen or heard?”
“Well, yes. Yes I can!”
“Can you build a bomb or other projectile with common household supplies?”
“YES! I think that I can do VERY well!”
“Can you single-mindedly adhere to the belief in one goal, to overthrow the evil Western capitalist pigs?”
“JIHAD! THAT’S what a jihad is! Yes! Yes! I’m your man! I am YOUR man! Hooo-ah!”
“There’s a good god. Go over to the Colonel’s plant and see about some chickens. Get the money in cash and bring it back directly to me. In MY hands. All of it. Now get the fuck out.”
He practically overflows with enthusiasm as he heads out on the job, cries of “Burqa, Burqa, Muhamed Hijab!” echoed for minutes after.
The Funky Chicken.
“I will defend your life with mine, for if I die, Allah will bless me with many virgins!”
*Let’s set the scene. A old man in a white suit sits in the middle of a warehouse in a newly built food production plant. His hair is white, his thin bow tie is black, and behind his thick-framed glasses were eyes that were so wide with fear, one would think his eyelids would tear at any second. Surrounding him were four cages filled with chickens. Over 100 chickens per six foot by six foot cage, to be exact. In fact the cages had been packed for so long that they’d ceased to be chickens. Rather, they had become a conglomeration of chickens. And they were looking for revenge.” *
“You from the rental agency, boy?”
“I am here to fight the capitalist white devil!”
“You one’a dem sand niggers, I reckon. Don’t make me no never-mind. Git on in here and help me, boy!”
“At your service, praise Allah.”
“Now I gar-run-tee dem chicken’s done gone and got themselves some kind’a group mind. If I was you, I’d roast’em damn foul creatures. Did yah bring yer pistol, son?”
“Allah has blessed me with all that I need.”
Apparently, all Allah thought Sandy needed was a dog-eared copy of the Koran and a bomb strapped to his chest. Bye-bye mutant chicken plant.
Try, try again.
Thankfully I at least managed to arrange for the local news media to be on the scene…
“An explosion today, taking place in the new Kentucky’s Famous Chicken plant. Investigators found bits of paper they believe to be from the terrorist propaganda knows as the Koran. The president has issued a red alert, and all food and beverage plants are to be shut down until further notice. Expect food prices to soar in the next sixth months, and there’s talk of a nationwide rationing program…”
Well, that news blurb alone should give Sandy enough power to get back up there. He thought inside the box, and he knew the inside of his own box very well. I respect that.
“In further news, Mickey-D is already talking numbers with Kentucky’s Famous Chicken franchises. Word is, they’re planning a buyout as early as next week.”
Every silver cloud is lined in shit Even so, the blow to the economy may very well be enough to stop Mickey in his tracks.
“Star’s Bucks seems to be doing well despite the recent economic setbacks. The company has just started an intensive employee training program and has outfitted every one of it’s stores, worldwide, with hi-speed wireless internet access. Our local Star’s Bucks will be hosting a celebration for the winner of the National Spelling Bee. The winner and twenty of his classmates will get to participate in a live version of hangman, thanks to the fledgling company Rent-a-God, who will be donating the services of the mythological figure Odin, the once-heralded All Father. It’s said that Odin hung himself from the World Tree for nine days without food or water, in order to obtain some shiny stones. Star has agreed to donate all proceeds from that day to the School of the Blind….”
“Loki, have you seen my eye? I’ve been looking for it everywhere.”
“Nope. Haven’t seen it. Busy.”
“Busy doing what, pray tell?”
“Oh, all sorts of things…”
“What sort of things?”
“The sort of things like where you just walked into a trap.”
I hand my brother a snifter of whiskey.
He drinks it down.
“I’m not the one falling for traps. Good night, Loki. When I pass out, please at least have the courtesy to get someone to carry me to my rooms.”
I pour myself a shot of untainted whiskey and down it, slamming the glass on the table.
“Let no glass be raised to you without one for me as well! Wish me luck, brother.”
I always feel on edge in my brothers skin. He’s always keeping an eye out for me, always watching over my shoulder. So when I’m him, I feel like I’m constantly watching myself. It’s like trying to act in a play during an existential crisis. Like I said, on edge.
Worse yet, I hate coffee shops. Lots of wanna-be artsy people chugging down cups of bitter brown liquid. They KNOW coffee is disgusting, that’s why they add syrup and cream and ‘whip’. Anything to make it not taste like coffee. They sit in front of their imacs, listening to their ipods , lost inside of their ‘i’ world. It disgusts me. But, first hand experience in enemy territory is worth it. I see Star, perched on top of the steamer, watching them hang me from a plastic gallows. The brats were terrible spellers, and though I have no nerves, my neck was killing me after the first hour. Thank god one of them pissed themselves right when one of the supervisors produced the Bucket’o’Runes. I finally released myself from the noose, and went to find Star. I approached the counter near where she was perched.
“I’ll have a low fat-soy-mocha-latte with a swirl of caramel and extra whip. And don’t forget the sprinkles.”
My voice drops to a whisper “I invoke the chaos star.”
“Odin, long time, no see. Even less see for you.”
“Star, a pleasure, I’m sure.”
She had assumed the look of your typical indie art chick. Her ash blond hair fell across her eyes, in a haircut that brought to mind the mom from the Brady Bunch. Her black plastic glasses had false lenses, and her ‘thrift store chic’ had obviously came from one of those mall-ish fashion stores.
“Hey, Magie…put that latte down for a second. Check Wiccapedia for ‘pleasure’.”
“ Pleasure: it is defined as the emerging new force of discord, currently named Star.”
“Impressive, Star. I am sure you’re eagerly awaiting your godhood.”
“Yeah. Too bad you’re going to die though. You made a good story.”
“So, what are you going to be ruling over? Goddess of the beans ? Communication?”
“Duh. Isn’t it obvious? “
“Not really, no.”
“I’m your brother’s replacement. Chaos. The Trickster. I think I’m going to start spelling it K-OZ though. That way they can still read it once the population’s intelligence plummets.”
“What on Gaia’s green titty do you think qualifies you as a trickster deity?”
“Who else would charge five dollars for what is essentially strawberry milk with ice in it?”
“Mickey came by. He made me an offer. He could franchise me. Or….Or he will shut down the Wi-Phi. Can I have your eye?”
“Your eye. All seeing. All knowing. Why-Phi. I want it. I can make you the one true god. Wiccapedia. I’ll edit.”
“Um. No, thank you. I can do without being the one true anything. Let me buy you a coffee.”
I lead her to an empty table. Remember what I said about the taste of coffee? Decaf is even worse. Luckily, bitter is just the right taste to hide the flavor of the binding potion I was about to slip her. With her powers bound, she’d get put on the back burner while I deal with Mickey.
I return to her with her coffee, and mine. I was braving the hideous decaf crap in a show of solidarity. I had popped the potion into her cup, and marked a line on the side with my thumbnail. Isa. Ice.
I made sure it was obvious, I wanted her to see me.
She blows across the top of the cup and pretended to take a sip. I feign interest in a twenty-something couple making out in the back corner. She thinks she’s in my blind spot. She switches cups.
She doesn’t realize my vision is crystal clear. Maybe she thinks my visible eye is a fake. Maybe she thinks I can see through the eyepatch. Maybe she has no clue that what she sees before her is a façade and she really thinks she’s pulling one over on the All Father.
I reach in my pocket and pull out my pair of crystal balls. I know my own kind. Never underestimate the power of “oooh shiny”. I twirl them back and forth through my fingers, and appear to take an idle sip of my coffee.
Once her eyes are fixed on the crystals, I returned the drinks to their rightful position. I slammed down the rest of mine, and rose from my chair.
Our eyes met with understanding. She knew what I had done. Nothing needed to be said. She understood why I had to bind her. She knew me like the back of her hand, and that’s what made it all so easy. Or maybe I just wanted her to understand. Perhaps she really didn’t see me switch them back. Maybe this entire interaction was in my head. Either way, she drank the rest of her cup in two smooth gulps. I needed to get out of this skin. I could feel my grip on reality slipping, and I didn’t want to blow my cover. I turn and walk towards the door. When I pause to look back, she’s just sitting there, a wan smile on her face, staring off at something no one else can see.
After leaving the store, I find the nearest alley to relieve myself of my illusions. There’s a nice, big, stinky dumpster to hide me from public view, and I duck behind it. Unfortunately, it was already occupied.
The bum was drunk or crazy or both. He smelled like dog shit soaked in body odor, topped off with ethanol. I liked him already.
What, can’t he come up with something better? One of his eyes seemed fixed on mine, the other sliding back and forth, tracking some invisible target.
He got closer to me when he said it, close enough for a halitosis shower when he spoke. It might be my own impending break with reality, but I could swear his tone was almost threatening. I try to give him the “I’m god and I will fucking spank you” stare, but my own desire to get out of my skin kept me from looking effectively threatening. I probably looked just as crazy as he did.
Okay. I’m not hallucinating. This guy is fucking with me. His face is just inches from mine
“SP-ARE CH-AN-GE ?”
He screams it, his one bug eye boring down on my, slobber running down the side of his face.
I extend my presence to my full height, my hair in flames, and my eyes go pure white.
“GET A FUCKING JOB.”
“Spare change?” his tone becomes submissive, begging for leadership.
“I am God. You are stinking up my dumpster. Piss off.”
It was a statement, this time. He nodded his head as if to say “okay buddy, you win the crazy contest. You can have the dumpster”. Hell, maybe I just gave him a purpose in life. Maybe two years from now he’ll be on the 7000 club, telling the world how God told him to get a fucking job and instead he went to prison for public intoxication, but while incarcerated became inspired to go to law school and now is a celebrity lawyer, praising God for all his blessings. I decide to give him a $100 bill. I reach in my pocket, and pull out my wallet. There’s no cash, no credit cards, nothing. Instead, there’s a Star’s Bucks business card with “Drink Me!”
“Sorry, buddy. Looks like she got there first.”
A mask of disappointment came over him. “Spare change…” His voice drifted off as he walked away. He left the alley and stepped into the street. He stopped, and turned back to look at me. It was in that moment that someone’s brakes decided to slip just a bit, and force them to veer left onto the other side. He never saw it coming and was on the ground in the blink of an eye. The car’s brakes kicked in, and it’s screech filled the air. Spange. That was my new name for him. Spange had rolled towards the gutter. Spange had only broken his leg. The car was a Star’s Bucks company sedan. The driver was a chaos magician. If you read her diary it would have said something to the effect of “I am currently evaluating if running over the bum would be truly effective in achieving my goal.” The driver was Magie, Star’s shining comet of commerce. THE barrista to end all barristas. It was Magie who tucked an envelope in his pocket, called 911, and drove away quickly. The bum sits up, cringing as his leg crackled a bit. He opened the envelope, emblazoned with the Star’s Bucks logo. He pulls out a huge wad of cash, probably upwards of ten thousand in large bills.
“Spare Change!” His voice rings triumphant as the ambulance sirens wail in the distance. “Spare Change!”.
I think about the phrase. Spare change. Change to spare. It seemed Star certainly had some. I think of the motto I used to use when I first started. Random acts of kindness, senseless acts of beauty. Naïve, sure. But it used to feel good. As I watched the bum grin and laugh despite the bone poking through his shin, I decided this must be the most beautiful thing I’d seen in a long while. “Spare Change!” I yell to him, waving my good-bye.
I walk down the alley, toss my now empty wallet on the ground, and disappear around the corner. Something’s changed. I can feel it in the air. I just wait to hear the pin drop.
O Brother, Where Art Thou?
In Valhalla, one eye slowly opens, as the body awakens from it’s drugged sleep. He adjusts his eye patch, and listens. Three raps at the door. His client comes in, his clown-face smeared and his mood sour.
“Are you sure about this?”
“I’m sure. Consider it a gift.”
“It’s your grave, you crazy fuck.”
“Just take the eye. Follow the plan. Simple. Neat. Clean.”
He grabs the box off of one-eye’s desk, leaving a smudge of greasepaint on the wood.
“I’ll have a low fat-soy-mocha-latte with a swirl of caramel and extra whip. And don’t forget the sprinkles”
Magie stares at him blankly.
“I invoke the chaos star.”
Magie’s stare narrows into slits.
“I’m sure you do, bozo.”
“Now Magie, that’s no way for you to treat our guest. That’s my job. Go steam something.”
“Hello, Star, my darling.”
“Oh, hi Mickey. What do you want?”
“Geez Star. Is the madness getting to you already. Hmph. Well, remember last time.... ‘let me buy star’s bucks or I’m going to destroy you?’ Does that ring a bell?
“Oh, yeah. Sure.”
“Well, I’m prepared to make a deal.”
Star sings under her breath “make a deal, we’re making a deal, deal-ee, deal, deal,”
“I’ll give you Odin’s eye, you keep the Wi-Phi, but I own Star’s Bucks. You get to be a goddess. Goddess of the Net. Seems fitting.”
“I get the eye? Eye see! And Wiccapedia. Eye yi eye! Eye-Phi! “
“I see you prefer a…verbal… contract. Here’s the eye, my people will call your people, tra la la. Good-bye Star.”
“Bye-bye, burger boy!”
Eye Of The Beholder
Star cradled the eye in her palms, just looking at it. Mickey had left a while ago. She rocked back on her heels, crossed her eyes, then peered out over her glasses.
“How do you work, mister all seeing, all knowing eyeball thing?”
The eye made a low buzz, followed by some beeping, punctuated by clicks and mechanical whirring noises. Star carefully turned the eye around, looking at it on all sides. She noticed a port had emerged from the back.
“Eye drive. Nice. Let’s hook you up, then.”
She plugged the eye into the store’s main computer. It sprung to life, blinking and beeping. The screen went dark, and slowly text began to appear.
“Everything Happens For A Reason.”
The eye started beeping franticly, and the sounds of expensive electronics being fried from the inside filled the air. Star sat, the same quizzical look on her face. The text on the screen shifted.
“You Will Be Rendered Powerless In Ten”
Star sat. Stared. Reached in her pocket, and pulled out a cigarette.
She smoked a third of it in one hit, and exhaled in perfect smoke rings.
“Eight. Seven. Six.”
She finished it off in two hits.
“Oops, my mistake. You will be returned to full power momentarily.”
She applied a fresh coat of bubblegum lip gloss and fluffed her polka-dot skirt.
“Ha-ha. Just kidding. But the hope felt NICE, didn’t it? Five”
She grabbed her Hello Kitty backpack, that held a bottle of gin, three mint toothpicks, half a can of Pringles and the skeleton of a long-forgotten pet mouse that once dwelled there. She dumped out everything but the gin and the skeleton.
“Four. Three. Two.”
She put on the backpack, and stood, facing the eyeball and glaring at it as her glasses slipped down her nose.
“Prepare for Total Shutdown. Please kneel with your head down, and brace yourself for shutdown.”
She twirled her hair and pushed her glasses up.
The computer sparked and popped, then grinded to a halt. Thin streams of smoke rose from the tower. The Wi-Phi was gone. So was Star’s power.
The etheric body of a powerless almost-god is dead weight, they won’t move unless you move them. However, their consciousness is retained, they still see, hear, feel and experience everything around them. They can’t interact or affect anything. They just observe. So Star observed.
The eyeball self-destructs, going up in a puff of dark smoke. Across the globe, people cried out in dismay as their high tech laptops failed to access the internet. Almost immediately, Star’s Bucks’ stock value plummeted and stores began to close down permanently.
“Shocking news in business today. Star’s Bucks is officially shut down for good. Mickey-D has already placed bids on the company as a whole, with plans to open Mickey-Beans by next spring. Mickey’s PR team is touting Mickey-Beans as “the fast food coffee house of the future” promising “gourmet coffees and blended drinks at real-world prices.” Mickey fumbled when asked at a press conference about his decision NOT to use Free Trade Coffee. He was quoted as saying “I am doing the best I can to balance my ethics and my checkbook.” Owners of several small, local coffee houses have banded together in a boycott of all Mickey chains and Mickey products. They handed out literature describing the brutal business practices supposedly employed by Mickey and his entourage of lawyers, brokers, and company executives. That got the attention of even more concerned citizens, and the boycott has spread state-wide. Mickey has lost millions just today, as people flocked to locally owned restaurants for dinner tonight. And though small businesses certainly have a chance to shine right now, the Wendy chain is managing to hold it’s own. To draw in Mickey’s once-loyal customers, Wendy has declared tomorrow an official holiday. “Let Them Eat Beef!” That’s the motto, as every Wendy store will be handing out FREE hamburgers, all day long, and at the drive-through until 2 a.m. This unheard-of event kicks off tomorrow at 10 a.m. sharp. Rent-a-God is yet again pairing up with a big chain, as it will be hosting a “God 4 Sale” charity auction. All proceeds from the auction will be used to start a Wendy Small Business Grant Program. ….”
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