January 2, 2017 § Leave a comment
I am Osiris the king, who led My armies into all parts of the world…My substance is of the same nature as that which composes light. There is no place in the universe where I have not appeared, to bestow My benefits and make known My discoveries.
(The Osirian Column near Nysa in Arabia)
Sphingo & The Black Empire
The Man deemed Sphingo sat patiently aboard his first-class flight, having just landed at PDX International, his Beats faintly humming Daft Punk’s Motherboard, eyes closed, with his copy of the Shoninki resting in lap.
A gorgeous blend of Choctaw, Blackfoot, Cherokee, & Ghanian blood, he was strikingly beautiful, though deliberately emitting an unassuming air of dispassion towards his natural grace & poise.
His primary indulgence, aside from thick, beautiful women and fine red wine, is of The Mystic Sartorial Art.
Casually dressed in muted-grey, Tom Ford slacks, slip-on custom loafers, and an exquisite navy-blue, Egyptian-cotton v-neck, Sphingo was younger, healthier, stouter looking than his age of fifty let on.
His virility, potent.
He’s a squared six ft., with mid-back, thick, shimmering, black hair, which he mostly wore partially pulled back.
Sphingo’s incalculably wealthy.
They’re two completely different statuses.
Chris Rock once made an appropriate joke: “Oprah Winfrey is rich. Bill Gates is wealthy.” Though Sphingo surpassed the aforementioned by the droves.
The only being in humanoid-history who was comparable to his providence of monetary-value, assets, and influence was Mansa Musa.
It’s not known of the 0%, let alone the one and ninety-nine, as to what Sphingo’s occupation is that garners him his pharaoh of the top-tier fortune.
He’s adoringly admired for his secrecy, discretion, and his uncanny ability to understate himself – it’s what his profession, mission, and true nature requires.
A light traveler, Sphingo had only his Louis Vuitton Pégase-55 rolling luggage piece as he disembarked the plane.
He was fond of this item, being synonymous with his personality: Elegant. Tactical. Luxurious. Black.
“Thanks for riding with us,” a cute, ample-hipped, middle-aged, flight attendant said as he passed.
Sphingo flashed an attractive grin with a slight drop of his head to acknowledge her.
“I’d like to ride him,” whispered her colleague as he passed, thinking he was out of range.
With his back turned, he smiled inwardly, always feeling gracious that he effortlessly attracted women.
Both attendants chuckled. They’d been swooning over him the entirety of the flight. His appeal was so seductive they forgot about the airline’s policy about engaging in sexual interactions with patrons. They didn’t care though – they wanted him. And that was precisely what Sphingo intended.
He knew this airport well.
Born and raised in NE Portland until the age of 18, Sphingo always disapproved of the way native-Oregonians seemed to act like they were above all who were transplants or who weren’t the hipster-vegan-indie-rock-type.
He saw a few of these Arcade Fire worshipers sitting at his preferred table at his favorite airport tavern…or rather, the tavern he owned.
Pondering on whether he should commandeer the area that was allotted him, he decided instead to act as an average citizen and sit at the bar enjoying whichever lame game was being broadcast.
“Glenfiddich 40,” motioned Sphingo to the bartender, the balance of his tenor resonating beyond the counter.
Felix did a double take.
“Mr. Candorberry!” He said hesitantly. “Good to see you, sir!”
“Just Sphingo,” he replied in his polite manner.
In an era where Natives were culturally debased and looked at no better than a homeless drunkard, Sphingo enjoyed his celebrity treatment from those whom knew or recognized him. He gloried in it, not only for himself, but for his people – the rightful inhabitant protectors of this Utopia.
Felix reverently handed Sphingo his drink, poured gently in his favorite crystal, with a spritz of purified spring water.
“Management didn’t tell us you were comin’ in this evenin’.”
Sphingo projected a cold, hard stare, letting Felix’s inquiry linger past the point of comfort.
“Deliberately. I like to surprise My establishments on occasion. Keeps everyone alert,” he said flippantly.
“I understand, Mr. Can…I mean, Sphingo, sir.”
Sphingo bellowed a hearty laugh.
“Relax, man. Your job’s not on the line. I’m mainly in town to visit My parents, not to speculate on the quality of My businesses. You’re aware that I employ a great general manager. I trust her and those she hires. Everything’s all good.”
Felix smiled, nodding in relief.
A mild feminine commotion filled the entrepreneur’s ears as he turned to view the sight he was waiting for – his two flight attendants who just so happened to walk into his bar to have a nightcap before retiring to the airport’s hotel, which he also owned.
They spotted Sphingo.
One of them whispered mischievously into the other’s ear, laughed out loud dramatically, and tried to look nonchalant as they found an unoccupied table near the front of his pub.
Felix noticed their interest in his boss.
“Have fun, sir,” he smirked enviously, wiping the counter’s spheres of condensation.
Sphingo gracefully picked up his drink with two-fingers & thumb, transitioning to sit with his prey.
“Two bewitching women walk into a bar, owned by a Native. One of the ladies says to the other, ‘Look what I’ve found – a successful Indian who owns a business.’ The other says, ‘So? That’s nothing. I’d be impressed if this successful Indian had a big dick.’”
The Milfs, staring upward, sat gawking at Sphingo as he finished the punchline.
After gaining her composure, the more extroverted of the two spoke.
“Tell me…does this rich Native have a big cock?” She said with her most non-obvious tone.
Her companion held back a snicker.
The left corner of Sphingo’s perfect mouth turned upward, happy that she’d played along.
“I live in the West Hills. Escort Me there to find out for yourselves,” he stated imperatively. His confidence, undeniable.
The giddy-one replied, “She would love to,” nudging the other.
“Perfect,” he said, gently lifting his chiseled chin. “Meet Me here in five minutes,” he crooned as he reached in his left pocket, pulled out, and slid them a card with his private terminal number.
The flight-attendants’ eyes went wide.
“Why the hell do you fly first-class when you own a private jet?”
“I don’t like to advertise my wealth…unless it gains me favor with beautiful women, of course,” he said flirtatiously. “Besides, it’s fun sometimes flying like commoners. If I hadn’t today, I wouldn’t have met you two.”
They grinned sillily.
Checkmate, he thought.
At a nearby table, an army-cadet, who was on leave, overheard Sphingo & The Nymphs’ conversation.
He was outraged.
Being undisciplined to keep his mouth shut, he got up from the table, his comrades in line, walking over to their area.
“S’cuse me, ma’ams…s’this guy botherin’ you?”
Their minds were elsewhere – conversing with one another, talkin’ ‘bout the things that women talk about when discussing a man they’d like to fuck.
The soldier turned his attention to Sphingo once he realized he’d been ignored, his southern-pride not allowing him to maturely walk away without being a hero; that was, after all, how he’d been programmed to act.
“Hey, bud,” the soldier grimaced condescendingly. “I think it best you let these gals be.”
Sphingo’s phone rang. The ringtone was Jay Z’s Open Letter. “Ya’ll gon’ learn t’day…”
Slipping his hand down his right pocket, he retrieved his Blackphone, turned his back on the soldier and posse, then checked it.
He opened the text from B.E.:
Roselle, Alaniah, Eva
have been located. With
they’ve defeated Datura.
Deploy to Doernbecher’s.
The Blackphone’s camera scanned Sphingo’s retina, self-deleting the text upon him ending the reading.
Hm. Datura’s been defeated, he thought. An Initiate can’t complete The Masters’ task.
He took a cleansing breath before turning around, eying the slags.
“The Maybach’s waitin’. See you in five.”
He walked back to the bar to snag his luggage. After he extended the handle, he summoned Felix.
“Sir?” he said, a little ruffled due to how the cadet spoke to his boss, clearly unaware of who he was.
“Pay them no mind,” Sphingo said soothingly, downing his drink, yet savoring it.
He placed the crystal on the counter neatly, then palmed Felix a Benjamin as he shook his hand goodnight.
He stared at the greenback.
“Sir!” He exclaimed.
“’Till we meet again,” said Sphingo cooly. “The restaurant’s closin’ early tonight.”
He turned & departed, the wheels of his luggage rolling silently.
As he walked a few paces, he swayed his head to the left to catch glares with the soldier.
Sphingo winked, tuning his attention on the cadet’s abdomen.
The soldier hadn’t the knowledge to compute what Sphingo triggered within his body.
All he would remember is some distinguished, well-dressed, powerfully mild-mannered Native Man gazing at him, as he passed to exit some restaurant that he and his friends decided to try, while waiting for their families to arrive to welcome them home for two weeks, before they deployed on another leg of duty in the current war.
He’d never see his wife, nor his two sons and daughter.
The vomit mingled with blood spewing from his nose and mouth as he slumped lifelessly on Sphingo’s restaurant table would be his final ponderance.
His friends couldn’t perform mouth-to-mouth due to the excessive amount of sick, bile, and other intestinal fluids gushing from his oral cavity, the seizure not helping either.
The restaurant’s patrons were in an uproar.
Everyone was terrified of catching whatever this soldier had. They scrambled in an attempt to escape the vicinity.
In a panic, Felix grabbed the phone behind the bar.
“911, state your emergency.”
“Hello, yes, I’m at Duke’s Place/PDX International and a soldier is having some kind of seizure! There’s blood and puke everywhere, send an ambulance, quick!”
Felix disconnected the call before the dispatcher could ask any stupid questions.
Everyone on the west-coast knew that Duke’s Place was celebrated & well-loved; and that emergencies, here, never happened.
The patrons trammeled out the rathskeller into the airport walkway, the soldier’s crew included.
Felix calmed himself before slowly moving towards the decrepit body.
A Black-man yelled, “Stay back, bruh! You dunno what the fuck he’s got!”
Felix concurred with his logic and halted, treading reverse a few steps.
Bewildered, he blew forced air through his cheeks, his beard twitching as he grazed both hands through his mangled mane, trying to comprehend wtf just happened.
He’d never witnessed anything of this kind.
Dropping his arms to the sides, an intuitive spark igniting in his mind, he remembered what Sphingo announced to him before exiting.
“The restaurant’s closin’ early tonight.”
~ author: Hiram Surtyr – illustrator: Ruth Barbee ~
September 21, 2016 § 1 Comment
I and the public know what all schoolchildren learn, those to whom evil is done do evil in return.
~ W. H. Auden
Once Alaniah, Neil, and I were in the hallway, we walked shoulder-to-shoulder without talking, the exited class deep in contemplation over Religious Studies.
Before stopping in front of our lockers, I noticed my younger sister, Eva, waiting for us.She was relaxedly uneasy.
“I’ve got a message for you,” she said in an almost whisper, her long, curly hair in two pigtails framing her cherub, light-brown face. She’s beautiful, short, muscular, and most people thought she was still in elementary.
“Okay?” I said, reaching for what she was handing me. Not another fucking note.
Neil’s curiosity interrupted my reading.
“So what’d Bella say to you?”
“Donna,” Ali piped in. “It’s Belladonna, asshat.”
He gave an acquiescent smile. She, a satiated grin.
I looked at him, half-dazed from what Belladonna’d urged.
“She jus’ told me to be sure I read everything thoroughly.” It was kinda the truth.
“Erriight,” he responded.
Ignoring him, I caught Eva staring at me intensely.
“Giz, why’re you lookin’ at me like that?”
“You haven’t read the note.”
“My reading of it doesn’t require your attendance. Don’t you have class?”
“Yeah, so do you. Plus, the guy whom gave it to me asked to assure that you’ve read it before I go. He wants me to tell ‘im that you understood it.”
The three of us looked at each other oddly, then turned our glares back on Eva.
“This’s odd as hell,” said Cheeky uncomfortably.
“Concurred,” said Neil.
I stayed silent. Oddities were the order of the day.
I read the note: The Sacred History, Mark Booth.
“Is this a joke?” I blasted.
“I dunno?” Eva said defensively.
“What’s it say?” Ali inquisited. I showed her.
“Didn’t you jus’ buy this book last weekend when we went to Powell’s?”
“Yeah,” I said softly. So many things were cascading through my mind.
I came out of my daze and looked at Eva.
“Tell me who this man is.”
“Obviously, he’s the author of the book.”
I closed my eyes and groaned.
“Bro. Not the guy on the note. The one who gave it to you, nerd.”
“Oh. Jus’ some guy who stopped me when I was walkin’ to class. He asked if I knew you, referenced you by name…I didn’t tell ‘im you were my sis, jus’ that I knew who you were. Then he asked if I’d give you this note. I was weirded-out, but he wasn’t a creeper. He had a visitors’-lanyard so I knew he was legit to be on campus. Still kinda strange though.”
“And he wanted you to report to ‘im once you gave it to me.”
“So, he’s still here.”
“I guess so. I’ll go check.”
“Word. Be quick about it.”
Eva darted off.
“Guys, we gotta go or we’ll be late for psych,” Neil stated.
Alaniah sighingly eyerolled upon the realization. “Shit, I totally forgot about class.”
We quickly tucked our tech in our lockers.
Our psychology professor wasn’t so much for mechanical devices. He liked things the old way – books, paper, pens. If he had his scholastic druthers, he’d have us using quills, parchment and ink.
We were just down the hall when a couple of kids ran past in the opposite direction.
They trailed something on the floor behind them, seeing their shoe prints consecutively patterned one after the other in what I thought was glossy paint.
“Rejects from art class, prob’ly,” Neil groused, as we gathered ourselves from the mild fright of their speed.
“I don’t think this’s paint,” Ali said with moderate shock after a further examination of the substance.
She touched one of the prints with her long, slender index.
“What is it?” I asked.
Neil and I squinted while crouching together to take a closer look.
“It’s blood!” She squealed.
“Fuckin’ gnarly,” Neil said with morbid fascination of the standard eighth-grade boy.
“Fucking gross!” I proclaimed, frightened by the thought of what caused a couple of kids to run through blood.
“Dude, we gotta see where these prints lead!”
It was too late when I reached out to stop him. Neil had already jumped up and ran toward the origin of the tracks.
“Wait!” I screamed.
I shot up, kicked off my Birkenstocks, and ran after ‘im, surprising myself at how fast I was.
Neil turned a few corners before disappearing out of sight. I knew the school well enough to guess where he was going.
My speed increased. Whose legs were these?
Ali tried keepin’ up, but to no avail; which was weird ‘cause she was in great shape and super-quick, too.
A loud bang pierced the clutter of my rapid footsteps and panting.
The lights flickered on the fritz. I could hardly see in front of me.
Halting breathlessly, I listened cautiously to my surrounding environment. The school was huge, so with the vast space between segments of the facility, I could only make out garbled tones of voices, high-volume movement, and the fire alarm, though the overhead extinguishers refused to spray.
The bioelectrical spatter of the school’s defunct nanobots made the strangest noises, accompanied by an even stranger scent: burning hair.
At this point in the pursuit, I’d ran to the school’s backhalls, way off the grid of the main floors. Students do some sketchy shit back here.
Ridding myself of those thoughts, and once again listening attentively, I realized there was an abnormality about what I was hearing.
Awareness acute, pressure within head intensified.
A familiar tingle swept my body.
I groped the lower portion of my abdomen.
An indomitable electric-surge panned through my brain. I winced and gasped. The headache blooming was herculean.
Reflexes taking control.
My head swung back in an attempt for air.
On inhale, I felt the energy of the infinite number of the school’s nanotech data outputs. They pervaded through me.
My thoughts unhesitatingly traced to Valhalla.
I shook my head and blinked, deciding to keep following Neil in the direction of the noise.
Ignoring my migraine, I ran down a few flights rapaciously, reached the landing, then slid on something at the bottom. I’d been running unconsciously, cognitively unaware as I skipped the last few steps and landed right in it, feet bare.
I slammed hard on my chest, eating it big time, registering within seconds that I’d just done a slip-n-slide through more blood.
It took a moment to collect myself after having the wind knocked outta me.
While rolling on my back, groaning, I wiped hair from my face and pasted a streak of blood on my cheek. A dollop of it brushed against my tongue – salted rust.
I spat, scrambling up.
A sharp pain jolted up the side of my right foot. My ankle. Fuck.The absolute worst sprains.
Yelping in anguish, I limped around the final corner of my quest for Neil. He, nor Ali, could be spotted anywhere.
I tripped over a mass below me. Jesus fucking Christ.
While getting up, I whipped my head around, disregarding the inevitable pain from my ankle, curiosity overpowering the physical.
Although a moderate pool of light shone through two nearby exit doors, the malfunctioned nanolights strobed uncomfortably, making it difficult to see.
It was him.
“Neil!” I span around on my left foot to take as much pressure as possible off my right. “Neil!” I shouted again this time hopping toward his face.
He was on his back, face leaning away.
I lowered my frame to his and put my hand on his chest, noticing his blood immediately. It’d congealed from a hole in the center. I scurried backward in a panic, falling speedily, jarred by the scene.
I kept rapidly trying to grip myself in a hugging fashion as I kept my head turned away. The delirium that my mind was in compelled me to reenact a calming and reassuring gesture.
A body hit the floor closeby.
It was Alaniah, who’d just done an instant-replay of what I was gathering myself from. The wail of her shriek put a banshee to shame.
In her scream of terror, she reached out for me.
I had an instant maternal inclination and grabbed at her. I rushed up to meet her halfway. We were almost clawing each other in a panic for normalcy.
We melted to the floor, heavy from the weight of emotions.“Are you ok?” I begged, grabbing both sides of her face to look her in her dark, brown eyes.
“Yeah…no…Neil…is he…?” She whimpered through cries and sniffles, her eyes lucid with water.
She could hardly breathe. I embraced her tightly.
“I don’t know,” I said, still panting hard, staring at Neil’s body over her shoulder.
He didn’t move.
I couldn’t peel my eyes away.
Is he alive? The hole is so close to his heart.
A clamor jolted our senses, the bottomless feeling that tortures you during airplane turbulence arising in my gut.
A white boy, about seventeen, dressed in a bespoke black suit, came busting through the nearest exit.
Alaniah turned speedily.
Upon him noticing us on the floor, he froze transfixed, our eyes locking with his.
Shakily, he quickly lifted his right arm; in his hand, he held a suppressed Beretta Px4 pistol. Through all the flurry of that inexplicable moment, my mind recognized the piece right away, owing to being co-raised by an uncle who was a retired Navy SEAL.
“He never saw it comin’,” the shooter said, grimacing, his head slightly lowered and tilted.
I saw a faint hint of a smile on his mouth.
The fear of his gun pointing in our direction, mixed with the evil excitement of the moment, contracted my insides.
His mouth parted. I could hear his breaths as if he were an inch away from my ear.
Senses enhancing themselves, mental-awareness ascending.
I could taste my sweat, saliva, and blood. I could smell the shampoo in my hair along with Ali’s, and the interior of the school – that smell of metal, sex, broken-hearts, body-odor, and living up to your Parent’s expectations.
With my muscles tensed, I stared at the dark, wide eyes of this child who didn’t look at all like the quintessential teenage gunman.
He was clearly insane, although calm about it.
He looked at me rabidly.
“Do you want to live?” He asked gently.
I was frozen.
“DO YOU!?” He screamed, gunned hand still vibrating with uncertainty.I was appropriately startled, and perplexed by his question.
My mind wandered.
He cocked his gun.
It brought me back.
“Yes, I wanna live!” I said with as much sincere passion as could be mustered.
I gripped Alaniah tightly, burying her face in my chest so she couldn’t witness the horrors.
I stopped breathing, waiting.
“Good,” he said drolly.
He dropped his arm and proceeded to unscrew the suppressor, thrusting the naked barrel in the soft, taut spot between his chin and throat.
“NO!” I yelled at the top of my lungs, and I don’t know why I did. It was better that he pointed it at himself.
He smiled as he spoke.
“I found you,” he whispered.
My eyes widened.
The loud, metallic bang pierced the silence, echoing through the stillness.
Globs of dark, wet, chunky material splattered against the door behind him as his body hurried down.
I lurched back with Ali still held.
The invigorating energy of intrigue possessing her to turn around, she eyed the horrendous sight, yelling with more ardency than before.
I snatched her by the shoulders and turned her back with such force that I knocked us both on our sides.
We sobbed uncontrollably, faces drenched, burning from our salty opened pores of tears and sweat.
Through all the adrenaline and shock of the moment, I felt the agony of my ankle. I reached for it while turning from Ali, the pain reminding me of Neil a few feet away.
Another jolt from below shook me.
I glanced toward the shooter, mechanically, and saw his body in a pond of his own blood, bone fragments, and brain matter.
Coughing, I wiped away the puke from my face with the end of my shirt, glancing at Ali between breaths.
She had moved over to Neil, crying as she loomed over his body.
I crawled to her, afraid that if I got up something worse would happen.
Embracing her, I stroked her hair and face in hope that my touch would be comforting.
I peered at Neil’s remains, losing the ability to think or feel, my mind chasmic.
My peer progressed into fixation.
With my volition buried in the abyss, instinctively, I gently moved Cheeky away from me, my focus on Neil as I did this.
I shifted my knees to his shoulder – they touched.
Valhalla’s visage crept in.
My head jerked and twitched as if trying to remember something that was out of reach, the penetrating eyes of Valhalla emblazoning in my memory, her eyes glowing ultraviolet, emanating that wavelength.
“Eva, stop!” Alaniah belted, noticing her getting to the upper landing of the stairs, surveilling the wondrous event before her.
Eva stood there, catatonic.
“…what…the…fuck?” She squeezed out through a strained whisper.
My chest swelled rapidly, body bulleting forward directly on Neil’s, torquing violently.
I was having a full blown seizure on the corpse of the only male friend I had other than my brother.
A final vision of Valhalla,
a climactic fit through my body,
then I collapsed on Neil.
The Absolute Void of All Being.
The feeling was complete.
Without warning to Ali, my body bent upward with a fluid speed that knocked her backwards.
Energy surged through me.
My arms were lifted, muscles flexed beyond what was comfortable for any human.
My head shot back, face vaulted to the ceiling, a golden-blue ether churning through the spectrum of my eyes.The impression that pushed its way through me was encompassing.
I held my breath.
This energy used everything I was.
Eyes closing involuntarily, they shot open, my mouth along with them.
Glistering amber light shot vertically from my eyes and mouth:
I, Am The Aensupra:
The Great Attractor
I knew the voice doubtlessly. ’Twas the same vocal apparition that was first introduced in kindergarten.
Identifying as many names, this power, this entity, took upon itself to manifest through me.
I was burning from the inside out, awkwardly writhing under the force of its magnificence.
There was so much syncopation and rhythm due to its vibratory-intention.
I starved for oxygen.
With a final contraction of tension, my arms, hands, and fingers stretched to the heavens, chest heaving, to a final rush from this power.
My amber fire radiated through and lit everything in the area.
My arms dropped with as much speed as the suicide-shooter, amber still blazing from my eyes and mouth.
A screech escaped through my vocal chords – a yell so piercing that Ali covered her ears and scampered away from me and Neil as fast as her fear would allow, all glass in the vicinity shattering.
An electric-blue, spherical, etheric, audible flare exploded from the base of my spine, the sacrum, through the environment in all directions.
The energies felt and looked like what I encountered at my meeting with Valhalla, only more galvanized.
The light pent back, my eyes and mouth closing, a burnless heat radiating below my navel.
Even though my back was arched and my head lifted from a fit of supernatural discharge, I had the physical wherewithal to clench the area with my hands.
I hunched forward, head butting Neil’s bloody chest.
The light transformed, illuminating gold, swelling in the clenched area.
I stayed motionless and panting for a moment, groaning as the light intensified.
I gasped a deep inhalation, forehead still posted.
As the goldilight grew and climaxed, I was blown backward into the air with blinding speed, crashing into Alaniah.
We fractured through a wall twenty feet behind us.
I blacked out, and although I felt pain everywhere, nothing hurt.
I focussed on my breathing.
It was paradoxical being conscious and asleep simultaneously.
Consciousness gained control.
I waited a moment before moving, making sure there were no more surprises.
Then I got one – the surprise of my life.
Deep coughing and choking trickled to my hearing. Strained respiratory babbling peeking through the rubble.
I felt the soundwaves. They tremored me.
All of my senses were alive and vibrant. I was one with them; and they, with me.
Dust and debris floated everywhere. Residue from the blown out ceiling, glass, dry wall, wood, vending machines, water fountains, splintered fiberoptic cables, various metals, all performed with destructed whimsy.
I heard sporadic words through the chaos of demolished materials and five floored souls.
I coughed to clear my throat as I moved to uncovered my head, turning it to each side in search of Ali & Eva.
They were knocked out, Eva slumped yards away, Alaniah crumpled in a heap, slabs of the wall she just pulverized blanketing her.
I thought it was her I heard coughing and muffling out incomprehensible words. She should’ve been dead from the impact.
As I crawled slowly toward Ali, I saw movement from the corner of my eye.
In irrational panic, I thought it was the suicide-shooter and scurried faster toward my best friend. I grabbed an arm of hers that was closest, hid with her in the debris, looked toward the movement and waited.
I heard a mumble.
The voice was anguished, pushed beneath the surface.
“…waateer,” it squeezed out.
The voice was closer, clearer.
I made room to view the sound, seeing the figure to the voice.
It was Neil, Eva piggybacked on him, crawling towards Ali and me.
I stared in disbelief.
With all the unfolded circumstances of the day, I shouldn’t have been surprised.
A fine frenzy my mind was in.
I took a deep breath, an immense wave of repose sweeping over me.
I became numb.
I couldn’t feel anything.
I was relaxed, completely.
The only sound I took in was my breathing – a sound so familiar, and yet in this instance so strange and new, that it took my recollection processes to deeper depths.
I recalled memories when I was still in a crib. Impossible. The looks on my parents faces as they changed my diaper. When I first crawled. The pain of my first tooth. Finally, the reenactments took a leap to when I saw first light on my entrance into this colorful, loud, confusing, bizarre world.
The memories faded, my inward reality scotched by the truth of the moment.
Neil reached us. He had to climb over shards of wreckage to do so.
He reached out.
He spoke. His voice a solemn reassurance.
“You’re alright, but we all need water.”
I blinked at him, like I’d just been born and this was the first face I’d seen. I only remembered his words thoroughly after I’d fully recapitulated this event.
I was still laying with Ali, hiding in the aftermath.
I blinked again.
The sound of police, ambulance, and firetruck sirens could be heard.
I felt the weight of my eyelids, squinting, trying to apply cognition to what I was seeing.
Light blindingly glared from the tips of my eyelashes, retinas rolling back, head leaning as they did.
Eyes closed, head bowed.
The final wave of exhaustion was making its appearance.
Neil whispering my name softened the landing of my blackout.
~ author: Hiram Surtyr – illustrator: Ruth Barbee ~
July 1, 2014 § Leave a comment
I recognize the men at the bar. And the one woman.
They’re some of the most respected chefs in America. Most of them are French, but all of them made their bones here.
They are, each and every one of them, heroes to me – as they are to up-and-coming line cooks, wannabe chefs, and culinary students everywhere. They’re clearly surprised to see each other here, to recognize their peers strung out along the limited number of barstools.
Like me, they were summoned by a trusted friend to this late-night meeting at this celebrated New York restaurant for ambiguous reasons under conditions of utmost secrecy.
They have been told, as I was, not to tell anyone of this gathering. It goes without saying that none of us will blab about it later.
…I still get the vapors being in the same room with these guys. I’m doing my best to conceal the fact that I’m, frankly, starstruck – atwitter with anticipation. My palms are sweaty as I order a drink, and I’m aware that my voice sounds oddly high and squeaky as the words “vodka on the rocks” come out.
…If a gas leak blew up this building? Fine dining as we know it would be nearly wiped out in one stroke.
…The large double doors to a private banquet room swing open and we are summoned.
There’s a long table, set for thirteen people, in the middle of the room. Against the wall is a sideboard, absolutely groaning under the weight of charcuterie – the likes of which few of us (even in this group) have seen in decades: classic Careme-era terrines of wild game, gallantines of various birds, paté and rillettes. The centerpiece is a wild boar paté en croute, the narrow area between forcemeat and crust filled with clear, amber-tined aspic.
Waiters are pouring wine. We help ourselves.
One by one, we take our seats. A door at the far end of the room opens and we are joined by our host.
It’s like that scene in The Godfather, where Marlon Brando welcomes the representatives of the five families.
…There is a welcome – and a thank-you to the person who procured what we are about to eat (and successfully smuggled it into the country). There is a course of ravioli in consommé (quite wonderful) and a civet of wild hare. But these go by in a blur.
Our dirty plates are removed. The uniformed waiters, struggling to conceal their smiles, reset our places.
Our host rises and a gueridon is rolled out bearing thirteen cast-iron cocottes. Inside each, a tiny, still-sizzling roasted bird – head, beak, and feet still attached, guts intact inside its plump little belly.
All of us lean forward, head turned in the same direction as our host high pours from a bottle of Armagnac, dousing the birds – then ignites them.
This is it.
The grand slam of rare and forbidden meals.
If this assemblage of notable chefs is not reason enough to pinch myself, then this surely is.
This is a once-in-a-fucking-lifetime meal – a never-in-a-lifetime meal for most mortals, even in France!
What we’re about to eat is illegal there as it’s illegal here.
~ excerpt from “Medium Raw” by Anthony Bourdain ~
March 19, 2014 § Leave a comment
The wisdom of the Egyptians, what was it but principally astronomy?
~ (St. Augustine, “City of God,” bk. xviii., ch. 39)
According to the old Egyptian system, the earth stood in the centre, the sun was supposed to occupy the earth’s orbit, while Mercury and Venus revolved round the sun as satellites. Even modern astronomers, with all their appliances are uncertain as to the exact distance of the earth from the sun. It has been computed to be from 108 to 110 of its own diameters. Galileo called it 110, and the ancients seem to have usually taken it at this amount.
“If one wished to obtain means for a profounder contemplation of the entrance of souls into divine things…let him…
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