The western sky is unevenly streaked with slender amber fingers of fog that stretch across the ember-breathing horizon; distant gray and umber mountain ranges softly melt into the tinged orange, red, and violet solar decay as the ebony cloak of evening silently spreads eastward where slowly fading particles of light dissipate into ever-increasing darkness. Within the safety of a sheltering cave, Midas the Haggard Leader with a Hemp-woven Codpiece sits on his granite throne that is covered with the down of young aquatic birds and flocculent fur from velveteen mammals that resemble drift wood, and he gazes into the fire—prescient energy created by burning logs from the Tree of Knowledge. The fire is built against the northern wall of the cave and employs a slow moving, barely noticeable draft that sucks the fire’s smoke to where no one knows, and as he smokes the crushed leaves and buds from the Tree of Knowledge, which, at times, makes him giggle uncontrollably and at other times makes him ravenously hungry, especially for the sweet sap from a hybrid sugar maple tree, Midas retells his tribe’s history:
“Oh eternal Muse from whose spirit I am bequeathed the ability to recall our tribal history, come to me now and help me tell my people about the genesis of our race and how our supreme goddess, Lady Coca-Cola, chose us as her people. Help me plant the seed in our children so that they may nourish it and watch it grow into a magnificent tree of Wisdom, and help me to inspire them to keep our history alive long after I leave this earthly plane.”
Midas quaffs from the Lethean Jug of Amber Inebriate Liquids and tokes deeply from the Sacred Pipe of Dreams.
“In the beginning… ”
Midas exhales the mind-clarifying smoke, his body drifting away until it vanishes into a land where imaginative forces overcome the more pragmatic concerns for survival from the harsh atmospheric violence of the Wild Earth Zone; his mind reigns supreme while his body reposes.
“Long before the earth was born, there were two mighty gods: IBM and Coca-Cola. They lived in mutual distrust of each other because each wanted to exclusively control the chaos by which they were surrounded.
“Their epic battle begins, each god struggling mightily against the other, their tense, clashing muscles bulging with the determined ichor that pumps puissance into each of their militant ambitions. Eons pass with neither deified force gaining the upper hand.
“For long spans of time that we are unable to effectively comprehend, the two gods rage war on each other, but there is no order in the Universe, and as soon as one god gains a slight advantage over the other, chaos callously spews into their conflict an unforeseen event that renders both combatants neutral. The war continues unabated until the eve of the century when both gods, fatigued with the battle, decide on a truce so that each can rest.
“IBM is a strict disciple of rules and regulations when it applies to appearance. Ironically, this kind of stern discipline disappears completely when it comes to telling the truth, and he is prone to histrionic antics that often cause the lower gods to question his mental acuity. He proudly dons an aggressively orange toupee; he employs alternate facts when the truth opposes his agenda; he wears a smallish, really expensive watch to make his tiny hands appear larger; he wears a dark suit, a clean starched white shirt, uncomfortable dress shoes, and a comically long superfluous piece of red cloth tied in a knot around his neck. He believes that pomp and circumstance are meant to be observed at all costs, that they somehow magically transform into tangible manifestations of militant, civil, and intellectual superiority. IBM finds a relatively comfortable piece of chaos in which to rest, but as a strict adherent to the conformity of specious traditions, he decides not to loosen his tie.”
Midas pauses. His throat is parched, and he calls for a drink. A nubile maiden hands him the Lethean Jug of Amber Inebriate Liquids. Midas takes a kingly quaff then, after a belch that echoes throughout the cave, which makes the children giggle uncontrollably, the mighty warrior-leader resumes his story.
“Both gods are aware of the existence of black holes.”
Midas leans forward as he momentarily turns from storyteller to teacher, and he addresses the children directly, “A black hole is the invisible remains of a collapsed star with an intense gravitational force that is so powerful that not even a god can escape.”
The clueless children shake their heads habitually. Midas the Haggard Leader with a Hemp-Woven Codpiece smiles then takes another healthy toke from the Sacred Pipe of Dreams. As he exhales a thick cloud of smoke into the air, he continues his story.
“Of course, both gods recognize that when a spurious black hole travels near them, their very existence is threatened. When IBM hears the black hole slowly approaching him through the chaos, he adjusts his slumber just enough so that his body does not repose in its destructive path, but he forgets about his tie, which is sucked into the black hole like angel hair pasta and, in an flash, drags the god into its inky blackness. It all happens so quickly that before IBM remembers that he is, in fact, a god, with god-like powers, and can easily disintegrate the superfluous piece of red cloth tied in a knot around his neck, IBM is sucked into a different dimension of the Universe never to be seen again. Lady Coca-Cola becomes the supreme deity of our people!”
The tribe sits back, relieved to hear, once again, that their supreme deity has overcome her most challenging obstacle, the dreaded IBM. IBM lost to a goddess. Nothing has changed. Lady Coca-Cola is still the most powerful of all gods. A few of the tribal members clap.
“After a long party that is celebrated throughout the Universe, which involves shooting stars, exploding nebulae, and crashing galaxies, Lady Coca-Cola returns her main focus on governing; she realizes very quickly that the Universe is too disorderly and is motivated by her ambitions to quell the chaotic dynasty over which she has taken control, so she embarks on her most difficult challenge. In only seven days, Lady Coca-Cola creates the ordered universe.
“Lady Coca-Cola first creates woman in her own image; it is her finest creation. The woman is grateful that she is created, mind you, but she is afraid of the dark and is so importunate in her requests to have a nightlight that Coca-Cola pauses. When our Lady and Savior is refreshed, she creates Rolex, the god of light and darkness, thereby separating night and day, which will ultimately inspire Cole Porter to write a very popular jazz standard eons into the future. Lady Coke looks down upon her work and is satisfied, but she has much more work in front of her.
“Lady Coca-Cola creates Calypso, the god of French oceanographers, and she also creates Amtrax, the god of the land who sometimes wreaks havoc on the earth’s population. Value Jet becomes the goddess of the friendly blue skies, but this capricious goddess, too, occasionally rains disaster upon her people, killing hundreds at a time. Prudential becomes the god of mineral matter composed of the earth’s crust by the action of Earth, Wind, and Fire—the Goddesses of Funk. Fauna becomes goddess of wildlife; her sister Flora becomes goddess of botanical pursuits (and it is to her we pray when burning fuel from the Tree of Knowledge); their sister Meriweather becomes adviser to Fairy Godmothers who grant wishes to fuliginous women working in ashes and makes them the belles of balls worldwide.
“Ella Fitzgerald is very grateful that Lady Coca-Cola has showered so much attention on her, but she still feels empty inside. Sadly, she roams the Hanging Garden of Eden and sings wonderful jazz ballads. Lady Coke looks down upon the earth that She has created and sees Ella’s sadness.
“Coke asks, ‘Why, my first lady of jazz, are you so morose? Have I not given you everything?’
“ ‘Why yes, my Lady.’
“ ‘Then why are you so sad?’
“Ella continues in a melodic inquiry, ‘Have you ever heard two turtle doves bill and coo when they love?’
“ ‘Am I not thy Lady and Savior, Coca-Cola?’
“ ‘Of course you are. But,’ she continues, ‘that’s the kind of magic music I want to make with my lips when I kiss. For Christ’s sake,’ she exclaims, ‘Huggin’ and a-kissin’, oh what I’ve been missin’. Lover man, oh where can he be?’
“ ‘Who’s Christ?’ asks Lady Coca-Cola.”
“ ‘Pardon me, Dear Lady?’
“ ‘Oh! Never mind. So, tell me again what’s your problem.’
“ ‘Well, Coke, I know you’re the real thing, but I can’t throw down any good loving on you, and although the animals you gave me are fun, you forbade sex with them… well, at least you will forbid it when Elvis and his brother Aaron visit you on the sacred mountain and you take the form of a burning bush that is never consumed by the conflagration.’
“ ‘How do you know about that?’
“ ‘It’s called foreshadowing.’ ”
Ella exclaims, ‘What I really want is someone like me but not like me, a puzzle piece that’ll fit me and with whom I can talk, play… live.’
“ ‘OK,’ says Coke. ‘Let me eat some ribs and I’ll get back to you after lunch.’
“Lady Coca-Cola saunters off to wherever gods and goddeses go, and Ella falls asleep on a bed of soft, brightly colored flowers near a creek.”
A loud crack of thunder echoes loudly throughout the cave, and Midas the Haggard Leader with a Hemp-Woven codpiece recognizes the fear in the eyes of his followers, so he decides to end the story.
“Tomorrow,” he says, “I’ll tell the story about how Coke bottled her effervescent benevolence to create a man for Ella Fitzgerald, but now I think it’s time to drink Erasmus’ Nocturnal Elixir so that we can drift into that land where shadows and forms coexist.”
Erasmus the Tribal Apothecary prepares a nocturnal elixir every evening, and all the tribal members drink it, even the youngest. The elixir slows down the body’s functions and allows the partaker of its essence a wonderful night’s sleep. The tribe drinks their medicinal liquid while purple rain slips through the leaden sky. After most of the tribe drifts towards Morpheus’ shrine, the medicinal guardian consumes the elixir’s dregs, and as the moon rises unobserved behind thick clouds, the tribe falls peacefully asleep.