Excerpts from Survival Tips for the Plague Years
Well what they say. It gets worse before it gets better, so we seem to be making progress. Welcome to the bright side of the dark night of the soul.
In school we had to write a paper. “What Is Your Heart’s Desire.” I wrote, “Grow up and get a job and get laid.” I got a D, for telling the truth.
So I did that. But the job part, that gave me more Heart’s Desires: to succeed, to fulfill myself, to get a raise, to quit.
And get laid once, that’s not enough. You want to do it again. So how you do it, you gotta be sincere. I’m very sincere, I’m sincere enough to be a guru, but people never think you’re as sincere as you really are, so you gotta look a lot more sincere than you really are so you come out even. And get laid again.
So what’s it all about? Whatta you doing here? What’s your purpose in life? You need some purpose in life. Like some people make puppets.
So at a certain point I got spiritual. I no longer feel, as once I did, that the Universe is meaningless. There is a plan, divinely guided. The rocks, the trees, the turtles, the rivers, the delicious women—everything is suffused with this plan.
The plan, in the inscrutable mind of the Divine Presence, is to create this amazing planet, to set it in motion, to endow us with a sacred soul and divine essence and freedom of will, and then to sit back and see what kind of shit we pull.
I keep working on my paper. I keep getting D’s. Maybe I’ll ace the final exam.
My mother. Talking about survival here. My mother was a beautiful lady. She was. But even when I was really tiny, she would have been in her mid-30’s then, she had lost most of her teeth. She had her lower front teeth, but the upper teeth were gone, except for two cuspids that anchored her upper denture, kinda like Dracula hanging on to his lunch. I crawl up in her lap, say, Mama, take out your teeth! And if she’s in the right mood, not too strung out from work, she’d yank’em out and give me a scraggly grin.
But this is about her journey to the tax office.
Conspiracy... You ever wonder what they do in the VIP Lounge? Are those VIPs in there just ... lounging? And if there is a conspiracy, are you better off, is it a better survival strategy to know the conspiracy, or stay dumb? Or maybe get a job with it, like catering lunches.
Well there is a conspiracy. So here, my friends, are the facts.
Yesterday’s destruction of all transport systems in New York City, with the estimated loss of 42,000 lives, was the conspiracy of Al-Qaida.
Al-Qaida is a conspiracy of CIA and the current Administration to justify the creation of a police state in America and conquer the world.
This Administration is the front for a plot linking radical environmentalists, Black Nationalists, and international Communism to undermine capitalism by letting it disgrace itself.
Communism itself was a conspiracy by proto-Nazis to induce world chaos leading to forced attendance at the operas of Richard Wagner.
Nazism—now this gets pretty offensive here, I’m just taking this from the Internet. Nazism was funded by a cabal of Jewish extremists to produce the Holocaust, thus justifying establishment of the Zionist state.
Zionism! Zionism is a plot by the Illuminati to foment world war between the monotheistic religions and pave the way for an enlightened humanistic utopia ruled by philosopher kings.
The Roman Catholic Church founded the Illuminati as the Antichrist they’re saving us from.
God, in His wisdom, created the Roman Catholic Church.
And God’s mother told Him—he was about two years old when he did this—told Him He was a Bad Boy and made Him go stand in a black hole. God didn’t create the universe, they just gave it to Him for His birthday.
But it was all the fault of the Mother Goddess, who did not read the package label for age-appropriate toys.
Nevertheless, within the universal conspiracy, life goes on. With its orgasms, its labor pains, full moons, traffic accidents, drunk drivers, little murders, practical jokes, genocides, and its blind beauty and its rivers and its tides.
Let us conspire.
So, according to the official biography of Jesus H. Christ, as authorized by the franchise, it goes like this.
Back East, there’s a number of experts, on the talk shows and book tours, and they’re talking about this magical child, born under a magical star...
And the Administration, they watching television to know what’s going on, they hear about the Messiah. The Messiah? Well fuck that. We better do a little preemptive dentistry on that.
So the Special Forces, they string out a perimeter of 20 kilometers around this little village where they pinpoint the clandestine development program. Orders are neutralize all male progeny under the age of two. And there’s lotta grousing around the barracks, the soldiers, cause, first, we’re not those Roman sonsabitches, we’re Jews, this is killing our own people. And this is quick-strike, you go in, do it, get out, how you got time to check every screaming little kid for a prick? And then... Lottta these soldiers are daddies, and what if that kid looks like yours?
But they were pros. They were patriotic.
Now the story that is told— No. Right now, we gotta talk about the slaughter. Cause we celebrate the birth, but we forget the slaughter. You know, three hundred people die in a plane crash, and one survives, and he says What a miracle! God did one just for me!
So they celebrate the Christmas season without including the blood. Cause think about a couple hundred dead babies, you don’t feel much like shopping. But so what happens, holding onto the gift and forgetting what it came wrapped in, is that on this one magical day we celebrate the divine gift, and on each and every one of the three hundred and sixty-four other days—we memorialize the slaughter.
And the Wizard went to the door, and then he turned.
Yet beware.
On the hearth lies a wand.
((Looks over there, looks like a little short mop handle.))
A wand whose weight is greater than the earth.
A wand which beat the galaxy of stars out of chaos like eggwhites.
It is the Wand of Time.
Do not touch the wand.
And the Wizard vanished.
So the kid looks around, starts in on the chores, and off to chop the vegetables (fast improvisation here), and looks at the wand, and feeds the cat, waters the cat, dust the cobwebs, look at the wand, do the laundry and the socks and the towels, look at the wand, sweep the floors and carry the water, and don’t get smart with the broom, and look at the wand, and this and that and check the worklist, and look at the wand ... and look at the wand ... and look at the Wand of Time...
And the child goes to the hearth and— big surprise—picks up the wand.
And there’s Galahad. Galahad is the most noble and holy and clean-living of all the knights of the Table Round. He don’t just sit around the table. He’s out there, really shagging ass for the Holy Grail. He goes riding out and killing the black knight and killing the blue knight, killing the dragon, he’s on a roll, and the bards and minstrels singing his glories and praise. And he swore to high heaven, “I’m gonna find/that/Grail!”
But he never found it. Now there’s stories that he finds it and he’s bathed in the white light and the beautiful smells of creation—but you know the minstrels gotta tell it the way people wanta hear. They gotta make a living.
Actually, Galahad got older, got married, didn’t like to travel so much. He’d built a beautiful castle, out in the suburbs, he’d sit around with his beautiful wife, his kids, his friends— they didn’t have television then, they just flipped on a minstrel. And the minstrels singing his glorious deeds, like he paid’em to.
Galahad got older, got a belly, drank a little more than he should. But his lady loved him. She saw the strong young knight, eyes pure as amber, and the vision. Well, the Grail, he thought about the Grail, but that was kinda on the back burner. He had business to attend to. Had to think about his family, and his knights, and his clergy, and his peasants.
Peasants. The goddamn peasants. Every day there was something. Try to cheat on their taxes, poach deer, beat their wives, starve their children. Live like pigs. They weren’t human—human beings wouldn’t live that way. But it’s God’s will, way it’s always been, that’s the way of it.
Galahad dreamed that night, and the next and the next and the next. Flames, look into flames, and out of the flames walks a scrawny woman with a crook nose, holds out a cup. He takes the cup, looks into it...
Finally he told the dream to his wife, she said talk to the Priest. The Priest sent to the Bishop, the Bishop sent to the Cardinal, and the Cardinal sent back the word: it is the Grail.
You have sinned in seeking the Grail, swearing to find the Grail, then quitting your quest for the Grail.
Oh he didn’t want to hear that. He’s in no shape to— He’s got too much to— But he knew. He must make one final quest for the Holy Grail.
Let’s do it right this time. Three hundred soldiers, pack trains, supplies—more taxes and the peasants are bitching about their kids are starving, but what’s he supposed to do about that? He’s made a sacred vow.
Spring morning, day after Easter. It’s time. His wife was all weepy. She knew it might be months, years, a lifetime. She watched him put on his armor, remembered her handsome young knight, eyes pure as amber, filled with sunlight. And this flabby middle-aged guy who bulged out the sides of his breastplate and waddled down to the horses— Did she love him? Yes. She did.
Galahad carried his broken fool.
To the bank of a river, and there he lay down this wisp of a body. The fool, Sammy the fool, stared into Galahad’s eyes, the flickering soul...
And Galahad pulled the hood of the cloak away. The fool’s thin beard was gone. And the hair, the long flaxen hair of his wife flowed down. And the sound that Galahad made, the buzzards themselves could never forget the sound that he made.
And now, you see, came the miracle. That we cannot believe in, because we wanta see the movie about those knights on their steeds. And cause we gotta have some revenge on this bastard, and we cannot believe in redemption because that would mean coming out of here—I mean you just bought a ticket to a show!—coming out with faith in the human heart.
But the time was now, and this was the way of it.
Galahad’s armor melts away, like candle wax. He feels his skin pulled off him, like a rabbit’s skin, and his face. The sun rises up like fire, the sky in flames, and he knows he’s lying there naked in the sun, and that must be him that’s screaming those very impressive screams.
And out of the sun, he sees a woman step. It’s a peasant woman. She’s coming out of her hut.
No food in the house, good sir, but here’s a cup. I’m in mind of my own man, he that gave me my children long ago, lying there screaming, and no one to give him water.
She holds out a cup. He takes it. A plain tin cup. Empty.
But it’s empty! The cup is empty!
Galahad looks up. Her face is a blur, and then he sees her face, and the crooked nose, and he stares in the eyes of—
His tears come then. They flow like flaxen hair. The battered cup brims with his tears. He drinks, and he fills.
He has found the Grail.