I might have made a mistake. Ok, I screwed up big-time.
I mean, sitting here in my leaking beanbag chair in the drafty ‘Nubian Reception Hall‘ (for N00bies?) trying to look happy while the lackey with the Polaroid One-step hops around me in the acrid fire-retardant foam they use for a fake-cloud backdrop while they shoot your name-tag photo, I kinda wish I were anywhere else, even back home watching the stupid Hawk.
He started all this.
A singularly inept bird, I watched him fail repeatedly at just about every hawk-thingie, and said to myself: ‘I think I’ll immortalize him in a poem.” As opposed to shooting him out of his misery and stuffing his carcasse. Both methods are probably equally immortal.
Anyway, I started off real non-judgmental:
What, might I ask, is your problem, Dear Hawk?
Come sit here beside me, we’ll talk… blah blah
But I don’t do pussy-footing well, and soon I was into:
What in the heck is the deal with The Hawk?
Such a talon-less Hack of a bird. etc. etc.
And as his list of deficits became ‘Feel free to use the other side of this form’, I descended into:
What is the sound of one hawk-wing a-flapping?
I’m hearing it here in the bath…
It’s a bit more transcendent than the noise of his crapping
But we’ll see who shall have the last laugh.
I soon learned to despise that bird. In large part for his having inspired more than two dozen failed attempts to capture his incompetence in verse.
“What in the f*ck is the deal with this pigeon?!!
I should kill him, in the name of religion.”
A guy kinda suspects at that point that he might be slipping into ‘Going… going…Guano!’ territory.
And so in fact:I weighed my options:
Christianity politely requested a lifetime of thoughtful cheek-turning before Heaven opened up its Merciful Gates.
Judaism, the natural choice of the chosen, wanted me to try on a funny-looking hat, not even warm in the winter. Pass, regretably.
And that left me where I am today. A little stint of bath-tub chemistry, ammonium nitrate and fuel-oil, a match, learning to yell ‘Allahu Akhbar’ without it sounding like it does, to our people: “God, he’s a Mouse!” (‘mouse‘=‘akbar’ in Hebrew) and I was on my way to the 72 Virgins.
Ok, 27 of ’em, on the Budget-Pak™ I selected. Figured that if my wordly experience with virgins was any indication, 27 of them would kinda last me Forever. Which was, conveniently where I was headed. Except that…
…Except that once I did the ghastly deed (by the way avoiding anything more collaterally-damaging than maybe a busted-up plastic lawn-chair) I got the raw end of the stick shoved right up…
After the photo-op I described above, I fully expected to get,at least, like Moses, a glimpse of my Virgins through a one-way mirror.
Something like that. I mean, I’d sat down there on Earth stirring piss into fertilizer with one hand, and reading the pamphlet “From Shaheed to Sha-hedonism; It’s one, two three!©” till I knew it by heart.
Luscious babes, not sure what you’re doing to ’em, but yeah, that’s supposed to be part of the fun, right (?)
Anyway, not a good sign where the guy at the Nubian Info desk points at the ‘Ring for Service’ bell when he already knows you’re there with a question. Wearing a torn-up heavy-metal band tee-shirt that said like ‘Fighting for the Rebellion’, I asked, to warm him up:
“What you rebelling against?”
Deadpan, like he’d never before heard the question, he goes: “I don’t know, whaddya got?”
Oh well. I decided to cut to the chase-scene:
“When do I get the first virgin?” I asked him, politely.
“What virgins?” he grunted. Not a good sign.
“Um.. Look here…I just made schnitzel out of my cranial contents, Sir, and I wanted to, like..“
“Show me your card.” Another grunt. You’d think he’d have a little
respect. I handed him the laminate, still warm, with my painful-even-to-look-at photo captured forever on the front side.
“Hey, I’m a musician too.” he warmed up.
“‘Too’? Where does it say I was..?” I started, then glanced at the card.
Sure enough, they’d photo-shopped a damned ®Fischer-Price “A Child’s first Lyre” into my lap. I’d picked up one of those green plastic ‘instruments’ on my way into the Hall, but dropped it after a few sickly strums. Jeezuz, I don’t even control my own image here!
“Anyway,” I continued, “…the virgins?”
He swiped the card, then actually smiled.
“Here they are sir.” suddenly professional, as he handed me… The Booklet. I gaped at the cover. OMG. “Song of the Hawk: Versions 1 Thru 27” it said, and below the title, “J. Solbarg, (sic) Martyr”
I must’ve stood there fifteen minutes, in shock, until the next ‘customer’ pushed his way into line and rang the dumb-bell.
So I was gyped. ’27 Versions’ (!!) A failure-to-communicate of the painfully-first class.
“Have a seat now.”, my clerk-from-hell pointed me back to the bean-bag chair, already noticeably flatter. I didn’t move an inch. “This shit is like, “up with which I refuse to quietly put.” I started to yell, when I saw the ‘V-door’ open. Striding in happily, hand out-stretched, was, like, a total dead-ringer for that annoying neighbor from the Simpsons, what’s his name? Yeah, Flanders. The ‘victim’ in front of me was already white in the face, and started to fall in my direction.
Grabbing him, I eased him down onto the cheap tile floor, where, half-revived, he quickly became a pinker shade of pale. Red, even.
“What’s the matter, brother-martyr?” I asked him as calmly as I could, forgetting for a second my own horror-story.
“Twenty-seven Virginians?!!” was all he could part with, till the orderlies arrived.
: You want I should send you any more virgins, I mean, ‘versions’,
that your friends on Xanga come up with?Me:
Oh wow, that’d be great. We have dial-up an hour-a-day here, somebody said. I just have to find out what Hall it’s in. And Wu, I’m so
, like, sorry
about the whole thing…Wu:
It’s ok, guy. I know what pressure you were under…Me:
Not really, but thanks.