Friday, November 16, 2012

King Snake: The Eternal Mystery

He had already thought himself old when he walked from his master's tent in Adydos to what would later be called the Valley of The Kings and participated in the construction of one of the first of Egypt's pyramids.  With the heat, the malaria and the work itself, he watched at least six of his fellows die, every day he was there.  He knew not whence the masters had come, only that they were from the sky.  Of the experience, he once remarked, "Would it not have been far more efficient and markedly safer to use a larger number of smaller bricks, instead of these ridiculous palace-size blocks?"

He had seen Roman soldiers building a wall of stone at the Firth of Clyde in pre-Scotland.  He thought them silly, for the walls were short and would be jumped with ease by the men from the sky and their giant horses.  "I hear every day the ceaseless boasting of the officers and minions of this empire," he once said, "but their might will wane, their palaces will crumble, their greatness will be reduced to tiny printed words on scrolls.  I have already read this story, and I know how it ends."

The only woman he'd ever loved - or thought he'd loved - was Mary of Magdala (she went by Maria, at the time).  She was in love with another.  "I would have happily taken The Preacher's place on that cross, to have felt her adoration for just those final moments."

He tried to tell his friends a story of eight thousand warriors, fierce but frozen, carved of stone and guarding a the dead first emperor of a bizarre land on the other side of the world.  "They didn't buy it.  Said I was crazy.  And they could never quite grasp that whole 'Middle Kingdom' thing."  

There was a stone that hung 'round his neck by a heavy leather cord.  He said it was 100% pure asteroid, a remnant of the collision between the two largest moons of a rogue planet about 450 trillion miles from earth.  His friends thought it smelled funny, and often tried to steal it from him while he slept, just to throw it away.  Fortunately, he slept exceedingly lightly, and for about twelve minutes a night.

He could sense trains approaching long before anyone else was able to hear a thing.  He ate raw snake eggs, but always said a prayer of thanks to the would-be snake mother beforehand.  He spoke fluently the languages of the Hopi, Chickasaw and Seneca, as well as the long-lost Aztecs, Incas and Anasazi"The fellas always thought it was just made-up jibber-jabber, but that's fine.  I know what it is that I speak, and what I speak is truth."

When he gazed at the stars, he felt in his heart not only the distance from each point of light to where he stood, but also the age of the light that reached his eyes.  This, his fellow dirty vagrants of the 1930s reported, made him "very mysterious, like a ghost."  They gave him a respectful berth when he passed.  They avoided eye contact.  They brought him gifts, listened with rapt attention to his strange stories and re-told them with great - and unnecessary - exaggeration to their hobo brethren, gathered fireside to hear such things as one by one they would pass out from near-lethal blood-alcohol levels. 

No comments:

Post a Comment