Category Archives: Novel

Chapter 3: Old acquaintances, and new ones

metatcubebw

An hour later he was dressed in his best graphic artist presentation outfit: second hand suit coat in a blue plaid pattern with polka dots on the inside, a purple shirt with a white representation of a sacred geometry metacube on it, skinny jeans, Brogues with blue highlights, and a brown belt. His feathers were smoothed and glossy, his beak polished, his wattles cleaned and professional looking.

 

He had his eyeInThePlaceOfAnEyeBook in a satchel over his shoulder, along with some previous work he’d done illustrating Philip’s gospels and various album covers for the bands from the Other Aeon. He had a latte in a steel cup, and his day was looking up. He hoped the bus would be on time.

“Well, if it isn’t Abraxas! How do, Abby?”

He turned, and saw two of the rulers. Sheep-face and Hyena-face, the two female members of the Ruler’s motorcycle gang. He sighed.

“Sheep. Hyena. Not hanging out with Demi today?”

“He has a thing,” said Sheep-face. “I think it’s called a hangover. How come you never come around our clubhouse anymore?”

“Been busy,” he said.

“Well, we miss you. You were a lot of fun, until you took up with that damned hippie. I’m glad he’s gone,” said Sheep-face. Hyena-face just stared at him, like she’d rather be gnawing on his bones than talking to him.

“I’ll thank you not to speak about Him,” said Abraxas.

“’I’ll thank you to Kiss. My. Ass.’ I’ll talk about whomever I want, and that damned cult leading hippie got what he deserved. And you’ll get it too, if you keep ogling Sophia like you have been. Demi’s not happy with you, Abby. Not happy at all.”

“And if he gets unhappy enough,” rasped Hyena-face, “he may let us do things to you.” She licked her lips in a way that seemed more threatening than sensual. “Awful, terrible things.”

Abraxas puffed his neck feathers, and stepped close, looking down at Hyena-face. Her snout came up, and their eyes locked. “Do not toy with me, Archon. You may think you can punish me, but I am the creator and destroyer of my own world, and I know something even you’ve forgotten.”

“Oh, yeah? What’s that?”

“Your name.” He leaned close, and whispered in her ear. She stumbled backwards, coughing and retching, and dropped to her knees. Her abdomen clutched and released, and that morning’s breakfast ended up on the sidewalk of the bus stop.

He turned to Sheep-face, and noted her clenched fists and flashing eyes. The wool around her collar almost seemed to be steaming. “Not another word, Archon. Take your companion and leave me be. Whatever transpired between Him and you Rulers, it’s none of my concern. I don’t wear either set of colors now. All I want is to be left alone.”

She reached down, helped Hyena face to her feet. “This isn’t over, Abraxas. When we tell Demi…”

“He’ll get pissed, then he’ll go pick on someone helpless. He’s a bully and a cheat, and to think I once though he was a promising architect. Go. Tell him. Let him come and see me. It won’t matter. Your names are known to me, and they’re not written in the Book of Life. Our day of reckoning will come, ladies.”

The bus chose that moment to pull up, and Abraxas got on, leaving a shaky pair of Rulers behind him. The bus driver looked at him, at the two cycle gang members at the stop, and said “Trouble?”

“Nothing I can’t handle,” said Abraxas. Yet he was shaking, and his comb was bright red. He flashed his pass, and sat down. He tried to calm down, but the gall of those two simply had him upset.

Hippie. As if. Abraxas thought, ‘He’d never have qualified as a hippie. We’ll, maybe the ‘Love everybody’ aspect, but nothing else. Not His bearing, not His manners, not His hygiene, surely not His music.’

He sat, lost in his own thoughts. More and more people got onto the bus, and it soon became crowded. Abraxas gave up his seat when a mother and her toddler got on the bus. The mother was blonde with purple highlights, tattoed, a piercing in her left eyebrow. She looked about 25, harried, overtired. The child was fascinated with his head. “Momma, is that a freak?”

“No, darling. That’s a man with an unfortunate condition,” she said, looking away from Abraxas and trying to shush her child.

Abraxas leaned down. His wattles shook back and forth as the bus braked and accelerated. “Hi little one. How old are you?”

“Three,” she said.

“I see. Three. Do you know not to accept gifts from strangers, unless Mommy says it’s OK?”

“Yes,” she said, searchingly.

“Well, why don’t you ask your Mommy if you can have a feather.”

“Momma! Can I have a feather?”

Abraxas met the woman’s eye. He opened her soul, and saw the fear, the distrust, the hurt, the brokenness that attended all in the world. He created a balm, a smile, a peace within and without. The noise of the bus receded. It seemed, for a time, there were only the three of them. The woman’s bent posture straightened.

“Yes, honey. You can have a feather.”

Abraxas reached up, and plucked one of the feathers off his plume. He presented it to the child with a flourish.

“What’s your name, little one?”

“Kimy. K-I-M-Y.”

“I’m Abraxas. A-B-R-A-X-A-S. Here’s my feather.”

The mother smiled, some of the tiredness and worry passing from her face. The noises on the bus came rushing back.

“This is my stop,” Said Abraxas. “Nice to meet you, Kimy.”

“Nice to meet you, Absocks.”

He waved, and got off the bus. He was downtown, and looked up at the great high rises all around. The morning sun glinted off the glass and steel, but the statue of mighty Portlandia stayed hidden in the shade. Her great copper bulk watched over 5th avenue, her mighty hand reaching down to welcome people to the building, her giant trident glinting with reflected sunlight.

He walked into the Graves building, and found the floor for InThePlaceOf Industries. “11th floor, Thomas. Still pissed that you missed His encore appearance? Not part of the Decad?” Abraxas sighed. Thomas was an angry man still.

As he rode the elevator up to the 11th floor, he considered all that had gone on with Thomas, with Didi, with all that they’d done. Their eyeInThePlaceOfAnEye pod portable video player/recorder/sharing device had been an amazing surprise to just about everyone. No one had expected it to compete with other technologies on the market, but Didi and Thomas had given it the correct User interface, bells, whistles, and price point. At this point, he (and his twin, of course) was the most successful of the former Apostles, making money and having recognition far above what the others had done, even though they’d had better starts. Poor James lived in the ghetto, Peter ran a strip club, Andrew had simply disappeared.

He was glad Thomas kept giving him the option of working together, but for some reason was oddly nervous about this meeting. Something about the tone, the sly jabs and digs, had put Abraxas on edge. He hoped this wouldn’t go the way of the last meeting, but he’d simply have to see what came of it.

Acknowledgements: Thank you to Jonathan Stewart, Lainie, Rufus Opus, Tony Silvia, Constance Crain, Agustin M. Reyes, and Erica Irk Bercegeay, 

 

Chapter 2: The Morning After

Chapter 2 The Morning After

 

Abraxas woke early, and stood on the balcony as the coffee steeped in his French press, sending its warm, comforting smell into the apartment.  He was smoking his first cigarette of the day, dressed in loose flannel pajama pants. It was cool, but promised to be warm later in the day. There were no clouds around the mountain, and he had a clear vision of it as it majestically obscured and slowly released the rising sun.

The light changed from red to orange to a brilliant yellow, robbing the sky of its blue color as it watched. The city began to stir, stretch, and slowly disgorge it’s denizens into the street, on their way to jobs, appointments, AA meetings, school, or whatever agenda each individual had for the day. The roar of the public transit, two blocks distant, could be heard, as could the upraised voices of those who waited patiently for their next conveyance.

He glanced back into his studio apartment. Bed, desk, kitchen, bookshelves: all in one room. Abraxas lived fairly simply, but tastefully. Nothing was out of place, except the clothes scattered across the floor and the sheets on his bed. Those were disturbed by the long dark muscular legs of Magdalene, who looked as though she were either cuddling or wrestling the blanket into submission. Her brow was creased in her sleep, and she made muttering noises that were neither menacing nor endearing, but a little of both.

Abraxas crossed the room to the kitchen area, just a stove, refrigerator, microwave and sink. He pushed the plunger on the coffee, and poured two cups. One cup had a magnificent profile of a rooster on it, the other was from The Other Aeon.

He walked to the bed, staring down at the sleeping form in his bed. Her supple body stretched out in tense repose, at once unconscious yet ready to spring into action.

“Magdalene,” he whispered.

She stirred but did not wake. Out of the corner of his eye, Abraxas saw the rim of the sun peek up over the edge of the mountain.  Well, he’d tried to wake her up nicely, but at this point, instinct took over:

“COCK-A-DOODLE-DOOOOOO!!!”

Magdalene sprang off the bed in a flailing disaster of comforter, limbs, and sheets. Her scream was of fright, rage, and exasperation: “By the virgin and the whore I hate sleeping here, you crowing freak!”

A pillow flew in his direction, which he dodged, keeping the precious coffee intact. He dipped his beak into his cup, the Other Aeon one, and gargled a little down. He handed her the rooster cup.

Her hair was disheveled, and her eyes flashed murderous rage even as she took the cup. She drank it like a shot, one gulp, all down at once.  She held the cup out again. “More”.

A clucking chuckle in his throat, Abraxas poured her another cup. “Here you go. I can’t say I’m feeling a lot of sympathy for you, though. You know I’m up with the sun.”

“Regardless, isn’t it? Whether or not you’ve slept at all, you’re still up.”

“Sleep, she is for the weak.”

She threw another pillow at him.  And drank deep of the coffee again.

“I’ll put some more on.”

“Good plan, feather head.”

“You’re grumpy in the morning.”

“In case you haven’t noticed, I’m grumpy all the time.”

“Not during sex.”

“I just hide it better,” she said.  She started playing with her hair.  “Ow, my shoulders hurt. Your beak is sharp. And did you have to tease my hair out like this?”

“Habit,” he said. “I probably did it in my sleep.”

Water whistled, coffee was added to grounds, and then he came over and sat back on the bed. She looked at him over her cup, her green eyes intense, sipping in a way that was both annoyed and alluring.

“So, this is the cup He gave you?” She looked at the rooster cup. It was well executed, an artistic rendering of a Black Australorp chicken.

“Yeah. His idea of a joke, I guess.”

“He did have a bad sense of humor.”

“So, um, did you feel his promise last night?” he asked. “The promise of …”

“’Where two or more are gathered?’ Yeah, he was here.” She sipped again, more annoyed than alluring.

“He is coming back, you know.”

She looked up at him. “So what if he does? Things have changed. The world, our world, is different now. We can’t put it back together. It’s fractured. Passed. Not…”

“Perfect,” he stated.

“Perfect,” she agreed. “And if He comes back, who’s to say He won’t make it worse?”

“He didn’t do badly the first time,” said Abraxas. She stood, the comforter falling off her body, and headed for the tiny closet Abraxas called a bathroom.

“He didn’t do well,” she said through the closed door. He could her ablutions taking place, and so busied himself making more coffee, and went back out on the balcony.

Some time later, she came out and stood next to him. Her naked body glowed with the efforts of her ablutions. Abraxas looked her up and down, then out at the street. “Hussy,” he said.

“You like it,” she said. “I’m comfortable in my skin, and there’s no law against it here.”

“You should have shorts on, at least.”

“FINE.” She walked back in, put on some of his shorts, came back out, snapping the band. “Happy?”

“Ecstatic,” he said, gathering her into his arms. “So, what’s on your agenda today?”

“Tonight, I’m going to try to give Peter another aneurism. I have a great act planned with Hermes, about switching the male to female and female to male. On stage. Just playing with the gender roles in dance.”

“Why don’t you bring it to the Other Aeon?  They’re much more receptive to avant garde stuff there.”

“Sure,” she said. “You, and Philip, Thomas, Sophia, Demi and the Rulers, and that’s about all would see it. Maybe someone from your GFHG group. No one else goes there.”

“We keep trying to drum up more business…”

“And it never works!” she pushed herself away a bit. “At least the Kingdom has all kinds of people in it. People see my work. It can’t just be the elite that sees and appreciates it. Everyone needs to see it.”

Abraxas saw the direction the discussion was going. “Ok, ok. We’ve talked about this before. You know that was His schtick…”

“And now it’s my schtick!” she said. She twisted out of his arms.

“Look, I wish you’d let me help you. Make up posters, maybe a youtube channel…”

“No! No. It’s gotta be in person. It’s… It’s the only way I know to connect,” she said.

“You could learn…”

“Look. You do your thing, I’ll do mine.”

They both stood, and stared out at the mountain, now fully illuminated by the morning sun. His comb glowed bright red. He didn’t want to fight, but he thought Magdalene was wasting her talents. How could he make her see?

“What about you?” she asked, “Got anything interesting planned?”

“I have a meeting at InThePlaceOf industries. They’re introducing a new line of prosthetics, and they want me to help them market it.”

“Didn’t you try working with them years ago?”

“Yeah, but Thomas has changed some, and Didi was always a lot more open to my ideas. Maybe we can get something going. Didi said this would be right up my alley.”

“Print? Youtube channel?”

“I think they want me to look at the product, and see what I can do with it.”

Abraxas finished his coffee, and went in to the apartment. He walked to the bookshelf, and reached into the aquarium tank there. He pulled out a 4 foot python, and rubbed its head. “Good Morning, Nachash! How are you today?”

The snake looked at him with cold eyes, and flicked its tongue. Then it moved, and crawled up around his shoulders.

“You know Nachash is just Hebrew of snake, right? You named your snake, Snake,” she snarked.

“It is! OH MY GOD! My whole life has been a lie!” He smirked back at her.

“Elitist,” she said.

“Anarchist,” he returned.

“Rooster.”

“Whore.”

She drained her cup. “And on that note, I’m going to head home and get some more sleep. Not all of us are morning people, you know.”

“I know, it’s the curse I bear, just like being beautiful and insanely wealthy. I am the creator…”

“And destroyer of your own world. Yeah, yeah, I know. I’m just a divine spark wreathed in flesh, while you are the Blazing Spectacle from which none can turn away, but if only they could, they’d see their True God.”

“When you put it that way, it sounds so…”

“Elitest? Snobbish? Cock-sure? See what I did there?” She grabbed her white robe, and wriggled into it. She did not take off the shorts.

Abraxas groaned at the pun. He watched her grab her bag, throw her toiletries in, and slip into her sandals. She headed towards the door. He met her there. She threw her arms around him, her bag hitting against both their sides.  He dipped his beak down towards her, she ran her hands up the side of his face, touching his wattles and ear-lobes. His beak slid up her cheek. The snake remained obligingly still, observing behavior.

“Will I see you tonight?” she asked.

“Probably not. The Feather Headed Gods are meeting tonight.”

“What do you guys even talk about?”

“Deitific discrimination. Wage inequality for the avian-skulled. The lack of wide rimmed glasses in this town.”

“Har har.”

“Well, we have talked about those things. I could tell you, but then I’d have to cut off your head and attach a birds head. I’m thinking a spoon-bill.”

She smacked his chest, opened the door, and sauntered out into the hallway. She cast a glance back over her shoulder, and saw him leaning against the doorjamb, gazing at her leaving.

“Don’t!” she threatened mockingly.

“Hate to see you leave,” he began.

“Don’t!” she said, menacingly.

“Love to see you walk away,” he finished.

She took two steps back down the hallway, her hands curved into grasping talons. Abraxas slipped back into the apartment, taking Nachash with him. He went back out onto the balcony, watched her exit the building, and start off down the road towards the bus station. “Cock-a-doodle-doo!” he called out. She flipped him off.

He laughed, and went back in to dress for his day.

Acknowledgements: Thank you to Jonathan Stewart, Lainie, Rufus Opus and The GnosticNYC Network 

Chapter 1: Hipster Abraxas

Chapter 1: Hipster Abraxas

 

Hipster Abraxas pulled on his skinny jeans and thought: I am the creator and destroyer of my own world. Then he got a latte.

After leaving the coffee shop, he was once again struck by the beauty all around him in his world. He turned up his eyeInThePlaceOfAnIPod.

Hipster Abraxas came upon Philip scribbling his gospel. “Band playing tonight?” he asked.

“Yah, at the Other Aeon,” said Philip.

Abraxas said, “I’ll be there.”

“You’ll be the only one”, said Philip.

“I know,” said Abraxas.  “I love your band, Heretical Gospel Music. Will Thomas and the Egyptians be there?”

“You never know,” said Philip.

Hipster Abraxas pulled out his eyeInThePlaceOfAnEye phone, and sent a snapchat to @ThomasHeretic, asking “Will you be at the Other Aeon tonight?” with a pic of his bright red comb. He got a pic back showing @ThomasHeretic holding a stone upside down, saying “I’ll be there.” Abraxas pumped his fist. “Now I know!” he said.

—-

That night, at the Other Aeon, Hipster Abraxas drank a Heavenly Hops Hefewizen and listened to the melodies of HGM.

They were the opening band for Thomas and the Egyptians, who had a new album out, Make the Female Male and Vice Versa.

Sophia walked up to Abraxas, all tipsy and wobbly. “Buy me a drink?” she asked. He said, “Why won’t Demi do it? He brought you.”

“He’s over there with the Rulers,” She said. “And I’m thirsty.” She ran his hand over his flannel, stretching up to the comb.

Hipster Abraxas glanced over, and saw Demi and the Rulers, all their jackets and emblems and names written on the back. Demi stared back His eyes were like lasers, burning into Hipster Abraxas’ soul, barbed hooks preparing to drag him to perdition.

“I think I’ll pass,” said Abraxas, removing Sophia’s hand. “Not ready to be the gateway of the gods. I just wanna hear the band.”

“You’re not drinking your beer,” she commented.

“My soul is afflicted for the Sons of Men,” said Abraxas. That band had crashed their van earlier in the evening.

Sophia sat and chatted with HA, and slowly they got more and more drunk, Thomas came down after his set, and said “I found all of them intoxicated; I found none of them thirsty. And here I was going to buy a round.” Abraxas accepted a shot of Goldschlager anyway.

Abraxas, Philip, Thomas, & Sophia were all having a great time. “I wish you’d come back with the band,” said Thomas to Sophia.

Sophia looked down. “I can’t. Demi…has me wrapped up and very busy. It’s hard to get away.”

Hipster Abraxas looked again at Demi & the rulers; Sheep-Face, Donkey-Face, Hyena-Face, Seven-Head, Dragon-Head, Ape-Face, and Burn-Face. They were starting to get restless. They kept glancing over at Sophia and Demi was getting redder in the face. Finally, the big gorilla that was Demi came over to the group. He put his meaty hand around Sophia, and pulled her away.

Demi wrapped her in his muscled arms, and dangled a bracelet. She giggled and took it, putting it on her wrist. And like that, they were gone. Hipster Abraxas felt a great sadness with her passing.

Abraxas, Philip, and Thomas sat and drank some more. PBR and HHH. “I’m surprised he didn’t create trouble,” commented Thomas.

“I’m here,” said Abraxas. “I’m the creator and destroyer of my own world. He can’t do crap here.”

“You’re a good man to know,” said Philip.

“But we can’t be around you all the time,” said Thomas. “We occasionally have to look away from your blazing spectacle.”

Abraxas scratched his neck feathers. “Yeah. I should go to bed.” And with that, he left The Other Aeon & went into the world.

Abraxas sent a text to Magdalene as he walked home: “Hey, wanna come check out my etchings? *eyebrow*”

The reply came “Cant. Gotta thing.”

Abraxas: How long?

Magdalene: Dont know the hour

Abraxas: where at?

Magdalene: The Kingdom

Abraxas: Got a new number?

Magdalene: 7

Abraxas: Be there in 5.

Magdalene: You won’t recognize me.

Magdalene: But you see what is hidden.

Abraxas: And I’ll proclaim it.

Magdalene: Now, that’d be telling.

Abraxas: c u soon

Abraxas entered the Kingdom, paid his two drink minimum, & sat at a table. The dancer on stage finished, & the lights dimmed. The Voice said “And now, let’s all clap our hands and welcome: The Magdalene!” Catcalls abounded.

The lights came up. A figure, wrapped in a dark cloak stood on the stage, its face completely obscured by a hood .Instead of music, a deep, husky female voice with a hint of an Persian accent, spoke: “Seven are the powers of wrath.”

The cloak flew back, showing a woman, with dark hair, dusky skin. She was bound, tied all around, able to move hands & feet. The lights changed color, flashing as she moved. Music began. The voice continued, “The first form is Darkness.” The lights blacked out, and a white veil which had bound her fluttered to the ground, revealing more skin.

Her dark hair swung as the lights came up, and she lifted her hands under her breasts, presenting. “The second, is desire.”  She tore a red veil from the bindings, whirled it between her legs, then around the pole, as she swung. The music increased.

She released the red veil, and stumbled as the voice said, “The third is Ignorance.” As she recovered her footing a pink veil came free. She looked at it in confusion, then ran around the stage, trailing the pink. She jumped up, swung around the pole, and the veil artfully tangled in her legs. She swung around once, twice.

Her legs held her to the pole, and she leaned out, trailing a pink veil. The music increased in both tempo and volume.  She let the veil fly free, and the voice said “The fourth is the excitement of death.” Her legs released the pole.

She hit the stage with a loud impact. She came up, and took a pale green veil, wiped her forehead. And rushed the edge of the stage, holding the veil, showing the audience the blood stains upon it. She had an energetic smile on her face.

By now, there was less veil, more skin. She reached up, and pulled away a pale yellow veil. It revealed her stomach.

Only two veils remained bound around her, as she took the yellow veil in hand, and danced around the pole again.  “The fifth power, is the Kingdom, of the Flesh.” said the voice. She swung up the pole, climbing and rotating. She soared.  The yellow veil fluttered to the stage. The two remaining veils, strategically placed, remained firmly afixed.

The crowd, normally throwing dollars and encouraging the dancers, was silent. The flashing lights made her skin seem first alabaster, then dusky. The voice spoke.

As it spoke, she came off the pole, & advanced on the audience, as if on a runway, one foot crossing in front of the other. One step per word, her eyes welcoming, beckoning, threatening. Her abdomen moved in sweet, sensuous invitation.  “The sixth power is the foolish wisdom of the flesh.” said the voice, taking on a bedroom cast to match her movements. The deep purple veil across her chest gave way as her hands slid down her torso, pulling it away, revealing her breasts.

She spun away, the last veil hiding her nether regions. Once more she leapt up the pole, spun around, and leaned back. Her breasts gave the crowd the show they were seeking, yet still they did not react with cheers, only baited anticipation.

She landed upon the stage. Only a red veil remained. Slowly, she advanced to the edge. She wiggled her fingers in the veil.

“And the seventh power?” said the Voice. The dancer smiled, invitation, and a secret knowing. “The seventh power of wrath?”

“The Seventh power is WRATHFUL WISDOM!” The Voice Roared. The Dancer snarled. The Lights Came up and blinded the audience.

When the lights cleared, the red ribbon was tied to the pole. The dancer was gone.

Silence reigned in the club after her act. The lights went down, figures could be seen scurrying on the stage, collecting the discarded veils.

A dark haired woman in a light white robe came and plopped next to Abraxas. “Another stellar set, Magdalene.” he said.

“It pays the bills,” she said. “But it’s frustrating. None of them have ears to hear. It’s like talking to dead people.”

Her voice was melodic, the wind of the desert at sunset. Abraxas could have listened to her do bill collecting.

“Are you done any time soon?” HA asked.

“I’d planned another set, but when I heard you were coming, I switched the order. I think after that, Peter may want me to go home.” She glanced at him sideways, a smirk on her face. “He doesn’t like art.”

“Speak of the Devil, here he comes,” said Abraxas. Peter came storming up, his two lieutenants in tow.

“What the hell was that?” he bellowed. Andrew and Levi stood with him, Andrew as hot as he was, Levi placating.

Magdalene got up and in his face. “It was art, you philistine. Art.”

“I don’t believe this!” he continued to bellow. “We’re not here for Art, we’re here to entertain people, and get their money! What’s wrong with you?”

“If He was here, He’d understand!” she yelled.

“Well, He’s not. I’m in charge. You’re not getting back up on stage tonight.”

She gathered her bag and took Abraxas’ arm. “Let’s leave the Kingdom of the Flesh, my fine feathered friend.”

Abraxas clucked at Peter as he left.

Once outside The Kingdom, Magdalene clutched at Abraxas, holding him close. “I miss Him so much.”

“He was a visionary. I certainly learned a lot from Him.” Abraxas lit a cigarette, and gave her a puff.

She twined her fingers in his comb, after taking a drag. “Let’s go back to your place. I could use some firey spectacle.”

Abraxas looked down at her along his beak. “You sure? No one could do Divine Union like He could.”

She ruffled his feathers. Her voice was laden with promise. “You’re here. He’s not. And if he comes back, we’ll all…”

“…figure it out.” he finished for her.

He finished the cigarette, ground it under his Brogue. He looked up at the stars, and then submitted to communion.

“Your Place, or mine?”

Acknowledgements: Thank you Lainie and Jonathan Stewart for your patronage!