June 18, 2006

Truth is Ghost (7 of 7)

Thread: Alpha and Omega

“I suppose you checked him out, you paranoid piece of shit,” said Mr. Alpha. “And don’t give me that ‘observation is root’ crap. Your observations are not the most insightful, mate. Just take Grimmer today. I remember you said he was going to be a bloody pushover. Christ this tastes like shit.” He could not even bear the smell any more and plonked the glass down as far from himself as he could.

Mr. Omega did not reply to Mr. Alpha’s touching critique; something was wrong with the glass in Mr. Alpha’s hand. For all the hatred the young Clothman was directing at the hapless vessel, he had not let go of it, not even once. It seemed as if the glass were permanently attached to his hand, a new part of his body. And then: the penny dropped. For all his bluster and bitching, his junior was not taking their recent failures well. Mr. Alpha needed the beer all right, but not to drink and drown his selfish sorrows. Gripping the glass allowed him to control and conceal a secret, a rebellious tremble in his left hand. Observation is root.

Mr. Omega said, “I bloody hope The-God-To-Be, when we meet him, isn’t a bloody woman.”

“You what?”

Mr. Omega peered into the recesses of the cobwebs above, as if he was disinterested in the conversation. “A woman. That’s not my cup of tea, I can tell you.”

Mr. Alpha was confused. “So what?”

“Well, picture it, mate. I don’t want to be staring at the Almighty’s mighty jugs when I’m being judged. Do you think a mortal man, even a Clothman, could resist the perfect beauty of the divine bosom? What’s she going to think when she sees the rocket in my pocket?”

“I suppose it’s a good point, mate.” Mr. Alpha drank some more of the beer, without moaning this time, weighing up what Mr. Omega had said. “I wonder if she would consider it an affront if we didn’t have it upfront? Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me and all that.”

Mr. Omega chuckled, “You see! This kind of dilemma is exactly why The-God-To-Be has to be a bloke!” If Mr. Alpha had known about Ragnarok, the conversation would have taken a different turn. Mr. Omega would relate that particular open secret another day, when Mr. Alpha was neither so stressed nor so belligerent. Of course, he might still be waiting for that on his deathbed.

Mr. Omega continued, “Look, he’s not watching us, but I do think he’s in need of some cleansing.”

Mr. Alpha brightened a little and a smile seemed to be hiding behind his serious expression like sunlight threatening to peek through a gap in the clouds. “The old geezer with the pipe over there?”

“That’s exactly who I’m talking about. We have discretionary powers, mate. Time to apply a little of that magical discretion. The man has a pipe and that’s illegal. Illegal is immoral and that has to be seen to and cured. I think he had something going on with his dead niece, too.”

“Motherfucker,” gasped Mr. Alpha.

Niecefucker is probably more accurate,” corrected Mr. Omega, which prompted a natural guffaw from both of them.

Mr. Alpha released his glass with a steady hand and stood up, empowered.

“Belief is rock,” he recited, staring through the dusty bottles stacked behind the bar, beyond the mirror behind the stacks and through the ramshackle office at the back where the obese barman once force-fed the old man’s niece his tongue and far more while she tried to fight with overpowered arms and tearful screams that no-one had heard. Mr. Alpha saw only the Weave.

“Truth is ghost,” answered Mr. Omega who also stood up with the same intense feeling of empowerment. They were invested with divine authority to tackle the most noble of challenges – to sew the Weave and bring about the future. His skin prickled with that familiar, thirsty anticipation and the hairs on the back of his neck stood on end. He was ready for fixing sin, the only real vice of a Clothman.

And they took the dejected, lost old man from the pub and marched him to a gloomy niche fragrant with the stench of piss at the far end of the bridge tunnel.

And in that dark place bathed in shadow, they cured him together.

Posted by: The Harbour Master @ 1427

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