Tuesday, February 02, 2010

8/4/76 - 15

Behind us the animal act exited the stage in ignominy. The trainer hung his head, his face twisted into a quivering grimace. Mr. Jiggs seemed fine.

"Why did the chimp wear a tuxedo?" asked Jim.

"I give up. Why?"

"It's no joke."

The band was playing again. We crossed the encircling path, past barefoot figures swaying in the moonlight. Somewhere a man howled incessantly, incoherently, in proximate rhythm to the music. Before we knew it we fell back through the tunnel. In the halls below the grandstands green cinder block walls and the gray floor glowed pale and sickly under fluorescent light. Along the walls were scattered circles of cross-legged pot smokers. There was a concession window with an elderly black woman in a hairnet and red uniform. She stood with her chin on her fist, elbow on the counter, gazing at the opposite wall. Hot dogs cost seventy-five cents.

We gravitated toward the ladies' room. A weary hippie in a flowing granny dress appeared to be standing guard at the door.

"We're looking for our friend," Jim said. "She might be in there."

The woman contemplated us with a frown.

"What does she look like, your friend?"

"Blonde. Normal-looking." Jim turned to Rick for elaboration.

"Pink pants," Rick said. "Toothpaste on her face."

"Like the three of you," the woman remarked pensively. "I don't know that I've seen her but we may be able to help you."

"We?" I asked.

"Which one among you is most pure?"

We looked uneasily at one another.

She nodded sharply to Rick. "You!"

Startled, Rick pointed at himself and did a double take.

"You're to enter the circle. When the high priestess asks you how you enter, tell her that it's in the light and the love of the Goddess."

"In the what of the what?"

"In the light and the love of the Goddess. Then tell her you're looking for your friend."

"What's going to happen to me?" Rick asked with a trace of alarm.

"You'll receive a blessing."

She opened the door for Rick. Inside we could see five women huddled in the middle of the room. Around them four candles burned, one on the counter by the sink and the others on the floor. One of the women held a small, very sharp dagger. They chanted:

As above, so below, by our will, by our will
As above, so below, by our will
Isis, Astarte and Diana
Hekate, Demeter, Kali, Inanna

Rick walked in slowly and the woman let the door close after him.

She smiled at us. "He's only going to be a minute."

We sat down against the wall. Jim lit up a cigarette and I rolled a joint.

"Didja see that knife?" asked Jim.

"Yeah. What are they gonna do to him with it?"

Jim exhaled a plume of smoke. "Prolly fuck around with his dick."

"Cut up his dick?"

"Cut it up a little. Drink the blood."

"Drain blood from his cock into a little dish? A ceremonial dish?"

"And pass it 'round and sip from it. Yeah."

"Won't they fuck him first? Worship it before they fuck it up?"

"Maybe. Yeah."

We sat numbly for a while, sipping the last of our beers. In the distance we heard a song:

Tell you where the four winds sleep
Four lean hounds the lighthouse keep
Wildflower seed in the sand and wind
May the four winds blow you home again