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Wednesday, 21 June
Here There Be Cliches

Midway in his allotted threescore years and ten, Skot comes to himself with a start and realizes that he has strayed from the True Way into the Dark Wood of Error (DMV). His way is blocked by three beasts of Afternoon: THE LEOPARD OF AUTOMATED QUEUING, THE LION OF UNCOMFORTABLE PLASTIC CHAIRS and THE SHE-WOLF OF DISCARDED USA TODAYS. These beasts, especially the She-Wolf, drive him back despairing into the darkness of sitting down and hopeless inertia. But just as all seems lost, a figure appears to him. It is the shade of VIRGIL, Skot's symbol of a half-remembered liberal arts education.

"Hey!" said I to the shade. "You must be Virgil."
He replied, "Yes, it is I. What's the haps?"
And I said to the shade, "Not much rhymes with Virgil."

"Indeed," said Virgil. "Terza rima is a real bitch--
I see you will not attempt it this day."
I agreed that terza rima was a total bitch.

We sat there on our cold plastic chairs
And beheld the damned. They sat
Not unlike . . . um . . . I guess, ceramic bears.

These are the UNOPPORTUNISTS, those souls who in life were neither for good nor evil but for sitting obediently. Eternally unclassified, they sit watching dull LED counters that run forever but never seem to call their number. As they sit, they are stung mercilessly by wasps and hornets, but these are nothing compared to USA Today, so they barely notice. Skot and his gloomy boy Virgil notice a sign.

I AM THE WAY INTO THE CITY OF WOE.
I AM THE WAY TO A FORSAKEN PEOPLE.
I AM THE WAY INTO ETERNAL SORROW.

WE DO NOT ACCEPT DEBIT OR CHECK OR CREDIT CARDS.
IT IS CASH OR CHECK ONLY, FOR SOME REASON.
WE ARE BACKWARDS AND STRANGE, AND WE'LL KICK YOU IN THE NARDS.

ONLY THOSE ELEMENTS TIME MAGAZINE CANNOT WEAR
WERE MADE BEFORE ME, AND TIME MAGAZINE KIND OF SUCKS
ABANDON ALL HOPE YE WHO WILL NOW LISTEN TO CHER.

Skot awakes to find himself across Acheron. Here he finds the OUT OF STATE APPLICANTS. They were born without the light of Washington State's Department of Licensing, and therefore, cannot come into the light of God, but they are not tormented. Their only pain is that they have no hope.

"Will you grant me license to drive my shiny car?"
A lonely supplicant pleads her case to a demon.
"I will not!" the demon screams. And then, to rhyme, he says, "Har har!"

At long last my number is called in this Stygian farce
I walk forward with Virgil--he's pretty bored.
"Seventy-two," says I, reading my ticket. Says the attendant, "My arse."

All about Skot in the ice are strewn the sinners. These are the TREACHEROUS TO THEIR MASTERS. THey lie completely sealed in the ice, twisted and distorted into every conceivable posture. A McClusky album plays, over and over, contributing to the air of indescribable madness.

JUDAS is here, as is BRUTUS and CASSIUS and also OZZIE GUILLEN, who is chewed on with particular enthusiasm by the Lord of Hell. OZZIE GUILLEN screams, and the world buys more tinsel.

He first, Virgil, I second, after I passed the visual test
we climbed the dark until we reached the point
Can we give this labored rhyme scheme a bit of a rest?

and beauteous shining of the Heavenly cars.
Don't know what this means. Let's hit the bars.

Book Club | Skot | 21 Jun, 2006 |

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Comments


Bravo. That was excellent. I can’t believe that this is the first comment.
The next time we visit Ikea, if I bump into a bunch of Greek guys led by some dude named Ulysses, I’ll be ready for the bastards.

Comment number: 007687   Posted by: Lung the Younger on June 25, 2006 05:24 AM from IP: 213.151.109.190

Was Ozzie's head inside the Lord's mouth, or outside it?

Comment number: 007691   Posted by: Kate on June 25, 2006 12:12 PM from IP: 70.231.254.113

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