From: "D. Vacca" <firstname.lastname@example.org> Newsgroups: talk.bizarre Subject: (FTSD?) Worshippers of Porcelain Date: Tue, 1 Dec 1998 16:04:04 -0500 Organization: Posted via Supernews, http://www.supernews.com - Discussions start here! Lines: 113 Message-ID: <Pine.SOL.3.96.981201150937.2278Cemail@example.com> Reply-To: "D. Vacca" <firstname.lastname@example.org> X-Trace: 912546323 VRL06/YYIC120CFC5C usenet80.supernews.com X-Complaints-To: email@example.com To: David Vacca <firstname.lastname@example.org> Keith, with his guitar, a copy of "Lolita," seventeen bucks, and change, sat on the telephone switching box on the corner of 25th Street, across from the Irish bar. It was late rush hour, not the best time for this location. Early rush hour could be good; people who got out early were in a good mood. After the beforeglow dissipated, it was just the middle class, on their way to parking lots and train stations, grumbling their way back to the suburbs. After they went home, and rolled up their sidewalks, 25th Street would live again, when the bars opened and sucked in the crowd of drunks the street attracted. Though a newcomer to town, Keith had been told it was always thus- as long as the old lady could remember, there had been bars clustered at this end of downtown. Children and grandchildren of the first patrons now drank on 25th Street, drunks returning to spawn like salmon. During the drunk parade, this was a good spot. Now, it was not. To save his sore fingers, Keith instead read from "Lolita," comfortable in the unseasonably warm sunlight. So his eyes periodically wandered. On one such trip, he saw the distant crowd on the sidewalk parting. This was unusual. The usual crowd was a slow, shuffling mass which changed path for no-one, which was why Keith had grabbed the top of the telephone switchbox. But something was parting the waves, driving foward, driving the crowd apart. Something Keith couldn't see. But, judging from the hole it left, something pretty big. Keith put down "Lolita" and watched. In time, they reached Keith. "They" were a group of four, cutting through the crowd with deliberate speed. By most standards they would be considered eyecatching, but not by the standards of the crowd. The crowd did not want its eye caught. The group of four was of the city, which they wanted to leave behind. Best not look, they might stay with you. A homeless man at curbside saw the four as well. He muttered something, and crossed the street. Keith caught a glimpse of his face out of the corner of his eyes, and was surprised to see not just madness, but a moment of something else. Something much like... fear? The homeless man's response was no more logical than the crowd's, given the sight. A parade of four people- three men and a woman- were working their way up the avenue towards 25th Street. They all wore tuxedoes. Leading the way was a compactly-built man walking backwards. He was carrying two bouquets of flowers, from which he was plucking petals and scattering them as he went. Second, walking to the side of the other three, was a young man who looked to be of middle-eastern origin. He was carrying a camcorder, and was recording the passage of the other three. The third, a very large black man with extensive dreadlocks, was wheeling a cart. The fourth, a red-haired woman, was swinging a censer, and drafting smoke over the sidewalk. The cart being pushed by the third man was a simple handcart, but they'd covered it with red velvet. On top of the handcart was a toilet. White, gleaming, shiny, and new. The oddity of the procession chased away the eyes of the commuters and the bodies of the homeless. The only other person there was Keith. Keith got off the switchbox. "Hey," he said, nodding to the parade. They seemed to ignore him, but stopped right in front of him. "What's the situation with that?" he asked, pointing to the toilet. The black man mumbled. "Say what?" The black man made a visible effort, and said, in a slurred voice that somehow conveyed perfect sobriety, "It is the throne." The short man in front mumbled. The woman turned to look at Keith, and in a clear voice, added "It is the cradle of civilization." The short man mumbled again, then was quiet, looking frustrated at his inability to talk. The black man and the woman continued, he muttering and she sounding sparklingly clear. "It is the essence of order." "It is that which without we are beasts." "It is a holy font." "It is how we speak to the divine." "It is the element of white light made solid." Keith was at a loss whether to laugh or not, of what to say. He finally decided on "Where are you taking it?" The black man and the woman looked at each other, turned to Keith, and said, in stereo, "Wherever it wants to go." "Cool," Keith said. "Does it want a band?" --- David Vacca | email@example.com | http://www.intr.net/vacca "And malt does more than Milton can/ to justify God's ways to man" - A.E. Housman, "Terence, This Is Stupid Stuff"