From: "D. Vacca" <firstname.lastname@example.org> Newsgroups: talk.bizarre Subject: (FTSD?) Parade of the Worshippers (longer) Date: Tue, 1 Dec 1998 16:55:29 -0500 Organization: Posted via Supernews, http://www.supernews.com - Discussions start here! Lines: 190 Message-ID: <Pine.SOL.3.96.981201160449.2342Aemail@example.com> Reply-To: "D. Vacca" <firstname.lastname@example.org> X-Trace: 912549406 VRL06/YYIC120CFC5C usenet80.supernews.com X-Complaints-To: email@example.com To: David Vacca <firstname.lastname@example.org> A small parade passes 25th Street, moving west. In the front, a young man in a tuxedo walks backwards. He pulls the petals off of two bouquets of flowers and scatters them at the feet of those behind him. He is apparently incapable of speech, beyond incoherent mumbling. To his side, filming the parade, is another young man, apparently an Arab. He is also wearing a tuxedo, and has not been heard to speak at all. At the center of the parade, a large black man is pushing a handcart. The handcart is covered with red velvet, and the red velvet is covered with a shiny new toilet. The man has impressive dreadlocks and is wearing a tuxedo. He looks good in it, but is not particularly good at speech. He can talk, though not clearly, with effort. Mostly, he mumbles. Fourth, and the last figure in a tuxedo, is a young woman with a censer. It keeps going out, so she has to keep relighting it. While it burns, she applies her benediction to all about her. She is the vocal one, though she is not speaking now. Last is Keith. He plays guitar. "So, what do you want me to play?" he asks the woman. "What do you do?" she asks. "Mostly rock," he answers. "Some folk." She looks down her nose at him. "I mean, for a living? Do you make a living playing the guitar?" Keith hates people who think he doesn't have a job. "I get by. I don't need much. I play, people may throw me some money. If they do, great, if not, hell, I can sleep in an alley and dumpster dive. I agree with Thoreau, society is too hung up on the material." She looks at Keith. "Yeah, you would think that. Play something that sounds familiar but most people don't know." Keith starts with some Meryn Cadell. "No, more American." "More American?" "Yeah." Keith switches to the Indigo Girls. "That'll do." So the parade works its way into the bar and nightclub district accompanied by the fact that Galileo is the king of night vision. Early in to the district, the parade stops in front of a closed bar- the only one on the street that's closed. The man with the flowers fishes a key out of his tuxedo pocket and opens the door. "The toilet has its own bar?" "It has all closed bars," the woman explains. "And most open ones, too." Nobody but Keith smiles. Inside, it is dark. They take the cart through the bar to the back, where there is a dumbwaiter. They push the cart into the dumbwaiter, close the dumbwaiter, and wait until creaking sounds indicate that the cart has begun its way up- or down? Keith doesn't know. They go back to the main room, and take the stairs up to a second floor. Up it was. The second floor is dimly lit by four lanterns- a big Coleman camping model and three battery-powered ones. The toilet has been taken off the cart, though it is still on the red velvet. It now stands on a platform perhaps six inches high. The platform is entirely covered by the material. Eight people are waiting in the room. Four men, four women. Racially mixed, all of them fairly young, all of them in tuxedos. All of them looking very serious. Keith looks at his companions in the parade. They look very serious, as they have since the parade started. Keith is beginning to wonder whether this is not a joke. An Asian woman raises her hands. "All kneel." Keith bites back his first response, which is to kneel with his face over the toilet bowl and make retching noises. He bites back his second response, which is to get out. He joins the tuxedo-clad people in kneeling. The Asian woman begins to speak to the rapt crowd. "We know it thus, and it has been written. Living things take in inputs, excrete outputs, and duplicate themselves. This is how you may know them. What inputs do we take?" "Food," says the crowd, except Keith, who is silent. "Water. Shelter." "What outputs do we rid ourselves of?" "Waste," says the crowd, as Keith is silent. "Do we duplicate ourselves?" "We do," confirms the crowd. "What inputs does humanity take in?" "Intelligence," says the crowd. "Wisdom. Work." "What outputs does humanity rid itself of?" "Waste," says the crowd, with Keith a step behind. "Does humanity duplicate itself?" "It does," says the crowd. "What inputs does civilization take in?" "Humanity," says the crowd, and Keith feels uneasy. "What outputs does civilization need to rid itself of?" "Waste," says the crowd. "What is the ridding of civilization's waste called?" "Sanitation," says the crowd. Keith blinks, surprised to hear the rhythym of the sermon (sermon?) broken. "Is sanitation perfect?" asks the woman, further fueling Keith's discomfort. "It is not," says the crowd. "Does civilization duplicate itself?" "It does not," says the crowd. "Why not?" "It does not completely rid itself of waste." "And so we must help it, for what will happen when civilization completely rids itself of waste?" "It will duplicate itself." "And what is the duplication of civilization called?" "God," affirms the crowd. "So let us clean civilization by removing its waste," says the woman. She reaches into her tuxedo pocket, removes a matchbook, pulls out a match, and strikes it into flame. She drops the burning match into the toilet. Keith is stunned to see it kindle a pillar of flame, tall enough to lick the ceiling. While Keith is stunned, the crowd grabs him, lifts him up, and carries him head-first toward the toilet. The Asian woman speaks. "Farewell, beggar. Farewell, musician. Farewell to you who are not needed by civilization. Farewell, waste." Keith begins to scream as he is shoved head-first into the toilet bowl. Flames rip about him. Later, a burned and blackened toilet will be left at the town dump. --- 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"