Saturday, September 12, 2009

Time travel in 1m35sec

Early in the morning as I walked one of the two usual routes I take to the subway, I saw in the distance a mass of black robes and black wiry beard. An Orthodox priest stalked his way up the block, one hand to the side of his head. I saw his lips moving and the entire tableaux looked as if he was hearing the voice of God himself instructing him to hurry and make his way to the home of a certain Mrs. Stratakos, who in 1999 had a dream in which Matthew the Evangelist told her that if she did not give up her monthly habit of going to Atlantic City for the casinos, in 10 years time he will come to collect an impious life and in the next ten minutes Mrs. Stratakos is about to open a boiling pot on her stove, only to have the chicken she was cooking in the pot lift itself by hooking its little wings on the rim of the pot and announce, "Yea, you have been judged and found in wanting" through its fatty neckhole, causing Mrs. Stratakos to collapse from a heart attack onto the hard cold floor in her little house in the middle of Astoria. Whether the talking chicken was an aneurysm caused by the blood blocked in the right ventricle, a message from God, or a trick of the Devil, no one knows, but the point was she was going to need help.

The priest threw me off a little, as the Orthodox priests I see now and then in the neighborhood tend to do, mainly because they look like they were out taking a walk one morning back in time and by taking a wrong turn found themselves in 2009 Queens. I nervously continued to watch him. From far away I could tell he was super tall and thin, his black robes whipping about the his body like banners on a pole. His thin, gaunt, serious face covered on the lower half with a rough beard that didn't really blow in the wind, more so than it stubbornly puffed about. Like the bristly beard was trying to resist the wind and only giving in when its strength left it.

"Oh, man," I thought. "Dude looks straight up something like you see in an ambrotype stuck between the leaves of a collection of Pushkin's poems tucked in the bottom of a trunk along with a tattered doll, some dried flowers, a lock of hair, a single glove, and a bigass stack of letters that some construction workers in Saint Petersburg dug up while trying to build a new apartment building. And a note with the ambrotype would say, 'To my dear Mashenka, may I see you again in the spring. With love, your brother Kolya.' And then you find out like the trunk belonged to a 15 year old girl who died in 1890 from tuberculosis and her brother became a priest, only to go mad and be sent off an asylum in Irkutsk, though he thought he was being sent to some kind of religious college and never knew his sister died and wrote her a letter every week promising to see her in spring he himself died at age 45 or some shit like that."

As I was contemplating all of these things, the priest was now just a couple of steps from me. His face still intense as his lips moved, his hand still caressing the side of his head. As he walked closer, I began to hear him say in a VERY Queens accent:

" yea, how much is the insurance on dat? Yea?..."

And everything I was imagining shattered away thanks to a cellphone conversation. Ah, well.

Anyhow, listening to this song reminded me of that brief moment of living in my head earlier this week for some reason. I don't know, I guess the Pixies singing about Eiffel is kind of anachronistic in some kind of way and made me think of that. Who knows how my brain works:


Blogger Paul Owens said...

You will never be forgiven for coining the phrase, "fatty neckhole". NOT AT ALL.

9:25 AM  

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