This one is for you Jack T. I wanted to write a piece about an insane priest writing to you as you fly off into space. Anyway. It is all, as usual, wrapped up within the Monarchs story but it is one going at a different time on Earth.
- The Egg Party
'The Last God Damned One'
Pastor Sean 'T.L.G.D.O' Slattery
The Priest watched the boarding of the craft. The pure Christian theology shuttle. Nuns, Bishops, Popes, Priest, all climbed aboard and left him feeling exhausted, beleaguered.
This remaider of clergy had stayed post the evacuation of the Religious and Vanilla waves. They were the modern equivalent of the travelling missionaries, speaking to the heathens who might find salvation before death.
They had all unanimously voted, after a multitude of failed conversion attempts,that there were no humans that were willing to be saved. Both groups chose their respective paths. They left, as they tried to tell him that he should too, flying away from the dying planet. To worship God without the interruption throughout the universe. He disagreed and he told every one of them.
'There are children of God who remain. I do not think anyone is so completely beyond the love of God. I am staying'.
So he stood gazing as the ship flew out, breaking through the layers of smoke and grit that some still called the atmosphere. The start of their journey. He sat mostly motionless until the engines were beyond the ability of human sight. For Slattery it was significantly shorter than usual due to his declining eyesight.
He stood and headed to the nearest town. To chance upon a pocket of humanity that might listen to him preach. To talk with some of the poor souls who chose to remain during the final departure of humanity from Earth and dwell in their depravity. Surely they would welcome an old Father.
Slattery walked directly into what history referred to as The End of The Days Party.
'I feel like I've been beaten up underwater. I can feel bits of my brain falling away like a wet cake'.
He evacuated after his failure to convert the Specific Wave population. It was too too much. In church, distant from the main town, he drank from the communion wine and in a toast to the non-existant parish. He blessed,
'Alcohol is good for your health. This is some of the most dangerous pieces of public health research to come out of the 20th century. Some say we pushed technology too far, too hard and for too long. It was what led to the collapse. I do not dispute this fact. We did it. I just hope, when judgement comes, it is remember that we were drunk'.
He was hidden outside of the main metropolis of Melbourne. In his fear of sexually bizarre, and sometime violent heretics, he left the city for an empty and isolated satellite suburb of Melton. An unused Jehovah's Witness compound, at the edge of town, was his habitat for the stay. He re-branded the place with his own, now peculiar, version of Christianity. He christened the place New Jonestown. The slogan was 'Don't Worry, Cool Aid Does Not Exist Any More'. He attempted to encompassed all of the surrounding town populace.
He had knocked on every door, dutifully walking the expanse with two dogs he had found sick and abandoned. Left and Right. Both had lost the respective eyes, opposite to their names. They slept curled next to Slattery in a nest built behind the pulpit. The dogs would sleep, heads lying with empty sockets aligned. He often looked at the sleeping dogs and saw the gruesome, monstrous head of Cerberus, melted.
Try as he might, there were none to be saved. He regretted almost everything. There were no people left in Melton. It was one of many ghost towns which were sitting round abandoned cities, countries, continents. No one was home.
His mind was slipping and though he remained aware for the entirety of it. That he knew and did nothing to remedy the insanity could be due to the fact that he thought that particular path was easier. Jack had entered the church. It was an impossibility. He knew that there were no takers for service.
A dark sliver of him relished in the company, even if it was only his imagination. The burden of the Remainder could be shouldered by the vision of his friend. He welcomed Jack with relief. Jack had written for a time, early on in his journey to his own respective planet. The transmissions eventually stopped. Perhaps it was too far. Both in distance and memory. Slattery continued sending his own messages out into space after he stopped receiving replies, continually unsure if anyone was even listening to his lonely prose.
The particular thing was that Vision Jack would not communicate with him in a traditional way. He would smile, listen to him(mind you the pastor was wearing a heavy respirator to survive so no human could understand his gurgled nonsense), nod his head in agreement. When it came time to speak Jack would only talk in the form of his traditional electronic mail. Jack had a talent for grandeur lacking in pomp. The letters remained contextual but cryptic.
Jack cleared his throat then began,
'Well it's been a year since I've drank alcohol.
The fact it wasn't self initiated ain't important I feel, the fact I've learnt ways of existing and coping beyond what was my norm (and definitively my cultural background) is enough for me..
Firstly, man do I miss getting pissed... especially in the morning.
My Malibu and Berroca mix alone was the inspiration for and fuel to many life stories, resulting poems and connections made.
Some days it makes me sick to think of alcohol, other days it makes me sick to think of never drinking again..
Dono, any addiction is a sickness beyond it's own merit; the merit we individually set for any caustic element in our lives..
So being sick without it, sick for it and just plain sick beyond it has made me learn things that I never would have otherwise.
Something's I wish I hadn't of learnt yet for sure... Some days I feel like I'm drowning, not waving, in a bottle 10 times my body.. and fuck, all I want is a beer so I can rise on and ride the yeasty tides inside << (haha sorry but it was a bit dry for me without at least one rhyme)
I was thinking, if TV is the opiate of the masses, or religion or whatever that meme has become for this generation, well alcohol surely is nice to drink on a couch while watching that TV.
Tis an outside-in insiders view, I sat about inside out till something out of my control let me in.. I found the couch will consume you more than what you ingest ever will.
The couch is the biggest killer, the biggest numbing agent, the most prevalent barbiturate and I dono if I'm off it these days or just someone took the cushions away so it's less comfortable..
The medication I was on last year was 1000 times more debilitating than any cocktail I could've cooked up and it's blessed me with the insight into what the medical world really prescribes you when you are 'sick.'
More sickness often; a convoluted bunch of side (and central) effects that you spend ya time second guessing and stressing over until it becomes less of a help and more like a constant stiff drink in a limp wrist.
What a recursive jagged little truth eh.
No doubt it's a long road but toasting to these milestones are important beyond my own shit... there is solidarity in raising a glass to the people who have supported me the last year in sickness and in hell.. and well, everything else too.
I'll think more about this last year sober, not much else to do with sober time till ya find courage beyond the liquid kind.. Then I'll write about stuff and hit the stage hard again in the future when I'm ready.
In fact, I'll be performing at White Night next month with a huge host of Melbs finest writers and performers for MSW, and it's great to have that to reflect on ironically.. as White Night undoubtably, before last year, gave me the easiest excuse to have a drink at 6am. Ha.
Anyway, after yet another Australia Day gone, a day of collective memory loss better than any pub can provide, I sit around putting the sober in somber and feeling the weight of what willingly blacking out can mean for us as a people..
This country confuses, saddens and inspires me and much like a year without a bottle in hand, it only gets a bit softer in my eyes when I pour out more than I drink in...
I hope to better serve the folks and culture I love in this city and beyond in 2016, in a way that sits right with me and my loved ones.
Thanks for reading, drink up or don't, whatever, makes little difference to the love I feel from my crew and what I return in kind..
The 'Beer Baron' episode is still by far my fav, so I'll shut up with the tributing words of the great H.J. Simpson..
'To alcohol, the cause of and solution to all of life's problems'
Slattery contemplated. The motivating words would not be effective until years to come, when the priest came to his true called. To be the last sheppard. Other elements of Jack's words remained for the immediate time and influenced his behaviour. He knew that he could summon Jack at will but his mind sighed with the effort. Soon enough he was back to washing down his diet of communion wafers with the accompanying wine. A short time after Slattery left the classic food pyramid altogether.
He collected any animals that survived the fall. As many as he could. After scouring the area for humanity he needed a new hobby. All were disfigured and sick from a dead Earth. The pews were full the next time Jack visited. Left and Right walked amoungst, corraling the beasts, the combined vision of the two dogs creating one functional animal wrangler.
His animal company began to speak to him but it lacked sophistication. Most of the voices talked in tones of Disney, speaking the words of nonsensical cartoons. He began to become more beastly, emulating his new friends with a sick ease. He was tired of being alone and relished the peer pressure.
He was spending too much time around animals and not humans. Enough time in the mind of a creature and you begin to pick up new characteristics. He identified most with the donkeys the most due to their biblical significance. It was a difficult choice for his writings. His hands, now hoofs, were crude imitations of their former dexterity. But he wrote and brayed, needing anyone to hear his thoughts. When he would finally go back to the Remainder he would be to far gone to care about his initial goals. It was, however, considered the greatest periods of his writing.
This was how Jack found him on he next visit. Eating hay and furiously masturbating in his squalid church. In the adjoining neighbourhood he had found a Chinese restaurant with a tank filled with frothing lobsters. Around the tank were tables full of well organised and decomposing human beings. He did not know or care to find out who they were. He did not expect or want any of he same courtesy.
He took as many lobsters as he could latch onto himself. Their claws pinching his cassock as he walked them back to salvation. They anxiously crawled around him, nervous of their new found company. He heard years prior that they could live till close to one hundred. He liked that idea of long term friendship. Soon their carcasses would surround him but at the time he was content with their stern voices adding to the animal chorus. Death did not worry him. He did not know these animals any more than he the friends he had when he was a man.
Jack stood and smiled and continued to nod as he watched the donkey man, or Assman as the Father preferred, sitting in a deep pile of rotten hay. Wide eyed and chewing slowly. Slattery mustered human speech.
'Jack. I have lost my way. I need sometime of humanity as a tether. Anything. A song, a poem, a story. Please. I have not had a lyric in my head for the longest time. I think only in moans'.
Jack nodded and there was more understanding in his eyes than Slattery had seen in some time. It was a whip crack in his mind. The priest giggled and Jack began,
Waking to an empty house,
stretch in front of the TV,
seems like cheating.
Next door opposite, you bury your head in pamphlets,
both eyes closed, wait for the ink to run.
The heat makes me woozy,
her body surely bloating by now.
Dig underneath the dresser, thongs adhere to the flip flop and carry me.
I limber up and cross the new road,
our home lies outside our walls,
soon a church will demand we speak our truths.
Words wait to be misused.
A red couch,
the blood stains are hidden,
by your lack of care about anything.
I take out a mop and wonder where to start.
Mothers' coughing fits have sprayed the lounge.
Aware of my reach,
you take the easy job.
I scrub the walls on tippy toes,
you toss up cemeteries based on time spent in traffic.
Pay the days forward.
You're taller than me but just watch,
signal, 'missed a spot'
in the same motion you ash your cigarette with.
From way above, we tread like ants.
If there is honey laid, that's our tracks for the day.
I'm at ease in these sticky prints,
stare into them and carry family and hope on my tongue.
The ambulance arrives and rolls her out into traffic.
We both suppress tears,
your smoke in my eyes,
The radio hints at more murder in our streets,
more sympathy for the unknown.
So sad isn't it,
I take out Dad's Gibson and fiddle with it for a while.
We march for dead white women,
and cover songs of dead black men.
Jack paused and stood for some time. Wells of clarity sprung up in the mind of the Priest. The inspiration trickled down the convoluted sulci in his brain. He realised his path: Remain, exist, continue. Humanity has always been riduclous. He would continue as they had for millenia. Keep trying to stay alive whilst continually confused with why he or anyone else persisted.
He left the quiet hamlet and headed back to society with a dead lobster riding in his saddle. He wouldn't save the Remainer. He would be The Remainder. Scrap a living off the hopeless planet where he resided.
The last of the shuttles for the Specific wave were preparing. Empty bottles and garbage lined the streets. New art crumbled due to hasty construction. Human waste filled the gutters. All was missed by Flattery in his focus. Someone needed to create a new home for any humans who chose to return in the endless time that was to come.
He would be the watcher. The sentinel. The priest found the closest Polygenics facility, worked out the technology after and time, and began cloning himself into perpetuity.