People of the Mist
The bitter taste of bile and vomit brought Tim face to face with to the realities of the day. He removed his soiled, sweat-soaked tee shirt and, still wearing shorts that served him as pajamas, he wandered into the kitchen and lit the gas stove. He opened the fridge. Inside, a plastic bottle of cold water, purchased from the little man in the corner shop, stared back at him. Tim poured some bottled water into an open saucepan and set it to boil. He added two large splinters of cinnamon. When the water started to bubble, he sprinkled coffee grains on the seething liquid and waited for the grounds to settle. He brought the water back to the boil and did this two more times. When the liquid changed to the dark color he craved, he strained it through a filter into his cup. He scooped a spoonful of honey into the brew and walked across to the table where his copy of a new post-Columbian códice lay open, gazed for a moment at the colored figures in their multitude of poses, and started to read.
“Two breasts: one green, one yellow, symbolic of the hill where the church stands; the church itself bi-coloured, strong stone walls, a spire. A large red heart symbolic of the love we bear for you, our masters. Two feet walking the path of enlightenment you opened before us are accompanied by two hands pointing the way. The feet below the heart; the hands above the heart, like wings; and the heart becomes the body of the new place you have built for us. And in the heart is our sacred symbol: the Earthquake, a sign of leadership and power used only by those of Royal Stature and the Noblest Blood. Attached to the heart is the Numeral One which means Lord of the Earthquake; for you are Number One in our Hearts. Attached to the heart is a speech scroll showing felicitous words of praise; below it is the sacred earthworm, and beneath that the serpent head of wisdom and the flint knife promising strength through sacrifice.
But be wary: for our symbols are double-edged! The colors of the hill are divided, as the hill is divided, showing strife and division. The church is on top of the hill, for the symbol has conquered the people, and the people are starving, subject, and destroyed. The feet are pointing in opposite directions, for the people are stalled. They have no forward movement, nor will of their own, for they are conquered by the sword and not by love. And the hands are pointing in opposite directions; for the right hand knows not what the left hand is doing. And the hands are reversed showing anguish and distress. The sign of the heart is the sign of the disembodied heart, torn from the heaving chest of the vanquished and thrown to the dogs. The sign of the earthquake is also the sign of movement. And that movement is a bowel movement. And one movement in the middle of the sacrificed heart is the victor excreting on the vanquished and treating them with scorn and contempt. The scroll protrudes from the nether part and says that the victors are speaking words of excrement, that verbal diarrhoea issues from their lips. And the serpent has no feathers; it cannot fly. It is as a snake treacherous and bitter, crawling on the ground. The head of the serpent is two tongued and tells of treachery and of deceit. The flint is attached to a heart; it speaks of the heart that is as hard as flint, knowing no mercy. And at the end that heart will receive no mercy in its turn.”
Tim stopped reading. He put his head in his hands and wild thoughts tumbled through his brain, crazy thoughts, hallucinations fueled by the mescal of the previous night.
… the rabbit in the moon wears his father’s face … it perches like a scarecrow on the dead stick of a spent rocket … and the rabbit puts out the sun and causes the moon to be formed, moon-raker, moon-maker, jack rabbit, rabbit pie in the sky … and the second sun stares down now a blinded eye, unblinking … death’s face simmers in the stew pot moon and everyone seems doomed as the white rabbit scuttles down his narrow escape tube and back into his burrow … high flames flicker on zopilote’s wings and bring an end to darkness … Zopilote the Trickster, the bringer of the sun’s early morning fire … Lucifer, the morning star, the bearer of light, a new star rising among star-crossed generations … red scars of tulips, casting shadows on the white-washed wall, twisting shadows, shadows dancing as they struggle to take shape … three women, dancing in the limelight, and an old man, standing there, wringing his hands, then vanishing, a soap bubble, borne away on the wind … floating to where the returning warriors play their hummingbird games around the sun, … they return from their death like all the dead, here in Oaxaca … and the people placing food and drink on altars in their homes for their dearest beloveds to return once a year … down the moonlight’s marigold path, to feast and be fêted by their families … all the dead … returned …
“All the dead …?” Tim repeated the words out loud and sat upright, wide awake. He took his pen and wrote in his journal:
Things to do today:
Shopping: Bread / Newspaper / Mescal
He stopped writing and took a sip of his coffee. He again put pen to paper.
But this is all nonsense: I can’t believe that I saw my father last night. It couldn’t have been him. I buried him a long time ago and a long way away. What did I see then, a living man, a man who looked like him? But he was wearing the shirt and tie in which I buried my dad, so it had to be him. And who was following El Brujo and Alonso this morning? I just don’t understand. I know they told me the mescal would get to me and give me hallucinations and strange dreams, but surely not so soon. Dreams , visions, or hallucinations: there are so many things I want to know.