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Monday, September 30, 2013

Grandmother, parts 2240 - 2243

 2240. When this minute was up she would ask a further question about some minute aspect of her patients ailment, and after that she would send the person away with no directions, prescriptions, or recommendations. About two days later she would seek out the patient and rephrase something the sufferer had said, being careful to use their exact words. After that she would suggest that they memorize some specific Bible passage, one somehow related to the ailment.

 2241. It was Grandmother’s ability to remember the things her patients had said and her ability to repeat what was said days later that so impressed her clients, and it was this, more than anything else that convinced them that Grandmother had special abilities.

 2242. Now you know yourself that when one gets sick, after about two weeks one gets better again, that is always the way it is, especially with the flu. And even with the chronic illnesses with painful symptoms that never go away, one always becomes accustomed to the discomfort, and so it also stops being such a problem. 

2243. The forgoing being so, Grandmother’s success rate was about one hundred percent. There were a few clients, off and on, who happened to die under her care, but once dead, they were very reluctant to complain of her services. This was the reason she had accumulated a sum of money in a savings account, and now it was her intent to bequeath it to Coromo.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Grandmother, parts 2236 - 2239

 2236. She found that she had to translate her entire lecture into the fourteen or fifteen words she was capable of uttering, but first she gave Coromo the envelope with her life savings in it. Coromo, being the polite boy he was put the envelope in his shirt pocket without looking in it. Grandmother had been in the habit of giving him two dollars whenever he visited her.

 2237. He noticed that the envelope was a rather thick one, but he ignored it for the moment and turned his full attention to what his Grandmother was about to try to tell him. 

 2238. Before we recount what Grandmother told Coromo I would like to answer the question, “Where did Grandmother get so much money, that she was able to give Coromo two dollars whenever he came to see her?” Her money came from gifts she received from all of the various village population whom she regularly healed of all their various ailments. 

2239. She was so good at the profession of being the village Doctor that you could not have induced her neighbors to go to the clinic down in the town even if you paid them. Grandmother’s method consisted of listening to everything her sick patients said with an excess of concentration, and after they were done speaking she said nothing for a full minute with a look of extreme concentration on her face.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Grandmother, parts 2232 - 2235

 2232. What was devilish about selling paintings to tourists she did not know and could not say. It was an instinctive reaction. Her suspicion was that any serious interaction with the tourists was bound to lead to Coromo’s soul being corrupted.

 2233. So Grandmother sent Coromo a note asking him to come to see her because she had been feeling poorly, and wanted to tell him something. The next thing she did was to send her favorite niece down to the town on the coast in order for her to close out her savings account and bring her all the money she had in the world home in one of those nice white envelopes, the kind which are just slightly larger than a dollar bill.

 2234. On Coromo’s day off he went to visit his Grandmother, and found her in bed at about two in the afternoon. The first thing he noticed about her was how colorless her face looked, just like someone had photo-shopped all the red out of her cheeks. Although her speech had come back she still had a little trouble with her tongue, and had to  speak very slowly.

2235. Grandmother was agitated because she had prepared a long lecture in her mind to deliver to Coromo. Over the past week she had developed this lecture into various topics with sub-headings, footnotes, and quotes from the Bible, but when the time came to deliver her lecture it did not work out the way she had imagined it.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Grandmother, parts 2228 - 2231

 2228. Whenever a dog is possessed by one of the immortals it is obvious that he must not be just an ordinary dog. I am sure if we delve into his biography it will prove to be interesting. But meanwhile, I feel that I am monopolizing the discussion, and lets turn the stage over to Jemima, and ask her to tell us more about Coromo, seeing as he is the other modern Odysseus in our stories.

 2229. “Well,” said Jemima, “what happened next was that Coromo’s Grandmother had a stroke and lost the ability to speak for almost two weeks. After that she became very anxious to get her affairs in order, because she started to think it would not be too long before she would be going to have lunch with her creator.”

 2230. Of late she had been troubled by Coromo’s behavior. She had heard various stories in the village about how Coromo was selling paintings to the tourists and that he had made two hundred dollars from the sale of one picture. Grandmother did not believe the story of the sale of the painting, and furthermore, she took a negative view of the painting of pictures in general.

2231. If Coromo had been painting pictures for his own enjoyment, and giving them as gifts to his relatives she would have had no objection, but hanging them up in a restaurant and selling them to tourists struck here as the Devil’s work.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Snare Of The Fowler, parts 2224 - 2227

 2224. The question of Poseidon’s anger with Otis, and the earlier but much more well known anger of that same god for Odysseus presents the thoughtful person with a painful question. What kind of stupid, petty, self serving, egotistical gods were they anyway, and why would the ancients give them so much attention with all of those temples, ceremonies, libations, and sacrifices and such.

2225. One honestly gets the feeling that the ancients were in the habit of trying to accommodate and quiet down an unruly child with their devout practices, and the same can be said of the entire history of Christianity, which is just a sequel to paganism. I am sure at this point I had better change the subject as I can feel that I may be angering some of my more pious readers.

2226. But before I change the subject, I have to ask you, What is the use of a god who obviously has no sense of humor or irony, and who can’t see or understand the pathos in a dog’s situation. And I am not talking here about Otis, I am thinking about Leon, what a terrible thing to do to him, it was unforgivable.

2227. The Duck promised to tell us more of the saga of Otis in the future. Not only that, but he asked if we wouldn’t like to know something about Leon. Why would we want to know about Leon I asked. “Because,” said the Duck, “Leon for a moment was possessed by Neptune and got his leg broken as a consequence.”

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Snare Of The Fowler, parts 2220 - 2223

 2220. I would never humiliate  or embarrass Poseidon himself by telling you how the other gods laughed him to scorn, spilling ambrosia from their golden goblets as the laughed uproariously to see the great god vanquished because of a rooster. Neither would I heap scorn on him by describing how he slunk away from the feast in shame, and brooded on his inevitable revenge. 

 2221. What sort of a self-destructive writer do you take me for? I would no sooner mention any of those things than I would step on cracks in the sidewalk on my way to school. As it is, having written what I have I may never be able go out in a  boat ever again, but such is the price of narrating the unvarnished truth.

 2222. The situation Otis found himself in was not as dismal and dangerous as you might imagine. He may have offended Neptune for a moment, but it doesn’t take very long for the bones of the  immortals to heal up, but the question arises, “do those pagan gods have a sense of fair play or not?” Having entered the ring in the form of Leon, didn’t he put Otis, who was only a mortal wolf, in an impossible position. 

2223. I ask you, wouldn’t you lose respect for Poseidon if he were to hold a grudge against Otis? Wouldn’t you think that it was an attitude unworthy of a metaphysical entity occupied at all times with the wind and the waves of the sea, and all that goes on therein?

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Snare Of The Fowler, parts 2216 - 2219

 2216. It was a no win situation, it was a Catch 22, he was “dammed if he did and dammed if he didn’t,” and I am sure there are many more trite sayings that could he applied to his situation. The more formidable Leon now backed Otis up against the wall of the ring and prepared to strike, but then the rooster committed an act of great sacrilege.

 2217. The rooster leaped from the edge of the ring and landed on Leon’s head, and began pecking his skull as hard as he could. That hard beak of his sank in a good eighth of an inch, sometimes even three-sixteenths of an inch. The extra sixteenth of an inch was pay dirt because a dog’s skull is mostly just an eighth of an inch thick. 

 2218. Don’t think for an instant he did not realize the great sin he was committing, assaulting Poseidon in that way. What future could an ordinary rooster look forward to, after doing such a brazen thing. This head pecking was just sufficient to distract Leon for a moment. 

2219. I am not the sort of writer who has any interest in describing violence and bloodshed, regardless of the rabid appetite the public may have for the subject. The camera of this story will never focus on Otis’ teeth as they sink into Leon’s upper right leg, it will never zoom in for a closeup shot of the agony on Leon’s face, or the terror in his eyes at the sound of his bones being crushed.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Snare of The Fowler, parts 2212 - 2215

 2212. Just as the ring Otis and Leon were in was surrounded by unsavory types, the sort of men and women who could take pleasure in watching innocent animals hurt each other, so too, having been informed by the crow, the Immortals invisibly surrounded the ring and all of them wanted to see a contest, and not and endless preamble. So they set to work to breath courage and determination into Leon, so that he would stand some chance against Otis.

 2213. Those pagan Gods were doing this only because they wanted an entertainment. Did they consider the fix they had put Otis in? Otis knew very well that his gods were able to assume the forms of humans and animals for a short time. How many times had he come across the occurrence in all the classic literature? Athena takes the form of a dove or a hawk and coming down from Olympus gives advice to one of the ancient heroes, and then flies away.

 2214. But here was a novel situation. One of those gods was now assuming the form of Leon, and was facing him in the ring. He could see clearly the change that came over Leon at this transformation. No longer did he lunge it him in a futile expenditure of energy. He bided his time, breathed deeply, and waited for that tiny moment when Otis should be distracted by something which might happen in the crowd.

2215. By now you have probably guessed which of the immortal Gods it was that had entered Leon and was facing Otis in the ring. If you think it was Poseidon, or Neptune if you are using the Roman terminology, you are correct. It was only natural for Poseidon to oppose Otis, because this was the same immortal that gave Odysseus such a hard time for so many years. But at least Odysseus never had to come to actual blows with any of the gods.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Snare Of The Fowler, parts 2208 - 2211

 2208. Otis, as a matter of fact, was critical of Odysseus for breaking Irus’ collar bone like he did. Poor Irus, blundering into a situation, hardly of his own making, and then being made a  cripple just to entertain millions of people who would read the Odyssey in the coming millenniums. Just for a moment consider how many dim-witted people over thousands of years have smiled to themselves as Odysseus gives Irus a lecture as he leans him up against that wall. 

2209 Do any of those readers of the Odyssey ever consider the sufferings and trials that Irus probably went through before he was immortalized in Homers’ epic drama? No, they do not give him a thought. The book is opened and the passage read by some high school student, and once again Irus had to take his beating. Irus is just like Prometheus rolling his rock up his mountain. But nobody mocks or ridicules Prometheus, we all feel sorry for him, and more than that, we can’t help but identify with him.

 2210. Who identifies with Irus, or Leon for that matter. Nobody, they are truly outcasts. They do not even rise to the lever of being anti-heroes. Their entire reason for existing is just to illicit our contempt. They exist on the world’s stage for a meager few moments for us to savor their humiliation. Their only crime having been to brag and swagger. But Otis, being the kind of wolf he was, could not bring himself to look down on Leon, and said to himself, “There but for fortune go I.”

2211. But Otis was not going to avoid his fate, especially since he was a pagan wolf. All those thousands of times he had prayed to his Gods were not going to be to no effect, but he had to accept the good with the bad, and part of the bad was the penchant of his Gods to enjoy the pitched battle with an unknown outcome. 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Snare Of The Fowler, parts 2204 - 2207

 2204. One of those cats will raise his back up in the air to make himself appear bigger, and at the same time put a paw up displaying his claws. But the other cat, not the least perturbed, flops down on the pavement and intently begins to clean some especially dirty spot in his fur.

 2205. Do you have any doubts about the outcome of this contest. The fight may take only two-seconds, you may not be able to determine who strikes first, but that cat who was cleaning the dirt from his side will turn out to be victorious, and the other cat that was full of posturing threats will be the one to run away with one half an ear the less.

 2206.  Such it was, such it is, and such it will always be. Otis was not afraid of Leon, and Leon was too dumb and strong to understand his danger, and so making a guttural noise he attempted to leap onto Otis in order to make short work of him, but when he landed Otis was in a different spot altogether, and still cleaning himself in a methodical way. You would have had to be watching very carefully to have seen Otis move, if you blinked you would have missed it.

2207. This maneuver was repeated over and over again until Leon became so tired he could hardly stand on his feet, but Otis had no intention of attacking him, he simply felt sorry for him. “Why,” he thought to himself, “would I ever want to harm this big, sad, lout of an angry dog. God willing his owners will retire him while he still has a part of his brains left to enjoy some little peace and quiet.”

Friday, September 20, 2013

Snare Of The Fowler, parts 2200 - 2203

 2200. Then Odysseus seized Irus by the feet, and dragged him out of the house, and to the gate of the courtyard. He lifted him up and put him standing against the wall. Placing the staff in the beggar’s hands, he said, “Sit there, and scarce off the dogs and swine, and do not let such a one as you lord it over strangers. A worse thing might have befallen you.”

 2201. Otis instantly recognized the passage the crow had recited for him, and he could easily see how it applied to his present situation. As for the crow, he flew up into a nearby tree and settled down to witness the combat. Since it was actually a divine crow, he would have seen this kind of combat many times in his long life, but he never got tired of watching how it would unfold each time.

 2202. The crow knew, for example, that Otis would not be the one to attack the brute of a dog he was facing and that Leon would attack first, just as Irus, in his impatience, had struck first. What Otis did however, was quite unexpected. He sat down on the floor of the arena and began to scratch himself as if he was bothered by some fleas.

2203. Gradually Otis turned his entire attention to the pesky fleas and seemed to be unaware of Leon glaring at him. You have seen this kind of behavior before. Have you ever observed two cats facing each other on the sidewalk in the middle of the night? Those cats are about to engage in a fight, but before the fight begins they have to size each other up.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Snare Of The Fowler, parts 2196 - 2199

 2196. All the wooers cried out that none would favor Irus or deal his opponent a foul blow. Straightway Odysseus girt up his rags. When his great arms and shoulders and thighs were seen, the wooers were amazed and Irus was frightened. 

 2197. He would have slipped away if Antinous had not caught him and said to him, “You lubber, you! If you do not stand up before this man I will have you flung on my ship and sent over to King Echetus, who will cut off your nose and ears and give your flesh to his dogs to eat.” He took hold of Irus and dragged him into the ring.

 2198. The fighters faced each other. But Odysseus with his hands upraised stood for long without striking, for he was pondering if he should strike Irus a hard or a light blow. It seemed to him better to strike him lightly, so that his strength should not be made a matter for the wooers to note and wonder at. 

2199. Irus struck first. He struck Odysseus on the shoulder. Then Odysseus aimed a blow at his neck, just below the ear, and the beggar fell to the ground, with the blood gushing from his mouth and nose.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Snare Of The Fowler, parts 2192 - 2195

 2192. “What words this fellow has!’ said Irus the beggar. “He talks like an old sit-by-the-fire. I’ll not waste more words on him. Get up now, heavy paunch, and strip for the fight, for I’m going to show all the lords that I can keep the door for them.” “Do not provoke me,” said Odysseus. “Old as I seem, I may be able to draw your blood.” But Irus kept on shouting, “I’ll knock the teeth out of your jaws. I’ll trounce you.”

 2193. Antinous, the most insolent of the wooers, saw the squabble, and he laughed to see the pair defying each other. “Friends,’”said he, “the gods are good to us, and don’t fail to send us amusement. The strange beggar and our own Irus are threatening each other. Let us see that they don’t draw back from the fight. Let us match one against the other.”

 2194. All the wooers trooped to the threshold and stood round the ragged men. Antinous thought of something to make the game more merry. “There are two great puddings in the larder,” he said. “Let us offer them for a prize to these pugilists. Come, Irus. Come, stranger. A choice of puddings for whichever of you wins the match. Aye, and more than that. Whoever wins shall have leave to eat every day in this hall, and no other beggar shall be let come near the house. Go to it now, ye mighty men.” 

2195. All the wooers crowded round and clapped the men on to the fight. Odysseus said, “Friends, an old man like me cannot fight one who is younger and abler.” But they cried to him, “Go on, go on. Get into the fight or else take stripes upon your body.” Then said Odysseus, “Swear to me, all of you, that none of you will show favor to Irus nor deal me a foul blow.”