The Catechesis

The Catechesis

While the animals sleep, Ptalmus S. attempts to stream the conscience by way of unconscious manipulation. He robes himself in ivory cotton and coverings of cerulean blue and blood red silks. With painted face and a crown of yucca leaves radiating from his head, he speaks through a voice modulator, deepening his voice lower. He tweaks the reverb to “auditorium” and says only this, “A man stands on the ground with full confidence. Now on a sturdy ledge forty feet above the earth – how he trembles in self doubt with a change of perspective.”

The animals slumber.

Ptalmus S. rigs some strands of wire through the pinata pulleys attached to the house and roof and ties off the loose ends to a counter weight of cinder blocks. In skins of jackrabbit and syrupy paint all over his body, he floats himself outside the bedroom window of the animals. He says in a raspy songy voice, “He who survives unnoticed long after death, without a body, will be the perversion of many who require gifts of money for guilt and pleasure.”

The winds swing him into a tangled mess.

Ptalmus S. has shaved every hair from his body and prepares a paint of honey and steak blood. He smears it on his body and wraps thorny roses round his skull. He girds his loins with scraps of barbed and chicken wire, thick and painful. He finds the animals on the playground in the bright of the day to tell them in a frail falsetto, “Know that every person knows at least One who has or will be taken by beasts. The deathless rapist is near! The sharp tongue will stab at the willing partner. I tell you, devour the men because they think themselves god. Chop off their tongues. Throw their loose parts out for the stray dogs to eat. You are women with powerful brains. Like the stars!

There a dirt devil swirled him up and he disappeared.

Ptalmus S. stood between the hills the ants had made – prodigious little mounds of pheromonal industry. He laid out trails of scattered sweet treats and meats and dog shit. The trails overlapped and went hither and yonder. With a rented machine, he moved earth higher around the ants higher than any hill they could manufacture. Ptalmus S. gathered heaps of dead weed and blanketed the middle of his circular work. The drones continued relentless in trance. With lightning fast twitching of his finger, he ignited the heap and smelled the aroma of burnt meat, sweets and shit.

Ptalmus S. spent the evening painting bracelets golden and weaving beads into drapings to wear as a garment. As the stars made their rounds and dawn approached, he sleeved his arms with the golden bracelets and wore the beaded dress as if they were pearls. He carried a fish bowl and aluminum foil and woke his animals and ordered with a dragon breath, “Come and follow.”

They found a trail of ants in the kitchen and collected them into the bowl. It was a heaping formic mass. He covered the bowl, entirely, with the foil. Ptalmus S. said, “Let us deliver them to a better place.” The animals followed and they started out into the sand and rock and scraped their ankles along the thorny weeds. They walked a good long while. They encountered a pillar like sand devil twisting in the distance. They destroyed many anthills too. Their trail meandered all around and after many hours, had ended near where they had begun. The animals were tired, dehydrated and somewhat confused. Ptalmus S. uncovered the fishbowl to reveal all the ants to be dead except two. He set the bowl down without consideration and the sun was near the horizon. Without word he led the animals back into the kitchen and gave them water in one cup to share or fight for.

Ptalmus S. wore a leisure suit and a three week mustache. His hair was gelled back and his glasses were thick. He put a cassette tape into the player and the dated daytime novela sounds of arpeggiated piano and synthetic strings filled the room. A flute sang the melody quiet as he sat the animals on a bench and greeted them with a warm smile. He stood tall in front of them and produced a ball from his coat pocket. He spoke slow, “Consider this ball.” He paused. “Tell me something about this ball.” The animals glanced around at the floor and walls and unwillingly muttered, “Its red.” Ptalmus S. affirmed after another gazing pause, Its red.”

“Now, you tell me this ball is red,” he quickened his verbal pacing, “but let me explain to you so you can understand. This ball is red because light is bouncing off its surface and into your eyes. The light going into your eyes – Now listen to this – the light entering your eyes is red.” He paused. “This ball is rejecting the red light and that is what you see. What you tell me is red is actually an object which rejects red,” his volume increasing. Again he paused. He bounced the ball and snatched it back quick into his pocket. “Now,” he stared them down and pointed to a portrait on the wall, “tell me something about this man.”

Ptalmus S. arrived home giddy holding the culminating piece for the red crayon collection. He had spent many days and possibly years procuring 25,100 crimson shades and tints so he could begin to color the Big Ass Book Of Holy Stories Coloring Book he had found tucked in some bin at a big box discount book mart. He had already found enough brown fleshy colors to fill in all the tribal Bens and Izzys. He had enough to color all the ladies and babies of Jabby Gilly too. He would not particularly enjoy coloring in all the dead babies but he planned on taking his time distinguishing virgins from the experienced Modern Intellectual Lady Figures. The coloring book was assembled in chapters and Ptalmus S. liked the Festy Girlies of Shillylo chapter best. He giggled at the clobbered contractual gymnastics of the tribal oaths and arrangements. Oh, and those girls had perfect deadpan faces being hauled off on the shoulders of their new boyfriends too. Ptalmus S. spoke up in an excited,” I’m home!” kind of voice, “Lets color!”

Ptalmus S. put his pants on backward and wore his shirt inside out. He spoke in long dry sentences contradicting himself often and with confidence. Then, he ran into traffic. He ran against it with a defiant righteous look on his face shaking a fist at drivers. He went with the flow and had an open mouth dumb euphoric smile almost skipping along, ignoring the dangers. Those who witnessed it thought he was a lunatic but the little animals at the bus stop held out hope he meant a point. This eased their embarrassment. A hobo at the corner could be heard to say, “Well, goddamn.”


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