Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Discovered

© Denis Fitzpatrick, 2014

Having never, since the age of twenty-one, been astounded by the fact that that he was a Homo Deus, a man-God, or God-man, Geaccomo Darius Worthen-Grieves, now wondered if the flames in the hearth were showing him other Homo Deus people. Well, of course there were others he said to himself, literally; God Would Need many such in order to Keep a proper Account of Reality; and God Needs more than just the one good friend.
     He took another swig of his port and then got up to stand and look out of the gaping doorway of his squat.
     Being a Homo Deus was very trying for Geaccomo: he had to be always observing his neighbours; he tended to worry over the tiniest things that could possibly harm Reality, wondering as well if he was endangering It by bringing God down to his level to report the week’s observations of his fellow citizens. God though Loved Geaccomo’s reports, God once Telling him that they were the Highlight of His week.
     He took another swig of his port and closed his not-too-dirty overcoat.
     It would be nice to lose his burden, with perhaps infinite port in exchange. He didn’t need to pay rent, the drink meant he didn’t have to eat much, he neither smoked nor took any illicit drugs, but still there was never enough port for the welfare fortnight. And spying on people had always made him feel guilty, even if it was in order to report to God. Surely he could resign his viceregality, maybe even exchange it somehow for an endless supply of port?
     He took another swig and headed back to his mattress in front of the lit hearth.
     ‘Stuff it,’ he said to the flames, ‘Satan will buy my Homo Deus title, a feather in his cap in The Eternal Struggle. He’ll easily accept my services for simply some choice drink. He’ll probably give me cash as well as the free port forever.’ His increasing alcohol psychosis made the idea seem entirely reasonable.
     ‘Where can I find Satan though in this big city?’ he asked himself.
     ‘Head out and he will find you,’ he likewise replied.
     Geaccomo finished his port and headed out to find Satan.

*

Geaccomo was instinctively sure that Satan would accept his service, being eager to call one of God’s best servants to his dark side after Geaccomo had simply muttered a bastard prayer affirming his allegiance in return for booze, booze, and more booze. Satan would probably announce the acceptance of the deal with a full bottle of top quality alcohol left somewhere for Geaccomo to find rather than making his malefic appearance before the malodorous Geaccomo. Geaccomo was also mentally too far gone for such an audience.
     And turning the corner of a street in Redferne, in sunny though presently cold Sydney, Aus, a land Worthen-Grieves was sure has a twin in a parallel universe, he was met with a bright glowing light. There was also a flashing sign: ‘Free Party! All Welcome!’ The lights were coming from a terrace house, filled also with people and not too loud music.
     ‘So, Satan,’ said Geaccomo, ‘methinks my service is accepted. You’d better keep me in port.’ He crossed over to the party.
     There was indeed port there, not of too high a quality though, and the house was full of mostly young adults, well dressed and too drunk to worry about Geaccomo’s general filthiness. It bothered Geaccomo though for he wanted to start his dark service on a positive footing. Easily finding the cheery young lass who was one of the hosts he was allowed to shower and was also given some clothes to change into.
     It was the first time that he had had a shower whilst also imbibing good sherry (for a change) and the novelty made the washing seem almost sensual, like he was being caressed by silky spirits completely surrounding him. It was also the longest shower he had ever had, over half an hour. He would have liked to stay longer but he had to refill his sherry.
     Finding the clothes a perfect fit, almost as if they were made for him, he re-joined the party and the general boozing.

*

And the party continued, long after Geaccomo had left that terrace house the first time. Geaccomo didn’t question the fact that he was now regularly finding bottles of wine, fortified wine, beer, and one time a half full bottle of bourbon, and occasionally fresh clothes. The bottles were never completely full but he was now stretching his alcohol budget to the point where he had plenty of strong drink every day of the fortnight. What Geaccomo did find surprising was that he had been shouted at most of Redferne’s pubs quite a lot over the past few weeks. His benefactors invariably explained the cause for doing so was Geaccomo’s improved appearance. On dole-day he usually went from pub to pub in Redferne, allowing himself fifty dollars for the party, dressed in his stinking, pungent rags and spying on his neighbours until he had a good drunk going. But since his deal with Satan, with its fresh clothes, and also being allowed to shower regularly at the house that had thrown the free party, the locals at these pubs had noted his improved appearance and odour and sought to encourage him in these improvements with the occasional free drink.
     But Geaccomo didn’t forget whose service he was in during these free drinks, avidly spying on the pubs’ patrons and reporting all he saw to the Dark Lord. Geaccomo never actually saw Satan when he called him up, every Saturday night upon the stroke of midnight, but rather addressed his report to a vaguely humanoid shadow, and only appearing in Geaccomo’s mind’s eye. Satan neither said anything during these reports nor showed any signs of recognising Geaccomo.
     All in all Geaccomo congratulated himself on his move to Satan’s service; the fruits of his labour were bountiful and he was now drinking more, partying longer, was cleaner, and well clothed practically all of the time.
     ‘Yes, things have improved a lot. A lot.’ Such was the constant refrain from him whenever he thought about it over a drink. He was neither sorry to have left God’s service nor did he expect any serious repercussions from his dereliction of duty.
     He was thus very surprised to be Visited by God one night in a dream, around six months since after his dark service had commenced. He did not think God would Miss him but apparently He Did.
     ‘My son,’ began God, ‘Geaccomo, My dearest Geaccomo, why hast thou forsaken Me?’
     ‘I have found Paradise in drink, Father.’
     ‘‘Tis a false Paradise, an empty temptation by My Rival, solely to take another valued sheep from My Fold. Thine monitoring of this sad world is sorely relied upon by Me and My Son. We cannot Do without thee, dearest Geaccomo. Return to Our Embrace, but return and all shall be forgiven.’
     ‘Will You Fix me up with endless drink? Fresh clothes, and no rent?’
     ‘Thine wine is a sickness. Thou needst aliment, a veritable bounty of which I can Guide you to obtain if thou but return.’
     It was no contest for Geaccomo. ‘God,’ he said, ‘alcohol is the only thing that makes me feel real, alive, potent, and eternal. I don’t need food. Being a diligent Homo Diabolus is nothing but bounty.’
     ‘‘Tis bane, my son. Ware! Even now My Rival’s firewater erodes thine heart, erodes thine lifethews. Ware, I Say! Return to My Fold lest My Rival take thee unprepared, turning thine heart against thee.’
     That gave Geaccomo pause for thought. ‘You mean,’ he asked of God, ‘Satan is trying to murder me?’
     ‘He is nothing but ill. Didst thou expect anything more?’ Geaccomo now realised his error; he had been tempted away from his holy service simply so that Satan could score one against God. Geaccomo was nothing but a sacrificial pawn.
     In his dream Geaccomo got onto bended knee, bowed his head, and joined his hands in prayer. ‘Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned. Service to Satan boots nought and henceforth I commit myself to You if You will but Welcome an erring sinner.’
     ‘So be it, My dearest Geaccomo.’
     Geaccomo then awoke with a start, slightly sweating in the clothes he’d slept in, and with a pain in his chest. It was dawn of a promising spring day and Geaccomo instantly got out of bed to say a prayer on his bended knees, affirming God’s Dominion over the Dark Lord, renouncing Satan and strong drink as all ill.
     Satan mustn’t have been cognizant of this change for he still left strong drink and clothing for Geaccomo. Geaccomo was too far gone in alcohol psychosis to resist temptation and soon gave up resisting altogether the Dark Lord’s wiles. It was easier to still drink and to report to the Dark Lord, afterwards fondly recalling the halcyon days of his services to God, one of His viceroys, Homo Deus, the eyes and ears of The Almighty.

     Geaccomo was found dead by the police exactly three lunar months after his failed return to God. A neighbour had placed a call to the local police station after noticing a pervasive, unholy stench from Geaccomo’s squat. By the way Geaccomo was clutching at his heart it was fairly certain that he had died of a heart attack. The police could find no next of kin and Geaccomo was cremated unceremoniously. He was missed by none except God and Christ.
~~~
If you've been enjoying Denis' stories on this blog you may also enjoy his debut novel, This Mirror in Me. It tells the story of Tonia Esqurit Ailbe, a mathematics professor, and her unusual manner of making her home a social hub, her life's fundamental aim: sitting at her dressing table mirror and imagining socialising with friends and family. It seems the only way, for one reason or another, that she can achieve her deepest aim. It is available on Kindle at http://amzn.to/1gXGF9h for US $4.14, and via Smashwords, whom cover most of the other ereaders, at http://bit.ly/1k7DEIV for US $3.99. If you don't have a Kindle or other ereader you can download one for free onto your smartphone or tablet.

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