Senin, 09 April 2012

THE UMPTEENTH COMING by Peter Nolan Smith

Billions of humans have died over the existence of mankind on Earth. The vast majority of mankind have been contracted for a single appearance on this mortal coil, for reincarnation has been reserved for Tibetan lamas, spiritualists, and the Son of God, for whom Christians have been waiting since his disappearance in 33AD.

This weekend the religious prayed for his Second Coming, which prophets have been predicting without success for centuries. They word for these failures is called the Great Disappointment and I know the feeling, for in 1972 my friends John Gilmour, Tommy Jordan, and Mark McLaughlin, and I celebrated a psychedelic 4th of July in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.

We were 18 and the Rolling Stones’ BROWN SUGAR was #1 on the AM radio. Our tabs of Orange Sunshine peaked on the banks of Saco River. The rushing mountain stream spoke a primordial language with the tongue of glacial rocks. Our teenage ears listened to the granite teachings. Tuckerman’s Ravine was still covered with snow, yet we obeyed the command to submerge our naked bodies in the glacial Saco River. Our communion with LSD immuned our flesh from the frigid winter melt. Time melted faster than butter in the sun.

A young boy emerged from the forest.

John Gilmour elbowed me.

The boy looked harmless.

“What you want, kid?” John was a stickler for keeping crowds small of LSD.

“Why you sitting in the water?”

“To hear it speak.” Tommie answered without hesitation. The high school hockey star was the most spiritual of us. On ice his skating was almost holy.

“I don’t hear nothing but the water.” The eleven year-old stuck a finger in the river. “But it is cold.”

We cocked our ears to the current. The young boy was right about the water and we stood up shivering with goose-bumped skin.

“I'm freezing.” Tommie Jordan chattered through this teeth. "Me too." Mark's skin was death white and I shivered like I had been pulled from the Atlantic after the sinking of the Titanic.

The release from the river was a rush."Come out of the river." The young boy motioned for us to come to him.The four of us looked at each other. This boy had saved us from hypothermia. It wasn't an accident.“It’s Jesus.” John whispered with his retina opened wide. The South Shore native was devoted the Zeppelin’s HOUSE OF THE HOLIES. Playing music loud was a sacrament of his faith.

“Jesus?”

I might have been a non-believer, but I flashed on the youthful Messiah in the Temple. The boy was about Jesus' age. He had to have all the answer, but before we could pose the right questions, a plump teenage girl in a tube top hurried from the underbrush.

“What I tell you about speaking to strangers?” A tender rise of belly rose above her hot pants.

“I wanted to know why they were sitting in the river.” Our prophet attempted to escape her clutches.

“Why? Because they’re stupid hippies.” She seized him by the ear and our ‘Jesus’ squealed in defeat.

“Don’t be talking to weirdos.”

His sister’s seventeen year-old eyes had deciphered us for what we were and the four of us stumbled over the sun-blasted rocks.

“Wait a second.” John stopped us from stepping onto the sand bank.

“What?” I was almost straight.

“Fuck that kid. He was only Jesus for a minute. Listen.” John cocked his ear to the Saco. The river had resumed its music. Its song were never played on the radio. We sang its lyrics until our throats were parched dry as the summer grass. Drinking the river was a sacrament and we crashed out under the pine trees. The sunset sky was traced with runes. In the darkness of night the moon was our star. The trip ended with goodness, as could be expected after meeting a god and finding him human.

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