I've never claimed to be a writer (except when loaded; In that state I've claimed to be just about everything), but have been kicking out the prose at a decent clip lately. I've been working on a couple of things so that I wouldn't have to show up empty-handed at ChrisB's soiree, or (God forbid) read something re-hashed from my stupid blog.
The thing that's really cornered my attention lately is my story about the second-coming of Christ. It started of as a snarky page & 1/2 comedic piece, but it seemed flat, so I wrote an intro to it. I really got into the intro, and before I knew it the intro was longer than the story itself. The tones of the two were completely different, so I scrapped the original and kept writing in the tone of the intro. Next thing I knew I was at 12 pages (which is way too fucking long for a casual reading), so i trimmed off all of the tangential story-lines & got it down to 4 & 1/2 pages. The pared down version is still pretty rough, and I hope to get some time to polish it a bit before the reading.
Here's that intro (warts and all):
They found the 7,327 bodies frozen on the Ronne Ice Shelf, off of the Orville Coast, at the Base of the Ellsworth Mountain Range. Antarctica – (77°00’00.00” S, by 77°00’00.00” W).
The specific details of how the ship, Liberty of the Seas, ended up ice-locked in the Weddell Sea (over 300 Miles North-East from where the bodies were found) still remain a mystery. The ship was chartered by the group, New Dawn, for a cruise from Florida to Rio de Janeiro, but evidence indicates that after the last stop in Rio the ship continued to head south until it ran into the ice shelf.
One thing was obvious; this was planned. The ship continued to pick up passengers along the route, and by the end the ship was carrying almost double the maximum passenger load. There was next to nothing carried in the way of cargo except for several hundred brand-new tractors and snowmobiles, that were used to tow the sleds (fashioned from the scrapped materials of the ship) to the site.
Add it up: no food, no luxury provisions, people sleeping on top of each other, and several tons of snow transportation; this pilgrimage was deliberate.
As the weeks unfolded, we began to get a picture of what was going on. Apparently, members of the group were consumed of visions of the rapture, and claimed to be visited by angels who promised divine ascension and eternal bliss in the arms of God. There was no leader of the group, and these visions were received by people from all over the globe.
5,000 people all spontaneously arrived in Miami on March 9th, and by the 11th, they had set sail.
No one has been able to track down any record of “New Dawn”. The payment was wired from a Bermudan bank, but that bank cannot find any record of the account ever having existed. It is widely rumored that the Cruise Line “donated” the ship and then fabricated the transaction. Nobody knows.
The whole episode became known as “Jonestown on ice”. It provided the late-night talk show hosts with an unending cache of glib jokes; it gave the 24-hour news stations an endless source of tragedy to exploit; and eventually it robbed millions of their faith.
Once those images and gruesome details started to flood the airwaves, it was over.
People started seeing video of a sea of frozen bodies littering the Antarctic wasteland. Young people, old people, obese people, emaciated people, black people, brown people, white people (well, blue people in the end, but…), people of all races and persuasions, of all backgrounds and classes – dead. Pictures of the dead flooded the lives of the living. The picture of the elderly woman frozen slumped over her walker; the picture of the two little black twin girls frozen together in an embrace of sadness and agony; pictures of corpses stripped of flesh, pictures of gnawed bones… pictures of a frozen hell. They became tattooed into our collective subconscious. It’s all we could see when we closed our eyes. It stopped being a media story – it became our lives.
Oddly, the thing that really started permeating the collective conscience were the phrases found carved into the ice, or more frequently scrawled into the snow with blood. After a few weeks you’d see graffiti everywhere and t-shirts that read: “All Hope is False Hope”, “Forsaken”, “Faith is Deceit”, and (most popular) “Angels Lie”. That last one was found scrawled in 20-foot tall letters into the ice, and then the letters were colored in with the writer’s blood…. Pretty fucking creepy, but that guy knows how to make a point.
The impending investigation ended up in the financial ruin of the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, who was found in court to be complicit in the incident.
The CEO of the company hung himself about a week later. Turns out, he was one of the lucky ones. He didn’t have to see what happened a few months later.
Exactly 5 years to the minute after the time the New Dawners prophesied that Christ would return to Earth; He did… 8,670 Miles to the northeast from their final resting place.
Never trust an angel.
Well, there it is. It was written to be read aloud after a few drinks, but you get the point. If you show up at Chris's you'll get to hear the following 2 parts.
Fuck it... I'll probably scrap it all, and just read a few bawdy limericks of my own invention. Give the people what they want.