Liber Jonae CAPUT FIVE Page HETH


The head swap proposed is a bit baroque
And not well plotted, which shouldn't surpise,
Given what troubles must occupy your thoughts.
My head, you've said, will go onto your neck.
Won't that, corpse, leave me armed with the knife?
I assume, of course, self goes with the head
And won't slide down to hide among guts.

Knife. That's right, said corpse. Okay.
What I'll do is first hand you the cleaver,
Let you make the necessary cuts.
Then I'll do the messy transposition.

But what would happen if, for convenience,
I take knife and cut off your head first,
With that rigid smile of quiz show hosts,
And then, before I have sawn off my own,
Lose interest in this game, just quit?

You're right again, driver, said the corpse.
Okay. I'll do the cuts, pass the knife,
Then, during the incapacitation
Decapitation forces on torsos
Who don't know, as do I, the right spell,
I'll finish the head transplant surgery.

What, again, was the point of swapping heads?
Wouldn't it go quicker, spill less blood,
If, instead, I get out, let you drive?
Why, corpse, don't I just toss you the keys?

I'll do questions, and you do replies.
Speaking of replies, you owe me one now.

But that's a trick question, I told the corpse.
There's just one particle God employs
To generate and bind his universe.

Okay, said the corpse, but what's its name?

Jonah! said the driver, voice triumphant.

What? I said. The particle's named Jonah?

No. That's what was scrawled on the toetag.
It just came to me now, the name I read.

What coincidence! That's my name too!

What a lucky name, I thought at the time,
This most unlucky loved one possessed:
No bad consonants, not one vowel
Divisible by five, by seven, by twelve.

But what name, sir, does the particle bear?
Maybe Tachyon, maybe Svabhava,
Maybe Sea Biscuit, the foal of the gods?
Tell me, driver - I'd really like to know.

Sorry, but you lack the requisite knife.
I told that corpse, though, and this sufficed
To send the knife tip away from my neck.
It satisfied enough to still the voice.
In fact, I found, the corpse had disappeared.

But it's back now, I said, in case he thought
I'd somehow overlooked the detail
That now contradicted his strange account.

My contract left me no option here.
The Inquisition expects full compliance
Or else, not only do they not pay,
They'll exact monetary penalties
For goods that come late, or worse, don't come.
And then, if fines aren't paid, the noose awaits.
Then your own dead flesh must make the trip.

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