How, parrot, can you repeat such stories?
Wouldn't I, don't forget, a Ninevite,
Participate if paid to plot a bit?
No one's ever sent me such a sum,
Unless it's added to my welfare cheques.
But of course, you'd deny this, Marguerite.
It's like that humming you also deny
That wells up from concealed meeting places
Where buddhas summons sons to patricide.
This is the underside to the cowardice
On which we institute deities and kings,
Voids left in love as laws bubble up,
The vacancies that cash dives down to fill.
I didn't say that to the Magus, though.
It's only lately, with new neural nets
Composed of those rows of sense-starved cells
That break our speech down to statistic verbs,
That I've learned how all things correlate.
I wish I could show all the marvels I see.
These are the missing factors visions seek,
Exhibitions for which voyeurs line up.
Too bad. You'd fascinate apes, at least,
The ones not busy hurling fig pits.
This explains, I said, the King's impatience
With reticent or unproductive Oracles.
What, he must think, is the Godhead hiding,
What is he up to, how forestall him?
To such a mind there is no bad luck,
Only a calculated sabotage.
You may well be correct, said Oroe.
He takes things personally, I know that.
I've heard him speculate that this drought
Is somehow connected to his manhood,
As if those royal glands put in charge
Of flushing his flesh with testosterone
Also control local cloud formations.
It didn't help my job performance review
After he read, under my letterhead,
That omen collection just didn't extend
To fishing firm sperm from driblets of piss.
What do you think? I said. Will it rain?
Tomorrow's weather will be sunny and dry.
That's my prediction, if anyone asks.
The first thing they teach in oracle school
Is with what little love gods view change.
When making forecasts for near futures
The safest bet's always more of the same.
So who is doing the Oracle now?
Is the position still vacant? I inquired.
Who would risk the wrath of the King? he said.
As it happens, I come bearing a message
Directly from the great Godhead himself.
If I were to see this Quintus, and apply,
What kind of salary might I expect?
No severance package, I would gather.
It pays well, as do all risky jobs.
But if I were you I'd leave for later
Any interview with the King Quintus,
Any attempt to snag that salary.
In the meantime, try to dress for success.
At very least, dress - put on some clothes -
Unless, of course, this is part of your act.
Careers, generally, start small and build.
No one goes from nowhere to the top.
First try out your material elsewhere,
In front of a less-demanding audience.
Come to think, I know the perfect venue,
For it's Amateur Evangelist Night
Down at the Godhead's downtown Temple.
It's an open mike - just show up.
But less-demanding is a relative term.
This is a tough town to break into.
End of Caput 5
Liber Jonae Contents