The prelate drafts an encyclical announcing that the werewolves and camellias will be delivered on Friday to all diocese in the mountainous regions. It encourages all Englishmen and yogis to traipse about nude and re-stage the highlights of the Inquisition.
The document goes on to explain that castanets, “fingertip cymbals” (for he has forgotten that they are called zills) and censers will be distributed liberally among the cairns about the ridge tops—“Help Yourselves,” he flourishes in his complicated calligraphy.
He insists that discussions of reincarnation will not be part of the programming. And furthermore, that “Virgins Need Not Apply.”
He’s buoyant with his ideas, they come to him in torrents. He surmises that it must be something about that moldy bread at breakfast. He continues with momentum:
“Recently 50,000 perforations were distributed throughout the bishopric. The adhesives which bound them were of an open-ended and mysterious nature—lacking in optimism and alternating and overlapping in swells of violin trills when touched or added to morning cereals. They are altogether too piquant and picaresque for our flock’s conservative constitutions—Please Avoid! Toecaps and personal backyard derricks will be distributed in their stead. A recurrence of tedium and inefficiency is all that is required and asked of you. OBEY!”
But a sort of boredom swamp bounded by alienation hammock islands spread out before him. Never has he been gripped by such a visceral ennui—as if it was bequeathed to him as a grand heirloom that he should wear around his neck.
And he does! He wears it around his neck.
And it is heavy, baby. A ‘heavy-o-sity’ he’s never experienced—or maybe once, when he missed the 1847 College of Cardinals’ sabbatical.
He considers the Ancient Mariner and the awful pestilential albatross crawling with monosyllabic bird mites (wa, wa, wa, wa, wa…they stridulated) around his neck, and the ‘heavy-o-sity’ becomes too much to bear.
He tears up the draft encyclical, inkwells his pen (he never liked the damn thing anyway) and laments, Why’d I ever take up writing? He descends to the cellar for a bottle of wine.
There is no remuneration in fermentation, but the bottom of a bottle is as good as any place in this world, he reasons.
And he adds: At the least I’m not in Florida, so I have that going for me. But there was something poetic about werewolves and camellias…
He’ll eventually come round to that.
What I’m Reading:
“The writer doesn’t write for the reader. He doesn’t write for himself, either. He writes to serve … something. Somethingness. The somethingness that is sheltered by the wings of nothingness … The writer writes to serve that great cold elemental grace which knows us.”
— Joy Williams / “Uncanny the Singing that Comes from Certain Husks”