Friday, August 19, 2016

Neon Gods- Chapter Excerpt

Mother what would you have done? You know this world. You understand these humans. What mortal insight could you have given me had you survived the game with Hera? Dionysus stared out the bar window and watched as people scurried past. An empty wine bottle beside him, the god’s trembling lip served as a reminder of his human frailty. He smoothed back his long, stringy mane and tried to shut out the throbbing in his temples. Mother, were you here now I could find hope in this existence. I fear your humanity was lost to me when the Other stitched me to his thigh. What am I to do? I sit terrified. I cannot. I cannot. Beautiful Semele were you here I would persist.

The god cradles his head in his hands and glances around the bar as patrons chatter blissfully unaware of the god that sits just feet away. He had always loved uninhibited behavior in the humans. His Bacchanal in the groves had once been a visceral pleasure. Not even Apollo could claim to the groves as he could. They had been his. Each woody laurel a part of himself. Oh how he missed the raving ones. He missed smelling their heat and loins as they covered their bodies in fawn. Their madness brought on by dance. The howls and screams echoing off mountain peaks. Frenzied were his nurses. Willing to tear asunder King or peasant who dared ban the rites of their holy Bacchus.

And now to be forgotten. Now to bear witness to a humanity that witnessed their precious pantheons fall from Olympus. A humanity that sits on bar stools contemptuously throwing back the gifts that were once sacred. Dionysus averts his eyes. No longer able to make contact with the oblivion that surrounds him. He raps at the bar and clears his throat. “May I have another?” The bartender ambles over grinning. A cigarette hanging loosely from his mouth. “Feeling wild tonight are we?” Dionysus glances up forcing a crooked smile. “Not exactly.” The bartender takes a long drag from this cigarette and eyes him for a second. “Listen, I’ve got a damn fine scotch here that’ll fix you right up. On the house.”

As he places a shot glass in front of Dionysus, light spills into the bar and a loud crash is accompanied by broken beer glasses. A round shaggy man with a long beard plows into the bar riding a donkey. As people sit slack jawed, the beast makes its way to the bar and the old man gruffly scoots off. For a moment, all of time stands still as everybody focuses their attention on the newcomer. Dionysus smiles broadly. “Silenus?!” The old man squares his shoulders and gives the god a stern, paternal scowl. “Do you have any idea how its been trying to track you down?” Dionysus raises an eyebrow. “Well I haven’t exactly been hiding.” Silenus scoffs. ‘You little pissant, I…” Just then the bartender softly clears his throat. “ you mind parking...your ass...outside?” Silenus turns around slowly. “Excuse me?” The bartender now looking squeamish blurts out, “That’s not what I meant. I mean the animal at the bar….eating the pretzels.” Silenus and Dionysus both turn simultaneously to the donkey who happily has a mouthful. “Be thankful he hasn’t decided to water the houseplants.” Silenus replies and grabs him by the collar. Turning to Dionysus, “Come on, we need to have a word.”

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Neon Gods- Chapter Excerpt

Hank had walked the length of the ‘SinEater’ twice before deciding to have a drink. Parched from outside, he gulped down a  beer and took a seat overlooking the entire club. His eyes scanned the room as he found all the exits and made note of anything out of the ordinary.
The place was slower tonight but there was still a few patrons. Middle-aged men and college students gawked at the women on stage. Their dollars raining down like confetti. Laughter reverberated around the room and a few of the dancers were escorting men to private areas where the rest of their clothes would be shed like snakeskin with the appearance of a credit card. A waitress stopped and ran a finger across his left hand. “Need anything?” Hank motioned to his glass. “Can I get a water? And I wonder if you can help me find somebody?” The woman’s plastic smile slipped for a second. “Sorry hun, I don’t provide names or phone numbers. You understand.” Hank took out his wallet and showed her his personalized business card. ‘Hank Latour: Private Investigator’. “Nobody is in any trouble. I was just hoping to talk with Freya. I was told by a mutual friend she may shed some insights into what happened last week at ‘The Basement’.The woman stopped short, her eyes darting around the room. “You can ask soon as she’s off stage. With that she hurried off.
That’s when he saw her.Her hair was the color of sunrise. Golden ringlets cascaded down her back and stopped short just above the waist. Her serpentine body covered in glitter, she began to move in tandem with the music’s penetrating beat. She smiled down at her spectators, fully aware that their adoration bordered on worship.
Her lips like honey, she wetted them with her tongue. She moved slowly, purposefully, commanding every eye toward her. Even men who had come with their girlfriends couldn’t resist her allure. And some of them too were staring up at her with reckless abandon.
Hank noticed a gold body necklace around the woman’s waist and rings on some of her fingers. As she gyrated her hips, she lifted her head to the light and Hank was reminded of the ‘Ecstasy of St. Teresa. She threw her head back in rapture, her mouth open in yearning. Her face was in the light and then it was the light. And the light spilled out past the stage and onto everybody in the room. The light moved and shifted and became brighter, pulsating, devouring all.
Hank watched as if in trance as her hands coiled upward. Somewhere far away, he heard a woman moan and then the dancer called Freya was rising above the stage. Her eyes like fire she gazed down and outstretched her hands. Then opening her mouth, a glorious infinite light rained down. Each drop emanating like stars in the sky.
Suddenly, the light went out and the music stopped. Plunged back into the dim squalor of the club, Hank blinked his eyes and tried to get a hold of his thoughts. From somewhere else, he watched Freya smile and wave then she slowly walked off stage.
In back of him, he heard gasping and panicked mutterings about the performance. His ears ringing, he wetted a napkin and wiped his forehead then grabbed a piece of ice and popped it in his mouth. As he regained his senses, he smelled honey and turned to find Freya staring at him with eyes like topaz. “You wanted to speak with me?” She turned and walked toward the back of the club.
Freya escorted Hank to a booth and sat down across from him. She sat poised, an amused glint in her eye. Fidgeting, he felt absurd. As if he was on the wrong side of the interrogation table. Freya picked up her glass and slurped her margarita. Hank took out his notebook and leaned in. “That was quite a show back there.” She blinked once and leaned back in the booth. “Don’t say that. That’s what they always say. I mean always…” Hank nodded. “Then they probably ask you how you did it right?” Freya fixed her eyes on the stage. “How. Yeah, as if they don’t already know.” She took a sip, her attention elsewhere. Hank got the impression she was millions of years and across time and space away. He said softly, “But it’s a gift isn’t it? Everytime. You impart part of your grace and they treat it like a parlour trick. They treat you like a stupid naked sideshow.” Freya glared at him. “It’d be worse if they all knew what I am. The ones that discern usually leave me alone. Until now.” Hank knew he had to steer this conversation somewhere else or she was gonna get up and leave. “I won’t take much of your time. Thank you incidentally, the show really was radiant.” She cocked her head and arched an eyebrow. “What do you want to know?”
Hank sat up alert. “It’s about the murder last week at the Basement. I met up with Paul Feig and he pointed me in your direction. Freya smirked. “Of course he did. Did you know Apollo was a god of dance? He was always awkward and really needed to loosen up. But whatever, I wasn’t there but I heard some things.”Hank motioned for her to go on. “You know Pious McNally? The reverend of that ‘Church Of Man’. I know you’ve seen the building. Looks like a giant goddamn penis in the middle of the city.” Hank grinned. “I know the one. It’s hard to miss no pun intended.” Freya snorted. “Right? Anyway there’s talk that it’s a cult. I don’t know if they done it. So sad. But it’s no secret that they don’t like my kind.” Hank sat motionless.. His thoughts travelling inward.
Pious was a billionaire. He’d been an ordinary reverend full of piss and vinegar until the fall. Then it seemed he found a new calling. Hank had seen him spouting his intolerant bulshit for the past few months.
Freya cleared her throat then picked up a cat that had wandered close to their booth. “I love these little creatures. Anyway, you should talk to Sadie. She was there when he got shot.” Hank choked on his drink. “What?” Freya laughed and shook her head. “Duh. She was at the show and saw him. She’s here. Do you wanna?” Hank took a deep breath and closed his eyes. “Well, hell yeah.” She got up and started waving frantically at a waitress across the room.