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Monday, August 25, 2014

A Clandestine Review of Doctor Who S08E04 Listen



A review of a future episode of Doctor Who sounds fitting, doesn't it? And like the Doctor himself, that feat is accomplished through clever daring...

It's so bad I had say something about it!

I admit I've been watching the leaked season 8 episodes of Doctor Who. Peter Capaldi excels at being the Doctor but his companions just don't make for interesting characters – I know, I was critical about this throughout Season 6 and 7. The fault hasn't been actors who can't pull their weight, but the scripts or the direction or even the too-much post-production work, it all makes holes in the boat, er, TARDIS.

Even so, I am a fan and I struggle on. I gritted my teeth with episodes of the classic Doctor Who after Tom Baker passed his key to Peter Davison. My dedicated agony persisted until the end in 1986. Then after the crappy millennial movie, I was sure the Time Lord was dead. That was until 2005 when Christopher Eccleston gave the BBC sci-fi serial new life.

The series regeneration was going well. Every episode since 2005 had at least surpassed the mechanics of the classic years (except when those scripts were written by enviable Douglas Adams). I have at minimum been satisfied with the stories. This after the needling shortcomings of the previous couple years. Oh, I had such high hopes for Matt Smith's potential as an iconic figure...

Now after seeing "Listen," the fourth episode in season 8 of Doctor Who, I feel I've been kicked in the teeth. I won't spoil a thing, well maybe you'll read I repeat what more popular reviewers have said online. Regardless, my opinion in summary is anyone could have been the Doctor's companion in this episode. Indeed, the whole season.

Hey, Moffat, what makes a character likable, memorable, is what he or she brings to the tale. Yes, Clara is making choices and revealing more of her tedious, hodgepodge of a back story but viewers don't care about her. They never have and that is the problem. She is too late to show.

You know who would have been a perfect companion for this disjointed drama is Riversong. Riversong should have said the same things Clara said. And if Clara absolutely had to be in the episode, she might have overheard the Doctor's future wife give him those encouraging words. Those are Riversong words and they would have given the woman enormous dimension. It falls flat on Clara. Pff – was that something she overheard a better someone say? Such a paradox.

Her story aside, we also experience the convoluted life of Danny Pink in "Listen." Honestly, I had a preconception already – based on what I've read online – Danny would be another Vislor Turlough – Gad, I hated that character. Him being a ginger may have had a little to do with that ;). Or not, I'm glad him and Adric never spun off together on their own show. I envision, here, a real shitty rebirth of the 1960's The Time Tunnel.

Matching my biased projection after all, Danny Pink looks as happy to be here as we are to meet him. I instantly hear the miserable echo of how we started with Clara – and she goes on a date with this guy? I suppose it makes sense, like attracts like.

Well, I fear my complaining says too much. This was something I had to express. I didn't want to give anything away. What I can say about Danny Pink in season 8 is he better work harder to make us care if he survive what all time and space can toss at him. He needs help already just doing salvage on himself.


PS, I wrote my own story for Clara. Well, it's more for the actress Jenna-Louise Coleman. She needs a new role. It's called "Clara is Dead! Long Live Clara!" and it's free at Smashwords.


Sunday, August 24, 2014

The ISIS Messiah

Imagine a turbulent time like now in the Middle East but in 66 AD...

(Or if you pagans and Wiccans are worth your talismans and know your seasons, can we call this the Arab Spring?)

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Primitive Reason To Keep Your Chin Up


I will say it simply. According to the pagan roots of Christianity, the Apocalypse happens everyday. The Book of Revelations happens daily. It's an element of the Christ myth theory, one that claims Jesus never existed. Mostly anonymous authors cobbled together myths in order to construct a majestic figurehead – a Jewish messiah become savior to all mankind after a Jerusalem Temple is rebuilt a third time – because three is a charm. He, the aforesaid Living Lord, was the son of some god. He assumed the providence and the identity of the rising and dying sun itself. A fellow named Saul tweaked and took that nonsense throughout the Roman empire until when hundreds of years later Constantine discovered the slave-class religion was suitable to his nascent fascist barbarism.

The Emperor agreed with the suspected Antichrist Paul the Apostle, then got Christ a little confused with a Persian devil called Mithra, and eventually installed Christianity as a religion of the remnants of Rome. See, by then, after 300 AD, heretical rebels, barbarians and insane despots were eating the Empire alive. Even at that date, it was actually Theodosius who established the vaguely monogamist faith as official nearly a hundred years later.

The idea that Jesus Christ is all mythology is old. A German historian with the name Bruno Bauer made the argument in the 1800s. Freethinking bloggers today all over the world address its tenants and veracity ad nauseam. I wanted to overstep that refuse and only reiterate the Christian dying-and-rising god reflects a core pagan principle whether that Son of Man ever existed or not. As I told you, beloved reader, Jesus is the sun.

He is like Horus, the son of a slain god, who takes his chariot across the sky everyday. Jesus is like the ancient Egyptian god Horus, born of Osiris whose brother is the evil Set. The names of these pagan gods change everywhere they are spoken about – in Classical Greece they became Apollo and Zeus. The jealous god of the Underworld was named Charon. In archaic Canaan, their names were Baal, El and Mot. And in Christianity this day, they boil down to the convoluted Trinity and the devil, because evil had to be removed from the omnipotent being of the Old Testament. The Lord was purportedly all alone before his Son was born, Him with Creation and all the trouble he let unleashed upon innocent creatures.

But before the world became absolutely Byzantine, and characters in favorite tales retold in verse and made more captivating ad libitum, people were concerned only with the basics, the Basic Elements of Life. Survival as critical for these Stone Age desert nomads. They watched the sky and saw the sun. Someone said it watches everyone back and its radiance brought life. Without the sun there was darkness and death.

Primitive people witnessed the recurring event for themselves, the sun was born every morning and died each evening. But, "How could this be?" they asked themselves only because they thought of nothing else. "Who does this?"

"Evil slays the sun at night," figured the prestigious astute. Day and night were evident. It followed, good and evil became synonymous with the extremes. Then is when every apparent duality earned a name. The god of night and evil killed the one of day and good. And because the god of good was a god, he was born again everyday. Eventually, when the attention of children began to wane, the tale was changed. A war was declared. Worldwide armies were mustered to kill the light. He was made a sacrifice. But a god who returns to life always prevails. This is the memory of Jesus we are given this age. And, alas, we have forgotten the sun. Popes have lived who mandated believers must look away from the day.

- Matthew Sawyer -


A Man Who Does Not Care


The man is not insensitive,

The exact opposite.

He just does not care.

One day I warned him,

"I saw a spider go into your ear."

He said, "There are three."

"There are three of them in there."

"Two are standing up,"

"Each on six"

"Of its own legs."

- Mr. Binger

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Clara is Dead! Long Live Clara! - Doctor Who fan fiction



I like Jenna-Louise Coleman. I think her acting in the BBC television series Doctor Who is worthwhile Sci-Fi. But honestly, her character, Clara Oswin, sucks. Steven Moffat never really developed a good backstory for the character. And with season eight of the 2005 reboot of the languishing program soon airing worldwide, it is obvious the man stopped trying. So be it. One has to let eggs drop so that more might be saved. Alas, I believe the actress herself is worth salvage. Give Ms. Coleman a new role on the show, I propose. Bring back a favorite face, I dare say. I mean a rewarding character. I elect Romanadvoratrelundar, the Time Lady from Gallifrey. Jenna rejoins Peter Capaldi on Doctor Who in this exciting new role.

Clara is Dead! Long Live Clara! is a fictional story. Doctor Who and the characters in this story are properties of Doctor Who. I submit this tale as a fan for fans of the Doctor Who television series.

Clara is Dead! Long Live Clara! by Matthew Sawyer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Please contact the author for permissions beyond the scope of this license.


Clara is Dead! Long Live Clara!

Matthew Sawyer


Clara Oswin has no idea why she stays around. The Doctor is a maniac. He was more considerate when he was a different man. “When he wasn't so old,” she deliberately thinks.

“Oh,” the Doctor's companion tells herself aloud. “He's the same Time Lord. His face has changed....”

The Tardis is jolted and the young woman grabs a safety rail inside the console room. She is then prompt and complains. “And his whole personality, that's all.”

The perturbed young lady tells the Doctor on the other side of the console, “You were more considerate before. A gentleman. Slow down. Let me rest if you're not tired.”

“I'm never tired,” the Doctor declares and he flips levers on the carousel control board. His time and space ship straightens itself upright.

“I remember,” he shouts and presses a single button repeatedly. “An old friend.”

The incredible machine groans and everyone knows it is about to materialize. Clara grumbles. “Oh, where are we now?”

“Home,” he answers. “My home, Gallifrey.”

“Oh,” Clara chirps suddenly chipper. “Is your friend here?”

She strolls around the console while the Doctor remains hunched and attached to its switches and dials. The young woman teases the fixed pilot. “Why else come home?”

The Doctor sounds sarcastic when he tells her, “I don't know. It's been about six hundred years since I've seen her last and I guess sometimes I wonder how she is getting on.”

“What's her name?” Clara asks and bites her lower lip.

“Romana.”

“I'd like to see her.”

“You will,” he replies in a raised voice. “Get out. Take a look – there's a light flashing on the console.”

Clara stops mid-step toward the time machine's exit door. “What is it?”

“Parking authority,” he scoffs. “Evidently, I can't park here. I've got to go somewhere else.”

The Doctor's female companion stays paused near the door. “I'll come with you.”

“No,” demands the Time Lord. “Get out. Go. Clear your head.”

The advice resonates with Clara. His precise phrases make her paranoid, but the errant school teacher has felt so about him since she first met the genius alien. He periodically makes her uneasy. And she feels as if he can read her mind.

“I will,” Clara answers the Doctor. “If it's okay with you.”

“Go, get out, look around. I'll be right back. I'll meet you here.”

She cracks wise. “When?”

“Eh...”

The moment she opens the exit door, shouts come in from outside. “Take this junk to the shipyard or we'll ship it to the junkyard. You can't bring it here, take it to the spatially-bound staging lots.”

The Tardis dematerializes leaving Clara alone outside the time machine. The abandoned companion sees she's been left in a strange cathedral, a wild exaggeration with an impossibly high ceiling. The enormous walls appear made of balsa slats and paper panes – like those found in medieval Japanese noble homes.

Silly soldiers dressed in shining and ornate plastic armor tinted red come and meet Clara Oswin here in this spacious antechamber. She tells the dispatch there with their crystal pistols, “I'm with someone. He's coming back.”

“Is he?” an ancient woman asks her. The question is sincere.

“Sure,” Clara affirms for her own good. “The Doctor has to park the Tardis. That's his name, the Doctor.”

She mumbles, “It's still him,” then says aloud, “He's meeting me here.”

“Clara?” asks the older woman while she approaches the young companion.

Clara wonders, “How did you know?”

She remembers her suspicion about the Doctor and she assumes everyone of his race all have telepathy. He does read her mind, he has the whole time. Her human brain is stuck contemplating how she can cope being someplace where everyone knows her thoughts. Clara stands chewing her lower lip and knitting her brow until the other woman interrupts her morass.

“I'm Romana.”

“Oh.” Clara wipes her hands before taking that of the hostess. “I am Clara Oswin. I haven't actually known him that long – the Doctor that is.”

“Well, you have,” Romana tells her. The mysterious deepens when she says, “But that is another story.”

“I've known the Doctor for centuries,” the worn Time Lady informs the ripe companion. “I was assigned to keep an eye on him.”

“Oh,” Clara states unsurprised.

Romana clarifies, “He was in a different reincarnation...”

“I know how that goes,” Clara blurts.

Romana finishes. “A long time ago.”

The companion promises the old companion and nanny, “You won't recognize him now. He's regenerated again.”

“I know,” Romana tells Clara. “It was big news on Gallifrey, unprecedented. The Doctor had been so wasteful with his lives.”

“That hasn't changed,” Clara gripes. She talks about herself. Inside, she admits she has witnessed his tremendous sacrifices. The man was a hero and she feels guilty about her distrusting him.

“Thank you, Clara,” Romana tells the human. “Time Lords live so long, we forgot how precious life is. You helped the council remember how appreciation feels. Your words were a gift to awaken the dead.”

“Thanks?” Clara wonders.

“Let's go to Borusa's old office,” Romana suggests. “I'm about to have it remodeled but mine has just been started. I was going to take the day off, but by now you probably know about Time Lords. We are a restless bunch – that's why there are laws against our intervention. I had to stay busy.”

Clara agrees with as much as she is able to relate with. “You're telling me. Whew.”

Romana's red escort marches away while the two women walk the opposite direction. The Time Lady leads the way by one step ahead of the unattended companion.

“Who?” Clara also inquires. “Borusa?”

“He was the Doctor's former teacher. The man walked a controversial path, like everyone our mutual friend knows.”

“Mine is pretty straight,” opines the human woman. “I think.”

“Examine your company,” Romana reminds her.

“I'm not judgmental,” Clara assures herself aloud.

“Come to think of it, I believe I've met you before,” Romana tells the other woman nonchalant while she pushes open a pair of great leaden doors. A bomb then explodes from inside the room behind the loose slag-marked slabs. Both Clara and Romana die when the tiny women are crushed.

Romana then awakes with a new face. Indeed, her whole body has changed. She is a new woman with the same name. The Time Lady is proud because the fact. She praises a planet as she gets up and on her feet. “Thank you, Karn.”

Appreciation for the Sisterhood's Art swells both of Romana's hearts. Regeneration is erratic without the knowledge of their spiritual methods and practice. Without their help, she would have been confused. Their miraculous elixir would have been ideal but the Time Lady was reborn into the form she visualized. Romana had seen another hero while she floated in her lucid dream of death.

The Doctor then finally arrives one more time.

“Clara,” he shouts. “What happened? You look all right. Dirty, but yeah-uh...”

“Thank you for noticing,” Romana responds. “Uh-hem, it's nice to see you too.”

“Is someone dead?” the Doctor yells. The Time Lord drags his foot against the ceramic while red armored soldiers come and investigate the explosion from Borusa's old office. More red comes scraped from the sole of his boot.

“Yes,” Romana reports. “I was telling your companion about the disease we Time Lords suffer because we live so long over and over again. Our apathy.”

The Doctor mentions, “It's because of all your rules.”

A pall then falls over the Doctor's anxious expression. “What?” 

Romana mentions, “I'm sorry, Doctor. Clara is dead.”

“No,” he groans. No one is certain what the man denies.

He implies a thousand questions when he asks the air, “Who?”

“I'm Romana,” she tells him. “I was here when she was killed. We both were – I lost a life.”

“Sabotage, my lady,” a soldier tells the Time Lady before he goes back to investigating.

Romana and the Doctor face each other widemouthed and overhear another soldier identify, “Sontaran.”

“You look different,” she mentions to him out of hand before the Doctor shouts, “I wasn't here. I didn't see this, I can fix this.”

“Doctor,” Romana begs. She follows him when he spins around and runs the length of the Citadel cathedral. She shouts while she pursues her longtime friend. “I think I know what you're doing. Your sense of boundaries got you in trouble during your last set of regenerations, don't waste your new lives.”

“It's what I do,” he yells when they arrive together at his Tardis. “I save people.”

His new self and the newer Romana jump into the time machine, which then disappears. The sound the Tardis makes as it vanishes is especially tedious this trip. Its noise is even more tired when the machine reappears nowhere else except back a small hop in time. Although, from a perspective inside the Tardis, that same time is frozen. It's stopped in the past.

The Doctor and Romana save minutes while an impromptu, prolonged discussion first interrupts then delays Clara's impractical rescue. The Time Lord is angry. He shouts at the fresh disguise of his old companion. “Why her? Why would you look like her?

The Doctor then immediately apologizes as he always has. “What I mean is...”

“It's terribly swell to see you again, Romana. You're one of my favorite people. I'm happy for your change, but you look like her because Clara died. How can you do that? Change back.”

“I came back to Gallifrey just to see your face. Wash-up, for goodness sake. You're covered in ash. And is that a scab of blood?”

“Thank you, Doctor, but no,” she tells him. “I looked like I was about to topple over. Clara was a pretty girl – and fit. You've always like the athletics ones.”

“You did this last time,” he grumbles. A critical point then occurs to the Doctor. He reminds Romana, “Hey, they were people, human beings,”

“They weren't Time Lords,” she retorts.

The Doctor argues. “They were still important.”

Romana confesses, “Clara still is a hero to the people of Gallifrey.”

“So you take her face?” he snorts.

“Why not? She's been fashionable all year.”

“I think all of you have confused memorial for fashion,” the Doctor judges. “I'm happy I don't stay here.”

“Perhaps,” concludes Romana. Her changing the topic is abrupt. “Doctor, the officer said it was the Sontarans.”

Happy the conversation now moves at a speed he is accustomed with, the Doctor replies, “I heard.”

Resentment deep in her belly compels Romana to elaborate. “They invaded our home planet after you were made president.”

“That was hardly my fault.”

“You abdicated your position after you vanished and didn't come back.”

The Doctor argues, “I came back.”

“You were summoned, again.”

“Humph.”

He is grumpy, but his old companion has heard him act this way before and most of the time. She ignores his mood – one she knows he probably pretends – and Romana reminds him, “I think they hid a bomb in Borusa's office when you on Gallifrey with that jungle girl. I saw the recordings in the Matrix.”

The Doctor grins. “Yes, Leela. Show some respect.”

He suddenly acts outraged. “Is that what this is all about?”

“You threw her into the wastelands.”

“For her own good.”

“Listen, Doctor,” Romana commands. “How far back in time have we come? Do you have a plan?”

“Do you?” he asks her, embarrassingly open to ideas. “I remember when Commander Stor had access to Borusa's room. We're here then.”

“That was an awfully long time ago.”

“I know.”

Romana calculates, “I think the bomb was set to go off when a sensor detected your DNA.”

“You think?” the Doctor answers as if he casts blame. “What about Clara? She's the one who is dead.”

The Time Lady stays calm. “Obviously, a little of you had worn off on the girl.”

The Doctor is humbled and he states, “Right.”

Fiddling with controls on the Tardis console, he tells Romana, “I suppose that's the reason I didn't come back on my free will; mysterious forces, hooey and all. Let's not talk about it and let's just rescue the girl.”

“Are you going to stop him, Commander Stor?” she wonders. “Aren't you worried about causing a Paradox? I won't look like this.”

“Good,” he replies.

“Time starts over when you open the Tardis door. You don't want to do anything bad.”

His tone is firm when he tells Romana, “Paradox? Nooo...”

“Doctor...”

He stomps his foot. “Someone I know died.”

Romana never relents. “Well, what are you going to do?”

The Doctor blows air up his nostril. “Well, considering the time...”

“Don't be fallacious.”

“I'm not that,” he replies radiant with mischief.

“You haven't changed, Doctor,” Romana grants the man. “You never will.”

She looks at herself. “Wait, I suppose Clara brought some of her clothes on board. I assume she came with you in the Tardis. Let me change before we go outside.”

The Doctor frowns, points down an unfamiliar hallway and says nothing. Romana does not try to understand and she goes the way her old friend has directed.

“Good,” he eventually says after she has left the console room. The Doctor shouts, “Put on someone uglier.”

“What do you mean?” Romana calls from anywhere in the bowels or rafters of the time machine.

The Time Lord waves his hand from where he pauses near the exit of his marvelous spacecraft. “Pff.”

Once he never verbalizes his expression, Romana asks the Doctor from outside the room, “Do you want me to bring you a tie? I noticed you weren't wearing one.”

“No,” he yells.

She informs no one when she ponders aloud, “I'm not going outside. I don't want to meet myself. I am sure I was in the Citadel the day of your coronation.”

The Time Lady walks back into the console room wearing a blue summer dress. Her pale thighs are largely exposed and tinted cool shades reflected off the borrowed garment. “How do I look?”

She asks nobody. The Doctor had left Romana alone in the Tardis with no one to talk with. She now stomps her red sandshoe and searches for a clue as to what her old friend is up to now.

“Oh,” she complains. “He's moved everything around, like I didn't expect that. They'll all be different tomorrow.”

“Darn him.”

The same time she curses, Romana finds an external monitor. The Doctor had steered the flat screen's vista toward vestibules run from the big antechamber. Borusa's old office is located there. Watching for her friend, Romana notices the decoration.

“Wait,” she desperately mentally projects to the Doctor. She can't know if he receives her message only because they've been separated so long.

Nevertheless, she thinks loud. “Look at the ornaments, Doctor. Look out a window. We landed on the wrong coordinates. We never went back in time.”

She criticizes his shadow when it appears on the view screen. “You're no better at flying the Tardis than I remember.”

The lead doors of Borusa's office are closed and the previous she and Clara are nowhere in sight. Romana is grateful she and the Doctor are early. She contemplates the bomb.

“Doctor, where is your head?” She scowls when his image appears on the viewer. “Don't you remember? The explosive is triggered by your DNA.”

“I've got to warn him,” she urges herself. “This is such an unnecessary waste of a life.”

Yet in the guise of Clara Oswin, Romana dashes from the sanctuary of the time machine and goes searching for the Doctor. She must warn him not to open Borusa's office.

“Doctor,” she shouts.

Romana hears her new self say, “That sounded like me.”

The Time Lady turns around and meets a living Clara. She and her doppelganger are yet dozens of meters away from each other, but the two identical woman do find the eyes of the other. The Doctor is also there. And he is too far away. He is safe from what is about to happen, and the Time Lord can't get close in time to help.

The old Romana opens a lead door and the room inside explodes.

The next Romana watches herself die. Before her body regenerates, her future incarnation sees she is dead. The Time Lady realizes that moment she wastes her life. She looks at the Doctor standing agape in front of her.

“Well, I'm about to get here,” are the only words he will utter. Romana follows her friend back to the Tardis. She grills him only when they are alone together inside the time machine.

“Are you satisfied? You only made a horrible event more set in stone.”

“You still need someone looking over your shoulder,” she admits to her companion. “Someone who knows what she is doing. I'm coming with you. We'll go do something anybody can do for your dead friend. We'll go to Earth.”

The Time Lady drives the Doctor's time machine without a sound. During the flight through space and time, Romana wonders, “Clara was that little girl we met together on Earth. It was Christmas time, is that right?”

The Doctor nods his head. His face appears fallen and dull but Romana might swear she sees him glow when she speaks to her friend. She continues talking to him.

“That was quite a while ago – and you still traveled with her? Hold on, she is the Impossible Girl. I remember her story, it's why Gallifrey is in love with her beyond what is simply popular.”

“Say,” ponders the Time Lady. “She constantly pops up through time and saves your life.”

“Fragments,” growls the Doctor.

Romana tries to sound convincing. “You might see her again. Or are you two done? Was that it?”

“I'm only curious,” Romana mutters in silence after she realizes she has mentioned too much.

She asks the brooding Doctor, “Is she done?”

“Apparently not,” he answers after she asks him again. He looks directly into the face of his companion.

The Time Lord pledges, “I'm going to fix this.”

“Not alone,” Romana tells him.

“We will think about the solution first and take our time. Did you forget, Doctor? You always do. Time is on our side. That is our luxury.”

The Time Lady smiles wide enough for the both of them. “And we're together again. Let's remind ourselves what it is like to be alive.”


- END –



Read more of Matthew Sawyer's Doctor Who fan fiction at Smashwords.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Monster, Monster

Monster, Monster
Mr. Binger

“Monster, monster,” a homeless man cried all night. In the day, he shouts at people, “Keep away.”

I am there at a pharmacy where outside the man squats in tattered tan trousers atop a flat, overworked cardboard mat. I'm too intimated and won't ask him questions, but three identical kids do interrogate him.

“What do you mean?"

“I'm a monster.”

He thinks he's been coy afterward because of the reply. Bloody, un-brushed teeth flash from inside a nettle of black whiskers.

The mother of the children calls off her offspring.

The family had a dog, too, and now that is gone. The animal never barked but I did spot a small mutt on a leash. I watched it tangle itself in the tether. That same leash now lies loose on the concrete sidewalk.

“Where's Princess?” the mother asks her kids.

They tell her simultaneously, “I don't know.”

“She belongs to you,” the mother reminds her children. “You're suppose to take care of your animals.”

“I'm a monster,” shouts the homeless man.

The family has moved away from him and into the parking lot – and the homeless man did not address specifically them – but he sounded as if he was next to us. I paused near the fleeing family when the man's voice sounded as if it came from the very ground beneath us.

“The bum got her,” explains the smallest of the family. He is a thin boy. His hair is also lightest. And in this guise of simple innocence, he states, “He told me his name was Mister Gobblings.”

The middle child, an equanimous brunette girl, shouts back a question for the homeless man.

“Are you a troll?”

The shocked mother quizzes the littlest kid, “You talked to him?”

The woman does not wait for an answer and instead flails at the oldest, another girl. “Were you watching your brother?”

“I was with her,” states the tallest and darkest of the children. A sharp thumb spears in the direction of her smaller sister.

Both feel the same responsibility for their little brother – a disappointment in themselves is plain on their transparent faces. Their mother acts the opposite and she looks ridiculous in her outrage.

“Well, we're lucky the homeless man didn't eat your little brother, too.”

The oldest child begs, “Mom...”

Her mother answers, “You heard what he calls himself.”

“Mister Gobblings,” repeats the youngest.

The homeless man yells again, “I'm a monster.”

The words make me jump.

My own shock disorients me.

Once I have recomposed enough of my awareness, I recognize I eavesdrop on the family's conversation in the pharmacy parking lot. I avert my attention. The woman's voice lingers in the air and I recall I heard her call for help.

“Hello, police?”

She uses a mobile phone, I saw so before I turned away my face. The rest of her summons occurs out of my range of hearing. Also vanished from my sight, I assume the woman goes away and takes her children somewhere safe and middle class.

“I'm a monster,” shouts the homeless man.

I do not look at him but I do feel certain he does not tell me again. I think he would say the same to me over and over, except other customers enter the pharmacy. Three immature men and an older teenaged girl stop walking before any pass the homeless man.

“What did you say?” growls a gruff young fellow.

Another boy among the three asks the transient, “What's your name?”

Curious, I approach the encounter. Cautious, I stay quiet and shield my body behind the youngsters. Fast food has ensued me these teenagers provide plenty of cover, even at their early ages. Unfortunately, their extra padding insulates sound and the conversation within their circle remains mostly incomprehensible. The only words I do hear is when the homeless calls himself, “Mister Gobblings.”

The older kids chuckle, I clearly hear them laugh. I watch the older girl who stands between two of the three boys. There were two guys on her left before I glanced at her bouncing bottom, then I look back and I see that she jogs in place with nobody opposite her last male companion on her right.

She screams, “Who are you?”

The homeless man stays hidden from me. I assume the young woman was shouting at him until I hear his reply. The echo of his voice comes from behind me, from further away than a city block but not far.

“Monster, monster.”

The remaining adolescent couple drifts apart and plainly show the self-deprecating transient has gone. They have vanished, too, when cops arrive.

“He's over there,” I tell the police and point east. “You can hear him calling – it's a warning. His name is Mister Gobblings.”

“You heard that?” one of two trim female officers asks me after she and her partner exit their squad car. A smile drifts unto her flush cheeks. She clarifies, “I mean, did you hear that from somebody?”

“I heard him say his name,” I tell both police officers.

The second professional woman comments, “Uh-uh, everybody knows you're not suppose to ask him his name.”

She snickers then her amusement infects the first cop I spoke with.

“I'm just trying to be helpful,” I plea. “I don't want to get involved, not really.”

“I didn't make the phone call. I didn't see anything that's probably not on camera – look, it's a pharmacy.”

My gesture toward the roof of the building goes ignored. The first officer tells me, “Sorry. Mister Gobblings is a hoax, an urban myth.”

“Huh?”

“Everybody knows about him. You don't ask him his name.”

The second brusque lady claims, “If he tells you his name, you're marked for life.”

Disoriented, I claim, “But the teenagers...”

The second officer interrupts me and states, “That explains everything.”

“He's gone now,” opines the first.

They both then wish me, “Good day, sir,” and they go into the pharmacy. Outside, I only stammer, “I never asked his name, I only overheard him say...”


-_End=

Gnawing for more? Read more from Mr. Binger and the originally author Matthew Sawyer at Smashwords...

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Mary of Bethezuba One Day Lost Her Mind


One Christian mystery that believers are content is left among the addressable riddles of their unknowable Lord is the Eucharist. That sacrament with consecrated bread and wine transubstantiated into human flesh and blood is merely scorned by skeptics. The obvious inferences of cannibalism is pedestrian. Authors such as Kenneth Humphreys and Joseph Atwill do consider the problem, but they and few others deeply discuss the origin of this terrible miracle.

Someone knows for certain. When I was a curious adolescent, somebody from my Protestant church mentioned the ritual of communion began so that pagans might be lured into the Christian belief. The language of blood and gore was only a metaphor. Savages liked those sorts of things.

“Nobody can know for certain what Jesus said or what he did,” my pastor preached as much in a sermon. He stated the equivalent of...

 “The New Testament was a wonderful compilation of second and third-hand testament. Hearsay.”

Every author except Paul was suspect. That apostle was a special case, and even then, he appeared late after the crucifixion. Understand, the congregation in my hometown believed the Good Book was just another book. Faith and Trust in the Lord were the true messages. All the rest was dark and barren.

“Jesus did live and does still,” the faithful there say today. “He was resurrected.”

Essentially they tell us that He lives in our hearts and its all very probable the One-True-God will come back. “Jesus does live,” after all, as vaguely circular and mysterious as that sounds. There is the whole consideration with the Living Word and who might that be. The identity of this spiritual being and the Holy Ghost are yet comfortably unknown. There is probably something relevant about them in the dusty Old Testament – I bet somewhere in Psalms.

The Protestant church in my hometown held up the latter early Epistles of Paul. They contain all that anyone needs to know about the Faith. Followers insist his approach at gathering the flock was the best, the most productive. He surmised himself in a letter to the Church in Corinth, Greece.

“19 Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. 23 I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.”

1 Corinthians 9:19-23 (NIV)

The subterfuge and Paul's naked hypocrisy are considered merits where I come from. “Any means to an end,” people there say. “As long as those ends justify their means.”

They mean those means are for the good of local Protestants at service on any particular Sunday in a year. Those same honest, hardworking folks dependably vote Republican, too, regardless their personal interests and living wages. Any suffering done wherever it comes from is in love for the Lord. Principles like this scapegoat in Southern Wisconsin are truly born twisted and deformed.

My contempt grows overt despite my attempt to stay sublime. Forgive me, and please permit me to talk about the Liturgy again. I do appreciate a patient reader. I, too, am inclined to think the morbid sacrament was not merely a metaphor. There are black roots to this aspect of the Last Supper.

Whereas, I fail to find accreditation or an example, I have read Shakespeare created a woman he called Cannibal Mary for use in his plays. The character was a suspicious parody of the Virgin Mary – although, this seems as much gossip as the Canonical Gospels.

My writing itself is about to become positively sanguinary, so I will first express I do understand there is community in communion. Any event in which food is shared generates camaraderie. The symbolism is visually primal; images erupt in which families are brought together, strangers are met at meal times and friends are made. Bonds are renewed.

Yet the message of fellowship is divorced from what makes the Eucharist memorable. Just before, I abruptly mentioned a ghostly Shakespeare's Cannibal Mary and I will return to that point, for she is my true subject. The New Testament verses which bring me to consider the woman are purportedly born out of the very mouth of our exalted savior. It is written...

26 … Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” 27 Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 This is my blood of the[a] covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”

Matthew 26:26-28 (NIV)

The author of Luke was a little more succinct...

19 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 20 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.”

Luke 22:19-20 (NIV) 

Come on, look at what He said, it's elementary. Jesus was talking about cannibalism. He said it more plain than when my mom told me,  “Take your brothers fingers out of your mouth!”

Why would the messiah even bring up something like that? Where does the idea of eating Him come from? But people remember He said it.

I cannot think of anywhere in the Old Testament that mentions anything pertaining to the stomach-churning presumption. The topic isn't really discussed or even so much attributed to heathens. We are not suppose to eat each other, I know that. There are criminal laws against it in the United States of America.

I suppose people eat the Passover lamb, but what does that have to do with anything religious? I was taught Jews once made blood sacrifices to God, but I never heard anything special about the flesh of the animal. And the goat was certainly never a human being... well...

I assumed the kosher carcass was discarded as a matter of course. I never cared, it was what the Jews did and don't anymore. The leftovers would not miraculously return the following year and be the same lamb. An idea like that was pagan, especially if a person was substituted for an animal sacrifice during an equinox or more often a solstice.

Today, the more liberal observers of Judaism cannot possibly believe their individual quests to discover God have anything to do with killing people – that goes against the Sixth commandment. The act is desperate and mad.

And a Mary of Bethezuba is one who smashed that binary commandment one day she lost her mind. People across the civilized world heard about the incident and remembered it for a long time. Indeed, I told you I have read Shakespeare referred to the woman involved as late as the 16th century. This was Cannibal Mary. Her story maybe inspired the ritual of consuming loathsome symbols. She perhaps contributed an apparent message to the Last Supper.

The Romano-Jewish scholar Josephus documented Mary in his history “Jewish War,” 75 CE.  Josephus was born in a Roman-dominated Jerusalem and emigrated to Greece, so the 'Romano' part of the preface describes the scholar as a citizen of the ancient Roman Empire. Indeed, the Emperor Titus Flavius Vespasianus made the man his historian.

Josephus documented the Flavian campaign to destroy the temple of Jerusalem in 70 CE. Actually, I believe trouble started four years earlier in 66 CE when statues of Caesar were to be erected in temples of every order and denomination. The Emperor was to be worshiped as the supreme god. Fundamentalist Jews could not stand that, nor would any devote Christian or Muslim in this age.

The scholar Josephus wrote about a siege Titus waged against those who denied his divinity. The Emperor surrounded the three walls of Jerusalem with his Roman army. The whole population was punished. The Roman army stopped food and water from entering the city. And to exasperate the deprivation, Titus let pilgrims enter the starving chaos Jerusalem had become so that they could celebrate Passover then never leave. No one was let outside the walls.

Josephus wrote the captured population turned against itself. Hungry gangs roamed inside their prison looking for food and treasure. They are written to have found a wealthy widow with her newborn child. Her name was Mary of Bethezuba. She became perpetually robbed. Thieves took her food until Passover came. The beleaguered woman then snapped. Mary went crazy.

The woman slaughtered her son, baked his corpse and started eating him after the ritual fast ended and the day was done. Thieves smelled the roasted meat, followed a sickly-sweet aroma through the dark and found the source.

Discovered, Mary presented to her habitual robbers the uneaten portions of her child. “He is a myth to the world,” Josephus stated she claimed. He said the woman's revolted oppressors fled. People for centuries have remembered for themselves what happened at the siege. Nobody needed to read what a Roman scholar wrote.

I feel inclined to believe the tale is repeated today. Here is the origin of Transubstantiation, its symbols carry vague and needling and unshakable meaning. And it is the muddled story of Mary and the sacrifice of her son at Passover that makes the Last Supper unforgettable. We remember vicariously the bread is the flesh of her infant child. The blood is his. The woman's convoluted damnation possibly made the Liturgy memorable.

The constant controversy involves dates. The tedious piece of this research in summary testifies Rome sacked Jerusalem and destroyed the temple a second time in 70 CE. The Gospel of Mark, in which whose author first records the events of the Last Supper, was also written about 70 CE. Scholars think 70 CE is more precise because the author of Mark mentions the destruction of the Temple Jerusalem. The dates of both these events incriminate themselves in conspiracy because their proximity.

The authors of the Gospels had certainly overheard something about the infamous Mary of Bethezuba. If they were Jewish, Gnostic or freshly Christian, I imagine news from Jerusalem would have been the priority of his day. Atrocities in the Promised Land would have most certainly overshadowed reports from a besieged of Masada. I think much of the struggle was incorporated into their books. Scholars have even stated the conflicts with Rome are what the Book of Revelation is about.

Christian apologists argue the Gospels have been preached by word-of-mouth since about 40 CE. The possibility may have merit, but there is no proof. The Apostle Paul never talked about the Last Supper, nor the birth of Jesus nor His life on Earth. Before the Gospels, we sinners only heard about what He had done for us and what we needed to do to show Him our appreciation. The First Apostle Paul wrote down as much. We can't know what people said then to each other in conversation. Technically, we can't even really know what Paul said was not made-up.

And you, reader, have no reason to believe me until you see for yourself. Read, just go ahead and read. Even then, people believe what they want to believe.


– Matthew Sawyer