The Finger Of God

by Fielding Goodfellow

 

When the blonde woman from The Weather Network who looked a lot like Connie Stevens announced the impending storm of all storms, my wife was quite excited. She had always been that way. I however, was somewhat indifferent. She was ecstatic, dancing around the house with the joyful exuberance of a school girl, waiting with gleeful anticipation of the impending downpour. She said that thunderstorms stirred up the spirit world and set the forces of the other side n motion. She said it was destined to be one scary night. The storm arrived late in the evening. She stood by the open window watching the lightening illuminate the night sky like fireworks on Canada Day, and listening to the thunder claps that shook her nerves and rattled her brain. The gale force winds howled, causing her to close her eyes every now and again as it blew the cool spring rain onto her face. She said she couldn’t sleep, not with Mother Nature being so exquisite, so I went to bed, leaving her to revel in the euphoria of nature’s unyielding power. Sometime during the deluge  I awoke to find her sitting on the edge of the bed nudging me. “You’re not going to believe this.” she said. “Someone was just in here.”

“Ah, hell.” I said. “There’s always someone in here.”

“I’m talking about someone from the other side.” she replied.

“I know.” I said. “They’re the only ones you ever let in.”

She said that the experience was weird, even by her standards, and she needed to talk about it.  I hated those conversations and did my best to avoid them at all costs. She was well aware of my feelings, but just couldn’t seem to stop herself from dragging me into her other worldly world. I had seen a lot of weird things over the years. With the assistance of an inordinate amount of hallucinogens and pharmaceuticals that I had religiously introduced to my brain, I have seen flying lizards, talking dragons, and miniature Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles performing ‘Dancing Queen’ in my kitchen sink, but to be honest, the whole spirit, and ghost thing just simply freaked me out. To my wife however, it was commonplace. It had become a recurring part of her life. This time though,she said it was different.

“It was really weird.” she said. “I was just standing at the window, smoking, and someone just came up beside me and stuck a finger in my ear.”

“You mean like a wet Willie?” I asked.

“Ya.” She said. “ But it wasn’t wet.”

“Of course not.” I said. “I don’t suppose spirits would have saliva. Maybe it was just the wind.”

“Are you listening to me?” she asked. “It was a finger.” She leaned over and inserted one of her fingers in my ear. “That’s what it felt like, a finger.”

“It doesn’t always have to be from the other side.” I said.  “Maybe it was from another universe. Maybe it was an alien probe. According to the Enquirer, they’re really quite common.”

“Do they usually probe your ear?” she questioned.

“I don’t think so.” I said. “But its possible you got a trainee.”

She thought that I was trying to be funny, and wanted me to take it far more seriously than I apparently was. I swear I was trying. She was spinning her wheels, stuck in trying to understand what the hell had just happened to  her. I struggled to help, trying to find some sort of reasonable explanation but sadly, I arrived at none. We carefully considered the possibility of her having been dreaming, but she was adamant that she was wide awake, standing at the window and smoking. Everyone else at home was sound asleep, and she claims to have not been under the influence of alcohol or drugs, although I have encouraged her to give it a try on several occasions,

“I suppose it could have been the finger of God.” I said.

“The finger of God?” she questioned.

“The finger of God.” I repeated.  “The same finger that brought the plagues to Egypt and etched the commandments into the tablets Moses brought down from Sinai.”

“What would God want with me?” she asked.

“I don’t know.” I answered. “But I’m sure you’re not the first one to ask that. I’m sure that everyone God has reached out to has asked ‘why me’? I don’t suppose it really matters though, I mean its God.”

“That’s a little nerve racking.” she said. “God has never visited me before.”

“Then I guess you’re due.” I said.

I sat beside her on the edge of the bed and I rubbed her back. The joy of the storm of all storms was gone.

“Just come to bed.” I said. “Its getting late.”

“How can I sleep?” she asked. “This is just so weird.”

“I’ll protect you.” I told her.

“Really? What are you gonna do?” she asked. I was surprised that I had to reminded her that I had spoken to God on more than one occasion, and that sometime in the mid 1970s I had firsthand experience with alien probing while completely messed up on a small bag full of peyote.

“Why don’t you just lay down and relax” I said, “and leave everything to me.”

“What are you thinking of doing?” she asked.

“Nothing, really.” I replied. “Just trying to help. I thought that if we recreated an alien probe, you might be able to tell if that’s what happened to you.”

“In my ear?” she questioned.

“No” I said. “I think we need to go the more traditional route. I think its worth a try.”

“Of course you do.” she said. “But I suppose we’ve really got nothing to lose.”

“Nothing at all. And after the probing” I added, “we can try to rule out the finger of God.”

“How do we do that?” she asked.

“Just leave it to me.” I said.

The Road To Sedation

by Fielding Goodfellow

 

She liked to tease me by sitting on the arm rest of the couch wearing one of my shirts and nothing else, with her legs spread slightly apart, just enough for me to see the prize that lay there. I liked it too. That was just her kind of foreplay, a little game of ‘look what I have for you, later’ that never ended the way she had imagined it would. Despite a feigned struggle to defend her virtue which had long since been lost, later arrived much sooner than she had planned.

I suppose that I should start at the beginning. Gabrielle was a graduate student majoring in contemporary English literature who asked if she could interview me as part of her thesis even though I was not English or contemporary. I was merely a drug infused scribbler of fables and foibles, which I was certain she would quickly uncover. Twenty minutes into an interview that took place at The Blue Parrot, she asked me why I became a writer. The first thing that came out of my mouth was “I have a lot of pens.”,

“Are you ever serious?”, she asked.

“I’m always serious.”, I told her.  “That’s not humor you’re hearing. That’s sarcasm.”

“Are you always sarcastic?”, she queried.

“As often as possible.”, I informed her. She laughed, we drank, and I took her home. We sailed through the Sea of Space and the Sea of Time that night, most likely a direct result of the peyote we had consumed in the cab and now, faced with the delightful task of traveling through her seemingly endless desires, I took up residence in the paradise between her thighs while she took up permanent residence in my one bedroom apartment. Not that I minded, I mean she was wickedly improvisational in bed, and wonderfully astute at keeping up with my constantly derailing train of thought.

“I think I think I’d like to be a nihilist.”, she blurted out one evening.

“Not likely.”, I replied. “I don’t believe nihilists enjoy sex.”

“Really?”, she asked.

“I think one would be hard pressed to find a couple of nihilists who thought there was any point to it.”, I replied. “And I’m not sure they’d have the energy. Its a lot of hard work to maintain that level of pessimism and skepticism. Now, if you put a bunch of naked hedonists in a room, well, then you’d have an orgy of epic proportions.”

“We should try it.”, she said.

“I thought we just did.”, I responded.

“I mean we should have an orgy.”, she clarified.

“Generally speaking, I’m not comfortable getting naked around other men.”, I told her.

“Me either.”, she replied. “I was thinking more of a couple of other women.” There have been very few moments when I have felt like jumping into the air and screaming with joy. This was one of those times. “That would still be an orgy, right?”, she asked.

“The best kind.”, I advised. And that was just how it was. Everything just seemed to be that easy.

Sometimes we would wander down Yonge Street and sifted through the bins at A & A’s and Sam The Record Man, or wandered through Yorkville, stopping to sit on a stoop somewhere near where The Riverboat or The Penny Farthing once stood where you would have been able to listen to the flower children sitting cross legged across the road singing songs about peace and contentment, The music filled the street back then, and sitting there under the shadows of the high priced hotels and high end retailers, and under the influence of drugs that made us larger and smaller and opened our minds and eyes, Gabrielle put her head on my shoulder, and clasped her hands around my forearm. We were living in our own time of sex, and drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll.  As we drifted away on a drug induced calm we could sit there for hours, still amazed by Sergeant Pepper, Pet Sounds, and The Yes Album.  We remained silent for as long as we could, but sometimes shit just happens.

“I think I want to have a baby.”, she whispered.

“A baby what?”, I asked.

“A baby.”, she continued, “Our baby. You know, a kid.” Thoughts were racing around my head, too fast for me to grab hold of any one of them. I knew I wasn’t ready for this, and I had always been certain that I had no real emotional attachment to Gabrielle. It was all just about the sex really, the wonderfully perverse, sweaty sex. I didn’t love her. She was merely a joyride in the road trip that had been my life. I struggled to find anything to say. Nothing seemed appropriate.

“I’m not ready for this, Gabbi.”, I told her.

“Well I suppose I can wait until you;re ready”, she said.  A shot went off in my head like a rocket exploding, and I realized that I had no choice but to tell her what I had always hoped I would never have to say.

“Here’s the thing”, I began.. “I probably should have said something a long time ago, but I don’t love you. I just don’t have those kind of feelings for you.”

“What?”, she asked. “All this time I’ve been falling in love with you, planning a life with you and you didn’t think it was important to let me know that you have no feelings for me!”

“I don’t know what you want me to say”, I told her.

“I don’t want you to say anything. You’re such an asshole.”, she said as she stood up and walked away.

I sat on that stoop for a long time, trying to sort it all out. When I returned to the apartment, all of her things were gone. I looked for her at the University, I suppose to apologize for what she saw as leading her on, but her friends informed me that she had left school and moved back home, although no one seemed to know exactly where that was. I never saw or spoke to her again and, while I had managed to leave it all somewhere in the psychedelic sedation of the hallucinogens I would routinely abuse every now and then, when I hear ‘Perpetual Change’ I thank God that I was such an asshole and let her walk away.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have Some Faith

 

By Fielding Goodfellow

Self doubt, like death, arrives unannounced, and settles in without any relief. Hiding in the shadows, skulking around dark corners when I needed all of my time and energy just to keep my head above water, I drifted through the rip currents and undertows of a life that seemed determined to keep me swimming against the tide. It was a fucking nightmare, populated with heroes and villains whose only purpose seemed to be jerking off amid the costumed tomfoolery that was believed to be necessary for the salvation of our civilization. I for one, really didn’t give a damn. By then, I had lost all faith in heroes, and I was certain that I was already being held in the eternal shit bucket with the villains.

And that pretty much sums up faith, an insanely confusing concept in itself. I struggled with this throughout most of my university life, confused and confounded by the idea that in order to reap the benefits of a loving and just superior being, one must blindly believe and accept. The questions, ‘why does God let this happen?”, and all of its variations diminish one’s faith. It appears though, that a believer, one with faith, does not and should not question. After all, isn’t that what religion, and the road to eternal happiness is about? Bishop Marino, the Papal presence in Presque Isle for years, who spent most of his life fucked up on acid, chasing high school girls in plaid skirts and starched white shirts, spoke candidly about his belief that Blind Faith, despite having released one hell of an album in 1969, is not the path to redemption and absolution, and it certainly should never come as easy as the high school seniors at St. Margaret Catholic School For Girls in Mackinaw. I was fortunate enough to have met the Bishop when he guest lectured for a philosophy class I was enrolled in. Following the lecture, I spoke with him about what God really wants for us. His answer was as succinct as it was surprising. “For us to be happy.”, he told me.

And for those who were unable to find any sort of happiness, religious zealots and leaders, began selling memberships to their God fearing clubs, as they stood before the masses with a bible in one hand and the keys to a Bentley in the other. You could purchase an exclusive, all inclusive membership which guaranteed your eternal happiness simply by using your credit card, debit card or paypal. For a nominal charge, you could attend one of the many religious theme parks, take a picture with the gang in attendance at The Last Supper, and purchase an autographed copy at the gift shop.  Or perhaps, enjoy a bag of Jesus Jaffa Cakes, or an order of St. Joan of Arc flaming kebabs. Despite the temptation, I sought out my happiness through other means.

In the early 1970s, during my foray into malaise and post secondary education, I found myself discussing morals and ethics with overweight, middle aged professors who frequented the massage parlor across from the university campus. With both the time and money, they were free to jump in and out of blow jobs on the way to meet and greet their families convinced that they would be offered absolution for their transgressions in exchange for feigned repentance, three Hail Marys and a contribution to the ‘help the heavenly boys choir purchase new robes’ fund.

Belief and faith are not conjoined twins. One can believe without the necessity of faith. Faith mutes the senses, leaving us blind, deaf, and basically full of shit, and sets us off on a mission to convince others to accept our beliefs as correct. Worlds have been devastated in the name of God, and frankly, I am not certain whose God wanted entire cultures reduced to rubble in order to erect a church in his glorious name. At the end of it all, nobody seems happy. The quest for conversion, redemption and absolution continue, while the priests hearing those solicited tales of sin, shame and guilt, often arrive late following the inspection of the altar boys as they tried on their new robes.

Mei-ling was a sophomore dance major who helped pay for her schooling by working part time at the massage parlor across the road from the university. We met in a Film Noir course, and shared a passion for John Huston films, hallucinogens, and sex with the lights on. We spent many hours in her dorm room watching The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre or Key Largo, and chasing the giant alligators off of her wonderfully naked body. Sex with Mei-ling was an incredible ride that often resulted in one existential crisis after another, as I tried to give some meaning to this world within worlds, hidden yet clearly visible and defined, but undetected amid all of the rhetoric and rubbish that bounced around my head like a Holier Than Thou pinball machine, resurrecting years and years of theological brainwashing. And yet, as Mei-ling dropped to her knees, I swear that I found meaning in the overwhelming pleasure that lead to my release.  And during those moments, those wonderfully satisfying moments, I am certain that I found God, I was happy, and as close to heaven as I believed I would ever be.

Perhaps in all of those moments of hedonistic pleasure, in the throes of drug induced trips and ball busting sex, I had achieved what God had wanted for me. I was happy. I was truly happy. I was certain that I could be happy all of the time provided that I was high and getting laid. For about 18 months Mei-ling ensured that I was happy. I continued to correspond with Bishop Marino, who left the church after defrocking himself in the rectory, playing ‘hide the rabbit in the habit’ with Sister Beatrice and Sister Teresa to run Papal Radio, an international radio network broadcasting rock ‘n’ religion where he interviewed such legendary holy folksters as Peter, Paul & Mary, and notorious, hardcore Loggerhead drummer, Francis Glick, Jr., of the PolkaJacks. As for me, well, I was as determined as ever to be happy, and found myself involved in years of meaningless sex with a variety of equally meaningless women. And everytime, they would drop to their knees, I believed that I had found God, or at least happiness in the overwhelming pleasure.