book of job
leonaert bramer, circa 1630.
Good things, it is said, come to those who wait. In my experience, it is more often a case of the postman\’s second knock. A bum rap. Seldom – if at all – a welcome intrusion. Chinaski in tissue overshoes.
And puddles on the stairs. Our mail, it is observed, largely arrives by brown envelope. From somewhere in Manila. Unwanted circulars. Bills and warrants, more commonly. Harbingers of farther ill tidings. Knock-knock, the door goes. The letterbox. In the absence of the giro – an anachronism – it is safer to remain in bed, the kitchen, to wait for the kettle to boil out the dread. The toast to pop. Or steam seal the cigarette paper, still on tiptoe, a resting bus conductor driven by fears. No news is good news, they are wont to say, too, fudging the issue.
In the event that first avalanche of mail drops like a stone; ill met by a sneer or ritual sign of the cross, the expected lottery result.
An ashen face fallen to scowling. A fermented apple, sourly caving in on itself. I mention this, by way of habit. Better by far to prepare for the worst. There is no mileage in premature ejaculation beyond the inevitable anticlimax, the disappointing end to a coveted false start. Better by far to dress for a funeral when all are making wedding plans. Better to buy in a litre or two of lamp black paint. Then again. One would not want it said that one was parsimonious. In terms of casting runes.
Ejecting the unsolicited. Even druids must have good days, though the very sound of it seems a contradiction. A sacrificing of verisimilitude. I know of one druid at least who was always smiling, through one catastrophe to the next, it was his preordained lot to nod where others might wince. It was in his nature. The first time the mob turned on him he embraced it quite affably, the fool, they turned him upside down and the idiot grin did not falter. Without a hint of the Biblical, let\’s get that straight. He was as heathen as they come. He spent some time in dharma. Absconded from it quite unpenitent.
\”I don\’t know,\” he said, coming up for air on the Ducking Stool. \”It\’s all so much water under the bridge.\”
Well. Such was his crime. When it all came down, he was unable to relinquish the predilection to paint a good face on it. An Easter egg. A beating. In much the same way, it might be argued, I am inured to all talk of frogs; boils; gnats and lice. Staff and rod, and smiting.
Let my people go.
A caravan of wind-up amputees falling down. Marching off the table.