Now a regular Friday feature: Another installment in the saga of Assumption Street. Click HERE for earlier posts.
The Bishop Johnson takes the bus
The Bishop Johnson hands me the Greyhound timetable and pulls down the Holy Study Room window shade to block the acid rays of the rising sun. I find that the next bus to St. Vincent leaves at eight o’clock. If we delay not, The Bishop Johnson and I have just enough time to make it. I lead The Bishop Johnson into the bathroom for his ablutions at the Soul-spinning Mirror of Deceptions. My face appears in the glass.
Who are you, The Bishop Johnson?
I, who have been inside your heart all this time, not even I can say who you are. Do you know who your mother was? Your father? Or does it even matter? Isn’t a man more than the sum of his mother and his father, the egg and the sperm? Doesn’t a man grow in the garden of the world, indeed? And doesn’t he find the spirit on his own?
Witness your stern, ever-attentive face, appearing hard as a block of sculptor’s wood. Your clenched fists are like Osiris, your patent leather shoes reflect the singing of all the Spirits of All the Ages. Your heavy-lensed glasses maketh your eyes to swell and glisten like Holy Oysters seen through the bottom of a gin bottle. Your skin is like brown kid leather stretched tightly on that bony head of yours, that lumpy head shaped like some musk melon growing ropside a fence post. But you alone know that your head is not deformed. Nothing from the Hand of the Creator can be de-formed. Glory! Yours is the Skull Sanctified. Glory be to St. Francis! For indeed your Conductor’s Cap of Grace, which we cleverly relieved from a streetcar driver on St. Charles, hides the finest bump of all, the Seat of Truth. This is the source of your power, of our power conjoined. Truth is the source of your resolve, our resolve. You are ever the flawless picture of resolve. You dispel bewilderment. Thank you Walt Whitman! Gardenseed!
For as you have revealed through me: If you can appear to the world as if you know all and every thing, then the multitides will cut you a lot of slack. And thus it must be when traveling into the world. Just act like you know what the Holy Fuck you’re doing and all will come to pass.
Now I clothe yourself in The Holy Vestments fresh from the St. Roch Pressing Club around the corner. Your attire says pure cunning, the Messenger of the Gods on His Mission. Blessed be the day we recuperated this Trailways uniform from the St. Vincent DePaul Shop on Rampart. Yea, but on that day did Thoth’s hand touch your soul and hasten your feet to receive the Sanctified Threads. Praise John the Revelator!
Your brass buttons are shined up, your Cap of Grace is brushed. Your name plate—JOHNSON—is buffed until it gleams in the light of the Beatific Bathroom Bulb. For safety, haven’t you sewn a Transfigurating Prayer Cloth into the lining of the Cap of Grace? And for Holy Favors, isn’t there in your buttoned jacket pocket the Blessed Coin, the Silver Discus that will stop any assassin’s bullet speeding straight at your heart?
You may say that these things are merely the outer fittings, for have you not always enumerated this truth? Behold, but it is the inner fittings, the Multifarious Souls Within the Visible Soul, that counteth the most. And aren’t these Sanctified Threads (Glory be to Trailways!) but the outer evidence of a pure heart and a tireless will? Mighty Osiris! Glory to Bondye!
You must set out this morning. You must approach the bus driver, The Operator Smith, himself, and bless his nerves to steady his hand and lay benedictions upon his eyesight to focus his vision and upon the blue and silver vehicle itself which carrieth you to Cora. Will you not perform a Sacred Soothe-ment on The Operator Smith? Halleluia! And will you not cause to descend Good Temper upon the bus station and the buses spewing their noxious exhausts upon all the various peoples gathered there, the stuttering man stricken by the Devil Alcohol, the broad-butted woman in red satin peddling her Sacred Favors, the family of skinny white Crackers with their sniveling and snot-nosed tow-headed brats, the soldier in his crease-legged uniform. Will there not be the quiet and the grace of the Lord’s peace? Will there not be a serenity descending on this pinball-jittery bus station like nobody has ever seen, if we can help it?
You, The Bishop Johnson, will be watchful of demons, of all manner of demons creeping into your mind through me. God can protect you only in certain mysterious ways, but not from demons. Demons live all around. They are like the lizards and not even God can touch them. Demons waiting for weakness. Demons waiting for their big chance to crawl up inside The Bishop Johnson’s heart and take over the driver’s seat.
The Demons are ready to consume the will like unto a beggar on a cheeseburger.
You, The Bishop Johnson will defeat the Demons. We will concentrate your powers upon Cora and upon your flesh-daughter Ro-chelle, who may be dead already, but maybe not, Jesus-be-my-friend! And what about your Soul Daughter Mee-chelle? Will she not answer your call? And Mario Galento, Jr. the Avenger. What about that Demon-infested champion of the Unholy Wrestling Ring? Bondye conceals the answer! The Bishop Johnson can sort it out. All of Eternity and the billions of galaxies in all the universes pass from here into oblivion. You don’t have to be Self Righteous. Just plain Right will do for the Gods and Buddhas of All Peoples. Amen.