The Myth Council Handbook – A novel by Steven Alan Green / Chapter Two: “Mary and The Myth Council”

Belleview was just like any small town in America. Born at the end of World War I and burnished to a pristine finish in the 1950’s, it was everything America represented, not just to the world, but to itself.

Somehow, Belleview withstood the onslaught of franchise culture; nary a Starbucks or Walmart to be found. It existed in its own little bubble, seemingly insulated, indeed shielded from the goings on of Hollywood to the west and Washington D.C. to its east. Belleview’s history and indeed its existence, was something of a mystery. Nobody outside Belleview ever heard of the small hamlet and in fact, not even Belleviewians could determine which state of the union they were actually in. And, yet, in spite of these unanswerable simple questions, Belleview was just like any other small town this side of the Mississippi or any other side for that matter.

Belleview High was your classic mid-century to modern American high school. With one major exception. Sure, it had its cheerleaders and football team and class president, but one thing it didn’t have was fear of school shootings. And, that wasn’t because they had a top notch security team on 24/7 guard, it was because, like everything else in Belleview, it wasn’t connected to the outside world. Its residents didn’t watch the news and the Internet they interacted with was one of complete kindness and civility. Everything about Belleview High School was planned and designed right out of the American fantasy handbook.

Shutting the door behind her of a post-Colonial mansion, Mary Spensor – 16 years old, picks up a nearby watering can and feeds the daisies lining the drive the precious water they desire and deserve. She has a dancing lilt to https://goo.gl/images/pAi93Hher manner, as if she’s listening to secret music in her head. The school bus arrives down the road and, with her school books in tow, runs to catch it. Finding herself in a plume of black smoke, the bus takes off once again and one gets the feeling this is her daily ritual. She quickly snaps out of it and skips and walks down the street towards school.

Hundreds of Belleview High School students funnel into the main entrance, like so many fire ants trying to get back into their hole on time. Just above that entrancehttps://goo.gl/images/UwtQK1 reads a banner: “BELLEVIEW HIGH SCHOOL CHRISTMAS HOOPLA & BLOOD DRIVE!” Mary runs up to the school, not able to squeeze into and through the mass of grey sweatered seniors, sophomores and freshmen, finally reaching the double doors as they seem to purposely shut in her face.

In front of a full classroom of rapt attentive teenage students, the teacher writes: “Edgar Allen Poe” on the blackboard, and turns around to face his legions as Mary sneaks in from the back door. Mr. Braithwaite makes a personal note of that and carries on, punctuating his feigned indifference with a direct inward push of his nose glasses.

Edgar Allen Poe’s ‘The Tell Tale Heart’ was an allegory for which personal emotion that we all share?”

Two dozen hands reach to the heavens with coordinated enthusiasm, but “Mr. B” zeroes in on one student, whose book happens to be held upside down. Sensing a disturbance on the horizon, the entire class shifts their focus on one girl.

Mary? Perhaps you’d like to answer the question.”

Mary, startled from a daydream, stands up, straightens her dress, cups her hands together like they were protecting a mouse.

Edgar Allen Poe’s ‘The Tell Tale Heart’ is about guilt. Inner guilt. The beating heart is a metaphor for our conscience to always do the right thing.”

The entire class breaks out into vicious laughter, pointing at Mary like she https://goo.gl/images/8tKMfuwas some circus freak. All but Johnny Turnbridge, a bookish student, whose innate good looks are twisted by his enormous prescription goggles and black waxy hair. Henry T. Braithwaite looks at the rest of the class with scorn until they do what’s good for them as they take in his authoritative gaze and immediately go silent, their heads down in prayer-like obedience.

Very good, Mary. That’s right!”

The school bell rings and as everyone jumps up to get the hell outta there; the teacher reminds them of their homework.

Don’t forget, Odysseus next week! And, I want to see your papers on The Glass Menagerie as well!”

The army of the grey sweatered student body makes their human wave out the school doors like they were escaping torturous boredom. When they’re clear, Mary appears once again, alone. Jumping back into her positive mood, she skips and walks down the tree-lined quiet suburban Belleview streets towards home.

Hiding behind an oak tree is Johnny Turnbridge who suddenly jumps in front of Mary, stopping her progress with a giant: “BOO!” Bemused but not befuddled, Mary wags her finger at him in admonishment.

Johnny Turnbridge! I should’ve known! Don’t you know it’s bad taste to sneak up behind a girl and scare the bejeebus outta her? I’m surprised Mrs. Larson let’s you on her gothic choir practice.”

 “Ah gee, Mary! I was only trying to get your attention and ask you if you wanted to go to the Belleview Blood Drive with me this Saturday night! I’ll pick you up in my dad’s new super-dooper roadster. It’ll be so cool!”

 Mary stops walking and so does Johnny. She looks at him like she’s gonna punch him. Instead she swings her books to his chest, followed by another finger-pointing session.

You behave yourself, Johnny Turnbridge and maybe you’ll get your wish! I’m not stupid the way everyone in this town seems to think I am.”

They start walking again. All the while, a black raven with an eye-patch trails behind them, jumping from tree to tree, keeping a close eye. One close eye. Obviously.

 

A Yortsite candle brightly burns, illuminating framed and faded black and https://goo.gl/images/Xt8UFNwhite photographs of a wedding, children and grandchildren. Moishe Rosenbaum, mid-fifties New York Jew, places a framed picture of his wife Sadie next to the candle, kneels and prays in Hebrew, reciting the Jewish Prayer for the Dead.

B’olmo dee’vro chir’usay v’yamlich malchu’say, b’chayaychon uv’yomay’chon uv’chayay d’chol bais Yisroel, ba’agolo u’viz’man koriv; v’imru Omein.”

He gets up and moves to the window of his drab one-room apartment. He lights a cigarette, looks out at the hustle-bustle of the busy small town, and blows smoke like a disapproving dragon.

Oye. How the hell did I ever wind up in Goyim Heaven?

The smoke permutes into an ellipse which winds its way down the cobblestone main street towards the Gothic Bookshop, where inside, Johnny Turnbridge tries to explain the value of his inventory to a very old customer.

“I’m afraid that’s the closest you’re going to come in finding a first edition Poe anywhere near that price, Mrs. Pendegast.”

https://goo.gl/images/u7Q4JbThe Belleview Gothic Bookshop’s vivid green exterior belies the collection of antiquities displayed therein. The small dusty corner shop boasts “Rare Editions” and “Hard to Find Classics” through its big picture window, facing the Belleview Butchers and Belleview Five and Dime and thereby reflecting their craven imagery of cow carcass and support hose, which superimpose against the bookshop’s eerie presence. From the inside, the bookshop looks more like a disorganized dorm room than a book store. Johnny helps a seventy-five-year old woman.

Can probably knock off ten bucks for ya’, Mrs. P”; he leans in, whispering his secret. “Whadda-ya say, Ellen? Everyone knows the Gothic horror books are all haunted by their characters, but Poe”… (looking left to right) …haunts his own books!”

Mrs. Pendegast smiles and leans in. “You know, Sonny…I just read them for the intimate descriptions of naked bodies.” She suggestively winks, making Johnny visibly uncomfortable. She exits the shop, carrying a book size brown paper bag under her arm as if were porn, steps over a homeless man and walks down the street and waving hello to the florist and the butcher before disappearing around the corner.

The Belleview Five and Dime is a local institution which was built by the founder of Belleview, Horrace “Two R’s” J. Porter, of which there is a statue of him directly across from the shop, in the center roundabout.

STATUE OF HORRACE J. PORTER

https://goo.gl/images/sEfH4nThe tarnished bronze statue stands over 20 feet high. Porter is portrayed as a Founding Father should. Standing next to stack of Christmas gifts, holding an American flag in his hand, his stern face showing no ounce of mercy. He proudly looks up towards the sky, and vaguely in the direction of Soldiers Mound, the highest peak visible from Belleview, and a popular make-out spot for the teens. Christmas shoppers go in and out in a hurried pace through the doors as carolers sing Joy to the World.

A chorus of three men and three women joyfully sing to their lord and savior and suddenly stop. They look around and huddle. Nodding in agreement, they resume in perfect harmonious silk.

“Merry Christmas, Mary….”

They hold the last note, and look towards the front door of the 5 & Dime. After a moment, they look at each other and sing again.

Merry Christmas, Mary….

Still nothing.

That girl would be late to her own funeral!” spouts one of the carolers.

Yeah…fuck her!” concurs another.

All share a look of acknowledgement and resignation and open their song books to another page.

Good King Wenceslas looked out on the feast of Stephen, When the snow lay round about, deep and crisp and even. Brightly shown the moon that night, though the frost was cruel, when a poor man came in sight, gathering winter fuel.”

Mary exits the shop, dressed like a snow fairy, holding too many shopping bags brimming with Christmas gifts. And like the vision of Christ’s Mary, she stops for an extreme close-up, revealing she has “virgin-for-life” written all over her mug.

You wouldn’t believe the bargains!” she proudly proclaims to everyone’s scorn and indifference. “Merry Christmas everybody?” she asks sheepishly.

As if choreographed and rehearsed, all the citizens on Main Street, mothers walking their prams, shop owners in the middle of business, even the horse from the milk truck join in, singing her theme tune.

“Merry Christmas, Mary. Merry Christmas, you. You’re our little fairy, We, the Citizens Belleview. We are the butchers, Mary. Undertakers too. We’ve watched you grow up scary, A frightened lamb in the zoo.

And we want you to know, Mary. Even though you’re quite thick, That even the freshest dairy, Can make one quite sick.

Merry Christmas, Mary. Merry Christmas, you. You’ve suffered unnecessary, Even though you’re not a Jew.

Oh, quite contrary, There’s a cross around your heart, You’re the all American girl, And we don’t give a fart.

Merry Christmas, Mary. Merry Christmas you. You’re the coal mine canary, In a shaft out of view. And we want you to know, Mary. Even though you’re not dead, You’re the oyster, not the pearl, And you haven’t yet bled. This is what we just said. Merry Christmas, Mary. Merry Christmas, you!”

“Merry Christmas, Mary!”

Everyone cheers and then goes about their business as usual. Moishe, lost in thought, takes one final puff of his cigarette and tosses it out the window to the street, muttering to himself: “Goyim Heaven…” He closes his window, just as a filthy hand reaches into the beggar’s cup, pulling out the cigarette, to the awaiting mouth of the homeless man. A smile of relief overtakes his face. Looking up towards God: “Thank you!” Suddenly, he is awoke to the reality of the situation: All his paper money in his cup is now on fire.

Moishe goes to the closet. Inside are dozens of silk Chinese blazers. He pulls out one and puts it on, then looks a himself in the mirror, adjusting his Yalmulke. He picks up an already opened envelope, pulls out the letter and reads. After a beat or two, he takes a deep sigh, puts the letter back in the envelope, looks at himself once more in the mirror.

Vat am I…some sort of montsah?”

He tosses the envelope on his bed, grabs his coat and hat and exits the room.

The envelope is addressed to:

Moishe Rosenbaum

6151 Little Main Street

Belleview, No State, No Zip Applicable

And from:

The Eternal Revenue Service

69-71 Rivington Street

Shordich, London

EC2A

United Kingdom

The roar of a million typewriters increases and increases…

https://goo.gl/images/QvoqwQThe nondescript office building sits between two pubs on Rivington Street in Shoreditch, London, England. North London precisely. The building is unlike any other Georgian or Edwardian leftover so littered throughout ancient turned modern London. With the one exception that this particular building is quite tall. In fact, if one were to stand across the street and follow the building upwards, they’d hardly notice it is so tall, so many floors, they go up and into and beyond the clouds. But, everyone’s too busy looking down on their phones these days to even notice.

Inside is the grand reception. A ginormous front reception area, comparable only to Grand Central Station.   Hundreds of workers mill about, going from one point to another, most with serious looks on their face. At the center is a switchboard phone bank, as the phone absolutely rings off the hook. A receptionist with a bee-hive wig and half-glasses answers a flurry of calls.

Myth Council of Earth; please hold. Myth Council of Earth; please hold. Myth Council of Earth; please hold. Myth Council of Earth; please hold. Myth Council of Earth; How can I help?”

A drunk man answers on the other end of the line.

“Yes….(hick-UP!)…Me and me mates are in a bit of a verbal punch-up down the pub…(HICK!)”

The switchboard continues to ring, to which the receptionist tells the man…

“Could you please hold….”

“But, it’s my round and…”

Sorry sir,” she puts him on hold. “Myth Council of Earth, please hold,” she switches back to the man. “Yes, sir. Sorry to keep you waiting. How can I help?”

“Yes, as I was saying; it’s my round if I can’t name the Seven Dwarves. And, I say there is a Dwarf named ‘Stinky,’, but Ben (HICK!) there claims there is no dwarf named Stinky, but there is one named “Jehoshaphat.” I think that’s wrong…”

“I understand, sir,” says the receptionist, cutting him off. “Please hold one more time. Sorry.” She puts the man on hold, turns and rolls her chair at great comical speed to her co-worker (another woman in a bee-hive wig and half-glasses) at the other end of the very long reception desk. She confers with the other receptionist.

“Sorry. Remind me please where I send inquiries for man-made myths? Was it the Department for Fictional Reconciliation?”

“Well, it all depends,” answers her co-worker. “If it’s of an adult nature, such as Cupid or Venus, then you want to route them to the Department for Romantic Interlude. If it’s more at the family level, such as Pinocchio, Harry Potter and all that Hollywood crap, then the call goes to the Department of Childhood.”

“It’s a drunk calling from a pub.”

Oh, one of those, eh?” The co-receptionist nods her head in the direction where the first receptionist started and they both roll back together at great comical speed. The co-worker reaches over and disconnects the caller. “Trust me…The Myth Council is no match for the fantastical imaginings born of alcohol. No sympathy for the human race! That’s our credo!”

The phone still ringing like mad; the receptionist tends to business again. “
Myth Council of Earth, please hold…Myth Council of Earth, please hold…”

 

On the 711th&1/2 floor, a woman’s ass sways back and forth timed perfectly with a stopwatch’s tick tock, as she makes her way down the 711th&1/2 floor hallway. Mannered like a 1960’s airline stewardess, and carrying a black portfolio, Miss Abigail Williams, Chief Assistant to the Myth Council’s Main Dude, makes her way to a very important looking office door, with a brass plaque reading: “DECISIONS”; she knocks as she goes inside.

The office is way too big and fancy (in a stark way) for one man. The accountant, dressed in a pale black suit, white shirt & thin tie, sits at his very messy desk, dictating into a vocal tube, which is connected to an ancient dictating machine. On the desk is a large red button with the word: “RETIREMENT” written on the side. Oh, and there’s an ostrich wandering around the office for no apparent reason. The secretary walks in. The Ostrich peers out the window.

Have a seat, Miss Williams, give me a minute. Thank you.”

Miss Williams puts the portfolio on the desk and has a seat. The Accountant continues his dictation into the tube.

And…where was I….Oh, yes…further to our conversation, your honorable sir, it is with deep regret that due to recent unexpected budgetary considerations, we are unfortunately not in the position at this time to fund your idea for a Job Fairy. We look forward to your next idea, blah, blah, blah, thanks for thinking of us, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera….(pausing to think)….And, give my best to Michelle, Sasha and Melia.” He puts down the tube and turns to Miss Williams.https://goo.gl/images/jShx7e

Okay, Miss Williams. What’s on the agenda today?”

Abigail Williams hands Fenster T. Turnworthy the portfolio, he scans it over, shaking his head in disbelief.

No, no, no, no…no, no, no, no…”

Miss Williams tries to interrupt. “Sir…”

Turnworthy closes it and looks eye to eye with Miss Williams for the briefest of moments; he then stands up as if a dignitary randomly entered the room.

“They can’t do this! They can’t do this I tell you!”

“But, sir…”

“I have been with the firm now for nearly twenty years. And in all that time, sure, myths were cut due to various reasons. Everything from Elton John being straight to OJ being framed, to Iraq secretly harboring Weapons of Mass Destruction, to Simon Cowell being a music expert, to those damn…Birthers! But, this…this is just reprehensible!”

“But, sir. The cost v profit analysis of this perennial myth is simply off the charts in terms of annual projected loss. In fact, every year, the deficit on this particular myth is growing and growing and growing…EXPONENTIALLY!!!”

The Accountant swings around, getting right in her face.

“But, kill Santa Claus? No way. It’s just not going to happen!”

Shoving his executive chair backwards, he frightens the ostrich and stands up. “The myth of Santa Claus has existed on Earth for nearly…” Extending his hand to the side; snapping his fingers.

“128 years, 8 months, 3 days, 12 hours, 12 minutes and….17 seconds.”

Thank you, Beavis.”

Beavis “Rooster” Maximumium is a very very very old man. Perhaps 500, 600 years old; we don’t know. He stacks old and dusty books into impossible and pointless Jenga-like stacks.

Not at all, sir. It’s my job. And it’s now 24 seconds.”

 “Sorry?” inquires the accountant. Beavis continues.

The myth of Santa Claus is classified as a Perpetual Myth, and therefore continues its run into Eternity. 31 seconds.

The accountant checks his pocket watch.

“Yes, you’re quite right….Tell me, Beavis. And, how long have you been with the firm?”

 “Well, according to my estimations…I would say: 119 years, 3 months, 1 day, six hours, 12 minutes and…” (checks his pocket-watch) “precisely 4.24 seconds.”

The accountant is clearly annoyed. “That’s my Beavis. Always there with the facts….” (back to business at hand) “Be that as it may, if we close down the Santa Claus program, then who are all the….” (carefully choosing his words) children of Earth going to fantasize about?” Miss Williams and Bevis in harmonious unison…

 “Well, there is Katie Perry, sir.”

The accountant smashes his fist on his desk.

Little children! For Godsakes!”

The Ostrich turns its neck and SQUAWKS; the accountant continues.

https://goo.gl/images/BwdfXA“For over a century, the myth of Old Saint Nick has endured because both parents and children bonded over a unique third-party myth which unites them in a sort of shared childhood and reassures them that there’s still hope left in the world….” (a trivial aside) “And on a guaranteed annual calendar based on the twelve phases of the moon.”

“Twelve and a half.”

“Sorry?” protests the accountant. “There are twelve and a half phases of the moon?!”

This is Beavis’s big moment. For nearly a century, he has been trying to work his way back to Chief Myth Investigator. He fell on hard times after it was revealed he wasn’t actually an Earthling and was demoted to the position of “Unimportant Myth Archivist”.   And, now was his chance. A chance to win the hearts and minds of the powers that be, by impressing them with his incredible knowledge of how the universe actually works.

“No, sir. Sorry. It just hit 119 years, 3 months, 1 days, 6 hours, 12 1/2 minutes and 17 seconds mark.”

What has?” asks the accountant.

Beavis answers proudly. “Why, my time with the firm, sir!”

“You’re quite right!” then the accountant SMASHES HIS FIST on the big red “Retirement” button on his desk. Beavis instantly evaporates in a large puff of smoke, leaving nothing more than his clothes and a book, of which the pages are now on fire. The Accountant solemnly bows his head as Miss Williams instantly darts to the fire and frantically tries to stomp it out.

“Another dedicated worker. I’m very touched.” (back to business) But, mostly, the myth of Santa Claus reassures ordinary hardworking folk that there still is some magic left in the world.”

“I hate to be a spoil-sport…” Miss Williams, furiously stomping to put out the fire, peers over her half-glasses. “And you know how I love the little fellow…He’s so cute and sexy in his red and white frilly outfit.” Her shoes catch on fire, making her involuntarily dance. “But to be clear….” She’s now trying to put out her shoe by scraping it on a rug. The rug catches fire. Meanwhile, the ostrich has come over and started to peck at her ass, which makes her jump up and down like a maniac. “TO BE CLEAR…!”

 “Yes, Miss Williams? Get to the point, will you?” the accountant completely oblivious.Ignoring the ostrich, Miss Williams frantically looks around for something. She fixes on her boss and her hand starts heading for his head.

“Miss Williams! What on earth are you doing?!”

 She grabs his toupee right off his head and slings it onto the fire. It instantly goes out. “Sorry sir.” She sits back down at the guest side of the accountant’s desk and continues with business.

“A recent accountancy report has estimated — quite conservatively I might add — that Jolly Ole Nick has simply become not just a joke, but in fact an overly commercialized corporate symbol, which benefits nobody but shareholders of every major and minor retailer in the English speaking world…” (as an afterthought) “And, who the hell are they….” (sympathetically) “The fact is, we simply do not have the budget for him anymore.”

“What do you mean, we don’t have the budget for Santa!” begs the accountant who is now bald. “He is paramountly important! He is Saint Nick! He is…”

Miss Johnson reaches over and turns the page, firmly planting her finger at the bottom line.

“He is losing us money. A tremendous amount of money. If we continue funding, it will the biggest waste of funding since…since… (snapping her fingers then pointing) The Myth of Y2K!”

The accountant takes it all in.https://goo.gl/images/exAGNK

“And it would most certainly knock out other tenuous myth programs like Cupid and even the Devil himself. And you don’t want to go down that road again. Remember the last time we tried something like that?”

“Yes, I certainly do. Satan nearly had my job,” he says in total resignation.

“You bet your sweet burning ass,” Miss Williams replies.

The accountant sits back down with a look of resignation. “Where do I sign?”

She points to the bottom of the executive order; Fenster T. Turnworthy signs the document, then dips his seal into sealing wax which he then officially stamps the transaction official. “Uh…Beavis…Tell me, if you would…” He slowly swings around his chair and where Beavis once stood, is merely the smoldering remains of his clothing. “Oh, sorry…”

The Ostrich creeps up behind him and pecks at the accountant’s bald head.

END CHAPTER TWO….

Image result for copyright symbol2018 Steven Alan Green for Larf Magazine

Chapter One of The Myth Council Handbook

Chapter Three of The Myth Council Handbook

The Myth Council Handbook – A novel by Steven Alan Green / Chapter One: “Nigel Reemerges”

“A long time ago, I lived on a place called Earth. Earth was what they used to call ‘a planet,’ though to be perfectly frank, they didn’t ‘plan it’ very well, now did they….”

Professor Nigel P. Arrisson, Cryptocapitalist, Paranotnormalist and Theatre Critical for The London Fogg

The Myth Council Handbook – Chapter One: Nigel Reemerges

The darkest of darkest nothingness.

Cold beyond description. Void of the natural elements which make up fundamental life. Deep space and long and wide time have been and will be here, waiting and watching over us for countless more millennia.

The Milky Way.

A clouded dream of forgotten eons slowly swims into consciousness like a disabled octopus as we accelerate and descend into its sinewy complex tangled web of matter, gravitation, and light: the three basic elements contriving existence.

The Solar System.

An ancient association of planets and gaseous bodies eternally sailing around their worshiped god, the Sun.

Earth.

A dark blue orb seemingly both lost and at home lies within the ellipses and once again remains the question mark of the universe, crying out to its mommy like a lost child in the supermarket.

The atmosphere.

Intense cloud cover acts like an ominous shroud where great angels once stood; but now has all the natural appeal of an abandoned parking lot.

The North American Continent.

Against the relief of the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, the middle land bit of the Western Hemisphere stands like a naked Cherokee holding a flaming torch, posing for an awkward turn of the century carnival photographic selfie.

The American countryside.

Odd patchwork farmland comes to slow life as the sun creeps over the eastern curvature of the horizon, awakening the animals and beasts, while men, women and children dream in their most profound cycle.

Cemetery.

Freshly fallen snow blankets the neatly kept Belleview Cemetery, which lays quietly next to the Belleview Mortuary, a Victorian two-story with rickety windows and in desperate need of a paint job. A crow caws, an owl hoots, a window rattles as a secret wind makes its damming presence known.   In the midst of the eerie tranquility, the blackest of ravens, supremely guided by the moon’s watchful spotlight eye, descends from above, landing confidently on a tombstone.

Prof. Nigel P. Arrisson

Born a long long bleedin’ time ago; “died” March 24, 1939.

I mean, we’ll see.

The raven speaks and when it does, it’s not a raven’s voice at tall. No. It is the Victorian voice of an era way gone. An English chap, perhaps 50, perhaps ageless. And yet, the raven mouths the words perfectly, as they strangely come out and indeed sound human.   As evidenced as you can hear…

“My name is Nigel Arrisson and I am dead and here present today speaking to you through this bird. I perished on March 24, 1939 just outside of Dusseldorf in a horrific biplane accident. My head and torso were tossed on either side of the Hungarian Romanian border. I was too unconscious to remember much after that, other than the sweet angel Gabriel carrying my soul in an intertransdimentional rickshaw up towards the Heavenly Gate, when lo and behold, Beelzebub shot an arrow he nicked from Cupid, piercing our hot air balloon and down I fell straight into the Underworld.   It was a rough weekend to say the least and I decided from then on to pay a little closer attention to the details of existence.

On May 4, 3,256 B.C., it was a Tuesday I believe, I became employed as a junior auditor in training with The Myth Council, a 100,000 year old bureaucracy set up to monitor, tax and regulate myths worldwide. Every myth, from Cupid and the Devil to Lucky Number 7, but also modern myths such as weapons of mass destruction which led to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, to Climate Deniers to those are Nicole Kidman’s real breasts and to the basic notion that the free market democratic society works on behalf of everybody; every single myth – no matter how big or small — is created and monitored and regulated and ultimately taxed. Myths are not something to be merely relegated to ancient and superstitious societies. No. Myths are more alive, more prevalent and more powerful these modern days than ever before. Take for example, the final United States presidential election.

The notion that this billionaire celebrity could lead and in fact inspire the rest of the world by embarrassing his own nation, was a myth created by the billionaire himself. This was unheard of, heretofore; not since Julius Caesar woke up from a drunken orgy proclaiming to be God, had a mortal ever attempted this sort of political tomfoolery. Trump’s presidential victory caused such a row within the halls of The Myth Council, one meeting got so out of hand between the “Reality Right” and the “Leftist Imaginationers”, they had to bring in Hercules as head of security. And, even then, the lug-head sided with the wrong side.

The myth business has something called “A balanced myth,” whereby two opposing myths rise up and sort of bump heads if you will, causing discord and turbulence. Kind of like Jesus and the Devil, luck and science, and of course, gluten free and bacon. Never before has the beacon of civilization been so challenged. For here were myth creators on both sides. On one hand, you have those who believe that the man who ultimately became the final president of America was placed in office by, not just the will of the people, but by, much like Caesar believed, God himself, who I can assure you, cares fuck all about politics. To God, politics is merely mortal man pretending to be God. Politics to God is Cosplay. I’ve gotten drunk with him; I should know. On the other side of the opinion coin, the radical ultra-left intellectual set postulate that America’s last president was simply illegally seated by the head of an enemy state. And, by enemy state; of course, I’m talking about rednecks.

But even the 2016 election was incomparable to what had nearly happened to, well, the universe itself as we know it.   Everything – and I do mean everything – was in various forms of control over the multiple millennia; that was a given. But, then, a very strange and totally unexpected thing occurred. Something so potentially devastating, it actually threatened the very existence of the sacred divide between reality and fantasy, which would certainly of course, implode every single atom ever created.   In fact (not to take credit for it) it was my warning paper on the ever growing fissure in the fabric of existence, which caused sudden consternation within The Myth Council, and rather than taking my warning seriously as they should and funding research in an effort to prevent total universal destruction (as you do) those powerful fools instead decided classify my research itself as a myth, stripped me of my longstanding membership in The Imagination Guild, banished me from the faculty of Valhalla University, as well as making me redundant as Para-not-normal Investigator at The London Fogg. I was forever doomed to babble my proven hypothesis to unknown quantities of lessor educated minds, shall we say, inside of a maximum security mental prision.”

The raven picks at its feathers then shakes and caws, then continues speaking as he strolls through the cemetery.

“Apparently, it was my paper on the secret code of the English language that truly got them upset. It was almost as if I was somehow unwittingly revealing knowledge of a very powerful secret they didn’t want let out into the general reality. My paper, “The English Language Decoded”, not only postulated, but indeed proved, that the English language is not only purposely numbers based, but if properly understood and then applied to the inert laws of existence, Mankind could achieve godlike status and unlimited power. And that meant that everyone’s jobs would be up for grabs; not just mortal men, but gods and goddesses as well. Spiritual temp agencies would find themselves in an economic boon.

The Myth Council was very powerful for multiple millennia. There were a lot of lives and careers and egos at stake. And my hat’s off to them, for it is a tough job to tax and regulate all myths in the world, but to do so efficiently and quietly for a hundred thousand years is really quite the feat to be admired. However, let’s face it. They were too powerful. You see, The Myth Council could in fact not just affect so-called “reality” on Earth and other nearby being-based planets, but indeed change it; and that’s something that someone deep within the council apparently didn’t want to happen for one simple reason. It would make them all redundant. Useless. Think on it. If suddenly there was – let’s say — an app, which allowed every citizen of the final century of The United States of America to automatically, simply and easily get not just food, housing, and transportation immediately for free and forever, but also everything from unlimited coffee to eternal youth and indeed downright superpowers. Well, there would be no need for myths and if there was no need for myths, well, there goes the need for an utterly useless irrelevant bureaucracy. I’m talking about congress, as well as The Myth Council of course.

My troubles started off as sort of a meaningless pastime for me, you know, spending hundreds of years in solitary at the Universal Home for the Criminally Insane and Good Looking got boring.   There’s only so many electroshocks one can truly enjoy before becoming addicted. And, so I doodled. I became obsessed with this notion that the very tool with which humans use to verbally communicate with one another was to them, unconsciously numeric and in fact secretly coded with the basics of the powers of the universe.   The idea, at first, was quite simple. Allow me to simplify this for you as much as immortally possible. So.   If I typed out the following sentence: ‘The red fox jumps over the fence,’ the human mind sees a picture.   A picture of a red fox jumping over a fence. Nothing too mysterious about that. However, if one assigns the proper numeric value to the letters, the words, the phrases, the sentence, it means something entirely different.   The word ‘the’ has a numerical value of zero. That’s because ultimately it’s a meaningless word. The modifier ‘red’ has a numerical value of 12,518 because red is such an emotional word and associated with things like fire trucks, bulls, blood, as well as early stages of syphilis. And, it’s not just words. Phrases have hidden numerical value as well. Full sentences, paragraphs, chapters, book titles, page numbers, punctuation and it goes on and on. Literally like the etymology of the ancient Hebrew language, but on steroids. When it’s all added up – literally added up – you end up with a specific sequenced number. For example, ‘The red fox jumps over the fence’ has a numerical value of 345,678.   And that’s because the use of a second ‘the’ in the same sentence is not a value, it’s an exponential multiplier. And, that sequenced number (345,678) corresponds to The Myth Council Handbook and Operations Guide – Master Edition. For on page 3,456, the seventh line down and eight letters and spaces in, lies the following sentence: ‘God exists but only in church’ and when combined with ‘The red fox jumps over the fence,’ you get: ‘The red fox jumps over God but only in a church with a fence.’ You see? Trust me; it’s important. Ahem… Naively thinking it was just an interesting theory based on a mind boggling mathematical coincidence (as well as an overindulgence of Absinthe) I never intentionally meant to present these wild unformed drunken ideas to the Myth Council. Never. It was accidental. Although, ironically, according to the council, there are no such things as accidents. There is only miscalculation.

You see, when I presented another paper entirely; my paper on the existence of a universal fissure between the parallel universes of reality and fantasy based on a newly discovered growing fault within the universal matrix, well, I had been down the prison pub the night before and my theory on the English language’s secret numerical code, frankly, had been written on a cocktail napkin, which unfortunately, unbeknownst to me, got stuck on the bottom of the stack of papers entitled ‘The Final Fissure’. So, when it came time the next morning to present my paper on the potential disaster relating to the complete unknown parallel universe as we know it, well, I was basically, how do you modern Americans say….oh yeah, ‘fucked without knowing it’. The Grand Master Myth himself was even there. The entire board dismissed me out of hand without explanation, without even hearing my theory, and the next thing I knew, I was stripped of my doctorate and thrown in mental prison for 700 years, where I had quite the long time to think about why they were so upset with me in the first place.   It took me literally 200 plus years, but one day whilst I was drying my washed socks on the steam radiator in my cell in Hades’ underworld, the penny dropped. I finally figured it out,.   The answer was simple. The Myth Council were afraid of something else I had written. It would take me another 100 years plus to finally figure out that it wasn’t my somewhat dire warning of universal destruction in my paper The Final Fissure, but indeed the smeared cocktail napkin containing their heretofore ultimate secret of how the average mortal sentient being could indeed take compete control over their own lives by simply understanding the hidden code of the English language. And, my socks dried magnificently, by the way.

You see, like most ancient bureaucracies, The Myth Council has a myth of its own.   A myth which circulates to this very day.   They believe – and remember, myths are 50% belief and 50% real, they believed that nobody would ever discover there even was a code, let alone crack it. The code, which by definition, was supposedly purposefully hidden in the text of the literal bible and operations manual they use every day at work, was their little joke amongst themselves. The Myth Council Handbook, edition 11, was published and issued to all agents some time just before the Middle Ages, hundreds of years before ‘the invention’ of the printing press.   (Another myth that things are invented.)   In the Handbook of Myth Council Beliefs and Operations, every single myth ever invented is listed, as well as its origin, symbolic meaning upon the society when it began, as well as its powers of creation and destruction. Through the understanding of myths, the council controlled everything from world economies to religion to global warming (the worst plague seen on Earth in over 500 years), as well as the enormous disparity of wealth between the One Percent and everyone fucking else. The Myth Council was and remains the single most powerful governing body in the world and yet, very few people even know of its existence. They don’t have a website.”

The raven flutters up to and alights on top another tombstone.

“Like any out of control bureaucracy, they were and are potentially very dangerous. And, when something so unexpected happened in the world as we know it happened, they just didn’t have a clue how to handle it.  And that thing that happened, happened simply because their system of accounting was flawed and they knew it. Mythical beings are created by the World of Fantasy and Religion Department on the 947th floor of Myth Council HQ in North London. Just up from that very nice new vegan restaurant on Rivington Street. Try their mango salsa. It’s lovely.

As many as one thousand years ago, I had warned the council that will-nilly retirement of myths, and modern myths in particular, could lead to some very serious consequences of epic and worldwide proportion. Then again, they never took anything I told them seriously.   Those fools never realized they were simply playing god. For it begs to conclude that if a myth can come to life, then all evidentiary reason and inductive logic leads to the probability that a myth can also die. And, if a myth, which came to life in fantasy, dies in the real world; well then, you can pretty much kiss your optimistic ass goodbye.”

The ground around the grave starts shaking, the bird is fluttering up and down, trying to keep calm. A great underground earthquake rumble is heard and felt and all of a sudden, dirt starts unearthing itself, steam shoots up in spirals, the entire cemetery turns a monotonic chartreuse, and like a Victorian actor on an old stage elevator, a man rises up and presents himself. First, we see a black silk top hat. Then the dirt covered face of one of the oddest characters to ever enter a library, or a morgue for that matter, late at night. He rises up further, revealing an antiquated black Edwardian tail-coat.   As the man’s spats reveal themselves, he appears to hold a black cane and a great white light from above, a spotlight from the heavens, beams and illuminates Professor Nigel P. Arrisson, Crypto-capitalist, Para-not-normalist and Theatre Critical for The London Fogg. He dusts himself off then extends his cane parallel to a grave. The raven flies and perches itself on the cane.

Ah, sweet bird of flight.   How I longed to be with you on the primal plane.”

Nigel suddenly and swiftly tilts his cane up towards the moon, the raven forced into his open mouth. He gulps, swallowing him whole.

Yum. I was famished!…So, now, my universal flock. Let us being our story of how a troubled American teenage girl finds out she’s really the entire key to the potential destruction of everything as we know it. Let us meet the mysterious one. Let us meet……”

Nigel opens his hands and arms like Jolson meets Jesus and addresses the reader dead on.

“The one and only Mary!”

He instantly vanishes into a flash of smoke and fire, leaving confused field mice to squeak around the bit of scorched earth where he once stood only moments ago.  On the outer reaches of the cemetery lies a lone tombstone, one which seems disenfranchised from the rest. As we inch towards it, the engraving becomes clear. And it is a sad shock:

 Santa Claus

Born: December 24, 1881 –

Died: December 25, 2019

Even though, it hasn’t happened yet and by all previous knowledge, might never happen at all.

END CHAPTER ONE

Image result for copyright symbol2018 Steven Alan Green for Larf Magazine

Chapter Two of The Myth Council Handbook