Chapter 22: Miracle Tales
I return to Akron and take Enkidu aside. “How is it going?”
“Wondrously,” Enkidu replies. “I never would have thought it but that Gil is such a seductive salesman that he can convince almost anyone that he is woofing up the incorrect combination of gymnosperms and angiosperms.”
“Glad to hear it because we’ve got to get Gil moving.”
The next day Gilgamesh sallied forth and began to perform miracles, Enkidu always at his side.
First, Gil went to Canaan, Ohio and supervised a wedding reception where he turned all the wine into water.
Then he joined a huge congregation of esurient Missouri Baptists and transformed five thousand loaves and fishes into five savory subway sandwiches.
At Galilee Lake in Ashland County, Wisconsin he walked under water for twenty-four miles.
And, as you know, dearest Margarita, in Brooklyn Gil waved a hand over the perfectly healthy Mel Lazarus, causing him to die on the spot.
Needless to say, Gil’s activities received plenteous press, most of it positive (although the Lazarus family quickly brought a civil wrongful death suit against him.)
Right-wing Christians, led by the Reverend Bagwell P. Wilcoxon, decried Gil as the Anti-Christ.
Nonetheless, national polls indicated that 79% of Americans were favorably impressed by him. Most respondents proclaimed they would be more than happy to hire Gil as a part-time shepherd.
In the midst of this national Gilgamesh frenzy I choose to summon up two shades of past people. Shade summoning is subtle. We don’t actually evoke the persons themselves but rather their spirits.
Oddly enough, we can only summon up the shades of assholes.
Much as I would like to meet up again with Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad, or Lao Ts’u or meet for the first time with Lincoln, Gandhi, or Martin Luther King neither I or even Lucifer can do so.
It is therefore with careful consideration that I contemplate the appropriate pricks to assist Gil in destabilizing the American Empire.
Thus Savonarola and Robespierre.
Both powerful ideologues, both oddly puritanical, both revolutionary for their times, one purely religious, the other stoutly secular.
I quickly summon both and place them into human hosts. Savonoraloa insinuates into Hartford Hines, a slick televangelist who makes his living from donations offered by the gullible and the dispossessed. Needless to say, Savonorola’s shade will soon change that.
Robespierre infiltrates Josephus X, an enormously charismatic black preacher cum politician noted primarily for his ability to stir the African-American masses and then compromise with the powers that be behind closed doors. But once lodged in X’s ganglia the spirit of Robespierre requires him permanently to eschew compromise.
Mesmerizing crowds of Americans in person and millions more on TV and the Internet, the altered personas of Hartford Hines and Josephus X help mobilize millions to adopt the Reformed Paganism proselytized so persuasively by Gilgamesh who, on the next available Russian Easter Sunday, implies that he is the reincarnated Apollonius of Tyana.
Gil’s sacerdotal send-up plays against a background of increasing international tension as President Presserwesser bellows bellicosity at the rest of the world.
Palamides materializes before me with an urgent message from all of the National Devils, to wit: “How soon will I rid the world of this dickhead?”
“Soon,” I assure him.