The Majency Oracle #72: Amphibian. Allegory.

I glowered at the great, sprawling toad. It stood — sat — it sagged in an unpleasant heap two feet tall at the top of it’s bulging eyes, and spread to cover nearly half the rug when it rested, its abdomen flacidly drifting to all sides. It boasted an irridescence of unwholesome qualities, a certain foul odor that put one in mind of the word “brackish”, and a heritage in academe.

“I am,” he noted with some satisfaction, “the best educated toad you will encounter.” I did not look the toad in its turret-mounted eyes. I was keeping myself calm, and discourse with toads was not going to help that. After a pointed silence, the toad moved to fill the gap. “And, of course, it goes without saying that I’ve all the finest tools for flexibility and endurance that nature, in her wisdom, could provide.”

“I’m very pleased for you.” I did not quite snap the words.

“I’ve powerful legs and jaw muscles, you know. Quite an advanced brain for those of the Bufonidae persuasion. I can travel, thrive on a variety of diets ….”

I grunted. The toad, unfortunately, took this for some sort of applause. He scrambled closer in that loose way that toads have, that almost no other creature does, nor wants to have. The smell of tainted water intensified.

“…Far superior to frogs, of course. Better water retention, more protective skins, greater scope in where we can live, what we can do….” He trailed off under my gaze. It wasn’t exactly a whithering gaze, but it was certainly unkind. It looked apologetic. I didn’t.

“Really. I’m very pleased for you. Now, if I could concentrate…?”

“Oh. Certainly. I didn’t mean to ….” If toads could shrug, this one would have. It shuffled its front feet uncertainly. I scowled at the screen on my computer some more. “You know, if there’s a way I can help, I’d — I mean, smart, quick, enduring, observant, flexible –” I cut the toad off by throwing my wineglass across the room.

“Can you install software?”

“– I am well educated –”

“Can you make the bleeding software work?”

“– but more in the line of literature and the paths of the human spirit.”

“You can’t,” I gritted. “Can you?”


“Well neither can I, all right? So what good is all that education and evolution?” There was another long silence during which I loomed menacingly over the toad. The toad ran a gray tongue around the left side of its mouth.

“I can produce serontonin from my parotoid glands — my warts, if you will. Maybe if you gave me a lick you could relax a little — ?”

Crossposted from Epinephrine & Sophistry

Maybe the Coyote medicine /does/ lift me in its paw

I was thinking of my dream the other night. Coyote looked very like Skinner in the X-Files; fit, kind eyes (even when serious), and shaven bald. He was dressed in dark slacks and a white dress shirt, short sleeved or rolled up sleeves. Daddy was bald in the last years of his life. Something clicked, there.

When I think of the stories of my youth, I think in terms of clever bits, funny bits, tricksy bits. I think of capture the flag, a game I loved and always lost, because I always concentrated on jailbreaks instead of winning the game. I think of basic training, where my greatest joy came from abusing position to convince three platoons to move the meal line into the woods in a sort of mobius band queue, so my platoon could eat first. I think of getting my son a waitress’ attention for the evening by telling her he had just been sprung from parochial school.

I think of stories of my father. Cheating at pinnochal by passing cards with his feet. Spiking fruit and eating it in school lunches. Stealing the bugle and waking the camp an hour early, just for a lark.

I think of my uncle, who wrote a school assignment applying for work as a label licker in a Tijuana cigarette factory, who rigged the doorbell to a pressure switch on my parent’s wedding bed….

I am a trickster descended of a family of tricksters (harmless, no, beneficial, all of us, warm hearted and well meaning and all of us do good for everyone). And I’m telling the stories. I’m creating the myths.

And I’m dreaming of Coyote.

Tricksters are never content to merely ‘get away’ with it. We have to have everyone know just how clever we were when we did it. The stories are always about us, even when we talk about someone else. When you laugh with wonder at our cleverness or with delight at our appalling foolishness, we are right there, in your mind and in your heart and in you. Every giggle is a hug, every laugh a cuddle, and when we hear our story told by someone else, that’s a kiss.

Coyote was not just a trickster, he was a storyteller, and he was a storyteller first.

That’s what he was telling me the other night. There might be more, but that was the serious, careful briefing. Be clever. Tell stories about it. Skip reality, tell truth, let the world love you so you can grow more clever yet, and tell more stories.

That’s a big part. Of something.


The Coyote Medicine Raises Me In Its Paw

I am not, in general, given to dreams of spritual depth and profundity, but I woke two days ago with a disturbing, ah, experience still with me. Neither the the experience nor the deep unsettle have gone away. Hopefully, writing will either expand or exorcise my awareness. Anyway.

Old Man Coyote is a 50ish urban professional, dressed in shirt sleeves and slacks, with a tidy haircut and quiet glasses. He is sitting with me in an technical, professional setting, someplace in the upper levels of engineering; long tables in the public areas, people moving about with quiet competence as they go about tasks that are not immediately recognizeable, like people at a Nasa mission control arena. In fact, that is the flavor, but no mission could be in progress right now; there is no quiet tension. He has a pad of engineering graph paper between us and is marking on it with a mechanical pencil, drawing diagrams, jotting notes, connecting concepts, all in a very careful fashion. We are working on important stuff, here, and I get a sense that I am being briefed for something. I know that it is Coyote talking to me, but I also know that, for this instance only, things are just what they seem and I am not being taken for a ride. There is no trap, nothing…ah. It is safe, here and now, maybe the only time ever, to accept what Coyote is telling me at face value.

This briefing went on for a long time. I can remember episodes of the discussion, questioning periods, revisiting key concepts…but I can’t tell you anything about what was said. It’s as if the soundtrack was erased from my memory of the dream. And, all the while, there are these mysterious functionaries moving around us, carrying clipboards or manuscripts or boxes of supplies, all doing something that I feel is related to what I was being briefed on.

That’s it. No great plays of colors and light, no wonderous vision, not even a bug-eyed monster to chase me through hallways that stretch forever while I run myself to hypoxia without gaining any ground. Nothing. I think the things that trouble me about this dream is there was nothing to be distrubed about, here…and, if I’m to have some spiritual experience, Coyote is perhaps not the easiest path to be taking.

I mean, Coyote is more or less the patron god of learning things the hard way…or failing to learn things the hard way.

The Dreaming Invades, Part III

I was thinking about the drunk, considering the idiot in the truck, and pulling out of the parking lot to seek lunch. I pondered correspondence and absently pressed the winshield-washer to clear the dust and pollen; the past couple of days had been clear and very dry, raising the particles that float about. Today was dry, warm, overcast high clouds.

I entertained my thoughts, watched the water sweep from the windshield, a few drops splashing over the edge of the wiper, sweeping away, fewer drops…sweep away … more drops.

It began to rain.

All right. I am not going to read anything into this. I’m not. But I want to talk with whoever is writing my script.

The Dreaming Invades, Part II

On the way to work this morning, I shared the odd tale of the early morning’s doings. I had finished with the basics of the story, and was observing, “I feel as if I haven’t so much kept a drunk from killing herself, as kept someone from feeling badly for killing her –”

As I was speaking, we were driving on a narrow, winding bit of road. A large truck two vehicles behind me chose to pull into the oncoming lane to pass all of us as an oncoming car came over the rise. A quick bit of differential calculus showed the truck was going to have some issues that would result in a need for new grillwork or me being shoved into a ditch. I interrupted myself with, “– stupid son of a bitch!” and slammed the brakes as firmly as I could without piling up the car behind me. The errant truck had room to pull in front of me just as the opposing car shot past us; like, “vroom-swish”.

We all breathed for a bit, just to demonstrate that we still could.

“This,” I said, “is obviously my day for saving idiots from killing themselves with other people.”