Thursday, April 2, 2009

Jayne & the Satanists --Chapter 33


On the drive home, I voiced my thoughts to Lex.  “Maybe I could get a book out of this story.  Even if no one believed Ste. Germaine’s story as nonfiction, it wouldn’t matter.  The lunatic fringe would slurp it up, as fact and the relatively sane would find it a compelling tale regardless.  A bit of a world history through one man’s eyes and because of Ste. Germaine’s memory I can avoid the shitloads of research that such a book would normally entail.  What d’ya think, Lex, my man?”

He lay on the passenger seat, for once not rubbernecking the passing sights.  His eyes were half slits, just an occasional glimmer of emerald catching an overhead streetlight.  I thought his reunion with Ste. Germaine must have spawned many thoughts and memories.  They say a cat’s brain is about the size of a walnut, but this cat was doing some heavy thinking —and I was certain there was more to Lex than was contained in the confines of his hide. His tail quivered and whipped back and forth, smacking the dusty upholstery.  Turning to me, he let out a squawk.

“That’s an awful squeak coming from such a big boy,” I said.  He yawned, showing a brilliant pink healthy mouth and needle-sharp fangs.  Then he put his head between his paws and unleashed a loud sigh.  He’d had enough for tonight.  His tail twitched a few more times, then I heard a few preliminary snorts and his chainsaw snores fired up.

When we got home, I carried him out of the car and plopped him onto my bed.  He looked up at me, released a guttural squawk and fell once more into the caress of sleep.


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Next day, Jayne came with me to the library, where we looked up anything we could on the Mandylion.  Most people would not expect it, but Jayne was a bear for research.  Because she was famous for her body and the roles she landed were less than cerebral, she enjoyed any chance to learn about things that would give her something intelligent to think and talk about.  Of course, explaining to Mickey how popcorn works would probably wow that audience for days.

     We were deep in the theology section and Jayne struck gold first.  “Hey, y’know the Mandylion isn’t the only cloth with the face of Jesus.”

“There’s that shroud thing in Italy, right?  Full length, supposed to be his burial shroud that Joseph of Arimathea wrapped Him in as he lay Him in his own tomb.”

“Okay,” she said, dubiously.  “But there’s also this other one of just His face called the Sudarium.  And given what you’ve told me about Ste. Germaine’s run in with Him, I think it might be germane —if you will forgive the pun.”

I rolled my eyes.

“Okay, but this could be important.  At the same station of the cross where Christ stumbled and Ste. Germaine, known as Caraphilus then, yelled at Him to get moving, a woman who came to be known as St. Veronica took pity on Him and stepped up and wiped the grime and sweat and blood off His face.  After she stepped back into the crowd, she noticed that Christ’s face had been imprinted on her handkerchief.  Allegedly, this vera icon or true icon is in the Vatican and is one of three true relics that are brought out at special ceremonies in St. Peter’s.”

“So, this cloth really exists?”

“I don’t know. I’ve heard the Vatican has Jesus’s foreskin.  Do you believe that?”

“That does sound a bit suspect, but then again, they don’t bring that one out like they ostensibly do with the Veronica.”

“If they did, it doesn’t sound like it would be terribly impressive.”

“Don’t talk like that. It’s ... sacreligious or something....”


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The research corroborated Ste. Germaine’s story.  The Mandylion had disappeared in a raid of cursaders on Constantinople.  When Jayne and I broke for coffee, we tried to suss out Ste. Germaine’s story.  If this Hoxhok character was so stoked on being a North American native wizard, why would he get involved in something from the ancient Middle East.

“Well,” said Jayne, “I think it all has to do with the Easter period.  Y’see, Mormons believe that after Christ died on the cross and when he was resurrected, he was seen in North America by native people and that this knowledge was given to the church founder John Smith and that he then received the Book of Mormon and formed the Church of Latter Day Saints based on Jesus’s brief visit.”

“How do you know this stuff?”

She tapped her temple and grinned.  “Kidneys, man, kidneys.”

“So you think Hoxhok can increase his power here in the New World by accumulating Old World talismans that relate to the period between the crucifiction and the resurrection.”

“From what you’ve told me, Ste. Germaine was rattled.  I don’t take him for the needlessly nervous type.  So, yeah, that’s what I think.  He’s worried that someone —Hoxhok— is going to accumulate a psychic power that we haven’t seen in a couple thousand years.”




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