|* photo credit - Brian Hassett|
Bruce and Bob and I are eating chicken gumbo on the porch when Leonard Cohen shows up with his lawn chair.
Me: Like some gumbo?
Cohen: I'm still a vegetarian.
Me: How about some chilled asparagus soup?
Cohen: That sounds splendid on this ninety degree day.
Bruce: This gumbo will make you sweat.
Dylan: It’s got some kick alright.
I come back with the soup and another bottle of Aldi’s three dollar chardonnay.
Me: Where's the rest of the gang?
Cohen: They all have other business today.
Me: What kind of business?
Cohen: I don't know. I try to mind my own, but generally good deeds, getting cats out of trees, keeping kids out of the street. We get assignments.
Dylan: Who gives you these assignments?
Cohen: Well, there is rumored to be a supreme being, though nobody I know has seen this character. We just look at the bulletin board and see what's on for today.
Dylan: Bulletin board?
Cohen: Yes, in the musicians guild dining hall. You see when one crosses over Jordan, as they say, buys the farm, bites the dust, you join a guild. The jobs you get depend on your guild and rank. That's why I'm sort of the spokesman for the triangle band.
Bruce: How do you outrank Bowie, for example. He died before you, Not to mention Elvis.
Cohen: Well it's not all seniority. I got something like advanced placement. Elvis still doesn't get solo assignments. He needs adult supervision. I think Petty's minding him today.
Bruce: So you're on assignment now?
Cohen: No this is a magic triangle. Magic triangles are something like vacations for angels. There was a big sign up sheet for this one. I got in by rank but the rest got in by lottery. On assignment, except in rare cases, we do not interact with the living--and get to eat things like this delicious soup.
Me: Wait a minute, you’re angels?
Cohen: What did you think?
Bruce: We kind of just thought you were dead musicians.
Cohen: We are in fact dead musicians, but we are also angels.
Bruce: How many ranks are there?
Cohen: You know my song,” Tower of Song? “I said to Hank Williams how lonely does it get? /Hank Williams hasn't answered yet /But I hear him coughing all night long/ a hundred floors above me in the Tower of Song.” I think it's something like that. The short answer is I haven't figured it out yet.
I was honored recently to be chosen by Mahatma Gandhi to assist him on an assignment. God that man's got a dry sense of humor.
Me: What was the assignment?
Cohen: Your president has been separating children from their parents at the southern border. We were sent to address that situation.
Me: What did you do?
Cohen: We sort of inspired, you might say, a few leaks to the New York Times.
Now about this Graceland trip, I'm thinking autumn. Memphis is really hot in the summer.
Me: Yeah and in fall kids will be back in school.
Cohen: Okay, I'll check our schedules and get back with you. Now I've got other things to attend to today. Thanks for the soup and wine.
Me: Don't mention it.
Bruce: Wait, before you go I'd like to ask you something. If y'all get these these assignments how come children still get run over every day?
Dylan: Not to mention genocide.
Cohen: Ah, that is the eternal question,the problem of evil.
Well, the folly of mankind is a lot for a band of angels to keep abreast off, but it's basically bad management.
Bruce: The supreme being?
Cohen: Yes. It's apparent he, she or it has been in over his, her or its head from the beginning. We imagine somebody upstairs with a ouija board, rolling dice and pulling names out of a hat. We can discuss this further next time. Goodbye friends.