29 May 2019

[Ellis Millsaps] - The Porch: Chapter Six, In Which Things Celestial Are Revealed


Image result for bruce and bob
* photo credit - Brian Hassett
Chapter 6

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.



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