The Church of the Whole

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Wolf Longspring


The camera wavers unsteadily and thumping can be heard before the picture finally resolves itself:  the deck of an old barge in a steep and secluded cove somewhere in Hathian.  It is night and blinking stars can be seen overhead.  A ratty sofa sits behind a table made from boards and cinder blocks upon which can be found a bottle of blue Gatorade,  a pair of candles for light and an ashtray filled with roaches.  One still burns, a blue plume of smoke curling into the evening sky.  The chirping of crickets and the drumbeat of frogs the only sound save for the clomping of feet as Wolf Longspring takes a seat before the camera.  He plops onto the sofa, eyes red and mere slits, a goofy and nervous grin on his fair, open face.  A broad hand adjusts the camera slightly and he's ready to address it.

"Sup dudes.  People are talkin' 'bout themselves so I figured I'd do it too...they're writin' theirs, though, and writin' ain't my strong suit so I figure I'd just record it.  I might not put it in."  Wolf's sea blue eyes cast to the deck, a size 15 shoe thumping nervously.  "Its kinda personal shit, right?  I don't know if I want people knowin' it yet."  A sigh and a swig from his Gatorade and Wolf peers into the camera.  "Its 'bout religion, right?  I got a friend that's gettin' totally religious.  Church and shit?  But he got it all wrong."  Wolf's voice hushes low, leaning into the camera.  "I know the only true religion.  It's the Church of the Whole.  I'm gonna tell ya 'bout it, but don't go spreadin' this shit around, 'kay?  Like I said.  It's personal."

Wolf hunts through the ashtray for the still burning blunt, pinching it in his cheesestick fingers and bringing it to his lips, sucking hard so that the roach burns right down and a jet of smoke is drawn through his fish-lips.  "Ow, motherfucker," he grumbles as his fingers are singed, dropping the roach back into the ashtray.  It's a roach grave yard in there.

"Okay, here goes.  Ya know how everythin' started, right?  The Big Bang.  A big fuckin' explosion that made everythin' go.  But before the Big Bang,  everythin' was just this little point, small and perfect - and I mean and me and the fuck that stabbed ya last week and that fuck's Ma, and everythin' you can see and even the stuff you can't fuckin' see, man.  All of it  - small and perfect and all together where there's no space and no time, man.  Think about that -- no fuckin' time!"  Wolf nods a few times, grinning, seeming to contemplate the idea of timelessness.

"And then, BOOOM!"  Wolf's gangly arms spread suddenly, his voice rolling across the water of the cove making the frogs fall silent.  "The whole thing just fuckin' explodes, blowing up that perfectness and sending it everywhere!  That's where we are now...the Age of the Mess, where everythin' is flyin' all over and shit happens."  Wolf's broad face nears the camera, his voice quieter again.  "Now you'd think that, 'cause there was no time in the Whole, nobody would remember being there.  But we do, man.  It's built into us - the memory of the Whole when we were perfect and all together - built right into our bones and our hearts and our goddam souls, dude.  So now, we feel all lonely and wrong 'cause we miss the Whole, even if we don't know it.  And we're all like 'I'll get a girlfriend, or a husband or a fuck buddy or a goddam dog and I won't feel that way no more.'  And that might work for a while, dude, but never forever.  So then we're all like 'I'll get religion, dude, 'cause then god will love me and i won't feel so lonely and wrong'.  But that ain't gonna do it neither.  We want the Whole, man.  We want to be in the fuckin' Whole."

A swig from his Gatorade and Wolf gathers his thoughts before going on.  "But here's the good news. The Universe wants us all ta be t'gether in the Whole so bad that it works ta make that happen.  There's five things tryin' ta bring us all back t'gether," Wolf holds up a thick hand with five calloused fingers extended to count off.  "The first is Commerce.  That's just one thing tradin' with another...two asteroids hit, and they trade speed fer direction - the cells in yer lungs trade oxygen fer that shit the plants breathe.  You scratch my back, I scratch yers.  Commerce is all around ya, makin' us work t'gether."  Once finger goes down.  "The second is Blood.  It binds families t'gether, but more than that.  If someone shoots ya 'er stabs ya, yer bound t'gether by the Blood that was spilled.  Blood can be ugly, but its strong," Wolf says with a quiet discomfort, slowly removing a second finger.  "Then there's Serendipity.  She sometimes causes shit, but if its real Serendipity, it'll bring shit t'gether in the end.  She's crazy," Wolf giggles, then eyes the camera seriously, whispering, "Sometimes I can see her."

Another finger goes down, the index and thumb remaining.  "Fourth is Love.  That's the best one.  That's what yer built ta  Ya just gotta give it away 'cause that's the only thing it's good fer.  Ya can't keep it.   Ya can't save it up.  And ya can't force someone ta take it...but that shouldn't stop ya from offerin' it.  Give away as much as ya can - there's always more."  Wolf's thick thumb disappears into his palm.

"And the last one is Gravity.  That's the big picture one.  It don't matter so much down here on earth where we just use it ta keep our feet on the ground.  But one day, all the stars will burn out, and there'll be no shit left to make more stars and the whole fuckin' universe will go dark.  Then the Age of the Whole will begin, man.  And Gravity will - a shepherd - gather everything back up and make us perfect and together again.  We're goin' HOME dudes."

Wolf suddenly stands, his voice deepening, gaining resonance like a white, skinny, Martin Luther King Jr. "And on that day, ALL the Whole's children; black dudes and white dudes, angels and assholes, potheads and squares will join together and sing 'home at last, home at last, thank the Whole Almighty we're home at last!!'"  He falls back into his chair, flushed and glowing and with a lopsided smile that says 'aren't I clever to have figured out the meaning of life, and at such a young age too!  "I can't wait," Wolf breathes softly, his eyes misting before looking back to the camera, realizing that people will be watching this.  A rush of indecision flickers over his face in the candle light.  "Fuck this shit...I changed my mind," he mutters before a broad hand envelopes the camera and the screen goes black.

January 11, 2018 at 1:49 am
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