The Mosque of The Trickle Down Country

    It was another damnable time in the city of Dis, which had earlier been gray and not quite hopeful but maybe pleasant enough. Water was pouring from heaven and I swear the universe was mocking me. A lone yellow galosh sat in the alley that meets Appianway and Nowland. I checked but no blue house paint, no little rough places where it tried to melt. I didn’t know the boot and I did not own its twin. I sighed and turned back to Appianway down a cracked glass laden path, far from Dorthy’s vision. Me and my flip flops continued on.

    I saw the dome first and then I saw the closest spire reaching upwards. As I came closer I remembered that my fair city has no plan. Before the building, was twenty skinny shabby two story row houses and after it twenty more. There was enough copper to make a hobo cry, enough beauty to make anyone weep. In the dreary drenched dark it wasn’t much but at noon with the sun high, it can just catch fire. I walked up the steps and read the sign’s message which was written in 5 languages.

WELCOME TO THE BURNING MOSQUE

PLEASE WASH YOUR FEET BEFORE ENTERING.

    Outside the mosque proper was the washroom. The spigot’s water was ice cold but I took as much muck as I could from off my feet. I swore I would find an easier shoe; one that could be taken off in 10 seconds but would stay on for at least 15. I had said this many times prior but I was still stuck with combat boots and flip flops. It wasn’t easy finding a size 6. The person to my left had nicer better shoes and I thought of trying to trade but all I had was my stun gun and people tend to take that the wrong way. As I entered the mosque proper I left my flip flops next to a pair of running shoes that I made care to notice were only just a smidge too big for me.

    Right inside the door was our makeshift mullah Tony, sitting in an old wooden office chair. He was looking at an ancient National Geographic. He was leafing through pictures, lingering at t.he occasional breast. I know this because I’ve read all those National Geographics stacked next to him. I know where every tit is, every animal, every child with blue eyes and black hair. It gets old after a while.

    On the opposite side, there was a herd of methodists studying their bibles. Each and everyone had a bad case of hobbit feet. All religions are allowed in The Burning Mosque with something between acceptance and tolerance. It doesn’t hurt to be of the book. Also, don’t be drunk. Don’t be currently drinking either. Thought I had a loophole with that one. The only exception I’ve ever been able to pull off was that one Purim and everybody was drunk that time.

    Tony was still looking for a hint of a flask popping out of my raincoat as I walked away. I don’t carry that anymore. I’m in a better place now; I have a house where I store my booze. Walking the streets, your likely to have a flask stolen. Best to keep your bourbon at home, along with a yellow galosh that you kept because that was a boot you knew. A shoe, a bottle and a mattress that’s what a woman needs. Nothing missing, nothing at all.

    It was almost 6:40 and a large room full of people would soon praying right past me, bowing at the door towards where the July star will be. In rainy April, there is only our Sun and the darkness but in July there is a light in the night. It’s faint and far and rarely seen by the naked eye but it’s there. Most people say that way is Mecca. I tend to think more of Minnesota; I miss my house dearly. Still we all must move onwards and I was moving towards the little room past the worshiping protestants..

    There in the middle of the spartan room with a thermos of Jasmine sat Aziz in a green beanbag. If you had never smelled old books before, you might say they smelled like Aziz instead of the other way around. He had acquired the scent after years of handling and retaining all the knowledge he could fit in his thin liver spotted hands. His short flat white hair, gaunt frame, garters and three piece suit conspired to say 80 but his years aren’t our years. If you squint you can still see the faint glimpse of a fire around him. When I first came here I thought the Muslims were shittng me, but his kind are real.

    He looked up at me from a Hammett novel that had seen better days.

    “Amber don’t tell me you’ve become a Hajji. Don’t break my heart.”

    “I just want to go home.”

    He put down the book and sighed.

    “Even if that light in the sky is what you think it is, you’ll never reach it. The damn thing’s red with distance.”

    “I’ve gotta try.”

    “Fine when The Wayfarer starts booking passengers, I’ll tell you.”

    “Thanks.”

    I’m glad I’m not Aziz, I can just be stupid and die. He doesn’t have that luxury. He gets to watch us die and know better the whole while. Stupidly, I went back into the wet city. The skies had cleared and the galosh was gone. Ten feet from that point there was a tulwar with battle wear. Something new had dropped down into my city and I picked it up to bring home.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Carson Margedant
    Apr 14, 2012 @ 13:58:13

    This is barely flash fiction but oh well.

    Reply

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