We Did Not Ask To Be Worshipped

The Last Titan[an excerpt from The Last Titan]

“We did not ask to be worshipped,” says Hephaestus.

“Nor should you,” says Marla, “since you haven’t done a damn thing to solve any of the world’s problems. AIDS, poverty, food factories churning out GMOs and poisons, slavery, the Holocaust, global warming, wars, cancer –”

“Why doesn’t your god do it? He has more power than we do.”

“He’s not my god.”

“Mine either. Who are you to judge me?”

“Gods should always be judged.”

“This is true.” He pauses. “But we’re not gods. We crashed here. We didn’t ask to be worshipped. We do what we can, but you ask too much of us. We can’t stop people from being greedy or stupid. We can’t force you to care for your sick and elderly, we can’t create jobs, we can’t make Sisyphus push a rock up and down a mountain for eternity. We’ve got a few more skills than you do and we remember more than you do, so we’re a little more effective when we set our minds to something. That’s what we work with. That’s it.”

“Shit. Sorry. Shit.”

“This is why I don’t tell people who I am. This clinging needy dependency problem you people have. You invent an all-knowing all-powerful deity who can do or make anything he wants, and then you think you can bribe him with prayers and sacrifices and gifts that he made in the first place. You can’t bribe gods, and we’re not even gods. One thing your people have in common with mine is that you’re all a big pain in the ass.”

Marla sits in stunned silence for a moment before speaking. “Wow. You can get angry.”

“Not often.”

“I’m glad to hear it.” She shakes her head. “Dependency, you say. Did you ever ask anybody for help? If you don’t, you create this ugly cycle where you’re always rushing in like a savior and then resenting it. It was nice of you to ask me to move a TV, but it didn’t come easily to you, did it? When you ask others for help, you give them the opportunity to feel valued. Maybe the problem isn’t with us, it’s with you.”

“Are you talking about someone you know?” Hephaestus asks.

After a long moment, she nods. “Fair enough. So, are we spending all day together?”

“That’s my plan.”

“In that case, I’ll harangue you more later.”

[I needed four years to complete The Last Titan. This is why I became a novelist, over 40 years ago, to write this book.]

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Being a Superhero Again

The Last TitanBefore you can write a story, you have to be so comfortable with each of your characters that you can slip into his or her skin and become that character, both in your mind and in your heart. Like acting, except that you don’t have to act.

So I’ve spent the past few years being a 6000-year-old gay hermaphrodite space alien.

Well, actually, several of them. Since I was driving and listening to Devo, I was obviously Cronus. Devo and Cronus always go together. Even Blind Homer could see that.

If I’d been on my bicycle I’d have been Hephaestus. I’ll spare you the other Titans for now. Along with an explanation of why I called Hephaestus a Titan.

I was putting some cat food in the car when I heard angry hostile violent shouts. And like Cronus, I just dropped my stuff and rushed over to the scene of the crime, ready to break it up.

Turns out it was some guys watching TV outside the sports bar when Cam Newton (Carolina Panthers’ QB) threw an interception. They were raging at the game, not at each other.

Bye, Cronus. Hello, Michael. What a relief. Fifteen angry youths might be a bit much for me.

Then I remembered that my blistered feet were hurting. I’d forgotten those in the adrenaline. I blistered them trying to hike like Cronus. He’s homeless by choice, so he walks a lot.

My next stop was to walk a dog. Part of my new part-time job. I never followed my own dogs with plastic bags because we lived in the country. (Shout out to Watha and Burgaw.) But in the city, I pick up the poop.

The second poop wasn’t even from my dog. It was much too large. She just had to sniff until I picked it up. It was probably from a very large dog, because we don’t have homeless people in this part of town.

Is that too much information?

I suppose that was my inner Hephaestus picking up the poop. Cronus would’ve just laughed at the shit.

Loki would’ve picked it up, set the bag on fire, and left it on your front porch, but I’ll save him for another post.

[I needed four years to complete The Last Titan. This is why I became a novelist, over 40 years ago, to write this book. Now it’s published and I’m still living in these characters’ skins.]

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Ignatius Reilly Returns – Part III

The Last Titan

[Ignatius Reilly is only a minor character in The Last Titan, but he sure was fun to write about.]

Nobody in the New Orleans Police Department recognizes the man. They saw him yesterday, but he looked much different then.

Yesterday, he parked a hot dog cart on the sidewalk of a nearby intersection, and the sign upon its prow promised 12 inches of paradise. He hurled invective at any and all who offended him with slights real or imagined. He roared. He thundered.

“The day before me is fraught with God knows what horrors.”

“Don’t talk to me, you degenerate. Go play with your little friends. I am certain that the Quarter is crawling with them.”

“It is painfully obvious that your psyche is only capable of dealing with water in an oral context. Fortunately my mustache filters out much of the stench, but not enough, unfortunately.”

“Canned food is a perversion. I suspect that it is ultimately very damaging to the soul. I never eat canned food. I did once, and I could feel my intestines starting to atrophy.”

“Will you please stop shrieking like a fishmonger and run along?”

“I am appalled that so meaningless a person would dare such effrontery.”

“I decree that you be hung by your underdeveloped testicles until dead.”

At some point, police officers were dispatched to encourage his departure from the premises.

“In a city famous for its gamblers, prostitutes, exhibitionists, anti-Christs, alcoholics, sodomites, drug addicts, fetishists, onanists, pornographers, frauds, jades, litterbugs, lesbians, and pederasts, why must the police department choose instead to harass a simple hot dog vendor?”

“If anyone was ever minding his business, it was I.”

“Like a bitch in heat, I seem to attract a coterie of policemen and sanitation officials. The world will someday get me on some ludicrous pretext; I simply await the day that they drag me to some air-conditioned dungeon and leave me there beneath the soundproofed ceiling to pay the price for scorning all that they hold dear within their little latex hearts.”

“In my private apocalypse you will be impaled upon your own nightstick.”

“I shall probably be found in some gutter, icicles dangling from all of my orifices, alley cats pawing over me to draw the warmth from my last breath.”

“I may bloat.”

“I believe I shall be violently ill.”

“I think I’m having a heart murmur.”

“I think I’m going to have a hemorrhage.”

“My valve is slamming shut!”

“My nerves!”

If they recognized the source of Ignatius’s material, they didn’t indicate it. They simply sent him on his way.

But not before Loki had learned the names, faces, and ranks of several New Orleans police officers. And some gossip that was more amusing than useful.

Today, however, Loki is a dapper young man in a sharp suit with brown eyes and graying executive-style hair. He projects confidence and authority. He’s quite trim. Were it not for the badge on its lanyard identifying him as a special inspector, he might be mistaken for a male model.

Loki sees a midget waiting at the receptionist’s desk and says, “Someone will be with you shortly.”

Loki is the last person to enter the elevator. He is also by far the best dressed.

Between the second and third floors, the elevator stops. Loki unleashes a long, echoing, trumpet blast of a fart. It is inhuman in both its duration and its stench. Then he bursts into laughter for 17 seconds. When he is finished, the elevator resumes moving again.

When the doors open, Loki is alone in the elevator.

Smiling, he presses a button and goes to the floor he wants.

[I needed four years to complete The Last Titan. This is why I became a novelist, over 40 years ago, to write this book.]

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Human or Alien?

The Last Titan[an excerpt from The Last Titan]

Hephaestus stops the truck at a stop sign, gazes at Marla’s face long enough to make her uncomfortable, and turns away to resume driving. “You do not truly believe I was da Vinci. You are making a joke.”

“I am. Blame the Vitruvian Guitar Hero you bought yesterday.”

“I am simply redecorating.”

“Cool. But many conspiracy theorists like to believe that the most brilliant humans in our history were in fact aliens. Buddha, Jesus, Bach, Edison, Shakespeare. Why not da Vinci?”

“You know a lot about him.”

She shrugs. “Not really. While you were painting this truck last night, I was on Wikipedia.”

Hephaestus almost smiles. “If you think the best minds can’t be human, that you’re being watched over by benevolent aliens, that’s just another religion, isn’t it?”

“It is. Maybe we get bored with the old ones.”

[I needed four years to complete The Last Titan. This is why I became a novelist, over 40 years ago, to write this book.]

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Words of Wisdom from The Last Titan

The Last TitanDead men don’t take selfies.

A connoisseur might complain that the Scotch wasn’t very good, but it all gets you to the same place in the end, so I take my oblivion on a budget.

Let’s make like a hockey player and get the puck out of here.

A gun in the hand is better than a cop on the phone.

Mysticism is the citadel of the perpetually puzzled.

You don’t have to be a Titan to do good in the world…. But sometimes it helps.

It’s hard to be myself when I don’t know who myself is.

Hephaestus is my co-pilot.

I have a question for you. When you were a little boy, is this the man you dreamed of becoming?

Do you like cats? Some people don’t. I think it’s because cats are the animal most likely to say fuck you.

He says it’s for the same reason that anybody does anything in this life. To fill the emptiness.

…his idea of help from above is a sniper on the roof.

When the poor man lives off scraps from the rich man’s table, the Republicans say the best way to help the poor man is to give the rich man more food.

Loki sees a midget waiting at the receptionist’s desk and says, “Someone will be with you shortly.”

Maybe your poor misunderstood backstreet Romeo doesn’t have Asperger’s. Maybe that’s a lie he tells people because he’s really just a dick.

Titans are omnisexual.

Funny how much we all suffer trying to spare others a bit of pain.

I’m just a homo without a sapiens.

A decapitated head will live, on average, fifteen minutes, and I’ve always been above average.

My name is Hades, I drive a Mercedes, twice as big as Slim Shady’s.

It’s easier to help strangers. You don’t know them well enough to realize they’re assholes.

Schopenhauer wrote that to desire immortality is to desire the eternal perpetuation of a great mistake. He was correct.

“After all these years, does anything still scare you?”
“A semi with a student driver.”

The only siblings in the pantheon were Apollo and Artemis, and the Greeks weren’t sure how to deal with them….Twincest…..Even Homer turned a blind eye to that.

I’ve been working on something that merges rap with classical…. I call it Baby’s Got Bach.

Roland Lee wouldn’t mind being bullied if it didn’t take so much time. Drive-by bullying would be fine, but nobody does that.

But if perchance you feel guilty for something you did, number one you’re an idiot, and number two you can offset it with a nice long string of good clean living.

The greasy spoon of old is dead and gone, killed and buried when nobody was looking.

I’d rather have camel toe than monkey butt.

Some people think I’m a private eye. Others just think I’m a dick.

[He] thinks Sherlock Holmes is a housing project off Greenfield.

I’ve been worrying about dementia and Alzheimer’s lately but maybe I should just forget about it.

Once I was King of the Titans. Now I need a MedicAlert bracelet and a subscription to the Safe Return program. Can you put out a Silver Alert on a god? I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.

At my age, every day that I overcome simple inertia is a victory.

Gods should always be judged.

Do no harm isn’t just for the medical profession.

[I needed four years to complete The Last Titan. This is why I became a novelist, over 40 years ago, to write this book.]

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