Monday, November 14, 2011
God and Man (for lack of a better word)
The room was noisy and dimly lit. It stank of liquor, mammals, and the desperation of mortality. In short, it mirrored the world Itzcoatl now found himself in. He’d awakened from centuries of slumber to become the ruler of this?
Why fight it? The state of the world, and this place in particular, suited his current mood perfectly.
He bellowed for more grog. The mammalian servant brought him a tankard and was wise enough to leave him in peace.
Itzcoatl scowled at the sweaty shifters spasming across the dance floor in time to the pounding music. He ought to rip a few hearts from their rib cages. Or swallow some raucous drinker whole. Perhaps that would cheer him.
What was the use, though? This world was overrun with the smelly little pests, like maggots on a corpse. If he chose to conquer it, what exactly would he be getting?
He downed half his drink at a gulp and glowered at the dancers on stage. One was a snake. Such a one should be preparing to serve as his priestess under the new regime – or priest, he amended, as his senses saw beyond the pink wig and padded dress. Instead he writhed for the amusement of drunken mammals in a bar. Perhaps, Itzcoatl mused, he ought to simply destroy this entire world now and be done with it.
The dance, and the loud, awful music, finally ended. The dancers hopped off-stage to mingle with the customers. The snake slithered in his direction.
Just shy of the table, he stopped. His eyes grew huge. The pink wig slipped askew, so quickly did he drop to his knees. “Dios mio!”
“I’m no one’s god,” Itzcoatl rumbled. “Not in this mammal-blighted world.” Still, the touch of proper worship – finally! – brightened his mood somewhat. He slapped the back of the chair beside him. “Come, sit.”
The snake scrambled onto the chair and desperately tugged his dress into a semblance of decorum. Its high-riding hemline made such an effort futile. “Excuse the outfit. We don’t get many gods in here. Hell, we don’t get any gods in here. You know I’m a guy, right?”
Itzcoatl nodded. “In ages past, your kind were revered as seers and prophets.”
“I’m not much in the seer department. That’s Gypsy’s thing. I just like to dress up. If I’d known you were coming I’d have set up an altar. I’ve got one at home, for Quetzalcoatl. Mice and everything.”
A faint smile, his first in hours, touched Itzcoatl’s lips. “You eat the mice yourself, I assume.”
“Well, the Feathered Serpent doesn’t seem to want them. Shame to let them go to waste.” The snake coiled his body more comfortably on the chair and patted his wig back into place. “At any rate, you’ve come to the right town. Talbot’s Peak is a magnet for the weird. There’s only one reason a god would come to Dante’s. You got woman problems.”
“The affairs of gods are none of your concern.”
The snake continued to watch him with his smug, unblinking stare. Itzcoatl glowered back. They stalemated. The Obsidian Serpent relented first. “She is my mate,” he growled. “She carries the blood of the Feathered Serpent. We are destined for each other. Yet when I tried to claim her, she refused me.”
“Claim her, as in … ?”
Itzcoatl’s glare chilled the ambient temperature by at least twenty degrees. The snake nodded. “Yeah, that’s what I thought. I take it you’ve been away from the world for a while.”
“Women long for a strong hand to master them. The world could not have gone so far awry in my brief time asleep.”
“Kicked you in the hidden assests, did she?” The snake grinned at Itzcoatl’s startled stare. “Thought so. Just because I don’t sleep with women doesn’t mean I don’t knoq them. Your intended’s a daughter of the Feathered Serpent, verdad? That makes her a goddess in her own right. No snake goddess worth her scales is going to go down without a fight. Would you really want one who did?”
This gave Itzcoatl pause. The notion had not occurred to him. Of course his Suzy was a warrior, as were all children of Quetzalcoatl. The urge to battle coursed through their veins. “I see now. It’s a fight she wants. It will make her ultimate surrender all the sweeter.”
“Whoa! Hold up there, my divine amigo. There’s fights, and then there’s fights. We’re not like the furries. We don’t need to resort to anything as gauche as brute force, do we?”
“No. We do not.” Slowly Itzcoatl smiled. The snake in the dress recoiled slightly. “You are wise for one so young. When this world is mine, I will set you high in my council.”
“Um, that’s really nice of you, but I’m happy where I am. Spying on the mammals,” he said in a conspirator’s whisper. “It’s a dirty job, but somebody’s gotta do it.”
“Indeed. What is your name, little serpent?”
The snake hesitated, as if weighing lies, and finally answered, “Lamar.”
“Lamar, you have earned the gratitude of Itzcoatl, the Obsidian Serpent. Name your most desired boon and I shall grant it.”
“Thanks, but I’m good, really. How about if I down a mouse in your honor tonight?”
“That will be sufficient.” Itzcoatl rose abruptly. “This planet and its plague of mammals may continue, for the time being. My mate awaits.” He strode across the dance floor, shouldering patrons aside with arrogant abandon, and out of the bar. His exit sparked a lot of glares, but no one tried to stop him.
Lamar spotted the half-empty flagon on the table and drained it. Quzetzalcoatl’s feathered ass, that was too damn close. You never wanted a god indebted to you. Definitely not a snake god.
Gypsy hurried over to the table. “Lamar, are you all right? Something horrible was just in here. I’ve got this awful feeling – ”
“It’s okay, chica. It’s gone.” Itzcoatl’s departure had taken all memory of the god with him as well. Already the ambiance on the dance floor reflected immense relief, as if a bomb had been defused and removed. Lamar stared perplexedly at the empty flagon. “I don’t know why, but I’ve got this crazy impression I just saved the world.”