Vic and Katrina - a romance in one act
Posted: 20 July 2007 08:18 AM   [ Ignore ]  
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Prologue

Although Vic believes that God reveals himself in nature at all times, his worship of God is based on aberrations of nature - fantasies such as walking corpses, virgin motherhood, walking on water, ghosts, the continuation of memory after the brain dies, and various other notions plagiarized from pagan religions, medieval tabloids, and hallucinating preachers of various stripes.

Little does Vic know that he has been infected with mass hysteria based on fear of the unknown.  He has joined a massive cult that promises continuation of memory after death of the brain, and reunion, in ghostly renovation, with dead family and friends.  His cult has indoctrinated him with the ideas that his renovated body will be rewarded in the afterlife for good behaviour, and that the ghosts of those who do not accept the notions of his cult will be punished forever by a just and wrathful God.
Vic has never carefully examined the tabloid nature of his religious fantasies, but now, meeting fickle Katrina, his faith is about to be tested.

Act I - Katrina Comes Ashore

The Scene:  A modest two-story house on Goudeau Street in New Orleans.
Although riddled with termites like most older homes in New Orleans, Vic's house is in relatively good shape.  Hearing the warnings about the approach of Hurricane Katrina and the instructions to evacuate, Vic has instead closed the stout shutters on all his windows, made a big jug of fresh lemonade, and settled down in his snug, albeit hot and stuffy living room, to watch the news broadcasts of his skittish, faithless neighbors clogging the highways in their efforts to reach shelter away from the coast.

While chuckling at the sight of a packed minivan that had run out of gas on a strategic bridge out of town, causing a major traffic jam - people swarming out of their cars, and one large negro policeman brandishing a shotgun, Vic was astonished to see water coming under his front door.  This shocking event was quickly followed by a loud, hissing bang outside and all the power in the house suddenly went off.  As Vic struggled to open a window shutter, having to bash it from the inside with a stool, he heard a baby crying, and some of his neighbors shouting.  He saw some garbage cans floating down the street, and a black dog swimming toward his porch railing.  The porch deck was under water.

"Thy will be done," Vic muttered to himself, picking up his jug of lemonade and retreating upstairs to his bedroom.  Here he had to bash out the shutters on his bedroom window to let in some light.  He saw the black dog swimming on down the street - apparently the porch railings were now inundated.  It was really hot and muggy in the bedroom, and now night was falling.  "The goddam levee must have burst!"  Vic said aloud.  He wished he had brought up his battery radio instead of this goddam jug of lemonade!  He went to the head of the stairs and saw that the water was halfway up to the bedroom.  He heard frantic shouts from his neighbors, who lived in a one-story bungalow.  There was an awful scrabbling noise against the wall of his house.  Were his neighbors trying to get onto his roof, or was it an uprooted tree pushing against the house?  Jesus!  Where were the fuggin emergency crews anyway?  Vic picked up the phone at his bedside, realized it was dead and threw it on the floor.  It splashed.  Fug!  He was wading in six inches of foul, oily water.  He knew that fuggin gas station down the street wasn't properly prepared for an emergency!  Fuggin blacks!

Vic climbed onto his bed.  "God, I'm sorry I said that.  Forgive me.  I know you mean well.  I mean, I know you didn't mean this.  No, I mean I know that you have a good reason for doing what you do.  Our faith has to be tested.  Thy will be done.  The water lapped onto the bed.  Boxes, papers, Vic's bedside Bible floated on the oily, muddy water.  Oh, Christ!  Water was coming in the window!  Fug!

Vic couldn't get downstairs for his stepladder.  With water around his hips he managed to pull the dresser over under the hatch to the attic.  Climbing onto the dresser he pushed open the almost forgotten hatch.  He hadn't done a pullup for years.  Would his stomach even fit through?  He jumped and heaved, badly bruising his elbows and hips, but now he was safe.  Something was thumping around on his roof.  Neighbors?  Rescuers with a boat?  Sounded like a goddam horse!  That Italian neighbor down at the end of the street with his goddam horse that he kept for Mardi Gras!  No, it was probably another uprooted tree!  The fugging water was coming through the hatch.  This wasn't possible!  It was pitch black and stiffling.  There was an acrid smell of gas and sewage.

Groping in the water for something to use as a hammer, Vic could find nothing.  He took his shoe off and began bashing it against the roof.  Goddam frogs that made this house!  There was no need to use such heavy boards on the fuggin roof!  Vic sloshed around in the blackness groping for the peak of the roof.  What if he fell through the goddam hatch!  "Why didn't I put the fuggin hatch back?" Vic sobbed.  He found the peak, but his head was the only part of his body above the water.  He pressed his nose agaist the slivvery wood, and suddenly realized he was getting stung by angry wasps or hornets.  Jesus H. Christ!  No!  God forgive me!  God, please.  If you help me I'll do anything for you!  I'll go to Africa and take care of sick homosexuals who have AIDS!  I'll go to prison and read the Bible to comdemned murderers.  I'll go down to the red light district every night and comfort the poor whores who are too diseased to find clients.  Fug!  God!  Can you hear me you sun of a bidge!

A helicopter beat overhead.  The pilot looked down on some old brick chimneys - all that remained above water on Goudeau Street.  The surface of the water suddenly burst into flames, and the helicopter veared away from the dense cloud of black smoke.

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“The simple fables of the religious of the world have come to seem like tales told to children.”  - Nobel Prize recipient - Francis Crick

“It is time we recognized the boundless narcissism and self-deceit of the saved.” - Sam Harris

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