Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Mass for the World Mortally Sick and Perhaps Dying

‘“Everybody stand very close,” Jane Chantal called them. “We are in a haunted murder-world and all who stray from the group will be picked off and killed one by one.”

‘The nine members of the Group of Twelve, Jane Chantal High-Queen, Perpetua Parisi, Gorgonius and Monika Pantera, Solomon Izzersted, Denis Lollardy, Caesar Oceano, Drusilla Evenrood, Mary Brandy Manx, along with the Countess Maude Grogley and the transcendent marble statue named The Laughing Christ of Creophylus, stood very close together. Then they were in the great hall of Klavierschloss, the Piano Castle of Gorgonius and Monika Pantera in the high German Alps. It was very early Sunday Morning, only a little bit after midnight, of June Twenty-First or Midsummer Night, of one of the very final years of the twentieth century.

‘There were garments of a sort there. There was a disreputable urn there. And none of them was so gauche as to have to ask what the things were for. They all put on the sack-cloth, and they poured the ashes over their heads. There was even a garment of sack-cloth trimmed to the small size of Solomon Izzersted. Solomon at least would wear these penance weeds for the rest of his very long life. And one of those present put a sack-cloth garment around the statue of the Laughing Christ and poured ashes over the Laughing Head.

‘And when, three hours later, the priest of the Castle came to say the Mass Before Dawn it was not the designated Mass of Sunday of the Twelfth Week of Ordinary Time but was instead the Mass for the World Mortally Sick and Perhaps Dying.

‘But after that they breakfasted well as the hundreds of pianos in the Castle began to play Lift Up Your Eyes and Mountains in the Morning. The Gorgonius art had cut and programmed these with a new blend of songs of the general name Sunday at Klavierschloss for Three-Hundred-and-Ninety-Nine Player Pianos.’

-R. A. Lafferty, East of Laughter (1988), pp. 143-144

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'It was all strong talk with the horns and hooves still on it.'
(R. A. Lafferty, The Devil is Dead)