A PIANO IN THE WOODS (Deus Ex Machina)
A naked man searches in the dim woods. He whispers urgently, “Elodea? Where are you? It’s me, Ameme.”
A naked woman emerges cautiously, asking, “You were not followed?”
“Elodea, can’t you see that I left everything I don’t need?” He stops and poses unabashed, his fists upon his hips.
“Ameme, you know that He might still follow.”
“I know only that I will follow you anywhere, Elodea.” He looks up and down while she blushes.
Then Elodea smiles, saying, “It is so beautiful here.”
“Don’t relax too much. Stay under the tree canopy, Elodea.”
“I know. I know. Ameme, do you think that this is how it was in the Garden of Eden?”
“The children’s version or the adult’s version?” Ameme leers as he puts his arms around Elodea and kisses her heartily.
She follows the kiss a long time and then she pushes herself free, “We shouldn’t waste any time.”
“How is this a waste, Elodea? We are here to be free, away from the rules of He Whose Name Is Unspoken. What could be freer than a kiss?”
“If He finds out…”
“He won’t. How can He, Elodia?”
“Ameme, He is everywhere!”
“Everywhere electronic,” corrects Ameme, “And if He cannot detect us…”
“Can you be so sure? Isn’t ‘disappearing’ something that He will notice?”
Elodea looks at her own wrist stigmata and then stares at Ameme’s marked ankles and then raises her eyes to his marked abdomen and finally looks into Ameme’s eyes.
Ameme says petulantly, “If you are so worried, why did you meet me here?” and then he laughs, “If two people make love in the woods, does He Whose Name Is Unspoken see it?”
“If He does…”
“Then He is a pervert,” laughs Ameme.
Elodea cringes at Ameme’s blasphemy. Blasphemy is punishable by death. But Elodea does not leave.
“Elodea, you are thinking about prehistoric times when He lived in our minds. We expelled Him once before. Drove Him out. People even used to say He was dead!”
Elodia cries softly, “But they were wrong! He has returned just as foretold in prehistoric times. The Prophets knew back then that this would happen.” Elodea cringes again as she utters her own blasphemy, “How can we drive out He Whose Name Is Unspoken this time?”
“That is what the White Noise Society will figure out,” says Ameme, sounding a little unsure for the first time.
“So where are the others?” Elodea worries.
“Remember: they have no watches …no Geo-Locators……………….”
“What is it, Ameme? What do you see?”
“Your kiss must have made me delirious. Is that … a piano?”
And in the clearing beneath the canopy of the trees is an acoustic piano.
“Stay here, Ameme! I’m afraid.”
“A piano, Elodea.”
“How did it get out here in the woods? It’s a trap.”
A crow flies to the moldy keyboard and lands causing an eerie chromatic chord to sound. Elodea and Ameme freeze and listen. The sound dies away through the dim woods. The crow then emits a thoughtful rattle from his throat. The crow does not leave and seems unafraid of people.
“That must happen all the time,” whispers Ameme.
Suddenly there is rustling all around coming closer. Elodea inhales sharply and clutches Ameme’s arm.
Other naked people emerge cautiously.
“It’s the others,” says Ameme triumphantly to Elodea. Ameme raises his arm and whispers hoarsely, “Hail, Soul-Diers”.
“Hail, Soul-Diers” the others whisper in chorus.
Ameme speaks, “We are all going to move to surround this altar of sound and assemble the White Noise Society.” They form a circle around the piano, facing outward, away from each other. They each pull a cigarette out of their hair. Ameme says ceremonially, “I bring the light” and he strikes the match upon the piano. The crow does not leave. Each man or woman then shares the fire of the cigarette to their left.
A halo of smoke rises and hovers, slowly undulating and expanding. When all have finished their cigarettes in silence they hold the butts up until there is no ember.
Ameme speaks ceremonially, “Do any here have reason to fear He Whose Name Is Unspoken?”
There is only a thoughtful rattle from the crow. Suddenly the crow bends to the keyboard and pecks four times, duh, duh, duh, DUH, three quick G’s and a long E-flat – the opening of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony.
The net falls over all of them.
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