Archive for November, 2004

The Time of the Preacher (The $350 Hen)

November 18, 2004

(working titles: New Year’s Day, Hitchhiker, The Golden Goose)
(with apologies to the late great Douglas Adams)

(Nov. 2)
I watched nearly a whole World pray
For a leader to be sent away
But a few cried, “No!
We pray you DON’T go!”
That he stayed means there’re two Gods at play.

Now you’re screamin’ “Blasphemer! Horse manure!
Support that thesis or we’ll hang you for sure!”
With no further ado:
My last two days for you,
In sixteen verses, perhaps fewer.

(Evening, 11/16)
Amanda and John want to “meet”.
I’m suspicious of course — what could it be?
First they’re engaged,
Next the date is arranged —
So this third “meet” is sure to be a treat.

(Morning, 11/17)
I wake early to email some materials
To an oil company growing serious.
Then I ping J and A,
I say, “whaddayasay?”
They say, “Tom, we want you to marry us.

“You’re our best friend and attending the procedure,
Now here’s a website where you can upgrade from ‘teacher’.”
Well I’m honored and touched,
Then I chortle so much:
Complete the ap. and ‘click!’ I’m a preacher!

We yak about things that we’ll say,
Put much off to another day.
Then cursed cell phone buzzes,
And everything rushes:
Business calls and I pull myself away.

(four days earlier)
I had reminded our finance director
As my visa expiry drew closer,
“I really must fly
Or I’ll be illegal (sigh)
During these Muslim holiday closures.”

(Morning, 11/17 — finance director)
“Your work visa’s processed and ready.
Go to Singapore tomorrow. Tom? Steady!
The cheap tickets are gone,
So here’s a dear one, now go on!
I called: Embassy reopens Thursday.”

(Evening 11/17)
Deja vu: off to D.D.’s I flew.
To the donuts: “In the fridge with you!
I’m not eating ants
In my underpants
When I awaken in the dark to chew.”

(4:00 AM, 11/18)
Amanda in VA was online,
While my donuts were reheating fine.
Alarm clock is ringing
Muslim preachers are singing
But she’ll be home soon, sipping wine.

(Singapore, 11 AM, 11/18)
At the embassy a nice man from Korea,
Like me there to pick up a visa,
We’d both phoned ahead,
Been so easily led,
To the sign reading “NEXT WEEK WE’LL SEE YA.”
(Great photo op sadly missed)


Well, there at the barricades I stood
Thought of nothing that might do any good
From afar we’d confirmed
Now locked out we squirmed
While Gods guffawed all o’er the ‘hood.

So back into the taxi I’d hired.
“Please take me to a pub,” I expired. (ouch!)
Checked email en route:
“What’s your stance on Forty-Two,
Brother Tom,” Preacher Michael enquired.

As far back as I can recall,
Forty-two’s been the one answer for all:
The Universe, eight times six,
Life and all its crazy tricks,
But … “When’s the Embassy open?” — “NOT AT ALL ”

We ramble in search of something true:
All these Gods, some forgotten, some new;
A leader; a wedding ring;
When the Last Rock Band sings;
Or we die unfilled — but by brew:

A company flight for an Old Speckled Hen
And these verses pour out of my pen.
The answer in time
(Like my soup and these rhymes):
FORTY-TWO. Many Gods? Legal when? Forty-two…