Prologue: Cupiditas Resurgens
In the beginning, the Father heard rumblings from Above and cut His vacation short.
Regained His throne.
Surveyed the scene.
Flew into a towering rage.
The archangel Michael had gone berserk, his thick white wings now twitching. As he staggered before the throne, the glowering God-mask angled upon his face. Shards of Hermes jagged out of his body. The six other archangels looked on, wringing their hands. Raphael’s eyes were moist with tears.
“How long has he been like this?” God asked them. Gesturing toward Michael, He expunged all evidence of the trickster-god, putting him under as He had done during the great transformation.
“Two decades and more, Father,” said Gabriel, he who had been Apollo in the old times. “We couldn’t stop him. As Your surrogate, he had absolute power. He wouldn’t listen to reason.”
The Father lifted the God-mask from Michael’s face. The penitent looked pale as moonlight.
“Dear Lord, forgive me,” he begged. “One of the cherubim—that one up there—whispered a suggestion in my ear. It sounded so splendid and proper at the time. But now I see it wasn’t, not in the least.”
God glanced upward.
As He suspected.
He flared a finger at the impish grin and plunged Eros deep inside the plump winged babe; its face became smooth and innocent once more.
“And what was the cherub’s suggestion?”
Michael told Him.
God erupted. “Omanko!” He swore. “Hijo de puta! Scheissdreck! Jaevla dritsekk! Oh, c’est vraiment con! Gott verdammi hure seich! Madonna damigiana con tutti i santi dentro e Dio per tappo!”
Now the Son, once Dionysus, spoke. “Michael,” He said, “you know that Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy are never to cross paths. It’s one of our Father’s most solemn injunctions.”
Michael hung his head. “It only happened once, for a moment, in Idaho, Christmas of 1969. They had the barest glimpse, then she vanished and it was over. Except that they began . . . doing things on their own.”
“Christ!” God peered down in disbelief at the earth below. His all-seeing eye traced the effect of the lapsed cherub’s suggestion, short range and long, watching it ramify over three-and-twenty years. “Oh Jesus, will you look at 1991, it’s all three of them. They’re going haywire down there!”
“Easy, Father. No need for apoplexy. I’m sure it’s fixable.”
And it was.
At a cost.
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