Nick: So you’ve come for your pound of flesh, is that right?

Gradient: As if you got anything I need, bones.

N: That’s not what I’ve heard.  I’ve been told by a little bird that you have need of something I have in order for this… endeavor of yours to take flight.

G: So right to business then. Alright. I thought you were more romantic than all this, mijo.

N: If my memory serves, we have plenty of time for romance and that. Maybe I’m saving myself.

G: How many Bacchanalia you been to? Damn.

N: Three hundred and five.

G: How many I been to?

N: Two hundred and seventy one.

G: Here’s to 272. Lucky number, no?

N: Here’s a man who is bending time and space to create a pocket inside which he could, if he wanted, impregnate the world, and he says here’s to luck.  

G: Lol. Yeah, I guess I got a little reverence for the stuff.

N: Reverence. Yes, of course, my darling. I shouldn’t be doin that which would imply I am not happy to be doing this again.

G: Do you know the rite? We never spoke of this, but I feel like you already know what I gotta do to make this happen.

N: Yes, I know the rite. Shall I tell it aloud, or would you like the honor?

G: I don’t see why we can’t both take our turns.

N: If I had a dime for all the times I’ve been told that…

G: That’s because you been in more orgies than anybody I ever met.

N: Second only to one. But I don’t do the kissing and telling. Well, go on and ask me then.

G: What is the first thing to be done for the rite of bacchanalia?

N: You must first consecrate the ground it’s to be on with the seed of the loa.

G: Lol. Si. That means I gotta make love to somebody in the deep desert. I gotta spill my… seed right there in the dirt, si. Then I gotta spill something else. The blood of the oldest soul.

N: But it’s not ALL of it, you understand.

G: All of what?

N: All of my blood, you Dominican idiot.

G: Non, it’s not all of it, but you’re asking for it.

N: So you’d finally noticed.

G: It must be your greatest conquest, trying to get me to raise my hand to you. Feels a special way, that kinda pain, right?

N: Only very sweet, and lingering.

G: Si. You not gonna make me angry enough, sorry to say. Not tonight, anyway. But we got all week.

N: I’ve done it in far less.

G: You love lording that shit over people.

N: There is absolutely nothing else worth being the oldest soul, I promise you, but the information I can buy and sell to you.

G: That’s not what I need from you tonight, but I’ll keep that in mind for later.

N: Yes, well, later is absolutely when you’re going to need it. When it’s time to Pay.

G: Is that so?

N: Of course it’s so. All things come to their due, and I frankly don’t think you’ve the resources to throw this party as you once did. You’ve spent too much on the last five Yule nights.

G: Hey, I don’t like your implication. I paid my dues of the Christmases past. I don’t got no debts over my head, cabron.

N: The debt of Christmas isn’t yours to pay, my love. That’s why you’ve… well, you’ve got all those helpers flitting around with their lovely skin shades.

G: Yeah, yeah, but I got the bill paid. It’s paid, verdad? PAID. In full. What you go around telling the air all that shit about something coming for me? I heard about it. You say there’s a balance.

N: That’s hardly MY line. I have not said any of the sort, actually, as I have my own debts. Speaking on the owings of others reminds those with long memories.

G: You’re avoiding my question. You wanna tell me what you know about my owings, Nick?

N: You’ll be making this deal with the God himself, and he is not one who deals above the boards. Never has done. Excess is always punished in it’s own ways, yes, fine, but that bitch takes an extra toll for the purpose of fun and games.

G: Si. So you’re saying my side of this table may be clean but he’s got his hands where I don’t see. Oui?

N: Yes. His hands are beneath the table, and under all our skirts, year?

G: Yeah, alright. That just means I gotta wait for some kinda betrayal to come my way and I’ll sweep up later. I’m not worried about it.

N: Well, it won’t come from the light one. It’s the dark one who’ll go sideways. The one who does not speak.

G: Anybody ever tell you you got bottomless pits for eyes?

N: Every time I make love.

G: The devil in those eyes, mijo.

N: Greets the devil in yours.

G: Lol. Yeah, I guess so.

N: The purpose of the desert is to strip us of our understanding of time and place. To make a night a kind of endless, once it’s replaced in increments with The Dark. It will take nine days to claim our reason.

G: Mi esposo say to me “Moments are not but the passing of themselves.” It’s nine days to have the right conversation with yourself, no place but the end where everything is dust anyhow.

N: I’ve perhaps never once had the right conversation with myself.  

G: Si. Your frivolity keeps you from all that solidifying of a philosophic logic application. You never wanna say you had the right conversation for what it would mean.

N: Just the same reason that you will never admit to your own suffering.

G: I suffer. I don’t got a problem admitting it.

N: No but it needs be wrapped in some soliloquy of all suffering bringing understanding and you have never once shut down the Crossing and said to me, I simply cannot do this any long, Nicholas, just as you cannot.

G: That’s because I don’t end my service just to be self-indulgent. If I can do it, I ask you, why wouldn’t I just fucking do it?

N: I couldn’t say. I thought your kind was prone to self-indulgence.

G: Yeah, I guess we are. If I had a kind. So you got the stuff or what?

N: Blood? Yes, my darling, I have that.

G: I meant the other stuff.

N: You’re trying to buy my last eighth, even right now?

G: Lol. You’re gonna make this hard too, yeah? Alright. We got more rite to run down anyway. After the blood of the oldest soul, a promise must be made and immediately broken.

N: That’ll be the not speaking, I imagine, yeah?

G: It’s the not speaking, si. The breaking of the silence at the end is to prove your freedom. The God of the Bacchales will not come if we do not prove our freedom. Something nobody say is that if somebody talk during the nine days about what happen, what happen disappears from our memory.

N: Yes. Almost all of ours, at any rate.

G: Even yours, my man.

N: Yes, but I was not referring to myself. It would be remembered forever by the ghosts of us. You see?

G: You’re talking about the shadows that stick to the sand in the desert.

N: The very stickiest and most rude and invasive shadows, yes.

G: The way you talk about John, it’s like you know a secret I don’t wanna know.

N: There are none of my kind, either, Gradient.

G: Si.

N: I feel my… I suppose I don’t feel as frivolous just now.

G: Something could happen, that’s what you don’t wanna say.

N: I don’t have to. Something could always happen.

G: Don’t bullshit me, you know what I’m saying.

N: Yes, I know what you’re saying, but I am saying this is a necessary thing we’ve begun and to hell with what comes after. I know you are afraid of what I’ve said and I cannot tell you what it will be, but I can tell you I will promise here to bear it for us.

G: Alright.

N: And we’ll shake hands as men do, although neither of us are men, is that right?

G: Yeah, we gonna shake. That’s my thing. It’s not like we gotta do it for the god, but it’s something I gotta do. Then at 11:59 the world disappears for us all and we fall into the celebration until the sun can burn through it.

N: Je suis reconnaissant que tu sois venu a moi. It’s like old times.

G: Je te rappellarai ces souvenirs plus tard, et puet-etre que nous pourrons danser. At a discount, oui?

N: Yes, of course, my love.

G: Let’s be on our way, now.

N: I’ll be with you in a moment.

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