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    Joe Dirt and the Long Count Stone

    Joe Dirt and the Long Count
    By
    Steven Hunley

    He’s the King of the World as far as I know.
    King of the World---Steely Dan

    We called him Joe Dirt because we couldn’t pronounce Zipacna, which was his Mayan name, or Juan Filipe Hernandez Balboa De Soto, his Spanish name, which was too long and hard to remember anyway, so we shortened it to Joe. Dirt was chosen because he was poor. And besides, it was easier to remember. So when I first heard of him he was just Joe Dirt. That’s all. Joe Dirt. Just like the movie.

    Joe was twenty four and lived on the outskirts of the village of Santiago Atitlan, a mile away from the ruined Mayan city of Tikal where tourists like to go. He couldn’t drive a car, never went to school beyond the third grade, nor keep any sort of job for long, and in his village there was little to do anyway, so that wasn’t much of a loss. Pathetic creature? Maybe. Loser? Not yet.

    He would earn his corn by telling tales of the ancient Mayans to the children of the village, and sometimes even the adults would listen. Then he’d pass a hat. He found these stories not in books, but acquired them from his Abuela (grandmother), a retired whore, who the men of the village respected for her candor, and the women liked as well, now that they were no longer jealous of because of her age. She claimed to be directly descended from royal courtesan of the chief Mayan himself, Chak Tok Ich’aack (Great Tiger Paw) founder of the nearby ruined city. This gave her a certain cache.

    So real job? He had none. Pesos? He had little. Respect was a stranger to Joe. But there was one thing he had, though he had little use for it. To have this most men needed to study at the University. Most men who could do this were scholars and had money and respect. Yet Joe had this skill too. He could read the stones.
    His grandmother had “inherited” the ability from her grandmother and so forth, back into the past. How and why was this knowledge transmitted to a courtesan? Easy. It happened right after one of her ancestors made love to one of the priests. After he’d received her services he asked.

    “Well, Beautiful Three Feathers, (her name was Beautiful Three Feathers) what would you like? a jade pendant?”

    “No, I’m full up on jade pendants.”

    “How about a quetzal feather? They’re hard to get.”

    “I got a roomful of feathers.”

    “But they’re rare.”

    “Not to me. Got a room full.”

    It was true; she was highly popular with the nobles and priests. She had stacks of “thank-yous.”

    “Gold?”

    “Got gold.”

    The priest was running out of things to offer.

    “What do you suggest?"

    “Teach me how to read the stones.”

    The priest thought about it. It would take some time, and would cost him nothing. It might prove a good investment. Still, he said, “It’s not easy reading the stones.”

    “It’s not easy having a horny priest crawl all over you either,” she said adamantly. The priest knew he was beat. “OK.”

    He taught her what the kings and nobles and priest knew, which was how to read the glyphs. She passed this knowledge to her daughter and her daughter to hers and so on. Now it had fallen into the hands of Joe’s Abuela, and she, now that Joe’s mother had passed, gave this knowledge to Joe. He tried to show the ruins to the tourists but it was useless.

    “You know they don’t pay attention to me,” Joe complained, “‘because I’ve got no degree or education.”

    His grandmother was patting tortillas and placing them on a piece of tin over the fire. “Maybe they will someday, and you can lead tours of the ruins and make some money.”

    “That would be nice.”

    He could smell the corn tortillas roasting on the hot metal. It had the smell of childhood and made him feel comfortable.
    “There’s nobody that knows as much about the ruins as you and me,” she said thoughtfully.

    She put some rice and beans on a chipped earthenware plate, added the tortilla and handed it to Joe. “Then we could have some extra cash and maybe some chickens.”
    His stomach made him agree,
    “Some chicken would be nice…for a change.”

    The sun set on the horizon and the twinkling fires from the neighbor’s huts took its place. The night was so hot that Joe pulled his blankets from his bed and fell asleep outside watching the stars. It seemed a beautiful but unforgiving heaven, and that was all he could see.
    The next afternoon he walked a few miles to gather firewood with his Abuela. Near the village it was getting hard to find. Stepping off the road, they were soon surrounded by green hills on both sides. Something didn’t look right.
    “What is this place Abuela?”'

    “It’s just another ruined city; the forest is full of them. Cut away the brush right here.”

    He swung at a bush with his machete and a stone was revealed. But it wasn’t just a stone, it was a glyph, and the bottom step of a stairway to an ancient temple.
    “This isn’t a hill at all.”

    “It’s a pyramid,” she answered matter-of-factly, “that’s what all these “hills” are.”

    When he looked around, realized that he was standing in the middle of a complex of buildings. None of them were hills. They were green, overgrown, and tall, some were enormous. But they were not hills.

    “Why don’t they clear all this off?”

    “The government doesn’t have the money,” she reflected, “that’s why.”

    She sat on a stone in the shade and wiped her face of sweat. She was tired. “Let’s take a break.”

    Joe put the bundle of wood on a nearby rise the size of car and sat down. Green parrots squawked down at them in protest as if they were invading their space. His grandmother took out some tortillas from her bundle and ate. After their stomachs were filled, the woman grew reflective and began to talk.

    “Right where you placed the wood, Nieto, it’s a statue. I used to play on it as a child,” she looked away at nothing, “but the statue was erected a thousand years ago.”

    “Grandma, you’re not that old,” he laughed.

    “Sometimes I feel as if I am.”

    “Look there,” she pointed, “clear it away.”

    He swung his machete a few times and revealed more stones with glyphs. Spider monkeys swung above them in the trees playing a loud game of tag. Pink bromeliads decorated the branches. A ruby-throated hummingbird poked its beak into the red flowers nearby, then disappeared like a whizzing bullet.
    “What’s that one look like?”

    Joe studied the stone carefully. “Why, it’s the same as the long-count stone back at Tikal.”

    “That’s right, it’s a duplicate. Sit here, next to me, and I’ll tell you a story.”

    She unfolded her bundle and spread it on the floor of the clearing, then took a swig of water from the plastic bottle she carried, and when she felt ready, she began.
    “This long-count thing, you know what it is? It’s a load of crap.”

    “How can that be Grandmother? All the people talk about it; they say it’s even in the papers.”

    “You believe everything you read? Is that it?”

    “You know I can barely read, but when it’s in the papers…”

    She grew stern and cut him off like a ripe banana.

    “I got the real dope on it years ago from my own Grandmother. Here’s how it really was. There was a time when the priesthood was hard up. Faith in religion was waning, and contributions to the temples had dried up, so three priests cooked up a plan to regain power. Two were old priests and one was a young priest in training. I can’t remember their names, so I’ll just call them One, Two and Three, Three being the youngest.

    “We need more power,” said One.

    “We need more money,” said Two.

    “Nobody is coming to the sacrifices anymore; the state isn’t giving us many prisoners of war to slice and dice. My obsidian blade used to need sharpening all the time, now it looks like new, I’ve used it on so few hearts.”
    That’s what three said.

    “We got problems for sure,” agreed number Two.

    They were sitting side by side on the top of a temple watching the sun go down, drinking corn beer. “Looks like it’ll be clear weather again, the sky is pink.”

    “That’s the problem,” said number One, who was the oldest, “What we need is a storm.”

    Both turned and looked at him.

    “Whatever for?” said number Three.

    “Well, he explained,” you know there’s a storm coming, or a flood, or whatever, and you predict it, then you do some magic and make a few sacrifices, and it goes away. The people figure you controlled it. You put on a show.”

    He passed the corn beer. It was warm.

    “They always pay for a show. And, when they think it’s world-shaking serious, they always come to temple too.”

    Number Two took a sip. He liked the taste, and didn’t mind it was warm. Mainly because this was his third bowl full.

    “Hey, let’s go talk to the astronomer and see what’s up. I need to pee anyway.”

    “Just pee down the back of the temple, nobody’s here to see.”

    “No way, the gods will get pissed. It’s their temple, not mine, remember? I don’t mind the blood and all, but pee? No thanks.”

    “Yeah,” said number Three, taking another sip, “Ya gotta respect the gods.”

    “OK, I feel like taking a walk anyway, let’s go.”

    They climbed down stairs and crossed the plaza, then entered the observatory. It was quiet and cool inside. The astronomer was there, looking up at a night now filled with a thousand stars.

    “What’s up with the moon and the sun and the stars?”

    “What do you guys want?”

    “Well,” said One, we need an earthquake prediction, or a tidal wave, or somethin’.”

    “Ya got any volcanic eruptions? I’m all for volcanic eruptions.”

    “I’d like an eclipse, any eclipses due? Eclipses always get to them,” said One.

    The astronomer checked his charts. “How soon do you need one?”

    “In a few weeks, we’ve got to get the people ready, get them all stirred up.”

    “I got one next month.”

    “That’s great; just give us the exact date.”

    He wrote down the date on a bark scroll, but as they were leaving he mentioned, "You know, if you guys wanted it all, I’ve could have given you a date, there’s a comet due in 2012. We figure it’ll do everything. Floods, tidal waves, earthquakes, eclipses, volcanic eruptions, the whole nine yards of the sacred ball court.
    “What do we care? We’ll all be dead by then.”

    “I know what you mean,” he said, and then reflected, “me too. But it’s going to be big, the biggest.”

    “The end of the earth?”

    “Hell no, but big. It will give human kind a scare though, that’s for sure!”

    Number One laughed, “Well I can’t hang around that long. But I’d like to see it.”
    “Me too. But just for fun I’ll leave you a note on a rock.”
    That was it.

    They priests did the eclipse bit and regained their flocks. The long-count stone was put into a wall to mark the occasion, and all the events leading up to it, the volcano eruptions, the quakes, floods, carved on the stones right before it.”

    Grandmother got up, stretched her old back, walked over to the stones and pulled up some vines. “See?”

    Joe read them in turn, all the events leading up to the eclipse. And not an eclipse involving the moon, but a giant asteroid on a thousand year tour of the universe. The date for the first earthquake was tomorrow. He marveled, “Abuela, you can sure tell a good story. But you’re so full of it!”

    “OK Smartass, you’ll see. Let’s get this wood home.”

    After they ate he told the stories to the children, who thought it was so funny. When he went to sleep he was still laughing. He said to himself, “We’ll see what happens when the sun rises.”

    The Nightingales sang, the crickets began to chirp, and the tree frogs started singing, advertising for mates. But then, when he was in a deep sleep, they all fell silent. The forest and trees fell silent. The gurgling stream grew mute.

    At twelve-o-one, things began to shake. First it was some leaves from the thatching on their roof, drifting down silently like thin brown butterflies. Then things got more serious. The plaster on the mud walls began to flake off violently as the earth moved.

    He woke up, and so did Abuela. They ran outside. Other villagers were standing outside, the look of terror in their eyes. Coconuts shook violently and fell from the palms. Donkeys brayed in terror. There was nowhere to hide. The temblor grew even more severe and the earth began to groan. Then, in the space between seconds, as fast as it started… it stopped... and was over.

    “See? What did I tell ya?” Abuela said matter-of-factly, and went back inside to her bed.

    The next night there was excitement in the village when a man with an ox-cart came down the road. In it was a sheet, a bicycle mounted on a stand, and a film projector. For two pesos he would show a movie using the sheet as a screen after suspending it between two trees. He had only one film, but claimed he had two, as he’d show it twice, once normally and the second time, without rewinding the film, upside down and backwards, which provided the children much amusement.

    Electricity was made by the bicycle, which was hooked to a generator. He’d bribe the children with candy to ride it.
    “My candy is my overhead,” he explained.

    The movie was about aliens from a different time and culture and was in an alien setting as well, a kind of Mother Ship of mother ships. They even had a name for it. They called it the Titanic. The actors were well known at the time too, so it provided quite a draw. There was Leonardo de Caprio and Kate Winslet among others.

    Although Joe was dirt poor, the man didn’t charge him because he rode the bicycle for free and refused the candy. The movie was like nothing he had ever seen. He liked it immensely.

    After the show was over, Abuela and Joe walked home to their hut and not a word passed between them. But before he went to sleep, his voice cut through the darkness and still of the night when he said to his grandma,

    “Abuela? Do you know what I want to be?”

    “What Nieto?”

    “I want to be the King of the World.”

    Then he closed his eyes and started to have a dream of Dreams.

    The next day on the way to gather wood, he cut through Tikal and noticed some gringos shooting scenes with a camera crew. A blond woman in khaki wearing a pith helmet was holding a microphone and mugging for the camera. Then they broke up, and after they’d gathered their equipment, walked by. The direct sunlight hit her teeth, revealing them like white coral. Her hair shown like gold. One of the men said,
    “We’ll set up right there then, and tomorrow we’ll shoot it.”

    Later, when he found the wood, he stopped for a rest at the foot of the hidden pyramid where his grandmother had stopped, and he noticed, when he lifted the lianas, the stones once more. In two days there would be a volcanic eruption. It gave him an idea. Only one idea, but a hell of an idea at that.
    Early the next day he went out early to cut bamboo. Then he gathered thatch. He asked his abuela, “Grandmother, can I have some copal, and your bird-bone necklace?”

    “What for?”
    “You’ll see. It’s a surprise.”
    She gave them up. The poor spoil their children not by giving them gifts, but by giving them attention, because that’s all they have.
    He went to the main pyramid and after checking all the angles, set up a hut with only a roof, in the background where the crew would be shooting. The bamboo was for supports, the thatch for a temporary roof. He burned some copal, and waited. That’s something else the poor are good at, waiting.
    The crew and platinum blond woman arrived. They did a shot of the long-count stone while she narrated,

    “And here it is, the famous long-count stone. What does it predict? The end of the world? No one knows for sure, only the ancient Mayans, and none of them are left to tell the tale.”

    “That’s a take and a wrap,” one of the camera men said, “Let’s go.”

    “How was my hair? Was it alright, rewind it and let me see.”

    She looked into the viewfinder. Her hair was fine, but in the background she noticed some distracting movement.
    “What’s that?” she asked the cameraman.

    “I added that for authenticity and local color. See over there?”

    He pointed, and far away was Joe, burning some incense, doing his thing.

    “What he up to?”
    “I dunno, Let’s check him on the way out.”

    When they walked closer, there was Joe, bird –bone necklace, quetzal feather on his head, strange markings in charcoal on his arms, muttering in ancient Mayan. He was a sight.

    “What’s that mumbo-jumbo?” She asked the cameraman.

    “It ain’t no mumbo-jumbo,” replied Joe. “I speak English too. You can’t appease the gods with mumbo-jumbo.”

    “Appease the Gods?”

    She smiled incredulously at the cameraman.

    “If I don’t appease the gods, the volcano will erupt even worse.” He said it so matter of factly it got her attention.

    “Which volcano is that I wonder? Hey Stan get this will ya?”

    The cameraman started to film and she held up her mike. “Now say that again.”

    “If the Gods aren’t appeased the volcano will be deadly, the one over there,” and he pointed to the south, “right over there!”

    “OK!” she quipped, “You’ve had your fifteen seconds of fame. Enough!”

    Then she started to laugh, and the cameraman joined her.

    “Fifteen seconds of fame! Brenda you’re a scream, an absolute scream!”

    They went back to their cars and took off to make it in time for the feed into the evening news. Joe went home too, but he left up the hut with no walls. He knew he’d be using it again.

    That’s when it all started. When it came on the news it was just filler. After the volcano erupted a hundred thousand letters and e-mails hit the station like a storm. When the lava flow stopped short of a village, Joe became a prophet. It was as fast as the sun rising in the morning, that is to say, it was overnight. Like the size of the secret comet that was coming, so grew Joe’s fame. A week later he was at it again.

    There were three television crews there this time watching the show. Brenda was there too. He went through his routine and his abuela watched. After he finished, Brenda asked, “What is it this time Joe?”

    “It’s a flood. The Dulce River will be flooding. Tell the people to save themselves and move to higher ground.”
    She spoke into the mike.

    “And there you have it folks. Straight from the horse’s mouth. Joe Dirt has predicted the flooding of the Dulce river near Santiago Thomas de Castillo and you’ve heard it here first on station XERB from your favorite reporter Brenda Woodcock. The flooding will be terrible and will set records!”

    She was always exaggerating the importance of her stories, or the importance of herself, I’m not sure which. She was always so dramatic. Joe overheard her and stepping forward, snatched the mike from her hand.

    “It won’t be that bad, but there will be a flood. If you live near the river or the floodplain, you better seek higher ground. Unless you can float. There are worse thing to worry about, like the tidal wave, or even worse, the Long Count. That’s what’s got me worried.”

    When he said Long Count, all three stations broadcasted it. It was something all three had heard of. A week later the rains came early and with a vengeance, when the river flooded no one was surprised. Only four people drowned because they were out of reach of television
    .
    Now Joe was getting serious airtime. He was all over the airwaves in the United States, Mexico, and South America. Even mentioning the Long Count got them thinking in Europe and Asia. Still, some people, the ones that thought they were “well-informed” thought it was a hoax. But they paid attention. The American Indian billionaire computer- king Bill Openings-in Fences even sailed his multi-million dollar yacht down to where Joe was and anchored it in the harbor. He came to give Joe what he called a “look-see” and of course he brought his laptop, the one he built. He was some kind of gadget master, or baron of technology. To him, Joe wasn’t really in tune with anything; he was only “one of those out of touch Indians who live in the boonies.” Bill was the kind of a jerk who a hundred or so years or so ago would have been sailing the Titanic through the icy waters of the north Atlantic at full speed in the dark. The world had seen his kind before. Now it was seeing them again. When one of the TV crews from TMZ caught him curbside and wanted a sound-bite the techno-master stated,

    “This guy is a Loony, and doesn’t know what he’s talking about. It’s all a bunch of coincidences, that’s all. It says so right here on my computer! Yeah, it the latest model! Soon to be available a store nearest you!”

    The old techo-master was a salesman too. Reporters, salesman, TV hosts, politicians, what’s the difference? They all talk the same sh*t."

    A day later, when the tidal wave came, and lifted his forty-five ton yacht and placed in on a large rock on the beach like some kind of toy he changed his mind. He became Joe’s biggest convert. He might have been a rich technocrat but he wasn’t stupid. The world heard of Joe and his predictions, and when it did it went wild.
    That was when all hell broke loose. At least it would have, if his abuela hadn't stepped in.

    "Joe, this thing is getting out of hand. Put me in charge. What you need is a good PR woman."

    "Really?"

    "Yes, really, I think I can handle this thing with finesse."

    "Finesse?"

    "Finesse."

    Abluela began to pull, what she called, "strings."And what a tangled weave she wove! Having read the stones herself she knew what to expect and when. Each coming event would be incrementally severe, and she decided to milk if for whatever it was worth... and more.

    The locals had heard of Joe by now, and Indian Bill, the multi-billionaire, who was now a disciple and had what he called, "connections." decided to weigh in as well. Messages were sent out by runners all over the area to every small village. E-mails were dispatched to every news agency in the land. TV was alerted. Radio was informed. The government was called in to control the crowds. The event was to be a mini-Woodstock. Bands were invited to perform, like Santana, and U2 , probably doing Vertigo, and other famous groups like Jeff Back and Eric Clapton who were going to reunite for the show. They called it The Concert to Save the World, and it was all free.

    After the concert the first day, Joe did his thing in his little hut of bamboo, and TV and radio broadcasted it all over the world for free. The minor earthquakes that followed were predicted, and people were prepared from New York to China. Property damage was inevitable, but lives were spared. Half the world's population took notice.
    When that happened, Abuela lifted the bar. That's when she did the first paid interviews on CNN and the live broadcasts on the Tonight show. Cash flew into her bank account like a shot.

    The second day, after the concert, Joe made another prediction, and warned that the worst was to come. Helicopters were beginning to clog the small heli-port near Tikal, and officials from governments around the world were elbowing each other in line outside Joe's hut to see who he'd talk to first. Whenever he'd leave or show up, a zillion, yes a zillion flashes would go off. He was getting so much attention he should have been the Queen, or the President, or a rock star on MTV but he was not.
    He was a guy named Joe Dirt.
    His abuela would answer the mail for him since there was a ton.

    "Joe, here’s a letter from Lindsey Lohan for you, says she wants to make a date as soon as she gets out of jail."

    "Oh yeah? Tell her I can't wait that long.”

    "I'll put it next to the ones from Brittany Spears, Oprah, and Barbara Walters.”

    "OK."

    "And Angelina says Brad wants you to be in a movie with them."

    "Tell her maybe next week. Tell Brad I said, "Hi!" Tell her I'm busy saving the world. OK?"

    Joe sounded exhausted, probably because he was. Abuela could see it in his eyes, and hear it in his voice. She understood that right then he needed his mother and she knew that her daughter was gone. She stepped over and placed her withered hand gently on his shoulder.

    "This is getting out of hand again, isn't it, Nieto?"

    "Yes"

    He put his hand over hers and pressed it.

    "You're going to get through this,” she comforted, “You can do this. The press conference is tomorrow and then it will be over."

    "Yes. I understand.”

    He grasped her fingers, once fresh and young, now shrunken by age, and kissed her hand affectionately. He realized that however it looked, however many years had passed; her hand was as beautiful as ever. A woman if she's truly beautiful never loses her beauty, it transcends the corporeal plane.

    "Yes," he affirmed firmly, "I'll get through.”

    In the main square of Tikal, between the pyramids, a crowd was starting to form. Everyone there was there by invitation. At the front was a microphone standing alone. There were no seats, indicating that this announcement would be short. There was no reason to sit. Dignitaries of many governments attended.
    From the front two people appeared. One was an old lady in a home-spun white cotton dress, and wearing a cape made entirely of bird feathers, so brilliant in colors, it flashed in the sunlight. Beside her was Zipacna, his arms marked with charcoal, a single quetzal feather over his head.
    The young man spoke.

    "You have seen what has happened. What is to come will be worse. I will intervene for you to stop the destruction. There is no need to suffer, but only if you meet my conditions. They are these:

    1. The government will grant ten thousand acres of land to my people and plant it with corn.
    2. It will build one of those wind mill machines for electricity for the village at no cost.
    3. A school will be built of brick.
    4. A doctor and nurse will be hired, and a house provided for them for free. No villager will be charged any amount for their services.”
    The officials were stunned, but reasoned that this could be done at little cost, and being politicians, it would look good on their records. Under the circumstances it seemed like a deal.

    "And one other thing. All governments will contribute a penny, for very man woman and child in their country. It will be placed in a perpetual trust for my people."

    A grumble erupted. Grey heads started shaking. Resistance flowed through the crowd like water.But before any protests started, Joe and his abuela disappeared.
    When this hit news, there was outrage, "A penny a head, Outrageous!" That's what most of them said, "Outrageous!"
    Yet others thought, and quite rightly, "It seems like a deal to me."

    Within a week when the wind picked up, the pennies started to flow. The next day the first representative signed the agreement that was left at the meeting. When volcanoes started to smoke, all nations on the Pacific Rim signed next. When the tide started to rise, all nations that had coast lines signed, and when the earth started shaking, it was a done deal.

    The eclipse was next, and Joe's act would have been seen all over the earth, but it wasn't. Why not? Because he and his abuela disappeared from the face of the earth, and were never heard from again.
    A year later I was in Yucatan, gathering butterflies, and in the afternoon heat, took a nap under a tree. When I woke I heard voices, and taking a look beyond some lianas, and saw a couple talking near a tree. I listened closely. It was a young man and an old lady.

    "Abuela," he said, "how did they know the comet was coming anyway? They didn't have telescopes then."

    "The same way these modern jerks found Pluto. They did the math. Your ancestors were always good at math."

    "Oh."

    That was all I heard for sure but I noticed one more remark when they left. The boy complained, "This machete of mine, it always tarnishes, and it doesn't hold its edge. I have to sharpen it all the time."

    "You're always complaining about something, Nieto. Just shut up and keep looking for glyphs. We need something to read. I told you not to buy a silver machete anyway! That's the problem with you boy, you never listen!"

    That was Joe’s problem. He wasn’t good at listening. But he was good at telling stories.

    ©Steven Hunley 2011

    http://youtu.be/gJz0c981F7U
    Last edited by Steven Hunley; 12-15-2012 at 02:15 AM. Reason: added King of the World

  2. #2
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    Yours fooly guesses that this story is just as plausible as any of the cockamamie theories that have been floating around. When this Friday rolls around, we'll be able to separate the wheat from the chaff once and for all. You're right about the ancient Mayans' proficiency with math; but other aspects of the Mayan civilization strike yours fooly as somewhat bizarre: supposedly the Mayans placed heavy bricks on their children's foreheads so they'd become permanently flat. (It can be argued, on the other hand, that some American eccentricities would be strange to them, such as tattoos and body piercing.)

    Let's get some the grammatical stuff out of the way:
    ". . .a retired whore who the men of the village respected for her candor."
    Instead of "who," you need the objective case, "whom."

    "cache" Methinks you mean "cachet." Apt use of the word though!

    "the priest knew he was beat."
    Use the past participle form,"beaten."

    ". . .now that Joes' mother had passed. . ."
    When you want to use this as a synonym for "died" always follow it with the word "away." (Saying "So-and-so passed" is putting another euphemism atop a "pre-existing" euphemism.)

    Now then, there are several admirable qualities about this story:

    --The Show Biz references, becoming a Steven Hunley trademark!

    --nice consistency in the informal, colloquial style, not stilted in any way, and so your style is refreshing to your ol' auntie.

    --There's rhythm in the arrangement of the sentences, appelling to the "mind's ear."

    and what did I like best? The dialogue. Even though the reader knows that the language of Joe Dirt and his relatives are supposedly in translation, they speak in the honest and colloquial lingo one would expect villagers to speak. None of them puts on airs, yet the colorful speech imparts wisdom, cleverness, "savvy."

    The ending sentence is damn near perfect.
    Terrific -- and as always, your postings are always a pleasure to read.

    PS--in case anybody still anticipates 12-12-12 with trepidation, I've recently read some facts:

    --the stone in which the encryption supposedly appears is crumbled in parts, making large passages unreadable.

    --some say the alleged "prophecy" is the result of a mistranslation.

    --when the clock turns from 11:59 on December 31, 2012 to 12:00 January 1, 2013 --and it will!--all we do is put up a new calendar. There's no real reason to assume that the Mayans wouldn't have done a similar thing.
    Last edited by AuntShecky; 12-17-2012 at 08:13 PM.

  3. #3
    Registered User Steven Hunley's Avatar
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    https://youtu.be/A1AnvM3udVs Steely Dan King of the World

  4. #4
    TheFairyDogMother kiz_paws's Avatar
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    This was so well written I was completely absorbed from start to finish.
    Also would make a helluva movie script, Steven! Just sayin'!
    Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty
    ~Albert Einstein

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