The name that was bargained

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Now many who swear by stories of old, think not that an inventive writer could ever achieve the demure of Aesop or the fear and pragmatics of Brother’s Grimm, but in fact this not so.  For the tender entreaties of a skilled prevaricator, can move ones gentler senses to accept with credence, the circumstance placed before him – even though the myth be founded in a modern city of renown.

And so it was that a young woman of proud heritage, yet of meager means found her way into the Great City.  Life seamed abundant and filled with muse, for on every corner there was a vanity fair.

As time progressed, circumstance changed for the worse, and she found herself in a fit of despair.  Life, however, has its mediocre inconsistencies that a wise individual would grab per chance to rebound.

A man had entered her life who found her person a delight.  Equally poor, yet having resolute dreams, he managed a profitable existence that gave up some small boon every new moon.  His desire was to fulfill his woman’s most cherished wants.

He was vigorous and his spouse became pregnant – as one might say – and from them a male child was born.  As soon as the child was removed from her breast, another of similar gender was born.  And so she stayed in this state for many years not realizing they need not replenish the earth as if they were Noah’s sons.  However, they reasoned their moral virtues the best they could.

Regardless of the size of the family, the happy couple maintained some semblance of sanity amongst the defeasance of calamitous boys.  Evening meals were happy occasions, where the parents would be served first, followed by inarticulate grunts, growls and inordinate mouthings – exacerbated by vicious movements of appendages.  The children had little in the way social disciplines, but more than equaled the task of when it came to appetite.

Rude, though they were, they had respect for their father, who had but one rule for civility, “If you get caught don’t come home!”

One day, while charmed by a carnival, the missus decided to try her hand with a fortune medium. The medium had reputation for providing a sensuous performance when reading, and demanded a very handsome sum for her psycho-manipulations.  If participants were not frightened to death, they were astonished exquisitely, and rebounded, within weeks of their medium-investment – finding cash, glamor and envy following them – temporarily that is.  And then the whole affair would crash without reason – leaving the followers in disrepute and despair!

The medium was of common appearance, when the missus entered.  However, upon sitting at the table, the room became darkish, whilst a strange haze overtook the atmosphere. The eyes of participant and reader met, as if upon a field of battle.  At that moment, this mother of many – a Christian besides – discerned that her presence was ill-fated and a voice told her to flee from this den of iniquity, but she resisted.  Her early years of schooling involved Platonic philosophy. It was her instructor that reasoned away what he called Biblical superstition – adding that schooling had no part of demonism.

A resilient sort of dame, she heralded defiance in the face of her unnatural fear, and buffed up her truculence.  She would, as they say, have her day – a time of diversion and muse – in what she imagined as, her brackish sorts of life – filled with common existence.

Oh humanity – she had lost her hope and zest for family, and sought relief from charlatans and pretenders of magic.

The old crone moved meticulously over the tarot cards, and occasionally rubbed her crystal ball, in a fashion of adoration.  I can express resolutely to the reader; this witch made love – amorous indulgences of idol worship or some such thing to that quartz sphere.  Behind her was a statue of a satyr, with an evil grimace and lustful eyes, much as one would garner from a Scot or Arab shepherd at sheep shearing.  The waft of incense poured out of a cheap Buddha statue that graced the table – set as a witness, I suppose.  As the light flickered, the hag’s wrinkles became accentuated by the shadows and guilt, which oozed out of the dark corners – twisting common things into malformations.  The whole affair would be thought, in totality, beyond vain and thoroughly corrupt – even among all politicians except the British.

The hag spat a torrent of reddish brown tobacco into a makeshift cuspidor of bronze, whose aspect menaced an engraving of an exceedingly large Egyptian horned viper – and then she spoke. “Tarot or wee gee?”  Her eyes were reddened and darting about.  Her pupils were immensely proportioned – so much so that her victim could not resolve a cornea of any color, but only a magnificently large black hole.

Stiffening her resolve, the dame replied conservatively, as if choosing a cut of meat, “Tarot – please!”

Most carnivals had the foresight to hire elementary hucksters, since their wit was low and their vision would lay claim to the least of a bargain.  Success, as it appeared, was measured in common coinage.  Unfortunately, this witch was no mere aspirer to the dark arts, but a reality of evil that shows itself at the least opportune moment – as a victim might view it.  However, in this case, the world of shadows waited patiently for the low in spirit.  A weakened soul of faith is much more appealing a fete, than a common drunk or adulterer.

The hag arranged cards meticulously before her pigeon and fell backwards into her chair.  “Bones!!!  Bones is whats I see – living bones – appy people.  Many sons have yous, but misfortune comes – youls see.” And she stopped!

“Isn’t there more…?” the missus pled.

“Yez, but yous is the type not to care the warning of the dead.”  Cowling her ornate shawl, she peaked through to her listener with a grin that evinced yellowed teeth and a crooked smile.  Her voice menaced sounds like that of a vulture’s utterance, with little crackles and low tremors.  Her breathing, though lethargic, was as the sound of timber dragged across cobble stone.

“I do!  I will.!  Just tell me something good, not bad.”

“This will cost.”

“I’ll Pay.”

“It’s not money I want.”

The missus was impatient – the whole scene was salacious – yet she ventured more information from this old one of who she inquired and had morphed – as were – into what appeared to be a pile of rubble.  “What then?  What shall I pay you?”

“When’s the life of you’s next kid, be failed, and you’s medicine finds no ope, change the child’s name to ‘Apost’ and me master will brighten the tike’s eyes, he will.  Remember, you’s promised to give the name as payment!” – her voice growled to accentuate her victim’s oath.

She left the crone’s tent feeling wasted and returned home to rest and reflect on the old woman’s prognostication and payment.

As time went on, it so happened that this mother gave birth to a new member of the family, for he husband was still keen to such stimulation and creationism.  Yet, the memory of her occult venture – some one year hence – fell silently away, as a forgotten memory.

Upon her child’s second day in the hospital ward, the lad fell ill and turned astonishingly blue.  The physician rushed about for the proper dose of whatever he could conjure, and made ready the use of mechanized apparat, but to no avail.  The child could not breathe well, and his life began to ebb away.  His mother cried out to God, but the situation became worsened.  Violently sobbing, the mother made demand that her child’s name be entered in at once upon the hospital’s register as, “Apost!”  The surgeons made haste to do so, since they reasoned her quest had a spiritual meaning.  For they thought, she wishes to name him a person, before he expires.

 No sooner had the nurse penned the name upon the register, the babe coughed up a large abundance of thickened sputa, and received proper color.  Oddly, he immediately evinced incessant babblings.  As fortune would have it, the infant suffered from an exceptionally overdeveloped cerebellum within the verbal cortex and a well-developed Genioglossus and deepened Palatine.  These abnormalities, although not so gregarious to one’s sight, the effects were disharmonious to the auditory system of any nearby personage.  He was, it appeared, a veritable Olympic talking-machine.

Now, what was not known to the parents, or to the medical staff, was the cosmic event that occurred at the time of the child’s birth.

Apparently, the witch though apt in conjuring was less dignified in that area of articulation and suffered from Attention Deficit Disorder.  Her familiar spirit engaged her to name the child “Apostate,” but she opted for the least syllables of memory and instead mouthed “Apost.”

On the day of the birth, Satan strolled into Heaven and demanded the child’s soul as the cost of the bargain.  God, however, referred to the child as Apostle, and made claim vicariously upon the ancient Greek nomen.  Satan argued that his name was Apostate.  The lord of Heaven referred the impasse to Gabriel, but Satan refused him as arbiter, since he had taken an oath never to refuse God anything.

So the Devil inquired of the Lord, “My liege wouldst thou consider acceptance of one within my own domain – the advice of a most learned and worldly successful 33rd degreed Mason and Rosicrucian – who most fortuitously, is available – hailing straight from the pit.”

Oddly, God agreed.

When the Mason was encourage to render his voice to the opinions – whether the name is Apostate or Apostle.  He ruminated a while and delivered this opinion:

“This is quite recognizable as a question of Philosophic Kabalah and not Practical Kabalah, precisely because the issue is not with numbers, but is a matter of linguistics and that of Greek and assignment of letters to this house of cards.  Whether the affiliations be Alpha Delta Phi, Wolfe’s Head, Book and Snake, or Skulls and Bones, etc. etc., makes no difference here, since this is not a school, but a court of inquiry.  In theory, it is a matter of the acceptance or rejection of the disputed letters.   See here, we have at our option the letters “a-t-e’ and ‘l-e.’  The answer is simpler, yet.  We can drop the ‘e’ and combine the ‘a-t’ with the ‘l’ and we have as a prefix, ‘lat.’ It may be that some might reason for ‘a-t-l’ or ‘t-l-a,’ but they do not grant a satisfying anagram from which to mesmerize the masses.  A name has to attain something.  For example ‘Ja’ and ‘bal.’ A German may view them as the words ‘yes’ and ‘ball, but the secret implication refers to ‘Julela,’ ‘Juelum,’ ‘Jubelo’ and ‘Cherries Jubilee…..’”

“Enough!” the Devil shrieked.

But God sat quietly – civil and exalted – and interjected; “Let him speak.  I think he may be on to something. I happen to enjoy French parfaits.”

The 33rd Degreed Mason made good use of his time out of Hell, by opting for a much slower pace, and a more manageable dissertation. He was determined not to be roused in emotion.  He would stay composed and cool as long as he could, considering his finished statement would send him back to the furnace.  Additionally, the Lord God allowed the Mason, precisely, because he reasoned the Devil’s option for Masonic mastery of elocution, hyperboles, and obfuscation, but Satan had forgotten that while a Mason may determine to obfuscate the “Truth,” he took an oath never to tell a “Lie.” Lost on the public is the difference between the constancy of evidence and that of a fact.

“Neo-Polis wasn’t built in a day you know.”  The Mason pontificated.  Then as if a meditating swami, he brought forth his answer. “As I view it, you can call the lad Apostelat, but you saw the effect on the Monty Pithon movie “Spamalot” – this is serious business.  However, Apostelat sounds much like a disciple of Christ, an apostolate. Yet, if we interject for the devils side and add the prefix, ‘anti,’ we get anti-apostelate, which sounds a bit like the Italian for a mushy salad.  Nevertheless, the two of you will still lay claim. “BUT!……” he paused, “you can arrange to let the child live out his life.  The public will determine his worth.  If he’s bad, he comes to my master’s side, and if he’s good, he will go to God’s side.”

Now, the Mason opted for this plan, because he knew the better portion of mankind was “fitted for the pit.” So taking liberty he reasoned the equality of the situation on the mean statistical average of the quadratic equation.  His Gaussian curve reflected a 95% casino win-win for the Devil – and this without checking his star chart. But the absolute guarantor of success for eating this soul came by way of the child’s over abundant vocal malefactions. The Mason reasoned the child’s elocution would always be loud, his tongue unrestrained, and his manners judged as rude.  And his siblings….they are more advantageous for this babe’s uncivilized growth than if placed in a maximum security prison! The world would soon happily – under an unrestrained and magnanimous cacophony of bitterness – wish his passing, and that he be, sent forthwith, to Hell.

The Devil acted as if he had lost the child’s soul, and portrayed much dismay.  But as he looked up he saw a grand smile on the Lord’s face who bellowed forth, “I LIKE IT!”

And so it was that the child was saved, or perhaps I should mediate my statement; he was allowed to live.   One must never count you chickens… – as they say –  but he was allowed to keep the name Apost.

As time went on the family grew as yeast within bread and spread its disordered affectations broadly upon the whole of the unsuspecting public.  The father, a man of few words, yet of mental ingenuity and celebratory faithfulness, worked laboriously until one day, his heart gave out – leaving the family without savings or future.

His spouse was depressed beyond reason and succumbed to utter dissolution, and was buried next to her husband some two months later.

The siblings grew up quickly and managed their affairs resolutely and then departed; each to his own way.

As Apost grew he was a reasonable fellow, but he nurtured the propensity to learn everything there was to learn about every subject that could be articulated.

At some point Apsot found that his sources for new information were drying up – and this, by way of his brow beaten tutors, who could never restrain his imagination and creative nature – for Apsot would always articulate back to them, what he had learned. And he would do this over and over again, for he thought, “Education is essentially rote, and practice makes perfect.”

The young man did eventually marry and have children, but again, his in-laws found Apost insufferable and spent much of their time persuading his maid to leave her home of unrestrained knowledge and inquiry. This caused strain within the marriage and made Apsot even my inquisitive and talkative concerning morality and God. Eventually, Apsot made it his vow to find God and learn the way of Christ.

Many people asked him if his name, Apost, was short for Apostle or for Apostate.  This indignity routinely fell along two lines; one favorable, the other unbrookable.  His few friends thought his knowledge of scripture as delights from an Apostle, and therefore called him thus,  as if Perter or Paul, – whilst his detractors – and he had many – viewed his utterances as preposterous and noisome.  They retaliated against his beliefs by calling him Apostate.

As time went on he found himself out of friends, employment and money.  He saw little in his self that he could call achievable, and felt that God would rebuff him at the Judgment Seat.  A few months later he developed a terminal disease.  Weakened and in utter despair he laid upon his bed for seven days without food and water, and slipped into coma – whereupon he died.

When his spirit’s eyes opened, the scene laid before him was a veritable paradise.  Apost found himself within the confines of Heaven.  There, also, were angels hurriedly dragging him toward the throne of the Eternal God.  Apost could not articulate his inquiry. For the first time in his life he had no expression of inquiry and had trouble in responding to simple yes and no questions.  But there he was – in Heaven – and headed toward the throne of God upon the crystal blue sea.

As Apost fell before the Lord, and he marshaled words for pities sake.  For he thought, “I lack fruits.” But then God had him picked up and dressed in fine wear.  A laurel crown of gold was place upon his head and a signet rink adorned his finger, A golden sash was laid upon his shoulders.  A white stone was placed around his neck which read in Greek; “Apostole-Analuo,”  which interpreted is, “[the] sent one returns.”  At the center of the stone was etched his secret name, ‘ELAT.’

His heavenly Father introduced ELAT to the courtesans of Heaven and sat chatting with his new son.

“Why, or should I say how, can this be.”  ELAT shyly expressed.

Blazing brightly the Eternal God responded, “Son, you were one of the best deals I ever made with my enemy.  Satan thought people would provoke you to live the life of an apostate, but you decided to follow my Son Jesus, whom you will be seeing very soon.  Satan brought reproach on you, for constructing hate, but you continued true.  As you grew in grace, your mouth really geared up.  Satan couldn’t shut you up.  There were people who couldn’t stand the sight of you; and because your incessant inquiries into Biblical and contemporary matters, your mouth forced unrepentant sinners to pray to me.  They asked to be released from your boisterous nattering’s and bargained their souls for my service; if only I shut you up. Many of them came to my Christ because of you!  They had need of genuine peace.  And of those that knew their fate in hell….well…they prayed in both directions that you be sent to heaven, and they to hell, since the thought of having to listen to you for eternity, was more than they could imagine.  After a while, the Devil was asking for a change in our bargain.  He wanted to have you removed from the earth.  He even started that Job thing about “Skin for Skin.”  He felt he was losing too many on his side – I suppose.  So I granted his request, and here you are!”

Astonished, and finding soothing and short articulations for his inquiries, Apost, who was now to be called by his secret name, ELAT, wanted to know what his new name meant.

“Well,” the Father said, “Satan and I couldn’t agree on your proper name, since Apost was a variant of either Apostle or Apostate.  The letters that were left over were ‘el-at.’  Since this argument caused you to be sent out into the world, I thought as a gift – both appropriate and ironic – to bequeath these letters to you, as your secret name in Hebrew – which means ‘God’s Gentle Secret,’ but you can tell those who persist that it means, “Efficient Language Attained Today.”  Do you think they will believe that anagram?”

Elat sat silent for few seconds and evinced a gentle smile.  Looking into his Heavenly Father’s face, he uttered; “I LIKE IT!”

As an end to this tale of irony and wit, one may be disposed to propagating a maxim or precept of life – and so it gave rise to a mental storm and I have decide that;

“A name unfinished may be repelled, but it doesn’t mean you’re going to Hell” -FJV

 I have never aspired to poetry and can see that my charmed offensive has gained me little by way of lyrical meter.  That said, I think the Word of God has a better maxim to take from this story.

“A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold” — [Prov.22:1]

“To him who overcomes…I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it” — [Rev.2:17]

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