The Muse points the way to the Underworld
Rite of Phil IV: Dr. Phil Good
Part IV, the Ablution of the Hero
Rite of Phil III: Philly “Cheese Cake” Collins
Part III, in which our hero arranges a festival for the ancestors
Rite of Phil II: Allen Philsberg
Part two of the Rite of Phil, in which the Muse pays tribute to the augurs of spring
Rite of Phil I: e.e. collins
Part one of my series of short films about psychosis, masculinity, and Phil Collins
Ben Carson, Doctor of Dreams
Written and read by Alex B. Fine
Keyboards by Ben Ellis
I was having a bad dream when Ben Carson woke me up.
I opened my eyes and I was disoriented in the bed and Ben Carson was holding my hand. I reached over to turn on the lamp but Ben Carson used his other hand to gently press me back into the pillow and then he brought his long gentleman’s finger to his lips and said, “Shh. Put your hand over your heart while I hum the national anthem.”
And he began to hum.
I regretted trying to turn on the lamp and the emotional distance it put between Ben Carson and me was great and I said, “Mr. Carson, my high school was nearly 30% African American so I actually feel very comfortable right now.” He smiled and nodded calmly as if to say, “Hang on a second, I’m humming the national anthem.”
When he finished he looked right at me and he narrowed his eyes kindly and and he said “Now let’s hear about this dream I’m a dream expert.”
And I said “Mr. Carson in my dream I was up deep in a forest on a long black night and in the forest I came upon a great double-wide and peering in through the window I could see in the double-wide a multitude of thieves and criminals.”
And Mr. Carson nodded slowly and raised his eyebrows and said “Drug dealers I bet.” And I said “Yes sir Mr. Carson they were growing dope in the crispers of their refrigerators.
“And seeing the thieves and their crispers I set out from that place and wandered in the forest for three days and I grew very tired. And I emerged from the forest into a great plain and in the plain I came upon a copse of sycamores and I rested there and ate vegetable beef soup and fell into a deep sleep.”
Mr. Carson patted me gently on my shin like a beloved football coach visiting a paralyzed football player in his hospital bed and he said “This is quite a dream,” and gave a knowing wry grin and I said, “yes sir Mr. Carson there aren’t many dreams like this and I just want to say you have a soothing bedside manner.”
Ben Carson couldn’t help but laugh at my candor. “Keep going, son”, he said. And I said “Mr. Carson in my dream I ate vegetable beef soup in a great copse of sycamores but when I awoke I found myself transported to the hall of the one true mountain king and there the king gave me my quest.
“And my quest was to rip a nalgene bottle in half with my bare hands.
“I left the hall of the mountain king and was pursued by quick small monsters with sad eyes and fell into a ravine knowing I’d failed my one true king and that’s when you woke me up Mr. Carson.”
The pale glow of the streetlamp outside my apartment complex illuminated the flecks of gray in Ben Carson’s goatee and even in his silence he was articulate and he took a deep breath and loosened his tie and then he looked at me benevolently.
I said “Mr. Carson set my mind to rest. My mind’s not at rest.”
Ben Carson said “Bring your mind to me and I’ll set it to rest for you.”
And I said “Mr. Carson I’ve looked all over for my mind but I can’t find it.”
And Mr. Carson smiled and you could tell he’d been to medical school and he said, “There. I’ve set your mind to rest.”
Off the record
Text and reading by Alex B. Fine
Guitar by Ben Ellis
You took our gchats off the record.
You said you wanted to use the n-word.
I saved them as htmls and I read them later.
I saved them in a sub-directory of your folder.
You didn’t Like either of my comments about Brian Eno.
You looked distracted when Brian Eno was on The Daily Show.
I watched you instead of Brian Eno.
You weren’t moved enough the first time they went “My name is Daniel Pearl”.
Can you nod more when I talk?
Church bells lack the gravitas of the muazzin.
Summoning the faithful to eat lemony cookies, to at least reflect on vanilla wafers.
You never Share my articles about Presbyterianism.
AOL didn’t let us go Off the Record, did it?
10 missing parts
Text: Alex B. Fine
Read by: Ilham Belkady & Alex B. Fine
Guitar: Ben Ellis
A: I found your hair in my stew.
E: How did you know it was mine?
A: I could just tell.
E: What did it look like?
A: It was long.
E: Did you eat it?
A: Most of it.
E: Do you have the rest still?
E: With you?
E: Can I see?
E: Yeah that is mine.
E: What else was in the stew?
A: One of the chickens died.
A: Mr. Smithers.
E: The rooster?
A: No, Smithers is a hen.
E: Was a hen.
A: Smithers was a hen.
E: Do you know where he is?
E: Do you know where she is?
E: Weren’t you wearing a condom.
E: Just now.
A: Oh, maybe.
E: Well where did it go?
A: I don’t know.
E: But you were wearing it.
E: Maybe it went under the bed.
A: Yeah, it could’ve.
E: Wanna look?
E: Is it down there?
A: Yeah, it’s down here.
E: This book is missing a page.
A: Which one?
E: Page three hundred and eighty-six.
A: What happens on that one?
E: I don’t know.
A: Here, take this one.
E: From your book?
E: You don’t need it?
E: Thank you.
E: Did you get the cat from the vet?
A: Why was the cat at the vet?
E: She had a cough.
A: What did it sound like?
E: I’m not good at coughing.
A: No, I mean the cat.
E: Oh, she just went meow.
A: Is this her?
E: The candidate’s name you wrote on the ballot is misspelled.
A: Dad quit drinking.
E: What made him stop?
A: He died.
A: Do you have my Latrell Sprewell jersey?
A: The one that says Sprewell on the back.
E: I have the whole uniform, I think.
A: Can I have it back?
A: I need it.
E: What for?
A: Youth group.
E: I’m wearing it.
E: Underneath my black outfit.
E: Did you remember my chewing tobacco?
A: It’s by the mousepad.
E: This isn’t the kind I asked for.
A: They were out of Levi Garrett.
E: I’m gonna break your fucking jaw.
E: I found your celery in my stew.
A: What’d it look like?
A: Did you eat it all?
E: No, I saved you some.
A: Is it done?
E: Not yet.