In the blink of an eye, I was laid out flat on my back in the center of the highway, staring up at the sky. Stars of every size, color and age shined down on my spread-eagle form. Those luminous balls of plasma that formed our constellations twinkled seductively - each competing for my attention.
"They DO look like little diamonds in the sky," I mumbled.
"Well, that was… interesting," Beatrice said after a long, drawn out pause. "Anyway, back to the situation at hand. Do you want to go to the hospital or…"
"No," I cut her off immediately. "I'm fine. It was just a little bump, a little flying through the air… No harm done."
Beatrice laughed and nodded toward the car. "It was almost like you were almost eaten to death with a rust."
"No, 'eaten to death with a rust' is a partial line from Shakespeare's King Henry IV."
"If you don't mind me saying, but that's a rather obscure reference to be quoting after hitting someone with your car."
Beatrice shrugged. "That's what you get when you're hit by an unemployed Literature major. In any case, maybe I can give you a lift home. It's the least we can do after almost killing you. The car is rather loaded down with our belongings but I'm sure we can fit you in."
I thought it over for a moment, and weighed the pros and cons of the situation. Part of me wanted to just go home alone and revel in the glory of the start of Armageddon; whereas the pro-side kept telling me that the Moiraes, the Goddesses of Fate, had brought this woman into my life for a reason.
Greek Goddesses of Fate
Also known as Moerae, in Greek mythology, the Moerae are three goddesses that are called the three Fates. Their parent is Nyx the goddess of night. Just like their mother they are feared by other gods and immortals. It is not clear just how the immortals were subjected to the Fates, but the histories tell us even Zeus feared them. The name Moirae means "parts" since each of the goddesses has a different part to play in determining a person's fate, or lot in life. The Moirae appears three nights after a child's birth to figure out the course of the child's life. They can seem cruel and heartless at times but it's their job to decide people's fates, and at birth each of us is destined for death. The Moirae just look into the future to see what is in store.
The first of the Moirae, Klotho's name meant "spinner". She spun the thread of life of each child as it was born.
The second Moirae, Lakhesis' name meant "apportioner of lots". She measured the thread of life of each child. In other words, she decided how much time each person had to live.
The third Moirae, Atropos' name meant "she who cannot be turned". Her job was to cut the thread of life that meant it was her job to end a person's life.
These three goddesses are depicted as ugly hags who are cold and unmerciful. Being very hard and unyielding, like the Moirae, Jade is the best stone to use to honor and attempt to influence the Moirae.
However, to be honest, you are probably just as well off to just
"Cast your fate to the wind."
(Amaunet acknowledged the compliment with a small gust of wind.)
Not one to go against the Moiraes, I decided to take her up on the offer. "It's a deal," I said. "Give me a hand up and let's go."
I held out my gloved hands…
Beatrice gripped my hands and tugged…
the leather gloves slipped from the sweat on my hands…
I started to rise off the ground…
Beatrice pulled harder, grunted with exertion…
then, without warning, both gloves slid off my hands…
Revealing my thumbless hands.
Weeks after gaining my full trust, the Frenchman led me out into the woods. It seemed as if we walked for hours, all the while chatting pleasantly about all the good I would bring to the world once I accepted the role of antichrist, before we arrived at a natural clearing. In the center of this clearing was an ancient stump that was about chest high to my five year old height.
"Please lay your hands, with your fingers outstretched, on the stump," he directed me.
I did as I was told.
He then begun reciting something in a language that I did not recognize. The sky darkened, and the wind begun blowing. As his voice rose, growing louder and thundering in my head, two small hatchets appeared in his hands. He held them up to the sky.
the daytime sky turned completely black…
other unseen voices chanted around us…
With the voices raised in an ear splitting crescendo, the Frenchman turned his attention back to me. He smiled, nodded, and then brought both axes down as hard as he could…
Though the tune of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" originated in Paris, France in 1761 (with many mistakenly claiming that Mozart created the original melody with his variations on "Ah vous dirais-je, Maman"), the lyrics did not exist until Jane Taylor wrote them in 1806. The original children's poem was titled "The Star" and consisted of four lines and five stanzas, which is much different from the rhyming, six-lined "song" we recite today. In English, "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" shares its melody with the "Alphabet Song" from 1834, and a variant of it is used for "Baa, Baa, Black Sheep."
By Ann Taylor
TWINKLE, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are !
Up above the world so high,
Like a diamond in the sky.
When the blazing sun is gone,
When he nothing shines upon,
Then you show your little light,
Twinkle, twinkle, all the night.
Then the trav'ller in the dark,
Thanks you for your tiny spark,
He could not see which way to go,
If you did not twinkle so.
In the dark blue sky you keep,
And often thro' my curtains peep,
For you never shut your eye,
Till the sun is in the sky.
'Tis your bright and tiny spark,
Lights the trav'ller in the dark :
Tho' I know not what you are,
Twinkle, twinkle, little star.
From my vantage point on the warm asphalt, I could definitely name about 30 of the 88 constellations that hovered above me. There was:
Draco… Draco… Now why did this one constellation stick out... Draco...
Draco, Latin for dragon, one of the 48 constellations listed by the 2nd century astronomer Ptolemy. The brightest star in the Draco constellation is Gamma Draconis. Within the constellation is the Cat's Eye Nebula, which resembles a blue disk… Draco… Draco was also the first legislator of ancient Athens, Greece in the 7th century. He replaced the prevailing system of oral law and blood feud by a written code to be enforced only by a court. Because of its harshness, this code also gave rise to the term "draconian"… Draco… Draco, often described as having a whitish complexion, with straight platinum hair, cold gray eyes. He was a pure-blood wizard who -
THEN IT HIT ME:
I hadn't seen ANY of the Harry Potter movies, or even read any of the books!
Suddenly, a woman's high-pitched voice broke the tranquility of the night:
"OH MY FUCKING GOD. I HIT A MAN!"
Followed by the sound of a car door opening and slamming shut. I turned and looked toward the commotion. Two bright perfectly sphered stars shined directly in my eyes.
"Is he dead?" A little boy yelled out.
"Stay in the car, Aaron…" A woman responded urgently.
I blinked, kind of shook my head to try and regain my wits, and looked back toward the two stars. "What the hell?" I mumbled.
"I am so sorry," the woman said. Her silhouette quickly blocked the stars as she kneeled down next to me. "I didn't see you. Are you all right? You came out of nowhere. I didn't have time to stop. Are you hurt? Are you in pain? Can you hear me? Why are you looking at me so strangely? Can you talk? Should I call an ambulance?"
I rolled my eyes at this foolish woman.
Of course I was in pain…
my entire life has been nothing but pain,
for I am - the Antichrist.
Yeah, sure, my left hip physically hurt from where the rusted-out Pacer's
front bumper hit me, but I was not in PAIN per-say. PAIN is something all
Antichrists know - whether it's somatic, visceral, or neuropathic. We thrive for
PAIN; we grow and learn from our PAIN. Simply put, by being this generation's
Antichrist, I understood perfectly the "true" feeling and meaning of PAIN.
"Can you hear me? Can you talk? Should I call an ambulance?" Beatrice fired off the questions one after the other, never pausing for an answer.
"Mom," the boy started again, "Did you kill him?"
"Aaron, please," she snapped. She leaned closer, inches from my face, and spoke in a loud enunciated voice: "ARE YOU HURT?"
"Fine," I mumbled, "but… but…"
"Could you… back off… just… a little?"
"Are you finding it hard to breathe?"
"No… no… but… you seriously… and I mean seriously… need a breath mint or something."
She instantly pulled back, her lip snarled like a caged animals. "Ooookkkkkaaayyyy, now that we've established that you can talk and that you're an asshole, are you hurt?"
"Moooooooommmmm," Aaron interrupted again, louder this time, "Are you sure he's not dead?"
I sat up quickly and yelled back: "No, I'm not dead!"
The rapid movement to a sitting position abruptly caused the Earth to shift off its axis. My vision blurred and everything spun wobbly. Even though I was sitting on the highway, it felt as if I was falling from a tall object. Nausea filled my stomach and the light-headedness increased.
I closed my eyes and laid my head in my gloved hands. The leather felt hot against my forehead.
"What's wrong now?" Beatrice asked, a new mask of fear covered her face. "Are you going to pass out?"
"No, no," I said while attempting to regain my composure, "Just sat up too quick. I'll be fine in just a minute… There, starting to feel better already. It's passing. So, tell me, who's that annoyance in the car?"
"Man, you are just a bundle of fucking joy, aren't you? Well, that annoyance, as you put it, is my son. His name is Aaron and mine's Beatrice."
I rolled my eyes, totally hating the whole 'let's get to know each other' moment.'
"Listen… What was it? Beatrice? Yes, Beatrice, I think. Honestly, I would like to say that it's been a pleasure meeting you… honestly, I would like to say that, but I would be totally lying… So, unless you're going to do more damage to me, I think we'll call it a night and go our separate ways."
"Dude, you seriously have no social skills whatsoever."
"Maybe they possibly rank up there with your driving skills."
"Or maybe you're just an asshole?"
"Or maybe you are just a murderous bitch?"
"Or maybe -"
"Mooooom!" Aaron yelled again.
"SHUT UP!" Beatrice and I screamed in unison.
Beatrice and I looked at each other, eyeing each other suspiciously, and then burst out laughing.
I held out my hand, "The name's Shakespeare."
She shook it with a smile. "Shakespeare? As in William Shakespeare, the playwright?"
"No," I said with a roll of my eyes, "As in William Shakespeare, Jr., the world renowned King of fishing rods and tackle…"
It was true… I was named after none other than William Shakespeare, Jr., creator of the level-wind fishing reel.
In 1896, William Shakespeare's first patent was for the level wind reel (a mechanism for spreading fishing line evenly back on to the spool). All it took was this one groundbreaking creation to place Mr. Shakespeare in the annals of history. From there, after opening the William Shakespeare Company in Kalamazoo Michigan, there was no stopping him. He went on to create an entire line of fishing products that, even today, fishermen swear by.
Just like Mr. Shakespeare, my father was an avid fisherman. Every opportunity he had, it was guaranteed that he could be found at the nearest fishing hole with a line in. Because he valued this hobby more than anything in the world, he believed in buying only the best products (which always carried the Shakespeare Company symbol), even if it meant that our small family had to go without. There were many times that my mother and I went hungry just so he could have the latest rod, the most outrageous lures.
When I was born, my father took one look at me and proclaimed without hesitation: "We are going to call him Shakespeare."
Puzzled, my mother asked why.
"Well, just look at him. He's built like a watch."