A wet season downpour drove me inside yesterday, and the usual internet problems left me with little to do besides…read books.
My latest acquisition is a Bible, courtesy of some Evangelicals who are trying to pester the loyal Catholic mobs to cast their culture aside, and slide into social anarchy before being redeemed by the Cult of Speaking in Tongues and Snake Handling.
I have read this book before, and know to skip Genesis…that first page always gets me, where God is a singular sky god for a while, then a plural land god when he says, “Let us make man in our image” before becoming a singular sky god again.
Bad editing and no consideration for continuity always drive me to close a book, or go directly to the end and find out what happened, allowing me to feel like I read it. That’s been my approach in the past, go straight to Revelations, and read a few chapters in reverse order.
Now, if you’re looking for some tough talking, action-packed, tightly written words with the power of a literary locomotive, that’s a good place to start. I usually get bored by Kings or where everyone is begatting, so I’ve never read Exodus. I should have, since that book seems to hold the secret to the Wet Season torments that drove me inside in the first place…the Ten Plagues that Moses allegedly brought down on the Egyptians. If I go over them one at a time you’ll see what I mean. “Fasten your seatbelts – it’s going to be a bumpy night,” as Bette Davis advised her entourage in the film “All About Eve.” (Another Biblical reference…hmmmm). Don’t let me digress…here are the plagues I missed in Exodus, but am living out now:
1) Plague of Blood – when it rain here in Central America, it rains. And, since the roads are not paved and there are no ditches or water channels, they become rivers of mud…in the case of western Costa Rica, where the earth has a red tint to it due to iron and other volcanic minerals, the rivers running by my front door are Red as Blood. Torrents of knee-deep water come down the hill behind my place, carrying boulders the size of bean bag chairs. A good friend of mine has scars on his shins from sliding down one of these roads a couple of years ago…a good reason to stay inside.
2) Plague of Frogs – I heard this trumpeting sound the other night. The lonely little EMS vehicle always parked outside the main market, I thought. I’d never heard it, since it hasn’t moved in the eight months I’ve lived here. But it sounded like geese…big geese, the volume of their calls bringing to mind visions of madness. But, as usual, I was wrong. It is the rainy season infestation of frogs, a friend told me. He also told me if I wanted to see them all I had to do was go down to our pool, which they take over for the month or so they’re in their rutting period. So, I went. Frogs were in the pool, and around the pool on lounge chairs, puffing up and emitting a terrifying sound from their froggy mouths to advertise their sexual potency. But they were hand-sized creatures, hardly large enough to emit so much noise, but what do I know…I retreated to my apartment building, toweled off, and slammed the door in case any of the croakers followed me and tried to slip in after me.
3) Plague of Lice or Gnats – hasn’t happened yet…but I know where the EMS vehicle is now.
4) Plague of Flies or Wild Animals – Wet Season does bring on an unusual amount of flies, and the animals are coming back down out of the hills. The Howler monkeys have set up shop across the street and in the patches of jungle beside and behind my apartment building. I saw a juvenile yesterday, hanging by his tail, using a tree branch like a switch as he tormented the dogs howling beneath. I felt better after that, knowing I wasn’t the only creature suffering these plagues.
5) Plague of Pestilence – I forgot what pestilence means…and, everyone has their own definition, so I’ll let this one sit. I’ve got enough to deal with already with Rivers of Blood, Frog Gangs and Switch-wielding Howlers.
6) Plague of Boils – there is usually a boil alert when water starts washing the sewage and garbage down from where the Nicaraguan and Columbian illegals have set up their shanty towns. I already knew this…not plague worthy in my book.
7) Plague of Hail – I haven’t seen any hail yet, but the rain is falling so hard that a piece of the roof fell in not long ago. Not a large piece of roof…just enough to damage an iron railing, or bust a head if anyone had been walking beneath it. Fell on the steps just outside my back bedroom window, where I was reading Exodus…I think I should have stuck with the wickedly fierce prose in Revelations.
8) Plague of Locusts – Locusts, Schmocusts…I have grasshoppers the size of magic markers coming in and out of my place all the time. They take over the coffee pot when they please, and licked the cream my wife spilled right off the floor. They crunch under foot when I step on them on my way to empty the garbage…a sound similar to when tap dancers toss sand on a stage before they start their steel-bottom shoed shenanigans.
9) Plague of Darkness – hasn’t occurred as of yet, but it would be a relief. The Howlers shut up, it never rains at night, and it would be convenient if those frogs got run over by the drunken, brain-dead surfers that race around on the mud-slickened roads after a hard day of Flor de Cana rum and the head-high, right-breaking waves I hear crashing against the shore.
10) Plague of the First-Born – being a first-born, I don’t even want to hear about this. I’m definitely staying away from this Old Testament mayhem…going back to the ferocious idyll of Revelations, thank you. I’ve learned my lesson for the day. And, if I end up going to Hell for any perceived insolence, I’ll go with the words of Mark Twain on my lips –
“Heaven for climate, Hell for company.”