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    | |      c   o   m   m   u   n   i   c   a   t   i   o   n   s     | |
    | |________________________________________________________________| |

 ...presents...          The Great Southern Fire God
                                                        by John Crow

             __//////\ -cDc- CULT OF THE DEAD COW -cDc- /\\\\\\__
   Est. 1984   \\\\\\/    xXx   BOW to the COW   xXx    \//////   Est. 1984

    __    _   _    __     _   _    __       _   _      __    _   _      __

     Sitting in the blue morning as the snow comes down, all I can hear -
this morning as on all others - is the incessant noise of the city.
Nashville.  It surges upward and outward like some kind of cancerous growth
racing towards metastasis at the edge of the Cumberland Plateau.  I feel like
the Grinch outside Whoville on Christmas morning.

     It's gotten too big.  Eighteen years ago, when I came here from Orlando,
it was a town of well under a half million.  Now it's at least twice that,
and growing by the second.  The traffic seems to get worse every day.  Where
do they come from?  Surely, the endless exodus from the west coast and the
gritty industrial cities of the north cannot account for it all; they must be
resorting to some novel form of reproduction en route.

     There!  In my all-seeing eye, I spy a powder-blue 1979 LeBaron,
southbound on I-4, crammed almost to overflowing with Yankees who have begun
to reproduce by budding, fission, dispersal of spores, rhizomes, cuttings.
The car sags in the middle, weaves from side to side, strains under the
weight of the exploding horde in the back seat.  Their grating nasal voices
rise in a maddening chorus of angst and hostility as genes long-buried by
countless millions of years of evolution spring once again to the fore,
drawing from their animal (dare I say even vegetable) past for the tools of
total conquest.  The all-seeing eye draws back from the seething Chrysler,
surveys the buckling interstate highway from afar: the scene is repeated in
sedan after sedan.

     I pause to take a deep breath, calm down a little.  Surely it must end
sometime.  Someday, the economic boom in the south will itself go south, and
they will all go home.  Unable to resist the lure of milder weather and the
relentless good cheer of epidemic Prozac abuse, the Californians will go
home.  Far above the Mason-Dixon line, the foreman will slap a handful of
grease on long-idle gears and crankshafts, and the industrial juggernaut of
the North will spring back to life; the humming of its implacable machines
will travel through the earth itself, awakening a million expatriate Yankee
drones and workers, summoning them back to the hive.

     Suddenly, it will be very quiet in Nashville.  Reduced to its native
population, the town will once again be a small wooden fort on the bank of
the Cumberland River, shivering through the winters and ever watchful for
Indian attack in the shadow of the crumbling NFL stadium.  There shall be no
sound for most of the year but the tramping of French fur traders and the
singing of the washerwomen by the fort, sounds easily enough lost in the
empty labyrinth of downtown.

     And then - then in the autumn shall come the loveliest thing.  Far away
from the tiny core of the city from the Richland Historic District outward to
the county line, the hot September wind shall blow through the tens of
thousands of empty condominiums and cheap tract homes, whipping dust clouds
through the silent streets of a hundred planned urban developments.  As the
sun sets on that dry, hot day, casting a blood-red light on the clattering,
crumbling vinyl siding, I shall go for a walk.  Though I have long since
abandoned smoking, I will get a pack, and I will smoke them all, casting each
half-finished cigarette into open windows.  Or out into backyards full of
overgrown brown weeds.

     Most will burn out, but a few will catch.  The swirling night wind will
turn a spark into a blaze, and a blaze into a conflagration, and a
conflagration into an inferno.  All that night, it will be as if the sun
never set, for a ring fifty miles in circumference about the outside of the
city will burst into flame.  And that night, there will be no sound but the
rushing of the wind as the firestorm draws in all the available oxygen from
Cheatham, Robertson, Rutherford, and Sumner counties.  Tied to stakes just
beyond the fire's edge lest the gale force winds draw us in, we shall roast
marshmallows and sing patriotic Southern songs.

     Yes, except for the wind, it will be silent.  But for the mass exodus of
rodents and small woodland animals from burning, derelict neighborhoods, all
of nature shall hold its breath and wait the coming of morning.  That
beautiful blue morning when, coughing uncontrollably in the drifting smoke,
we shall raise our hands to an empty heaven above.  We shall stare into the
cerulean sky, rapt and breathless, full of gratitude to the fire god.
    .-.                             _   _                             .-.
   /   \           .-.             ((___))             .-.           /   \
  /.ooM \         /   \       .-.  [ x x ]  .-.       /   \         /.ooM \
-/-------\-------/-----\-----/---\--\   /--/---\-----/-----\-------/-------\-
/lucky  13\     /       \   /     `-(' ')-'     \   /       \     /lucky  13\
           \   /         `-'         (U)         `-'         \   /
            `-'              the original e-zine              `-'    _
      Oooo                    eastside westside                     / )   __
 /)(\ (   \                       WORLDWIDE                        /  (  /  \
 \__/  )  /  Copyright (c) 1997 cDc communications and the author. \   ) \)(/
       (_/   Award-winning CULT OF THE DEAD COW is a trademark of   oooO
          cDc communications, PO Box 53011, Lubbock, TX, 79453, USA.      _
  oooO           All rights reserved.  Edited by Swamp Ratte'.      __   ( \
 /   ) /)(\                                                        /  \  )  \
 \  (  \__/       Save yourself!  Go outside!  Do something!       \)(/ (   /
  \_)                     "THE COW WALKS AMONGST US"                    Oooo