AS A GENERAL rule, it’s a bad idea to skip church. Not only could you miss an instructive sermon, but you also risk the wrath of a vengeful God who, depending on His or Her mood on the day of your transgression, could be thumbing through the Old Testament for ideas. On a recent Sunday morning I decided to risk all and go to the gym instead.
This was a mistake.
Distance swimming is my exercise of choice, but counting laps is about the most boring thing a person can do, aside from sitting through an instructive sermon. So I try to occupy my mind with various reveries of proven distraction. This time I had selected the Rock Star Scenario, and after a few laps my mind was fully into the altered state of being the lead guitar player at a stadium full of screaming fans. Backing me up was Paul McCartney on bass, Bruce Springsteen on rhythm guitar, and my granddaughter on drums. Despite her small size, she can lay down a driving beat and only occasionally needs to be nudged upright by stagehands. (She’s only 1 year old and tends to fall over if nobody’s watching.)
I had just launched into a blazing riff that Eric Clapton would have envied when I noticed Springsteen stepping up to the microphone. He does this a lot, and had I not checked him with a preemptive glare he would have launched into one of his boring monologues that has nothing to do with me. (Is it too much to ask that I be The Boss in my own fantasy?!)
Suddenly a huge wall of bubbles erupted in front of me, followed by the breaching of an enormous humanoid figure, clad all in black, spouting air and spray from what I assumed was a blowhole on its back. Streaming out the rear of its head was a thick strand of blond hair, presumably the undigested remains of its last victim.