Saint Alive! Blog - Catacombs

Saints Alive!

The sounds of dripping were muffled by the hiss of the torch.  I could feel the oil-laden rag at the end of the truncheon burning and heating the wood in my hand.  I knew in a few minutes it would be extinguished and leave me in complete darkness.

 

 

Well, not complete darkness, I could always switch to my surefire flashlight in my pocket, but wandering through a subterranean Roman aqueduct by torchlight seemed eminently more romantic than wandering through an abandoned Italian sewer with a flashlight.

 

 

Rats scurried out of the way as the water level threatened to creep higher up my leg while I made my way through the darkened catacombs.

 

 

The deeper I got, the more weird and more grizzly it became.  Ancient cobblestones were slowly being replaced by human skulls with eye sockets hollow and forlorn looking.

 

 

I suddenly emerged into a larger chamber.  Light seemed to emanate from several stories above, casting forbidding shadows across the immense room.

 

 

A large, ornate table was positioned atop a stage of sorts, a few feet above the puddled water, and accessible from an immense four-step staircase clearly built by medieval craftsmen.

 

 

At the far end of the table there was an impressive throne.  Sitting on it was a mummified figure, seemingly focused on some ancient manuscript.  He appeared to have been placed there centuries ago.  This was his crypt, a faux library tomb.  Clearly his wishes were to have been interred in a way in which he had lived his life.

 

 

Though covered in centuries of dust, his vestments suggested royalty, or some high priest.  Perhaps the moving air, or the placement of the tomb itself had led to his mummification?  Regardless of his emaciation, he looked remarkably preserved.

 

 

I cautiously approached.

 

 

Suddenly he moved.

 

 

Eyes flashed at me, and I nearly lost my balance as I recoiled in sheer terror.

 

 

“Boo!”

 

 

“What the hell?!?”

 

 

The cadaver laughed as his cavernous eyes flickered in delight.

 

 

“Got you!”

 

 

“Who are you?  What are you doing down here!?”

 

 

“I could ask you the same thing, Steven.  It is you who have intruded in my chamber, not me in yours.”

 

 

“I’m just exploring.”

 

 

“Sure you are… and I’m just going over some spreadsheets.”

 

 

The cadaver suddenly pushed himself upright and, though diminutive, stood with a command presence at the end of the long table.

 

 

“Who are you?”

 

 

“Allow me to introduce myself, I am Saint Libshitz the Forgotten.”

 

 

“Saint Libshitz?”

 

 

“Yes, not to be confused with Pope Libowitz the Overlooked.  We tend to get confused by liturgical academics all the time.”

 

 

“I’m sorry, you are a saint?”

 

 

“Performing miracles nightly, and I’m here all week.”

 

 

“But you’re dead, right?”

 

 

“Depends on your perspective, but, yes, I shuffled off this mortal coil a few centuries ago.”

 

 

“What are you doing here?”

 

 

“Your friend, Gabriel, said we should meet.  Figured this was more dramatic than some bar at the Irvine Spectrum.”

 

 

“Oh God… you know Gabriel,” I said with a sigh.

 

 

“Yes to both.”

 

 

“So what are you the patron saint of, and why have I never heard of you?”

 

 

“To answer the first question:  absurd situations, and to answer the second, a really, really bad public relations department.”

 

 

“So, why does Gabriel want us to meet?”

 

 

“I am not completely sure to be honest, but I have some idea.  Steven, you have become far too invested in the temporal.  Sure, I get it.  You want to get the steely-eyed look, and put on your Don Quixote armor… that is always nice, but stop losing your focus on the bigger picture.”

 

 

“What is the bigger picture, Saint Libshitz?”

 

 

He smiled, and I saw the leather of his skin crease in a morbid sort of way.

 

 

“That all existence happens in a single ineffable moment, and billions of years from now, you will not be remembered, your exploits will not be remembered, heck… even humanity won’t be remembered.  You will continue to exist, but in a far, far different way than you can even imagine.  Gabriel is trying to guide you, but don’t ever lose sight of the singular fact that at the very heart of existence is pure and unadulterated humor and absurdity.”

 

 

“So resistance to tyranny is a waste of time?”

 

 

“God no!” he roared, suddenly becoming animated.

 

 

“Resistance to tyranny is the foundational identity, it is the supreme antidote to being dead while pretending to be living.  Resist, Steven!  Resist with all of your might!  But also laugh at the very fact that the struggle you endure is rooted in absurdity itself.”

 

 

“Like being given life advice from a Jewish saint?”

 

 

He suddenly stopped and smiled at me and raised his robed arm placing a bony hand on my shoulder.  He cocked his head and looked me in the eyes.

 

 

“Bingo boychik.”

 

 

Suddenly I was lying in my bed.  The alarm on my phone was blaring.  Sandy turned over and looked at me.

 

 

“You going to turn that off.”

 

 

“What?  Yeah, sorry.”

 

 

I reached over and silenced my phone.

 

 

“How did you sleep?”

 

 

“Sandy, I had the oddest dream.”

 

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Comments (7)

  • Olaf Kilthau Reply

    This gave me a chuckle!

    04/10/2024 at 08:14
  • Kenny Stuart Reply

    Once again, great stuff! Thank you.

    04/10/2024 at 09:35
  • Jorge Crastz Reply

    I always enjoy your blogs! You always find a way of being unpredictable with your creative writing.

    04/10/2024 at 11:42
  • Jim carr Reply

    What did you have for dinner that night ?

    04/10/2024 at 19:27
  • Marc Alexander Reply

    Love your storytelling.

    04/11/2024 at 05:55
  • Norm Ellis Reply

    I love it!!! A Jewish Saint, really! It is the Jesuits that did this to you, LOL. You missed your calling…

    04/14/2024 at 13:37
  • Alyson Rutledge Reply

    Love this one!

    04/17/2024 at 19:26

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