Friday, May 23, 2003

The Other Noah

I heard about Noah's crazy twin sister from an old Jazz poet, who heard it from his grandfather, whose parents were slaves and so knew a thing or two about crazy people and boats.

Her name was Baba Goldstein; not many people know that Noah's last name was Goldstein, either.

Baba was a half forgotten Truth dictated by a cacophony of spirits into the ear of a mute. That is to say, struck bonkers by God as punishment for her not wanting to have babies like all the other women. Even before Old Nobodady hit her upside the head with his Gonzo stick, Baba wanted to be a sailor, to loose herself in the sea, drink rum with Phoenician pirates and make love on a pile of sailing canvas under the full moon.

Once his sister was struck start raving senseless, Noah did what any good brother would do: he locked her up in a closet and fed her dates and a little bit of couscous every day. Until the business with the flood came along. Once Noah was contracted to build a cruise ship big enough for polar bears and penguins and every species of mouse in the world, he didn't have much time to care for his sister. Neither did his wife or sons or their wives. So Noah trained a spider monkey named Hennessey to feed his nutty sister dates and carry his hammer whilst building yonder ark.

Now, Noah was a compassionate man for his time and took Baba with him when the floodwaters started to hike up everybody's Dockers. He built a little room at the top of a mast on the ark for his sister and there she sat, kicking her legs and shouting out nauticalisms and sea jargon from her roost, just tickled to finally be at sea!

But Noah had two of every cockatoo and cockroach to mind so that left little time for caring for his sister. Misses Noah was busy too, sweeping up after elephants and orangutans and so were his sons and their wives. So Hennessey was the only monkey on the ark that had a moment to spare for crazy Baba and he felt sorry for her, stuck up in the crow's nest all the time with just two little blackbirds nesting in her hair, pecking at her ears.

On the thirty-ninth day of rain, Hennessey snuck into the broom closet and fetched the rope ladder. He waited until that night, when Noah and Misses Noah and all their sons and their wives were zonked from a day of bathing hippos. Then, Hennessey shimmied up that mast with the rope ladder and helped Baba down so she could stretch her legs a bit.

Baba was thrilled to finally have run of the ship and so she commandeered the Ark and made Hennessey her first mate and they charted a new course, which was only in Baba?s moldy, little mind. They sailed off into new directions and unknown latitudes, where they encountered amorous buccaneers and were the first people ever to become lost in the Bermuda Triangle. They even butted heads with the dreaded King of the Sea, Great Leviathan himself, whose scales are bright as the moon and who swallows the sea whenever he inhales.

Which is why it took them forty more days, even after the rain stopped to find land again.

And Noah waxed sorely pissed. He locked her up with the animals in the hold and even after they scuttled the Ark on Mount Ararat and the floodwaters drained off into the sewers, Noah left her there in the Ark with just Hennessey the spider monkey to keep her company. But Baba didn't care. She had finally been to sea and had a head full of imaginary adventures, which she hung from the rafters of the ark, right next to the bird's nests and spider's webs; right where the moon could see them every night when it peeked through the window.

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