a real soundtrack for an imaginary spy film
Twenty-Nine - THE TELEVANGELISIST (Praise for Hair)
Copyright © 2002 - 2005 Arthur Jarvinen
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The twelve year old blind and crippled religious pop artist from Milwaukee formerly known as Christ's Child discovers quite by accident that if he lays his hands on any electronic keyboard instrument something strangely reminiscent of the music of popular Greek composer Vangelis comes out, as if by divine intervention. He also observes that this music, when channeled through his frail body via an electronic broadcast medium modulated by his ineffable charisma and stage presence, would seem to exhibit inexplicable healing powers (although not for him personally, to his dismay). However, after considerable experimentation in objectively verifiable control group situations it is determined that the only malady this strange gift has a clearly demonstrable and consistent effect on is male pattern baldness. But that's enough to start his own church! So, with some expert advice and fund-raising guidance from his friend Marjoe Gortner, C.C. breaks ground and soon erects The Lakefire Church Worldwide Broadcast Facility and Hair-Raising Club for Men in a tony suburb of Lansing Michigan, and in record time establishes a tax-exempt cash flow the like of which hasn't been seen since the time of Papal Indulgences.
Ever since his encounter with Nogudsguya Vybriazanskii at the Blausemvyrld Monastery - not to mention Smith, Just Smith's report on the Way Right Curch of Reverend Stang - The Invisible Guy has become increasingly suspicious of religious establishments of all kinds and creeds, convinced that most of them are, more likely than not, ingenious facades for the organized propagation of corruption, vice, and deception and, more to the point, the evil machinations of Mojo Stang. He has satisfied himself that Stang is operating through a global network of ostentatious and elaborately equipped worship and praise facilities, filling his coffers and financing his criminal schemes with the contributions of millions of sincere but gullible believers, followers, disciples, and adherents.
Having been tipped off that a private militia is being billeted and trained on Lakefire Church property, and seeing no good reason why a hair-raising ministry should require ground forces, The Invisible Guy is convinced that the Lakefire facility must be the headquarters for Mojo Stang's Midwestern operations and has come to Michigan to investigate.
The meeting has been going on for quite some time now, consisting of a carefully orchestrated and subtly timed sequence of admonitions, anthems, testimonials, before-and-after photos, and frequent reminders that this sort of thing takes money – a lot of money – and the more you give, the better the chances of receiving your own personal miracle. [ There's even a special category of giving and participation, with its own seating area, for those who haven't yet lost their hair and just don't want to risk it – "Prophylactic Pay-And-Praise". ]
This is all actually somewhat amusing to The Invisible Guy – although his mother always says he is easily amused - and so far seems harmless enough, and being as he really has to take a whiz he slips out to the men's room. While relieving himself he can hear the music, piped into the bathroom via the ubiquitous sound system - a peculiar morphing of Chariots Of Fire and a Christian anthem he remembers from the days of his youth - as the men raise their voices as one while trying hard to look as if they really believe this will work, having been strenuously coached beforehand and told in no uncertain terms that they had better be convincing since this is live television.
As he's washing his hands The Invisible Guy glimpses in the mirror an unusual reflection, and as he looks closer it gets brighter, appearing to be a halo, hovering there in the air right where his head is. A few moments later the light fades and in its place appears The Invisible Guy's own full head of healthy hair, plain as day.
"Jesus H. Christ, wouldn't you just know it!" The Invisible Guy blurts out disconcertedly. "This shalt NOT do".
He quickly removes his shirt and hastily improvises a turban, but it's no good. The material he provided to his Hong Kong tailor, Foon Charlie Yip, is as transparent as he is – well, except for his hair! – and its peculiar optical properties, even with the cloth layered, do nothing to conceal his dark shock. Not wanting to risk his hair being spotted, The Invisible Guy makes his exit out the bathroom window. As he's cutting across an open field toward the parking lot suddenly the ground around him is torn up by rifle fire as arrows whiz past his ears.
"Holy Shit!! This bites!" The Invisible Guy zig zags at top speed across the field towards some bushes and dives out of sight as a bullet just nicks his ear.
"I think I got it!"
"What do you think it was?"
"Hell if I know."
Back at his safe house and out of range of Michigan hunters The Invisible Guy learns there's no way to conceal his hair, and so is compelled to shave his head for the next few weeks until the healing wears off and he's back to "normal".
Claude, having been keeping an eye on the proceedings from a stall, on the bathroom's closed circuit monitor, marks his page in Why I Am Not A Christian, by Bertrand Russell, then looks in his briefcase for an appropriate "nip unit", but the closest thing to a beverage being a half-empty bottle of Vitalis liquid hair tonic, he decides to forego his customary libation.
"Legally blind individuals have hunted in Michigan with a firearm using a laser sighting device without complication. Providing this opportunity to those hunters qualified to use a crossbow under current crossbow disability requirements will increase their recreational opportunities."
State of Michigan, Natural Resources Commission, Lansing
March 17, 2003
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