If you frequent the Preservation Pub–and I’m assuming that anyone who’s reading this crap probably does so–you’ve doubtless noticed the fancifully accoutred African-American gentleman holding court with regular irregularity in the little nook beneath the first-floor stairwell. He’s an imposing fellow, at 6’4 or thereabouts, and he dresses with an otherworldly flair, all colorful robes and silken tunics and wrought-iron jewelry, his singular ensemble accessorized by ornate wooden staffs and silver horseshoes and the long-stemmed, burnished silver lamp tied around his waist.
His name–or one of his names, at any rate–is Zeus, and he is a genie. The lamp, ever perched on his hip, is the house of his spirit.
Zeus says he grew up in Georgia, a quiet child who read a lot, studied meditation, mastered Thai boxing and Shaolin Kung Fu. As a young man, he worked as a member of an airport cleaning crew, for a time.
Then, one day, he cast aside any last vestiges of earthly normalcy–for Zeus had always been different from his fellows, even as a youth–took to wandering the earth and embraced in full the truth of his birthright.
“I’ve always know I was a genie,” he says. “I knew it even before we were sent down to this plane.”
Now, I know what you’re thinking. Most of you, right about now, are thinking that I have either (a) finally lost the last pitiful remnants of my alleged mind, or (b) decided to replace my usual incoherent ramblings with some sort of bizarre, ill-considered fib.
But my mind, such as it is, is still here, no worse than it was yesterday or last week, or even last year. And I would never lie to you, Jake. You mean that much to me.
Okay, so that is a lie. But what’s true is that Zeus is a genie. Or at least, Zeus believes he is a genie. And I believe what Zeus believes might be true.
He speaks in mystic riddles, beatific diatribes, weird koans. And just when you think it’s all a goofy put-on, that Zeus is just one more Crystal-gazing New Age shill, he drops some weirdly glowing little pearl of wisdom on you, some potent kernel of ineffable truth
“If you want to see God, look at the Universe. It is the body of God.”
“Some people don’t believe in past lives. But how can you not? Yesterday was a past life.”
“This is God’s movie. We are all just actors. Some of us get paid in ash, and some get paid in blessings. But we are all role players.”
Ensconced in his cubbyhole, surrounded by his lamps and pictures and hand-wrought talismans, he is the very soul of serenity, and he imparts that sense of preternatural calm and well-being to anyone who sits in his presence.
Among many other things, Zeus is a spiritual counselor. Not a fortune teller, mind you, because, as he says, “You create your own destiny… Learn from your past, and wait patiently on your future.” With his talismans–each of which has a function, and a meaning–and his deck of Wisdom Cards, which he interprets through a system of his own design, he will talk to you of enlightenment and love, healing and direction.
And yeah, he requests a donation for his services. Nothing in this life is free, Jake. But trust me on this one: it’s worth it to pony up, if for no other reasons than to experience for yourself the abiding sense of ease and contentment exuded by the big man with the magic staff and the spirit lamp.
We will be featuring more of Zeus in future issues of Scruffington Post, in such a way as to bring bits of his wisdom and light to bear on this little world we live in. In the meantime, pop your head in Zeus’ nook next time you’re in Preservation Pub, and say hello. Stop and sit a spell.
Because the Universe is filled with rogues and haters, Jake, ogres and mendicants and agents of Cruelty and World Cup Soccer fans. Zeus and his ilk are its celestial counterweights, the Prophets of Grace who chase the Darkness and set the balance aright.