Cosmo di Madison performing in Steep 'n Brew on a guitar given him by
Pope John Paul I. "I have been thinking, and using my head, and practicing
a lot of very intense theology all of my life. It is this theology which the Pope
respected in me, and it is because of this theology and my way of living
that he gave me this guitar."
What happens to time in spiritual exegesis may also be confusing to the modern reader who is accustomed to arranging his world within a fairly rigorous and superficially rational coordinate system of time and space. The medieval attitude toward time was very different from ours. Specifically, an action carried out in the Old Testament may be, spiritually understood, an action described in the New Testament, and the same action, considered tropologically, becomes a potential action in the life of any man. Thus allegory has the effect of reducing the events of the Old Testament, the New Testament, and one's own actions, together with those of contemporaries, to a kind of continuous present. Boethius explains in the Consolation that God sees what we regard as the past, the present, and the future simultaneously, since there is no time in Heaven. There is a sense in which the spiritual understanding of Christian allegory produces a similar effect, so that temporal sequence acquires something of the nature of an illusion. Patterns set by the Bible constantly repeat themselves, not in the cyclic form fashionable among modern historical metaphysicians, but continuously. Hence allegory in its general sense makes the scriptural narrative constantly relevant and immediate.
--D.W. Robertson: A Preface to Chaucer: Studies in
Medieval Perspectives, p. 301.
At the outset you must be very careful lest you take figurative expressions literally. What the Apostle says pertains to this problem: "For the letter killeth, but the spirit quickeneth." That is, that which is said figuratively is taken as though it were literal, it is understood carnally. Nor can anything more appropriately be called the death of the soul than that condition in which the thing which distinguishes us from beasts, which is the understanding, is subjected to the flesh in the pursuit of the letter. He who follows the letter takes figurative expressions as though they were literal and does not refer the things signified to anything else.
--St. Augustine: On Christian Doctrine (3. 5. 9)
Pleas from my adoring readers have finally prevailed. I've decided to make public the complete Gospels of Cosmo di Madison. Some would say this volume is too long in coming. Cosmo himself, in fact, is convinced that for some time now I've been selling a hardcover edition of the Gospels in every major city in the U.S. besides Madison, and that I've been raking in, behind his back, some $12-14 million a year on his story.
I ought to acknowledge right off the bat that I've gotten a lot of flack over these writings. The misinterpretations, backstabbing and hang-up phone calls at all hours have been hard on me. There was even a drive-by shooting in which a man who wore a green felt hat exactly like mine was shot. I felt guilty about that one. But the violence I can deal with. It is other things that get me down.
To be quite frank, it is more than anything the persistent obtuseness of certain elements of the public that is getting harder to take. I don't mean to bash the public in general, just certain sectors. It's almost as if they refused to acknowledge the magnitude of what Cosmo and I have accomplished here. The ingratitude takes many forms, and I've struggled with the lot of them. Aside from the religious people, of certain denominations, who wouldn't recognize the truth if it leapt from the altar and bit them on the neck, I've had to deal with the various critics and students of literature who persist in seeing this book as a novel. Can you believe it? And the Divine Comedy--I suppose they'd say that was a coupon book.
I want to make something clear right here in the Preface. I want you, the reader, to get something straight once and for all: This narrative is not fiction. There. Do you believe me? This narrative is entirely true, all of it. It's a biography if anything, or rather what they call hagiography. I am not a novelist. I think you'll see and be thoroughly convinced that I'm not exaggerating about this either. So I hope we can get this straight right from the start, for your sake and mine. This is not a novel.
Actually I've no interest in writing fiction. The man I'm writing about, Cosmo di Madison, is a real man who lives here in Madison, Wisconsin. Gospels from the Last Man is his story more than mine. There are witnesses who can prove this, and I am willing to produce these people if need be. More than anything, this book is the story of how I was slowly taken under Cosmo's wing, and of how he revealed to me the truth. Yes, the truth. This is something else I'm entirely serious about. I'm writing here about the truth, scandalous as the idea may seem. For the truth is not exactly an acceptable theme here in the late 20th century, is it? Even mentioning truth comes off as heavy-handed in some quarters. So you'll have to get used to it. The truth.
I've attempted to write the truth in the manner it was revealed to me. Thus the text of these Gospels was written as a series of fragments rather than as a smoothly articulated exposition. The fragmentary character of this writing is not, however, to be understood as an obstacle to reading. In mentioning fragments, I'm not trying to excuse some laziness on my part, or make some claim about the "postmodern condition." Far from it. Rather it's the case that the fragment, as one of many possible modes of writing, proved nearly inevitable when it came to writing the deeds and teachings of Cosmo di Madison. This is because Cosmo is not a man to enter into lengthy explanations or narratives. He's usually cryptic when it comes to speaking of anything important, and he was often so with me. Since he knew I was writing down as much as I could of what was said, he was always careful to speak so that only those worthy of understanding could, in the end, understand. I received his Word in fragments, and here present it in fragments.
But how is it that I, a mere caf employee, came to write these Gospels? It is a story you will learn in the course of reading. Here I will give only a few hints. I met Cosmo di Madison after beginning work at a caf in downtown Madison. He was then posing as a rather eccentric regular customer. I wrote the texts of these Gospels over a period of four years following our meeting. They are divided into three books, each chronologically succeeding the previous. The first two books were published in small editions, which I disseminated from the caf itself to an ever-increasing readership. The enthusiasm with which these first two books were received, throwing half the city into mania and discord (people giving up everything and taking to the streets, study groups breaking forth in every other home, amateur archeological ventures, the whole bit) testifies to the power of the doctrine they contain. But the third book, here published for the first time, is certainly the capstone of these writings, definitively placing Cosmo di Madison in the lineage he himself so often evokes, that of the Man-Babies.
I sometimes can't get over my good fortune in having met Cosmo di Madison. I feel that in meeting him I've found my true calling, the work I was born for. It's as if his doctrine was concocted for my pen, and my pen for his doctrine. Even my background seems to have been specially designed to bring forth someone who could write the life and teachings of Cosmo di Madison. My father, a pious man of Hungarian stock, was an art restorer by profession. He worked in the Midwest, then up and down the West coast, and is best known for leading the team that restored the mural of Washington Crossing the Delaware after it was damaged in the prison riots at Alcatraz in '68. My mother, descended from Bavarian Catholics on one side and a French doctor on the other, was a poet and illustrator of children's books. Whether you know it or not, you've probably read some of her work, as she wrote for Hallmark through much of the '70s while I was growing up.
I ought to take this opportunity to warn new readers of the Gospels, those who haven't already read Books I and II. Do not proceed too quickly, but do not lose heart either. Do not laugh too loudly while you read, lest a demon fly into your open mouth. I've seen what can happen, and believe me, it's not pretty. You are liable to feel in the beginning as if you were dangling helplessly over a valley strewn with sucked cadavers. This is because the doctrine here presented holds together in a very circuitous manner, like a giant web in fact, with the inevitable result that one cannot begin to know the pattern of the whole until one has gotten one's limbs tangled in many troublesome particulars. You yourself will get tangled up. You'll be stung by this spider repeatedly. It doesn't sound pleasant, I know. But trust me: you're in good hands with me as your guide. I've been through this web myself, and know it like I know my own mind. And I can assure you: the beauty of the web, once glimpsed, will make any loss of blood along the way seem insignificant.
Now, reader, proceed boldly to the Biographical Introduction of the first book, and begin your reading. From here, you are on your own.
[The following texts make up what eventually became Book I of the general collection Gospels from the Last Man. These initial writings were put out in a small, bound edition back in 1992. I'd recently started work at the caf frequented by Cosmo di Madison, and began taking notes on my conversations with him. The earliest texts are actually entries from my journal, entries in which I hoped to capture some of the spirit and ideas of the caf's most interesting regular.
In 1991, at the the time when Book I written, the caf in question was thriving. Its tables were constantly occupied by a steady flow of undergraduate PC hipsters, burned out grad students, professors, street musicians, derelicts, activists, cops on the beat, even the local business people. It is in this mixed and caffeinated milieu that most of the following scenes took place.
The opening biographical introduction is based on notes from an interview with Cosmo di Madison in which he was asked to recount the significant events of his life.--1995]
II.1.1. Cosmo di Madison was born in Laos in 1957. His father was Heiten Gandhi and his mother was Judy Garland. His mother took her last name from his father: Garland sounds similar to Gandhi.
Cosmo soon left Laos, coming to the United States with sixteen of his Venetian wives and their children. One of his Venetian wives, Sella, moved to Tibet and resided there until 1981, running a spy ring for Cosmo.
During the 1970s Cosmo was the brains and the brawn behind most of the espionage against the Soviets and Cubans. Most people don't know this. This difficult work did not prevent him from receiving a PhD. in psychology. He is in fact known for a number of important works in this field.
Cosmo is a practicing Catholic and holds his own Mass in his apartment, where he has set up a sacred altar. He has attended secret Masses with the Pope. His private collection of sacred books is famous.
In the 1970s many of his executives, clergy, brokers, advisors, investors and intelligence agents were slaughtered by the Mob and the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). Cosmo di Madison had told them to attack first or they'd be wiped out, but they didn't heed his warning. It is Cosmo di Madison's conviction that everything was lost in the seventies because of the corruption of the older generation. Cosmo di Madison: "They had their red meat and alcohol, and that's all they cared about. They sat back and let everything go to hell rather than face the music."
From 1976-7, Cosmo di Madison's accounts were illegally siphoned off by Saddam Hussein, who was working at the time as an officer in the Madison Police Department. The losses sustained were too high to mention in this brief introduction.
The thugs murdered Cosmo's first wife Karen Carpenter. The Mob and the CFR and Hussein's people are all one group. Let it be known publicly that the following people presently work or at one time did work for this group: Henry Kissinger, Teddy Kennedy, Billy and Jimmy Carter, Tony Earl. Madison Mayor Paul Soglin is in on it too.
Cosmo di Madison currently resides in Madison.
[Whereas the above was written several months into my acquaintace with Cosmo di Madison, the following few texts, much rougher, are mainly direct transcriptions of notes taken during my very first serious conversations with him at the caf. At the time of writing these notes I little suspected I was beginning work as his scribe. I remember my attitude then was mainly one of fascination with the range of historical reference in Cosmo di Madison's speech, particularly as regards Martin Luther's pivotal role in world history. The bracketed "[C ]" will be explained below.]
II.1.2. [C ] is a Roman Catholic, of course. [C ]'s delicate fingers are covered with rings. He wears a leather vest and has his hair cropped close. He sits back pensively and flicks his ashes, adopting the air of a detective about to relate to you the most complex and stunning of his cases.
The following notes are what I could get from [C ] concerning the history of Luther and the works of Lutheranism in the world. Our conversation took place during one of my breaks from work at the caf. Much to my delight, he offered the topic of Lutheranism himself, as being one of great importance to him.
In the 1580s, after being kicked out of Germany, Luther escaped to Spain and started the Spanish Inquiry. It was Luther who organized it.
Luther was concerned mainly with talking rhetoric, writing letters and newsletters.
He founded a small newspaper. He was brainwashing people.
Luther is the reason people defile the flesh of mammals, the reason people feed on meat. Before Luther they never did that.
Fucking Lutheran bullshit. Fucking Lutheran evil shit!
Luther led the Spanish Armada against the British, who were Roman Catholics. The Roman Catholics sunk the Spanish Armada.
Luther escaped to play the role of Zoro. He was Zoro. He was Napoleon too.
He escaped to France in the 1680s. In the north of France--a place called Bethel. He wrote more letters and started another paper.
He changed his name to Napoleon, who is Zoro.
After this subquittant duration... After he was done with the French Revolution and fucked all that shit up...
He escaped to an eastern bloc nation, somewhere by Russia, and changed his name to Karl Marx.
I'm not sure which nation it was. There are a lot of fucked up history books out there.
Luther escaped to New York City in 1952. He started a newspaper and a massive printing business.
In 1972 he was executed by John Dean in a movie called The French Connection.
I ask [C ] about the theological issues. What are the theological distinctions between Lutherans and Roman Catholics?
Lutherans are followers of Satanic and insane gothic principles.
They chastise all manner of flesh they can for evil.
All the Bibles were changed by Luther starting in the 1780s.
They took over a gigantic press in the early 1930s, printing Bibles in English.
I have a Bible in Greek--not written by some fucking German!
The Catholic Church is the foundation of the Christian Church, which is not 2,000 years old but millions of eons.
The Catholic Church precludes individualism.
People who don't commit cardinal sins are saved. You gotta break four of the Ten Commandments at once to be damned.
If you defy the Catholic Church, the clergy will catch up with you eventually, and will destroy you.
[C ] asks if this is going to be published. I tell him that hopefully it will be.
My name is John Alexander Dean. They know me. Just write John Alexander Dean as the author.
Or you could just write my code name-- 0X21-18853-A5DEL.
A few minutes later I ask him to repeat his code name, and he repeats it in the same deadly serious manner.
[C ] di Madison knows more concerning history than most people around here.
The few occasions on which we have spoken have been very worthwhile, though in the past his theatrical manner irritated me.
Wiser now, I know it is rather the university historian, ever writing tensely in the corner, whose theatrical manner poses the real potential threat.
[Fascinated by that first conversation with Cosmo di Madison, I navely took the step of typing up my notes and making copies to give to co-workers at the caf. When Cosmo di Madison found out, I was forced to recognize my error. He made it clear that he wasn't at all happy with the slapdash manner in which I'd published his historical revelations concerning Luther. His reaction convinced me that by including his full name in the text I'd committed some sort of theological breach of security. I sadly thought he'd never speak with me again. So I typed up the following rejoinder in hopes of salvaging our rapport. Eventually he informed me offhandedly that he'd had his boys run a rigorous security check on me, and, having passed, I was back in his graces.]
II.1.3. [C ] di Madison has seen my notes on the history he gave me on the night of September 14th, 1991, at the caf. He wasn't happy to discover I'd actually typed them up, or rather, he was upset to see his real name, [C ], typed thereon. "This document should be destroyed." "Who have you shown this to?" "Give my name as Steve McQueen, not John Alexander Dean." "Just give my code name." "Things are too hot already." Etc. To protect him from any undue worry or trouble, I have modified the text. I've enclosed [C ]'s name in brackets and removed several of the letters. So if the reader happens to have suspicions concerning the true identity of [C ] di Madison, do not reveal them to anyone. Further, do not reveal to him that you suspect he is the historian in question. I don't want to make such a sensitive interpreter of our plight in post-Lutheran history any more nervous concerning his place in it all than he already may be. But because of the importance of what he has revealed so far, I will type up the notes I took from him during our recent brief encounter au caf:
Luther is Lucifer.
He's been wandering this planet since the 1300s.
He murdered Henry I. He poisoned him.
He's also Sigmund Freud.
[From this point on, Book I contains mainly notes and narratives of my encounters with Cosmo di Madison at the caf and elsewhere. The entries proceed in rough chronological order.]
II.1.4. Cosmo comes in wearing a red leather jacket and matching red leather hat. The caf's baker Elizabeth is filling the front counter with goods. Cosmo looks at her and grins: "Hey, Momma, look at baby! Have you seen baaaaby?" He holds up a plastic bag in which is an awkward object poking through the sides. "Heh heh heh heh," is how he prepares the world for "baaaaaby."
Baby's tale peeks out of the bag, and it's suddenly obvious that baby is a fake ivory tusk about two feet long, carved into the shape of a Chinese dragon and mounted on a black wooden pedestal. Cosmo moves the dragon slowly out of the bag, grinning cosmically.
"Cute baby, Cosmo. I can see the resemblance," I tell him. "It's long and thin and so are you."
"Heh heh heh heh. It has a long, pointy tale like me. Heh heh heh. Ahhhahahhahhahh!"
"Oh, God," says Elizabeth, covering her mouth. '
"And the teeth," continues Cosmo. "Just like me! Ahhhah hahhah hhh ahh hahhhhh hhh!"
Cosmo walks up the stairs with the poise of a drunken Chinese Emperor, roaring transcendently at the frightened customers.
"Grrrrrrrr! Heh heh ehh ehehehahhhh! Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!"
Born in Laos, 1957.
II.1.5. Cosmo di Madison sees clearly the signs of Phonecian involvement in the founding of Madison.
"Hell. All over town they've disguised ancient Phonecian ruins as modern houses. Right over there"--he points to what looks like a 19th century home--"is a Phonecian ruin, but nobody knows it because of the cover-ups."
The Phonecians came to Wisconsin 130,000 years ago, and were involved heavily in the politics of the region until quite recently. Cosmo begins a run-down of the Phonecian dynasties, their wars, the dragons that harassed their capital city here on the isthmus, and how they beat the dragons.
Cosmo himself recently killed a dragon in the basement of Amy's Caf--"JUST AROUND THE CORNER."
He will tell you that he receives his historical knowledge psychically, through his ultra-sensitive hearing.
"Cosmo," I say.
"Yes," says Cosmo.
"I have learned much from you concerning the Phonecian dynasties that ruled south-central Wisconsin, concerning their wars, and concerning the dragons they fought. But I am more curious about the daily life of the Phonecian people here on the isthmus. And so I will pose you the following historical question. THIRTY-THOUSAND YEARS AGO, ON THE SAME DAY AS TODAY, IN THE SAME MONTH, TWO PHONECIAN WOMEN WERE WALKING TOGETHER AROUND WHAT IS NOW THE FIVE-HUNDRED BLOCK OF STATE STREET. WHAT WERE THEY TALKING ABOUT?"
"Thirty-thousand years ago?"
"Madison was Phonecian thirty-thousand years ago."
"I thought so."
Cosmo di Madison closes his eyes for a moment and concentrates. A look of gravity descends on him. Cosmo di Madison opens his eyes.
"They're talking about the royal family," he says.
"So they're talking about the royal family. Two women walking together on the isthmus thirty-thousand years ago are talking about the royal family."
"But tell me, Cosmo--"
"What are they saying about the royal family? Are they gossiping about the royal family? Are they joking about the royal family? Or are they intriguing against the royal family?"
Cosmo di Madison does not close his eyes. He does not deliberate. He says immediately and with the utmost seriousness: "Every morning, you see, the King would jack-off. And when he came, birds would fly out of his cock and fly up into the sky. So there."
Needless to say, I am somewhat taken aback by this abrupt revelation.
"But Cosmo," I point out after a moment of reflection, "this does not explain what the two women are talking about on the isthmus thirty-thousand years ago in the vicinity of what is now the five-hundred block of State Street."
Cosmo di Madison looks at me as if I were deaf. He puts his hands on his lap in an unexplained configuration.
"Pumpkin," he calls me. "C'mon now, pumpkin. Are you listening or not?"
"There were only two kinds of birds this particular King put out. When the King came, it was either eagles or wrens. The two women are trying to decide which kind it's going to be that morning."
There is a long pause in our conversation as I consider this.
"And the robins?" I ask finally. "What of the robins? And the red-wing blackbirds? And the chickadees? And the cardinals? And the hawks? And the crows? What of the hummingbirds?"
"Different kings," he replies.
II.1.6. The Library of Cosmo di Madison. Having finally attained the privilege of calling on Cosmo di Madison at his downtown apartment, I discovered his address and went there as soon as I could. My concerns in visiting Cosmo were various. First, I wanted to see who the man was when he was at home. But secondly, and perhaps more importantly, I intended to investigate certain claims concerning his library. Cosmo had shown some old books to a previous visitor of my acquaintance, and had told him that they were the Dead Sea Scrolls. But my acquaintance had not had time enough to examine the ancient volumes to determine even what language or languages they were written in. I felt this sort of work was certainly in my range, being that my extensive literary studies and travels have left me fluent in somewhere between 160 and 172 languages, many of them ancient or at least incomprehensible in this ruined and belated age. I wondered, however, whether Cosmo would allow me to investigate these precious books, or whether indeed he would even allow me to see them. I was thus overjoyed at his eventual trust in me, and at his openness concerning the contents of his library.
I will say nothing of Cosmo's apartment at this point, but will only indicate that it is decorated and even comfortable in a somewhat nineteenth-century, Baudelairean manner. The man leans more towards antique furniture, and has hung his walls with oil paintings in the darker hues. The incoming light is dim and there are many plants cluttered near the one window, fighting for its light. Religious statuary of various kinds can be glimpsed here and there.
After being there some time, I came to the question of the Scrolls, and whether or not he indeed had them. Cosmo pointed to around a dozen volumes of old hardbound books stacked in a small pile on the marble stand near his couch. The ancient books were kept there in reach of the couch on which Cosmo awoke every morning with his strong tea and cigarettes. He was in fact drinking this strong tea and smoking at the moment I visited, playing a used record he bought for a dollar, a slightly scratched record of Sixties music, on his $40,000 stereo. Cosmo had actually been given a blacklisted social security card by the United States government for having too much gold and silver, and too much money in stereo equipment there in his apartment. Even his brother who is a big wheel in the CIA cannot protect him from this government harassment, so rich and wild is Cosmo di Madison.
I asked if I could look at the titles of the volumes.
"Certainly," he said gravely. "They're all ancient. They're the Dead Sea Scrolls--in their original format ."
As I knelt near the marble table, I wondered to myself what the myriad myopic scholars of the Academy would say if they knew that the Scrolls were there in Cosmo di Madison's apartment, and in original format! I handled the Scrolls with the utmost care while my host continued smoking.
"I've got them arranged as an altar, as you can see," he pointed out.
On the marble table in front of the Dead Sea Scrolls were two white candles in brass candlesticks. Behind the Dead Sea Scrolls, and almost framing them, was a large and antique brass plate etched in what appeared to be Middle Eastern designs. Portions of the plate had partially oxidized.
After looking through the volumes carefully, I assured Cosmo that the books were of high spiritual value and were indeed very old. I suggested that he allow me to make a catalogue of them, which he did willingly, pointing out that they were all Catholic books and that the one on the bottom was obviously around 4,000 years old.
After some hesitation, I have decided to print the catalogue as I copied it, moving from the top of the stack down to the most ancient of the Dead Sea Scrolls:
--Kristelig Kalendar: Bibelsprog og Talmevers til hver Dag
i Yaret. Den norste Synodes Forlag. Decorah, Iova,
--Der Heidelberger Katechismus.
--De Imitatione Sacri Cordis Jesu. Libri Quatuor.
--R.C. Jebb: Greek Literature.
--Wunder[ ]ame Gotteswege aus der Gegenwart.
Erzahlungen von Harry Margot.
--Vita et Doctrina Jesu Christi. Bruxellis apud H.
--In Latinum (Caesar). For Academies and High Schools.
J.D.S. Riggs, PhD.
--Cursus Philosophicus. In Usum Scholarum. Auctoribus
Pluribus Philosophiae Professoribus in Collegiis
Valkenbergensi et Stonyhurstensi S.J. Pars III.
Philosophia Naturalis. H. Haan S.J.
--Die Heilige Schrift.
That some of Dead Sea Scrolls were published in the 19th century by American Lutheran presses (one of them in Decorah, Iova) not only poses a conundrum of some magnitude for Biblical scholars, but also suggests what may turn out to be rather difficult questions for Cosmo di Madison. Given his respect for the Scrolls as sacred texts and given his heroic opposition to Luther and his followers, it would seem that there is a rather serious contradiction here. But perhaps the problem lies in my own transcription of the Scrolls' title pages. It is not impossible that I have misread as German gothic letters what are really Aramaic letters, in which case my catalogue is worthless. In any event, I will certainly ask Cosmo di Madison himself about these things once I feel the time is right. For I am not among those who believe the real contents of the Dead Sea Scrolls are best kept under lock and key.
II.1.7. I show Cosmo di Madison a scholarly work on page 13 of which is pictured a Fara cuneiform tablet (Mesopotamia, c. 2600 B.C.). The clay inscription is still just a muddle to me, put down by a scribe who was further distant in years from Our Lord than Our Lord is from us. Tablets like these are usually temple or palace accounts, reading something like the following Sumerian Fara tablet also presented in the same work:
1 barley-fed ox; 6 grass-fed oxen; the god Shuruppuk--3 barley fed-oxen; 6 grass-fed oxen; the god Gibil--3 from the god Enlil; 2 oxen; 6 grass-fed oxen; Mr. Kinnir--7 oxen; from the god Suen.
The scribes recorded which god got what, and who offered it for sacrifice, being at this time spare on commentary. Thus perhaps we are to understand from the above translation that a Mr. Kinnir, 3,000 BC., put up seven oxen, of indeterminate or at least unrecorded feed, for who knows which god. Gibil?
So I show Cosmo di Madison a close-up photograph of a different Fara tablet. He looks at it briefly.
"Yeah, sure," he says, "I know this stuff. I can read it. But they have it upside down."
He turns my library book over and begins to translate. According to Cosmo di Madison, the gist of this record is as follows:
A Sumerian man marries two women, two children by first, one by second. Foreign soldiers come, murder first wife and children, murder pet lamb of child of second wife. Sadness. Man moves elsewhere.
I am much impressed by this reading. Cosmo di Madison points to the first pictograph inscribed in the seventh line down of the third column.
"See," he says, "there's the lamb."
And, of course, it seems indeed to be a lamb. Or perhaps a beef. Or perhaps it is just the god Shuruppuk out on a spree.
As I had no knowledge of Cosmo di Madison's ever having studied the cultures of ancient Mesopotamia, I was rather perplexed by the fluent ease with which he translated this text for me. I was certain that even the major scholars would have had to take some time piecing together what were after all the marks of a long-dead language. Oddest of all, however, was that Cosmo immediately insisted the tablet was mounted upside down, and had to turn the book over to translate it for me. How was I to understand this strange reaction of his? Why would the scholar whose work I was reading picture a tablet upside-down? Was it perhaps a publisher's error?
Several pages later in the same book, I learn from the author, and for the first time, that modern scholarly practice places tablets either on their side or upside down both in museum displays and in transcriptions . This practice is simply a result of the manner in which modern European scholars studying cuneiform records originally set the tablets while trying to interpret them. As we have since learned, this direction of mounting does not reflect the direction in which the Sumerian scribes held the tablets when reading or writing them, but in fact contradicts it. Thus if an ancient Sumerian scribe were shown a modern scholarly work picturing the tablets he inscribed, he would notice before anything that for some odd reason (modern scholarly tradition) the tablets were shown upside down. It's as if in the distant future an American public library were uncovered, and the future scholars working on the texts therein started to study them by holding them upside down, reading from the bottom of the page up. After the mistake was discovered, it was generally judged easier to continue publishing the texts thusly even so, as scholarly books were already doing this, and because the only people reading the texts were scholars in any case.
I was dumbfounded. Cosmo di Madison had seen it immediately. Why? How explain it? For to my knowledge, Cosmo di Madison had never had any academic training in this area. He'd never mentioned a thing about his work in Sumerian. And if he had done academic work in Sumerian, he'd have been comfortable reading the text in the position it was mounted in the book. He was not. Struggling against the logic established by the English text covering most of page 13, he looked briefly at the 4,600-year-old clay tablet and said: "Yeah, I can read this stuff. But they have it upside down."
II.1.8. Economic wisdom of Cosmo di Madison. Two quotes.
--If America doesn't get its act together and start beating the Japanese, Germans, and Koreans, it's gonna be a day late in a week story.
--People don't appreciate anything around here except counterfeit money. And it's running out.
II.1.9. Busy with important police work crucial for the safety of the cowering citizenry of our city, Cosmo di Madison had not been stopping in at the caf as frequently as usual. I needed to discuss with him matters of religious importance, and so I asked him if he would give me his phone number, as I could not set up an appointment on the spot. He nonchalantly tore a piece of paper off the caf pad and wrote the number down, then handed it to me. The paper read:
I was shocked. Looking up from the paper to the Most Catholic Cosmo di Madison, I encountered a face twisted in fury, a phantasmagoric imitation of evil. He grit his teeth and thundered out demonically:
Call me any time! Baaaaah aaah haaaahhhh!
The whole lower section of the caf shook with terror. A West Side woman at one of the window tables dropped her shopping bag, spilling onto the floor almost a dozen fat little dolls dressed in psychedelic calico. I reeled back and put my hand on the counter, a feeling of sickness wrenching up from within me. I noticed suddenly that the decaf pot was boiling wildly, a greenish exhalation pouring from under its white lid. A haziness covered my vision, and I heard distant voices whispering to me in Slavic vowels.
Cosmo di Madison grinned at us all in contempt, then stepped swiftly out the front door of the caf with stiff dignity, wisping his long black cape.
Certainly any of my readers who have spent time in the presence of the Cosmo di Madison will be aware that this story is absolutely veritable: they will not doubt for an instant that everything happened exactly as I have retold it.
But how interpret this astonishing event? How can this most Christian man so offhandedly associate himself with the Fallen Angel?
The answer is obvious to those who ponder Cosmo di Madison's position in the cosmic order. Cosmo di Madison satirizes evil, so as to put low the Evil One. Who does not know this is so?
And the decaf? How explain the suddenly boiling decaf? The noxious and green fumes, my sudden illness? Here again the answer is obvious. It is most obvious to those who know the manner in which I prepare decaf when working the front counter at our most celebrated caf.
II.1.10. Many refuse to accept as the whole truth Cosmo di Madison's haggard complaints concerning the harrowing conspiracies in which he now finds himself enmeshed. They suspect he is at times bending the truth, that, for example--"No, his mother is not really Judy Garland"; or: "No, he does not have seventeen Venetian wives"; or: "No, he is most certainly not Laotian--it is obvious--and neither does he control espionage cells in Czechoslovakia or anywhere else." These Nay-sayers, however, are precisely the people who do not take the time to listen carefully to Cosmo di Madison--those, in short, who insist they have better things to do than trouble themselves over the fact that their city is being overrun by Chicago criminals and drug dealers, their university is a hub of international espionage, their neighborhoods are dotted with an ever-increasing number of crack houses, and that porn video dealers, yes, filthy vile movies degrading their children and upsetting their families--that "porn video dealers ARE SETTING UP SHOP IN THE FRUIT AND PRODUCE SECTIONS OF WHAT WERE PREVIOUSLY FAMILY GROCERY STORES!" These are the same people who would probably watch civilization come to a disastrous end without raising a finger to stop it. And so: you who refuse to believe that Cosmo di Madison is up to his gold earring in veritable evil conspiracies of most atrocious and international proportions have not even begun to ponder the political realities of the so-called "world" you wander in with such pathetic disregard!
Thus: when Cosmo di Madison steps into the caf with darkness and discontent in his eye, you can be sure the reasons behind this mood are worth inquiring into, even if you do not find yourself understanding the boggling complexity of even the simpler of Cosmo's battles.
He came in the other day with a grim look and ordered a double cappuccino. He began to confide in me immediately as he usually does, for he doubtless recognizes in me a kindred soul in the rough struggle against evil, one who has eyes to hear and ears to see.
"Those fucking bastards! Those evil fucking bastards screwed me over again!"
"What's wrong, Cosmo?"
"I'll tell you what's wrong: some fucking mental health officials around here are going to wake up one morning with their fucking heads cut off and laying next to them in bed--that's what's wrong."
"What did they do this time? Mendota people?"
"My fucking psychologist charged me fifty-two fucking thousand dollars. How do you like that?"
"Yeah, they know I'm filthy rich so they try and suck it out of me. But ever since they blacklisted my Social Security number I can't even cash a check for twenty bucks."
"But how could they charge that much? Was it for a whole year of meetings, or what?"
"No, it wasn't even for one meeting, the fucking bastards."
"Who's your psychologist? Maybe I can do something about it."
"He's not even really a psychologist--he's a kind of psychoanalyst."
Cosmo di Madison uttered the last word with particular scorn.
"Yeah, one of those milky-handed baby-groping kind."
"What's his name, though? Maybe I can do something."
"No, you can't help me, I'm in too deep--the bastards."
"Just tell me who it is. I could call him."
"Try to call him if you want. The fucker's never there. It's Henry Kissinger."
"Your psychoanalyst is Henry Kissinger?"
"That's amazing! So does he fly here for appointments, or do you fly to D.C.?"
"Huh! That bastard--I didn't even have a real appointment."
"But how could he charge you $52,000 if you didn't even have a real appointment?"
Cosmo sneered through a face riddled with scorn and exhaustion.
"The State assigned him to me. Don't you get it? I don't have a choice. He's charging me $52,000 for an eleven-minute phone session! The bastard."
II.1.11. A cold November morning. The sun has just risen in the ivory sky. Cosmo di Madison and I are standing on the top of Bascom Hill, at the very center of the campus. Behind us is the green and rotting statue of Abraham Lincoln. Below and before us is the Holy City, just beginning to wake.
Cosmo di Madison removes his massive and stained cowboy hat, adjusting the band on the inside. He places it back on his head and gazes upon the city with an air of utmost gravity. I watch his breath condensing in the cold air.
Then he says to me, with grave restraint: "This town is being overrun by crooks, ya hear me? Someday this town will all be mine."
There is a moment of silence, and then, thundering out over the sea of flakes and liberals:
II.1.12. More economic wisdom from Cosmo di Madison: "If they would have listened to me and faced the music in the seventies, none of this would have happened."
II.1.13. Various Sayings of Cosmo di Madison.
i. "Life goes on, hey? Life goes on."
ii. "Ya hear me, don't ya?"
iii. "Come to Daddy. Bahhhahhahhhhhaaaahhahhaa! "
iv. Walking down the stairs, with sing-song jingle:
WITH BLUE BONNET ON IT!
[Doubtless, reader, you have already noticed in these texts the frequent notations indicating Cosmo di Madison's expansive laughter. There should be no surprise in this. For among the various marks of nobility evident to those lucky enough to have spent time in the presence of Cosmo di Madison, his laughter is surely the one most likely to remain in the memory. And while there--in the memory, that is--this laughter is apt to jostle whatever else happens to be there with it. It is an unsettling, if not frightening laughter. Many of you--those who frequent the caf preferred by Cosmo di Madison--know exactly what I am getting at. For who among us has not at least a few times cringed in terror before the sublimity of this Laugh? Objects rattle on tables, champagne glasses crack and tumble, plants either wither or demonstrate a brief and sudden florescence when Cosmo di Madison's laughter bursts forth. I have seen birds drop from the sky, stone dead. I have seen dogs whimper and hide under parked cars. I have seen fraternity boys sobbing uncontrollably, the one trying to hide behind the other. It is needless to add that there is no way of reproducing in merely phonetic writing the singular character of this Laugh. The reader will frequently encounter my best notation of it, as in the texts above, but I am afraid the refrain-like return of these notations will only appear unwieldy to those who've never heard Cosmo di Madison himself. Those who have heard him, however, know the necessity of Cosmo's laughter, and thus recognize the necessity of my indicating it to the best of my ability here.]
II.1.14. Cosmo di Madison is at the front counter of the caf speaking about how well he treats his wives. His words on this subject could provide the learned basis of a treatise on matrimonial life that would surely stand in relation to our age as Andr Tiraqueau's treatise stood in relation to his. Jody the caf supervisor--doubtlessly feeling the sting of jealously in relation to Cosmo's wives, and having painfully to face up to the rough and down-home manners of her own man Jed--Jody asks Cosmo di Madison: "Cosmo, will you marry me?"
Cosmo di Madison looks contemplatively at his rings for a moment, then he meets her gaze. He says: "How much money do you have?"
II.1.15. "Babies are scary, hey? But nothing's more scary that a room full of teddy bears. Eccccch! Creepy, hey? Grrrrrrrrrrrrr! Baaaahahah-haaaaaahhaahhaaahhh!"
And then, the first time I visit Cosmo di Madison at his apartment, I notice that therein, sitting upon all the chairs and glaring at us with their little glass eyes, are at least fifty teddy bears of all shapes, colors, and sizes. I was actually a bit scared.
"Yeah, I collect them. Pretty scary, huh?"
II.1.16. An elderly woman who had led a dissolute life was speaking with me concerning Cosmo di Madison. She was of the opinion that Cosmo was a troublemaker and possibly dangerous to the people around him. Of course she had only seen him a few times.
"Yes," she said, "but the second time I ever did see him, he crumpled up a cigarette box and threw it at my head, then walked away."
"Perhaps Cosmo was trying to tell you something. Perhaps he had some insight."
"Nonsense," replied the woman. "He is simply way over the edge."
I ran into the woman almost a year later, for she had not frequented the same places as myself for some time. The woman had quit smoking, but it was already too late. She had developed a lung disease.
II.1.17. Cosmo is looking at the headline announcing that the Milwaukee mass murderer and would be Zombifier Jeffrey Dahmer has been declared sane. I wonder what his opinion is concerning this.
"They're all the same, these graverobbers. Dahmer, Han Christian Heg--they're perverted, twisted, evil, Devil-worshipping maniacs. They're fucking crazy! You know what? There's a guy who works at the Capitol in some bureaucratic liberal PAC--I swear to God he's Dahmer's twin brother. They're identical. The same business too. [Cosmo mimes the action of cutting with a scalpel.] How do you like that, huh? BAAAAAAAHHHHAHHHAAAAAA-AAAHHHHH!
II.1.18. Mark Duerr, the photographer who shot the celebrated photograph of Cosmo di Madison reproduced on the cover of this volume, beckons me to the stairs by the espresso machine. He narrates to me the following tale, fraught with gothic overtones: "I'm walking down State Street at 3 A.M. this morning, and there's not another person in sight. Suddenly I begin to hear this eerie guitar playing, but I can't see where it's coming from. It seems like it's right next to me or behind me, but there is no guitarist. So I keep walking and looking around. And I walk and walk, and the music goes on right next to me. Finally after almost two blocks of walking I go by the front window of Oriental Specialties, and there sitting in the vestibule on the sidewalk is Cosmo, playing his guitar. 'What the hell, Cosmo?' I say. 'It's three in the morning.' His guitar case is open on the ground, and in the center of it, gleaming in the light, I notice there is just one single dime. Cosmo looks up at me knowingly and roars-- Baaaaahahahhaaahhh-hhaaaahhaahh!
I walked away as fast as I could, my heart in my throat and my head spinning for fear. I could hear him down the street--
Cosmo di Madison
and the Refoundation of Assyriology
II.1.19. My discussions with Cosmo di Madison concerning the ancient history of Wisconsin have reignited in me that nasty temptation to scholarship I believed I had shaken for good. Whence this desire to master a field, to struggle with and compete against other specialists in the game of reading antiquity? My recent temptation: to close myself into the narrow field of study surrounding the early history of writing, to sit for years on the floor of Assurbanipal's library, emerging finally as a scholar at the Berlin Freiuniversitt, or at the University of Chicago, or at the University of Philadelphia, or in Hong Kong. The possible number of posts in cuneiform studies is minuscule. My plan was to begin here in Hebrew, get perfect grades, and on the strength of a Masters in Biblical Hebrew enter finally into the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, where rumor has it that some 25, 000 tablets await me.
I had begun my researches here in Memorial Library, reading into the more general works concerning the Sumerians and the peoples that followed them in the land that is now called Iraq. Having trouble finding definitive sources on certain tablets of interest to me, I thought finally to consult the only local authority of note: Cosmo di Madison. We met at one of the more hidden tables in the deathly smoky back room of the caf. Cosmo inquired as to what it was I wanted to show him--why was I detaining him when he had business on the East Side? I produced for Cosmo di Madison photocopies of the first two tablets below, asking him if he had any angle on these difficult texts--for, I admitted, I had not been able to find any scholarly translations, and besides: "The scholars would probably warp the text out of recognition anyhow and end up talking about Marxism, not in the end revealing much of anything concerning what was actually written there."
"I hear ya," nodded Cosmo di Madison.
So began the translations I give to you below.
>>> Note: Cosmo di Madison read and explained the texts rather quickly, so that some of my notes were lamentably inexact as to which word on the tablet corresponded to which concept or name. I nevertheless asked for the most important words, pressing Cosmo to point out to me again what was what. Because of previous engagements, Cosmo di Madison did not even have twenty minutes to translate these texts. I give you what I can.
[In the published book, the following section contained graphics showing the tablets being discussed. When I get scans of these, I will put them in this online version. --E.M.-L.]
II.1.20. TEXT A: Tablet of prophecies concerning coming kings and spiritual leaders. Mesopotamia. Epoch of Hammurabi (1792-1750 B.C.). First Babylonian Dynasty. The text has 27 calves. According to Cosmo di Madison, the lines of text on a cuneiform tablet are correctly referred to as calves. It is concerned primarily with the reign of spiritual and temporal leaders to come, the "escopancy and referations of imperialists." There is (though I have lost this particular calf ) reference to the "mustahfedation of the Virgin Mary." Calf 1 contains the pictograph meaning "Jesus." I have circled it. Calves 2-9 list various leaders: the Mother Mary; the Prince of Wales; Mohammed; an Imam (unnamed); St. Peter; Elizabeth I. On calf 5, I have circled the rather complex pictograph for Mohammed. Elizabeth is the first pictograph on calf 8. There follows, in calves 9-14, a description of the "eskf catification" [pronounced "ess-kiff"--Cosmo's spelling], and John Dean, who is Cosmo, is also mentioned. The 15th calf speaks of "the coming of my arrival." The pictograph for Cosmo di Madison is circled. The 17th calf, a very wide calf, lists 11 of the 17 Venetian wives of Cosmo di Madison. Cosmo di Madison did not explain the following two calves, but one may get a general idea by looking very carefully at them, and by taking into account the fact that calf 20 is a list of Cosmo di Madison's first-born children. Calves 21-3 contain an account of the Fourth Coming of Jesus Christ along with Cosmo di Madison. Cosmo runs his ring-bedecked finger over these lines and says with most noble emphasis: "We have returned." Calves 24-5 list Jesus' wives, and the last two calves (if I have understood correctly) refer to the mysterious "Fourteenth Generation."
I hope the reader forgives the lacunae in my translation of this tablet. I must point out once more that the whole translation took less than ten minutes, and thus I had only this brief time to take notes.
This tablet is of enormous importance for our understanding of the characteristics of the families of both Cosmo di Madison and Jesus Christ. I found it of great interest to compare the women sought and wed by Cosmo to those who married Jesus. And the occult significance of the ancient Sumerian pictographs representing these two great spiritual figures is something surely comprehensible only to those scholars working in the higher realms of mystical knowledge. Thus we have Jesus Christ and his wives: [ ... ]. And Cosmo di Madison and his: [ ... ].
Note: Previous charlatans and scholars of the ancient Near East have tried to foist off this prophetic tablet as a foundation plaque commemorating the building of a canal in the name of King Hammurabi. These men and women have doubtless agreed amongst themselves to convince a believing public that the tablet reads:
I, Hammurabi, the strong King, the King of Babylon, the King who makes the four regions obey him, the instrument of the victories of [the god] Marduk . . . I have dug this canal [called] "Hammurabi and the wealth of the people, which carries the water of fertility to the country of Sumer and Akkad."
According to the scholars, calves 2, 3, and 4 all begin with the Sumerian pictograph "king." This shows that at least they are willing to hint at the tablet's true contents. Cosmo di Madison's first words upon seeing the tablet were: "This is about a succession of reigns."
II.1.21. TEXT B: Tablet of prophecies concerning the Holy Succession. Mesopotamia. Date unknown. Cosmo di Madison perused this tablet for less than a minute and informed me finally: "It's not all there. Somebody's been fucking with this one." I despaired of translation, but pushing Cosmo to tell me what is there, what words have remained, he began to read for me between the calves, so to speak, giving me as much of it as he could. The tablet is to be read from right to left, beginning in the lower righthand corner. I have divided it into rough quadrants so as to guide the reader to the general areas of the tablet that were legible. Beginning with A-1 then, and reading through the calves calf-by-calf up to around G-4, the tablet lists a series of Buddhas, or concerns itself with a series of Buddhas, starting in the 15th century B.C. and running up until the birth of Christ. Calf G-1 is a Buddha of particular importance, though in the haste of the exposition I could not gather in what manner this importance was to be understood. Throughout these calves there seem to be a number of eerie hints concerning the imminent coming of Christ. Then suddenly is announced the triumphant birth of Christ in the large calf found at B-5. The calf in question: [ ... ]. Christ is apparently lying down like a wrapped parcel. To his left, in perilous juxtaposition, are the sun and the moon. Above the sun and moon is the stairway to Heaven from which Christ descended. The calf, or rather the two calves, just preceding this (at A-5) contain the "mark of the Buddha's death," for Christ is necessarily born upon the death of the last Buddha: "Buddha is Christ." The text following concerns itself with Christ's life, calf F-6 being of note. In calves G-5 and 6, there is mention of the Hindus and Moslems. The Christ calf at D-7 marks the crucifixion. The calf at F-9, with the stairway to Heaven in the upper left corner, announces the founding of the Church. The calf to the upper left of it also concerns the founding. In E-10, there is the "mark of Christ's Church": [ ... ]. Two calves above this, at E-11, there is an "Elam": [ ... ]. The Elam announces the beginning of a "Hebrew duration," which is the present and near future.
This prophetic text undermines traditional notions of chronology in the study of world religions. Cosmo di Madison unveils a sacred chronology transcending the year-by-year succession of historical time. The fifteen centuries of Buddhas provide a prologue to the coming of Christ, so that Buddhism is allegorized in the New Testament in the figure of John the Baptist. Hinduism and Islam are cited in the context of Christ's life, as if they were contemporaneous with it and subsidiary to it. After a lengthy span of Church history follows "a Hebrew duration," a new period of Church history. We are currently "at the dawn of the Hebrew duration."
I can find no schollardly reading of this tablet.
Scholars insist that the pictograph for Christ is the Sumerian word for man. In this they are somewhat on the mark, but are over-generalizing and humanizing, as is their liberal wont.
>>>Note: The following tablets were translated for me by Cosmo di Madison several days after the translation of the two tablets presented above.
II.1.22. TEXT C: Key to the City of Ugarit. Ugarit (currently Ras Shamra in Syria). 1300 B.C. This key was uncovered with other keys and weapons in one of the temple libraries of the buried city of Ugarit. The text reads from top to bottom. Three kings visit the King of Ugarit bearing good news. The first sign represents the three kings together, the second represents King Alan (second syllable lengthened, as in Milan), the fourth King Elijah, and the eighth King Jakai. The three kings tell the King of Ugarit of a Savior born, a "life generator." They have dinner with the King of Ugarit, then they leave, the King giving them this key to the city as a token of trust and respect.
The obvious question arises as to why the key was found in the city of Ugarit, and not in the city of one of the three kings. Cosmo has a viable response to this problem. Doubtless the three kings couldn't decide which of them should take the gift, and so decided to leave it behind. One of the kings gave it on the sly to the High Priest, so as not to offend the King of Ugarit. Thus it is that it was found in the temple library at Ugarit.
Scholars muddy all possible interpretation of this relic by insisting that it is an axe-head, and not a key. The alphabetic text thereon is said to read "The Axe of the High Priest."
One can see to what ridiculous lengths liberal academics will go to solve the fact of the key's being found in a priestly library at Ugarit. Quite a transparent fraud it is. What, after all, would a Canaanite priest be doing with an axe-head?
II.1.24. TEXT D: Archaic Sumerian Prophetic Tablet Concerned with the Life of Moses. Mesopotamia. Epoch of the Archaic Dynasties. 2600 B.C. The text of this tablet, again divided into quadrants, begins in the upper left corner and reads from right to left until the end of the line, when it moves down to the next line and reads left to right. Thus the text reads: A1-6; B6-1; C1-6; D6-1. We may consider it the first known example of Sumerian boustrophedon. Calf A-1 depicts the birth of Moses into slavery. Calves A2-3 show him walking on the Sinai peninsula, through the desert. They are calves of great suffering and torment. In the lower left corner of calf A-4 we see Moses seated, and next to him on the right is the burning bush. Calf A-6 depicts the Ten Commandments. Calf B-6 shows Moses as the King of Elan. Calves B5-C5 are concerned with the wars to establish the Ten Commandments. The righthand calf at C-4 (in which is apparently depicted an open book facing upward) shows the Establishment of the Ten Commandments. The next calf shows the "splitting of the sea to finish the war." Most of the calves on line D are concerned with Moses's work in mummification. The two calves in D-6 show the "mystery of the movement from birth to death." The following calf depicts Moses learning the secrets of mummification. The calf after this, with the diamond and the pyramid, depicts the arrival of Cosmo di Madison: Moses is the diamond; Cosmo is the pyramid. Soon will come about the raising of the mummies back to life, a work to be undertaken by Moses, Jesus Christ, and Cosmo di Madison. Cosmo is right in there on this, right in the center of things. Who could deny it? Or rather: Could anyone who has spent even a brief span of time in the company of Cosmo di Madison, listening to his sage declarations, his subtle teachings, could anyone who has known our dear Cosmo di Madison as I have even begin to doubt the absolute and fundamental truths of this reading? The last three calves show 1) Moses meditating; 2) Moses eskfing ("ess-keffing") and going to Heaven; 3) Moses passing on the Word to Jesus.
Dust-coughing scholars and academic sycophants have agreed amongst themselves to claim that this text records the sale of a male slave and of a house in the city of Shuruppuk.
II.1.25. Afterword. It will be observed that three of the four texts shown to Cosmo di Madison are prophetic in nature. This would establish what I for one have suspected for quite some time, namely--that the whole of Sumerian and Akkadian civilization existed merely to set the stage for the Christian era, and to produce texts prophetic of the Christian era. Sumerians and their Semitic followers developed agriculture so as to make the land fertile and ready for the coming of the chosen people, out of which would be born the Messiah. They wrote the Code of Hammurabi so as to get the locals in the habit of such codes, so as to lessen the resistance when the true Mosaic Code was given to man. The Mosaic Code in turn was merely a prelude to the One True Code, namely the Code embodied in the doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church.
The reader is perhaps perplexed at the mention of mummification and the raising of the mummified dead by Moses, Jesus Christ, and Cosmo di Madison. When I expressed my surprise to Cosmo concerning the great frequency of prophetic texts in the Sumerian tradition, he told me the following bits of history, which I pass on to you. I quote him speaking, as my notes reproduce it. Admire the classical brevity of the historical teachings of Cosmo di Madison. One is reminded of Livy or Foucault, and not at all of Gibbon.
Masterdamus, the great French prophet, wrote all of his prophecies based on Sumerian tablets. He was the only one in his time that could read them.
Masterdamus is King Edward.
Masterdamus was a great sculptor of words. He knew how to word things so that when people read them they believed that what they were reading was actually happening.
He wrote some popular adventure novels.
He did a lot of mummy wraps. He preserved people.
A lot of the mummies were in Central Wisconsin mausoleums, but they got fucked up. The evil general and general fucking bastard Hans Christian Haig attacked the mausoleums with an invading army and stole a bunch of the mummies.
The stolen mummies were sold by Haig's thugs to central Wisconsin grocery chains and were eaten by shoppers as pork.
Hans Christian Haig didn't make it long. My grandfather Bronson LaFollette fucked him up and chopped his head off.
II.1.26. Just after Christmas of 1991, Cosmo di Madison performed a Christmas concert at the caf. Never in my life did I regret more the lack of a taperecorder. For I along with my German friend Helmut was treated to one of the most fully entertaining and spiritually uplifting Christmas concerts any of you my readers may venture to imagine.
Cosmo was attired in the most Cosmic of imaginable get-ups: a tight multicolored skullcap, massive motorcycle shades, a ragged yellow tee under a blue-and-yellow silk kimono, the ensemble held loosely around his svelte waist by a studded black leather belt, down to which hung, from his neck, a massive wooden crucifix upon which was to be seen Our Lord nailed, in tastefully varnished pewter.
Cosmo opened the set with a number of Christmas classics, then began to switch off between Christmas classics and heavy metal songs he wrote in the seventies. There was a warning song about staying away from the Devil.
Better watch out
Cuz the Devil's now comin' round the bend. . .
He did some Neil Diamond hits, like "Cracklin' Rosy." In fact, he informed us that he was Neil Diamond. We sang along with him on "We Three Kings." He did Deep Purple's "Smoke on the Water," which he wrote for them in 1971. I explained to Helmut the lyrics of some of the classics he had trouble following.
Cosmo was a master of the stage, talking to the people between songs, making political and religious comments, and finally even offering to his hearers an informative and impassioned lecture on Henry Kissinger and his band of corrupt mental health officials working like an evil virus in Madison and all over these fifty states. We were told of the properties and effects of various harmful drugs forced onto innocent people by these dogs. Cosmo di Madison rapped off the names of these poisons to his frightened audience. Horror! Master of the stage, he calmed us again with a number of his more soothing hits from the late sixties, and wrapped it up with several more Christmas classics.
The small crowd in the upstairs of the caf was more than pleased, and broke frequently into storms of applause as Cosmo di Madison celebrated the birth of Our Lord.
II.1.27. Cosmo di Madison--scholar, friend, a pillar of humor. He practices a true Christian kindness. I love the man dearly.
II.1.28. Cosmo di Madison also has a dark moment in his personal history. Yes, we must acknowledge it at least once in these notes, for certainly our readers are wondering where, whence, howso, and suchlike things. I will not be responsible for keeping them in the dark.
Cosmo di Madison, at a certain stage of his life years ago, had a certain problem having to do with the dreaded realm of psychology. Yes, it is true. He himself has disclosed this problem to me, and I have gotten his permission to disclose it to you the reader. I will now disclose this problem to you.
Know, then, that back in the seventies Cosmo di Madison himself received a PhD. in the dreaded field of psychology--that he got his PhD. before the field was totally overrun by the Devil--but nonetheless that he did get a PhD. in this despicable field. --There, I wrote it. He has admitted it himself.
We must understand this as a period of youthful folly on his part, a period of questioning perhaps, a period in which he perhaps still had doubts in the Lord.
I shudder to print the titles of his books as he told them to me. For certainly they savor of that hideous realm which is psychology. But so as to forestall any rumors, so as to prevent his enemies from attributing to his pen yet more onerous works, I print them here:
Forms of Plath Diet Versus Inadequacy from Psychotropic Drugs
These are the titles of the works in psychology written by the young Cosmo di Madison. But enough of this subject.
II.1.29. Cosmo di Madison's mother tells me of a period of his youth when he wouldn't come home from school on time. This caused no problems at first, but his mother noticed that he was staying out later and later each week. What's worse, when she asked him where he'd been, he would avoid the question, shyly turning away. Cosmo di Madison was about thirteen at the time.
Like any mother worthy of the name, Mrs. di Madison became worried about her young son's secret life. She decided to investigate.
Hiding behind a willow outside the elementary school, keeping off the October wind with her blue silk scarf, Mrs. di Madison waited after school one day for her son to come outside. The bell finally rang, and the children began filing out. In the midst of a large group of them was her son, a head taller than the others.
One of the boys punched him on the shoulder.
"Play commando with us," said the boys.
"No, not today," said Cosmo di Madison.
One of the girls pulled on his arm.
"Play house with us, Coz.... Play doctor with us," said the girls.
"No, I can't today, girls," said Cosmo di Madison. "I have things to do."
"But you never play house anymore," said the girls.
"It is true," said Cosmo di Madison.
"But you never play war anymore," whined the boys.
"Yes," said Cosmo di Madison. "For now at least, I never play war anymore."
Cosmo di Madison's mother watched as her son stepped calmly from the midst of the group, heading off in the direction opposite to the rest of them.
Her heart began to beat heavily. Whence this seriousness in her son? What could he possibly be doing? Who could have led him into it?
The mother followed quietly at a distance.
And where, reader, do you imagine the young Cosmo di Madison was going? Was he in some secret society? Was he having an affair with an older woman taken by his beauty and youth? Was he doing drugs, as the youth were just at that time beginning to do in this wayward nation of ours?
Cosmo di Madison was doing none of these things.
He headed for the old neighborhood, where the older people had their homes, many of them now widowed. For two hours his mother watched as he went from house to house, welcomed at each. Later she learned that he would visit each home in turn, making sure that everything was alright and asking if he could do anything to help. For some he took out the garbage, or did a bit of cleaning. For others he moved heavy things that needed to be moved, or did yardwork. For one older woman whose eyes were bad he threaded all her needles so that she could sew. This was the secret life of the young Cosmo di Madison, the noble beginnings of the man of virtue we see in our midst today.
Mrs. di Madison pondered these things in her heart, and kept them to herself. For she always had a glimmer that her son was destined to great things, but she knew that this greatness would first be revealed later, by Cosmo di Madison himself.
II.1.30. At the caf one evening, up in the thick haze of the smoking section, Cosmo di Madison played for me on his guitar "the first song ever written by men." And I believe he was telling me the truth, and not just pulling my leg, for it certainly sounded like the first song ever written by men. It even, in places, sounded a bit earlier.
II.1.31. I have learned from Cosmo di Madison of two more feats of the Phonecians in their settling of this region.
They genetically designed most of the varieties of pine to be found here.
They grew pyramids from crystals. "They placed the crystals in a special netting."
II.1.32. For three dollars, Cosmo di Madison has acquired a used taperecorder complete with a microphone. He brings it to the caf and shoves the microphone in my face.
"You, sir!" he says. "You look like an intelligent man. Do you have anything to say to the Devil, sir? C'mon, now."
Though I am behind the counter and am thus obliged to maintain the chic and, ahem, continentally sophisticated demeanor appropriate to a caf such as ours, with such a clientele, etc., etc.--regardless of this, I lean to the microphone and thunder into it, in imitation of Cosmo di Madison himself: Baaaaahahhhhhhaaaaaaaahhhhhaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh!
For that is what I have to say to the Devil.
Cosmo di Madison looks at me rather indignantly, and proceeds to acquire messages for the Devil from various others present in the caf. After a tour of the upstairs, he comes back down, willing to ask me again.
"Sir!" he demands in a tone combining furious indignation with mock-journalistic distance. "Do you have anything else to say to the Devil today?"
"Yes, I do," I reply, and lean forward to the microphone. "Listen, Herr Lucifer. Don't look so glum. You've been doing rather well after all. For the past few hundred years at least. Lighten up."
Cosmo di Madison widens his eyes significantly, lowers the microphone to the counter, leans forward to within two inches of my face, and roars--
In two giant steps, he stormed out of the caf.
II.1.33. Cosmo di Madison is wisely in favor of a dress code at the caf.
"Clean up this place a bit."
Men will wear slacks, as is only natural, and women will be required to wear skirts.
"The skirts must be below the knees."
But while he is in favor of a more standardized manner of dress for the others around him, Cosmo himself continues to dress in the most Cosmic fashions, showing his extensive wardrobe to advantage on every possible occasion. There's the Apocalypse Now get-up, complete with suspenders and a giant cowboy hat. The various undercover-agent-disguised-as-drug-dealer get-ups, when we see him in red leather jacket, a Hawaiian shirt, and flip-up shades. He will storm in wearing all black: a black rain hat, black leather jacket with sixteen inch collars (he calls them "bat skins"), black boots, black leather pants, black shirt, black shades, and a black snarl on his face. How does this go with your dress code? There's his "Surf Russia" shirt, with Gorbachev's leering face on it. On Halloween he wore a long red dress, with massive falsies and army boots. He went around stroking the falsies lasciviously, and grinning at the terrified passersby.
How do you justify these outfits, O Cosmo di Madison?
But regardless of any contradictions present in Cosmo's ideologies of dress, many would agree with me on the following proposition, about which I am absolutely serious: Cosmo di Madison is the best-dressed man on State Street. Go ahead--come up with an alternative if you, reader, care to differ. I will debate you in the Capitol Rotunda.
II.1.34. Open Mike. I have been informed by Cosmo di Madison that various world-famous string-quartets and orchestras have requested to play in the upper room of the caf. They have been prevented in this by none other than the woman in charge of booking our Friday and Saturday evening musical performances, one Lisa Hendricks. Lisa, I have learned, has been taking bribes from the various local New Age folk musicians and Hippies that frequently perform in the caf, and has on the strength of these bribes allowed only them and their likes to sign up, thus excluding the symphony orchestras and string-quartets who so greatly desire to play for us. In this collection I can merely bring this to the attention of the public. Cosmo di Madison himself is currently too occupied with more important police work to undertake the investigative and legal proceedings necessary to right this situation.
Cosmo di Madison: "Life goes on, hey? Life goes on."
PROPOSAL CONCERNING THE NEED TO RECOGNIZE THE HIGH NOBILITY
OF COSMO DI MADISON, SUFFERER OF ENDLESS AND ATROCIOUS INJUSTICES
II.1.35. After dwelling long upon the many and manly deeds and sayings of Cosmo di Madison, after recognizing with a saddened heart the unrequited and widely disbelieved feats of valor undertaken by this man, feats of valor and nobility safeguarding from evil both Madison and, more particularly, this our Caf--safeguarding us even from such wicked and vile forces as--and I list them--the Lutherans, the Sandinistas, Cuban communist infiltrators, the silver-toothed and one-armed drug dealer named Omar, various and sundrie Dragons, Henry Kissinger and his vile retinue of psych-control thugs, the powerful and most disreputable Mendota Mental Health thugs and their bands of poisoners, liberal ideologists, and valium-mongering swine--after most carefully listening for the Pythagorean and Most Mystical Doctrines implicit in every offhand remark uttered by Cosmo di Madison--for he is truly, as the great medieval drinker and scholar Francis Rabelais was wont to describe the young Pantagruel, an "abysme de science," meaning a true and noble "ABYSS OF KNOWLEDGE"--further, after seeing with distress the puzzled looks and disrespectful glares given Cosmo di Madison by the more vile elements of the Madison bourgeoisie and by the most myopic of our dear and thoroughly STUCK Madison graduate students--praying mantises and bloodsucking dilettantes all!--upon consideration of the aforesaid shameful injustices, we have deemed it necessary and right to offer to the most noble Cosmo di Madison a seat BETTER THAN THE SEATS SAT UPON BY THESE OTHERS--a seat, as it were, which recognizes in its design Cosmo di Madison's worth to us, a seat showing forth clearly to the World the true nobility of this Worthy Man. Thus do we propose to Mr. Mark Ballering--nay: WE DEMAND--that a space be made on the dais in the back section of the smoking area of our most famous Caf Steep 'n Brew, a space upon which, after all the proper purification rituals are performed according to the laws set out in the most ancient of our books pertaining to these things, after plenty of Latinate incantations, and after inquiries for fraud and inquiries for deceit and inquiries for insurrection and inquiries after traitorous thoughts and inquiries for evidence of the planning by our enemies of any possible terrorist assault upon Cosmo di Madison or upon our Caf--a space, we say, upon which will be set, not a mere SEAT or CHAIR, nay, but a space upon which WE WILL BUILD FOR THE MOST NOBLE AND RIGHT COSMO DI MADISON A THRONE OF MOST NOBLE AND BAROQUE DIMENSION AND DESIGNE. This THRONE of Cosmo di Madison shall be made of the finest cedar from Lebanon, and shall be covered with hammered gold leaf. The workmen (and women) shall mount (and place) thereupon garnets, opals, and lapis lazuli--the garnets representing the capricornality of the Most Cosmic One, the opals shewing forthe symbolically the cloudie and most high mystycalitie of the Most Cosmic One, and the lapis lazuli representing the Clear Blue Sky, from which the Lord his protector and guide has inspired the Most Cosmic One to undertake and utter his noble deeds and sayings. Upon the completion and blessing of the THRONE of Cosmo di Madison, and upon the completion of the ceremonies of coronation, a brunch will be held at Amy's--"just around the corner"--where else?
II.1.36. The following is from a recorded conversation with Cosmo di Madison, January 5, 1992.
I : Who were the first people to settle in this area?
Cosmo di Madison: The first people here were the English. But the English are actually the Phonecians, who are actually the Greeks, who are actually the French, who are actually the Irish and the Scottish too.
I : This sounds like allegory to me.
Cosmo di Madison: It is allegory. Totally.
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