There’s Something Here From Somewhere Else – Part 1
(first appeared at valterramagazines.com October 2013 issue)
Saraswati is a Hindu goddess. She is the patron of writers and artists. Known in Burmese as Thurathadi, in Chinese as Biàncáitiān, in Japanese as Bensaiten, and in Thai as Surasawadee, she is also associated with other deities involved with books and learning such as Baalat (Byblos) and Seshatm (Egyptian).
The point being that she gets around. Not some local schmocal legend.
She is usually depicted as a beautiful woman sporting four arms, wearing a white sari and seated on an inverted white lotus. For the record, her four arms symbolize the four aspects of human personality in learning: mind, intellect, alertness, and ego. The color of her sari signifies spotless character and a sharp mind and the lotus represents the search for knowledge.
All standard-issue girly stuff I realize, but stay with me on this next part. It’s no accident that she’s going to be mixed up in a Nap Lapkin story.
If you’re unfamiliar with Hinduism then this next part gets a little complicated, but I’ll do the best I can. It’s a bit like some other religions in that there’s one big guy who in turn creates other gods and goddesses but in this case some of them have multiple arms and heads and such. I’m sure there’s a good reason for all of these additional appendages but the forward is already getting a little long in the tooth so I’ll leave it at that. Here’s the part to tuck away for further reference: the heavy hitter of the religion, Brahma, had a dark side and that dark side came into existence as Shiva. Red eyes, menacing growl, the whole show. At some point, Shiva took a good look around at all the corruption and decadence of the world and decided it was time to destroy it and start again. He eagerly opened his third eye and out popped a terrible fire capable of doing the aforementioned and then some, and just as the shit was about to hit the fan, in stepped Saraswati saying “Do not worry. Shiva’s fire burns only that which is impure and corrupt. I got this.”
With that, she took the form of a river and with her pure waters picked up the dreaded fire from Shiva Badavagni, the beast of doom. A fearsome nickname even a professional wrestler would be proud of.
“So long as the world is pure and man wise, this terrible creature will remain on the bottom of the sea. When wisdom is abandoned and man corrupts the world, Badavagni will emerge and destroy the universe,” foretold the wise goddess.
Or so the story goes anyway.
Good. Now we can begin.
Ruth sorted through the large box marked $1. Large trees cast shade over most of the items that populated the driveway and lawn of the nondescript home located at the address as advertised by the hundreds of “Garage Sale” signs populating every telephone pole and supermarket posting board in the tri-county area. Most of them. Not the table that held the box that Ruth was currently rummaging through though and as the temperature crept from a pleasant morning sunshine to a sweltering afternoon heat, she toyed with the idea of abandoning her search for bargains and heading back to her apartment … until she remembered that her apartment was cramped and without air conditioning so she might as well keep digging.
Of course it’s disingenuous of me as the writer to pretend that there was a chance she wouldn’t keep looking through the box as the whole story is based on her finding something in the box.
Don’t believe me?
Ok, I’ll prove it.
Dizzy from the heat, Ruth slowly backed away from the box and began to head to her hatchback when suddenly someone grabbed her arm and dragged her back to the box. “Are you sure there isn’t anything in this box you’d like to buy?”
See? I’ve got a story to tell so from here on out I’d appreciate it if you’d just let me do my job.
Soon Ruth’s arms were loaded with knickknacks and she was just about to make her way to the next box when she spied a pair of reading glasses at the bottom, stuck underneath a large ceramic Santa that appeared normal in every way except he had six arms. She fished out the glasses between the second and third arms, found they were in perfect working condition and added them to her collection of items for purchase.
In the movie version of this story, the camera is going to linger on the glasses as to lead you to believe that this was an important acquisition so I’ll save you the time of reading a dozen subtle references to that fact and come right out with it, although frankly I’m not sure why I didn’t go with the six-armed Santa as the main vehicle to move this forward because he sounds a lot more interesting. I could have even gone on to mention that over the years the six swords he had been holding were all, one by one, broken off and that had they still been attached, it would not only have been a far more interesting ceramic figure but it would have been a lot more difficult to have gotten to the reading glasses.
Given that the glasses are apparently the star of the show I guess you’re just not that interested in the other contents of a $1 box at a garage sale. Adding that the ceramic figure was hot to the touch after sitting in the sun all day would at this point be totally superfluous.
Ok, a few housekeeping issues.
Ruth. Late twenties. Attractive in that Hollywood way that tries to sell you on how she’s all frumpy but at the end of the flick, when she becomes the love interest, you suddenly find her very attractive but all along you saw she was cute and had a smokin’ bod under the loose-fitting attire. Except that most people to date still found her frumpy.
Weird I know.
On top of that she’s a librarian so it makes total sense that, given her low salary, she’d be spending her Saturday going to garage sales on the hunt for bargains and then it makes double sense that as a librarian she’d always be on the lookout for new reading glasses.
She paid for her items and then slid the glasses down the front of her blouse where they caught on the top button and rested happily between her vaguely-plentiful bosoms.