Religion Row ( Round 1 : Page 4 )

July 25th, 2007

The problem, according to Llewellyn Reece, is that the ego, the sense of identity, is only partially inherent in the soul. Mostly it is a mask, based on your true self, but modified by time and place and circumstances. So when the keywords activate the memories, sufficient disparity might exist between past and present personae that for some time they might compete with each other for dominance. It hadn’t been of much concern at the time, since, whether I cared to admit it or not, preservation of ego had been precisely my goal, and I had felt it large and sturdy enough to survive any transformation. It hadn’t occurred to me that the new me might resent this. Selfish, but almost the opposite, since the net result is a total disregard of one’s own future needs.

That must be, say, Objective Boulevard, the pile of rubble a block ahead of me where the jetskaters are risking their lives, or at least necks, with insane obstacle-evading maneuvers. That’s right, the Cafe Ennui is still falling eternally to pieces on the corner, 1110 Illustration-which means I need to go five blocks the opposite way.

Illustration Avenue-more popularly known as Religion Row, the Row, the “R.R.” (which also stands, cynically, for “Rejects’ Retreat”) and-by police-Area 1-A-is a four block strip of converted storefronts occupied exclusively by low-rent nonprofit concerns, primarily drug culture joke religions and crackpot political endeavors.

The proprietor of the region was, and surely still is, the infamous Harrison Ridley IV, maverick scion to the fortune attached to his name, and, prior to his father’s death, a closet hippie and social libber. When probate court had confirmed his owning the entire holdings of his land-grabbing father, he emerged from the gold-plated wardrobe garbed in tie-dye and ankhs and, repudiating everything his tycoon forebear had stood for, insisted on being addressed as Crazy Bear, though he was convinced by friends and his own good-natured paranoia not to commit himself to that name on legal documents.

No one could talk him out of his plans for Illustration Avenue, however. Dear old dad had bought up all the property along both sides of the decrepit drag at pennies on the dollar, dreaming of a business mecca in the heart of the ghetto, where cheap labor would be available. He bulldozed slums and raised storefronts and keeled over while getting head from a warty hooker behind the planned Ace Hardware.

Junior went one better in shaping his world; declaring that any association of people that was not explicitly non-profit was dedicated to capitalistic exploitation, he canceled negotiations with Crown Books and Taco Bell Express, and offered leases only to groups which fit his unique specifications-that they be entities firmly committed to financial insolvency-at ludicrously low rent. In some cases, it went beyond nominal, to the utterly surreal-one group was contractually obligated to supply their landlord with five organic zucchinis, to be grown in their on-site hydroponics lab, each month.

~ )))0((( ~

Be Sociable, Share!

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply