Thursday, February 26, 2009

Summoning Fire Gods for Fun and Sexy Time

Have you heard of a book called The Necronomicon? It was a fictional book referred to in H.P. Lovecraft's stories, but it eventually turned into a real book with it's own bogus history. In either case, it's filled with dark magic spells written by someone called "the Mad Arab."

It is (or was, I haven't kept up) a huge deal among the Satanic community, if that adds any legitimacy for you. It's got a companion book called The Satanic Bible, which I bet is a rollicking read. In the heyday of the Satanic scare of the early 80s, it was books like this that frightened the extremely religious. They figured it was written in blood on human skin (although today it's available on the Amazon Kindle), and it was so awful that it must have something to do with Dungeons & Dragons.

I had to see this book.

I was a junior in high school, and just getting to the point in both my rebellious youth and incipient atheism to get a kick out of idle blasphemy and consorting with anything and anyone that did not have a Southern Baptist church's stamp of approval on it. I had a lot of options.

My group of layabout friends and I were loafing in the band room -- which is what the exceptionally cool did back then -- one January day when my friend Robert Watkins wandered up with a brown paper bag. Robert was the first guy I knew who cut class one day to have sex, which hadn't been that long before, so when he appeared with some sort of secret, we paid attention.

"Guys," he said. "Do you want to cast some spells?" So, no sex talk, unless the sex thing was a lot more complex than we thought.

Out of the bag came a worn black paperback with the same pentagram that Rush used, and the word NECRONOMICON written in 24-point Blooddrip Sans Serif Bold. Has anyone ever said "no, we would not like to cast spells, for we are 17 years old and too mature for such unwholesome behavior"? Maybe Sarah Palin did.

Anyway, we're flipping through this book come across a spell called The Conjuration of the Fire God. Dude. Like I said, it was January, and north Alabama can get a little nippy. (Shush, it can too.) We grabbed our jackets and went outside, wondering why people as awesome as us didn't have girlfriends.

No, I'm kidding about that last one. Robert was a known sex machine, although we never got independent verification of that from the girl in question. I was dating "Debbie," who tended to go to class instead of lay around in the band room. I think one of the other guys was dating an amazing-sounding girl who lived in British Columbia and didn't get to visit much.

So we're in the parking lot, clutching the power to summon a fire god. We have one Big Bullet, and we need something to aim at. The we saw Jonathan's van...

Jonathan was a year older than me. Nice enough guy, but tended to throw punches at people smaller than him for no reason. I was at least 4 inches taller than him, so we got along fine. He's probably a judge now. But at the time, he drove one of these:

The perfect target! Easy to spot for a fire god, we figured, and far enough away from any of our cars. There were four or five of us, counting Robert and me, arrayed in front of the van. Robert and I both held the book while the other guys pointed at the ground and looked at the sky. (Why they thought something summoned out of a Satanic spellbook would come from the sky is anyone's guess.) We prepared to read...

...and saw it was all written in Arabic. Damn it. But the facing page had the Arabic written out phonetically in English. Whew!

Robert and I struggled through trying to read that stuff simultaneously, figuring that would help. One of the other guys got bored halfway through and wandered back inside. We finally got to the end, looked around, and saw nothing. No angry face in the sky, no curling smoke. We were frozen solid, so Robert took his book back and we went inside.

Two hours later, school had ended. Robert and I were back in the band room with the fire god long forgotten. I was probably waiting for Debbie. Then someone came in from the parking lot, and we could see a bunch of people just outside the door all looking in the same direction.

"There's a van on fire in the parking lot!"


"Is it Jonathan's?" I asked, not realizing he was standing a few feet away.

"Why would it be mine?"

We squeezed past everyone and went outside.

It wasn't Jonathan's, but it was another VW bus no more than 100 feet away. (Remember, this was in the mid-80s. It would seem odd today to have even one of those in a parking lot, much less two, but they weren't uncommon back then.)

Robert had turned white. I said "that stupid book needs instructions on how to aim." He just walked back inside. He told me later he destroyed the book and started back to church, although that didn't last more than a month. He must have had another booty call.

So, there it is. My closest brush with the spirit world. I need to get another copy of the book and practice on other cars. People who mount those triple-decker spoilers on Honda Civics, your days are numbered.

I talked to Jonathan a few days later, asking him if he was worried about driving a model that had been shown to burst into flame. His theory was that since they had closed the smoking patio a few months earlier, people had been smoking in their cars, and a VW bus was good for that. Seemed reasonable, uncommonly so for him. He had just punched a freshman, so his head was clear. Those things were like espresso shots for him.

I haven't used my powers since, despite many temptations. The time is coming, though, especially now that I remembered this story. I'm totally getting a Kindle, 666th Edition, and lay waste to those who have wronged me. In fact, I can get a microphone and have the most awesome voicemail message ever.

I will let you know how it goes...

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