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The Essay
Show #336
The World of the Leisure Weasel Slayer
David Gunn

The conclusion of the Weasel Slayer component of Navajo mythology is traditionally told by an indian warrior in a Quimby the Quail suit outfitted with animatronic wings that are powered by a small internal combustion engine. The narration, though mostly in English, is spoken with a French accent interspersed with intermittent clucks, chirps, grunts, growls and pings. Each "ping" is accompanied by a single flap of an animatronic wing -- Navajo scholars don't know why; it simply has always been done ever since the first internal combustion engine was shoehorned into a quail costume. Six dancers dressed as fogdogs keep time by drumming each others' fingers on tapestries made from weasel hair. We don't have the dancers, the quail or the motorized wing, and I've been reprimanded more than once for my abuse of a French accent, so this last part of the story will be, except for the occasional weasel wail, unadorned.

Coincident with the end of Weasel Slayer's Second Period of Rapid Maturity, First Woman's Second Child By a Previous Miraculous Conception gave birth to Ahsonnutli, who created fire, unthunder and the first low-income hogan development. Ahson, as he preferred to be called, was an immortal by birth, a happy fluke of the Ni'hookaa Diyan Diné gene pool -- at least he was until he failed to look both ways at an Atchison Topeka and Santa Fe railroad crossing in Colorado in 1959 R.E.T. As a Manhasset-tinged pronunciation of his name suggests, he was fond of setting things on fire, a sociologically dysfunctional act that Child-Born-of-Water was endlessly having to undo until his arsonist tendencies ended at that railroad crossing. (But did they really end there? Isn't there a connection to a certain professor emesis of Calamitology at the University of Hummock-on-Smythe in southwesternmost Lincolnshire who materialized around that time? Well, of course there is!) But Ahsonnutli was not just a firemonger. He was also a light sleeper, who was forever (well, until 1959) being awakened by crashes of thunder. Thunder, or Tunk-nan-ood, occurred when the free flow of air through the passages of the back of the mouths and noses of the Five Giants of the Din&eaacute; was obstructed. The Giants -- whose names have temporarily been classified by the Office of Homemaker Security -- sat at the four compass points and propped up the sky on their shoulders. (And here the Quail dancers traded their clucks, chirps, grunts, growls and pings for a PowerPoint presentation to better illustrate the mythological goings-on.) This was hard work -- the sky was heavy, and the giants were aerobically challenged anyway. Hence, they panted, causing the winds and storms of Dzil Na'oodili. Eventually, their labored breathing led to a build-up of excessive tissue in their uvulas and soft palates, which in turn produced a condition of snoring so robust that the very Earth People trembled. For centuries, Ahsonnutli and the rest of the light-sleeping Kiiyaa aanii grew grouchy from sleep deprivation. Then one day, after a particularly lengthy snoresiege, Ahsonnutli swiped a lightning bolt from Changing Woman and hurled it down the throat of Giant no. 2. The crude uvulopalatoplasty worked; the Giant abruptly ceased snoring, and unthunder was born! Alas, the remedy proved only temporarily. As soon as his scarred palate healed, the Giant's uvular tissue built back up again. So it became a never-ending process for Ahsonnutli, and for a while he challenged Sisyphus and his big stones for having the most endlessly laborious and futile task. To this day, the erstwhile immortal -- who now lives amongst the stars in the sky, specifically ZWR9(b) in the Crab Nebula's centerleast sector -- flings a fiery lightning bolt at the giants whenever he hears them snoring, after which Child-Born-of-Water tries to extinguish any consequent conflagration by stoking her own fires of falling water.

Time, having no say in the matter, at least until 1901 R.E.T., passed. A new generation of Dzil Na'oodilians had rechristened their world Gondwanaland, to rhyme with Child-Born-of's newest river, the Rio Grande. Except for the occasional dodo bird and woolly mammoth, Weasel Slayer had terminated his slaying activities. Instead, he focused on another component of his increasingly leisurely world, the dance. But not just any dance. There was only one for Weasel: the Fertility Bop. It was performed by Cornbeetle Girl and Pollen Boy. And if it was exciting to watch, it must have been absolutely thrilling to experience, because the dancers almost always converted into pure energy during the coda. Weasel Slayer longed to transubstantiate into an entity that was not beholden to the restrictive laws of gravity, however, a subliminal directive that piggy-backed atop the dream-induced admonitions of Quimby the Quail kept his feet off the dance floor. But it couldn't keep Corn Dog Woman and Blanche from cutting the Fertility Bop rug. Blanche assumed the role of Pollen Boy; Corn Dog Woman appropriated the comportment of Cornbeetle Girl. Music was provided by indian session musicians, who clucked, chirped, grunted, growled and pinged. The steps are impossible to describe without losing a limb or two to energy transference, so suffice it to say that, after five minutes, great clouds of radiant energy billowed around and through the dancers. And at the six-minute mark, they "poofed" into pure blackbody radiation.

As Ahsonnutli had sought to learn all he could about unthunder, so did Weasel Slayer fixate on the abstract transmission of radiant energy, called by Talking God "quantum theory." His research eventually led him to the University of Berlin in 1901, where German physicist Otto Lummer was performing reality-altering experiments on blackbody radiation that had inanimate objects, and then animate ones, floating six feet off the ground. For two Real Earth Time years the Navajoan clandestinely watched the physicist alter one universal constant after another. But when one evening in November 1901 the scientist pulled the radiant energy equivalent of Bunyip Boy out of a homburg, Weasel Slayer was compelled to pose the Was ist Wirklichkeit? question that was first articulated by one of the womenkind back in the cavern at the center of the earth. But the moment he walked into Lummer's laboratory, a protactinium isotope misfired and plastered poor Otto with radioactive spume and rewriting his memory. For reasons known onto to certain pariah members of the writing community, Lummer now recognized the erstwhile slayer of carnivores as his long lost bi-nosal warrior ancestor.

"Long lost" is by most accounts a valid description of the plot line of this exercise in literary convolution that passes for today's hors d'oeuvre to Kalvos & Damian's 336th New Music Bazaar, but presumably clarity and coherence will follow as the show's entrée is now served by your faithful waitperson, Kalvos.