for Lesley, on her birthday
The rivers of the underworld are awfully crowded. Hercules, floating home in the wide shallow cup of his lotos, runs into the gold-colored barque of Osiris.
“Why don’t you watch where you’re going, you dickless wonder!” bawls Hercules the fertilous.
“I was sailing this river when you were just a fleck of foam at the end of your faithless father’s prick,” returns Osiris, and sends his monkey scampering into the lotos blossom.
“Get your damned chimp out of my boat and go back to your whore of a wife, you sodomite, you impotent pederast!” Hercules swings his oar at the monkey and the lotos rocks dangerously low in the water but the monkey runs up into his hair and crouches there, rubbing filth and vileness into his curls.
Charon, meanwhile, is gliding slowly past all this, a boatload of newly dead clustered around and goggle-eyed. “There’s no dignity,” he says, his voice deep in imitation of Boris Karloff. “No one treats the underworld with the respect it deserves.”
“I’ll drink to that,” says a smiling little fat man, and pulls a brown bottle out of the pocket of his checkered coat.
“Siddown, siddown, siddown,” shriek the other passengers, because the fat man is leaning out over the side toward the tumult. “You’re rocking the boat!