The Graduation

The old lady comes to you and says, good job, and are you going to give the gang back to her now? You think about it and think maybe not. You’re enjoying yourself for the first time in years and the feeling of power is intoxicating. So you tell her that and she looks at you with those little eyes like raisins and says maybe that’s smart and maybe that isn’t but in either case you should watch yourself from now on. You think why wait? and throw a comb on the street in front of her that grows into a thicket of telephone poles. She sends out a big wind, almost a hurricane, and knocks them all down. You maroon her in a pothole big enough to drown in and she skates across it like winter. You sink her in the earth; she bursts out of storm drains, sewer grates, fire hydrants. You show her her soul in a mirror and she breaks the glass, crunch, crunch, crunch into sand between her teeth. She lifts you miles up into the air and drops you; the angel Aiwass is there to catch you. She wipes you in fire; you swallow it and send it crackling back at her. It goes on for hours, maybe days, and in the end you’re both limp and spent, empty of everything.

Good, she says, good. Your apprenticeship is done. She stamps her foot and a door opens up in the pavement and she’s gone.