"I had to wrap that towel around my head pretty tight to keep my brains from banging together. I'd douse the thing in camphor and if I was lucky I'd get some ground crystals to stick in there. It makes the harmonic vibrations resonate better, so the headache goes away without leaving my tongue all black and furry - like sometimes happens.
I remember when that Nordic beetle-woman claimed to be the Christ and she wrapped a similar towel around her head. Up and down the avenue. Up and down the avenue. There she would go, walking back and forth, telling everyone she met that she was the Christ. I'm not too sure how or when she was anointed, or who it was that anointed her, but she claimed she was anointed. I had said to my brother, Clem, that she only got anointed through that bottle of Dutch courage that she carried around in her bathrobe, but he wasn't buying it. Clem said she musta' got anointed somehow and somewhere. I spent probably the next two months trying to figure that out. It's true. Ain't no lie.
So when the Nordic beetle-woman showed up with her Christ-trappings, we all stopped and took notice. For a minute, anyway. Clem was scrubbing the inside of an oil barrel, and I was adjusting my camphor-soaked towel and she showed up looking for all the world like a Turkish sultan, minus the smoking hookah and harem girls dripping off the arm. Aside from those details, the Nordic beetle-woman was for all the world a Turkish sultan, complete with a dirty turban.
"Salaam, hadji," I said, bowing low and breaking wind.
"Peace be to this house and all who kibbitz therein," said the Nordic beetle-woman, bowing and breaking her own wind.
"Tie off you pants-leg or put a cork in it," said Clem, continuing with his scrubbing. He fanned his hand before his nose, making a sour face.
The Nordic beetle-woman proceeded to multiply some loaves and fishes, but we quickly realized that it was a sleight-of-hand involving polymers and integrated circuitry. No one was impressed, and Clem sat down on the ground, propping himself up against an immaculate oil barrel. "Do you know any songs?" he asked the supposedly-anointed-one. "I'd like to have you play us one of the songs of Zion on your harp, 'cause I done hung up my own harp in one of those piss-elms over there."
No music was forthcoming, and the Nordic beetle-woman only stood and stared at Clem and me until it got really uncomfortable. "I'd like to offer you a chance to buy into my messiah time-share," she said at long last. "Three days out of every month and one entire week in summer you get to wear the dirty turban and multiply loaves and fishes by means of polymers and integrated circuitry. Are you game?"
"Naah," said Clem, "I already got me a messiah. Good luck in your sales, though. You ever thought about trying to sell encyclopedias?"
The Nordic beetle-woman drifted off, and when she arrived at the brow of a low hill she ascended into the heavens. I was in awe until Clem pointed out the bucket truck, hydraulic hoist and all of the wires and cables attached to her harness. Then I just stood there, kind of disappointed while I watched her dangle from the wires up in the air a good forty or fifty feet off the ground. It appeared as though her dirty turban had begun to unwind.
"It's a shame," said Clem, "I woulda' liked to hear one of those songs of Zion, whatever the heck they are. 'Beats the hell outta' polkas, I bet."