Last month, if you’ll remember, I wrote about setting up a conference call with the gods, pleading for good weather at PrideVisalia 2019. Despite weather forecasts predicting rain, it was sunny and warm that day. The gods were disposed to grant my request, and held the downpour until the next day. Man, did it rain then! My eternal thanks to all of them for cooperating.
I had thought that would be the end of that, at least until next year, but this morning I learned an important lesson.
Once you become known as a contact point for a group, you’re stuck with it, for better or worse.
This morning, just before dawn, in that in-between time when stories have the spirits at their most active, I got dragged up from a pleasant dream to find I was not alone in my bedroom.
In fact, there was quite the crowd. They were standing around the bed, and they did not look pleased. Normally, this kind of thing would elicit a panicked response on my part, but for some reason I felt fairly calm. I must have been thinking “this is a new dream. Dang, that other one was more fun”, because I just kind of sat there, wondering why these folks were in my bedroom.
One of them, a woman, spoke up. “Jimmie, what in the hell is this thing about a straight pride parade in Boston?” I squinted at her in the dim morning light, trying to figure out who she was. “We were happy to hold the rain off for PrideVisalia, good job on that, by the way, I popped down and visited incognito, had a wonderful time, the Mom Hugs were a fantastic idea. Now we’re hearing that Boston is holding a straight pride? What the hell??” she said.
As the sleep was fading from my brain, I recognized the voice from the conference call.
“Tempestas, so nice to meet you in person,” I said. I thought I heard a thunderclap and rumble off in the distance. I remember thinking, “there’s no storms predicted for Visalia today…”
Another one of them spoke up, “Hey, answer the question! What’s up with this straight pride nonsense?!” I recognized that voice, too. “Ishkur, boy, that graphic artist got you spot on!”
The thunder got a bit louder, and I realized it was not coming from outside.
“uh, guys… don’t sweat it,” I said. “A group of lonely straight guys, who apparently can’t get laid, have decided they need a pride parade to prove they’re just as cool as the gays. They’ll probably have a few dozen people show up, they’ll have some really lousy music, someone will give a speech that will be roundly ridiculed on social media, and it will be a lot of smoke and noise, and nothing else.”
Tempestas was still glaring at me, and said “I’m thinking of sending a hurricane to Boston that day. They haven’t had one since 1991, and I think they’re due for another, if they let this nonsense go on!” The rest of the crowd murmured in agreement, and I knew I had to do something, quick. (that god time thing, again. For them, August 31, the planned day of the “parade” might as well be right now)
I asked them not to ruin Boston’s day just for a few nutcases, even if they are jerks.
“Is that Fryer back there?” I asked. “My thanks to you and Odin, and all the others, for granting my request for PrideVisalia. We really had a wonderful time.” The figure standing back in the growing light just nodded, and waved his hand at Tempestas and Ishkur, who had apparently been appointed to speak for the group. I turned my attention back to them.
“Really, please. It’s no big deal. They’ve been laughed at since the news broke that they were applying for a parade permit. Boston, as you all know, is about as progressive a place as there is in the United States, and they really can’t say no to this application, no matter how idiotic it may be. Let them have their straight pride parade, (there’s that rumble again, it’s getting louder… where is it coming from?) and we can forevermore hold it up to those who scream ‘why is there no straight pride!?!?’, and say there you go, you got one. After all, we’ve always told them if they felt they needed a parade, to organize one, and it looks like they finally took our advice.”
Tempestas was still glaring, and Ishkur had little lightning bolts flickering between his fingers as I spoke, and I remember a stray thought that I hoped those sparks wouldn’t damage my phone, sitting on the night stand next to where he was standing. Several others still grouped around the foot of my bed were looking a bit more calm, though, so I was hoping things were looking up. I really didn’t want to feel responsible if Boston got clobbered by a storm that day. Was that Indra standing next to my dresser?
Ishkur snapped his fingers, and the room was briefly brighter than I ever remember anything being, and he pointed at Tempestas. “Pay attention!” he thundered.
“Really,” I said, “don’t worry about it. This will be a one-time thing, and it won’t be all that much at that. Everyone will see this for what it is, another cheap slap at the LGBT community by incels that really feel powerless in their own lives. They’ll make a bit of noise, snarl traffic, and generate more hostility towards their ‘movement’. The difference between their little ‘parade’ and Boston’s Pride parade couldn’t be more stark, and they’ll do more damage to their cause than a hurricane would do to the region. Please, just let it go.”
By this time, the room had cleared out, it was just me, Tempestas and Ishkur remaining. From that I presumed that the other gods were willing to go along with ignoring straight pride, and all I had to do was seal the deal with those two.
“So, are we good?” I asked. “Boston is a really nice place, I hope to visit it one day, and these morons are just background noise. Let it pass, and let them fade into the obscurity they deserve.” I was crossing my fingers behind my back.
Ishkur looked at Tempestas, who appeared to be deep in thought.
“OK,” she said. “I can’t guarantee that there won’t be rain, or even a hurricane on that day, these things generally run on autopilot with very little input or notice by me. What I won’t do is deliberately “rain on their parade”, so to speak.” A small grin appeared, she clearly thought her pun was clever. I was not inclined to disagree, or give any sign of my internal groan.
“Thank you,” I said, as I bowed slightly, still sitting in bed. “You are a most gracious and kind goddess.” I was going to say more, but I got the distinct impression she wouldn’t have appreciated further groveling, and I thought I heard a rumble from Ishkur that implied I should stop while I was ahead. A wink from him as he faded from sight encouraged that idea.
Tempestas winked too, and was gone. I sat there for a bit, and thought to myself “that’s the last time I have chocolate chip mint ice cream right before bed.” My next thought was as I was waking up several hours later, “what a wild dream. That’ll make a great blog post! What’s that rumbling noise?…”