Despite what many people say, not ALL dogs go to heaven when they die. Some dogs, who are particularly blessed to have particularly lovely owners, are sent to my Sacred Garden gate by their respective lovely owners...once their time in the earthly realm has come to an end. Once approved by myself, my gatekeeper, and, of course, Edwin the Bee, the blessed canine is sort of "resurrected" in our beloved Xanadu Forest, renamed, and given a purpose and a place to live eternally with us. Currently, we have 3 such lovely dogs that have become our dear friends:
1.Caesar, who was sent to us by his dear mama Chiamimi, and is now Dear Caesar Emeritus, the Baloo-eyed Akita, who lives inside the Library Tree, and is our librarian, of course. He has also become an expert on the ancient Xanaduvian language, and he gives me homework packets so that I, too, am learning the language of my imaginary ancestors (by adoption).
2.Tyson, who was sent to us by his dear mama T-Gee, and is now Ptolemy the Gentle Boxer. Ptolemy lives in the Record Emporium, and is the inventor of the now mostly famous Ptolemy-ce Cream, which he sells in front of the Record Emporium every sun-greeting. New flavors added all the time. It's delicious and highly addictive, of course.
3.Tyson, who was sent to us by his dear mama Jojo, and is now T-Yay, the black Labrador Retriever. T-Yay lives with Ptolemy the Gentle Boxer inside the Record Emporium. The two of them have become very close friends, and are almost never seen separately in our beloved Xanadu Forest. T-Yay is an expert on all forms of music appreciation, but vinyl is his specialty. Indeed, T-Yay is the greatest record-finder in all the lands, and it is said that he can smell quality vinyl from several miles away. T-Yay wears a black leather cabby hat, and often has a brown leather record satchel slung over his shoulder. The satchel always contains acorns/pumpernickel (official currencies used throughout my imaginary lands of Interterrestria) for used record purchases, and at least one bag of Skittles candy. And, if T-Yay has has just returned from a successful record-buying trip, the leather satchel will be filled with quality vinyl, of course...for which we will all exclaim, "Nice, nice!"
As you might have guessed, our beloved Xanadu Forest is about to be blessed with its 4th eternal canine friend, sent to us kindly by Juju. I apologize that this introduction was longer than I intended...but it was necessary. Anyway, on with the story:
"Hola, Pajaro! My nombre is Reigna Rellena, and I was sent here by my mamacita, Queen Juju of the flying city. And this is my bandaleros, Los Poetic Waxwings." Then the lovely small dog, adorned in a most fabulous red salsa dress--and combat boots--turned and pointed at her "bandaleros" one by one, and continued, "Robin, Tobin, Bobin, Nobin, Dobin, and Jimi. They are all very simpatico and will give you no problemas at all, you have my word. We are to habla with someone named Kev."
Now, this was dear Caw-Caw Carl's very first sun-greeting as the official gatekeeper of my Sacred Garden gate, and the poor Stellers Jay found himself a bit more than frozen with fear. Much as he had practiced and prepared himself for just this moment, it seemed that all he had learned had fluttered away into the beyond. Indeed, poor Caw-Caw had even temporarily forgotten how to speak. The only sign of life he was expressing at all was a slight trembling of his wings. Reigna Rellena and her Poetic Waxwings looked up at the Stellers Jay with confusion, then they all turned and shrugged their shoulders at one another.
After a few moments, Caw-Caw's invisible friend and mentor, Gemini Cricket, finally spoke to the frozen Stellers Jay, "It's okay, dear Caw-Caw. I will go get Kev. Just relax. Breathe. You worked very hard, and you know how to do this. For now, just tell them, 'Hello' before they give up and run away. They are nice people, see? It's okay, Caw-Caw." Reigna Rellena and her bandaleros couldn't hear Gemini Cricket, of course.
Dear Caw-Caw unfroze, but was still very rigid when he finally managed to speak, "Yes. Yes. Kev Kev. Hello, hi."
"You funny talk, chisto-bird," Reigna Rellena laughed, and she added by way of comfort (and the little salsa dog stepped closer to him) but it's okay, chisto-bird, because you are very guapo. What's your nombre, guapo chisto-bird?"
"Umm...Kev Kev," Caw-Caw replied after a slight delay. Then the Stellers Jay went on, "Hello, hi. I mean no, no, not Kev Kev. Gemini Cricket Cricket? Hello? Hi?" Reigna Rellena and the Poetic Waxwings didn't realize, of course that poor Caw-Caw was begging for help from his invisible friend and mentor Gemini Cricket...or from Kev...or from anyone else that could possibly offer assistance.
Enter my Sacred Garden soulmate, cousin Eddie the Raven, who is always ready to save the day. Cousin Eddie cracked open a can of beer, chugged it down, and tossed one to Reigna Rellena, who immediately cracked hers open and chugged it down. Cousin Eddie finally spoke, "Welcome to the heart of our beloved Xanadu Forest, Kev's Sacred Garden gate. Kev will be here shortly. I'm Cousin Eddie." Then my soulmate pulled out a cart full of canned beer from next to his little garage made of beer cans, and wheeled it toward the Poetic Waxwings. All 5 of the bandaleros gratefully removed a can of beer and begun chugging and toasting. Cousin Eddie grabbed another can for himself and toasted, and continued speaking, "You'll have to forgive our dear friend, Caw-Caw Carl. Today is his very first sun-greeting as Kev's gatekeeper, and I'm afraid he's a bit rattled. He'll snap out of it, I'm sure. I love your salsa dress, little dog, and your combat boots too!"
"I may be little, cerveza bird, but I am fierce, papi!" Reigna Rellena shouted, then she lowered her voice and continued, "My nombre is Reigna Rellena...this is my bandaleros Los Poetic Waxwings. It's muy nice to meet you. I tengo an idea, if it's okay?" the fierce little dog asked, as she winked at Cousin Eddie and dug two more cans of beer out of the cart.
Cousin Eddie winked back at her knowingly, and gave a quick, sideways nod of his head in Caw-Caw Carl's direction. "Indubitably," my soulmate replied, then he sauntered off and began chatting with the Poetic Waxwings. It took less than one more beer for them all to decide this was the beginning of a most wonderful alliance. Even the word "collaboration" had been tossed about a few times, already.
By this time, Reigna Rellena had already run comfortably inside the Sacred Garden gate and hopped up onto Achilles' Last Stand (the gateeper's desk) and set the two cans of beer down, right in front of Caw-Caw Carl's beak. He didn't flinch. She shifted her little fierce salsa dog's body right next to the Stellers Jay's body, and she began stroking his feathers gently with her paw. "Aww, my guapo chisto-bird, don't be afraid. I am only fierce to cabrones that deserve it. You are muy nice, I can tell. I gusto you mucho already, my guapo chisto-bird."
Poor Caw-Caw's trembling increased, and he was still unable to turn his head in the fierce little salsa dog's direction. In a panic, he finally spoke, "Funny talk. Yes. Kev Kev. No no, I mean not. Hello, hi."
"Ohh, muy guapo chisto-bird, you are so much adorable," Reigna Rellena replied, as she wrapped her little paws around him and squeezed the shaking Stellers Jay tight. "Maybe I amor you. Si, I think that I do. If you're going to shake, then we will shake together. Okay, guapo? I am muy bien at shaking, you know. I am a dancer."
Caw-Caw Carl's shaking finally subsided to the subtlest of trembles, and he was finally able to look Reigna Rellena in the eyes. "Dancer dancer?" he asked her softly.
"I'm all wrong," Reigna Rellena smiled, and she began gently stroking the feathers on top of his head.
Caw-Caw finally stopped trembling altogether, and he smiled, and spoke, "Mother Mother Love Bone band band! Stargazer gazer, yes! And Gentle, yes, Gentle Groove. That is Kev Kev's favorite by them. And fierce, fierce little salsa dog dog, thank you YOU. You are very nice nice." Then the new gatekeeper's body finally relaxed completely, and he wrapped his wing around Reigna Rellena, and smiled again, and continued, "But you you really do funny talk talk, you know. Like me, me. I like that that."
Reigna Rellena smiled softly into Caw-Caw's eyes, and stroked his wing most gently. "You are muy welcome, my guapo chisto-bird." Then she cracked open the two cans of beer that were beneath the Stellers Jay's beak, and handed one of them to him as she spoke, "Cousin Eddie hablas me that this is your very first gatekeeping. I am so muy honored to be your first. And ahora we must toast, because I know you will be the muy best gatekeeper ever. Okay, my guapo?"
"More more than okay, my muy muy bonita!" Caw-Caw exclaimed, then they raised their cans as high as they could reach into the sky (not very high, by our standards, of course) and they clunked them most joyously. "Here here, here here!" The Stellers Jay toasted, with a newfound sense of confidence and pride. And they both chugged them down muy quickly.
Though Caw-Caw Carl was unaware, Cousin Eddie had been keeping an eye on him during the entire exchange, even as he was chugging beers and talking shop with the bandaleros. No sooner had Caw-Caw and Reigna Rellena tossed their empty cans into the sky, than my Sacred Garden soulmate had delivered 4 more cans of beer to the top of Achilles' Last Stand...of which, the Stellers Jay and the fierce little salsa dog most thoroughly enjoyed.
By now, the reader might wonder where Gemini Cricket and I were. We were actually hiding off in the distance, in the bushes, looking on with joy and fascination. See, I had been sleeping deeply upon my Persian rug when Reigna Rellena and her Poetic Waxwings arrived. Gemini Cricket came to wake me, as he had told Caw-Caw Carl he would do. I couldn't see Gemini Cricket, of course, but I could hear him...and though I can't speak cricket yet, I instinctively knew he was calling me to my Sacred Garden gate. "This IS truly the age of Knew Application!" I exclaimed silently in my mind. This very moment, for the first time, I also considered how lovely this all really was. I was getting two gatekeepers for the price of one. Not that I pay them, mind you.
By the time we return our attention once again to dear Caw-Caw and Reigna Rellena upon Achilles' Last Stand, the 4 additional cans of beer that Cousin Eddie had brought them had already been chugged and tossed into the sky...and now there were yet more cans of beer they were enjoying together, and Van Halen's "Women And Children First" album was playing at a moderate volume from Cousin Eddie's turntable. Cousin Eddie's and the Poetic Waxwings' voices were not at such a moderate volume now, and it seems that my Sacred Garden soulmate had replenished his cart with countless cans of beer. Stellers Jay and Salsa Dog were now leaning back upon Achilles' Last Stand, swaying gently, wing and paw draped around one another's bodies. Stars twinkling in their eyes.
Gemini Cricket and I, from our secret vantage point, decided it was still too soon for us to interrupt the apparent revelry. "After all," we considered, "It's Caw-Caw's big day. His first official gatekeeping. Besides, I haven't seen my soulmate, Cousin Eddie, this joyous in many a sun and moon-greeting." Gemini Cricket agreed. So we listened on, especially to Stellers Jay and Salsa Dog's conversation:
"So do you have a namely name for your funny funny talk, mi amor?" starry-eyed Caw-Caw asked Reigna Rellena.
"Si, my guapo chisto-bird amor," she began, then answered, "It is called Pigeon Spanish."
"So your parently parents are Hispanically Hispanic, mi amor?" Caw-Caw continued, and cracked open another can of beer.
Reigna Rellena cracked open her can of beer as well, and replied, "No, guapo, chisto-chisto-bird, my mi amor, I learned it from the pigeons in the courtyard of my mamacita's house in the flying city. I muy like pigeonly pigeons. What do you call your funny funny talk?"
Caw-Caw carl tightened his warm embrace of the lovely, feisty, Salsa Dog at his side, and lifted his proud face to the sky as he spoke, "It is call called 'Double Double Speak. I am the masterly master of it, you know know."
"Ohh, my chisto-amorely amor, that is so muy muy adorable," Reigna Rellena replied softly, and she gave proud Caw-Caw a little peck on the side of his beak. He blushed, of course, though we were unable to see it through is proud feathers. And there was nary a tremble from anyone within my Sacred Garden, that particular sun and moon-greeting.
I considered the fact that I was perhaps the only responsible being inside my Sacred Garden now-and perhaps from now on! That was a scary thought. Then Gemini Cricket chirped at me, and, though I still couldn't speak cricket, I understood him perfectly. He reminded me that Edwin the Bee is always with us, and that we would always be safe here. I smiled, and I could feel Gemini Cricket smiling too, though I couldn't see him, of course.
Then I heard my Father's voice inside my heart, "You know, My son, I actually enjoy you playing the fool. It's genuine, and you wear it well. If you interrupt their moment now, you would be too much a fool even for My enjoyment. Let them be them, as I have always allowed you to be you."
"I love You, Father. Semba. Thank you," I replied with my lips--but silently. Gemini Cricket and I returned to my Persian rug (though I couldn't see him, of course), and we took a nice long nap. We fell asleep to the sound of Van Halen's second album playing well off into the distance.
Thank you for joining me on this journey, dear readers.
Life is beautiful beautiful. Semba.
We love you.