I like tipping my hat to strangers in crowded rooms, and like it when they with distaste scorn at me for wearing a hat indoors. But that’s just how I roll. Either roll with me, or go fuck yourself. I drink from a chalice of my own creation, embedded with railroad rubies and dime store diamonds. One can drink all sorts of things from it, from cheap hooch to mead of the gods, and it will look dignified regardless. My whip, they say, freaks them out. It reminds them of the era of slavery, of supremacist men girthing their cocks around on whom they dubbed inferior; mostly blacks and Chinese. It’s an ode to Indiana Jones, I say, but hey, I guess no one is cultured enough to get that. They’re quick to jump to judgments false and negative. I ask myself, and society at large, why can’t we assume for once, something good about someone when we first analyze them? Like if you see a hooded man in the subway, why do you cringe away from him in fear? Why not assume that he’s perhaps, I don’t know, Luke Cage out to save Harlem, or perhaps Deadpool fetching his suit from where he’d forgotten it at the laundromat? Or, or, why not remain neutral? Like, maybe that hooded guy is just a hooded guy, and not some stereotypical representation of the worst of his race? Maybe that bearded dude you assume is an ISIS goat-molester is a Metallica fan and likes to keep his hair long.
My chalice is magic. As is my hat and as is my whip. I am the lastborn warrior of my people—a people extinct. We’re the Njords, and no, we have nothing to do with Norway or Norwegian culture. Odin is as much myth and make-believe to us as he is to you. Njords were the people who lived in the North Carolina mountain and forests, in harmony with the Indians (but we knew them as Katututs) and with nature. Our primary difference that differed us from the Katututs was that while they remained as they were even though times changed, we adapted and camouflaged in the crevices of upcoming creeds. When the cowboys rode into town, we rode with them, and when the first train track was laid, we helped lay it. We were there when the Italians came to New York, and when Al Capone reigned hell in Los Angeles. We were there from the beginning, but sadly, we won’t be there to see the end. Unless through some miracle I find a Njord maiden who agrees to copulating with me. But like I said, as far as I know, the Njords are extinct, leaving me the last of them.
Quite like other people, we too have our own belief systems. We believe in a god and we take faith in the scripture of our apostle Bardof. Bardof’s Doctrine of Divinity dictated that the sun we see in the morn, and the moon before the dawn, both were eyes of the celestial serpent, the ever-mighty Aurn. The stars in the sky are beams of light reflecting from Aurn’s black scales, and the planets are diamonds implanted on his coat equidistantly. He sleeps in deep slumber and slithers in a circle, and as he does so the planets revolve, the moon spins, the sun to and fro shines and unshines, and the shimmer of the stars glimmers and unglimmers as night turns into day, for Aurn is white above and black below. When he will cease sleeping, Ragnarok, doomsday, the end of all things, or whatever or however you know it, will happen.
But enough about religion. Let me tell you why I am sitting in this retro bar, sipping from my chalice with my whip in my belt and my hat on my head even though it’s the middle of the night.
I’m hunting demons. And on this, I believe, your religion and mine, both agree: demons come out in the night. Hell, for my people is the rattle tattling tail end of Aurn, noising continuously with the chak-a-chak-a-chak-a-chak; a sound that will make you go insane on virtue of its being never-ending.
We bleed our sins out every annual night of December 31st, slicing our wrists open, and enticing the ever-mighty serpent to pardon us for our misdeeds. Those forgiven appear unmaimed, and their wounds stich healingly on their own. Those who are not, they die of blood loss. I have thirty-nine healed up slits on my wrists.
The reverie of the night’s celebration halted for a moment – a lapse in time created by the demon – during which I spotted him; Ashnazg the dethroner. A thousand lifetimes ago, he used to crown new kings who sold their souls to him. Now he was a smalltime street hustler who assassinated rival mob heads, and tilted power shifts. One could say he was doing pretty much the same as he’d always done. He was getting souls. That mattered to him; not the scale of his operations.
Clouded around the eyes with purple haze, with two horns twisted into spearheads, and hands clawed like a wolverine’s, he spotted me from afar, and resounded a snarl across the bar. We had danced this dance many times, and not just on barroom dance floors; it had been on battlefields of numerous wars; it had been on hallowed sanctions like Churches and Mosques; and it had been on other planes than these. Every time it ended with me killing him. Every time, the circle started anew.
Because that son of a sodomite had my soul! He’d left me unwhole! I should count is as a blessing in disguise, because had it not been for this sinful barter, I would have died long ago with the rest of my people. And yet, I did not. I darkled. I tincted. And I moved on. And the demon spawn with my life in his groin belt (and allow me to say that it’s a most undignified place to place something as precious as someone’s spirit) moved on with me; with both our lives tethered to each other in a sick knot; a divine mockery.