Archive for category For Love of Power
And now, the conclusion from last week’s cut scene.
Brian’s eyes didn’t move, nor did he flinch. Nathan was fairly certain that Brian’s 6’1” stature and typical SoCal demeanor meant he didn’t back down, but he was also fairly certain this didn’t happen to him too often. Brian’s next words, however much he had dialed up the intensity between them, were serious.
“So do you sacrifice animals?”
Sharon grabbed her purse while Nathan responded. “No, my tradition is against it. While I understand the mystical importance of sacrifice, I find most people today put more value in objects than living beings: the better sacrifices are something that you would care to lose. I’m also not going to ask anyone else to do something I’m not willing to do myself, and since an animal wouldn’t understand…”
Sharon was pushing at Brian, since she was on the inside of the booth. Brian finally looked at her, and Nathan drank down the remainder of his sake. “What?”
“I would like to use the restroom if you don’t mind; you boys play nice while I’m gone.” Sharon got up after Brian did; Nathan was pouring another shot of sake for himself.
Brian spoke first. “I’m sorry if I’m being an ass.”
“Don’t worry; I like my guys with spunk.” Nathan cracked a half-smile.
Brian chuckled again. “So, what exactly does it mean, being a Shaman?”
“What does it mean being a Catholic? Not trying to be obtuse, but… What you’re asking for is a context that isn’t easy to explain. When someone says they’re Catholic people have certain preconceived and hard to explain notions that go along with that. I can’t bundle up and give you those same preconceived notions for Shamanism. At its most basic it means that at some point, when I am ready, whatever Divine force that set the Universe in motion will send me people that need guidance, and I will have to do my best to guide them in whatever way I can, eventually, the people who listen to me will constitute a community of their own. It means a life of spiritual service, same as being a priest, or a community leader.”
Brian took another sip. “So why do it?”
Nathan shrugged. “I don’t have an answer for that. I wanted my life to have meaning, and this was the meaning I found. I embrace it, and everything that comes with it.” Brian nodded.
Sharon returned from the bathroom shortly after the food had arrived. The two had been sitting in relative silence. Brian had broken off conversation to answer a text, and Nathan was trying to surreptitiously stare at Brian’s physique. “What’d I miss?”
Brian turned to her. “What? Oh… nothing, food just got here. Danny was texting me to see what we were doing. They bought two twelve-packs of Corona and have pulled out the beer pong table.”
“Oh no, last time we went Danny puked in my car while we were taking him home. I am not going anywhere near that beer-pong table.”
“Chill, I told him I’d ask you what we were doing anyways.”
Sharon hmphed as the waiter came back with the masago. Brian looked at it, then up at Nathan. “Is that…?”
“Yup. It’s kinda like caviar, only a lot less expensive, and slightly less flavorful. It tastes a lot like egg yolk and salt, with a different texture. I’m actually really bad at explaining this.”
Brian smiled, “You can explain a religion that I imagine is rather rare to people that know nothing about it, but food is out of the question?”
Nathan smiled back, one side larger than the other, crinkling that eye as he answered “Yup,” just before popping the piece of sushi in his mouth.
The following scene was cut from the original copy because of word counts, but in case you were curious as to what happened between Brian, Sharon and Nathan during that first date, here it is. Keep in mind, this is effectively still a rough draft, since it was never developed beyond that.
“I was born when I was 16. Not literally of course.”
Brian chuckles. Sharon looks confused. The two of them, and Nathan, are at a sushi restaurant.
Brian interrupts, “Before we get too deep into this, I just wanted to say thanks for having dinner with us. We know it’s a little awkward to be invited out by a couple, but we talked and we think you’re pretty cool.”
“Well, sexy, to be specific, but cool as well,” Sharon says.
“Now, what were you saying?”
“No worries, I welcome the opportunity to get to know anyone down here. Living as far north as I do, well, it’s hard to keep friendships when you’re unwilling to travel and hang out, mainly because of being strapped for cash. Where was I?”
Sharon answers, “Being born at 16, which I don’t get.”
“Oh yeah, when I was 16, I dedicated myself to being a Shaman. I had been studying Neo-Paganism since I was 10, but hadn’t really done anything about it. During the summer after I turned 16, my Dad and step-family went down to Mexico. We were in Alcapulco.”
“Why?” Brian asks.
“We went several places: Mexico City, the ruins at Teotihuacan, and Alcapulco. My step-mother is from Mexico, we were visiting her family so that my step-siblings could see their grandparents. In short, the trip had absolutely nothing to do with me and I thought it was pointless.”
“So, you speak Spanish because you’re Mexican?” says Sharon as the waiter puts down the sake order for the table.
“No.” Nathan shakes his head as he pours a shot of sake. Rather unceremoniously he quickly dips the pad of his finger into the sake to test the temperature. “My father and I are Puerto Rican, my step-family is Mexican.”
Brian, while pouring himself a shot of sake: “What’s the difference?” He laughs at his own joke. Nathan smiles, and takes a sip.
“Anyways… I was practicing meditating and Journey-work while I was there—“
“What’s Journey-work?” Sharon asked, interrupting.
“Journey-work is what a Shaman does, at its very essence. Neo-Pagans and Wiccans have spells, a Shaman has Journeys. They both work according to similar principals, but using different processes. A spell or ritual requires outside motions and mnemonic cues for the sub-conscious; a Journey takes place within the sub-conscious, in what is called the Otherworlds.” Ever pedantic, Nathan pauses to take a sip and allow questions.
Brian eyebrow arches, as his tongue moves under his lips as though he has a piece of meat stuck there, he looks intently at Nathan, and as he goes to speak the waiter appears to ask for their orders. Instead of asking his question, he turns to the waiter, “I’ll have the beef teriyaki bowl.”
Sharon goes next, “California roll and miso soup.”
“I’ll have an order of masago nigiri, miso soup, and a dragon roll.”
With the waiter gone, Brian turns back to Nathan. “Two questions, now. What is masago-whatever, and, so are you like, a Harry Potter wannabe?”
Sharon turns slowly to look at Brian, eyes wide, when she is finally facing him her left hand moves to her right shoulder, rubbing lightly. “Could you be less of a dick, babe? ‘Kay thanks.”
Nathan watches the two, aware the Brian hasn’t bothered to look at her. “Masago is Smelt roe, nigiri is the presentation… you’ll see. And no, Harry Potter is a fictionalized representation borrowing on elements of fairy-tale traditions of the British Isles. Shamanism is a valid religious practice, my religious practice, to be precise.” Nathan locked eyes with Brian and held them there. “You get one warning that I am serious about my religion and what I do. Treat it frivolously and I’ll think you ignorant and not worth talking to. Serious questions however, I will answer without hesitation.”