Twas the morn’ o’ th’ runeday when many gathered at th’ chapel in the morn’ for the worship of Rodite, the Rat Goddess. T’would be a long service and this brought the thinkin’ into the heads of the spouses left at home that twas a great morn’ to get drunken. Even though the pious spouses had seen this coming. They hid the booze in places only their cats knew about, they poured it into the houseplants, but lo, the spouses who stayed home all called each other and warned the rest of them of the hidin’ tricks. People tore out the plumbing to guzzle that hooch. Not their finest hour to be sure, but someone who’d break through the floor, dig up a pipe and suck down that sewage slurry because that is what sounds like fun when alone . . . their finest hour twas likely ages ago and they don’t plan-on bein’ in that way any time again soon. People downed handfuls of whiskey-oozing dirt and called their compatriots to thank them heartily, pulling a worm out o’ their teeth.
Durin’ the Rodite service, atonement is the game. Offer their children, standin’ front o’ the alter. A giant yellow tooth in between squid-black eyes. They offer the littleuns and say ‘have I sinned against thee in any way, I offer me only love to thee, to join the twenty-thousand tails’. For legend has it, Rodite sits upon a throne ‘a Swiss, but th’ holes’re’ll clogged with rat-tails, sentient tails possessed by misbehavin’ younguns doomed, doomed to live within the cheese and na’er take a single bite.
But why? - ye ask - do the parents offer the kids, if they’re the ones who’ve sinned? But that’s the genius o’ da ’ting! It’s kids who drive the parents to sinnin’. It’s how they’re raised. Parents were young once. They sees all these shoddy families. Think they can do better. So they do the dirty thing. Original sin stains them fore’er.
What’re they supposed to do? - ye ask. Die out? We’ll na’er know I’m sure. But come the future prophet’ll show us the way outta ‘riginol sin. So’s the books say anyways.
A’course nona’ the kids’s ever taken in the church. It’s a symbolic atonement thing. But they do hafta stand for a wee while, and they get tired, as the parents pray and offer sacrificial penance in the forma nibblin’ on their own arms. Not enough to draw blood mind ye, but enough to leave a mark.
Meanwhile, the neighbors dish it out in the street. They sit like at the salon, and riff ‘bout how boring their lives’er. The more brainy ones realized it all happened through a series of invisible compromises, while the rest’o’em blame the world and the wife. No matter their gender, it’s the idea of ‘the wife’ can fit any. We’re all the nagging hag.
This particular morn’ however, the tradition started, and none knew it yet. Ol’ Orr succumbed to the mania from drinkin’ outta the lead pipe first. Figgur he was just off’is rocker, the way he kept lickin’ the inner pipe. “Blo-bla-blo,” ‘e said in between spits.
Next came Terry Hyulr, some plant found the contentsa’ ‘is colon quite pleasin’. He’d been a dirt-eater. Tradition really. Took a monster shite in the street. But as-it happened - this’s really gross but no-one could stop lookin’ - a few seeds half-sprouted fell out. Then ‘e shat a leaf. Followed by some leaves on a stick. By this time the screamin’ was a bit much as a small Bonzai burst through’is cheeks and he fell for’ard, dead. The tree nowadays’s’a pilgrimage but its just legend really. If anyone who claims they found it have, they woulda’ found the village too. At least brought a part ‘o it back for proof, ya know?
At this point Ol’ Orr felt hisself to be seein’ snakes in the wood on people’s porches. He banged his pipe on the ground to drive’em up, then banged on the decks to kill’em.
Course, twere no rats in the village. All the cats got’em all. Around this time, the cats all took their midmorning nap. While some slept through anything. Today’s proceedings was a bit noisy, so they stayed on the sidelines and watched with a wee interest, until something else caught their eye.
Margot Kref smelled like a sac’o’old apples after drinkin’ anything red which she figgurd ‘ad to be wine. Abyy Ghislnek took pity on’er and shared some fermented pickle vodka. After three monstrous gulps, Margot stumbled to the porch where all the bangin’ was afoot. At said point she let fourth such a roaring belch did she, that right afore Orr died a’fright, Abyy swears she saw the black mold double their property on the wooden beams. Such a festrous belch it was, that ‘er own stomach jumped out ‘swell. Her organ stuck to the mold on the wooden beam and she fell, slightly danglin’ from some intestine or oter.
Meanwhiles, at the church, parents and grans’s was getting through with the self-prostration and such. The kids was standin’ many of em fit to piss to burst. But they’d caused enough trouble so far by bein’ born. Ah, the rituals of childhood. We lose sight a’ them so quickly.
A ‘course, Rodite did notin’. ‘Er yellow tooth was kept that way by a secret society a’ cleaners. Why you need to clean a tooth to keep it rotten, we’ll never know. Course it wasn’t a real tooth neither. Size of a St. Bernard. Maybe they shoulda seen through that.
Barry Thelnumm was headed to the churchyard to give ‘is ‘ol wife the one-two, as he put it. No one knew what he meant. ‘Whatever,’ the townspeople thought. ‘He’ll just get in trouble up there, we’ll continue our party down here.’ Other townspeople thought, ‘we’d better get rid of this mold, or else our spouses’ll think we’re slobs.’
Out came de axes. A choppin’ at the pillars which held the roof of whoever’s house twas that Ol ‘Orr fancied was cursed with serpents. A’course, that’s what woudda happened had folk been seein’ straight. Quite a pile of limbs accrued afore the pillars came down along with the roof, splashing in the pool of blood.
So much blood in fact, that the piller itself: mold, Margot’s stomach + addendumbs, barreled its way down the hill, carving a stream and floating on it sametimewise. And just as the church service ended, the parishioners beheld the river of blood carrying signs of the town they’d left behind.
And leave behind it they did. But they also left us with tradition, as ancient folk often do. Its why, in any sane society, we should adopt the holiday of Negligent Homicide in the Morning. A special morning when we ‘forget’ to put out the preventative measures that keep all these people who seem so intent on dyin’ in embarrassing ways e’ry second from doing so. And thanks to ye lawmakers for hearin’ this plea.