Namo amitabha Buddhaya, y'all.
This here's a religious establishment. Act respectable.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Sebastian, Nicholas and the Talking Heads

I'm not what you'd call superstitious, exactly, but I do sometimes see things happen that seem to link together with other things that happen. Which is a roundabout way of saying I'm superstitious. Kind of. Let's put it this way: If a black cat crossed my path, I wouldn't turn around, but I'd probably start humming that song by the Stray Cats. Which is why I shouldn't gamble. Well, one of the reasons. The other reason is the Fifth Precept, under which I promised to do my best to avoid alcohol, mood-altering substances of various kinds, and, uh, gambling. Pretty explicitly, in point of fact. Well, Buddha said "horse-racing," but Buddha didn't know they were going to build Las Vegas and frankly, I think he'd be a little appalled if he had.

I dunno if you live in a state where this goes on, but around here everybody was nuts for the Mega Millions Lottery, for which the pot got up to a ridiculous half-billion dollars last week. I don't know what one would do with a half-billion dollars--buy Namibia? Feed India for a year?--but nobody I know seemed to be able to resist trying to find out. We even had an "office pool" at the ol' law firm, into which $5 bills were flung. I got around the "no gambling" prohibition by bringing in Joan's $5 bills, but really, is karma dumb enough to be fooled by such a cheap trick? I think not. Obviously we didn't win, and I think part of why we didn't win was that I joined in. I mean, not only was I gambling, but I was knowingly and deliberately gambling, in violation of the prohibition, and using a cheap excuse (come on, it wasn't Joan's money any more than it was my money. It all comes from the same place) to boot. That's GOT to be bad karma.

Yes, I know. The other reason we didn't win was that our odds were half a billion to whatever number of tickets we bought. But, like I said, I'm a wee bit superstitious. Which was why getting introduced to someone's cats yesterday became an adventure in not getting completely startled. I was over picking up a couple of cat traps that belong to Kittico, and the nice man who'd been using them to trap, neuter and release some of the scads of stray cats in his neighborhood invited me in. Two big fluffy Siamesels came up to greet me and sniff fingers. "JoAnn," said the man (I don't know why he thinks my name is JoAnn, but I'd decided not to argue with him), "meet Sebastian and Nicholas."

For the uninitiated, Nicholas is the name of one of the bad guys in my novel. San Sebastian is the city where it all happens. That this guy would have cats named Sebastian and Nicholas is like the weirdest coincidence ever. The only thing that would be weirder is if his cats were named Nicholas and Roland, and then I can promise you I would have bolted out the front door and never come back, not even for the cat traps. (Roland being the other bad guy. And a lot worse than Nicholas. To say nothing of fluffier.)

When it comes to the stupid book, things just seem to happen in a weird coincidental sense. Yesterday morning, before I met Nicholas and Sebastian, "Once in a Lifetime" by the Talking Heads came on the radio. Which isn't significant, either, except that I quote it all the way through the book. Whenever that song comes on the radio, something good tends to happen. What with the Talking Heads and Sebastian and Nicholas, pardon me if I was expecting maybe some good news from a literary agent or other all day yesterday.

I didn't get any. But hey, the week is still young. And I sent another query letter this morning. Hi, Ms. Lyon, I'm cute, quiet, housebroken, amenable to the editing process and I like the Talking Heads. Into the blue again, into the silent water, under the rocks and stones (there is water underground...)

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