By William E Justin

Coco’s Big Day

Randi had learned the more violent sports were considered to be psychological substitutes for man’s ultimate lust to conquer others. This itself was a substitute for the achievement of self-mastery. It was the best some men could get. A condition of being less evolved. Men such as Max and Big-E used Lionfighting and had partially transcended the brutality of it for partial self-mastery. The security shooters hit lions that were driven out of bounds with fast tranquilizer darts when they could more easily, and more safely, shot them in the head with a high caliber bullet—there was certainly no shortage of lion in the world. The real debate among the intellectual was whether Lion-fighting had ultimately made the world a more—or less—violent place. The one point everyone agreed upon was that life itself was deeply violent. That violence was offset by self-mastery developed through an appreciation for the finer things in life. Randi had even read a point of view that the universe itself was a predatory event—with violence at its core. He didn’t accept this. He was a religious man. A Christopian. He believed the creator God allowed the offspring “multiverse” all probable expression out of a love, joy and laughter. As the Hindus put it. The creation is God’s play. All parts of it are eventually brought back into the “Christo-Clarity” of pure Spirit. As a movie dissolves into a wholesome blank screen once the final frame slides off the old movie reel, so too do all elements of the offspring universes or “multiverse”. The people of India worshipped the Brahman who was said to produce and retract a new creation in each of Its days and nights. The hell and heaven of The

Christopian was deeply set into the field—or movie script—on which all of this played out. Violence was not at the basis of creation. It was merely one part of the shadowy raw material or “Sat” which makes the appearance of forms. Violence was on the surface. The real basis of this multi-verse is Christo-Clarity. Like the flash of creativity that brings about new forms, It causes “what is to be” to emerge from whatever proceeds “first cause”. It was at the beginning and at the end—the Alpha and Omega. Those who would see violent “dog-eatdog” value as the chief underlying factor in Life are merely projecting a lower quality bias. As far as Randi could think, Lion-fighting was somewhere in the middle of it all. Positive enough to be popular and respected but negative enough to make him want to throw up. He could only hope that what some experts said was true—that it would help Mankind make violent war against itself a thing of the past. Some Christopians felt realization of peace in the world could only occur with the re-appearance of Lord Christo himself. Others felt He had been re-appearing to chosen devotees non-stop ever since He last appeared in public rising up from the floor of the Roman Coliseum to hover above the emperor before walking beyond view over the roof top. Many people in today’s modern world felt that was all just a story. And there were also individuals stuck so deeply in the machinery of a TV Reality world-view, that they believed the various Lionfighting matches were staged events like in pro wrestling. People believe according to the grooves and ruts their lives are laid into. The enlightened Christopian considered all of the viewpoints and went with what seemed to make the most sense. But it was understood that Faith was, “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”. The underlying praetor from which language and arithmetic were developed to track and organize that Quality human beings find meaningful. It was from this Christopian study of metaphysics that Randi initially investigated the sport of Lion-fighting. As a set of sport conditions, he didn’t realize just how involved and nuanced it was. The scoring, the rules, the plays, and the fouls were present like in all of the sports. He found the camera crew to be the most fascinating. They had to document the action when a contest appeared during the hunting phase of a match. Often, the feed was carried live throughout the world and they were under great pressure. Their equipment was highly innovative. Long extension poles with attached cameras were used that could be set in the ground and sprung high up into the air at a moment’s notice to capture the field of play. The camera people had to fan out within prescribed parameters and avoid not being taken by lion themselves. The security team had to make sure the match occurred between five men and five lions. They had to eliminate all excess lion from the competition as quickly as possible. They carried light weight “spring stilts” that snapped up in four three-foot sections. They quickly locked themselves into the high-tech stilts and jumped and released each section to be instantly sprung up to twelve feet in the air ready to enforce and protect. But there were security shooters who were overwhelmed by lion and killed. And in most cases they were too far off the center of action to be of much aid if one of the beasts scored a knockout on a Lion-fighter and began to eat. Everybody communicated with sharp whistles and other sounds. Electronic communication devices were not allowed for use in the real-time match. It was a technically savvy and costly production and Randi knew the guys at this table were perhaps better at it then anyone. He stayed with the Le Muffett Crew for some time before going to look for Little B. He had polished him up for the event the day before . Coco had him apply some very subtle coloring to his fur that worked well with the new decorative collar she found. She also wanted him to wear pale-sienna front paw bands for the occasion so he would look a bit more feisty. “I’m afraid Little B is too docile”, she complained to him. “Maybe we should get him a boxin’ coach or something”. Randi convinced her Little B was just fine the way he was. When he found him out back with the children, the already highly decorated little dog was also sporting a napkin fashioned into a bonnet. The little girls had used another napkin to make a loin cloth for him. They were pretending he was a baby and had him sitting in a box they’d found. Randi laughed, took out his camera phone, and snapped off a few photos for the annual Poodle-Dog Stylist Dinner he would be attending the following month in The Hills of Beverly. He thought he might have a real attention-getter with the shots of Little B and the children. Seeing that Little B was in relatively safe hands, Randi headed back into the house. He was interested in introducing himself to Big-E’s dad Buster White. This might be his only chance to meet the old man who was still very infamous and talked about. He used a back door that was open and went down a hallway. He hurried on looking for the way back into the main front room. He didn’t want to meet up with any of the staff and have people later say he’d been lurking about. Then he heard Big-E’s voice around a corner and paused. He wasn’t sure for a moment whether to proceed further or go back. “God, you’re looking so good today” Randi heard him say. Coco had grabbed Big-E’s hand and led him away from the party for a private moment. He had her backed up against a wall and was running his hand up and down the middle-side of her body. She was glowing with a smile.

“I’m so happy today, baby” Coco said. Her voice was high and sweet, and forced toward a whisper all at once. “Maxi told me the news”. She just looked up at his soft blue eyes and felt like she was looking into a light at the end of a long tunnel. The hardest thing that Coco shared with her mother Lynette and her best friend Sydney was the burden of loving a man that regularly went into mortal combat. Security police and soldiers’ spouses understood this but were often in the dark and somewhat protected by not knowing the time and place of their loved-one’s appointment with danger. Or if such an appointment would happen at all. For the families of Lion-fighters, it was all laid into a schedule months in advance. Coco and Sydney would be on the phone every “Lion-fighting Sunday” during the five-and-a-half month season that ran each year between late April and early October. Her mother would also call her on those days. Sometimes Coco would go to The Oak Land and stay at the family home. Big-E said he fully expected Max would tell her the news right away since she had always used her brothers to find out what he was suppressing. “I know you been going through something” she said remembering the worry she’d felt as he became more intense and withdrawn. “Why can’t you ever let me ease that suffering and a part of it?” Most people—especially women—did this very easily. For many men—and Big-E fitted in at the top of that list—“going through it” or bearing emotional suffering was a private thing. “I just have to work it out myself” he replied to her question. Of course there was the full truth of his confidential involvement with World Security as the prime mover in his retirement plans. He wouldn’t allow Coco any knowledge of that. Big-E didn’t need or want to talk about it anymore. He said he wished that the house was empty and it was just the two of them. He kissed her, pushed her back further against the wall, and softly enveloped her. That felt so good to him. He lived to see her eyes go soft in satisfaction when she gave herself to him. He thought about taking her to an isolated part of the house and getting on with the real ceremony. “Oh baby, we gonna be all alone later and get it started real good”. Big-E groaned a little. Coco didn’t always use the term “get it started”. That was a special code between them. It meant that she was going to set off a period of sensual drunkenness between them that might last for many days. And the ways she set it off were something they didn’t even hint about to others. Coco put on what can only be described as elaborate productions. Big-E found out very early in their relationship that she was a lot more then anybody would ever suspect. And she was still exploring her own artistic boundaries. He knew she had made plans in advance and the thought of that made him feel a little weak knowing he had to go through all of the sixth-year public toast crap before getting on to the real thing. Randi couldn’t help but overhear some of this. It took a few moments to pull himself away and retreat out the door he had come in and find his way back to the huge front-room-turned-party-hall set up with tables and filled with people he didn’t know much about. He spotted Buster White still sitting off to the side at one of those tables with the woman that had been pointed out to him as one of Coco’s aunties. The guys at the Le Muffett table had been stealing glances toward her while they all talked. Randi had considered her the most exotic-looking person there. As exotic—he thought—as himself. Her face, although having come far into the passage through middle age, made him think of a moist, fleshy fruit cut with great skill and precision. Her skin tone had a tropic hue spread over a rich ebony base. Her upper body rose above the table with a straight back and delicate placement of the hands. He thought she had extraordinary arms, strong and yet very delicate. Buster had been moving his mouth non-stop as the woman looked on at him from some distance—but with a slightly pleased expression and occasional full smile. Randi considered whether to interrupt them. He was always injecting himself into pairs and small groups of people and he did so here as well. He walked up and flashed a smile at the women and turned to Buster. “I’m hope I’m not interrupting, Mr. White, but Robert said that I just had to meet you!” Buster White was taken by surprised. “What?”. He didn’t bark this but it wasn’t soft spoken either. “Robert?” Randi flashed a wide smile combined with excited, starburst eyes. Buster suddenly felt knocked slightly off center stage, which was not a feeling he enjoyed. He had been in the midst of telling this exciting woman his upcoming plans to sell his life story to a well-known publisher. “I’m Lucile”. The exotic-looking woman introduced herself to Randi with something of a regal grace. “I’m one of Coco’s aunts. Please do join us. Busta and I was just speaking about how hot the evenings can get in Brazil. He’s been telling me of his time there as a young man”. Randi quickly pulled up a chair. He loved more then anything to hear about things such as that. He pointed for them to Robert who was still standing with Jean, Sydney and some other people.

Buster squinted. He’d seen that other guy before but had no idea who this one was. He looked to him like something that had wandered off a stage somewhere. Strange hair, strange face, strange looking gangly body—– —and all dressed up like he was going to an audition for a clown job at the circus. He looked again at Robert and searched his ever-fading mental database for a quick clue who this guy might be. Randi started in. “Robert always talks about Big-E’s father, the esteemed Mr. White. He said he had the pleasure to drive you in from L.A the last time you visited. And that you just had him laughing the whole way.” Buster was still at a loss. Then he put the guy across the room together with the driver his son had sent the last time he came to visit. And this guy was with the one named Robert. Now Buster had the thing straight. The two guys were “butt-buddies” as he liked to call them. “Mr. White” asked Randi, “would you like me to go and bring the two of you fresh drinks?” Now there’s an idea, Buster thought. The drink server hadn’t been by in over fifteen minutes. “That would be great” he replied. “It’ll give me a chance to go and take a piss”. Buster said this and realized he should apologize to the lady for such course talk. He looked at Lucile with a stupid expression and said, “I mean ah..go’ use the little guy’s room’”. Lucile didn’t change expression much and continued to look on from a slight distance. Randi found out what each was drinking. A few minutes later they were together again back at table. While in the bathroom, Buster concocted a plan to get rid of this guy as fast as possible—to blow him off with a kind of assault he had used many times in the past. He and Lucile had begun to make some exciting arrangements for later that evening and this guy was getting in the way. Buster White came back to the table ready to hurl a quick knockout punch. “So…it’s Randi? Well, I was curious. Now please correct me if I’m mistaken, but you’re a homosexual man, aren’t you? And you’re with Robert? I believe this is what he told me that day when he drove me in. He told me he was hoping your relationship with him would blossom into matrimony.” He said this rapidly, clicking off points like a professional orator and not the least bit concerned about being intrusive. “Busta!” said Lucile. She raised her hand and pretended to shoo away a fly. “You are being much too direct”. She acted as if any of them might care. Still, as the woman at the table, she had her role of social moderator to fulfill. Buster watched her reaction and thought to himself, ‘she has no idea’. Even people who’d been around the block several times were never quite prepared for a free spirit such as him. Then, point blank, he launched an inquiry into which of four particular preferences Randi would select if forced into a choice. He kept saying, “if you could only choose one of these acts..”. The choices available—that the old man spoke very plainly of—were not of a subject that one usually expects to be brought up. Lucile continued to shoo away what had now swelled into a swarm of the invisible flies. Inwardly, she was trying not to laugh when Randi flashed another wide smile with starburst eyes. “Busta, you are on verge of being rude I think!” Randi assured her that there was no problem with Buster White’s inquiry and asked him if he had much experience in such “pleasures” himself. “Much?…no, none at all.” He was visibly ruffled by this comeback Randi had delivered in such a normal tone. The old man regained his balance. “That’s why I’m asking. But go ahead and tell me…if you and Robert were forced with a choice of only one out of the four possibilities, which would you choose?” He tried to make it sound as if he had always wanted to know such a thing. Lucile just shook her head with feigned disapproval. But she continued to be pleasantly surprised by Buster’s cognizance during the course of their conversation. He was sharper then he let on and often didn’t seem elderly in the least. His mind had a habit of indentifying things as logical constructs instead of sloshing about in between this idea and that one—which older people are especially prone to do. Buster was on the ball and knew what he wanted. But he had not succeeded in blowing Randi off with this embarrassing set of questions. The intelligent young dog groomer was thrilled to have received a personal cup of what he later described to Robert as “Buster Wine”—up from that damp and smelly cellar of the only person to receive a lifetime ban from Pay Per View sports for having scandalized Lion-fighting fans. ‘Christo’, Buster thought to himself, ‘this one is intrigued by the question of such a choice”. “I really can’t say Mr. White. You know, I’ve never once thought of having to make such a decision…of having to select only one.” Randi was reflecting. “Ultimately I think it would come down to how selfish am I, and of what form that selfishness takes”. He thought hard about this for a second more and then just through up his hands in resignation. ‘Christo’ thought Buster, ‘the guy thinks we’re in fucking philosophy class’! Much to the disappointment of Buster White, Randi settled in and encouraged Lucile to tell him as much as possible about the sultry nights of Brazil. He said he had made Robert promise to take him there someday and it was never too early to start collecting travel tips!

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