Saturn collecting a debt


Saturn walked the streets of Athens again. His solitary steps creating echoes that crossed the barriers of time and that only he could hear, because his eyes couldn’t help anymore since many years ago.

Greece had changed over the centuries. It smelled different. Smelled like McDonalds, Kentucky Fried Chicken and Coke. The essence of a proud country had been buried under the stench of foreign culture. Greece reeked of American stale sweat left on the body of a raped Europe. And for a while, Saturn wished his empty sockets could be filled with tears to wash his grief.

But a breeze came suddenly arousing his pituitary. Saturn took a deep sniff, moving his neck in all directions trying to detect the origin of that ambrosia that warmed his lungs.

As trapped by an invisible hook, his nose froze. The tip pointed an alley on his left from which timid voices slipped out in the night like streams of water on a rainy day.

“The Party is dead. We must return to the origins”.

The words came to him as the aroma of freshly baked pastries. His neck turned towards the alley with the rapidity of a cat that hears an unexpected noise. And his feet were launched in the same direction in which he pointed his nose, following the thread of the conversation that reached his experts ears.

“Europe Is the whore of Germany”, continued the conversation. And these words brought a smile on the cracked face of Saturn.

The information given to him in exchange for his favors was true. The old spirit of Communism, his spirit, was growing in Greece again. But it needed someone would feed it, fuel needed to fan the embers that were already blowing fresh air to ignite the fire that would destroy the Capitalism that had infested the world. And from the ashes that would raze everything, he would rise again like a phoenix to guide his children on the right path of Communism. And then he would be powerful, he’d be… young.

“We must get rid of the old ones. The leaders are lodge up in their seats as if they were thrones instead of responsibilities”, said one of the voices.

“They only think about the comfort of their seats. They like to talk about ideology, but speaking won’t take us anywhere. We need to take the reins of the party and push the accelerator, or we’ll be stuck in the mud in which the older have left us”, confirmed a second voice.

Saturn’s smile was so wide at his mouth that his gnawed yellow teeth hovered behind his lips.

His steps quickened as the conversation echoed louder in his ears. His stick struck the ground looking for objects on the ground that would stumble into his walk. It collided with walls on both sides. The alley was narrow. And although his blind eyes could not see them, painted graffiti on the walls echoed in the waves returned by his cane. He touched the wall as he made his way into the alley. The tips of his fingers stroked the relief of the paintings.

Three hundred youths armed with sickles and hammers and dressed in the Greek flag waited prepared in a fictional pass of the Thermopylae to a horde of one million men in black, bankers, politicians and slaves who bore on their shoulders a huge throne. Above it a greedy Xerxes represented by Ronald McDonald was ready to devour the world in his path, pointing a belligerent finger in the direction of the war, encouraging his armies to kill everything that stood before them.

“But how can we do it?” asked the first voice.

And in the mind of Saturn sounded like the sign of his arrival on the scene.

His aged hand appeared out of nowhere, from the darkness of the alley, and landed like the claw of a hawk on its prey on the shoulder of a young Greek.

“I can help with that”, said Saturn.

His appearance frightened the two youngsters.

Their first instinct was to run, but Saturn’s paw retained Adelpho’s shoulder. And Eneas would not leave his brother.

“What do you want old man?” Adelphos asked, shaking his shoulder without success.

“Same as you, apparently”, Saturn replied squeezing a little more.

Adelphos frowned. That hand grabbed him so hard that those fingers seemed to melt into the flesh. How could a blind old man be so strong?

“What do you mean?” Adelphos asked again.

“First, it’d better go somewhere where the cold does not do much damage to my aging legs”, Saturn replied releasing his prey. But he quickly grabbed the young man’s arm up to the elbow using it as a stick.

Eneas stared at the hand of Saturn. His wrist was naked and a faded tattoo was exposed. A simple nod was enough for Adelphos to lower his gaze and he could saw a blurry crossed sickle and hammer.

They didn’t know yet if they were in trouble or not. But the part of the cold seemed to have nested successfully in their minds, and suddenly the idea of a warm place grew on their heads like a great idea.

Without knowing exactly how, the two brothers followed in the footsteps of Saturn in silence. The minimum pressure of his hand on the boy’s arm guided them like the reins of a carriage.

The city was ancient, but the roads that they were crossing looked even older than the city itself. Turns in corners, alleys they had never walked, old buildings that they had never seen before passed before their eyes. Even the moonlight seemed to age at every alley, which was funny because it seemed to suffer the opposite effect to age. The Athens they were traveling was old, and the older it became the more rejuvenated it seemed. The more distant in time they walked, the brighter light was. Older but new at the same time. Their minds could not explain, but something inside seemed to say it all made sense.

They were walking, but at the same time they were not moving in space. They were walking a different path of mortals without realizing it. And that strange old man seemed to guide them exactly where they should go.

“Here”, announced Saturn stopping his walk.

Adelphos and Eneas looked up and read the sign: “The Travelling Players”. That’s what their eyes said. But when their mind read the words they changed and said: “True Lies”.

Light escaped through a dim crystal. It meant the promise of a tavern full of smoke, soft lighting, warm beer and environment for stories need to be heard only by select ears. No image, no shadow. Just a front. But at that moment, the door opened. And from the interior a woman came out. A woman as the two young men had never seen and they would never see in their lives again.

Her body was only covered by a perfectly white tight cloth to her impressive figure. It hung from her left shoulder, down her waist, wrapping it like a snake and down long legs to her ankles where leather straps fit sandals to her feet. Under her right arm, she held a metal helmet with softness and elegance, while on her left shoulder rested an owl whose curious eyes penetrated with its gaze to the three newcomers.

“Hello Saturn”, Athena greeted bowing her head at the same time as her owl, and offering first knowledge to Adelphos and Eneas of the name of strange old man who had captured them mysteriously.

Saturn bowed his head in greeting. And so the two young men did as they looked askance how that wonderful figure disappeared in a night fog that they had not noticed it was there before.

When the hypnotic presence of Athena disappeared from their minds, their bodies recovered freedom of movement. And a slight pull of Saturn’s took them in.

He guided them around the natives of the place, because their minds were lost in the tumult of strangers, of legendary characters, ideas, dreams and mysteries that were drinking and laughing in that strange place.

When their consciousness came late to where Saturn had led them, their eyes recognized known images. They did not understand what they have seen, so they easily forgot it and their brains began to recognize more familiar objects. The wooden table in front of them, the little plush seats, the smell of beer and cigar smoke around them everywhere, stains on the floor and peanut shells … they were in a tavern. What else did they need to know?

“So you want to recover the old spirit of the party”, Saturn’s voice sounded in their heads breaking the spell that kept them enthralled. And then all distractions seemed to succumb to the figure of Saturn.

“Yes”, Adelphos answered.

“The old leaders no longer believe in the ideas they preach”, seconded Eneas.

Saturn nodded. And his hollow eyes full of curiosity seemed to open dams of desire and new ideas that sounded like old ideologies that the two brothers have been accumulating in their hearts.

Time passed, maybe slowly, maybe fast. It was hard to know when the passion flowed from their hearts to their mouths. The words came from their lips evoking true communal spirit. Their ideas, which seemed utopian in the real world, became essence and reality through their words in that place.

And Saturn listened to them cheerful as his happiness to hear that communist spirit, so young, so pure, so real, encouraged the brothers to continue talking, to continue dreaming and creating better worlds for all their countrymen and even the whole humanity. Because a communist world was a better world. And they knew how make it real.

The old man before them had not said anything, but understood them, listened to them and gave them hope just smiling at them.

Saturn was proud of Adelphos and Eneas. Everything he had heard from their mouths was exactly what he expected to hear. They understood perfectly what it meant to be a communist. They had abandoned the surface of philosophy books, political science and stereotypes that Capitalism and modern society had wanted to sully the sincerity and altruistic essence he represented.

Adelphos and Eneas were worthy sons of him.

The speech stopped when the two brothers ended their arguments and their dreams scattered on the table in the form of words.

At that time they realized of a new presence.

A man stood beside the table.

It was not a waiter. That was for sure. However, looking at him the believed they could recognize him, they did not really know what name to identify, and when they thought they’ve found a face to assign a specific person, a blink after, his face seemed to change and look like someone who thought they knew without knowing really who or why.

“Hello Loke”, greeted Saturn.

“Hello Saturn”, greeted back the owner of the tavern. “I told you the information was good”.

“You were right”, said Saturn without the two brothers would understand anything of the conversation.

The newcomer pulled a knife from inside his jacket. A perfectly sharp butcher knife that no logic could explain from what hat he had really pulled it out. But right then, Logic was busy enjoying a beer in another part at the bar.

Loke put the knife in front of Saturn with the handle perfectly aligned with the marks of wood.

The two brothers did not quite understand anything of what was happening at the time. But it didn’t matter. They hardly had understood anything of what had happened since they had met Saturn, just like the prey doesn’t know that it’s in danger until it is too late.

“Bon appetit”, Loke said as he returned to his duties. But the two young brothers couldn’t see any food to explain the invitation to eat.

Loke walked calmly, leaving behind him a trail of blood that stained the ground of red and the cries of two young men plunged into the normality of a place where nothing was normal.

Saturn fed on his children again, as he had since his myth was born in the minds of men.

The cycle was closed.

A debt had been repaid.



Cover A Matter of Faith


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