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I was a psychic vigilante, back in my hometown.
I wonder who's keeping the Forces of Evil in line now?
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Temple of the Moon 12/1/2022 11:23pm
"So, you must really be into ancient Egyptian stuff, huh?"
People are always asking me that.
"No, not really," I told @Iris Yefremov
"But, the 'Temple of the Moon' and all that," she said. "The bird-headed one, the dog-headed one, and the cat-headed one. Were you like, worshipping or something? I mean, that's totally fine and not weird at all. Oh god am I being weird about your religion? Because I am totally not racist I swear..."
"No. I mean yes. Well, you are being weird." I didn't mean to embarrass her. "But you're the ones who were making an offering, right?"
Iris looked surprised. Doobermann had a hangdog expression.
I was a little out of practice doing my psychic vigilante thing, but I stood up straight and put my fists on my hips and tried to look credible.
"I am a friend to all the creatures of the night," I said. "But mostly the raccoons, the possums, and the skunks."
Iris and Doobermann nodded like they knew what I was talking about. But I don't think they did.
Temple of the Moon 12/12/2022 10:38pm
I have a kinship with the animals of the night. The suburban night. The raccoons, the possums, the skunks. Especially the skunks. And the bats. The owls. Fireflies if I'm lucky. The occasional mole. Rats.
Naturally, many of them are attracted by garbage cans. Unnaturally, they're attracted by the Temple of the Moon.
There's really nothing "natural" about the Temple of the Moon -- it's inhabited by the manifestation of human imagination, anthropomorphized human-animal hybrid intellects, springing from our earliest dreams and stories around campfires in caves. Powerful and real, but just as much a human made intrusion into the natural world as a strip mall.
If there's one thing we share in common with the gods of the temple it's the moon. All creatures have a sense of the moon. Even when you can't see it, knowing where it is helps you navigate the darkness. It's a beacon whether it's risen or it stays beneath the horizon. Understanding its position at all times helps you triangulate the unknown.
Which is why I sometimes parley with the gods of the Temple of the Moon.
Temple of the Moon 1/2/2023 6:07pm
“Quite a moon out tonight,” the bird-headed one said.
“Sure is,” I said.
We were hanging out in the little yard around the Temple of the Moon.
“Still getting bigger,” the dog-headed one said.
The dog-headed one spoke with a commanding bark. One of the raccoons stood up on its hind legs for a minute to check us out, then went back to foraging.
The cat-headed one didn’t say anything. It just stared at the moon.
Temple of the Moon 1/8/2023 10:07pm
The nocturnal animals and I enjoy a bit of night golf.
"Fore!" I holler in the moonlight. Don't want to hit a possum in the head.
I've got just one club. It's a seven iron, I found in the dumpster behind the tarot and palm reading place. Challenge, competition, protection, perseverance. Though reversed, it's exhaustion, giving up, and being overwhelmed. Which, obviously, you're bound to be if you use it reversed.
My night vision is, of course, pretty good. But the possums have surprisingly good night vision too. Plus, they tend to be more attentive than the skunks and the raccoons.
"Thanks Bessie!" I call back. "I see you! Heading there now."
The golf course is on the far end of the forest from school. The skunks have been trying to work a deal with the beavers to damn up the streams and flood the course and drive the humans out. But the beavers are skittish about making any big moves. Especially with the nutria already on the "shoot on sight" list.
I'm on the green now, and can make par if I make this putt. Which is a little bit of a trick with a seven iron.
The full moon has passed. It's getting smaller now, but still gibbous.
I think about the bird-headed one, the dog-headed one, and the cat-headed one. They generally don't leave the temple. But I wonder if they could be convinced to--
"Oh... so close!" says Bessie.
Temple of the Moon 1/16/2023 10:06pm
We discussed it over dinner. The dumpster behind the staff cafeteria is always well stocked, and it's close enough to a stream in the woods to accommodate the raccoons.
"Hey! It's Croque Monsieur night!" said Misty Skunk.
"No, that's Tuesdays," said Bessie.
"I dunno... seems like a sack of Croque Monsieur to me," Misty answered, pulling out a pair of neatly cut sandwich halves. Melted cheese glinted in the moonlight.
"The bird-headed one, the dog-headed one, and the cat-headed one would never agree to move against the golf course," said Richard Raccoon. "They aren't into the 'take back the land' thing at all. They're the gods of the Indoor Animals."
This was true, but wasn't there some common ground between us?
"Not at all," continued Richard. "The bird-headed one: total caged bird. Not a goose at all, amirite?"
The bird-headed one was very colorful, and did tend to preen.
"And the dog-headed one," he continued, "well, not a 'wild' dog, is he?"
It's true the dog-headed one was exceptionally well groomed.
"And the cat... still a killer, but she's no mountain lion, is she?"
It was easy to pick on the cat-headed one, because she was so standoffish.
"Ewwww, what's this?" Bessie asked, tossing a small drawstring garbage bag my way. It felt like it was filled with lumpy sand, and smelled---
"Oh god it's that cat poop," Misty said. "Disgusting. A complete abomination. Everything about it."
"At least it was sealed up good. Didn't get on everything," said Richard, taking a bite of his Croque Monsieur."
I picked up the sack of litter.
I figured I could at least bring them a gift.
Temple of the Moon 1/21/2023 10:03pm
"You have a cat?" asked the bird-headed one.
I was sprinkling the sack of kitty litter into the sand pit in the Temple of the Moon, and the bird-headed one, the dog-headed one, and the cat-headed one appeared on the altar stage.
"Oh, no, not me. I just happened to run into this, and knew it was your kind of thing," I said.
The bird-headed one, the dog-headed one, and the cat-headed one looked at each other.
"Allow me to let you in on a secret, kid," said the dog-headed one, "since we're all kinda in the same biz." The dog-headed one somehow said this with a stubby cigar hanging out the side of his mouth. "It ain't about the poop."
"It's about people," said the cat-headed one. It was unusual for her to say anything at all. "It's about access," she continued. She slinked off the side of the altar and walked along the perimeter of the pit of sand. "We need people on the inside. Avatars. Birds in people's homes. Dogs in people's homes. Cats in people's homes. So long as we have a presence, we're not forgotten."
"People serve them, and through that service serve us," added the bird-headed one.
"Well, you see," I said. "That's what I want to talk about."
Temple of the Moon 1/28/2023 11:40pm
And that's how the "Great Pact" was formed between the indoor animals and the outdoor animals. Well, between the indoor animals' gods and me, anyway.
The bird-headed one, the dog-headed one, and the cat-headed one saw that through human's service to animals, they would be served. But why not extend that power through the outdoor animals as well? At least to the animals right outside the door -- the raccoons, the possums, and the skunks, and their kin.
But how to do that? Raccoons provided little human companionship. Possums wouldn't jump for joy upon a human's return to the house. And skunks weren't going to be allowed to rub up against anyone's legs.
The animals of the indoor gods were persuaded to take another tack. To create respect for the animals of the suburban night in a different way. A way that would demand respect.
So they agreed to manipulate the humans in a new way. Through the subtle application of force. That is, to enact subtle perturbations of the moon, and through these subtle perturbations, move the moon in ways that would disrupt human activity. Specifically, their construction projects and other incursions on the waning forest land. On new subdivisions, on roads, and on the new golf course expansion.
Such subtle perturbations of the moon could have deep and wide ranging effects -- zoning delays, mechanical failures, accidents... Reductions in luck and increased probabilities of failures for certain ventures. Such things are possible by those in close connection with the moon -- those who keep track of it even when it can not be seen. And all because of a greater understanding of our shared values as animals -- wild, domestic, and those in between. All who share this planet and its moon together.
When I left the Temple of the Moon and returned to tell my animal friends of the Great Pact, I will admit they were not overly optimistic as to its significance.
"Subtle perturbations of the moon my ass," said Richard Raccoon.
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