TC02

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In 1937 Kim, Sofie, and Dory were twelve, that wonderful last year of their tweens when their bodies were gathering power for the big changes soon to come. They talked about boys in abstract terms that had little to do with the little barbarians that were actual boys. In slumber parties the girls practiced necking with each other so long as it was understood that one of the neckers had to be a boy in theory. Sofie Krause "at great personal sacrifice" played the role of beau nine times out of ten, especially when Dory Twofeathers was up. At the Green Dome private school the tight group of girlfriends passed flowery love letters to each other. Girl-love at age twelve is of such a high order that it knows no jealousy. Share and share alike, everything from lunch to little masterpieces of amorous soliloquy.

Dory Twofeathers: Black eyes, long jet black hair tied in the obligatory Church pony tail but with the cutest bangs ever. The first of the three to start growing knockers, Dory loves The Hobbit and aims for straight Bs to please her parents while not appearing too bookish. Dory hears voices. At first, when she was younger, it was a fun game, but over time Dory came to dislike being a human telephone switchboard and insisted they keep it limited to important calls. She enforced this by threatening to keep the voices up at night with her own.

Sofie Krause: A tomboy who keeps her ash-blond hair cropped short, with no Church-mandated pony tail. She's the only girl on the football team. But just like Kim and Dory, Sofie is required to wear woolen skirts to class rather than trousers, which annoys her to no end. Halloween morning Dory came dressed as a pirate's wench. She had ripped her dress into long strips so her pinup-model legs could poke out when she walked. Sofie felt a sweet shock and knew she had graduated from tomboy to full-service tribade. Knowing this gave her peace.

Kim, unlike Sofie, wasn't ready to let down her father. So she gritted her teeth, wore the damned pony-tail, and when she ventured outside of Headwater she tried to ignore the comments at the edge of her hearing like, "Oh hey, there goes another Bunner, look at her hair."

In 1938 for science class the teacher paired everyone off as lab partners. Kim ended up with Sofie, and Dory ended up with her cousin Jerry Shybear. Everyone assumed those two would gravitate together and do the usual Church of Green Dome thing, but that was never to be.

Sofie kicked Jerry out of hez seat with "no offense pally" and sent hem shambling towards Kim, a small adjustment in the teacher's choice. Che could tell Sofie and Dory were a unit so che grew close to Kim, even hold- ing her hand skating at Lake 13 when it was frozen over.

By the springtime Sofie and Dory were asking if Kim and Jerry had pitched woo and what it was like. "We did indeed pitch woo," Kim said. "He feels like a rubber wet suit stretched out over a suit of armor. Soft on the surface but with a hard core underneath. I like it."

In the summer of '39 the same Lake 13 was for skinny-dipping and there was no more keeping one of the oldest Red Wing family secrets. Dory already knew, but now Kim and Sofie knew as well that Jerry Shybear was both a boy and a girl at the same time. And che wasn't unique.

The four of them stood there naked in a square, ten yards out into Lake 13, up to their thighs in cool water, no body modesty at all because they were good friends and nobody else was there. The boy part of Jerry was doing what fourteen year old boy parts do around girls.

Kim asked about the one ball, so Jerry lifted it and showed hez labia majora behind it. "The other one's inside, Kim, it's a real ovary. I could get pregnant." And Kim glanced at hez small breasts and nipples, which didn't look like they were just for decoration either.

"Jerry is what we call a jen," Dory said. "Now my gramma Jaroah on my fa- ther's side is an ambi, the genitals are the other way around. If you told hem to fuck hemself gramma Jaroah could literally do it." And Jerry cracked up, but poor Kim and Sofie were still stunned.

When Jerry saw their unbelief che said, "Genesis six four. There were giants in the earth in those days and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown."

Kim processed this, then said, incredulously, "You're saying you're actually one of the nephilim?"

Dory came to the defense of her cousin. "Che's saying che's got a copy of Leliel's Z sex chromosome. What about you, Kim, are you saying you don't believe the Holy Buron?"

"Of course I believe all that stuff in the Buron and in the Bible," Kim answered. "God, angels, miracles, the empty tomb, everyone believes it happened then. But nobody believes it happens now."

"She's right," Sofie said. "Nobody admits it, but she's absolutely right."

"If you were just talking about the Bible you'd have a point," Jerry said. "Half the Buron is corrections to the stories in the Bible. But the claims in the Buron itself? Everything in the book really happened. All of it is true. It's like no other holy text ever written."

Kim and Sophie accepted this rebuke and nodded their heads silently, unprepared to call their best friends liars. Besides, there was the evidence of Jerry.

"What about you?" Sophie asked, looking at Dory. "You're Jerry's cousin. How come you didn't end up with a dangler?"

"I didn't breed true," Dory said, feigning rue and starting to wade to the lakeshore. "I'm not nephilim, I'm still just a daughter of men. Later I'll draw it out for you. And after that we'll talk about the proper pronouns for ambe and jan, yen and yeng, men and women."

Jerry, Kim, Sofie and Dory are all firmly middle-class, evidenced by their attendance at the Church's private school. Their parents are sufficiently well-off to provide instruments when they take band class, except Kim's only instrument in the beginning is her own voice.

As the 1940s began Kim Zinter was a member of the Green Dome Temple Girl's Choir. She was an expressive mezzo-soprano with a voice that belied her fifteen years and verged on being too breathy and sensuous for spiritual music. Listeners compared her favorably to Peggy Lee.

Dory Twofeathers plays a double-bass standing on an end-pin she had short- ened to be more comfortable. Sometimes she sets down her French bow and plucks the strings pizzicato with meandering bass lines, a soundtrack to daydreams she is a black cat slinking around at night.

Sofie Krause pounds the skins with all the power that makes her a formidable offensive guard, yet she runs effortlessly in and around Dory's ma- chine-like bass, averting expectations, and punctuates her licks with six- teenth-note drum fills as endlessly unique as snowflakes.

Jerry Shybear has no innate musical talent but che figures that is the reason che is taking band class, after all. After a semester learning scales on a recorder Jerry takes up the saxophone, Kim starts dabbling on piano and the kids have a basic jazz combo on their hands.

Many who knew the details said that Robyn replacing Kim Zinter on keys and vocals in 1943 didn't really count as a change in the band's line-up. Later some even said that when Rebekah Redstar replaced Jerry Shybear in the summer of 1947 that wasn't really a change as well.

Sophie Krause and Dory Twofeathers formed the constant pulsing heart of the act and performed until the early 21st Century. After Sophie changed her name to just Hunky in 1943 the band would, in fact, be named Hunky-Dory after the rhythm section, much like Fleetwood Mac. Beginning in 1945, for every year ending in a 0 or a 5, which they called a Lustrum, the members of Hunky-Dory would drop whatever they were doing, get together, jam in the winter, record in the spring, and tour in the summer. It was a ritual they never allowed to lapse.

As the 20th Century rolled on Hunky-Dory dabbled with and even gave birth to an astonishing array of musical styles, but not even the Mick Jagger / Keith Richards / Ronnie Wood / Charlie Watts lineup of The Rolling Stones would come close them in terms of sheer longevity. Early on the four most powerful b'nei elohim came to be called simply the Band. The less powerful b'nei elohim styled themselves Roadies. And the ones who fell under the sway of Rebekah, or the loyal opposition as Robyn charitably called them, were known as the Groupies.

In April 1942 word arrived of the Doolittle Raid after five months of unrelenting bad news following Pearl Harbor. In celebration, the conductor of the Green Dome Temple School band class led a recital of patriotic John Philip Sousa marches, attended by half of Headwater. For an encore the class tore into a cover of the classic Duke Ellington standard "It Don't Mean A Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)" with Kim soloing on vocals, Rebekah Redstar on trombone, and Jerry Shybear on sax. It was the first real triumph of the future Hunky-Dory

For Kim the only downside in all this was how her father didn't make the recital despite his solemn promise to do so. She could see her mother sitting out there in the gym and how she kept a seat saved for him, but even to the end of the encore the seat was never filled. Erik Zinter didn't come home all that night and even the next morning. In the middle of the school day Kim was pulled out of class by Deacon Paul Bergin and driven home. Paul said nothing but Kim began to cry. He found his way to 1301 "V" Street but Kim didn't get out.

"Home sweet home," Paul said. Kimberly stared at him through blurry eyes, wondering if he was being callous. Then she did get out of his car and proceeded to walk a block to 1301 "U" Street. Sloppy temple records. And that was how Bergin found out where she really lived.

Paul choose not to follow. At home Clara paced silently. Kim started crying again in sympathy, pleading for her Mom to speak. After a time Clara looked directly at her daughter, building up the willpower to blurt it out to her, and finally she did: "Your father is dead!"

They both cried until there was nothing more to give, and even when Kim's eyes were bone dry she was still wracked with sobs that trailed off at length to silent grief. Finally Kim started repeatedly asking her mother why and when she was ready to speak Clara had answers.

According to Prophet Peter Two Feathers, Erik Zinter was killed by an an- cient relic called the Golden Gift, something Kimberly and even Clara assumed was merely an allegorical literary device to move the plot of the Buron along, perhaps like the whale in the book of Jonah. In the scriptures of the Church of Green Dome heaven was a real place with walled cities like Salem ruled by angelic kings like Gordiel. One time Michael sent Prince Melchizedek, the son of Melchiyahu and grandson of Gordiel, down to Earth to set aside a people who would receive the oracles of God.

Prince Melchizekek emerged from the waters of Lake Tana in Ethiopia with hyz servants Zophiel and Kemuel. They dragged a raft covered with supplies, tightly bundled to keep them all dry. After a time on the shore organizing their goods they began paddling across the lake. When they reached the outflow of the lake, the Blue Nile, they encountered nearly unrunnable rapids. At one point they had to portage around a great cataract. But below the falls and the rapids Melchiyahu and his servants were content to sit in their raft paddling gently.

The travelers passed water-loving beasts and human onlookers who dared not approach. After a time they reached the place where the Blue and White Nile merged. Day and night they drifted past the bountiful riparian farms of one the earliest cradles of human civilization. When the wayfarers reached the lower Nile delta they tied up and haggled with a man to trade their raft for animals and more supplies. Melchizedek and hyz servants loaded camels with food, water and everything they needed to make a long overland journey to the northeast. Michael had commanded them to sojourn toward the land of Chaldea in the marshy lands where the Euphrates and Tigris rivers joined together before flowing a short distance to the sea. Melchizedek chose a route that went through the fields and cities of the Fertile Crescent.

Near the mid-point of hyz voyage Melchizedek paused at Harran where the Ninevah road forked. At the crossroads hy found a shop owned by an elderly man named Terah, according to the sign over the door. Terah created and sold carved stone idols for dozens of different gods. One of the stone idols in the store had fallen on its face. Terah's son Abram helped his aged father stand it back up. When Terah inspected the idol and found it to be damaged he groaned in annoyance and began trying to repair it with a hammer and chisel. Abram chuckled.

Abram said, "What is this useless thing you are doing? Are you not being a god to this god by healing it? Perhaps next time I should leave it bowing down to you."

Terah eyed his son with suspicion. "Was it you who knocked it over?"

"Ask your gods, if they can speak."

Melchizedek grew interested in this exchange and entered the shop. When hy was seen, the angry words of father and son dwindled to silence, for the prince was a head taller than either men, and hyz raiment was a dazzling unsoiled white with a subtle pastel rainbow sheen. Melchizedek made a slow tour of Terah's idols, inspecting everything, as both Terah and Abram gazed at the newcomer with similar interest. After touring the inventory Melchizedek signaled for hyz assistants to begin unpacking their gold on the street in front of the shop.

Like fish to a baited hook, five robbers soon approached with swords drawn and faces veiled. Melchizedek reached in hyz cloak and withdrew a small gold ingot, squeezing it firmly. A hissing black shaft emerged from it about the length and thickness of the shaft of a spear. The black shaft drank all light and even the very air it was cutting through. One of the thieves was sliced into two equal pieces, bilaterally, from head to toe. Another thief was decapitated as Melchizedek did not so much as even shift hyz feet and the other robbers fled.

The black shaft withdrew into what resembled the golden hilt of a blade and Melchizedek secreted the relic about hyz person once more. Then Zophiel placed himself to the right of his prince and Kemuel to his left, as Abram and Terah sank to their knees before the newcomers.

The angel Zophiel solemnly said, "Abram, son of Terah, get thee hence from your father's household and from your kinfolk in Harran and journey west."

Kemuel said, "There in the land of Canaan nigh to the great sea the living and true God will make of you a great nation."

Prince Melchizedek said, "Your name shall wax mighty among men, and all the generations of the Earth shall find blessing in you. These are the prophet- ic words of the Holy One who sent me. What say you to this, Abram of Harran?

Abram rose to his feet and said, simply, "No."

When hy found hyz voice Prince Melchizedek barked, "What do you mean no?" Hy was completely thrown off his game. No? That was not how these things were supposed to go.

Abram rose to his feet and took his father gently by the elbow. "My father Terah has waxed very old. He no longer earns enough gold in this shop to buy his own food. I do not often agree with my father, but as I love my own life, I can never turn aside from him for all the days he lives in this world."

Then Abram stepped outside to fulfill the true purpose of his visit. Abram gave Terah two living lambs from his own flock, one to kill and eat and the other to sell for a little money to buy other things to suffice until Abram came again from the field to visit his father. Melchizedek understood. Hy ordered hyz servants to restow the gold.

The angelic visitors quietly left the shop, careful not to tread on the fortress of human dignity that Abram asserted with his refusal. They quickly departed Harran for Ninevah and thence by stages to the largest city in the world, Ur, but they never meet Abram's like.

Peter Twofeathers revealed that for ten years he had lent Erik Zinter the Golden Gift, the very relic wielded by Melchizedek in the story, to honeycomb Green Dome with tunnels to access isolated pockets of coal. This had allowed Headwater to prosper through the Depression. But overnight there was a cave-in that smashed Erik's helmet lantern and plunged him into total darkness. He couldn't dig his way out, even with the Golden Gift, because he got turned around and bored deeper into the mountain rather than back out towards the way he came. As Erik created a greater volume of space to walk through the remaining oxygen was stretched too thin and there were also suction losses through the Golden Gift itself. It wasn't until dawn that men with picks and spades broke through the cave-in and reached Erik's body.

Peter assured Clara that her husband died without any pain. He simply fell asleep and never woke up again. Also he praised the memory of Erik for never violating a sacred trust that some in the Church were saying was more than even the Prophet had the authority to grant. But Clara admitted she had a hard time taking all of this in. Peter was asking her to accept at face value that the Golden Gift was real, and that the stories in the Buron were literally true. Shared beliefs were for binding a faith community, not to actually...believe.

"When you attend the Final Rite you will instantly see the wisdom of it," said Peter Twofeathers. "But be strong, beloved Clara. In the days to come there will be those who will tell you that God punished your husband with death for misusing his holy gift to the Church."

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