Please enjoy this short excerpt from the soon to be completed novel "Children of Orleans" written by my very talented and creative friend, Mike Zapata of ANTIBOOKCLUB. Mike is the hairy one in the picture above.
“The Pope is diseased,” said the old, mad pirate to boy on one of their walks. “Pope John XXIII, who was Pope from 1410-1415, and who was also a pirate, was particularly diseased. He had a disease where he thought he was Pope. All Popes, as it turns out, have the same disease. Poets are also diseased. Most of them have syphilis, which is a sex disease that drives men to dementia. During the Sino-Japanese War, I met a famous Japanese poet who had syphilis. It was said that he hadn’t
left his house in twenty years, which begs the question, how had he gotten syphilis in the first place? Not leaving your home for years and years is a different type of disease I think. This proves that poets generally suffer from multiple diseases. How did I meet him? I was responsible for smuggling a case of his poetry books to China. The Chinese loved his poetry because it sympathized with them, or, that’s what they thought. Anyway. The last I heard he probably died in the earthquake of 1923, a horrible earthquake that killed thousands, but it didn’t mean to. The earth, like the sea, has no intention. You’re diseased if you think it does. Remember that! Then there’s a disease where you can’t feel pain. There’s no name for it as far as I know, but it is a disease. I met an Indian boy once in Bombay who suffered from it. He stood in the center of beggar circles and cut himself to pieces with a small, sacrificial Ram Dao sword. All the while smiling like a god, or like someone who had just seen a god. He wasn’t a god though. He died jumping off a roof for an English journalist when he was just sixteen. Turns out he was mortal, which is another disease. If you think about it, everything is a disease. Being sixteen is a disease. Money is a disease. So are cities. Then there are diseases which are like chain reactions. Those diseases are the worst because they inflict dozens of men, sometimes hundreds, sometimes millions. All white men used to have a disease like this. It was called Manifest Destiny. Then there’s a disease that is similar to Manifest Destiny. It’s called amuk. The people who have this disease suffer a murderous rage, but then after they suffer from amnesia. It’s horrible! There was a village, I remember, off the coast of Borneo, or maybe in the Philippines. Or maybe it was the Island of Java. Anyway. One day all the men in this village went mad and tore down their homes and started killing each other. By the next morning, the town had been destroyed and hundreds of men had been murdered, but none of the survivors remembered anything. They were horrified, as if in the night a great beast had come and laid waste to everything in sight. Can you believe it? I wouldn’t have, until I met the men who had done it. Such sadness in their eyes. Sadness. That’s another disease. One of the worst. But it’s not the worst! The worst is a disease called Koro, which is a disease where men believe their genitals are retracting into their bodies. Like turtle heads. This is the worst disease of all because the future of mankind resides in its ability to use its genitals. Imagine that! The future! When one day, if you think about it, all diseases will be cured or a great unknown disease will overrun mankind and condemn us all to shit.”