Civil War by Paula Puolakka

Golden God

Beyond the ruptured sidewalk, and the light pole with layers of flyers, and the strip of dry grass there stood a twelve-foot high concrete wall. There was an altar at the foot of it, with dead marigolds, sticks of incense, and pictures of children. One graffiti filled the wall, a golden number eight on a red background.

Golden God placed a red rose on the shrine. He hung his head and mouthed out a prayer. He was wearing a black leather jacket with red wings on the back and tight black jeans. He wasn’t wearing shoes or socks. He wanted to feel the streets with his bare feet. That’s why his second name was the Great Snake. The same way as a snake took in the vibes of the earth with its belly he felt the vibes with his soles.

The mothers of the dead grabbed his arms and plead for help. He opened his coat slightly and took out the pouches of magic dust which he handed to them. They were the seagulls and Golden God was the sacred loaf of bread. It wasn’t the role he had chosen but he bore it well.

His homies patted him on the back and offered a line of white under his nose which he snorted right there in the open. That would have gotten him into trouble, still a year ago, but things had changed. After the revolution, after a mob of army fanatics had helped the King to escape from his safe place in Colorado, the whole nation had spiraled into the same state it had been in the 19th century. The police forces were non-existent. All the armed resources had been pulled to Washington D.C. from the nearest states. It was true that the King was already 80 but the three decades of secluded living had made him even more dangerous. Together with his loyal cubs, he had bombarded most of the Eastern state capitals into dust. The first things he had gotten rid off were the base stations and cell towers. So far that had left a third of the country crippled. 

Golden God understood the King. It was the love and the fear of God since, though, he was the sacred one of his state, he hailed his master Kali and that meant the King. There wasn’t anyone else who had gained what he had gained before his capture and after his escape. He was a force of Nature. He was the reincarnation of Krishna in the time of Kali-yuga, the age of fire and steel. The Great Snake knew that he was a mere adder before his feet. He was the first ghetto lord who had acknowledged Kali’s authority after his escape and soon after the first three states had fallen into chaos. For a token of appreciation, the King had sent him a support group of cubs to take care of Ohio. All he wanted was that Golden God paid him taxes and publicly announced his loyalty to him.

Colson’s current status was a miracle. A year ago, he had pondered that maybe this was all: he had gained such a success with his musical career that he had been called a living legend next to Elvis. There had been only a way down, in his mind, and then the prison break had happened. The course of action during the next four months had been something from a movie. For almost a decade, Golden God had been the one who people had turned to in the time of distress. At the beginning of his career, he had cried and felt distressed by the love, admiration, and trust people had shown him. He was a nobody. He was a loser. That’s how he had felt and suddenly, he had become somebody and the rock of those who had been forgotten by the rich and famous of the society. 

When Hell had broken loose, people had automatically turned to Colson. What should we do when the internet is down? What should we do when the electricity has been cut off? Where can we get food and water? Where do we get medication? Basically, he had snapped his fingers and his gang had gone out and freed all the merchandises of Cleveland and eventually of the whole Ohio as the group’s tentacles were long and strong. Suddenly, even the gangs that had not been under his power had fallen into his arms.

His weakness had become his strength and his strength had become his weakness. That’s how he felt. All the let downs of his childhood had taught him to be humble and to help those in distress. Give others something you were never given, was his mantra. His daughter had taught him how to love. When he had first seen her face, he had felt something coming together inside of him. But after his big success, he had felt weak when he had thought about the danger she was in because of him. Daily, the empty eyes of the mothers of the dead had flashed in front of him and he had not found any other way out than to get high.

Golden God’s gang dropped him off at his house. Before he opened the door, he took a deep breath. "Life follows the path of the eternal number." He heard the King’s voice and then saw him sitting on the sofa and the little girl sitting on the mat. "Death sends us to the world beyond and birth brings us here, in the material world." Yes, thought Golden God. The fact that the King had approached him for a temporally hideaway after a major setback in D.C. was Colson’s true test in life. In front of him and for the sake of his daughter, he had to act like the man he was in his songs. Colson sat next to his daughter and together they listened to the King’s speech.