Sunday, 19 July 2009

Sacred nights, where we'll watch the fireworks (day twenty five and twenty six)

A 14-year-old boy had dreams. I will start a religion, he thought. These Christian denominations are all wrong. All I must do is make up a convincing story. A few weeks ago I was visited by the angel Moroni. He repeatedly told me some scriptures, slightly differently from how they appear in the Bible. There was also a gold book containing some new revelations, which I was forbidden from showing anyone else. The angel took them back eventually. This is what I shall tell everyone. People will join me and my church shall be a success with me as the leader, the Living Prophet. I will denounce all other religions as an abomination in God's eyes. And there shall be no more cakes and ale.

Tour guides hover in ankle length skirts, offering trips round the Tabernacle. A lovely word, a boring building. Oval roof studded with lights for the high quality services with curve backed seating to keep the congregation sleep deprived. The organ is glistening and waiting to howl out some hymns. A religious building without any religion. The reverence does not spurt through my atheistic veins. My heart trembleth not. I feareth not our Father Almighty. The visitor centre is yet more soulless, a convention centre with cheap religious oil paintings lining the magnolia plasterboard walls. Wax figures bring the Bible stories into three dimensions, inanimate, prone, lifeless. Tourists act deference and pose for photos with a marble Jesus, a space mural behind. We feign, play and mock. For a spiritual building, there ain't much spirit.

In the sports store, turn a corner, and you are confronted by racks of rifles. Boxes of bullets sit in dull black and muted yellow cardboard boxes. Shooting is a sport. So this is a sports store. Do you need a gun safe with your purchase? This one is waterproof. Home delivery is available, sir.

This family is happy. The parents are different but united- ex-military and student nurse, they disagree but they agree. They are mother and father and they are family together. That eternal family that the Mormon preacher droned about at the visitor centre. Maybe he had some kind of point. They are fulfilled by each other. Friends pop round to eat and enjoy. Sister Emily and husband Cam come over, spirited and relaxed. One day this will all be mine.

Haki sack and pigskin are thrown under night Salt Lake skies, on a floodlit lawn. Children and puppies run round, stomach stuffed with barbecue and salad. Presents are conferred with true American gusto, hospitality. We could have stayed there forever, throwing the ball, conversing about all of the world's nothings. One day this will all be mine.

Slamball is basketball boosted up, after eating a bag of sugar, with sherbet sprinkles and a litre of Tizer. Slamdunks are boring. They only just jump high enough. How about they have trampolines? No wonder they show this on the Cartoon Network. It's like Michael Johnson's dreams before he got boring, like everyone who is the best is boring, is predictable is too good, with fake humility and sportsmanship is Woods is Phelps is Federer is Armstrong. Bring the humour back. But slamball lacks. Not enough skill, too hard to defend the end to end to end basket basket basket.

The policeman joshes with the boy, instilling good relations at a young age. I foresee shoplifting and assault. Tasers are not a toy, but only the bad guys get it. There's probably a pistol in the patrol vehicle. We are good. Criminals are bad and must be punished. Dichotomy. The eternal struggle. This giggling cop seems to know which side he's on.

Idaho Falls is another stop en route to another stop... (repeat to fade). There is no centre, just a huge warehouse enormous tinbox Walmart with all that you need at a low low price, some chain restaurants in smaller boxes, and some chain motels with many tiny boxes in slightly larger box, repeating mirrored images with drab wipe clean patterns. Musical instrument shops are dotted down the low slung high street which stutters out into green leafed bungalowed suburbs before it gets halfway to the horizon. The town gets nowhere close to the horizon, it lacks the commitment, the verve, the application, or the desire. Shadows reach further when the sun sets. The sun sets.

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