A Story From Sodom
There is a story told of two young men, both hustlers by trade, who were caught up the Great Destruction of Sodom. The two had finished their work for the night, confused by how quiet it was in the market square, not knowing that all the other Sodomites were currently at the door of Lot's house, demanding that the angels be brought out. Contrary to the official version, in this story, word had spread from a servant in Lot's household, that the angels were there to raze the city. Contrary to the official version, in this story, the men of Sodom had besieged Lot's house not from a desire to fuck the angels, but from a desire to fuck them up. They were not going to go quietly because a) God had a wacky notion that "virtue" consisted of offering one's daughters to an angry mob, b) Lot was the only man in town who fit the bill in terms of those morés, everyone else considering this profoundly unethical, and c) Abraham hadn't managed to haggle God down from "Ten good men and I spare the city" to "Oh, OK, one will do."
So, anyway, it just so happened that our two young hustlers passed by Lot's house on the way back to the rented apartment (and bed) they shared just off the Castro. And it just so happened that they passed by exactly at the point when the angels came out with their swords of fire set to chargrill.
Now, one of our heroes -- we'll call him Joey -- was a youth of great restraint. Most of his restraint came from the use (some said abuse) of an early form of Prozac that worked as a sort of affective inhibitor, not eliminating all emotion, but rendering it highly controllable with habitual use. This drug was called Rezon. Our other hero -- we'll call him Jack -- was an impetuous sort, pretty much driven by his emotions. Much of the time he appeared to be a reckless risk-taker but truth be told most of his risks consisted of jumping from roof-top to roof-top in an early form of parkour which he was actually highly skilled at. The point is that these two heroes had quite different responses when they turned the corner to see two angels chargrilling the majority of their friends, families and regular customers.
Well, I say they had different responses. Actually at a deeper level they had identical responses, the flight-or-fight response kicking in for both of them. Their hearts pounded, their fists clenched, adrenalin coarsed through their bodies, and so on. Both of them were aware of this through the set of sensations we refer to as kinaesthesia . Both of them were also aware of the affective responses that went hand-in-hand with that fight-or-flight response -- the emotions of fury and fear. They saw those angels chargrilling their friends, families and regular customers and felt a powerful urge to throw themselves at the angels in howling rage, for the sake of pride and honour, for the love of all that they held dear. They were pretty fucking angry. But at the same time they saw the heavenly glory of those eight-winged cherubim and were kind of inclined to shit their pants in the face of their terrible wrath and chargrill burny swords. What were they to do? Throw themselves into the battle they might lose or run like fuck and save their skins. I should specify, by the way that Joey and Jack were pretty kick-ass fighters who'd slain quite a few lions and tigers and bears and dragon and chimaera and scorpion-men and quite a lot of freaky shit in their day, kinda like those two brothers in Supernatural only gay. And not brothers. Anyway, they'd thought about going into the mythological hero business (they just didn't have the money for the subway to Greece,) so they weren't entirely sure they couldn't take the motherfuckers. But they hadn't dealt with angels before and these motherfuckers were pretty chargrilltastic, so it was kind of a close call.
The point is, this is where the difference came in.
Joey, he'd just popped a pill, so he was totally in control of both his fury and his fear. He'd been dropping Rezon for so long in fact that he could just stand there and use his critical faculties to weigh up the odds. How tall was the angel? How much armour was he wearing? How far away was he? How many chargrilled friends, family members and regular customers would he have to get past in order to get to the motherfucker before he got chargilled himself? How fast could he run? How likely was it that the angel would spot him? Which way was the angel moving? Where was he looking now? In the cold calculus of survival, Joey stood there working out the SWOT analysis in his head, assigning numerical values to various factors, working out a set of equations modelling crowd dynamics, reach of sword-of-fire chargrill flame blasts, all sorts of data relevant to an accurate assessment of whether he should throw himself into battle or run like fuck. Just at the point where he came to his decision, needless to say, the angel spotted him and verily turned his sword of fire upon the poor lad, chargrilling him where he stood.
Jack meanwhile had long since dived for cover on the first sight of the angels, into the nearest barrel, which turned out to be Diogenes the Cynic's vacation home (though he wasn't on vacation at the moment, so it was OK.) It didn't take Jack long to weigh up the odds at all. He didn't really think about, just took a quick peek out of the barrel and thought, fuck this shit! He didn't reckon he could take either of the angels even if Joey got his arse in gear and went for the other one -- which he judged basically by the strength of his urge to shit his pants relative to the strength of his urge to rip the motherfuckers heads off. So he was just about to shout, Let's get the fuck out of here! at Joey when the angel turned his chargrilling sword-of-fire on Joey. Jack didn't even think, just dived out of the barrel and slammed Joey out of his path.
What? I said Joey got burned? I lied. It's a story. Stories are made of lies.
Anyway, Jack didn't stop there. He hit the ground in a roll and came out of it on his feet and running, leaping over the crowd with all the parkour skills he could muster. He was on the first angel before the motherfucker even knew what had hit him, snapping the bastard's neck as fast as you can say Jack Flash, stripping the sword of fire from the bastard's grip and turning it on the other, chargrilling him like an Furby in the path of a flamethrower. Those eight wings went up a treat.
And that's the story of how Jack saved Sodom from the Great Destruction.
What? I told you it's a story. You think the one in the Bible is any truer?
The moral of this story -- apart from don't fuck with a Sodomite hustler's friends, family members and regular customers -- is that whenever anyone asked Jack about it, called him a hero, he'd just shrug and say that he didn't even think about it at the time. He didn't think about it when he dived into the barrel, just acted on the fear that kicked in just that little bit harder than the fury. He didn't think about it when he saved Joey's life, just saw the flame coming through the air, felt a dagger of fear in his heart at the thought of losing him, a fear that over-rode all sense of self-preservation. He didn't think about it when having slammed Joey to safety, all he felt was white-hot fury at these motherfucking bastard angels coming into his Sodom and trying to kill his mate Joey, this fury so hot that his cold terror of the angels just evaporated. And he went into action.
-- Fuck, man, he'd say. Who actually stops to think about shit like that?