Things have taken a decidedly cultish turn at the Yoni School for Wayward Poets ever since the arrival of Miss Blythe Lee Looming-Catastrophe.
I don’t think I’ve told you about Miss Blythe Lee Looming-Catastrophe. First of all, she insists on having her full name used all the time, including the Miss.
Miss Blythe Lee Looming-Catastrophe. A product of WWII, the big one, her mother was one of the Philadelphia Loomings of “Automatic Awning” fame. Her father was a drill sergeant in the Italian army, one Giuseppe Catastrophe. They met during the battle of Monte Cassino where Faith Looming had been airdropped in order to service the servicemen. After searching high and low on the Monte, she finally discovered a serviceman to service…one Giuseppe Catastrophe. She found him under a small round table covered with a red and white checked table cloth at an outdoor café just around the corner from the Cassino. Giuseppe was hiding. Whether from the Allied troops or from his own lieutenant was never clearly established. What is known is that it was love at first sight. Faith and Giuseppe were united before daybreak.
Miss Blythe Lee Looming-Catastrophe was the result of that union, a true prix de guerre. As it turned out, though, Giuseppe could never get out of his habit of running and hiding. One morning he left the villa to grab a pack of smokes and never came back. Faith Looming was thrown upon her own ample resources in the raising of her daughter Miss Blythe Lee Looming-Catastrophe. The lack of a father-in-residence had only one apparent consequence. Miss Blythe Lee Looming-Catastrophe developed an abiding faith in the eventual manifestation of a spiritual father-figure, and so she has spent her entire life engaged in the practise of assorted occult rituals designed to turn the dross of her family history into golden slumbers.
And she’s had quite an effect on the inmates of the Yoni School. Suzy Homemaker is now a member of a group called the Castrati di Naturo Pathogen. The founder of this society, she says, was an alchemist in the south of France during the ninth century. Little else is known about him, but it seems he was a demanding taskmaster. Devotees risked his wrath at their peril, for he was known to possess a quick temper and a biting sarcasm that could flay the flesh from one’s very bones. The main ritual these Castrati seem to engage in is to anoint themselves with oil (by jumping in the bathtub), wrapping themselves in flannel nighties and repeatedly mumbling arcane phrases such as “I toleja so I toleja so I toleja so…” The result is a hypnotic trance similar to voodoo practices, followed by sleep during which one dreams of lettuce.
LaLaLeo has joined the Vibratos. As far as I can tell, they’re similar to the Sufi Dervishes. Except they don’t whirl. They just perch on their hind legs, imitating humans, and oscillate.
Finally, Cosmicat, not to be outdone, has become the most vocal cultist of all, thanks to her membership in the Flying Yowlengas, a reputedly demonic sect whose main ritual is to pace stealthily within an inverted pentagram at midnight while uttering bloodcurdling howls at a preferably full moon. Cosmicat’s main problem is that she can’t decide whether to do this indoors or out. One minute she wants out. Next she wants in. The keepers of the zoo, excuse me, the school, are at their wits’ ends, not knowing whether to make the sign of the Cross, shoot silver bullets or use wooden stakes. Mostly they open the doors when required.
Some of the inmates celebrated Easter in the old-fashioned way. Chocolate bunnies.