My cousin. I attended his funeral. He drowned, you know. Did you know? His father, Nuncle Dedalus murdered him as sure as he did me. But it wasn’t Icarus who flew too close to the sun for Nuncle D’s comfort. No. It was I who burned too brightly, who flew too well. My growth revealed his decline. My talent became his enemy. He didn’t want a rival, plain and simple. He drew me, hawklike man, predator. Drew me away from the ground to the top of the Acropolis (and I am the one called lapwing!) my shell still crowning my stephanos. Jealous. He pushed me, his sister’s child, and called it an accident. Then the artificer wept false tears. And I thirty-two feet per second per second fell into Athena’s grace. She enfeathered me. Now I disguise his agenbite of inwit. His secret. Hold me in abomination if you will. I’ll come to your funeral. I went to my cousin’s grave after they fished him out, drowned man, seabedabbled. Weltering in the whirlpools of his father’s agenbite of inwit with no help or care. Well, I’ll take care of him now. I’ll lead the hawk away from his grave. I’ll lead you too. Yes, you. Follow my compass. I’ll be your star by night and your pillar of cloud by day. We shall stay low to the ground. I have lost my faith. Now this is how I disguise my secret. You disapprove? You think me too false? Well, I’ll hide mine, what do you care how, you hide yours any way you like.
After thousands of years of people reincarnating, with all the coming and going and waiting in chairs and general foot traffic, heaven’s lobby had become a crumbling old ruin. Indra asked Vishvakarma, who was an archetect along the lines of Dedalus and Frank Gehry, to fix up the place a bit and so he did. It was splendid. Dripping with jewels. Gardens. Towers. There were walls that could sing and there were stairs that rotated to the past. In some rooms you could smell the light just by virtue of the placement of the windows in ratios corresponding to the sacred formula (√5+1)/2. In one room he had squared the circle and in another he had trisected an angle and doubled a cube. I don’t even have to tell you what he did with time. Anyway, it was a ton of work and when he was done he was done and wanted to leave. Get paid and leave. Problem was, Indra wanted more. Wasn’t satisfied with good enough. More building if you please and even if you don’t please. So Vishvakarma had no choice, really. He went over his head to the supreme being. Well, this god in charge, this divine fixer, told Vishvakarma not to worry, be cool, just go back and I’ll take care of everything. The next day a kid all in white with a tattoo on his forehead (what parent is going to let that happen? must have been fake) showed up and marched right up to Indra as if Indra wasn’t The Man. And this kid said look, when are you going to be done with all this construction? No other Indra before you has ever built, well paid to be built for him at any rate, anything half as big or a third as great. And Indra, amused that this kid had what appeared to be the balls of a water buffalo to talk smack to his face just like that, said what the hell do you know about other Indras? And the kid said look dude, I’ve seen it all. I was there when they built the pyramids and that was like yesterday. I’ve seen the bang at the start of the universe and the one before that too. I’ve seen all the universes and all possible moments and the containers of moments and the things those are packed into besides and each one has an Indra, so don’t give me your shit. And while the kid was talking and Indra was turning purple with rage a line of ants marched in like they owned the place, which in fact they did. The kid cracked up to see this and laughed until Indra was nearly apoplectic with fury. Finally the kid took pity and revealed his true form. He was the fixer, the man in charge of the man in charge of the man in charge fifty five times over the whole time. Indra fell all over himself apologizing and in his curiosity which he could not contain even in front of the Supreme One, he asked what was it about the ants that was so funny? And the supreme being said those ants? Every one of them are former Indras.