“God is dead,” with the battle won, the blazing amethyst of Limbo’s light was ebbing from the Banjoman’s eyes. Sitting on a step at the bottom of the opulent pearl staircase that ascended to the entry of Heaven’s imperial palace, he wiped the sleeve of his priceless Earth jean jacket under his crimson gunslinger moustache. Then he leaned his legendary banjo against the steps and removed his jacket altogether.
Kip Kilroy’s mouth hung agape. The Martian mariner, master of the inter-dimensional Sea of Tears, had never seen the Lord of Limbo sweat before. He watched as the Banjoman used the magically resistant denim to wipe something unseen off the banjo. After a long pause, during which Kilroy had only just began to grasp the political implications of what was happening here, he finally summoned words to fill his slack jaw.
“‘How did you do it?”
“The old-fashioned way,” the Banjoman said it with reverence, as though he was speaking to the banjo. Indeed, Kilroy remembered, the instrument was sentient, and had earned notoriety that spanned the cosmos as an instrument as accomplished at making war as it was at making music
“In the end, it seems, the only thing the strutting popinjay had going for him these days was being invisible.”
Kilroy felt a wave nausea come over him. He struggled to subdue a look of disgust at the realization it was God (the proper name of whom was Ialdoboath, the Demiurge, Wayward Son of Sophia) that was being wiped, rather unceremoniously, from the Lord of Limbo’s banjo. Of course his smashed remains would be utterly undetectable and imperceivable by any known means. Any known means, that is, save for the strange celestial sensibilities of the enigmatic Banjoman, Lord (and sole resident) of Limbo, realm between realms, realm outside of time.
The Banjoman saw the revulsion in Kip Kilroy’s eyes. Speaking matter-of-factly he said,
“He deserved this lad. He had it coming. Any demiurge posing as The All has this coming. Hubris begets a humbling.”
“Of course,” Kilroy made a show of shrugging it off. He was embarrassed he had not better masked his feelings.
“You have borne witness to my success here and will convey it to the Pharaoh of Mars; Helheim now possesses the entire soul-trove of the Guff of Heaven. My interference here is done. I have a powerful hankering for lemonade. And my birds need tending to.”
“God is really dead?’ The sailor’s famous smile had been likened to a Heliopolitan supernova, by no less The High Scribes of Farlore themselves.
“Tapioca pudding, son.” The Banjoman was re-donning his jean jacket (which Kilroy now surmised would be covered with the greasy remnants of Ialdoboath (invisible, odourless, and otherwise completely imperceptible though they may be). Then he swung the cleaned banjo onto its home on his back. It murmured its thanks and hung there at home on a strap of orange, demon-wing leather.
“Then Lucifer and Loki will be victorious! Hades will fall!” Kip Kilroy shook his head in disbelief. “You are an animal, Banjoman! Zeus will be apoplectic!”
“My intrusion here will have been worth it for that alone. Farewell, skipper,” the Lord of Limbo tipped his brown derby hat. “Godsp —,” he said it with a wink, purposely cutting off the word for comic effect.
A serpent of pewter metal tinted purple burst then from the street of solid golden cobblestone. It arch high into the air before slamming back down a few meters from where it had emerged. In short order, the arch was a spinning blur of serpent chasing its tail — an ouroboros gate! Within its perimiter, the purple cloudscape of Limbo appeared. Its roaring winds fanned the flame in the Banjoman’s heart. The amethyst light — the perfect midpoint between the redshift and blueshift of spacetime — flared again into his eyes.
“Game on, Kilroy.”
“Game on, Banjoman,” The salutation they shared had been learned from a mutual friend, from a game called road hockey. It implied that the way is now clear, that something new awaits. The gravity of what would come next weighted the Martian’s words. The balance of power amongst the soul-trading houses of Proxima Sanctuary had just been altered irrevocably.
The Lord of Limbo stepped through the gate into the purple mist and was gone.