Last Dance
Doug Mathewson
It was apparent to Toby Biscuit from the start that being a fine arts major in today’s world would have its highs and lows. Of late there had been nothing but lows and not a high in sight all the way to the horizon. If it hadn’t been for his mother’s brother, Uncle Carl, at the Ministry Toby’s ass would still be unemployed and living home. The grant Uncle Carl came up with was for Toby to travel and document 101 different dances from around the world in 101 days. Too much time and money had been squandered early in the trip (youth hostels would have been a better choice than five star hotels for example). Wasting a whole week in Brooklyn for no-show Kitty Wang was another mistake. The fashion twins she left in charge of her famous mambo academy were polite but didn’t know any dance moves. Catching free rides, taking the bus, sleeping rough, and doing odd jobs for cash was a cheap way to travel, but time was running out.

When he told a friendly woman he meet on a bus in Mexico City about his grant and it’s deadline, she knew someone who could help. Buenos Aries, she went on, was the capital of Latin dance with many famous academies of tango. Her old cousin Paulo was practically a priest (he never officially graduated from the seminary but he was a very good person and wore his clerical collar all the same). With money running shy Toby went to meet Paulo in the most remote and obscure corner of Buenos Aries. The district appeared on no maps or GPS system. He was told merely to ask for The Quarter of the Gods.

Finding the Quarter was difficult. People he spoke to knew of the district, but not how to get there. After several days he found it on his own by accident. Finding the old man Paulo was simple. He was the only mortal. Other residents were former Gods, demigods, Saints or angels. All from religions no longer practiced or observed. Where do Gods both old and new of a people destroyed by famine or planetary disaster go? The district called The Quarter of the Gods. Strange deities from non-human worlds as well, all now without worshipers. Deprived of their powers, living their immortal lives in exile. 

Toby studied their dances as well, and their lost rituals. When Paulo, or “Father Paul” as he was called, eventually became too old to tend his chosen flock Toby, now called “Tobias”, took over the work. On days deemed both high and holy to all he would put on ancient robes and dance.


First published: November, 2013
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