Quite a few years ago, I went to a pagan festival in the Chugach Mountains just outside of Anchorage. It was held in a semi-remote park deep in the woods. No lights, no services, just gorgeous trees, a waterfall and some meadows for camping. It was a typical kind of thing: a bit of a Ren Fest, the odd seminar on how to create herbal tinctures or smudge and such. A beer by the fire, some song and camaraderie. You know, your typical fun . . .
I did notice this skinny guy, looking fiftyish and a bit grizzled, wandering around the wooded grounds with a curious and half desperate look on his face, and occasionally talking with one or another of the women. I didn’t pay much attention to it.
But around noon one of the women approached me. “Cliff, that guy keeps following the women around. He wants to know when the orgy starts.”
I said, “There’s going to be an orgy? Get out!”
She put her hands on her hips and said, “What do you think? But he keeps pestering all the women about it. Can you do something about him?”
I said, “Do something about him? Or DOOO something about him?” putting an ominous, deep-voiced, mafioso ring onto the second “do”. You’d be amazed how often I’m confused for either a cop or a wiseguy. Weird . . .
“Just do something about him, if you can,” she said.
“:And then I get invited to the orgy, right?”
She rolled her eyes and walked away.
It took me a couple hours to find the fellow, given all the woods. Apparently, he really got around, an ever wilder, desperate impulse compelling him from tent to tent to find out where the secret orgy was going to be held. I went and asked him what was going on. According to him: “Aw, look! I ain’t into this devil worship crap,” he replied.
“Funny,” I said. “Neither are we.”
He said, “But I been to Prevo’s church.” (NOTE: Prevo is a fire breathing, mega-rich, Cadillac driving, Bible thumping, hate-mongering fundamentalist that Alaska is famous–or infamous–for. Think Westboro.) “And I know you devil worshipers always have orgies at these things. Prevo told it. And I want in!”
“Ohhhh!” I said, as if giving up because the secret was out. “Guess we gotta let you in, then.” I leaned in close and conspiratorial and said in a hushed voice, “Look, the next few hours all we’re doing is reading books about the devil. And unless you’re planning to sell your soul, you gotta leave. I mean, I have to sacrifice you if you don’t. This parts just among us devil worshipers.”
He looked worriedly at me and nodded quickly.
“But you could be one of us. Come back tonight at midnight for the orgy. Take the trail through the woods out to the main field and leave your clothes on the trail. You gotta strip off everything. Go to the big tent in the center of the field and just come in like you own the place or the women will never accept you.”
The fellow nodded and left for the rest of the day and everyone went about their activities.
I can’t tell you for sure what happened after that. I can tell you this: It was the last day of our little festival and we all left that afternoon. That same day an all night revival tent was being set up in that field, and I believe it was courtesy of Prevo.