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Literary Skulduggery
Thursday, January 26, 2006   |    Fiction

Internal Memo to the Secret Society

by Raleigh Drennon

The Eye of Providence Sees You

To: Mystic Devotees of the Secret Society (dues paying)
From: You-Know-Who
Re: That thing we talked about

Greetings and salutations, O seekers of the Inexpugnable Truth. Inductees into the Assemblies of Wisdom. Pilgrims to the Arcane Shrine on the desolate shores of you-know-where. Did you notice the phrase “you-know-where”? Did you catch that? Good. Because I can’t believe I have to bring this up, people! Tell me, what makes a secret society such a special organization to be a part of? Hmm, here’s a thought: The secrecy! Seriously, come on! This is not a difficult concept. Yet again and again and again, our ancient and esoteric practices of mystic lore keep popping up all over the goddamn place! Or, as I should say, the you-know-what-divine-entity- I’m-referring-to-damn place.

Holy All-Seeing Eye of Caftaz, maybe we should post a little sign at the city limits alongside the Kiwanis Club! Or better yet, sponsor a litter-free stretch of the highway. Look at me, why am I joking like this? It’s probably already happened.

But, in keeping with the Gnostic precepts that flow from the enlightened tongue of the High Priest who dwells beneath the Canopy of Knowledge (and I’m not saying where this is or even if it is indeed an actual canopy), I must control my negativity. Positive emanations from the third circle of cosmic radiance. Positive emanations from the third circle of cosmic radiance. That’s better. So, going forward, I wish to pass along a few guidelines to ensure we get this whole secrecy thing battened down. Which is why I didn’t e-mail this memo (see item below on “Approved Communication Methods”), but affixed it with a poisoned dagger to the carcass of a dead goat left on your doorstep.

Rites, Rituals, Practices and Doctrines
I adjure all devotees of the thirteen veiled lawgivers under the nine shrouded prophets to listen to my admonitions: In regard to the rites, practices and other mysteries of our most obscure order, keep this sh*t quiet! It ain’t nobody’s business but our own—and the Mystic Watchers in the Sanctuary of Tee Po. (All 4th-degree supplicants know exactly who I’m talking about!)

Specifically, my question is this: who snuck the digicam into the mountain stronghold of Alamut? I’m sorry, but when our whirling ecstatic dance is viewed out of context, it looks a tad silly (i.e., gay), don’t you think? The mpeg’s all over the blogosphere now! That’s according to my kids, because I’m not even sure what that is. (See “Blogs” below.) In the name of Hassan the Hated and the Council of the Concealed, I censure you! Not cool.

By the way, for anybody who’s reading this who shouldn’t, “mountain” and “stronghold” are codenames for things not remotely related in any way to mountains or strongholds. “Alamut” is accurate, but check the phone book. There are more Alamuts than you think. Good luck tracking (him, her, it?) down, sucker!

Guess what pops up first when I Google “secret society?” Dandy! Thanks a lot, people. Unnamed-deity-dammit!

What the f—? You can’t sell T-shirts! Positive emanations from the third circle of cosmic radiance. Positive emanations from the—O.K., that just isn’t working. And don’t make the excuse that it’s a fundraiser. Our costs are covered—more than covered—by membership dues, which as a reminder, represent 25% of your gross individual earnings and must be laid at the feet of the Sacred Effigy on or before the 15th. Some of you have been lax about this, so I “encourage” you to stay on the timetable. Because who wants a reprise of the Days of Wrath? Nobody.

No blogs. By the Cryptic Fez of Sheikh Abdi, did this even need saying?

(Note to “Secret Slut” and “Mystik Monkey:” who reads your tedious, self-referential musings anyway? Expect a visit soon from the Elders of Reëducation for “assistance” in shutting down your little online brain dump.)

Approved Communication Methods
— Chuck E. Cheese game tokens arranged in an occult pattern based on numerological computations.
— The symbolic placement (following alchemical principles) of General Mills products in the cereal aisle of most major supermarkets. Pay special attention to, obviously, the Lucky Charms box. (Decoder is available for checkout at the Abode of Ultimate Learning.)
— Memos affixed to any of a variety of domesticated animals via poisoned daggers. • The standard salute of identification: a knowing wink with chin scratch (we all know which hand to use).
— Cellphone text messaging (fun!).

Again, to any unauthorized readers of this memo: the “Abode of Ultimate Learning” is somewhere you’d never expect to find it and something you’d never expect it to be. Or maybe it is.

All devotees, initiates and aspirants, I enjoin you to read and digest these words. (Literally, read it and eat it.) When it comes to secrecy, I can’t tell you how important it is that we’re all on the same page—of the Esoteric Book of Opaque Revelations. Which, with a few clicks of the mouse, I see ranks 8,765th on Swell!

(Note to Gnostic librarian: please investigate numerological significance of 8,765.)

Raleigh Drennon is an advertising executive, if that isn't bad enough. He has stories in The Big Jewel and upcoming in Opium, but this story is equally fine. In the 90s, he spent time as a writer for an N.P.R.-funded radio comedy show called "The Imagination Workshop," which indeed felt very much like a workshop, but lacked imagination.