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Jim Knable’s Sons of Dionysus: a lusty novel of myth, mirth, and music.

Chapter 12

A communal groan erupts when they all see me with my buzz cut.

What have you done?! screams Cassius, though he has done much the same, having had his own trademarked hair shaved recently.

Is it him? says Demetrius, a second year with a thick beard, who is known for dressing in women’s clothing.

It’s him, says Arthur, He’s back with us.

About time, says Moses. Pull up a chair.

Sons of Dionysus, Chapter 12 (read by David S. Jung)

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Jim Knable’s Sons of Dionysus: a lusty novel of myth, mirth, and music.

Chapter 11

I make daily pilgrimages. One to the coffee house, one to the gate of the residential college. I know I don’t have time, nor should I be so obsessed as to stay for more than a minute or two. But I think if I come at the same time I saw Cassandra in both places each day, I will surely see her again. I casually pause, look at my watch, pretend to read a flyer, something to make me look like I am not waiting. She never appears.

Meanwhile, the parade up the bunkbed is in full swing. Our essay assignments are winding down and the dead week before finals approaches; the stress is eased and Arthur fills its void with sex. I don’t know what he gets from bedding women who are only using him as he uses them for love without love. Spring is swishing its short skirts in the air; Arthur chases them, in heat.

Sons of Dionysus, Chapter 11 (Read by David Jung)

My attendance at the Owl and allegiance to the SODs is flagging. It all seems like so much frivolity without substance these days. Arthur notes my absence casually, but he knows that I never made any official commitment to this group, as he did. He says everyone missed me at the Owl. I tell him to make sure to give them my regards. Formal and cold like that.

And still I make my pilgrimages. And still she does not appear.

I often go and stand before the statue, sometimes bring a book and read. I have decided that doing this does not count against my regular allotted pilgrimages. After all, being in this nook, I would never know if she passed by. Sometimes this thought drives me too crazy and so I dash away and look for her quickly in the big courtyard, then return to the statue. No one else seems to know about the little grove; I am always alone here. Then one day, I arrive and find evidence of lust in the green grass. A condom wrapper, a pair of soiled women’s underwear. I feel violated; someone has violated my sacred ground. I think of picking the offending articles up and throwing them out, then decide to leave them there. It is another sign, like being taken there in the first place. This sign says: I am grasping too hard at what comes to me only when it will. Only when she will. I do not return to the statue after that. I stop my pilgrimages, though I still make a point of spending time at the coffee house and occasionally I go out of my way to pass by her gate.

I tell none of this to Arthur, none but that I saw her again and she remembered me.

That’s good, he says, did you get her number?

I mumble no and change the subject. Stupid Fool (me).

A fear is creeping in. As land on the watery year’s horizon comes in sight, I realize I have no plans for the summer but to return home. The fear turns to depression. The bed above shakes at night, my classes are losing luster, the new friends I made are fading from me as they share much more together now than I can share with them— memories of their tours, for one. I am only an outsider. Other friends I’ve managed to make here are superficial at best. I realize that until now, I have let the SODs consume my social life and College consume my intellectual life;  now that both are threatening to disperse, I find myself without a foundation, and dreading that old self of mine that waits for me in my hometown. I have no one to talk to about any of this. At last I give in and call my parents.

Jeremiah? Is that you? It’s hard to recognize your voice after so long. Do you need money? Your mother and I just went to the movies. There was a kid in the movie who was just like you growing up. Always up to mischief.

I wasn’t like that as a kid, Dad. Is Mom around?

Jeremiah? Are you sick? Are you taking care of yourself? We’re so excited to have you back home with us.

For a moment, it actually sounds nice. The moment stretches. We keep talking. I am looking forward to the familiar, the sidewalks of my adolescence, the shops in the mall, the park where my friends would meet, everything that always bored me senseless. I feel a yearning.

You’re homesick, aren’t you, said my mother.

Maybe a little.

Good thing you’re coming home, then, isn’t it, she said.

And I felt that it was.

That night the bed shook above, waking me up. I could kill my roommate.

Melody.

Naked body by the side of the bed.

I talk with Arthur.

She listens to us and finds us sweet.

She’s older. Husband and kids. She exits, after posing like a god, reminding me of my sacred statue.

We should have our own rooms next year.

Arthur falls asleep, snoring.

Have our own rooms, but it sounds like he still pictures living in the same suite. Still living together. He is still my friend, my closest friend.

Jeremy, he says, having woken up again at about 5 in the morning.

What, what? I shake myself awake for him, my heart pounding with confused panic—Where am I? Who am I? Who’s talking to me?

I’m tired of meaningless sex.

I grunt my sleepy approval.

I think I really love that woman.

You don’t know her at all.

I know. But I have this feeling. I can’t describe it.

She said she’d forget us. She’ll forget you.

No she won’t. She’ll be back.

You’re absurd.

Maybe. But I think it’s fated.

He was asleep again shortly after. I was awake for good.

What does he mean by fated? How does he know about his own fate? What weird witches and wizards has he met out on the highway with his Satanic tribe?

What is my fate?

That day, I go get coffee at my coffee house. I sit and drink it in silence, not reading, focused on the door. If she comes in, one fate. If she doesn’t, another.

She does not come in.

I go to the barber shop next door and have the barber cut off all my long flowing hair.

Continue To Chapter 12

Jim Knable is a Brooklyn-based writer of plays, songs, prose, and the occasional screenplay.  His plays have been produced at MCC Theatre, Woolly Mammoth Theatre, Soho Rep, NYC’s Summer Play Festival and other regional theaters, and have been published by Broadway Play Publishing, Dramatic Publishing, Samuel French, Smith & Kraus and Playscripts, Inc. He released his solo album Miles in 2000 and Redbeard (2006) and Golden Arrow (2009) with his band The Randy Bandits.

David Jung has appeared in Hung, Mad TV, Law & Order SVU, Jimmy Kimmel Live and Howard Stern. He is also the 2003 US and World Air Guitar Champion and is the star of the documentary, Air Guitar Nation. His air guitar performance on Good Morning America led to a lifetime ban from the show.

Beeb Salzer (illustration) is an artist, set designer, and essayist based in San Diego.

Jim Knable’s Sons of Dionysus: a lusty novel of myth, mirth, and music.

Chapter 10

Charlegne was halfway to becoming Charles. The top half. S/he was still recuperating and would not be back with us for a little while longer. S/he sent reports to the group through Benjamin, who was still in recovery from his broken leg and the slight concussion he did actually sustain from being brained with the pig head. The spring tour south sounded eventful from the stories I heard. There was one arrest in Birmingham, something to do with disorderly conduct while wearing a diaper and pushing a shopping cart off a bridge.

Sons of Dionysus, Chapter 10 (Read by Jeff Wilser)

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Mark Meatto (video) is the director of How To Grow A Band, a documentary film about Punch Brothers. The film has screened at Newport Folk Festival, Nashville Film Festival, Telluride Bluegrass Festival, and Hardly Strictly Bluegrass.

 Jim Knable’s Sons of Dionysus: a lusty novel of myth, mirth, and music.

CHAPTER 9

I did not go back home for the spring break. The SODs left in their vans and cars, heading south for their tour. I stayed in our room, in defiant solitude. Very few students remained with me. Those who did were as solitary as I was. I saw them walking from a distance; we did not speak.

I made a routine of each day. I went for coffee in the morning, sat reading (where I had met Cassandra) for an hour. Then I ran, up to West Mountain and back. I bathed, read some more. If I had the inclination, I would go to a movie or watch one in our room. Every other day, I called an old friend or relative from home. It was in these calls that I learned the strange fate of my friend Max.

Sons of Dionysus, Chapter 9 (Read by Chris and Claire Dippel)

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Jim Knable’s Sons of Dionysus: a lusty novel of myth, mirth, and music.

CHAPTER 8

Every year before the spring tour, the SODs held a pigroast on top of West Mountain. Legend had it that the pigroaster was a man with no teeth, who drove up from the Appalachian Mountains with a dead pig in his trailer. He was said to have long scraggly hair and to always wear the same costume: black jeans, motorcycle boots, and the torn and grease-stained “wife-beater” tank-top. No one in the group knew when this tradition started. There was speculation that twenty or thirty years ago some great favor had been done by the group for a family of pigroasters during a spring tour of the Appalachian mountains, and now that family always sent a pigroaster up at this designated time to repay the favor. The pigroaster would, of course, not speak enough modern English to confirm or deny this speculation. He spoke the language of the hills, a mix of dialects and tongues, perhaps descended from the time before Babel itself

SOD, Chapter 8: Read by Jeb Brown, Christianne Tisdale, Mike Errico & Bob McGrory

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Jim Knable’s Sons of Dionysus: a lusty novel of myth, mirth, and music.

CHAPTER 7

Something had happened to Arthur over the winter tour that had made him into a womanizer. Prior to that, our having bunkbeds was not an issue. He would pine over this or that girl from his classes, and occasionally fool around with the girls from the Owl, but then, maybe even the day after he returned from tour, the up-the-ladder parade began.

My presence for the first one was definitely unintentional. I was supposed to have been gone for the weekend visiting relatives. The relatives asked if I could visit another time and so I stayed. That night I read myself to sleep with some Chaucer, the stiff Middle English bending like wet bamboo strips in my brain as I processed it. I was far against the cold wall, under the covers, not really visible and unexpected, so unlooked for. She went up first, then him. I lay quietly, not really sure what to do. They did not have sex (she said she didn’t want to), but the sounds of touching and kissing and various other wet suctioning permeated the mattress above. When they had exhausted whatever possibilities they had agreed upon, they were quiet. Then she began talking, probably picking up from a discussion they had been having before their libidos took over.

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Sons of Dionysus


A Transmedia Novel of Myth, Mirth, and the Magical Excess of Youth.