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The Old God of Smoke Detection

from FAWM 2022 by The Fishermen & the Priestess

backstage exclusive

about

A true story.

(Except for the Stanford part, I think.)

lyrics

One day the smoke detector beeped.

<BEEP>

It kept beeping.

<BEEP>

That day the smoke detector started beeping.

<BEEP>

And it didn’t stop.

<BEEP>
<BEEP>
<BEEP>
<BEEP>

It beeped high up in the wall.
15 feet up, where the sides of the ceiling converged.
Like an unsatisfied god at the top of an altar.

<BEEP>

I couldn’t reach it with a ladder.
It was far too high.
But it kept beeping.

<BEEP>

My dog would bark at every beep.
“Feed the god”, I imagined her saying,
“For it is hungry!”

<BEEP>

I found an old stick.
I climbed on a chair.
I was able to placate the god
By pressing its button.

<SILENCE>

8 hours passed.

<BEEP>

The god had woken up.
Ever vigilant of my living room.
Watching everything from above.
It asked for another offering.

<BEEP>

I climbed on a chair.
I grabbed the old stick.
And made my offering
By pressing its button.

<SILENCE>

8 more hours passed.

<BEEP>

Weeks went by like this.
It became our daily ritual.
Tending to the old god of smoke detection.
Every 8 hours.

<BEEP>

“Make an offering before bed
To guarantee 8 hours of sleep.”

<BEEP>

“Make an offering in the morning,
And one in the afternoon
(Hopefully not in the middle of a meeting).”

<BEEP>
<BEEP>

Weeks went by like this.
And every Tuesday
A truck would park 50’ away
From the old god.

<BEEP>

On its trunk, a ladder.
A perfect ladder.
Not too big, like the ladder in the barn.
But the perfect size to reach the gods.

<BEEP>

Weeks went by.
Daily rituals of
1. Climb the chair <BEEP>
2. Grab the stick <BEEP>
3. Press the button

Every Tuesday, the ladder would arrive.
I would watch it.
And it would leave.

<BEEP>

Was this a Stanford experiment?

“For how long will this couple press a button
Before socializing again after 2 years of sheltering?
Will they just incorporate the daily routine of
Pressing an inaccessible button 3x a day?
Accept it as normal and carry on with their lives?”

<BEEP>

That’s what we did.
For weeks.
The ladder would come and go.

<BEEP>

And I would please the god.

Eventually.
Yes, eventually.
The ladder came on a Tuesday.
Yesterday.

<BEEP>

It was time to kill the gods.
No more offerings.
No more daily sacrifices.
No more chair, no more stick.

<BEEP>

“Can I borrow your ladder?
I have two, one too small, one too big.”

<BEEP>

“Of course!”

I climbed Mount Olympus
And confronted the god face to face
(Not really, I still had to stretch my arm to reach it.)

<BEEP>

I opened its mouth.
Removed the dead battery
And placed a new one.

One final offering (final?)
And the god was placated.
And slept.
(Well, it was still detecting smoke. I hope.)

No more offerings.
No more daily sacrifices.
No more chair, no more stick.

[In Stanford
A scientist in a white lab coat
Scribbles their notebook:
“Couple #27. 5 weeks and 3 days”]

<BEEP>

credits

from FAWM 2022, track released February 23, 2022
Photo by Egor Myznik on Unsplash

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The Fishermen & the Priestess Bodega Bay, California

The fishermen and the priestess is the solo project of Beto Dealmeida, a musician interested in nature, vintage sounds and electronics.

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