Dear %%firstname%%,

Thanks for reading the resurrected SheepTrax. I am working on my first ebook, a collection of over 100 publised and unpublished of my favorite stories. It called Lessons From A Hippo Hiney & Other Pop Culture Parables.

Do you have any idea how hard it is to find a cartoonist who can draw a credible Hippo Hiney?

Anyway, today's SheepTrax is of darker fare than normal. I present: Pharaoh¯s House of Fashion: An End Time Warning.

Peace,

Bryan Hupperts

 

 

The invitation did not come by standard postal delivery. It was hand courier by an exotic looking, green-eyed, very intimidating man who carried himself like a sword-wielding executioner of old. He was draped in a beautiful designer suit while chauffeuring an expensive foreign car. He simply spoke my name, and handed me an onyx envelope sealed with a wax Eye of Horus insignia, turned and walked back to his car. My initials were etched on the front in gold leaf.
 
It was a By Exclusive Invitation Only pass to the Underworld Fashion Ball hosted by the most exclusive designer fashion house in the world, PHARAOHS!
 
There had to be a mistake. Flabbergasted, I re-read the onyx and gold lettered card. I was being invited to walk among the gods and this is where they all shopped. Passed over, and unjustly ignored; my life was a maze of dead ends. Perhaps I had finally caught the eye of someone wealthy and powerful?
 
Blood red power ties, gold threaded designer suits, belts and custom cobbled shoes made of endangered animal skins, shirts of silk sewn by third-world slaves; I had an opportunity to be dressed by Pharaoh!
 
Pharaohs¯ enigmatic corporate motto said it all: You¯ll like the way they bleed; PHARAOH assures it!
 
I showed up in a rented Euro sports car and designer clothes that I charged to plastic but could ill afford. Looking aloof, I handed the valet my keys without speaking and was greeted by a bevy of beautiful escorts to this Invitation Only soiree. A raven haired, green-eyed goddess called Jasmine with too-cool-to-smile chic sauntered over to me, took my arm, and demurely welcomed me to the Underworld Fashion Ball. Captivated, I followed her in.
 
Was I finally about to become somebody?
 
Flattering as the attention was, I was clearly out of my element. Surrounded by many well coiffed captains of finance and industry, sports heroes, the famous and infamous, I wondered if this was a mistake. As if reading my thoughts, Jasmine leaned in close and, as if instructing a novice penitent, whispered, ¯You¯re here because Someone sees something in you.¯ But sees what?
 
Normally I didn¯t indulge but the drink offering was tempting and besides, what are a few cocktails among new friends? I found myself liking how the other half lived. My demure hostess guided me to a side room and then through a large archway in the shape of the jaws of a bare-fanged dog.
 
The statuary of the inner sanctum of PHARAOHS was simply stunning. It was built like an ancient heathen temple, Pyramid-like, and it evoked an eerie feeling as if innocent blood had been spilt and offered there.
 
Hieroglyphics adored the walls and Egyptian idols lined the corridors; crocodiles, frogs, all manner of birds and slithering things, all worshipped as gods. Anubis the dog whose jaws I had just passed through I suddenly recognized as the god of death from history class but this pantheon of ancient deity was both inconceivable and overwhelming.
 
Again, what was I doing here? I am not wealthy, or powerful or even that terribly clever. As if to answer my unasked question, out of the shadow appeared Pharaoh himself. A sports extremist and falconer, his famed falcon Horus sat perched on his shoulder staring unblinkingly at me as if it were ready to hunt.
 
¯You¯ve accepted my invitation now accept my offer. I¯ve been watching you. You believe in the One god, not the many. What good has he ever done you?¯ he asked with a wry laugh.
 
All I could muster was an incoherent stammer, ¯Uhh, well, he¯ you know¯ What kind of question is that? I guess I believe but, well, he really hasn¯t done much, at least not for me.¯
 
He nodded in agreement, and flashed a beguiling smile while offering his hand as a king would to a peasant. ¯I am Pharaoh, Ra, god on earth. And I outfit the gods. Walk with me.¯ This was surreal. His voice, his visage, everything about him seemed somehow otherworldly, ancient. There was something, Someone, staring at me through his eyes. Unsure of my footing, I followed his lead as we were swallowed into the darkness.
 
¯Well, like doctors,¯ I said, trying some nervous banter, ¯your clients only think they are gods.¯ And Ra roared with laughter and shook his head in amusement. Even the unblinking Horus shrieked,
 
¯You misunderstand my invitation. Yes, accept my offer and I will clothe you with gilded garments of gold and silk and even Jasmine, a beautiful handmaiden of this temple, will be yours, but your outer raiment is of secondary importance.¯ Silence. He continued sternly, ¯I clothe the gods¯ with men.¯
 
Time vanished. A seductive greenish vapor like the green in Jasmine¯s eyes arose from the spilt blood of an offering on what I suddenly grasped to be an altar. It took the shadowy form of a¯ frog! And I began to succumb to the intoxication of its mist.
 
Ra spoke, ¯I see your divided heart. To walk the earth, the gods need hosts with whom we share a merged life. Yield yourself as both servant and vessel and you shall walk among the gods. Now kneel,¯ he commanded. I obeyed. ¯The ancient gods are rising to finally overthrow the One. Now, forever renounce the One and receive the many gods. Rich reward shall follow.¯
 
Prologue:
 
As my head cleared from the swirl of ancient images and beguiling vapor, I felt an inner presence, felt Jasmine leaning on my arm, felt powerful, felt¯ joined to an eternal pride, a greatness. And I now walk among the gods.
 
Though loving the temple¯s darkness, she and I, along with our inner guides, walked as one out of the jaws of Anubis and rejoined our brood at the Underworld Fashion Ball. I caught a reflected glint in green in my eyes off Jasmine¯s gold amulet and laughed. I was now one of them, ascended like the Most High.
 
There was a world to conquer and my promised rewards were waiting.
 
¯"For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?¯ Mark 8:36
¯And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve¯¯ Joshua 24:15
"This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.¯ John 3:19
 
Bryan Hupperts
¯ 2012
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InJesus