Kage Baker loved signs in the sky.
Literally. Los Angeles is a web of tourist attractions knitted roughly together with strip malls; the skies are full of signs. Sometimes they’re inflated, and tethered to tire emporiums or carpet warehouses – various amusingly phallic little blimps, bobbing 3 or 4 stories up with some company name pendent from them. Blimps are amazingly frequent, in fact, in all sizes. By day they are sky whales, too high up to give any real details but the fact of their existence; by night, they light up with argyle patterns and staring eyes and smiling lips, and usually urge one to reconsider one’s phone service carrier.
And still, even in this day and age, the most common form of sign in the sky is a simple banner towed behind a small plane. I’ve no real idea what they say, because usually they’re backwards or upside down, or too high up or far away to tell. Kage had no idea what they usually said either – it didn’t matter, she said, because the entire point was that there was a Sign In The Sky!
“It’s a message from God!” she would exclaim, enchanted by some obscure advertising banner two miles away and a thousand feet up.
“But you don’t know what it says,” I would complain.
“It’s a message from God,” Kage would say patiently. “That’s the entire point. What it says is irrelevant: it’s a sign that God is there.”
“This is how cults and crusades get started,” I would opine.
“Only by silly people. The rest of us wait for details,’ was Kage’s serene reply. “It’s prophecy TBA.”
“It’s says BUDWEISER!”
“Oh, ye of little faith … ”
It’s true that I lack faith as deep and solid as Kage’s was – in all sorts of things, including that God has something relevant to say via plastic sperm zeppelins and cheap beer. That’s all right, though. Miracles continue to happen whether or not I invest any faith in them; good fortune appears even when I am without hope. Today I got a little royalty check. The hummingbird that raised her chick last year outside the kitchen window is back on her cloisonne nest today. It rained 2 days ago, and will rain again 2 days from now.
And a little red plane towing a long yellow banner flew over me while I was fetching my nephew home from school. I don’t know what it said. But I think what it implied was Kage telling me to keep on working. So I will.
A red plane? Yes, that was Kage. The company that flies banner tows from here has a fleet of yellow Cub look-alikes. They aren’t Kage.
No, yellow is not Kage. Kage always got the red thingie, when there was a choice. Suckers, Otter Pops, tiny plastic lawn chairs, spare sleeping bags … Kage’s was red. Always.