there is fire fire everywhere, not a drop to drink. there is no spot for green in this valley, the beleaguered villagers who have been through this so many times before always say they see spots of green but i suspect that it to calm the visitors and especially the outsiders who might perceive that the village is constantly weak and vulnerable. there are no ninjas about, only ordinary people trying to make sense of their world.
smoke is being inhaled everywhere by the villagers, it's a chaotic scene, the wind is so unfair, it never plays favorites, it can on the same day spread the seeds without a toiling human hand and spread the seeds of fiery destruction throughout that same patch of land. what were that true, but see, this isn't a random thing, this is fire wielded by the Fire Demon Himself, the same bad man who has terrorized this poor village by burning it down again and again for no apparent reason. no, for no reason whatsoever.
the smoke is not too much for Kenyatta, one of the strongest women you'll ever meet. it flits into her nostrils, thinkin' she all the same folk out here, but she's an impressive specimen, not a speciman, and her will belies her small stature. she takes it all in and doesn't budge, she continues running from shack to shack to see if anyone needs her help. around the perimeter the flames form a gate with no key.
Kenyatta stumbles onto a scared woman and her too-calm child trapped under the blisteringly burning thatch of their abode. the woman stubs Kenyatta's toe as she would have run past. a well-timed trip can sideline even an Olympic runner.
woman: help me, please PLEASE for the Gods sake, my child!
Kenyatta: shit, where did Sunsong get to? (Kenyatta's chess mind's always thinking two steps ahead) okay, grab my arm and i'll pull you guys through, you can't miss it, see that well-oiled bicep? like a well-oiled machine, always runnin', i'm always runnin'.
Kenyatta dips her arm into the fray like a superhero but even superheroes have rocks and stuff which can hamper their easy victories. there is too much rubble and rocks jamming the habitat that a small hole to freedom proves harder than first thought. and it doesn't help that the rocks are becoming as hot as the yellow sun.
Kenyatta: shit, wait here. wait, here.
Kenyatta takes off her bicep ring with tassels. see she wears this bicep ring Ultimate-Warrior-style, not the way an ordinary person would wear it with the hard-wound-together ring on the soft area where opposite the soft spot the elbow bends, no no, the ring is instead directly on top of the bicep muscle, straining it by splitting it in two. Kenyatta takes it off to reveal a red circle all around, it unfurls like a proud flag into a strong, sturdy sheet of cloth. the woman has been crazily imploring god all this time but when she sees the sheet through the ash she calms down to match her kid and a lot of the shit that's been swirling around stops flying in her area. Kenyatta lowers the cloth like a hero and it's strong enough, together with Kenyatta's internal strength and the woman's superhuman strength of willing to die in place of her child, all work together and the woman and her boy make it out alive and safe, Kenyatta's broad arms can hold two.
woman: i was delirious there for a moment.
Kenyatta rushes to find Sunsong who is back at the imperial palace not having moved a muscle, the imperial palace such that it is, it's really only another shack but in the high part of town with the other high hills, presumably to avoid the fire first. but the last shall be first, fire don't care, it spreads without discrimination, it sees only one color with different shades of red. the villagers have converged at the palace, some acting like angry revolutionaries ready to burn down the houses of the rich, some really just wanting answers and having looks in their eyes that seem full of hate but are actually full of fear.
the mob: doctor! doctor! where's the doctor!
Sunsong: i wish i knew where my husband was, he'd know what to do.
the mob: no, not bad doctor, good doctor!
Sunsong knew the witch doctor had perished when his treehouse collapsed from singed ropes. she constantly told him not to build his practice that high up in the tree, but he said he drew inspiration from being so high up from everyone else, he could see out beyond the village sky into the unending grand brand vista of a blue sky which housed other lands, other potions, other mixtures. Sunsong decided not to tell her people of the death, it would only rile up the populace more. she lied to protect them.
Sunsong: oh Yatta, my hero! get me the fuck out of here!
Kenyatta swoops in to catch Sunsong over her cradling arms and the two women rush out of the palace before it burns to the ground. seemingly satisfied, the crowd quickly disperses from the area and go tend to their more pressing familial matters at various village points.
Sunsong says, "love you!" to the crowd and waves as the two women race out of there. she means it, too.
Kenyatta: help me out here, sis. anything?
Sunsong: there's an old car in the back but it's a gas-guzzling hoopty that hasn't been used in years, it just sits there on the backlawn with the engine showing.
Kenyatta: my dear, the fact that you used the term hoopty gives me enough faith in you for a lifetime. a gift from the husband?
Sunsong: a gift to Emblem from the American ambassador.
Kenyatta: that is so perfect. let's see if the rustbucket has just enough shine.
Kenyatta tries to hotwire the car but there is enough heat in the area for the engine to start. it purrs like a kitten rather than a jungle cat but Kenyatta has faith.
Kenyatta: get in. i think this thing has just enough juice to make it a getaway car. i was thinking we'd head to the lake a few miles away, set up a bucket-collecting system to transfer the water over to the village fireman-brigade-style. i always wanted to wear the uniform, 'sbeen on my bucket list.
Sunsong: was thinking the same thing. let's go, the flames are happily dancing into all the grooves of the tire treads.
the womenfolk impressively steer around a couple of tight curves, hugging them as they hug each others' curves in the two front seats. they enter some narrow sideroads until they make it to the main highway, the main highway such that it is, it's really just a slightly-better-paved road from the no roads to the village, paved with dirt and leaves.
they pass a SLIPPERY WHEN WET sign and have a laugh together.
Sunsong turns on the radio.
Kenyatta: good, you're radioing for your husband to send help immediately, right? call in the national guard or something, send troops over, peacekeepers, whomever's qualified, we need all the manpower we can get, men and women.
Sunsong: i'm afraid Emblem doesn't have that kind of pull. he's the village head sure, but i've found that village heads like to pretend that their village is the only thing on earth.
Kenyatta: come on, man, i know you live in a remote place but every place is still part of a bigger place, the state. surely the state has resources hoarded up in the real imperial palace.
THIS SONG COMES ON THE RADIO, CLICK HERE, RIGHT HERE AT THIS LINK.
Kenyatta: we'll figure something out as we always do. i'll build a smokescreen to signal any of the village survivors to come to the lake. it's on foot so it'll take days if not weeks but at least they'll be going away from the fire and to a place where they'll eventually help their village back. the bucket line will be long, it has to be, long, strong, and proud. once we get there, once it's fully formed between the lake and the village, nobody can say it wasn't a group effort. we're only as strong as our weakest link which in this case will be us from all the managing.
Sunsong stays silent throughout, waiting for the speech to become a soliloquy, her eyes circled with ash. she's become the raccoon.
Kenyatta with her tassels has become the eagle. the two creatures streak across the road that is so filled with smoke that they are driving on a black that is not pavement. not a spot to see anything in sight. they move on forward with faith.
the scenicless scenic route gives Kenyatta time to think. she lets Sunsong take the wheel as she grabs herself into the passengers side. she always loved being driven when she was a little girl, the low rumble of the engine under her carpet, the fact that she didn't have to do anything but close her eyes and imagine she was traveling on a carpet, flying anywhere, everywhere, on wings of Tyre.
Kenyatta: i sense something. this isn't the end of it nor the beginning. this is part of a bigger picture, a broader scope, somebody is tipping things on a certain scale to achieve something no human has ever accomplished before, a new source of power is emerging, and it's uncontrollable because its essence springs from life which is essentially uncontrollable, a new thought, and humanity will never be the same. but there is one way to combat this, this inevitable inertia, and it's the very old humanity within us, it's amazing how much the ancient has always to teach us. i see spots of humanity scattered throughout here, even in this place, even in this time of agitation, little strokes of grounded humanness and help and spirit and yes, happiness. i see how you work that clutch and it makes me smile, my Sunsong. i don't know why i'm telling you this, it's just coming to me, i see it, i'm thinking of my mother right now. how she always used to cradle me in her arms at night. she had her bone china teacup of black coffee steaming by her side as she told me stories of carpet rides. i took a sip once and gasped at how bitter it was, it was disgusting and i would never touch the stuff again. now i'm a caffiend, i'm an addict, a hoarder, it's my fuel, my spinach. now i see my elderly mother grapple with the foam powder packet to her cappuccino and i have to laugh. with her. "newfangled coffee, back in my day we just had coffee, none of this fancy european shit i can't even pronounce!" she's sure to say on cue. i was just thinking of my mother right now.
a figure slowly breaches the flames in front of the ladies, parting them. he is dark at first but the flames to his side slowly illuminate and lick his broader outline. he has broad shoulders but no face. yet. he is still far away but not so far away that he can't say something clearly. his voice is as it turns out rather softspoken for the occasion, seemingly. he addresses the women with a strong dialect that is the most blended mix of worldly accents of all time. he says, he says,
"it's me...yes, your fire demon whatever...i hate that fire demon thing, my name is Manny Herrero Boxt."
he has one dragon's wing coming out of his forehead.