slowly but surely the cadre of Emblem, Atalan, Shaq, and cameraguy make their way back to the village from the basketball court in the jungle. they all see the flames overtaking the poor village and are aghast. Shaq motions first that he wants to rush in and save as many people as possible fireman-style, he is a polymath who can do anything. Emblem brushes him away.
Emblem: my nobleman, it's too dangerous even for a force of nature as yourself. sometimes the hero must delay the heroing to become a true hero at a later date. fools rush in where angels fear to tread. angels aren't cowards, they've just lived longer.
Shaq leaves on a zipline to see if he can contact his global connections. the zipline is burnt to a crisp so he uses the slackline.
the wall of flame moves at breakneck speed, getting up to near the feet of the men, goading them to douse it away. the fire knows it has won, it can encircle the village and destroy it with dramatic speed if not accuracy, and all the men can do is be humans. they try to run but it's never fast enough, it always ends up being a walk compared to the destructive marathon of nature.
JUST THEN a man approaches tugging an italian ice cart playing a familiar theme that immediately brings the men of different upbringings to that one place in childhood where you heard the ice cream man, rushed out the door with abandon, and made sure you were first in the line of kids with your quarter to receive that strawberry ice cream pop shaped like a foot with the one round bubblegum as the foot's toe. you thought you told your mom you wouldn't spoil your dinner, the truck to the dismay of parents the world over always came at 4 or so, but mom always bursts through the front door with her arms crossed and tells you she didn't hear anything about that. you turn around sheepishly with lips covered in pink and a foot in your mouth.
the man pushing the cart has a name tag, MANNY. this stops the men in their tracks for the oddness of it but none of the three look at the man, just the ice cream. Manny says nothing as he reaches his hand into the cart and pulls out a bunch of ice cubes.
Manny: what is my name? just now you saw it.
Emblem: my good man we are embarrassed to admit we are interested only in your goods. the ice can either quench our thirst or quench our problems.
Manny: the story of my life and the lives of all my brethren, we invisible workers who get down and dirty but are looked upon as unclean. we are second class to the ruling class. and that is why i have a pretty good footing when i decided to represent the least among you rather than the bloated kings. sure, if i became the Roger Goodell of the bunch of billionaire presidents i would have ascended to power quickly, but it's no fun if you're resented. only organically from the bottom up do you achieve power. started at the bottom now i'm here, me, only me, i'm finally here to spread the word, finally a new episode, not summer reruns.
Atalan: i do not understand what you are speaking, i wish Shaq were here, he's a polyglot. but i'm starting to understand not understanding is not always a bad thing.
Manny puts his arm around Ata.
Manny: what is my name, my son?
Ata: for the life i me i can't recall.
Manny: you never called in the first place. but now i am calling you. and i am the son. you don't need to fish for compliments, i know you know me. i know your true heart and your true occupation. you are a simple working man but your mind wants to expand. you are a man who prefers salt in his tea to sugar, to keep reminding himself to never get complacent.
Manny turns to cameraguy who has a knowing grin like he ate something he shouldn't have. Manny turns back to the two principles.
Manny: i can help you with your fire problem, i can help you with all your problems, psychology is too complicated, wouldn't it be great if it all fit together and was solved by a simple equation? the mind tends to fragment everything into minute pieces which scatter every minute. but there are no minutes, no matter how messy the initial breakage of the vase, all the pieces float out into space and eventually come back together into the infinite swirl of stars. all junk becomes space junk. there is one easy math sentence which explains everything, all the complicated things, the infinite complicated things.
Ata: shame i was never good at math.
Manny: juggling all of man's varied sacred concepts of the same Thing is tiring on my eight arms, eventually even i have to drop the balls which is really dropping the one ball of gum and it all molds elastically back like Gumby into the original ball of clay. it does without me, whether i think it or not, see it or not, but of course i see it, i see it in my mind, so i can't help but to think it, the moment i think it there it is.
cameraguy: i now marathon all the hot-button shows everyone's talking about at the water cooler. i don't have time, i have a busy schedule, so by the time i get to the shows everyone has left the water to harden.
Manny: old ways of thinking are dangerous when they get too old, they become cranky and crusty and ingrained and can't move anymore and hate the youth on their grass, they won't share their grass, they hold onto the past when they were the ones handing out flowers in their hair, they can't relinquish the power they had over the powerful, they see in the new generation one that doesn't hold onto their ideals, that squander their gifts, the gifts they gave to them,
ALWAYS ON THE HUNT FOR THE NEXT BIG THING, CLICK HERE, RIGHT HERE AT THIS LINK.
when two or three among you gather in my name, i am here, always.
Emblem: i understand, but i'm not sure i believe. i am a practical man, a ruler has to be. can we use your ice? that's what you're getting at, right? we don't have time to philosophize, philosophy is useless, all that matters is action.
Manny: actions which pour forth from the font of the universe, which is one big Thinking of itself. but you don't care for such large matters as the universe, your heart is huge for a small area. yes, the key is the ice, it will cool down all of your outer and inner fires, but not in this tiny form. cubes are feckless portions of a larger blast. you need that gigantic ice blast to quell the fire demon's wrath. i will help you, always.
Ata: we have to motor. we have to run into the flames. we're not heroes, we're pragmatists. we have to do something to save the people.
Emblem: we are of our people, we are nothing without our people.
Manny: you can't do this by yourselves. it's a fool's errand. i love fools, they are the best people, they are the ones who will try something new. you need something more, you can't rely on yourselves when the going really gets tough. how are you gonna get the ice over there in time? it's impossible but nothing is impossible through me. first, let's feast.
Emblem: what?! you're turning into another uninteresting false prophet. i see them all the time trolling the government buildings i schlep around in. we don't have the fucking time!
Manny: but you do, you always will, there will always be enough time. you need time to think, you need time to see everything around you, all of your surroundings, you miss so much in your need for speed, so much scenery chewed and quickly digested rather than chewed. let us gather and have a drink together.
Manny takes out four bottles of Coca-Cola Life in green bottles.
Manny (smiling): i hope this isn't too on the nose. hey, i didn't name these drinks, okay?
cameraguy: i knew this would happen.
Emblem: what is your name anyway? i'm sick of referring to you by not referring to you.
cameraguy: easy. i work for CNN, so my name naturally is Carter Netanyahu Nihilism.
Emblem: ask a clarifying question, and things really get clear...
Emblem and Ata refuse to drink but can't seem to make any progress out of the invisible circle Manny has formed around them. Carter drinks his bottle all up.
Carter: damn tiny bottles, you're never fully refreshed, you always want more.
Manny: the most important thing in any situation, at any time, is family, togetherness, camaraderie, and connectivity. brotherhood, a coming together, a cementing of shared idea(l)s, taking the time to really listen to one another and hear what they have to say, not assume they think one thing or the other.
Emblem: us waiting around has probably caused two or three lives. i put that on you, ice cream man, though i don't want you getting any more publicity.
Manny: time is a round circle full of our love. at any given point in time the time is in the past and sees the future, you can go back in time and fix mistakes, you can manipulate time because what is time but a ball of clay at our disposal. we are super men, we just don't believe we are. anything is possible, anything, not just NBA championships. everything can be solved with a thought.
with that, Manny's jaw unhinges and a plethora of spinning plates on toothpicks crash out of him and onto the ground, breaking up into a million pieces.
Manny: i have worked hard in my life.
the sweat on Manny's brow drips off his chins and to the ground where it forms ice cubes. three of them. four ice cubes, then a bunch of ice cubes. soon the dusty ground is invaded with a million ice cubes. the ground starts to become ice cubes, one big ice cube.
the dragonwing on top of Manny's head snaps its finger and an electricity runs through the circle of men. the force starts to crackle and pop on top of the ice cubes' bottoms, moving them independently of each other and any human contact, they have a mind of their own, they start to crawl, then walk, then run, then dance all over the place, they are comprised of many ice cubes but move as one giant snowstorm of wind gust, an ice slide, you can see each individual cube but also the entire swath of cold, it races to the village faster than the men have time to comprehend what is happening on their heads.