Kenyatta: is this some sort of special joke?
Manny: no, i can assure you, the calendar i follow doesn't have the month of April.
Sunsong gets on her knees partly out of exhaustion and partly out of divine revelation. she is crying those inbetween tears.
Sunsong: oh precious spirit, i pray to you every night, you are my foul-weather friend, i beseech you, i don't ask for answers, but why? why? why do you torment us with this constant flame? what can we do to make it up to you? we are offended that we offended you, seemingly, mysteriously. give us divine instructions. but please with your kind words demonstrate that there is a scale up there in the sky, that would be the most beautiful gift you could ever give us.
Manny: well shit i don't know that stuff. i'm middle management. it's a a need-to-know system but i don't know for sure. i never need to know, i go. they seem fit to leave me to my own devices. i'm in a center ring far afield from the big galactic stuff. what i do know is that i'm your demon and as you can see, i'm one of you.
Manny is different from where you spot him. from one angle his face is completely human, his ears are fine, nose a little snouty but okay, a necklace of blackened gold rectangles befitting a king, a robe whose threads bounce off the light of the fire all around and at another angle are the flames as threads. turn another direction and the difference starts to show: that nose has smoke billowing out the nostrils, and he has one eye that is hard to see cos it's sandwiched between two prominent holes in his forehead which houses the natural poles girding the one dragon wing on top of his head. the wing has a cute little rattail at the end of it, a little wing within the wing that spikes into a flower bulb. so it's hard to tell what Manny is looking at but you always feel that he's indeed looking and you know when he's looking at you.
Manny: look. get it? it's hard to explain, most big things are, and isn't the rule to show rather than tell anyway? all will be explained with a tight bow on a package you send your estranged sister every Christmas to get rid of her. you were saying something about a bucket brigade? that won't work. it will but only with my help. ditch the car, this is gonna require manpower.
Manny picks up the girls' car and swallows it whole then lowers his huge hand by the feet of the women. sometimes it seems Manny is a giant beyond comprehension, but at another angle he is simply as tall as Kenyatta, who is relatively short.
Kenyatta: you're lucky i don't have time to think. well it's been a slice, my homey Sunsong. nice knowing you.
the two close their eyes and embrace each other as Manny embraces them with his fingers. they are not squashed like little ants, just given a ride as Manny proceeds to walk through the flames to the lake. unscathed the three of them. he covers a lot of ground with those big feet of his, a couple of miles by car takes the anomalous beast a nice constitutional jog. they are at the lake but encounter a row of electrical power boxes at the gate lining the perimeter.
Manny: well this can't be safe.
Manny tears all the power lines with one fell swoop, crushing all the boxes with his thumb. a symphony of sparks and fireworks light up the day sky.
but then Kenyatta puts away her bow and thinks about it and whispers instead to Sunsong with a cupped hand to her lips.
Kenyatta: psst, Sunsong, he just ripped apart the entire grid, primitive though it was. whatever chance we had of communicating to our boys or anyone else for that matter vanished in a puff of poof. our devices are useless.
Manny: not your human devices. our human devices.
Manny plants the women shoreside and assumes a wide stance, spreading his feet apart in the middle of the lake, letting the covering over his front flap in the wind and whatever is covered sway as well.
Manny: i'm feelin' free. i'm picturing in my mind what to do. there's calmity in there as well as comedy, i can see the world and mold it to fit a joke that's emerging or a plan. it's quite wonderful in my imagination. i imagine it's the best place you could ever be, the best place in the universe, the best place there will ever be. yes, yes, i see my mother laying nude on a field of sunflowers, her body rumbles the ground and creates the rolling valleys inbetween the verdant hills of the country where i grew up. my father is painting her. my happy place, it's not an image, it's a...place...got it, i have the solution, i'm remembering what my father used to do with his unused paints. he'd fill his mouth with them and spit them out onto the canvas. an abstract is easier than painstaking realism but to be honest i enjoyed the messiness of the abstract more than his careful every-point-plotted-out portraits.
Manny lowers his lower jaw and takes in half the lake's contents into his tongue. his mouth is full and his cheeks are really red against his blue skin.
Kenyatta: well at least he can't talk anymore.
Manny points with his stubby finger to the direction of the village and motions for the women to hitch a ride on his tail, his big tail on the back of him, the one with no spikes. the babes get on the blue motorcycle and Manny races back through the flames before the women have a chance to catch any breath of fresh air. Sunsong has had her eyes permanently closed throughout all of this. his body turns red.
Kenyatta: are you scared?
Sunsong: yes, i'm praying.
at the sanctuary, a forlorn Cotard is exhausted and staring at his little kitten mewing at her tail. the cat approaches her water bowl and begins pawing at the water. the cat is fascinated by her reflection in the water, she can't stop pawing at the water, pawing at it, then soaking up the water left on her paw with her tongue, she doesn't just drink the water directly with her mouth. when Cotard decides to finally look away, the cat goes crazy and hits the bowl's lip with her paw, spilling half the contents all over the stone floor. that's always the way, isn't it? Cotard is miffed not so much by this but because it's another thing to do and he leaves to fetch a mop. he is frantic when he can't find it...or her. she was stuck behind the refrigerator. Cotard stretched his arm till it became a bloody pulp, stretched until he was able to scream and shout and pull her out.
the ride is a blur but Kenyatta is always on, always with her senses peaked. she peeks an orange blur.
Kenyatta: Buddy, drop us off here, something's goin' on. go on ahead to the village, i trust you as far as i can throw you.
Manny: the name's Manny and sure.
Kenyatta waits until she can no longer see Manny in the distance, takes Sunsong by the arm, and the two scurry into the deep jungle where they finally spot a spotted lion in a circle of fire.
Sunsong: i want my man. your shoulders aren't broad enough.
Kenyatta: i know you love your husband but he is not here.
Sunsong: he's not my husband, it's a better love, he's my boyfriend. i don't care about external politics just internal policy. i have one rule: i want to be with him. i hope he's proud of me.
Kenyatta: don't be silly, i'm proud of you.
upon seeing the fiery feline, another wondrous vision, Sunsong approaches the ring of fire bravely, gets on her knees, and continuing her kinda survivalist fever, she sings in an understated, kind, beautiful tone
THIS ANCIENT DESCANT, CLICK HERE, RIGHT HERE AT THIS LINK.
the long paean calms everyone down in a kinda Johnny Cash black sombre, the lion looks down in prayer, Kenyatta is hypnotized by the flames, the large palms seem to bow as Sunsong does.
Kenyatta: i'm sorry, sir, i got distracted. i'll rush to get a bucket or something to douse the flames.
Aunny the Lion: stop my child, and listen to me like your pets listen to you. notice how the flames are all spaced evenly and on their best behavior. they are not coming into me or out, the circle they form is perfect, each is a perfect swirl you'd find on birthday cupcakes. i am not in any danger, i am not consumed by the flames but framed by them. i am an apparition sent to you at this very place at this very time. i knew you'd come for me here so i came here only because you were around here. if you weren't around i wouldn't have come. you determined my coming.
Kenyatta: i'm having trouble with this.
Aunny: we all do, we all play our part in the powerful play, and our words always go unheeded. i've learned from before not to prattle on when it comes to these heavy matters. the big stuff is short and simple, sweet like birthday cake. here it is for anyone who will listen: i am not the king of the jungle anymore, an evolution has taken place, the new beast on the block is a being by the name of Manny. follow...
JUST THEN Manny swoops down and takes the entire circle with Aunny in the center of it with his hand into his mouth full of lakewater. he races like a thunder bolt to the scene of the burning village and stops at that same mother with the same boy. this time the mother is trapped in a building and the son looks blankly on from outside.
screams burst through the giant village conflagration, most probably due to the fire but i'm sure 10% are coming from villagers who have just witnessed Manny for the first time and have no idea what to think. Manny's dead expression mimics the boy's as he lowers his gigantic hand.