Cotard: how are you making out?
Atalan (on his watch, skyping): i'm seeing things beyond that, that's such a limited scope to see the world through, i'm slowly realizing it's not just basketball and the perks that come with basketball.
Cotard: you owe me dollars. i would have spent it on the spaying but i don't need to anymore.
Atalan: no way! i was right? Yayray's caught up in all of this? i knew that kid wasn't right, by which i mean he was just right, young and impressionable and looking to move up in the world quickly without consequence. i really wish he hadn't jumped, he would be witnessing this spectacle now. well, we'll just have to set him straight like everyone else in the world. peace.
Manny holds out his huge palm to a scared little boy, innocent, without protection, just wanting to be with his mom in the burning house. he casts a large looming shadow. Manny forms a fist and punches through the house.
Manny: don't worry little man, i also punched the fire out of it. you will have to rebuild the roof but don't we all. don't worry, i knew your mom was crouched on the floor in the lower section, she's a smart woman, i can tell by looking at you. you care, that's what matters. go to her, give her a kiss for me, okay well a hug for me, tell her you love her.
the boy scurries inside the burned-out structure. the thatched roof is a skeleton and so is his mom, but she's alive and smiling. the smoke she was hiding under lifts and scatters into the atmosphere, into rejuvenating nature like nothing had happened. they embrace and Manny's cheeks turn red not from the fires.
soon an Iceman's slide-worth of ice cubes converge on the poor village, the commensurate cold blankets the land in white and blue, all of the fires little and big are put out and made into ashen holes. the green of the area is experiencing an Ice Age, a joyous one this time. the villagers cheer, breaking though the icicles forming on their lips and cheeks. the red of their excitement overpowers the color of their skin, the previous reddish-brown they wore and their current blue.
Emblem: there's just something about nanomachines, they work better than macromachines. when you can get things nano, infinitesimally small, when you can get things to go inside other things, that's when the healing really occurs, cos it goes to the root of the problem rather than attacking the problem from the outside and quelling just the skin of it.
the villagers gather in the middle of their town square no longer there. there's nothing there except the people. they form a circle that's more beautiful than anything circular in nature. they hold hands crosswise.
Emblem hugs Sunsong for what seems like hours. Kenyatta looks on and smiles. the smile smiles less and less and eventually turns into a blank neutral expression the more the hug goes on and it literally becomes hours.
Emblem shakes the hand of everyone there, forming a lattice of hands, stitching through the scene, threading the ball of humanity into yarns to come. his people are happy to see him this way.
Emblem (shaking hands): patna, patna, we did it, we won.
the people: God has blessed us.
Emblem: yes he has, but it's more nuanced than that. let me have him, our previous enemy, explain.
Manny gets up on the dais and is about to speak but is interrupted. Cameraguy makes a hell of a rumbling noise bringing with him a gigiantic caravan from CNN full of goodies of all sort.
Cameraguy: this was the spoiler. we've come to the end of the story so i can finally reveal it. CNN had your back the whole time, we're not gonna film a village and let it burn, we're gonna help it, thanks to generous donations from around the world and viewers like you, we can give you unlimited drink!
there are tons of ice-cream carts filled with red cans of LeBron's Mix Sprite. and apple cider.
the kids all scream in ebullience, "LEBRON! LEBRON!". some adults do, too.
everyone agrees this day that there's no greater feeling in life than downing a cold one on a hot day. your throat is your carriage.
Kenyatta: cider? are you sure about that?
Emblem: we decided that it was weak enough for the kids but strong enough to give the adults a much-needed jolt.
Atalan: wow, even out here folk know of LeBron.
Emblem: the power of the internet. it's not sports to us, it's life, we look up to LeBron as a hero, not a sports hero. when he overcomes a 2-3 deficit in the playoffs it isn't just ball, we see him overcome with ball and are inspired to keep rolling the ball up the hill that we may eventually get out of our circumstance of being here on this ball of endless dirt.
the kid Manny saved, named The Bron, comes up to the adults and speaks out of turn:
The Bron: thank you, thank you, thank you.
Atalan: that's what we're here for. free throws pee throws. look, kid, turn around and hear your hero speak. what was that, Manny? we can't hear you.
The Bron: thank you for the Sprite! i love LeBron! he's my favorite basketball player! he's my only basketball player, the only one i know! i'll treasure this can forever and never drink it!
Shaq hears this and is moved. he removes the weird cross-eyed expression on his face he used when he wanted to be funny, picks up a basketball, and starts teaching The Bron and the rest of the village kids how to shoot free throws on the practice basketball court that was set up that nobody knew about.
Shaq squares up for a free throw and misses it embarrassingly. The Bron takes a swig of his red can and makes a basket on his first try.
The Bron: that's the first time i've ever touched a ball in my life.
Shaq (smiling): there'll be many more, you're a natural at it!
Manny: okay i got a microphone with a CNN box around it now, thanks Cameraguy. as i was saying, this is what life is all about: community acting as one, social love, people coming together and forming secure bonds no flame could ever hope to loosen. when the world becomes a riotous cacophony of phonies, you must lean on your friends, learn from them. you must make friends, lots of them, a ton of em, you can't do this alone no matter your ideology. there are different kinds of love granted. romantic love is hot but burns out. and it fans jealousy. no one should be a fan of jealousy, it's jealousy which rips the soul out of the body public. jealousy festers in a vacuum of seeming togetherness but actual isolation. but familial love, real love of neighbors you can touch, and most importantly love of yourself, your life experiences, who you are as a person, how you reflect and reflect upon your parents and relatives, how your memories of them are ingrained into your psyche, that's what will pull us through, that's how we lift each other up, always think back to how you were as kids, with your parents, that's your real identity, that's how we'll win, and we must win, the enemy's too strong this time. it's gonna be the Fight of the Century.
there is a real enemy out there but i am not it. you thought i was your great evil for aeons. i never left you alone, but that was because i wanted to get to know you better, we were neighbors after all. i am here to help, i will rebuild with you, i will carry the glue and hold five nails in my mouth as i hammer away but you must be the glue. i am your guide but i can't be it. think of me as Jiminy Cricket on steroids.
and now shall we proceed with the procession: patnas for life.
Sunsong walks slowly down an aisle decorated with twigs and berries. she is wearing a dazzling white dress that's been painted on with ochre paint crushed just two minutes earlier by the village kids. she even wears some of the paint on her two cheeks. the one thing she wears that is truly golden is her ear-to-ear grin. she's carrying a bouquet of sunflowers.
Emblem is at the head of the audience and wipes a tear from his eye. he is relieved it's all over for him.
Sunsong walks past her husband and onto the dais with Manny. he is holding an actual physical book and donning his reading glasses.
Manny: so i guess we use this village book, which is really a collection of scrolls, to make it official? damn i remember this, i wrote this aeons ago, don't remember. i...
Cameraguy bursts through the aisle with a caravan of Apple Watches.
Cameraguy: oh yeah, there's this, too. forgot. they were in the back of the plane.
all the villagers scramble on top of one another, stacking each other, forming a big balled pile of humanity, biting and clawing their way through to get the watches free courtesy of CNN. Atalan remembers a wrestling move he saw on tv as a child and is able to maneuver his way past some folk in the pile, drop-kicking his way around a slithering path till he gets his hands on the only gold-encrusted Apple Watch there.
Manny (having enough): hey hey HEY! don't get the demon mad! we were doing so well. technology sucks, it's a red herring, not real fish from your lake, it pretends to bring people together but it's a cheap substitute for what you guys have here. remember? real friends, real community, not the show Community for a low low offer, don't let a screen come between you and our collective primal scream.
Manny wrests the watch from the wrist of a shouting-no-for-a-long-time Atalan. Manny tosses the gold watch in the nearby lake. Atalan rows a boat to the lake trying to retrieve it, this takes about an hour. Manny is at the lake in a second, fishes it out of shallow water, and swallows it.
Manny: now where was i before i was so rudely interrupted by pop-up ads. stuff, material stuff, subtracts, subtracts your time and energy. adding adds to your life, it prolongs it, add stuff, the good stuff, don't add followers, add friends. family not fame.
Manny picks up the book and reads: rub a dub dub, thanks for the grub, yay me. i came up with that? i was young back then, impatient. well you know the deal, villagers, you know the ritual better than i do, i don't have to speak the holy words, you've seen this episode before.
he turns to Sunsong and points at her like a dad singling out his embarrassed daughter in the rock-concert crowd.
Manny: girl, you know who you are. you'll be fine. keep blazing that trail, sista! this is your village's first-ever female leader in almost whatever it is 1000 years. let's have a round of applause! and then a round of drinks!
THE CROWN IS PASSED, THE CROWD IS GASSED, THE PARTY STARTS, THE VILLAGE DANCES TO THIS, CLICK HERE, RIGHT HERE AT THIS LINK.
the adults' tongues all gather round the cider pyramid, the kids at the LeBron Sprite fountain. some adults go to both.
Kenyatta receives a message from Cotard on her watch, which is just the normal standard watch with no bells or whistles. she hands her watch phone to Atalan.
Kenyatta: what happened to your phone?
Ata: God said hell no to it.
Cotard: so Ata, ready to come home?
Ata: no way, i'm just getting started.
Cotard: oh yeah, forgot, this is just the first stage of the free-throw competition. *sigh* it's lonely out here, loneliness is the enemy.
Manny has an upset stomach. he burps which creates a small tornado. he forms a fist which he uses to hit his heart area.
Manny: too much gold is not good for the system.
he coughs out the gold Apple Watch. it still hasn't connected to wifi and is on the fritz as usual. he has to traverse a couple of oceans before he gets proper reception. in the middle of the Pacific Ocean he finally gets the worldwide feed, messages going so fast the typeface is blurred. after scrolling through tons of spam about the stones Manny lands on a message from a concerned mother:
it's not like when we were kids. too much sex and violence everywhere, innocence thoroughly evaporated from jump. no time to contemplate birth before the child is already feeling dead. hopefully the promise of the stones is kept. i can't raise my kid in this world anymore, outside technology has won, they have our kids in secret, video-game characters are dominating our children's fragile senses, raising them in blood with a quick trigger finger and no consequences. millennials have no idea what the concept of loving good music is, they'll never know how to love properly, how to have sex, just how to have porn.
below this is a talkback between two kids:
kid 1: did you see the new LeBron commercial? i want to drink that so bad, i am so thirsty! the way it's presented is so pleasing to the eye! it hits my artistic senses with a swell. the way that tiny piece of orange is there next to the can and that tiny segment of lime and another fruit of a yellow color i'm unfamiliar with, it's so exotic, so cute, i want to delight my tongue with its juice. the cherry. it's the mystery of it all.
kid 2: they don't carry that at my local mart. you're too happy today, it's making me uncomfortable. if you keep this up i'm gonna start hating you.