Cotard wakes up from a long long sleep in which he dreamed rich rich dreams none of which he can remember. he has a headache.
Cotard (rubbing himself): that's how you know it was good. i will never forget, Friend Imzhan. i need to wake up.
Cotard stirs about and loses consciousness and attempts to gain his bearings but it's hard cos he's so high up. when he finally realizes where he is, he goes straight into his morning meditations.
Cotard: i want to go back. i want to remember where i was.
Cotard is atop a hill on the Pillars of Creation, the one on the far left finger of the hand there that looks like a wave. there is one hill that overlooks the one seaside town. all the buildings of this town are made up of the old brown wood of previous piers, they're all scrunched up against one another like a shantytown all trying to gulp their share of the ocean. the sea glidely waves about with an irregular rhythm all its own, sometimes the wave is big and fluid, sometimes small and jagged, sometimes big and small, sometimes there's no wave, or a half-wave. a piece of seaweed flitters off and will be the Christmas meteor. the sea robins try to fly atop the surface but end up splitting the difference and swimming instead, not knowing what direction they'll go next. Cotard pulls his swaddling diaper up to cover his plumber crack as he continues nonstop praying with his eyes closed and fingertips wrenched. he has no shirt on and feels sexy. it's a good hair day. Cotard eventually starts to feel ghastily hungry.
Cotard: it's so funny how you don't want to stop but your body makes you. those aren't hunger pangs, those are cries for help, shouting in outer space for a change.
Cotard has such no strength he stumbles down the hill like Jack and makes it to the foot quicker than he would have liked. like a rolling cheese.
Cotard: then again, this worked out perfectly. i can eat faster.
he makes his way to the surf shack in the center of town, tiptoeing through the foreign sand. he pushes the saloon doubledoor through.
bald man waiter: here's your coffee.
Sid: i ordered tea. coffee gives me a headache.
bald man waiter: go back.
Cotard: me? you talkin' to me? why? i'm starving. i do dishes.
bald man: you didn't notice the sign. nobody ever does the first time.
Cotard sticks his bald head back outside to see a miniature man in a hula skirt and coconut bra swaying his hips to a beat all his own and read the big sign glowing in rattan letters: SHACK.
waiter: that's the name of this establishment. also the name of our club. and one other thing.
inside the famished monk sees three men in silver wetsuits circling a table. above the tv are hooks to place a prized surfboard but there's no surfboard. on the far right corner lies a table where sits a man in a suit with a wizened face and hair that can't get any grayer. he smokes a cigarette lovingly to a metric tone only he can hear and has one foot out of its way propped up on an oak footstool. you can see his black-socked ankle. the waiter wears a smock btw. one of the three of the round table is young and shaved all over but the other two wear their beards upright, the beards flow upwards from their bald heads. one has a mustache, the other a goatee. one is white, the other pink, their hairs that is. the young boy is sketching on a pad, shapes.
waiter: what can i get ya? pizza.
Cotard is still woozy but he's good at quickly reading and taking the temperature of a room.
Cotard: ever since i can remember i have this strong neverending craving for pizza. yes, pizza. your best pizza please, melty and cheesy and gooey, so hot it thins the sausage into pepperoni. and just plain crust, none of this fancyschmancy thing where you stuff all sorts of shit into the crust, old skool my man, my fine man. bread is staff-of-life enough on its own. i'm so hangry i could eat a seahorse. hell i'll even excuse the occasional stray green pepper or mushroom or anchovy.
the waiter sketches in his orders pad beautifully.
waiter: you've come to the right place! pizza is our specialty! i'm afraid we don't use the oceanlife right outside our door. we've become attached to the life out there. y'know once they name you we become their pets sort of thing. we're out of cheese. no cheese. the cheese comes later. but that isn't what you came here for.
the waiter promptly moves to the table of three and takes their orders.
Sid: how do you like my DOTD?
Sid: drawing of the day. look at these shapes here.
Rumi: interesting. you have a circle, a triangle, and a square. you're a good drawer! good going, The Kid!
Sid: i've noticed how the circle and square are similar. the triangle is the one that stands out.
on the tv above the bar is Carl Sagan in a football helmet and shoulderpads woefully too big for him. he speaks in a noticeable Texan twang. this is very jarring for poor Cotard.
Carl Sagan: the universe is not fair. the universe is like a football game. all you need is a field goal to win the big game and it goes Wide Left. that's the universe right there.
waiter: what would you like?
Sid: i dunno, i'm so excited. i guess a pizza. with extra cheese? deep dish? and don't forget my special broccoli topping.
waiter: coming right up.
Cotard: come on. *deep sigh*
Cotard peeks at what's written on the waiter's top page like he was back cheating at school and sees a drawing of his dad. the waiter rips the page off and hands it to the monk. the paper falls to the ground. the waiter picks it up
the nail on the waiter's left index finger is completely split down the middle, from texting.
waiter: it only hurts when i try to hold things.
before Cotard can pick it up, the paper has turned into a glass portrait of Cotard's father, the last known photo of the man in his graduation gown.
waiter: maybe this is what you came for? kiss the pic, it's been awhile. it'll calm your pangs.
Cotard (*kiss*): wow dad, it's been awhile. thank you.
Glidden pulls his pinkhair out.
Glidden: i can't stand it! this orange addiction on instagram. everyone is so craving of those orange little hearts do you know what they do? they actually post, say, ten pics a day to get their hearts. then they remove those pics the next day and post ten new ones, just to get as many orange hearts as they possibly can. if they were pink i'd understand. that's no way to be, that's no way to document your life by ignoring your history. this junk is worse than the Stones.
Rumi: it's bad out there in space. *covers Sid's eyes* the adults in the room gotta shield this youngin's eyes until he can handle such filth. you notice the online comments which get the most likes are the ones that encourage bad behavior? promote pulchritude instead of pan- ? bread is good. the craziest, the most dangerous, the most outlandish ideologies, the most fouled-mouthed, -ist, and violent? vulgar vitalizes. the less human the better. all very deliberately cynical. too much freedom, nowhere to go. i told you the internet was a bad idea.
waiter: everyone has forgotten whether it's a joke or real life anymore. egging on. as a chef, i particularly condemn the callous wasting of eggs. i am so serious. everyone has now reached the end, there's nothing more to say or do, everything has been said and done, shocking has come back with diminishing returns, the zenith antenna is broken, everyone is waiting for the next thing and it's not coming. where is the cleaning stick that disrupts the glass pool and makes waves? we must lift outrage out of the pool and resuscitate it with our hands. let's stop fapping to everything. let's use our senses. let's feel again.
cigarette-smoking man (in between puffs): what to do.
Glidden: i wanted it to be grey, it's symbolic, y'know, it fills the room with meaning, it's a conversation-starter. people will ask what is the white and what is the black?
Rumi: i understand your concerns. and i appreciate you as a valued employee. but the consensus was black. i dunno, black's cool. black is every boy's favorite color. it makes it easier to spot the stars.
Glidden: why must consensus rule?
Rumi: this is what was agreed upon. go ahead, kill the messenger, i can take it. i think once you become a parent, you see things differently. you don't have the youthful juice anymore to fight. parents just don't understand. once you become a parent, you'll understand.
Sid (struggling to get his head under Rumi's handblocks): but why not white? white's as primal as black. i eat more blancmanges than i do main courses. and white represents all the colors, right? it would've been more collegial from the start, we would have looked up and seen coming together.
Rumi: hey i'm all for black stars. but it's not without symbolism. in fact the absence of light, of color, speaks volumes in this vacuum of space and is the most representative of what reality is. i like too that it's cold, nice touch.
waiter: soup's on!
Sid viciously gobbles up his pizza with the little bodhi trees on top. that makes Cotard's mouth water as Cotard could have eaten that pizza faster. Sid's sweet tooth kicks in and he cleanses his palate by summoning a candy cane into his palm.
Sid: i wonder.
Sid scrunchies his hand and the candy cane turns to glass.
Sid: huh. knew it.
the Surf Shack turns into a bodhi tree, with its roots pointing up sucking the upwards atmosphere. all of the plastic palm trees which line the room turn real and breathe. next comes a Fritos pizza. Rumi picks off the Frito chips on there and throws away the rest of the pizza. Rumi sucks on the chips until all the salt and starch and added fattening are stripped bare.
Rumi: Frito lick.
Cotard: Frito dick?
Rumi: i'm the Frito licker. i'm the unofficial food taster. i really get in there, y'know, taking apart all of the elements to reveal the core essence of a thing.
Cotard: i beg your pardon, gentleperson. i am hanging around Codrus too much. i need to meet some new people.
the mention of Codrus gets the four talking over one another again but they ignore Cotard in the conversation.
Glidden: he will be the wedge that will save us.
Rumi: he will save everything. we desperately need a new mode of thought. even the grandest ballrooms need to be fumigated. the question always is what will the afterparty be like? now back to my ruminating..................you know what really gets my wheels of life sparking? on instagram, everyone keeps saying how they're not the ones who are dumb, they aren't ignorant, THEY know what's really going on, they're not part of the stupid hopeless idiots on the other side who make the world horrible by gullibly swallowing everything that's thrown down their throats. EVERYONE knows what's going on with a wink. THEY'RE not part of the problem, they see through things, they're smart enough to get it, they see what the government is doing. so then who are these people these people compare themselves to as them being more intelligent than them? who are the shmucks? i'd like to meet these fascinating shmucks. there must be a lot of shmucks cos these people keep bringing them up. the shmucks are the problem, they obviously aren't. who are these people?
the cigarette-smoking man plays a bass guitar with his naked toe poking out of a hole in his sock and bops his mouth to the Seinfeld theme.
Cotard: i can't stand this anymore! my throat has melted and not from butter. will my words ever be honeyed again? i can eat. i could eat. I HAVE TO EAT TO DEATH NOW! it is the human condition! i guess i'll have to cook it myself. that's how you guarantee something getting done, do it yourself.
Cotard signals for the strings to the waiter's apron dirty with streaks of all the colors. the waiter obliges after gaspily looking over to the other four and hands the monk his smock. when Cotard dons the dishbitch's cloth, a sudden wave of eternality washes over behind his eyes and downs the polyps of his tongue, moving the great thirst he had in the back of his neck over to his nose. the gears of his bowels cease grinding.
Cotard: my appetites are gone........................but i am still hungry...........it is a far far better thing that i do........................
Cotard looks around the one small room and suddenly all 5 faces are pointed at him, smiling. except the cigarette-smoking man, who remains stonefaced.
Sid: we needed someone new, too. we are too old and too caught up in the trees. you are our
NECESSARY EVIL, CLICK HERE, RIGHT HERE AT THIS LINK.
cigarette-smoking man (said simply): never thought to smoke with company before. always regarded it as a maligned solitary act.
Cotard: i'm not good with groups. hated Cub Scouts but kept with it cos i couldn't refuse Mama. though i loved the uniform. she paid for Little League, too, and AYSO Soccer. the further they forced me onto fields the further afield i went....................but, well.......................my father was right....................it's better this way...............i won't pry much........................i'm just glad there are still humans still.
Wolf storms into the Shack.
Wolf: what the fuck is going on, guys?! what is up?! you won't believe the time i had! i took a last-minute experimental rocket off Earth before my home planet reseeded itself. man! it's one thing to flee your home country, you still have hopes you'll be accepted somewhere else, y'know? thank god the thing didn't explode. it's good to be friends with Branson. what'd i miss?
Cotard: your daughter?
Wolf: she's with Branson now.
Cotard is wearing an invisible robe. he's all warm and cozy in it.
Codrus: i hate it up here!
a fiery chill penetrates all over Codrus's body as he stands atop the highest of the Pillars and gazes out into the galaxy.
Codrus: it's unnerving. my eyesight is such that i see the tips of all the edges of the universe, i can sort of see the end lines of creation. i try not to look directly at it, i see but the spark of it and quickly turn away, i'm scared of it. my eyes take in the vast 360 degrees of vista of blackness. i try to focus on all the colors but the black swallows it up before i can appreciate. i yearn for some more smoke. i want the comforting black of my covered eyes instead. I CAN'T LOOK AT THIS EVERYTHING ANYMORE! IT'S MAKING ME SHUDDER!!!
Codrus after a day summons up his last bit of courage and removes his hands from his eyes. the pillars are gone. so is the bubble. Codrus and Cotard now walk in space, through space, like walking on water. the end lines of the universe are inching closer to one another, coming together, shrinking.
Codrus (with a relieved Goofy guffaw): guh guh guh. guh hyuk. so much for creation.