Mickey Bump lies on the ground completely. he's melting into the ground. his arm skinnies and bends backwards awkwardly. he makes a v with the fingers of his tiny hand. in pops a business card in the middle of that v. soon business cards begin to form where the initial one began, they flow in a v pattern flying high in the sky, curving past trees and reaching a designated height where they explode and pop and fall all around the world, especially in desert areas.
Bump (last words): i'm the rainmaker. not a footnote.
the business cards say MICKEY BUMP but there's nothing underneath, they're otherwise blank. at the very bottom righthand corner of each card is
a lifesize Man-E-Faces action figure is addressing a crowd on a creaky wooden platform. the rain makes it creakier but the clear droplets are starting to turn yellow and fiery, which is a different problem. the first face speaks first.
Man-E-Faces First Face: you didn't listen to me cos i was black, you listened to me cos i was new. please listen to my successor the same way. afford him the same presidential courtesy. he must be different from me to distinguish his blackness. but it's not about race. there are so many races that there is no race. either there is one or none. aliens are laughing at us right now over how dumb we are.
he switches to his second face with that circular spring action.
Man-E-Faces Second Face (softly, deliberately): hear ye, hear ye, let's return to the good old days. olden times when men were men, women were women, and God was God. arm everyone i say. if everyone has a gun, good guys will be good guys and bad guys bad guys. and crazy guys will be crazy guys. we're all a bit crazy. life is crazy. it's how we respond to the crazy that determines if we survive. especially if we can duck well. if everyone had a gun, national disasters would have been averted. we'd have a very different gauge of tragedy. and for tragedy. our history books would be much different. no need for alternative history, we'd still be searching for ultimate evil.
in the town square of a typical inner city in this country, Ty looks directly into the camera and mugs. his satisfied smile spreads across the screen as he holds a large long pistol that lowers by his bellybutton. he sticks his skinny arm into the sky and shoots it gleefully. the tip of the gun salivates as it emits a ball of bullets which explodes into the sky in a firework of arms, shooting in every direction, dotting the purple night with quick bursts of white. a pound of shellcasing hits Man-E-Faces in the face, spinning his faces out of control as he topples over. one yellow bullet pierces the ball in the sky and reaches up to Codrus's face. it slices up his skin.
Codrus: 'tis but a flesh wound. i graze on these all day. hahaha.
Cotard and Codrus at the tip of the earth in the bubble, which is wobbling its contours dramatically:
Codrus: sorry for being a million miles away. cos i was. i had to take a drink. oh i was so thirsty.
Cotard: the reverse blade is still in you, y'know. your stomach ain't gonna start spilling out in swisscheese holes, is it?
Codrus: thank you. i had almost forgotten what pain felt like. it's better if it remains in me, can't do any more damage that way.
Cotard: i'm sure there's still something in you. i wonder what you would shed now. it's not the blood we have all known. it's been forever tainted.
Codrus: enriched. i bleed milk. like defeating a virus by introducing the same virus. milk of magnetism. i've tricked you, y'know. i am so devilish. i love that i exist. we're not in the bubble. we're on one of my atomic hurricanes. collision course with Russia. don't worry, not Putin, Putin fascinates me, he's the type of bloke you just want to have a vodka with. i'm talking bout the outlying areas, siberian wilderness, subjugate some of the hardened peasants there to test it properly. but it's proving difficult. Russia is so vast.
Cotard: whatcha talkin bout illest? it's manageable now. in Soviet Russia it's so big instead of going through Siberia merely turn your head around and you're at the other side. that's why everyone avoids Siberia. i have no desire to plumb the depths of your innerworkings, only your knowledge. do you mind if i get nakey? this monk garb really needs to get with the times. it's too heavy for summer and too slippery for winter. not retentive enough. i want to feel the rain on my face, it's my only joy. i told them those gore-tex cowls wouldn't sell.
Codrus: no. i've seen it all. hey, what gives? this isn't my turbulence. down is where it's at.
Cotard: i countered your bubble with my bubble.
the two travel up toward a rainbow river in the mesosphere. a green bird wearing a tiny astronaut gold-foil heat-shield visor flies in from space and lands on Cotard's palm. he moves his fingers ever so slightly in a cup and the bird poofs into his hangglider.
Cotard: why deny yourself this once-in-a-lifetimes view? look up, my brother. beauty is in the unknown.
Codrus: wish you'd call me friend. friends are easier than family.
the glider tips over upsidedown so the sail of it becomes a raft for the two wanderers. the makeshift boat glides on the surface of the space river, twinkling half-stars start to form on the contact points, drips of multicolor splash all around the weightless path. Cotard sits Codrus
BACK ON THE SPACESHIP, KARATE CHOPS UNDER HIS EYES RIGHT ON THE BRIDGE OF CODRUS'S NOSE TILTING CODRUS'S HEAD UP FROM THE BACK TO THE VIEW AHEAD OF THE RAINBOW RIVER NARROWING, CLICK HERE, RIGHT HERE AT THIS LINK
Cotard: you enjoy. i'll be over here with my headphones on. i've missed music. it's been a crazy couple of months.
Cotard closes his fingers into an onion-bulb-shape around his ears and headphones form on his ears. he bops his head to the chorus. Codrus turns back to his foe after being mesmerized for three minutes.
Codrus: what are you listening to? and please don't use the word content. i hate that word.
Cotard: my thoughts exactly. it's not content, it's songs. it's just something i used to repeat over and over in my head when i was little. heh, well i never grew up, did i? here.
he passes the phones to Codrus.
Codrus: i shall never be content. a recording?
the sound in the headphones is Cotard repeating these words over and over: i hate my life i hate my life i hate my life i hate my life i hate my life i hate my life i hate my life i hate my life i hate my life i hate my life i hate my life i hate my life i hate my life i hate my life i hate my life i hate my life i hate my life i hate my life i hate my life i hate my life
Cotard: no matter how many times i'd say that, think that, it never proved true. the refrain lingered but the feeling faded. something good would happen next. or something normal. count me among the lucky, huh? the blessed. i had people before me. everyone does.
Codrus's nose scrunches disgustingly.
the two pass the sun. electrical dust fills the vacuum of the vicinity. all of the world's bullets are coming at the sun from every village on every continent, even candy-cane-striped bullets from the North Pole. the barrage never ends, the globe's cover stains with gunsmoke. fire upon fire. the sparks begin to chip away at the sun. the sun slowly molds into a giant screen. while all this commotion is going on in the front with Codrus, Cotard slips to the back of the screen. Cotard poofs into Manny and with his gentle-giant hands makes shadow puppets of various combinations of animals by manipulating his fingers right at the spot where Uvula and the others are gathered at the lake still marveling at her pregnancy. even the nearby lake trees are transfixed moving their branches in and their bushes apart to see. Uvula is still in the water bobbing her head at the surface, getting bits of air but forgetting to breathe. she wears a yellow furry hoodie. her baby the creature swims upright and stands on the glistening watery surface and all anyone can do is honor it with their stares and gawks. the creature blinks his fourth eye and an electromagnetic wave is sent forth across the lands, every gas-station pump is instantly filled with clear fuel. no creature will ever be before or since. this is real this time, real for the media age. a layer of invisible protection envelops the lake like a divine bubble---a trio of icelandic horses who made the arduous journey and whose breaths smell of myrrhic grass barely get inside the bubble before it closes---shielding it from the fires to its sides. all of the cities of the world are burning to the ground. the singe knows not the synagogue from the sin den, the flame like the worst kind of fan fangasms at its freedom to eat up anything it wants. all buildings break, all structures sink into the sand, into the primordial desert below.
on a helicopter on the putting green of the golf course by the lake, a shellacked Kenyatta looks up trying to shield her eyes with her blackened hand and sees her old friend Cotard. though he isn't Cotard anymore. Cotard spots his friend from ago and instantly the connection is made. after a couple of tries he shapes his Manny hands into earmuffs and motions around his ears. Kenyatta gets it. music always works. she straps on her headphones and shouts out the lyrics:
it's in my head, in my head................zombie, zombie, zombie hey hey (bae bae)........it is my family....
a faint picture of Bridge holding a bag begins to harden in Kenyatta's mind. Kenyatta's mind is healing and becoming mysterious again.
Sunsong looks up but not at any gods. she hopes to see her husband in the stars. he is there, muscular and useless on the other side.
Sunsong: take me with you, beloved lifemate.
Emblem: it's not better here. you can do the most good over there. all i can offer from here is false hope. you can lead. you make pants look good. you have nice legs. just pretend i never existed, that's how you'll get through. i'll see you tonight when you fall asleep and dream. as everynight. all we ever have together anymore is milk and cookies.
a coat of many colors springs forth from the heavens and spirals onto Sunsong's sawed-off staff, staining it with her husband's love smell.
Cotard uses his Manny hands to scoop up a large mound of dirt, earth, and trees. he tries to scoop up the lake with the other hand but it's too heavy. he's careful to go around the screen but it gets wobbly and he accidentally drops it in front of the giant sunscreen in space. the forest ball turns into a giant bronze cash register. bronze, not bronzed. the cash register paper starts ticking printing up the latest headlines: news, olds, sports, a word from our non-sponsor, the end of weather, up to the minute, up-to casualty count. a basketball court is rambunctious with activity inside but quiet outside. the beam of light from the screen reaches the court building and suddenly Stephen A. Smith's voice can be heard the world over without a radio.
Stephen A. Smith: the Golden State Warriors finish up their remarkable undefeated season, winning all their regular-season- and postseason games and the NBA Finals chip. not a blemish on their record. Michael who?
Cotard knows his own strength but doesn't realize it yet. he steers his Manny hands wildly, he can't quite control them. he accidentally tips the righthand corner of the screen and it tilts shooting a beam of light directly into Wolf and Cub's house. they manage to jump out her bedroom window in time.
Wolf: somehow i knew one day i'd have to jump out of my house like a spooked animal. it's the line of work i'm in.
Bump's nose begins spewing white glue all over the world. his eyes, which have been fixed on an image of a bouncing red ball for 7000 years, glaze under the earth. the glue never ceases to come out of his two nasal orifices. the glue covers the surface of the world---except the lake bubble---putting out all the fires and forever encrusting Earth with a permanent rockhard fossil top-layer.
Codrus: hahahaha. so much for saving the world. so much for prayer. all those prayers said over and over again through the generations like a record that would never break, so scared it was to not be on the record. what did it get you? haven't you ever heard of creating your own reality? fight the future with me, Cotard. you needed to get out of that monk robe. become a space monk.
Cotard: an astronaut? wanted to but couldn't pass the astronaut exam. too much science for my blood.
Codrus forms a Manny nose on his face and slingshots the bubble out of Earth's orbit with a long stellar sniff into that middle ground of outer space. the contours of the bubble begin to realign, balance out, and stabilize again.
next stop: the Moon, brown and tan.