the homesteader is sitting slanted quiet brim of his hat covering his entire body. every so often an arm outstretches from the hat's ribbon to turn over the stick that's puncturing a hole in his can of beans over his open fire. Codrus tries not to make a sound as he approaches.
Codrus (chewing on a stalk of wheat): more for i don't want to disrupt the beauty of all this pristine white sand. now how the hell you make it all out here? where's your family?
homesteader (rubs his bald head): well now buckaroo i could ask you the same thing. a moonshiner's got to keep some secrets close to his overalls. let's just say we took the crazy train. can't you guys just leave us alone? the fact that you asked shows you got some growing to do. and that there are still pockets of resistance. *clinks his own gold teeth* cheers. escaping the gubmint wasn't the only reason we retreated to this rock. there's Stones in them thar hills. and might i say thank you for your aesthetic, this planet's mighty purdy. i think i go get high art anow, by gum. mostly i appreciate that it's barren.
Codrus: some of my best work. my only work. early work? there are pockets of adoration, too, i'm sure. i hear i'm huge on the Gram. but you can't keep running forever. soon the only wide open spaces left will be in your head.
homesteader: thank you kindly, sir. oh it's not so much a militia as a movement. i'm but a farmer tilling for new soil. my corn crop is my identity. i am corny, i make no dinosaur bones about it, ayephehehhee.
Codrus bellies up, waves his hat, and shouts YEEEEEEEEEEHAAAAAAAWWWWWWWWWWW as loud as he can.
Codrus: wow, there really is no reverberation here at all. you lucked out, as flat as ancient Earth.
homesteader (rubbing his belly): don't feel good, huh? doesn't feel right, right here in your medicine chest. when it's not yours. the smell of corporate takeover is of a staining coat of texas tea. devoid of history, richness. we are the real muricans. you have to admit, it's just not fair, when you guys always have all the power, by which i mean central heating. you'll always have the upper hand, the most resources, the most time, the most warm homes, the only guns. you have the heroic snipers, we have the cowardly ones. what are we on the other side to do? even when we win we lose. are we to trust you have our best interest, have all the answers? now if i could look you in the eye over a steaming succulent supper of hog and cob i could see how much mud was in there. i could spitshake and that'd be that. but you're always wearing those sunglasses, afraid to look at your horizon. *pats belly* yep yep yep yep yep, flat as daddy's belt, better to see you gubmint-men astalkin'...
the homesteader empties the full can into his mouth. there were no beans in there, only bullets.
homesteader: pardon my loud chewing. *separates the coals with his two-pronged twig then slowly looks up at Codrus* you don't come back now, ya hear?
Cotard: enough sleep, i'm bored. (*singsong*) whatcha doin'?
Codrus: divested a sunspot till i got down to beyond its essence in subatoms. i got Particle Fever! i saw processes running that were so tiny that got embarrassed when they were gazed upon for the first time by any entity that they hid and ran for cover. i'm telling you, it was due for a rewrite but a lot of this stuff is brand new, it's a shame to shelve it. don't worry, i'll incorporate it and be sure to give credit to the author with a link. if only humanity had lived to see...
...see what i'm working on presently? i'll show you number 3 of 8 concurrent projects i'm up to. see that white comet over there? go ahead and reach for it, touch it.
Cotard feels his hand engulf with a warm-but-not-in-a-good-way goo that smells of embarrassment.
Cotard: ew. i was expecting the notes again. what is this stuff?
Codrus: it's all me, baby. the universe is all me now. i miss my kids.
Cotard makes the Jenna Marbles face.
Cotard: dude, bad segue.
Codrus: i'm sure they made it off. kids see things in such different ways, ways adults can't. kids are supercharged with ready-and-willing imagination. kids are short, see, they can't see beyond the horizon so a tall building becomes a giant, a lush valley a German wood, an infinity pool the secret entrance to Atlantis. i'm sure they went off to fight the good fight, make good by me, emblazon my name across the galaxy. you know what? i can't take the suspense anymore, i know the college visit isn't until next weekend but this college thing is killing me. i need to know now. hey i'm just a product of my age.
Codrus pushes his hand long into a leftish quadrant of the universe and pulls out a box with four sides of different patterns of stars which eventually become the same pattern as they're manipulated around and the box opens with three college kids inside. the hand takes a long time to come back. in the meantime Cotard is noticing that outer space is raining, but it's disorienting, the rain is coming from downward, it's unclear where it's coming from.
Cotard: it's just not the same when the raindrops keep falling on my chin.
the hand becomes a giant foam finger in the black sky as it passes an asteroid where sits 5 Pointz. all that glorious graffiti, art, portraits of dead artists, those valuable memorizable illuminating dates of a creative artist who is gone save for anything he did on those walls and word of mouth, the history of hip-hop. Codrus takes a nearby white comet, they're everywhere lately, and squeezes it until white paint ejaculates out and whitewashes the whole of 5 Pointz.
Codrus: sorry, but it all has to go. fresh start. it's better to complete than compromise. less messy, less sticky on the hands than having to avoid certain lines.
Yayray (hiding in a secret location): skateboarding is not a crime. now who's the vandal? i'm all for blatant symbolism but this one hurts. this was our place, the man.
the hand turns into a hamsa with an eye in its palm. it gazes down upon the planet Kepler. there Codrus sees a woman in unusual medieval fatigues riding a goat with two tails back and forth, back and forth forever.
Codrus: she wears a battledress. by which i mean a battle skirt.
Codrus crumples up some stars and forms an ear constellation.
Codrus: i'm still able to hear soundings from a past-gone age.
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Codrus: how quaint. what's this, i don't recognize these voices:
Sid the Kid: i'm not all about looks but she needs to be hot. but mostly i'm looking for something that will take me offline forever.
the waiter: still got this atrocious hangnail. it's growing! i tried out some white-sand therapy to no avail, closed my eyes and stuck my hand in the sand but that didn't work.
Codrus: ah, you've all been properly cooked, my three amigos *upside-down exclamation point* you can come out now, my little darlings! what's this? there's the boy and the boy and the girl. you all look so gloomy. you're wearing all black so i can barely make out your profile in outer space. girl, what are your names again?
girl (monotone): we all got different names when we disowned you.
boy (monotone): um, all the kids on my campus are green. i don't fit in. i mean i'm Greek but i'm not THAT olive-skinned.
other boy (autotune): yeah, the army sucks. my drill sergeant particularly hates my music. who invented war anyway?
Codrus: gah! no it's worse! i see your colors now and they're not black, they're blue! you're all members of the Blue Force? the Blue Force?! why not the Red Force?! you joined the opposition, the traitors? you're breaking your old pa's heart!
girl: yeah i dunno, i like that the uniforms are blue, they match my soul of eternal despair. hey you got money for the bus?
Codrus (sweat on his brow): hehe, tell you what, i'll give you a free ride back. and i won't helicopter you anymore, the chopper blades always get stuck in this atmosphere. i'll let you breathe, i won't visit again till the Festival of the Singing Sun.
girl: what's that? sounds made up.
Codrus: yes, i just made it up. i can do that now. it's somewhere after Christmas but before Christmas. everyone dreads a new year.
Codrus hastily puts the lid back on the box with the kids inside and messes that operation up. the lid doesn't quite square up and catch and hits the corner of the box and tilts the box into a spinning freefall from which the young adults never recover. it just spins up and down but never left and right, never forwards or backwards.
Codrus: whoopies. that wasn't supposed to happen. i don't know how to stop this. that's gonna leave a mark. by which i mean quite a few lashings for the scientists in the church congregation. those poor souls are REALLY gonna be confused. oh well. cie la vie. live and learn. gotta leave the nest some time. probably won't be much snow forming. too many snowflakes anyway. not everyone can get into AP Chemistry.
Cotard is upon a glorious vacant sprawling ballroom adorned with heavy roped amber drapes. there's an aura of banana and cream and daisy. the lights are chartreuse and the tiles on the floor are maize. the overhead lights are little spinning ufos. Mama Fuerza alights on her tippytoes, her toes form into slippers. her beautifully florid flowered dress is made of straw. by which i mean is of silk of the color straw. the spotlight comes in and out but when it's in it dances lightly to Fuerza's many movements as she twirls herself throughout all the four corners. then she reaches the center of the room and trips over her excitement and lands on her shoulder, separating it. Cotard was already generally aware and miffed today but now he has a solid excuse.
Cotard: dammit, mom, i told you not to do unnecessary things! you're too old!
Fuerza: i'm too old to have fun? to live? i am to wither away, let my whiskers grow, and become a housecat? i may be decrepit but i shall dance! i shall be the decrepit dancer! that's all i ever wanted to be when i was a little girl working slave labor on the homestead back in the country of old. i could never slip into a tutu then so i slip now. never stop dreaming, son.
Cotard: dammit, mom, i'm having a bad day! God ate me. and now this happens. the hip surgery, once was enough. i can't go through this again, taking care of you, waiting on you hand and foot. it's more piling on. i'm already on pills. my thoughts can't bear more weight, i'm already draped in depression. i'm busy. too busy. i have important work to do. LET ME WATCH MY SHOWS ON TIME! when will this work happen? you only did this for attention!
Fuerza: i can't speak for my subconscious, but no. i'm old, mijo. i did it cos everyone does it. everyone wants to belong. and everyone wants to be free from belonging. after all i did for you, mijo? clothing you, feeding you, bathing you for 18 years....or actually, till right now and in the future. i kissed your booboos and got you into Boo-Boo Bear. i checked up on you and sent you my checks when you were low on spaghetti money. who got you your first gun? the one for Duck Hunt. that was such a terrible game in retrospect, bad influence, it got you hooked on videogames. and from there it was priest or bust. okay, then, who let you climb on mama's rosary and let you swing on it till all the beads came apart and scattered all over the floor? who let you keep all those beads you had to clean up? it's not a big deal. a little tit is not so much to ask for my tat.
Cotard: please, ma, i don't want that image in my head. i starve when i'm in charge of food. it's so unfair, you'll always have the upper hand which never raised up to me. you raised me spank-free. you showed me love, which is something i wasn't thinking about when i was born. i could never repay you, you own me with your kindness.
the spotlight turns bright and burning and focuses on Cotard.
Cotard: oh for god sake, enough with the lights! *squeezing Fuerza's shoulders* mama, do i have to shake it into you? will this jog your memory? is your skull too thick? DON'T LEAVE THE LIGHTS ON! AND DON'T LEAVE THE OVERHEAD ROTATING FAN ON ALL NIGHT! the screws will come loose! those blades are unpredictable. it's a waste of electricity. and it's a sign of the end.
Fuerza: i was not yet a woman much less a mother. but, mijo, mothering transforms into an instinct after awhile, you're thrust into it and you adapt. you learn the secrets from an invisible book. you let your pupils settle on the brightness of a tiny spirit so small and helpless and hot and with all of its fingers and toes it gives you quickie lasik surgery at the mall when you aren't looking. you'll learn these things in time. i don't believe in too much light. seeing it is just the beginning. seeing is believing. if you won't help me, i'll help myself. what else is new, huh? don't worry, i won't bother you anymore. i can only be me...
Codrus: let's see, think i'll make a happy little planet over here. oh, it looks like a cloud *squeezes more white juice from neighboring comets he summons from all across the galaxy* yes, nice and messy, into a big sticky ball, forming the core...
Yayray (coming out of the forming planet): you slimeball! it's one thing when you're young but when you're old still doing it...
Yayray touches with two fingers Codrus's shoulder, lightly brushing up on Codrus. Codrus feels extreme bitter cold, like a glacier smushed into an icepick that was sharpened as much as it could be, a freezing pencil. the planet has turned into a solid block of ice.
Yayray: what did you do today? thanks for caring about me, granmama, well nothing much, just
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Codrus (unfazed): everytime you don't kill me.............*brrr* think i need to borrow Cotard's robe.
Yayray (smiling): that's not cold you feel. and not cold you see. it's just that, well, it's just that i'm so hot, so incalculably flamey, that the hot has nowhere to go but down, it's as high as it can be, so it turns to cold. burning cold. weather, huh? unpredictable. i love how it's designed like that, i appreciate that about it the most.
Codrus: where's the music? i shan't dance without music.
Kepler, the ice/fire planet, and the spherical moon-on-a-stick that Codrus is sucking on all start playing music. they are all remixes of the original music played by the Singing Towers of Darillium a time ago.
Yayray (head tilted): let's tussle.
Fuerza gently wriggles herself loose from Cotard's iron grip, grazing his fingernails with hers. Cotard cries a river that coagulates into the spot on the floor where Fuerza slips. Fuerza slips back and forth on that spot forever.