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Codrus: it's gonna get real sad.
Yayray kicks up the white sand and crouches in a footballer lineman's position ready to strike one-punch. the green bird tries to chirp around him.
Yayray: ain't got no time for bird sex. take care of this fool and my virgins await haha.
Codrus: ah but you see that's where i got you by the scrotum. i've already won cos i know your motivation. you wanna get neck. you want pussy in cars like any young man do. it takes down the most powerful of human male. don't matter how much wealth you attain by avoiding smarting by smartly keeping conservative in your gambles and never uttering an untoward word, your conservative values will break your dam once that hot actress starts paying attention to you out of the blue. the more famous the actress the heavier the flow of your cum river. i mean what's the point if you don't get something for all your hard work, right?
Yayray: that is why El Chapo did it, ultimately. i'm young but i get it. i've sat on my own balls before. i had to grow up fast unfortunately.
Codrus: El Chapo? *looks down* ah yes, i get it now. it's cute to know that alternate dimensions are carrying on without me. but not for long.
Yayray: i represent all the anger of the world, all the unfair slights, undeserved deaths, and virgins like me who were never allowed to shine. all the injustice that was never overturned. it all burns into a giant fireball which i embody. i spit out the fires of heaven onto you, foul demon!
Yayray tranforms into a giant red crab with scary sharp super pincers. his fire eyes belie the cute sputtering he does with his many frilly legs along the seashore.
Yayray: i can see the entire fight in my fire eyes. it's already already happened. i know his weak spot. this is for you, aunties, video games weren't a waste of time, they saved my afterlife.
Yayray boxes right, left, and right again onto Codrus's vulnerable chest. all 10 times. and 100 more, each time the flame coming out of his claw grows steadier, surer, and purple when he really gets frustrated and fatigable. each time Codrus simply shapes his own blocking fist into the shape of the perfect hole for Yayray's stroke, in and out, in and out perfectly.
Yayray: i'm taking the gloves off!
Codrus: you ain't got no gloves, son. what, you got little red claw-shaped gloves on ya? that would be cute. and videogamey. look at that perfect symmetrical fit, no matter where you go directionally i have the answer counterbalanceally. i'll keep this particular poetry from the Dead Writer, it was just too good!
Yayray: what's the matter? your weak spot moved?
Yayray looks up to meet Codrus's powerful gaze. bad mistake. Yayraj immediately clutches his chest, with his pincers so it hurts doubly, as a heart attack kills him again.
Codrus: what's matter? you can't attack my heart. nobody can touch my heart. my heart is gold, literally. i only give my heart away to a very special person.......at least for now. when i leave it, you'll know.
Yayray: where am i?
Codrus: same place, i control where folk go now and i haven't designed the room yet. there's a huge backlog of people and aliens i put in a space cube that're just there in suspended animation, like a casting-call cattle-call in a warehouse, looking for a ton of dark-haired dancers for the next Grease. you'll see a white film forming on your eyes.
Yayray (weakly): yeah...
Codrus: that's what everyone sees when they see the light. this film is blocking all your petulant anger over earth matters, dousing your eyes like a summer shower across a campfire. i know, mom always said i was a wet blanket. you'll find yourself calming now and not a moment too soon, all your misguided erratic steam and misplaced rage would have taken out a few solar systems in a blaze of selfish inglory. do you play for the NFL or something?
Yayray: i wish i could have. i wish i could have done a lot of things. i wish i had a billion dollars so i could live the life. i wish i had a girlfriend. sure it's pure sex but now that i'm on this other side i would have cherished a good woman by my side, IM'd her, i would have hugged her side when she cried and thanked her for cooking our oxtails and offered to do the dishes by hand with the sweat-stained towel around my forehead. and afterwards we'd have a conversation that was half-profound and half-silly. i'm young but i understood all that, i knew that that was what was what. i'm fading...
Codrus: embrace that you are Yayraj...
Yayray: you know i still can't talk to my folks. my aunties are too busy with their gadgets.
Binny: we've decided to just make our own homemade churros.
Quinny: you know when you look something up online? like Vietnamese. it gives you places of Vietnamese food, not the Vietnamese people. but what's the point of food if you can't share it with people? what are you eating for? oh i miss people. i miss when we had people.
Yayray: and my grandmama remains strangely silent.
Codrus: you're not at her level yet. she was so sickingly good she is literally made of stars. she could talk to you but what would you two talk about? she is of a past age.
Yayray: i want some advice. from any -man who came to earth, lived another culture on mars, had a pet spider. i understand that now, parents are just helping, they do know more simply because they lived longer, it's annoying but true. and changing customs don't affect the basic core of humanity, they don't chip away at what we all want, what we all deserve, what we all think we deserve. i want to have it easy for once...
Codrus holds up the Dragon Balls which were scattered but have come and fallen together quite conveniently next to each other in a circle artfully indenting the pristine white sand of this place.
Codrus (spinning them on the sand by twirling his finger): these are the only powerballs you need. my version of them. the lottery is a scam, after taxes and dead relatives and live relatives which end up dead, you're left worse off. stoned. another in the long line of life disappointments which begins and ends with God with Santa in the middle.
Yayray: i feel truly lonely for the first time. i can't talk to the universe anymore. there's nowhere to turn. i reach for the void to see if it wants to chat, even chaturbate. but it remains silent as always. it's not cool to play hard-to-get. not anymore. surely you have something to say, void. and don't call me Shirley. my name is Yay...raj. i wish there were celestial beings my age, i want to play...
Yayray's crab-shell body turns pale opaque spiritless white as his blood turns inward. his penis shrivels up and disintegrates. and he tips over and stays upside-down as he begins to float away into the sky.
Codrus: there are no second lives in politics. right Bump mah boy. and politics is a lot like life, just more glorified.
Cotard sees that there's a floating turret hovering on the hill.
Cotard: i'm excited i'll be able to see the Surf Club again! i can sense the Shack but i can't see it, it's just off my range of vision. but i sees the hill, that's good, that's enough, patience for the other stuff, but man that's got to be an invisible castle or something, right? i mean there's just that one turret sticking out flying in the sky, where's the rest of the castle?
Codrus: it's a prop. for learning. didn't you love when the teacher brought visual aids? you won't be seeing those bums again, i'm in charge now, they've been put away permanently. *sigh* it seems i can't kill them yet.
Cotard: or kill whatever they represent. thanks for ruining my mood.
Codrus: you ruined your own mood or have you forgotten? remember when the teacher would use the overhead projector? i miss that piece of equipment, it was regal and elegant and most importantly ahead of its time. it did the best job of explaining things that no stupid computer screen which followed would ever. that was real tech, evolved from my beautiful ancient Greeks' using of tree branches and leaves. and what were those films called?
Codrus: no, those clear pieces of wobbly paper that the teacher would write on with a smelly blue marker? i always loved it cos this was the only instance where we saw math done in ink.
Cotard: i was too busy getting rapped on by nuns with yardsticks. and then the nuns at my particular school would rap. with sunglasses on. it was their way of letting off a little steam. transparencies?
Codrus: yeah, transparencies! viewfoils. for this guest lecture, i'm gonna let a very special teacher take over. he's come all the way from San Francisco. the alternate-dimension San Francisco. i'll just be the Supernintendo Chalmers in the back grading the teacher, which i know the students love.
Sid and Glidden and Rumi have taken their seats in the back row of the classroom, the only students in the room save for Cotard and the Monty Python French medieval soldier guarding the castle. Sid takes a straw out of his third eye and shoots a spitball which lands perfectly on top of Codrus's precious hair but Codrus doesn't notice. Glidden and Rumi are generally rabblerousing and horseplaying with each other, wrestling on the floor which hasn't been swept in ages. neither does Codrus notice when Codrus sits down on the seat currently occupied by Sid. Sid smiles wide. Charles Darwin takes to the overhead projector in the front of the class and takes out a shitload of transparencies from his modern faux-leather suitcase and begins inking his Theory of Evolution first step by last step. it takes a lot of transparencies jotting everything down, each species with elaborate illustration, lines of lineage, connecting this gene to that,
Darwin winks at the students in the back, he sees them...
Darwin: ...but i'm focused. is everyone in the class getting this, seeing this? in the back? a teacher is like a mom, eyes in the back of the head, an extra pair of eyes willing to look at things differently.
Codrus (clapping): there's nothing in this room. except for the smell of blue ink in the morning. and the smell of that smelly Frenchman. what you have done, mon frere Charles, is systematically, thoroughly, methodically, detailingly, clear-eyedly destroyed God. that's beauty, brother, pure. that's a de-lovely destruction. and now for the kicker.
Codrus removes the last transparency from the overhead projector, tears at the edges of it, rips it in half, and crumbles it up into a ball Big-Bang-style. and he gives the whole projector box a strong knock-knock which reverberates its strong hollow emptiness inside.
Codrus: all that work, Charles, for nothing. what did you get out of it? what did you get? you see this film? filled with all your equations, all the known and even the unknown equations, but they're all the earth equations. the universe equations, the religion equations, the religiously universal equations, the one new faith for all. that's all that was in front of you, that's all you ever knew, that's what was projected to you. but it's not the real deal. see the condenser lens up top? that's the devil making sure everything is compacted to its lowest basest form. the stage glass, my favorite kind of glass, is god, now the old god, full of light and the see. the fresnel lens is now me. and the light which shines through, the bulb? *puts ear to the base* i'm hearing the dregs of its battery running out.
Codrus takes the whole of the heavy projector and kicks it out the turret window into a crag of seaside rocks way down below. at that precise moment Codrus turns into a little boy against his will. he's seen on the shore playing with the newly-cut-off shards of gray rocks. he seems to be making people out of the piles.
a moonlit spot graces the water outside the turret window but there is no moon. but the yellow on the water is soothing, natural. there Cotard confronts his mother Fuerza.
Fuerza: son i want you to get the bag, you know the bag, not the small one or the large one or the just-right one, least you can do, take out the saveable trash, put it in the bin, you should always recycle, even yourself. then i want you to get me my tea. and make sure to spread out the frijole. i was spread for nine months cos of you. then do this, and that, and this.
Cotard: DAM, MOM! COS OF YOU I MISSED STAR WARS! by the time you healed it wasn't in theatres anymore! it's not the same netflixing it. no chill. now you tell me what's the point in living anymore. i mean if a young man can't have his Star Wars, what other frilly thing walking down the street can mean anything? what has that shine? what smells better than a walking carpet? speaking of, WHO dies?! DAM, MOM, SPOILERS! ruined! you ruined my life! i hate you and i hate me and i hate this. i need to get the fuck outta here. i literally need to go to a monastery to get some verifiable peace and quiet. if i don't go to a monastery i will die of stir-craziness inside this insane asylum you call a household.
Cotard (living this but also watching this from a second body): but y'know, there would always be periods of calm after the blowups. my anger jags seemingly went on forever. but they didn't. the moon would rise and quiet the air. and no matter what hurtful things were said in the day, at night Mama would always politely ask me to do the windows.
Fuerza: close all the windows, mijo, i'm turning on the heat.
Cotard: i loved doing that job. i'd go around the house methodically pushing in all the windows. a simple task. the best kind. it focused me. it was something to do other than fret. and when i was done, i was enclosed and safe and secure in my mother's hearth. i never felt the heat from the air conditioner, i felt the heat of her warmth as i drifted off to sleep...
in the memory, Cotard kicks his laptop through the yellow spot in the water and up into the window of the turret through inside the invisible castle. the laptop smashes into pieces. Cotard does not play with the pieces.
but then that day came
cotard: i felt so small. after another one of my off-my-anger-medication rants, mom had had enough and she sheltered in place in her room, locking the door. hours passed. no mail. no dinner. she didn't ask me to do the windows. had she fallen asleep from my exhaustion? or.........was this the last time? had i actually let my mother pass away without first telling her i was sorry? i didn't want that answer. i twirled into a frenzy, flapping my wings and chirping on the inside. forgiveness is hard, but regret is stone. my tears turned to sweat.
Cotard stalks his mother's bedroom door, leaning into it but not opening it. he grabs hold of the knob, slowly turning it right but then back left again. it seems he can't quite bring himself to open the door.