the door...........................was locked all along.
Cotard: i can't get to my mother. but i can see her. she's slumped over on the bed, wrapped too neatly in her covers, forever, never to move again the darling. i want to be with her, but not like this. i want to comfort her and hug her forever but i don't want to see her. if i stop waiting, the hours will stop, too. i'll be locked in a blissful state of timelessness.
Cotard looks through the tiny peephole of the doorknob. it's dark so you can't see anything. he takes out a pebble from his invisible robe but decides against ingesting it. instead he places the pebble to cover the hole. light breaks but you still can't actually see the hole.
Cotard: never knew where that thin slanted metal key that looked like a bent lead pipe that opened that room was, Mama hid it well and keep the secret to her grave. funny cos there never seemed to be anything between us. we were connected, no secrets, that's what familia is. of all the things i'll remember, the most were the times i could deeply feel her love of me, it emananted from her lips like no love ever before or since. we were one human being. when i scratched she itched, and scratched. when she saw me ram my head into that couch with the metal buttons pretending to be Super Grover, she did that unique thing Spanish mothers do when they cry eghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh and breathe inward hastily through their slack tongue. no, no, that was just her, uniquely. that was my mom. fuck Sesame Street. and her and finding things, finding solutions. she was the practical one, Dad the intellectual. i took after Dad but i had my mom's face. and her deep-seated humble religion despite my forays into self-righteous smart. i absorbed both and adsorbed none, the only film left was the one i played out in my head. even in her old age, she infirmly one-upped her son in the street-smarts department, one last time to rub my nose in it. my ipad mini suddenly faded to black. at the worst time. right when i was in the middle of the church bake sale. without those profits from the pandan cakes i make when i'm bored i can't keep living in the Sanctuary. it's not the electricity, it's the need for brand-new lead pipes. don't drink the water. my pandan cakes are special, they're both lime AND strawberry. i was pissed off for the last time, my energy had run out. i gave up. for the last time. gave up my dreams. died. but Mama Fuerza kicked me out of her bed and suggested that it was the white wire, it had been chewed to bits by the cats. and her tablet and the same white wire with the white bulb, perhaps it could work. it did!
Fuerza: see? mama, mama.
Cotard: and this woman knows nothing of computers. that was Dad. her love saw her through. always.
Cotard returns to the ballroom where Fuerza is eternally slipping up and down on the spot.
Cotard: rub me in it, dear madre, rub me in your glory. o that i could hear you wail EGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHH one more time.
Cotard kneels down before the wet spot and lays his head for a nap.
Cotard: i need a nap date.
but instead the still water runs deep and Cotard's head falls through what he thought would be a pillow into more of a dunking of his head. his tongue overmoistens with unexpected dark water and shrinks like a sponge. Cotard is now fully up and awake.
Cotard: she's always knowing what's best for me.
on the screens...........somewhere: Camera Guy: what are you doing now?
Donald Rumsfeld: app. and not the ones at TGI Friday's senior menu. i decided to take an ancient game out of antiquity and introduce it to millennials. it's like solitaire but you use two decks. cool, huh?
Camera Guy: so this is how you're retiring? after all you've done, it's just about cards now?
Donald Rumsfeld: sure, everything else in the world is too complicated. i like things simple and to the point. cards. cards are comforting. i'll be playing cards on my porch when the world burns.
Codrus is now a ten-year-old boy. the morning light hits his eyelids and fries his eyelashes. the boy is very distrusting, more like a feral animal, as he negotiates the sandy terrain. his heart is pumping furiously, and leaks of gold begin spilling out his many pores. the white even sands have since become stained and are now more brown and red and dusty in his presence. he retreats to his pile of rocks and begins stacking them into various people. Angie, Mohd, and Stew approach him.
Angie: hello, little boy, wanna play?
Codrus: my, someone, told me not to talk to strangers.
Mohd: that's good policy.
Stew: how's it feel to be on the other side of the age gap? you can't boss us around anymore just cos you're taller. i mean, yeah, i wish somebody had taught me about
GOOD TOUCH, CLICK HERE, RIGHT HERE AT THIS LINK
Stew: but don't worry, we'll treat you harmless. take our buckets and shovels, like the oceanwater it's all free. we learned compassion somewhere. we recognize your pint size and realize you are a defenseless animal, we don't take pleasure in hoarding our height over you, we'll take care of you.
Codrus hisses and jumps in the middle of his circle of stones. he's leaking oil constantly but he manages to quickly arrange his stones into a stone mama wearing a leaf wreath, a stone dada wearing a crown, and a stone sister wearing a lowcut dress and tiara.
Angie: that's good craftsmanship. they look so realistic.
Mohd: and that cloud of smoke that was going on while you were working, it shows. everything is so polished, no rough edges in sight.
Stew: i've seen better stuff on youtube. it just goes to show that quality has nothing to do with how large your audience is. i swear fame has nothing to do with justice.
Codrus: *with an official voice* before you is Me, of the Royal House of Stone, uh, Henge. our family started everything, we were the first humans, the first humans with magic anyway. that's my dad, i'm SECOND-in-line to the throne cos of my stupid sister who brushes her pony's hair more than hers, and my beautiful mom, only learned of that word recently. we've always been hanging out. there's no hole to fill as you can see, the circle is quite complete.
Angie: are you serious, kid? where's your real mommy?
Codrus: i know your tricks. i was told never to talk to outsiders, they'll confuse you with their questions. yes, yes, don't talk to nobody ever again, they're scary. let no one in, everyone out there is trying to have what we have, they're trying to infiltrate our harmony. trust no one. not even yourself. only rely on yourself. hate others, they always lie. only you know if you're lying to yourself. only when you're completely alone will you feel it. nirvana comes only to the lonely. art isn't pain, pain is art. those who are fat can never know the motivation of those who are skinny. which is ironic. that IS my mommy! i know me better than any else selves. i've only ever known myself...
Mohd turns the boy around and looks directly into his eyes made hard by the constant glassy winds.
Mohd: whoa, he's serious. his heartbeat is calm for being so racing. you know what they say about children, they believe, they're the true believers.
Stew takes a gander at the boy as well.
Stew: yep yep yep yep yep, boy's got that look i had as a child after a few pints in me, that malaise glaze after buying that overpriced video game, bargaining it down to 50 bucks and celebrating with a box of fruit punch, the good kind of punch, and some hard-as-stone animal crackers. they never seemed to serve fruit punch at the bars in my youth. shame, always had the hair color for it. my childhood was something.
Codrus doubles over in pain. the heart pumping gold is fast and furious and coming out of his chest, literally. Codrus steadies his mind but it's like his string of fate, a wire, has been cut. he tries with all his might and Stone drugs in him to reshape his bleeding heart. he molds it back with his mind into more of a manageable ball of mass. the mass grows veins and soon becomes a brain which he replaces with his own.
Codrus: mind of matter.
with that, Codrus poofs back to his old self again.
Codrus: hahahahahahahahahahaha. you can't kill a god that easily!
Codrus spins his finger at the sandcastle he was working on and traps his three former children inside.
Codrus: three bums trapped in a small space.
the three bums: we're used to it.
the clouds above turn green and begin chirping. it appears they are just moving with the tide in the sky but they are in fact sprouting wings and flying away. Angie, Mohd, and Stew transform back into Sid, Glidden, and the cigarette-smoking man. the cigarette-smoking man has to cut a piece of his lit cigarette every so often with his Scissors cos the cigarette never lessens into ash with each drag.
Glidden: i thought my pink hair would be joyous for him. kids don't like clowns?
Sid is drinking from a pint glass.
Codrus: you, you're too young to drink. and you, drop your cigarette butts somewhere else or help clean up my beach. get your butts outta here!
Codrus floods the castle by breaking the dam and drawbridge and letting in all the moatwater.
Codrus: just call this my last act of government malfeasance.
the three don't drown in the bad water but they can't communicate with each other underwater, either. they all point up and surface.
the three bums: we really got to work on that. we're surfers after all.
a dripping cigarette-smoking man: wait, let me try something.
CSM turns Codrus around and looks deep into his eyes.
CSM: who's your daddy?
Codrus points to the stone father.
CSM: fascinating. adult. he's an adult. he's trying to adult anyway. he's not lying, i can see his heart pumping out of his chest, literally. it's all in his head. it's viciously pumping but in a very truthful way. he would pass a lie-detector test. it's more that his heart and mind are about to explode. too much pressure. it's not good to be king.
Codrus starts to rap and point his fingers downward:
you got nothin' on me
i'm a different class of villainy
what you think you see
you don't see
you'll never see me
cos i am free
you can't pin my work on this or that
i am new, that's a fact
you debate, you contract
i contemplate like a brat
reduce me and you reduce you, fool
you box in, i box out
you don't know what i'm about
you will smile, i will pout
i'm angry for the sake of it
i complain cos there're stakes in that
i'm a different class of villainy
(and i am classy)
beyond good and evil and psychiatry
it's not that i want to see the world end
but how 'bout we just start all over again?
liquid gold streams out of Codrus's ears, nose, and throat. he's making a mess on stage.
Codrus: mac 'n cheese, my favorite. just like Mom used to make.
when the liquid spill reaches his eyes, Codrus is transported to his private movie theatre where also sits Cotard and Fuerza.
Fuerza: let's sit in the middle row. not too close, not too far.
Codrus: what was i saying?
Codrus is on screen. literally. he's in the movie playing on the screen right now.
Fuerza: you were probably in the middle of a rant, mijo.
Codrus: why you calling me mijo?
Fuerza: everyone's my son. it's a mommy thing. you take care of your son and your son's friends. you'll learn when you become a mother.
Codrus: yes, i remember now, i invented, i invented everything. i was in the middle of my speech. i was angry but i forget why for. inflamed in fact. something about math, the uselessness of it. yes, i was showing a pie chart divided up into sections, showing this graph to dispel graph theory. there is no perfect graph, no claw-free graph, there is always a claw, didn't you watch Inspector Gadget when you were a kid? my sister always had it on. the brute-force search takes brute force. proof by exhaustion is exhausting. there is no mathematical star, i am the only star, i make the stars. and then something happened, something always does, and i got mad. i don't remember the beginning, or the middle, but i do remember the end, we always remember the end. i ended with a declaration, i turned around and said to...
at this precise moment Cotard joins Codrus up on film. Cotard is right at the end of his rant, and the two men say and stay in unison as they point pointedly at Fuerza:
if you remember
Binny: i swear these ipad minis. i just don't get it. that was the one thing that struck me when i finally got mine. the fact that you needed to power them up constantly. that was the stupidest thing in the world. why couldn't they just work? run on free energy, the same energy of the universe that fuels our cars and craft. do we want to be beholden to foreign electricity?
Wolf: hi guys, what's happening? been talking heavily with Baleen on insta again. they call me the Gram Grandpa now. he's not doing well, not in a good place. whatever he was high on before, be it cocaine, heroin, the Stones, or life, it's over. crashed. always seem to crash eventually. he's back to being depressed. he's lonely again.
if you remember one thing, one damn thing about me and all of my life living, when you remember me, when you see my face in your dreams, you remember that i hated my life. in fact, i hated life. yeah, yeah, i hated the concept of life. you inscribe that on my tombstone. and leave the dates off.
Cotard sheds tears which flow upward. the fluid out of Codrus's tear ducts is dust dribbling out and disappearing.
Fuerza: boys, boys, stop arguing, stop talking over one another, i can't understand either one.