Mickey Bump combs his long luxurious hair in his long luxurious mirror. there are no more falling strands, just power lines. his head glows orange.
Bump: waiting for the day it favors the more gold color. this comb is hard on my thumbs.
his first official crowd of the campaign is a small one in his office that ever so invisibly starts to fill with the rocks and rolls and taunts and blistering negativity and scary energy that will inhabit his spaces from now on. they crowd his desk but know better than to touch him. a black man with a poodle cut in a purple jumpsuit storms the desk to a chorus of bitter boos and jerk jeers.
Bump: this is the year of death. it's all around us, folks. we wait on pins and needles which have turned into swords and knives. not a question of when but what time. death comes in threes in communities. the time to act was yesterday. so you got me now. it's either us or them. you're either right or wrong. status quo or strongman. your decision. actually my decision. always beware the fighter who is not naturally inclined to fight. when you go up against a man who has been forced to fight, the gloves and the rules slide off. are you gonna let the same thing happen again and again and again for eternity? you gonna let those with more power dance on you? or you gonna rise from your grave and grab their shovel and konk them on the head?
Lieu: and you don't care about us. don't turn this atrocity into more of your division demagoguery.
Bump: wait, let him speak. i'm nothing. if not fair. he's my only one in here. that takes guts, i can respect that. what's your name, son?
Lieu: hell no i'm your father my father came before your father they call me Lew as in Lieu as in in lieu of any sort of justice our people get as in lieu meaning Light as in i'm the light of the world as i stroke the side of my dark-skinned chin as in Love as in i represent no i present a lifestyle you backwoods hicks could never git i am love in its purest sense i am love not from the magazine but from the codeine secret and ashamed cos i was born this way in the wrong decade i wish i was born in the struggle so i'd appreciate it more now that it will all be stripped away and we will be left with nothing but the shattered tatters of our quilt why is humanity so dense? the cro-magnons with heavier heads were smarter cos they couldn't be bothered with inane things like skin color and fuck color if you could harvest the seed you was in the crew not a bureaucrat but a failureat Lou as in your typical standard lou walking down your warzone street filled with so much metal there's no room for steel chiraq pilladelphia los deviles crooklyn washington bullets as in Lieu as in Lieutenant as in bow down to your master slave we bout to git it in here see if you can catch my hands strongman i'm the livest cat that's ever gonna scratch ya dig?
the savage crowd is simmering with rage, which is always worse then being full-blown with it. they strip Lieu of his purple suit of the purple clan, a subset that isn't recognized as one of the two major parties in this country. Lieu laughs freely.
Lieu: oooh that was some flow. i surprised myself, which is a blessing nowadays. mixtape out this Tuesday, voting day, for all you in the know and on the go. coming to a drone near you.
Bump: don't get him outta here! let him stew in his shame!
Lieu: thank you, my niggas, just like old times in the bush. i feel so connected to my ancestors this naked but not for a reality show. please, rough me up. i rought. you may make me bleed but you'll never kill the idea of it. look not at your past for that would mean you kill yourselves.
Bump: animals! i'm not a cat person. i'm a ball person.
Lieu: figures. all you care about is hair. they slaughter us but we're not real people so nobody cares. we are the last expendables, the bad kind not the badass kind. we deserved it. nature's way. the only way we will break free from you and your dogs, the new boss replacing the old boss, is to find a boss cat who's been there, who's felt my feel, who knows what it's like to be downtrodden, dismissed, dissected. forgotten as futile. who has to decide on cold nights whether to eat the penny or use it to buy food. you will never understand. and we need more understanding, less platitudes. more quid pro quo, less quotes. but without expecting anything in return. treat others. that's it. treat someone other than yourself.
Lieu's body begins to evince purple stains. he holds up an oldskool boombox over his head with the last of the strength in his thumbs.
CLICK HERE, RIGHT HERE AT THIS LINK FOR THE SONG IN THE TAPEDECK
Lieu: now see this what imean. that isn't dancing from a professional, that's moving your body to the natural pulse of the universe. everyone CAN dance. just like everyone CAN sing, Jeff Goldblum taught us that. don't ever let professionalism provoke passion. so pure, i love it.
Bump: this vicious attack was perpetrated on our fellow hurting different weak and vulnerable brothers and sisters by our own government. the President is in league with the other side. he's the boss alright, the boss of the bad guys! main man mullah. he's a baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad man. you see how perfect this is for them. they'll never take you seriously folks, their system is too perfect, you need me to punch down that wall. now i'll leave history to judge which side was good and which bad but they most definitely did this to mindfuck with us and feed the conspiracy. they have more terrorists working for them training in underground bunkers around this country in places of worship than you could ever imagine, even those of you into pulp comics and Clancy espionages. time to band together and form one unified army against the real enemy.
Lieu holds up a newspaper which draws temporary oohs and aahs as this the last known newspaper to exist.
Lieu: allow me to read the reviews of Spike's latest: thought-provoking, poetic, shining a light on gun violence and bigotry and competing feelings which always seem to explode under the guise of something larger than oneself...
Bump: fooey. from that liberal new york rag.
Lieu: no, this is from the Washington Post.
Bump: it's all media imperialism. cultural imperialism. imperialism. i learned that word from my god today. i banned the Washington Post. it's not fair but i can do that. man, fuck that urban noise!
Lieu: i cry but my tears are brown. i can say i'm sad but it doesn't matter cos i'm a nobody. are you sad, sir? cos only that matters. you can do something about it.
Bump: it's true, i've been finding my words carry a lot more weight than they used to. it's strange cos i'm always the joking guy with the mook accent, y'know? i dunno. now that it's getting serious i'm starting to lose interest. the ratings are sagging. and i need them to always be firm and plump. it's still fun using this pulpit as a bully. i don't get sad, i get even.
Lieu: before me and my fam are carted off, i will filibuster a few more. haul me if you must but never hate me. sir, i ask you, what is your favorite film? don't answer that. just, as you go on on this track, always think of that movie before you start your latest speech, as your lips purse and lick the microphone. always have that favorite film in your heart, that's all i ask.
Lieu raises his hands for the last time and chants PENYE! PENYE! PENYE! before getting konked on the head.
at the roman-style barracks, which are the only old thing in the otherwise computerized shiny futuristic utopian compound, the two soldiers share a time in Hartwin's bed playing loteria and sucking on uiro from overseas. there are two other walls of note, the one by the far entrance which still houses in stone the immortal Latin letters
IBI NIHIL PUNCTUM, QUOD EST PUNCTUM
which were finally unearthed on a tablet at the bottom of the ocean after decades of sweeping, and the gray cobbled platform daises out front, the one flat with the Medici lion and the one symbolic empty one on which just recently a Gundam was placed as a joke.
Hartwin: don't know how to play but these cards are kyute!
Harfi (laughing): i'll learn ya. i'm a native bitch *laughing, constantly on her phone* you better move that Gundam inside before it gets vandalized.
Hartwin draws a scrotum on his scutum.
Hartwin: and i'm a native witch. your vandal is my graffiti artist. hey if my structures don't get touched how do i know that they're appreciated. only thing worse than a blank sheet of paper is a sheet of paper with just your scribbles on it.
Harfi: i'm getting calls from all the underground organizations. and the aboveground ones. and some aboveboard ones, too. they want another speech. you're Lincoln! they love your zeit but especially your geist. your no-ethics ethic. meta. you're a rock star after one viral hit. you know how viral sensations go. what should i tell them?
Hartwin: nah. i'm no great orator. i'm more into platitudes. aphorisms. sayings. stuff that's easily culled and fits onto a white instagram square. i'm lazy.
Lieu barges into the dorm door and lands on Hartwin's lap and kisses him on the mouth.
Hartwin: whoa! i can taste your blood. unexpected affection, that's a fate worse than death.
Lieu's black eyes sparkle as he waits for the verdict.
Hartwin with guppy mouth: that was nice. it's weird kissing someone when they're naked.
the fan above Hartwin's room silently buzzes.
Hartwin (without looking up): give me the phone.
Harfi (smirking): oh darn, i was just about to send you nudes when your mom's face plastered all over my bush. i'm gonna need therapy for that freudian slide.
Hartwin: don't bother.
Harfi: your mom or the nudes?
Hartwin: wait i just trapped a lightning bolt.
he pushes the hold button for his mom as he answers the reporters, the ones reporting back to the other heads of the new forming state. resisting with resistance. coalescing around his outer circle.
Hartwin: yes. it's me. voice recognition not working? been nursing a cold. or a fever. whichever one makes me hot. yes, how about this one: join gangs. they have your back, they won't shoot you in the back. they'll shoot you in the front. they have quotes, not quotas. most importantly, you can stay up late and sleep in.
Hartwin: *push* hello mother...........hi, mom.
Madchen: i love you. hi honey, it's me. you know it's me i don't have to say mom. waiting for you to come home this weekend i'm getting an early start and baking your favorite chocolate chip cookies in my adult easy-bake oven with the whirring fan. on a Thursday. i realize they'll be cold when you come so we'll just have to warm things up together. speaking of fans, do you check the fan in your room? make sure it has batteries, i don't want you getting hot. i hate those hazard revolving blades...
Hartwin: um, mom, is it this weekend? wait, *push*
Hartwin: hello? yes. me again. this one: the only way to combat total insanity is to be a little less insane.
Madchen:...so that's how my day went. and my week, just multiply that by 7. looking forward to your visit, Hartwin. i named you that for a reason. call me anytime. i'll call you anytime. good night, dear. snug in your bed. on my head. gnsd. dream. i loove you. it's me, your mom.
Bump: god is dead. religion is evil. but Codrus is cool, right?
the crowd politely claps.
Bump: hey who's this broad? you from Atlanta? i don't like disguises. i don't like fakery. take your clothes off.
a woman wearing a Carmen Sandiego fedora and broad coat is spotted by the monolith and pushed onstage. she trips on her heels.
Bump: lost your way, sweetheart? face? body? how can i judge you when you're so covered up? i need something to fill into my /10s. as a 10. what's your name, my nigga?
Doreen: please, sir, i just want to get the fuck out of here. i'm Doreen Chatman, uh, Chatsworth, i'm from Chatsworth, CA, uh i mean Catsworth. i lost my way after a tragedy.
Bump: haven't we all.
Doreen: where's the nearest train?
Bump: right here in my office with all the folks!
the crowd laughs. but it's not a natural laugh, it's a programmed laugh.
Bump: don't know actually. but i'm sure wherever it is the station runs on time. you can't run away, though. no one can. not anymore. it's different this time. you have to choose. really choose. you must decide on a track. choose, not coast.
Lysander, on his phone of course, scowling: what? ma'am, what? your cat is suffocating you?! oh, figuratively. you always forget to turn on the lights at night cos you're so busy? by the time you remember the damn house is pitch black and cold as fuck cos all the windows are still open and undraped? you feel for your kitty scared in the dark? well tell him to get off his tiny heinie and do the windows himself, he's got two paws! okay, put him on the phone.
Lysander: you gotta help out, man, you can't puss out. your hooman is crazy. she's getting on my nerves. make that your daily chore from now on. the gig is up, you gotta work for your treats now.
cat: hello? yes, um, y'know that dog-licking thing from snapchat? too much tongue. i can't fucking stand it!!!
Lysander: i know, bro. you're preaching to the non-denominational choir. it was funny at first. but it's not cute anymore. it's exhausting.
JUST THEN a severely overweight woman crashes the door down and with frantic eyes and hookladder arms grips onto the doctor with a suffocating hug and desperate cadence.
woman: PLEASE PLEASE please! you're my only hope! i can't turn around. save me. i don't want to die. look at me. really look at me.
Lysander looks not at the huge body but at the face and sees the pink water rolling down her eyes into her fat rolls, gluing them shut.
woman: i am here because i was told through electronic channels that you are the only man in the world who still carries this medicine. kindness.