Hartwin raises his arms for Harfi to carry him.
Hartwin: cry while you work.
Harfi transfers the injured soldier to his bed and casts him up on the Discobolus that was under it.
Hartwin: whatever you do don't tell my mom! don't want her worrying.
Harfi turns her frown upside down and wipes away the sugary sweat.
Harfi: you sound like an eighth-grader who got caught in the orchestra pit.
Hartwin: i am really bugging out. the bullet charged with an atomic ton of the Stones has maneuvered and is perfectly lodged in my heart. i see things. i hear things. i see the holes in the whole, i hear what makes the sound. forgive me if i blather. my thoughts are stringy and unfinished cos there's always new information streaming in. too many flashing lights.
I HEAR THIS MUSIC, CLICK HERE
give me a minute, my sorter's at full speed.
OKAY, MY GLAUCOMIC MIND'S EYE IS REGISTERING THIS, CLICK HERE
that's a little better but there's still the problem of imagination. i see all the volcanos in the world crumbling into each other, melting all the cities away, forming a new mountain atop a solo continent. the only discernible plates are the cracks where the identityless graves indent. it looks like a strangely delicious lava cake. i see the kinetic strands of blue energy coalescing around Rio. Brazil is the place to be, everyone feels it, monks and marauders alike. the world is on fire and only i can heal it.
Harfi: but are you seeing any useful intelligence?
Hartwin: always on time, i like it. always jobbing. yes. quick, get me Lieu, i'll direct him...
before Harfi can hand him the phone the ceiling drone has one last shot in it and takes it. Harfi shows it her back as she smothers Hartwin. the bullet pierces her heart and shatters the phone glass.
Harfi turns around and weakly gestures to the drone, mouthing, "thank you."
Harfi: (softly) god dammit, i was too concerned with your bandages i didn't obliterate that thing for good!
Hartwin: DON'T DIE ON ME! no, really. just your luck, the bullet was a blank. i used up their load. i'm special. so you are dead. but you've always had me, dear. my energy will keep you alive. long enough to.........say.......that you're healed. i'm sure i can. well as long as i last.
in the swamps Lieu is in distress bollixing the fuck out of his stupid phone getting it to work.
Lieu: with my bare hands. come on..........yes! i got a signal. where are they?.........all i'm getting is their last known location.........the fucking zoo?
the Rio Opening Ceremonies go off without a hitch, save for that press conference. Michael Phelps takes the podium and proudly declares that he's a fraud:
Phelps: i am not the greatest Olympian ever. i mean each swimming event is counted individually so it's kinda cheap, yaknow? i mean you figure the soccer team plays seven matches but doesn't get seven gold medals.
Matthew Chris: swimming! who knew? i just figured if you are unlucky enough to find yourself in a body of water there's nothing to do but drown.
Anderson: Michael, thank you for coming out in ancient Olympic garb. but what about the pot?
Phelps: yeah i smoke it. of course i do. everyone does. that's the one thing they don't test for. should. it'd bring people together. warring nations, forever factions, sadistic sides, everyone just needs to chill and get themselves a buzz on. we need to discuss ourselves openly and honestly. no more secrets and lies, that's what's killing us.
Anderson: and the Five palm you gave out of the pool after your final heat?
Phelps beams a grin so wide it cuts his teeth.
Phelps: hamsa. i was greeting all the terrific energy in this place. can't you feel it?
Lysander: well Carmen, does this mean i finally get a check from you?
Carmen: (on the phone) yes, thank you, you gave me a reality check. turns out i'm not crazy. my cats are crazy when they paw at the sheets on my big bed thinking the bed itself is an extension of my body. the bed is not my body no matter how much they want to believe. that's a relief, thought i was getting swallowed up by my bed there.
Lysander: you will pardon me as i sigh externally.
another ring beeps. Lysander can tell that this is no ordinary anonymous beep, it's very deliberately a mother's worried reachout upon heeding her intuition.
Lydander: excuse me, dear, it's urgent.
Carmen: i feel it, too.
Lysander: Madchen my dearest...
Madchen: pardon my hysteria, BUT MY BABY IS DEAD! i'm too harried to cry!!!
Lysander: WHAT?!! please calm up and tell me the details. fully embrace your sex and let it all out. don't clam up and be a woman in all her matriarchal glory.
Madchen: i know it, Lys. i can feel it. i must run to him. i don't need a phone, i'll track him down with my umbilical link.
Lysander: please, it's too dangerous here. and out there. i'm afraid for the general public in your state, you're liable to kill all those in your way. of course you wouldn't be liable. i'm calling Pinguis right now and arranging for her to drive you over to Carmen's cottage away in the boonies. take her large hand. just until i can figure out what the hell is going on. i'm with her. i'm with all you women. i'll call back liberally and check in. i'm with you. i'll find him myself if i have to. that boy isn't your son, he's not our national treasure, he's our hope. i'll send him over.............not in a bodybag or anything, i'm just sayin'...
there's a stench in the air, a foul red that discolors the cardinals and blues the chickens. a drift of dementia that depresses the landscape and dolors morals. attitudes which were always at the bottom seep upward to the surface, poisoning baby oaks. everything is one grade lower.
the funeral for Whoopi and Billy is an exemplary example of this. they get two lookalike impersonators to do a bit on stage next to the caskets but that doesn't lighten the mood. it's not the same comic relief without the Robin impersonator who of course is late after a coke bender and pleading with the police that he was from another planet. the serving of whoopie pie to the guests gag does not go over well either.
earlier, this was Miss Cleo's final premonition. Whoopi and Billy were on a spiritual retreat together to course-correct their sagging comic timing. they meet Miss Cleo who is now stationed on Anholt which suits her tax needs the best:
Miss Cleo: i sense you two don't know how to move on without him. he was a vital vein that can't be electrocauterized shut. that energy is gone. forever. you are left with a hyfrecator that's just a dumb piece of junk. but you knew that. you didn't need me to tell you that, ay?
Whoopi and Billy: yeah, you're right.
Miss Cleo laughs with her fake Jamaican accent that slowly becomes her own hearty laugh.
Miss Cleo: (in her normal voice) sometimes you just gotta laugh.
Yo-Yo Ma, a good reader of tensions in rooms, is tasked with being the closer. he does the only thing his musical instinct will allow, he stands up from the empty chair on center stage, and as the spotlight fades in and out on him, he picks up his huge heavy cello, holds it over his head, and throws it down onto the planks with a force he hasn't had to exert since eighth-grade P.E. the cello smashes wholly and splinters into a billion pieces.
Wolf: Mister Bump are you ready to join us now? the candidate is talking via satellite from an undisclosed underground bunker taking care of some "business." hopefully the notoriously sketchy CNN satellites work this time, sir.
Bump: yeah they're my drones they work just fine. yeah doing two things at once here so yous knows. but hey that's what a president is tasked to do, right? so i will do it. i guess.
Wolf: first question. i like this one. is this mine, Anderson? Anderson? was he at the meeting this morning? first question, pulled randomly from my red Cardinals cap i'm forbidden by CNN to wear on air, first question: what the fuck is going on?
Bump: my army, my loyal soldiers, PILLAGE! PILLAGE! you better, you were paid! PILLAGE! notice how i didn't use the other word. sorry. well, what was the question? well, Hilary, ignorance of the law is no excuse.
Hilary: that was a revitalizing nap. really needed that. it's not enough time. 100 days is not enough time to decide. how i'm gonna go about attacking you. whose law, yours? oh come on, boy, it's just damn emails! even if you saw them you couldn't interpret them, they're all in subtext.
Bump: can't talk.
Hilary: i know you can't.
Bump: i'm a doer. i have hordes on me from all sides. i'm fighting off foreign fighters from my left, my right, my center-right, and my sizable middle i keep covered with my belt and coat. but i love the foreign fighters. we love the foreign fighters, even got some working for me right now.
Hilary: please for the benefit of the Murican people, Mickey, elaborate. this oughta be rich.
Bump: it's the......uh......chapulling? yeah, chapulling.
Codrus gives the man nod from above.
Bump: heehee, sometimes a light bulb goes off against my will. yeah those guys over there in Chicken, i mean are chicken. they couldn't pull it off. nothing's certain. everything's uncertain. dark times. you look over your shoulder but all you see is the night. if you got the balls to plan it you better do it right. IT'S A COUP-SPIRACY!
the President has joined the Congress inside with the other protesters, the elected protesters. he wears a backpack over his shoulder as he steps up sluggishly to the podium to speak:
the President: i understand. i really do.
the President pauses for a moment and curls his ears. he steps off the dais ripping the microphone from its coil and begins pacing each row, talking stream-of-conscious in a low mumble with his fists behind his back.
the President: no i don't. i've been privileged. i've gotten breaks. but i worked hard for those breaks. i may not be fully black but i am human. and i feel hate like you do. it ferments silently behind the seal as i wipe each slight from my thin shoulders. but see you can never get swallowed up by your hate. and it will swallow you up. it doesn't care about your cause only your cost. it doesn't actually help but it tastes so good. it's like sugar. it offers debt but guarantees only death. your hate is justified. but as you can all tell by now, there is no justice for you.
Lieu joins the zoo. well he tries to. there are haphazard fights all around the grounds. it's hard to see who's who. there are no uniforms. they slink around like copperheads, fighting side by side as they run. Bump's Fight Nighters and the animals are running out of esprit and are filled with broken places.
Lieu: this is where the beep came from. but there are more beeps.
Lieu nudges himself into a particularly lonely fight of a man with a broken Russian accent punching in the air to his side as he runs in a circle.
man: punch me first.
Lieu: okay. y'know the running is the hardest part.
man: too much exercise. i can't think anymore. i can't keep up. i just want to return to my ailing babushka. Vladmitry.
Lieu: blackhat computer company you work for?
Vladmitry: that's my name.
Vladmitry gives the man nod.
Lieu: ow, that hurt. look man, what is going on? why do you work for Bump? i'll take your family in. i need all the grandmamas i can get. paying it forward for when my fam was Katrina desperate. can i ask you my first question: how do you do it?
Vladmitry: it's addicting. like a drug. this sense of fight. when a fight's setting up, when the first words are exchanged, when the line becomes a circle, our man hackles spring up, and the anticipation kills us. who will throw the first punch? what is the breaking point? every man has one. how hard will that first punch be? and when that punch lands, the humanity is gone. we don't think, we react. we are animals with red in our eyes. red is not a natural eye color. it's everywhere around us that uncomfortable atmosphere, always brimming beneath the surface. here, take a look at this, on my smartwatch provided to us at the morning meeting by Mister Bump.
on the wrist tv: Gordon Ramsay: (with spit on the sweaty face of a French chef) FRENCH PIG!!!
Lieu: YA BURNT! heehee, yeah i get it. i suppose. but there's gotta be a better way. grown folk shit. i'm so tired but i'm too worried to sleep. need to eat to stay woke.
Vladimitry: we got the family reserves in the shed. the good shit. what's your fancy? deep-fried pizza or the white pudding?
Lieu: you think cos i'm black i'll eat up the fried food?
Vladmitry: okay the white pudding.
Lieu: cos i'm black? you take the white pudding.
Vladmitry: cos you think i'm faking it and really English?
the two continue in a circle, punching each other between bites.
that is until Lieu receives another beep. from the President. the President's location.
Madchen on adrenaline ascends the covered hill spitting with flame and blade off adrenaline. Pinguis can't keep up.
Pinguis, huffing, hands her over with a hand and a nod in the air.
Madchen: i am too worried to cry.
Carmen bobs out of her screendoor and takes Madchen's hand.
Carmen: you poor dear.
Madchen: i am rich.
Carmen: come. i've drawn your bath. no usable water here. bloody-mary bath.