Harfi is obviously out cold for the rest of this weekly chapter.
Hartwin lies motionless on the damp floor which is now the ground.
Hartwin: not cool, mom. it wasn't her fault. i mean it was but y'know.
Madchen: what a stupid way to die! friendly fire. forgive me if i joke, son, but i can't handle the alternative.
Hartwin: perfectly understandable. infinite jest and all that.
Herlina: you should apologize to the poor girl.
Madchen: why? she can't hear anything.
Lysander: truth is, you're deflecting. you're distracting. hey can you order the burgers for all of us? i'm starving.
Madchen: fine...................your specials are what?............three-way burger? that's disgusting!
Lysander: give me the receiver. what did you call me, buddy!? a hamburger hippie? how dare you, sir! sorry i get sensitive about that. the '60s were rough on me. i have a lot of problems, that's why i became a psychiatrist. it's the classic doctor-heal-thyself conundrum. but seriously how embarrassing is it for my 80-year-old mother who's only a decade older than me to be ordering "three-way burgers" cos you couldn't come up with a less-sexy name. i said good day, sir! no food.
Madchen: just as well. can't eat. too much trouble to eat. too much time carrying dishes and washing dishes and picking out condiments. i thought you said your mother was dead? you were the last of your kind. a kid. an orphan.
Lysander: we're all dead.
Madchen: you're right as usual, doc. i worked for Bump. i designed these weapons of war. i caused my own lineage's demise. and i can't face it. i was trash. i wasn't weird. but you were good, son, you were the only good on this wretched red globe.
Hartwin: mama, you are a blessing. we already won. what more can one ask than to do it? to go through it. you have all witnessed my journey. my long unnecessary journey round the world. we all know the ending. it's always a shock beginning. and it's up to us to write the boring plodding plot. i am glad i fought for the cause. it's easier to be a part of a cause, you don't have to think, the cause is already write there spelled out for you. harder to come up with your own ideas. and lonelier. with more negative feedback. easier to take the institution down from within than without. gotta have access before you're an asshole. opportunity to opine. and then you shape it in your own image like a god. much more exciting than working at McDonald's. thank you, Mad Mama. i am almost out of energy. i have no more power in this world. you can't plug me in cos i could never be turned on. from the start it's over. there's never any progress.
Hartwin smiles faintly, his teeth painted yellow.
the two embrace hard. with her stomach hug Madchen squeezes the last drops of blood red mixed irregularly with golden swill. streaks of red enter his cheeks.
Carmen races outside and snaps off a low-hanging branch from the special magic tree, fashions it into a wand with her teeth, and tries to abracadabra the pain away. but all her wild gestures are for naught.
Hartwin (whisper): everyone. gather round. hear me: in an insane world, be less insane.
Lysander: didn't you do that one before? my memory's not so good.
Herlina: yeah i wrote an in-depth analysis of it on my blog which no one read.
Carmen: i'm useless.
Madchen: that's not even your best one, Sweethart.
she turns to face him worriedly and has a frantic light bulb.
Madchen: get me that tool of the devil the phone! i'm gonna make Hilary and Bump and that green woman and all the useless politicians listen to my boy's story. put it on the worldwide web speakerphone! you will not go in vain. you were anything but vain, that's why you were so popular. those crooked cronies don't care about families!
Hartwin: they do. it's just they care about their families. please, ma, no phones! let us really experience this. it is a once-in-a-lifetime last moment. until the next moment. in the next life.
the cats join tongues and lick the crown of his forehead.
Madchen: (sobbing low) any last words, my sweet?
Hartwin: well fuck you gonna make me work for it, huh? i keep thinking back to the colonial days. in those times there were no fancy gadgets to send us at the speed of light to our destruction. just devil's magic. no rapid-fire games and emoji-limited language and little kids with ADD. no science but wives' tales. hens, no hen parties. in short, there was still culture, infinite in its infancy. it wasn't a dead ol' crone like in our era. girls rode tractors and boys knitted quilts and the adults read their leather bibles in a hot church. contrary to now there was nothing to do inside. playtime ended when the sun went down. but the most important thing was love. somehow people got together and loved. they met at the barn dance before burning the barn down. they held each other's real fingers, not their twitter fingers. they fucked in the hay, and it wasn't recorded. they were able to navigate their strange courting rituals and late-night covert mating habits and religious law and find their common bondage. that is what must continue. that is what must always continue. for there is nothing to look forward to. there is no heaven. if there is we'd miss it. when it comes to me they say too soon. but maybe it was too much. humanity, not technology. humanity. humans. hyumans. hoomans. human. who, man? you, man.
Hartwin draws his last breath, which sounds like the Apple tone, and dies.
at the White round table:
Bump: who's the browny?
Codrus: no points for you. that's the Gold Star father you moronically insulted. he's my ace-in-the-hole when either of you two inevitably screw up. he'll take over as commander-in-chief with a 100% approval rating. i'd let him talk but no one can understand him with his thick access. so it's all set? read back the plan i laid out. oh forget it. before the first debate the fix is in.
Hilary: i thought we had the first debate.
Codrus: it's all coming to a head. my head. i'm still tinkering with spaces of time. it's a puzzle and my jig is sawed off. it's tough being creative. but i think i have all the threads connected. it's gonna make for a compelling story. keep following me and you'll both make good leaders.
Bump sits his rump on the big couch.
Bump: what a day. got an instagram-op with the Mexican President. already 15 likes. wanna see?
he shows the group his old picture of eating taco salad with a Taco Bell knife that was his profile pic now replaced with the new one of him stuffing a long fat authentic Mexican burrito down his throat. the Mexican president photobombs in the back with a thumbs up, which the local papers indicate was his last gasp for approval ratings.
Bump: okay, i'm world-famous now, what do i get?
Hilary shoves Bump.
two missiles fired by the President crash through the White House secret windows but not before Codrus grabs them by force with his two fingers and smokes them like cigars. the Secret Service are nowhere to be found.
Codrus: heehee, finally some excitement. nice. i'll leave him to you, Mickey. replaced resentment is so human.
Bump: you interrupted my nap!
he is feeling unstable. the power has gone to his head. Bump summons out of his hair a powerful storm to hit the area. he gathers all of his vanquished foes and swirls them up into the funnel cloud. then he unleashes:
Bump: RAIN OF ANIMALS!!!
Washington, D.C. is now all zoo. Grumpy Cat lands on the President's frowny face.
Bump: wait, wait, stop the whole thing. peek through the windows, folks, they're open. my boys' cars can't get through.
Bump stops and clears a path for the rotunda street so his Russian army can get their cars past the trail of wallabies, cows, chickens, and footballs.
Bump: heehee, watch this it's classic. we don't need cops no more. my goons'll take care of yous.
an old man runs a red light. a couple of Fight Nighters tailing him get out of their unmarked grey car, pop open the hood, and take out their bats. the old man is so scared he pees his corduroy pants all over the street and leaves his dentures floating midair.
Bump: HEEHEE i needed that! just like in their instagram videos! nothing like real life tho!
an amazing thing has happened. there is fire consuming all the world, especially in water, but the golden energy shot out of Hartwin's urethra upon his death collected in a cloud in the sky that was invisible to everyone else and rained down clear pure blue water near the lake area and cottage cabin. many artifacts wash on shore. scrolls thought dead are legible. and the Rhind Mathematical papyrus gets caught in the reeds, the entire document, though it is still illegible.
Carmen: i can only pray there are other h2o sanctuaries like this one where mankind can thrive after it's all over.
Madchen (decked out all in grey): i feel i'm forgetting something.
Carmen: we always do, dear. we forget everything.
Madchen: what did he say? i feel him in me. i'm his ambassador, his guardian angel, his messenger to the world. to the worlds. ah, yes: friends. oh yeah, i didn't check my messages! here's one from Lieu from the mental hospital.
two caskets float along the banks of the lake. Hartwin. and Harfi as a joke. Harfi is still "sleeping". but what none of the funeralgoers know is that Hartwin is still alive, too. for a little bit more. he slowly opens the crease of his coffin lid while everyone is distracted getting the reed tablecloths and meaningless food and drink and candle-boats ready by firefly light and takes a peek outside. he smiles and never lets anyone know. none are wiser. his phone bumps into the coffin. the one Madchen threw out in disgust.
there's a message.
Lieu: buddy, you there.
Hartwin: one last time. for my best fran.
Lieu: love you, buddy.
Hartwin: keeping your sheets clean?
Lieu: i'm supposed to make you laugh.
Hartwin: Lysander'll fix you right up.
Lieu: they asked what color wristband i wanted. told them i already had a color. tech ain't all bad. i got the perfect instagram video to send you out. you know those practical jokers that come on late at night? well this one is real.
Lieu plays a video of a young man in gang paraphernalia with his two legs broken in thick white casts strung up on a hospital bed. the man proceeds to give a hilarious description of how he got in a car accident and his car was so puny it got totaled and he had to jump out the sunroof except there's no sunroof on his sedan so he had to force his head through the metal.
Lieu and Hartwin laugh together like they were back careless school chums at the academy before the academy.
the young man: *flashing gang signs* they don't want to see us win...
and the comments are equally hilarious: "bro what the fuck happened to you?" from both boys and girls alike
Lieu and Hartwin: HEEHEEHEEHEE
Hartwin: always leave 'em with a laugh.
Lieu: that's my line.
Hartwin spots a sliver of the Rhind Mathematical Papyrus caught in the reeds floating away on the outlet river. he recognizes the language. he also recognizes that no one on Earth could ever recognize the language. it's not Egyptian, it's the language that came before. he closes his eyes for the last time. no more lids, only the bottom...
everyone has come from hither and thither to attend the service, perching on their respective branches. all give heartfelt speeches in anticipation of the mother's bawlin' eulogy. Justin Gatlin is dressed to the tens and shoos away a drone from his ashen face:
Justin Gatlin: i'm crying cos life is unfair. what did i ever do to you? why is everyone so mean to me? get that camera outta my face! i didn't cheat. well not really. what's the big deal? it's inordinate the amount of hate i get. why am i not your hero? when a nice guy who works hard like me is so savaged, the world is sick.
he breaks down into the comforting arms of John McLaughlin who gives him a bear hug.
Master Splinter and Mister Miyagi do a joint haiku on the beauty of the racewalk Olympic event: (it's 10 14 10 cos it's a twofer):
racewalk divine so disciplined so true
not running not walking but humanly constricted wart
showing body sinew past help and ruins
Juan Gabriel is out by the inlet and proudly sings, free for the first time. a strange man in a top hat and purple pimp coat starts singing the Lennon imagination song which keeps the water blue. he sets out the cups for the afterparty.
Madchen steps up to the whirlpool vortex of the lake and it's like she's walking on air. she mutters:
Madchen: thank you all for attending. it would mean the world. i'm blubbering. i can't speak. never could. suffice to say i am proud of this boy. he wasn't my son, he was the sun. he was schizophrenic but he never let that stop him from achieving great things. loss is not fleeting like peace. it's not a dove, it's an iron bald eagle that digs into your shoulder. when you lose, you're a loser. i will never get over this. i will do something drastic.
a large wine-colored snake, which is a symbol mythologically through the years of both bad and good, slithers through the lakebed mud. a dazzling Tolkien light illuminates the forestry, shines the shrubbery, and makes the green extra emeraldy like gems protecting the canopy.
THE COMPANY RAISE THEIR GLASSES, CLICK HERE, RIGHT HERE, AS THE PYRES ARE LIT, THE PROOF IS POUNDED, AND RIDING THE PINES, THE SONG REMAINS THE SAME
and then everyone bites into their cups for they are edible candy glass.
Wolf: back home, ugh, in the studio with breaking news. the election is over! in the closest election of all time, the girl who would be king, Hilary Hard-as-a-Rodham Mintin' and Mickey Bump are TIED! same number of collegial electoral votes and popular votes...............wait wait..........breaking news just in this moment: Bump wins cos nobody knows who the President voted for! we just assumed as we made our calculations. bad tab. where is the President!? nobody can locate the President! his vote wasn't counted today! has anybody seen him!? he is missing! put it on the scrolls! REPEAT THE PRESIDENT OF MURICA IS MISSING!!!
Bump approaches the fortified Cream House gate and addresses the nation for the first time as -Elect through the barbed-wire fence. it's hard to tell where the wiring of his lapel mic ends and the barb wiring begins:
Bump: my fellow Muricans. the world. the universe. guys, guys, don't be scared. it's okay. put down your phones and breathe. we must love each other...