Costas: hello folks, Costas in the studio with you for the next 48 straight hours on all the platforms. they locked the doors so i can't get out. i'd laugh but i have a weird laugh. let's get you out to...something...left my notes in my other pants...which are bermuda shorts.
the mountain bike thing is going on. the course is wild and woolly in keeping with Rio's penchant for exuberance. one woman sprints across the pack, her straight hair made curly by her wind. she negotiates uphill rivers and strategically-paced trees and huge logs which swing at you when their string is cut Ewok-style. she's almost there! but that one last fucking pebble! her tires cut on it and burst into open air. she's flat. she's got nice boobs but her bike is flat. she picks up her bike like it's nothing and carries herself over the finish line. and is immediately disqualified.
(woman) athlete: you have got to be hornswaggling me! i'm from the South.
umpire: dems the breaks, miss. this is the mountaineering competition. bicycle is in the name. gotta bike it. you can't walk over to the end, who do you think you are, Usain Bolt? or the female version one with the yellow hair?
at weightlifting, the favorite is struggling. not enough baby powder on his delicate fingers. makes all the difference. he can clean but he sure as hell can't jerk. he's from Iran and his hecklers are from Iraq. he gets into it with the crowd on his last attempt. the Iraqi are fake-crying and rubbing their eyes. he shouts some expletives carefully crafted to dodge the censors but people from the region know what he means and don't like it. the Iranian picks up his 1000-pound weightbar with one popeye arm and lunges it into the crowd. screams. chaos. broken seats. shouting for someone turns to shouting against them. can't tell the difference, it's shouting. the faction in the crowd launch homemade fireballs at the propped-up Iranian flag, burning it down.
coach: does it count? he lifted 1000 pounds.
referee: didn't hold it long enough. disqualified. immediately.
coach: funny, he never had the will to carry that much weight before.
referee: hate adds weight.
coach: what a great motivator! better than any supplement shake!
btw, the homemade fireballs are simply some red-hot large round jawbreaker candies dipped in some kerosene and flung with a kid's slingshot. all perfectly valid materials allowed in the legal Olympic venues.
the skydivers are having a hard time. by which i mean those crazy adrenaline-junkie 10m platform divers. the winds are fierce like an outdoor mountain. many welcome the unusual conditions cos the gust blows them away out of the green pool.
green reporter: Tom Daley, how do you keep from breaking all your bones with each dive?
Tom Daley: lots of milk.
green reporter: Tom, shouldn't the water be blue? isn't that the color of water?
Tom Daley: the color of water is clear.
green reporter: what happened out there, Tom? this is shocking! you had such a stellar preliminaries. and then a night passes. and then you completely fall apart.
Tom Daley: doesn't matter had sex. with my famous Hollywood boyfriend. milk. couldn't walk this morning. that's the reason. thank you to all my fans for getting me to this pinnacle.
the poor unfortunate souls who wade in the green-water pool are sucked down to the bottom and reemerge through a green Mario pipe surfacing in the track arena in those cute little puddle pools by the steeplechase hurdles happy to be alive. it's Wolf's turn to drag their soaked bodies out of the water jumps and into the back of his van, which really looks creepy.
the horses of course are riding their riders. most of the humans even with their black equestrian helmets and heavy red coats can't take the enormous weight of their beasts and buckle under the pressure. never make it past the first obstacle gate. can't jump worth shit. breaking their backs. the horses whinny with a justified bray after centuries of abuse for a medal they don't even get to bite down on. they get some more oats or something, big whoop. there is so much gold dust in the air. Bump is in the stands and finds this event quite interesting to his glued eyes and brays along with the horses. he doesn't need binoculars to see everything clearly.
sandy reporter: how was it out there today? did you win?
sandy reporter: do you care?
sandy reporter: what would you rather be doing right now? how do you see your life independent of any external pressures on you? your perfect saddleless life? what is the life you want to lead? what is your ideal self-actualization?
horse: i want to hang out with American Pharoah. that guy's a pimp.
Costas: and now, the piece de resistance. feast de resistance? they stopped feeding me here in the studio which is stunting my growth. my mind is still in Paris in happier times. let's go out to the playground for the final event of these fucking Games finally after a 30-minute special by Mary Carillo detailing how her kids played this in their backyard and can't believe it's an Olympic sport now:
the competitors decked out in their country colors and codes emblazoned on their ample chests get ready.
USA attacks the first obstacle, the jungle gym. he gets his fingers caught in the painful metal mesh. BRAZIL lords over USA kicking him in the head as she runs through the overhead ladder. GBR and surprise GREECE isn't far behind riding the fuck out of those stationary springy horses. symbolic. a completely naked woman from the MIDDLE EAST has already won for global progress by being naked but she continues onward swinging the rope ladder to the final obstacle, the slide! she slides down but it's metal and it's so hot outside it melts the slide into ropes of silver goo which burn her butt. she stops midway cos those slides never actually slide and are never smooth. pushing herself like a caterpillar with her triangular arms and legs the rest of the way. breaking the banner. SHE WINS THE GOLD MEDAL IN PLAY!!!
red reporter: was it worth it? did you ever tell yourself you should have covered up more?
MIDDLE EAST: that's a clown question, bro.
Costas: heehee i've been there. and now, clear your schedule for the rest of your earned night off, the Closing ceremonies. is it -monies or money? i never know.
the Closing Ceremonie(s), multibillion dollar expense, years of planning beforehand, moving all those heavy bits of machinery on stilts, paying the childcare for all the exotic dancers, is rained out. at least the Flame went out like it was supposed to. but that haunting song that would have played in the rain for the Flame ceremony stills echoes throughout the favelas, mysteriously being played by unknown invisible drones. it's a determinative dirge that deepens into the dirt and dearth of the nation.
Costas: i'd dance for you right now but i'm white. i mean maybe i can do the robot or something. so the next Summer Games after Tokyo are in Iceland cos of the soccer thing and the next Winter Games will be held in Africa, historic, look out for that one. looking forward to that Jamaican bobsled team reunion. oh, just coming across the wire: Japan, repeat Japan, Japan state-sponsored doping, all medals stripped. banned. wow not a good look. it's always the quiet ones, huh? see you in Tokyo! arigato! until next time, this is Bob, a palindrome. so long, suckers.
Bump is called into his office by Codrus who is sitting in his chair. he has to catch a flight back.
Codrus: what took you so long? you come when i summon.
Bump: sorry, boss, had to buy a new plane for this. my other plane's in the shop. getting fitted for tires. lost track of time. love just hanging out with the mechanics in the garage yous know?
Codrus: memba what i told you?
Bump: no. no. i really don't. hey what's she doing here?!!
Codrus: i called Hilary in cos i wanted to formally meet the Pope but also we got to come together and illuminati some things in the bud. the first debate is coming up.
Hilary: didn't we have the debate? the first debate's gonna be smashing. if we ever have it.
Bump: i've been reading a lot of books on the subject. i'm positively red up.
Codrus: you're versed but you won't be victorious. i've seen the future: you lose in a landslide. but we gotta keep up the show for the public. the people want to be entertained. so this is what we're gonna do: she's gonna win but you'll be the face of the operation. she'll really be running things on the inside.
Bump: do i get my ball?
Codrus: yeah yeah we'll throw you a ball. CNN and MSNBC will even be there.
Hilary: so i'm Cheney?
Codrus: no you're Dubya. I AM Cheney.
Hilary: first thing we do is reverse Brexit. nullify it, pretend it never happened. cos that was just dumb.
Codrus: agreed. i dream about a strong Britain. i like you, woman. not in that way.
Bump: are we here? is this really the first debate? it seems all a dream. anyway, Hilary, your mother was a whore!
Hilary: my mother was a saint. do you know what she went through to pull her straps up from poverty?
Bump: what i read that once. Thomas Jefferson? his mother was called a whore? that's American tradition.
Hilary: why are the seats empty?
Bump: drones. same thing. anyway folks, folks, listen to me, your great uncle, the new uncle Sam: there's a lot of changes going on, can you feel it? can you feel the nervous anticipation? an earthquake in Italy is felt as if it were in Frisco. that's not the power of television, that's the power of our own individual energies rising up and coalescing into one big ball. coming together to hurt. the next few months are gonna be crazy. i have it on good authority the Cubs are gonna win the World Series! and I WILL BE your next President! and i'll finally get what i want!
the President is sick and tired. of waiting. he gets a call on his go-go gadget watch:
the President: ...and you tell Malik to take off that stupid red hat! he's only supporting Bump to spite me. always been jealous of me. i stole his bitch, dude never got over that. acting all tribe. he was supposed to be the actor in the family. fucking family, i swear, sometimes i wish i could go through life alone...
the trio have been traveling the long and winding road. in the water. over patriarch ponds. and an informationless highway.
at the cottage, the other trio are decked out in their barkcloth noshing on ankimo, swallowing it down with oksusucha, making the best of it. off the land. Madchen is forlorn forever.
Madchen: i saw him, med. last night. he was in our kitchen. plain as day. preparing the spaghetti, draining it leaving the cuttlefish pieces. i could talk to him.......reach out to him........caress his face..........touch his lips. his ears were wet but not from sweating. i parted his hair for him as always.
Carmen: still have some handbook reading to do but i think that's actually a bad thing. your love is strong. it will carry you through. to two.
Madchen: i hope i still have feeling left in me when all this is over. never numb or you become a nub.
Carmen: keep your mad. the best anger is indignant anger, an anger filled with dignity. we are a triangle. we feel your edge.
Herlina: *furiously typing with a glaze gaze* one day i'm gonna be so famous on instagram i'll install a CONTACT button next to my name!
Madchen: *yank* gimme that!
Madchen absconds with Herlina's phone and quickly lies down to scroll on the wicker sofa. on the damp blue blanket soaked with pee from two cats. Madchen can't do anything about it and swims in it. she gives up and laughs.
in the wild blue Pacific the three are detritus on an open wave. Hartwin gets weaker with each stroke. but he still recognizes beauty. he sees a sparkling rainbow cuttlefish just below the surface lighting the below deep.
Hartwin: i'll make an exception and take a picture of this magnificent beast before he scatters off into the night. *snapping*
Hartwin: am i hallucinating? no, i'm still woke.
Michael Phelps is swimming in the ocean. there are four trees around him floating on their cut roots. on one rests Lochte. on another John McLaughlin. on the last Leonidas of Rhodes. Rowdy Gaines hangs on for dear life on a stripped bare treetop. all are naked. Phelps approacheth:
Phelps: why so glum chum? the adventure has just begun.
Hartwin: you swim in your spare time?
Phelps: this is my time. for the first time. see how happy i am? see my goofy grin? *he makes the Phelps face* no more of that.
Hartwin: you can't do the Phelps face. that's false anger and determination. once it gets appropriated by the memes you lose it. it's like it cancels out. double jeopardy. inception. the creator doesn't own his creation.
on the branches of the naked trees hang multiple medals of all color and mini American flags with just one yellow star in their blue cantons.
Hartwin: i see you don't wear your medals. but you do have a necklace on. what of?
Phelps: it's a vial of Angelina Jolie's blood.
John McLaughlin: let's get this debate started. on a scale of 0 meaning metaphysical certainty, even though there is no perfect zero anymore, and 100, meaning demonic certainty, perfect 10 notwithstanding, how would you characterize what you do, sir?
McLaughlin: not you, the boy.
Lochte: please, no more questions. get that drone camera out of my face, i just want to go home, i'm gassed.
McLaughlin: right. *mclaughs* it's just swimming. it's not a sport, ya get me? i mean it's just swimming, ya know?
Leonidas of Rhodes: right? exactly! it says here 13...
Phelps: 18, misprint. in stone.
Leonidas: no matter, i'm still the king. one of my crowns equals your weight in gold medal. and doubles it. let's race. ready for the hoplitodromos?
Leonidas falls out of his tree and drowns.
Phelps: guess you had to be hopped up. my turf, buddy. which is now all my turf. alone.
Phelps closes his eyes and gets in the backstroke position but does not move. you can just make out vines clasping his wrists and just spot seaweed around his ankles. John McLaughlin from his perch starts drumming his palms on his shirtless stomach and the other three join in. even Leonidas from the abyss. even Rowdy. the low rhythmic pattern puts Hartwin to sleep.
THE SEAWATER BURNS HARTWIN'S SKIN LIKE A LAKE OF FIRE, CLICK HERE, RIGHT HERE AT THIS LINK
Madchen: damn. see what just happened? i was doing you a favor, Herlina. a new person had decided to join you. decided to follow you. the chess pawn sign went up. but i was too busy looking at other things. distracted. all i could muster was a quick glimpse of her homepage but i don't remember any of them. cept she was artsy, said author in the bio. i pushed on one clip of her instagram story. heard a snippet of her grandmother speaking her native tongue. spanishish. but when i went back she had retracted her follow. never did get her name. or her screen name. lost forever. we'll never meet her again. she could have been the one. who knows what direction your life would have taken if you two became besties? special severed and shuttered in a shudder. we'll never look upon the solstice again. cos we'll be soul sauced. nothing like female friends. your authoress amiga. she could have taught you to author and you could have taught her to lose weight.
Herlina: thanks a lot, bitch. prolly scared off by your negative energy. good vibes only man.
Madchen: it's my emotion. i can't control it. i can't control it. it's who i am.
at the door, the three have completed their journey. Harfi and Lysander drag the good soldier into the singed cottage by the ankles. Hartwin is hirsute and half and heartsick and heartopen and hanging on by a hair. he clutches his mom's shoulders but Madchen is too exhausted to turn around and smile with her dry eyes. but she recognizes the voice before he speaks and shudders.
Hartwin: mom, that was a beautiful eulogy. i get it. i get every word of it. we are the lucky ones. we matter to each other. we made it, we're meat. we lived before the internet. we won't die a digital death.
Hartwin from her back rubs his finger along the side of the phone Madchen's holding. star pixiedust covers all the jiggling apps.
Hartwin: now mom, do this one thing for me. look at your screen again. i know it's hard but look at your screen.
the missing follower magically reappears again.
Hartwin: did you book the Mario Lopez room? cos mama i'm coming home!
Madchen finally turns around. slowly she turns. ignoring her dead son on the floor. step by step she climbs over him and the first face she confronts is Harfi's. she gets right up into her grill, cranks her arm back, rotates her fist around a few times for momentum, and punches Harfi in the nose.