for Carmen, life was a marathon. she was always running. climbing up the ladder. looking down wasn't scary, she preferred it to looking back. it wasn't so much about accomplishment as staying ahead of the disaster that was roiling behind her, rolling down the pike, this thing that kept her up at night. she felt it in her pre-wiccan bones, she knew that any success she presently enjoyed was a distraction dustdevil which spun the boys up a little before the avalanche hit. and this thing was solely for her, it needed to be, it needed to hit her hard and turn her world upside down so she would lose her identity wholly. that's the only way to move ahead. when the path behind you is blocked by boulders. and that's exactly what happened. not because she was a woman. because she was a Carmen. the landslide hit and she lost her brother, the one person she loved other than herself. and the cats, the cats, though in fairness they were his cats, he was the lifer, she humored him. Carmen: not a cat person, well not an animal person, not out of a lack of empathy but a lack of time. she became a cliche. the woman who packs all her things into one Birkin bag and heads for the hills in search of a new life. but she loved it. she loved being outside. and it is exciting when you have nowhere to go, no schedule to maintain, no hours to squeeze blood-dry like the rest of us. boring but exciting.
she founded herself in the isle of Australia cos she figured this was the land of the rejects, the discarded, those with no place to go. she blew her life savings in one load on a planetrip that promised to just keep going, going, going until it ran out of fuel. before it crashed to a watery grave she jumped out of the plane and parachuted to a remote isle in the tropics, smackdab on a dot of the ITCZ. it was so peaceful she ran out of spontaneous meditations. and so boring she decided to learn a new religion to add structure to her life.
and thus, she became a witch. because all women in this world eventually become witches. they have to, they have to retain their power in the only way left. especially now with the world ending, they had to harness Mother Earth in a way only they knew how, passed down secretly from a violated pilgrim girl to her burned daughter, from the oppressed through the ages struggling to be smart and naked and free, liberated, who could laugh again cos they were funny, write music which gilded the Lilith, be tomgirls, not tomboys. be proud of their flabby core stretched thin to feed the earth. they had to grant our last and most fervent wish, one dug deep down in our DNA when we're born, the survival instinct so powerful as to stop suicide. these beautiful strong powerful women had to repopulate another planet. start over. bring forth a new identity using the old concepts. in space. and time was upon them.
Carmen: alright dearies, baked goods almost done. get the wicker baskets out, the loom is hot and my golden strands have turned a silver white. my feet have grown feet they hurt so much. standing here for hours slaving over a hot stove. but i am hot. and this is my role. this is how i help the team. this is what i'm good at.
guilty as a lady leaving the scene of a crime, Carmen plucks the damsons from the same tree providing the rocket wood. she gathers the one egg for the egg in the basket in her basket, she's good friends with the goose, they had an affair and the goose never lets her forget it by supplyin' her and plying her with free eggs from the goose's butt from time to time. Carmen cooks the toad in the hole. yes it's true the toad and the frog were friends but they had a bitter falling out when the toad said he liked the frog warts and all. Carmen hasn't forgotten her roots and casts a little spell when everyone is looking not at her but at the living room fire onto her own thumbprint to make the hallongrotta cookies. she saves the best for last, manipulating the dough made crusty and dry from the outside fires into fruit susans, named after Madchen's lost sister. Carmen will treat Madchen with them when the two find a quiet moment later tonight. Carmen will not tell Madchen what the cookies are called.
Carmen puts up her feet on the hanging wire egg basket and relaxes. she can barely spy through the dark doorway to her closet next to her knotty broom on top of a pile of furniture boxes her white running shoes which are now decidedly black. they look like the eyes of a faded ghost. she also sees another pair of eyes, that of Mother Earth!
Mother Earth: leavin' on a jet plane? don't be startled, child, don't move and i won't move, i like cramped quarters, keeps me hidden from those that would do me harm. i hate the outdoors. besides doesn't my instagram butterfly-tiara look nice on me? i made it real. don't want to knock it off with unnecessary movements.
Carmen: my heavenly, i bow to you, i beg you, what do i do?
Mother Earth: fuck if i know. you only find out when you die. until then you bungle around hoping to add light to darkness and not disturb too many bungholes. look at me. or rather look at my sister Mother Nature. she has drunk so much sap from so many trees over the years even her most ardent devotees were starting to call her a slut. the humans who are more secular had to intervene when infighting broke out among the fairy supporters. she claims that she needed to try everything that was out there.
Carmen: you're lucky to have a sister.
Carmen's tears have covered her ears. she doesn't hear her words but more the intention behind them. Carmen gets tangled in the wire mesh of the hanging egg basket and hits her head on the soft mud floor. in this upside-down state she gets up to pray, looking one last time out her window:
CARMEN CLOSES HER EYES AND BEMOANS THE STATE OF THE WORLD, CLICK HERE, RIGHT HERE AT THIS LINK
Mother Earth: oh my child, my light elf, i am so proud of you!
and they both disappear for awhile.
there is a lot of activity in the Cream House in this last remaining day. a lot of bustle that sounds and furies but doesn't add up to much. of course only Codrus knows it's the last day.
Hilary: but wait, sir, don't you already know the future? and there are countless other futures. perhaps one where Mickey Bump legitimately becomes the next President. or one where the earth doesn't explode and harden into a big gooey ball of massless glue?
Codrus: i like your moxie, kid, you got spunk! you are much more inquisitive about the universe around you than some people i know. *rolls eyes at Bump*
Bump: *on his instagram* hey my insta is broken. it's full of terminally-depressed people doing repetitive nonsensical things and talkin' crazy who are all gonna commit suicide soon. i mean who the hell wants to watch other people working out at the gym! just cos you have a nice body don't mean the sex is better. even i know that. take me. please. *points to his temple* sex is all up here in the head, and i got a big hairy one that's worth its weight in gold. Stan Wawrinka is correct, it's all about the mind. your body is your temples. *Bump points to his temples*
Bump: btw all my blonde bombshells called me The Stanimal in bed. love combing through all the horse pics, though. and i'm not talking about Hilary's account, teehee. do not delete your account. hey boss, how'd i do in the first debate? i know it got a big number i knows that for sure.
Codrus: you don't remember? it was the highest-rated show of all time. no show will ever come close to those numbers. throw all the Super Bowls and the M*A*S*H finale into a pot, stir vigorously, and you won't come close to conjuring the magic of that show. the last of its kind. and i know that for sure.
Matthew Chris barges through the doors and puts up his dukes.
Matthew: let's settle this man to man. old school Catholic like they did on the mean streets of Philly. put up your duchesses!
Matthew: no, Hilary, i see what's going on here. collusion in Washington shaking my damn head. never saw such a disgrace when i worked here. don't blame the staff, never blame the staff! they never know anything, it's always the poison head of the snake at the top. it was a hell of a time finding you, all the power centers of the world together in one room, i wanted to see the Pope about something else and they said she'd be here. isn't that a bit dangerous?
Codrus stifles a chuckle from the corridor.
Matthew: come on Hil let's go, i'm gonna toughen you up, make you a fighter, you are our only fighter for us.
the security drones extend their tongs and pick Matthew up. okay ten security drones are needed to escort Mr. Chris out.
as Matthew Chris is led out to the shirt store, well flown out, he keeps repeating, "America won't buy this shit. America don't want this shit. America don't need this shit. this is not the time for this shit..."
par for the course at this place, the greeting line extends. more and more people are kicked out.
Billy Bob Thornton breaks through the window to recover the vials of Angelina Jolie's blood that have been secured at Fort Knox.
Bump: just in case the vampires attack us.
Billy Bob: i need those! you don't understand, I NEED THOSE! I MUST FEED!!! I GOT A SECOND CHANCE!!!!!!
the Pope: poor Brad Pitt. i would have loved to have taken him up to my private chambers and converted him.
Bump: what happened?
Hilary: you don't know? he died of a broken heart after Angie's passing.
Billy Bob: YES AND THE FLUID WILL REVIVE HER!!!!!!
Bump: what? get outta here. stop invading my personal space. sex is sex whether it's with a zombie or a non-zombie. get this weird smelly skinny dude outta here.
Bump gets a call from the Bat phone. it's from Lieu from his hospital bed. after a few flubbed international negotiations, Lieu is allowed through the front door. Lieu is still chained to his hospital bed.
Bump: who are you?
Lieu: the only black man who'll work with you. you told me over the phone you were willing to sign the bill. it grants universal health coverage for anyone in the world who's suffering from a mental illness. sign here, here, and here.
Bump: okay okay okay. *signs*
Lieu: GOT 'EM! you just granted universal health insurance to every single person on the planet! according to a recent Harvard study, everyone who lives in the world suffers with a psychological disease because living itself is a mental illness! finally this country catches up and becomes socialist like the rest of the world. we aren't special anymore!
Bump: *puts his hands up* hey who am i to argue with Harvard? a lot of smarties over there. they know way more than me. but like i said, i surround myself with the best people. this country is lucky to have such people acting as a wall against ignorance.
Lieu: not anymore. that was their last study. the Harvard campus and all surrounding premises burned down in the fire. this is the last building left standing in the world with any standing.
Bump: suck it, Harvard, you entitled elites!
and the streets ran with actual blue blood...
the cottage runs on the reinforcing rhythm of everyone working together. a natural bustle shields the hill from the outside world. in this inner life Herlina is heard in the background tinkering and tonkering fashioning the hull of the rocketship of the last group's collective new faith. she puts down her silver nippers for a smoke break as Carmen pins Herlina to the tree with her hug.
Carmen: hold on..............used your nippers to stir the spaghetti pot.
a frog croaks.
Carmen: what a night! what a day. we work but then we play. together. we are strong. break off that branch over there, the ol' girl won't mind, she is stripping, exposing her body to us so that we might be saved. she is giving her all so we must do the same. whatever our capacity. not for the fame but for the pain. take a puff off that sucker. it is said that your intention determines what smoke emits from it. mine earlier was a pale evil ghastly red smoke that i will discuss with Lysander first thing tomorrow morning.
a butterfly flies by chasing a sandpiper.
Carmen: go on, dear.
Herlina smokes her stick and a batch of cute little bathtub bubbles come out of it.
Carmen: while i was dating El Chapo i had a sidepiece. wonderful plain man who treated me right. great great great grandson of Earl Carroll. and he was great. i put his life in danger i know but there's no love without danger as Angelina Jolie would always say. our clandestine dates were magical, so peaceful, the happiest i've ever been outside the family. i would hug him and we would be transported back in time to the old Earl Carroll Theatre. i looked at that big beautiful sign on the front entrance, that flapper girl, i imagined what her life must have been like, and suddenly the sign would burn up the night sky with its limitless energy, lighting up its neon letters:
THROUGH THESE PORTALS PASS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL GIRLS IN THE WORLD