Musculo is squatted in the desert, staking his claim, claiming his land no matter what's come before. he won't let loss define him. he strips his baobab of its trunk, silvery in the quiet moon. he begins to shape it using his shaver. there is nothing around except ghosts. echoes of ghosts.
"they stir, don't they."
Musculo: who's there?
"the Solihull Moors. or Almaty. or Grosvenor Circle. are you from Joisy? do you need a Jersey passport? would you prefer me in a white halo dress?"
Musculo: you're the woman of my dreams?
"i think you mean in your nightmares. i can be. i prefer to be. maybe then i'd get some respect around here."
Musculo: show yourself.
"why? we can escape our past but we can never escape the echoes of our past. you could have anything you desire. any exotic food you want, forbye any erotic drink you want. any coupling. or are you simple and prefer an impossible woman?"
Musculo: you sound short.
"well fuck me i can't win"
a demon dwarf emerges from the stones. he has a horrible nose. and it's not just from a cold.
O: call me O. that's nice and easy. and the most complicated concept there is. hand me that staff young man and we'll talk. o yes, such strong fiber, grey befitting a moorish sky. the power in it is magnetic. it blows me down and i'm no foreigner to strange magic. why i'd say from experience that this has the hand of the Creator himself.
Musculo: the boss. that C?
O: o but you shouldn't stain it with your dulled knife. cheeks are meant to be cut. this is the pulp that will define the story for the rest of our lives. it is quite simply the starting stalk of soup. it is meant to be fashioned, crafted by hand like amber beer, into a weapon the power likes of which will never be seen or heard from again. the engine of the universe. it is all the old legends rolled into a new one. he, or she, who wields it controls the future.
Musculo: sure, buddy. how do i know you're not a Russian spy? hand it over.
O: dear boy you must stop thinking so provincially! get out of earth, or Kepler, orbit and expand your mind, man. you don't need the Stones to do it. at least think about the money. have a quotidian aspect to you if not a quality one. now what was your favorite food again? i can prepare anything on the menu. i was a cook before the crisis.
Musculo: i dunno, cheese pizza.
O: you have no idea how glorious that answer is! extra-cheese would have been all-time perfect. now follow me into my lair, uh, dining den. it's in the hole you created from removing the trunk. leave the bark on it, it adds flavor. that's it, hack away the bushes and sempervivum to reveal the location. quite the jungalow. you like cascade hops? or a nice vietnamese drip? black-tea latte? silly me, drinks are always the dessert. how bout while we wait for the stove to work i provide the entertainment.
O begins pounding quietly on a water drum.
Musculo: uh, yeah, that's enough of that, my heads hurts as it is. let's wade in the silence shall we? y'know you're not really a scary dwarf.
O: was that...i don't understand, i'm a dwarf not an ogre. we're the good guys. my eyes are naturally red. it seems like forever. when is the food gonna be ready! (amirite?) i'm starving! look outside, padawan.
Musculo raises his heads and senses the bitter cold of an unsuspecting wasteland. large cracks of thunderous energy dawn into thick sticks of blasting vapor on the desert surface.
Musculo: i hate thunder! i'm okay with lightning but i hate sound.
O: oh that's not lightning. that's a gamma ray burst ready to take out another thousand civilizations or so. life is so fragile. we named this storm Winter Storm Beerus. yeah kind of a running joke around here, it's like the Extreme Weather Channel. but with no spanish babes telling you to remove layers. sorry.
Musculo: i will win. i just have to learn to talk. like Bump. like i was crafting this tweet yesterday, see what you think:
i don't care about humans. i only care about money.
O: he's, we're, you're, we're gonna destroy the world aren't we? break it down and fashion it in our image. shape it with our searing slurpiness. our defiant debauchery. it's about time we were free. y'ever when it gets this cold go out and blow some bubbles? the ice crystals are instantaneous and the bubble forms into a hard glass ball. frozen bubbles. they're really bubble nebulas.
Musculo: yeah, my dad and i used to hunt together. makeshift PULLS!
O: of course. i'm sure your mother would have kneaded you more. you would have responded the other answer: in another timeline, i mean in another time you would have told me the story of how your mother took you out gardening at the first fall of snow before it was too late. she'd gently pick up the fragile root of a dying brown leaf and hand it you. you'd spin it round and notice its prominent blue veins. your mother would inform you that that was ice forming on the leaf, nature's stencil. she'd peel apart the white layer leaving the impression of the leaf in ice. instant art. and art no matter how cheap is so important. dessert bowl? i know this isn't Hawaiian Brian's...
Musculo: you got your courses mixed up again little man.
O: blind me! well cucumber and cantaloupe always go well together whenever. what's the strategy, are you gonna break the alliance and take Olteanu in a surprise treaty which strips the host city into your home base? Operation Olteanu has a nice ring to it.
O: here's your ca phe da you ordered.
Musculo: that's against my religion.
O: that's racist.
Musculo: i'm searching for clean living. cash me outside...
O: wait, we've hardly just begun. let us at least chat about our favorite tv shows.
Musculo: i gotta work on my dates.
O: dates are good. i prefer fruits. and nuts. it's ready, it's ready. o the treasures that come to those who wait! i used a fork instead of a spoon to stir. here! jersey royals potatoes circling a couple of day-old siopao dipped in ginger dressing. now that's a main course! with some nian gao for dessert in the desert. soon, a new year.
Musculo: like a fat kid who likes cake, i prefer real food. the food of the common man. of the worker. i am a man of the people. where is the crab feed?
O: we have a carb feed every spring...crabs are full of carbs.
Musculo: where's the meatball parm? i got big buns to feed. i am steaming right now!
O: you're hangry. please, turn on the tv. turn the acorn dial to the right...
Herlina is having a complicated pregnancy. she's having complications. she lies on the ground next to the Wandering Wave in pain both external and internal. by her side holding her by the hand with his Lego minifigure C-fingers hand is a confused Starscream.
Starscream: what shall i do, my love?
Herlina: fuck you for doing this to me!!! get me water! water is life!
Starscream: the Wave is being stingy at the moment. it has a stiff body. it's being a stiff. it's all at the top of the foam. it needs something to jolt it down.
though the beleagured couple can't see it, they hear the roiling of the water internally within the Wave. there's some rumblings inside that it's starting to boil. but will it boil over?
JUST THEN a small man in a sloppy dated Halloween dwarf mask that has the hairy nose of an ogre pops out of the bushes, startling Herlina enough to move her hand from her puss to her puss.
Herlina: *with her hand in her mouth* eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeek!!!
Starscream screams into the stars.
the cats both shrivel up and arch their backs and go "reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee" like their hind paws were naughtily all over a computer keyboard.
O: wait it's me...
before an afterbirth placenta of nuts, out pops the child: it's a SpaceX rocket.
Herlina: son! son! give mama a big kiss! it was all worth it i think.
Starscream: we love you, son, no matter if you kill us. as a man and father i want to be the first to actually say to my son, i love you. i love you, Spacey.
SpaceX: um can we go with X for my name?
X opens up all his wingjet flaps and portals, attracting the stuck water droplets finally off the Wave and into his systems.
O: just needed a major force to counter. love.
all of this creates a massive mass of steam which permeates the lands. the cloud covers Kepler in a cloud more whitish than grey as the Wave finally learns how to loosen up.
X fires up his rockets and flies straight into space.
X: fuck. i can fly!!! hot as
Starscream: fuck. come back, Spacey! you don't have a license yet!
Herlina: let the boy live, pa. be loose. well our roles are set. i'm gonna obviously live through him the childhood that was denied me the first time.
Madchen: hello. i'm royally late. i mean fashionably late. what did i miss? oh, congrats on the squid. our legends are dying left and right. it's gone beyond curses. we need to fill up our ranks with more strong women. in hats. we need to make new legends. i love spunk.
Musculo: do you not have ears you lughole!? i've got five! release me immediately! do not entrap me! that's a violation of the Emoluments Clause!
O: Logan Act actually. news junkie, too? see? okay okay. done with the dirty chai made from riverwater. i hear ya, i hear ya, i'll call McDelivery.
Matthew Chris: where the action is.
Matt and Trey: what?
Matthew Chris: we're joined exclusively in-studio by Mark and Rey from Star Wars. so who's the last jedi? Snoke, right? i love movies more than politics.
Matt and Trey: we're Matt and Trey from South Park.
Matthew: i don't watch that trash. i watch movies. new tech. need a big screen. that small stuff's played out. why are you here?
Matt and Trey: you invited us. you said you were doing a special on Anger in 2016. well we two are the most pissed-off people on the planet. no, Denver's pipes are made with American Steel thank you very much. we're mad that our brilliant series this year which was a collection of episodes that was one long-ass strung-out episode crumbled when Bump won. we are so strung-out right now. we had so many pretty Hilary bows to tie up loose ends. endings for days. instead we had to rush an ending that made the whole thing suck. what a waste of a year and our sizable talents. we had, like, the worst Christmas ever.
Matthew: you mean Life Day. will there be lightsabers in this one? not training, an actual fight?
O: it's all in the delivery. you have to be smooth like Bump, move like Jagger, walk like, well a normal person. your tongue is a slip 'n slide and your suit is made of snake. when Bump says it it comes off as airy and light and as arch as his eyebrows. it has all the fatalistic funny of an inside joke. when you say that twitter line, and by the way bless you brave for actually pushing the SEND button, it comes off as disgustingly despotic. you can't be alarming in an empty theatre.
Musculo: i guess i'm just not cool. it's cold outside but i'm not cool. i want to be cool. teach me how to cool.
O: o man that is the eternal question of all men. it's really quite simple actually. as easy as meat falling off the bone. like butta. so imagine you have a huge-ass piece of meat in your hand or foot or whatever. with your considerable blade you slice and dice it like a ninja, spread the silky steak fillets like a pack of cards, then you get in the prone position, lift your glistening elbow to the sky, tip your sunglasses to your stache and
FLICK SERIOUSLY. I'M SERIOUS. I AIN'T WHISTLING DIXIE, CLICK HERE, RIGHT HERE AT THIS LINK.
Musculo: i don't trust me, i mean you.
O: my son, i mean son, follow me. sit down and close your mouth. get in the lotus position. or any flower is fine. you won't be flowering anymore. or deflowering. i want you to imagine you are a drip i mean drop in a raging river. you are cool. you are flowing with the tide, effortlessly, with no pain or comfort. you don't think you just move. you close your eyes to see and prick up your mind to listen. sasta and shastra and sastra and shasta cola come easily through your pores and arteries. you are water the source of all life. with soppy bread.
Musculo imagines and his lungs begin to fill with water. sprouts in the wooden planks of the hut begin to wilt and spring.
O: wow i was wrong this stuff works. what do you want to do with your life? where do you want to do it?
Musculo: i want to war and havoc and cause chaos. i like Russian trance music.
a blue bubble encapsulates and captures Musculo and turns him upside down so his feet are his hands. it's all the river, which is really all the Wave's leg. the Wave has entered the hobbyhole. mud turns into birthday cake. lilypads flip over to reveal frogs. the underground is front and center.
O introduces one more drink, the one he's known for throughout the galaxy, his famous scorpion bowl. made out of coconut shell. he slides it into the bubble and it turns into a scorpion...which Musculo eyes closed takes a bite of and chunks it down his throat before he's bitten!
O: well damn. wasn't prepared for that. no backup. just have to trust in the ether. do your thing, Wave, i don't control you. it's fun to work without a boss.
Musculo fights with all his might and manages to crack the bubble's skin and pop through though the bubble doesn't pop. into the air he scurries his way to the outer banks and slips on the path. he tries to run but immediately crashes into the poor dude on the red McDelivery bicycle. burgers go flying everywhere. drop in the river where the fish appreciate a dry burger pattie. get stuck in the trees where the cats find them and spit them out.
McDelivery driver: dude i know what i look like but i can drive. that was your fault. that's a waste of Big Macs man.
O: i know but it's for the greater good. charge it to the DNC office.
Musculo is doused again and this time he drowns. all of his rage bubbles out of him and heats the water. it slowly but surely cools without a master to guide it. O takes the block of bark and begins hammering at it with his sickle staff. tink tink tink. the foam ball of the Wave acts as a temporary anvil. O works fast and opens Musculo's watery eyes one last time. Musculo's mouth is parched.
Musculo: you won this time. i'm dead. but i'll come back. it never ends. i need this water if it kills me. water is life. i need this resource for my people. to feed my armies. to win the war. to turn the tide. i will not rest until all my lives are completed. i will fight to the death for this reflecting pool, this fountain of youth.
O delivers his running soliloquy trying to keep his small feet in step with the running water and addressing the man side by side:
O: look at me. you see this? this is a sword. it's a fucking sword you understand me? i'm a progressive and this is the ultimate Name Your Price tool you tempestuous tadpole! i've been able to craft a veteran veneer of calm from the chaos. it is the ultimate weapon. it is the ancient weapon of all disputes. it's not a garish gun or pusillanimous poison. it's regal and elegant and worthy of purple. it's the civilized way to die, to be slid under like a smooth tongue laced with Marlon Brando butter. this sword doesn't belong to you. it doesn't belong to me. it belongs to the universe. so here, take it! with this ring i thee wed. i am but part of the chain not the chain itself. you would have liked me, i'm an instigator like you. we work for different sides, we have different faces, but we're part of the same coin.
O opens his opponent's hand with forced coercion. he squeezes the charcoal hilt of the handsome blade into the ugly hand of Musculo's bony palm, cracking open the ball of Musculo's white fingers, making sure Musculo takes ownership of the weapon before a wave from the Wave covers him in a blue blanket and lets the salty water wash him away for good.
the blade itself is at once black, clear, and cosmic latte.
but not before Musculo's one last question:
Musculo: i have one last question don't i? one more? more? a final request? a final meal?
O makes an O face like he's orgasming.
Musculo: you're a liar. you had another job. what is with this black hilt i'm holding? what did you make this sword out of?
O: you left before completing your meal. always finish, finishing is the best part. why that's burnt toast. didn't you hear? burnt toast causes cancer.