O takes off his mask and everyone screams.
Penyelamat: very funny.
everyone: *like Cheers* PENYE!
Penye: that was very funny. Musculo was easy. most bullies are. but he has an extra glimmer in his eye that one, watch for him. i didn't have to use any real magic, he thought i was an ogre. please, no more jokes.
Herlina: persuasion is the magicest of all. convincing when it goes against better judgment. i'm not making any judgments, i'm not saying i'm regretting it...
Starscream: love is love
Herlina:...but it's hard right now. our family is falling apart. can you please help us find our boy SpaceX? he's just a baby. that weighs a ton. big baby. and he's already 9.
Penye: sure. i did my good deed for the day, i'm high as a kite. yeah if you haven't noticed already
TIME IS KINDA SCREWY HERE, CLICK HERE, RIGHT HERE AT THIS LINK, IT ALL HAPPENS TOO FAST TO DIGEST.
Penye sprinkles some gold dust with his elbow and poofs turns into a cute tiny cobalt-blue helicopter that stretches its little whirly wings as far as they can go and it ascends cutely by the side of the Wandering Wave. the Wave is so high it can't be seen with the naked eye. or the robotic eye. the helicopter can't quite make it over the summit and has to turn back and head back to base.
Herlina: can't you turn into a bird or something? a real bird?
Penye: sorry. i used up all my magic. i'm useless. i'm sure he'll turn up.
Eefus takes one large chunk into her gob of the newly-brown rich soil under the Wave and grazes away happily.
Eefus: GET TO THE CHOPPA
only Eefus laughs at her own joke. she stands there wagging her tails as spit spills out the sides of her mouth, drooling at her drollness with a big pair of sunglasses on her face and a huge unkempt lioness's mane of hair on her head. she beams a smile so bright it blends with the midday sun. she casually and contentedly chews the cud.
the desert is so quiet you can hear a prick drop.
O stands over and euphorically praises the new corpse of the slain leader, slain by water. Musculo wakes up just as the chant was getting interesting.
Musculo: you're still here? i can't get rid of you.
O: ever ask yourself why that is? i am so strong in your mind i am your manifestation made flesh. i am physically here. go ahead, touch me. not there. this is no dream. this is hyperreality. this place is amazing.
Musculo: yeah it's quiet. i need that more than ever. the shadows come at night and creep across the landscape.
O: there is much shadowwork here. helps to spot the gleams. i see the bits of blue.
Musculo: i read up on it. all of it. there's not much to do here. there's no one here. blue zones. optimal places around the globe where my people can thrive and live healthy long lives. Kepler is getting overcrowded, which is strange cos it's huge. finding and securing these areas will ensure the longevity of my progeny. i do it for my people and will guard my lands to the death. all i care about are my followers, the people who voted for me, that's all i need. the only expansion i require is my base, i don't need to get fatter off strange foods.
O: sure you do. a broad base is the sign of a man who can adapt to changes in diet and atmosphere. a true hunter-gatherer not a firestarter. you need a fat stomach if you're gonna survive for your folk. why do you do what you do? what's the end gain? what do you ultimately gain more of? pounds?...
Musculo: pounding. poundage. beating my enemies to a pulp and leaving their carcasses to soil the land. to show that i won, i was stronger, my ideas were better. look up there, it's a mini wave. the Wandering Wave itself is too powerful to control, so in its grace it leaves mini pockets of its water, more manageable sites for us to bathe and wash and drink...
O: in that order.
Musculo: look there's one now. gliding across the plains with its white head and blue tail. like a crab. full of dungeness crab. let me stay focused on it. let me meditate on it. let me be quiet. i won't have time in the future. let the soft wind blow on my nose and blow through my crewcut and allow me an hour to soak it all in.
O: soaking music, the rhythm of the sands.
a dungeness crab flies off the foam head and pinches Musculo's nose with its claw.
O: that's what you get.
Musculo: for wanting to eat?
O: tell me what you want. what do you ultimately want? what do you want to do?
a table forms out of the rotting oak under the raging river made vacuous and hollow with the sands of time.
O: here, young man, take a seat. you won the election after all. you won it fair and square. you played the game. the right way. what is your first order? there are no roadblocks. you can do anything you want.
Musculo: i want to start a war. just for the fuck of it.
O: there is your pen. o that pen is worth a thousand swords.
Musculo: next i want to, like, get on board my official helicopter and fly around the white monument that looks like a dick. i want to shoot down that monument of our first father, abdicate antiquity, with my missiles. i want to start over and reshape everything in my image.
O: you sound like a god with a plan. o how desperately we need to teach that Washington tree story again. it's not all about the cherries. but wait, here comes your first test. a punk named Malcolm has just gotten in a row with you over the phone. how do you handle this? what do you do to Malcolm?
Musculo: what kind of dumb name is Malcolm? Malcolm doesn't get any of my food. ever again. he can choke on his shrimp and choke his barbies on that crime-infested backward island of his.
O: excellent. but wait. here comes your ultimate test. it's the Oscars. The Rock has just won for Best Actor. he was in a movie about brown people on an island. he gets up on stage and adjusts the mic as you used to do. instead of a canned speech thanking his agent first and his mama second he goes off-script and wings it, improvises as all good actors can. there's no need for interrupting play-out music from the band below, this one won't go long. he simply wraps his large mouth around the microphone, sucks it, and exclaims:
The Rock: man Musculo, fuck you.
what do you do? what's your next move? you're a brilliant strategist, all your men say so. the ones in the field anyway. i mean do you shrug it off as a joke or take it personally? if you let it slide more of the liberal elite will find comfort in walking all over you. they already mock you mercilessly in their art. i mean you could fight him but, like, The Rock's bigger than you...
Musculo can't make up his mind and has to sleep on it. when we wokes he finds the table has changed, morphed, warped. instead of the seal of the eagle with hair carved in the front the eagle has melted and has become a carved roast eagle with hair.
O: you will win the war no doubt. but it takes time. each battle must be won first. what is your first battle? now that you're rested.
Musculo: i'm still groggy. first we cut off the Thain Path and retrieve the Xiezhi head from the restless natives. that will force them to join our ranks, that's how we'll grow.
as Musculo talks, he experiences everything he says.
O: a little fire used strategically always does the trick. the universe is so benighted. and afterwards? what is your post-conquest meal?
Musculo: pate grand mere. Awful Awful coffee cabinet shake. served from a wood coffee cabinet.
all the food spoken appears on Musculo's table and he devours and drinks it.
O: that's only available in Rhode Island.
Musculo: it's called Island Rhode here. we make a left at the Crooked Forest and finally conquer Hawaii. make it our bitch. make it the last state in the union, the furthest from control, so far away from Washington, such a tiny collective. our prize? Leonard's Bakery for their prized malasadas.
O: o c, Hawaii's not so bad once you conquer it.
Musculo: we make a right through the hanging jungles, burning them on our path up the mountains. we level the mountain on our way down to the sea. basically we flatten everything. make it a flat kepler. we don't wash in the waterfalls we drink them. we steal from the exotic peoples and places we encounter. we trade in ecology for elote, munificence for mukkhan and maksuba and mushroom coffee. we make beads out of the Bede People. trade only for tariffed trdelnik. four minute warning, the story's almost over. and we put a pin in it at the end by pinning an actual real live endangered holly blue butterfly to our instagram screens. the butterfly turns into a blue-butterfly emoji.
O: oc, elote, that takes me back. street corn. mixed with popcorn. i grew up on the stuff, ate it everyday for breakfast. then i had to eat punks for breakfast selling the stuff on the mean streets. those streets were so hot. loved on 'em. alas deep spiritual ecology has gone the way of the taco truck. so does it work? do you do your duty and get to eat?
Musculo: i do my doody after i eat.
Musculo is able to play out all of his wartime fantasies on the desert surface. except they are realities. his armies strike and their armies counterstrike and it all takes one chess move to move it to a zero sum. Musculo never seems to win.
Musculo: i've played out this scenario a million times. it always ends the same way. we get all the water but it's never enough. we go for the Wandering Wave, confident now, but the Wave eventually drops from its static slumber and covers the land in a devastating torrenting flood which drowns all life forever. both sides lose everything.
O: that sucks. bummer. maybe if you bobbed right and weaved left instead of bobbed left and weaved right? went under instead of over? understood instead of overstood? went up to see rather than to drop a bomb?
Musculo: always the same. i've tried everything. no change. it's fated.
O: here my boy, you've been through some exercise. that's not a towel you're tugging that's my dick. i know i'm short but. here is some special water i scrounged up while you were "gone". gypsy water from my people's home country. wait what happened to the bottle i had here?
Musculo: we drank it all. it's water.
O: that was parfum, man! straight from my wife's vagina. fancy and french. eau de europe? y'know, make you perfumed and parisian, paper over your faults, make you smell good after all that vile evil. please say you'll continue the good fight. you mustn't give up just cos it's hopeless. look i'll throw in a bargain. you win the next battle by telling me what you're gonna do and at your supper table at night in the corners will be one plate of piping hot black spaghetti and some kaiserschmarrn as the garlic bread.
Musculo: i'm intrigued...go on...
Starscream: it's okay to cry, my beloved, i do it all the time.
Herlina: i know but it's weird.
Starscream: cos i'm a man?
Herlina: no cos you're a weird robot. i mean your tears are oil. black eyes like that are usually reserved for when a bawling woman's mascara runs.
Starscream: hug me, babe. give me a big hug.
Starscream almost crushes Herlina to death.
Herlina: it's just these feelings. i hate feelings. i see it all the time on instagram, everyone's trying to suppress their feelings. all the memes are like Go Away, Feelings! Get Away From Me, Feels! Feelings Be Gone! feelings are worse than death. feelings are death.
Starscream: you must feel, my love. that is what life is. life is pain.
Starscream beats his chest which makes a tinny sound.
Starscream: look inside your heart. you hear that? that's your heart. that's your heart beating.
Herlina: i hear nothing.
at the presidential palace Madchen is pacing back and forth.
Madchen: we are here at the Hall of Heroes on this very special occasion that isn't so special cos i do one of these a week. some commemoration. of something. everything is in the past now it seems. where are the future females? i'm weak in the knees.
Lysander: well you seem fat and happy. pleased with ourselves are we?
Madchen: sure. my people are well-fed. well well-welled. well-liquided. well-liquified. well-liquedated. they have enough water is what i'm saying! the Wheel of the Year is running smoothly all year round. the Wave provides and that's all i can ask for. my prayers have been answered.
Lysander: o no, it's not as easy as religion. you have a long way to go. you've forgotten yourself since you became queen. you seem weak. are you eating? where did you put the Aquamarine?
Madchen: just what Ramsay cooks for me. i assume it's healthy and nutritious. i fill my belly. the Aquamarine? that damn rock makes me nervous. i'm afraid of losing it. if i leave it on the throne i'm afraid of someone stealing it. if i leave it in my quarters i'm afraid of you stealing it.
Lysander: inner-circle syndrome i get it. you have to make your circle so small at the end of it you're left with a square.
Carmen enters the hallowed hall and silently bows by the door. she remains on her knees and huffs. it's no secret she is here but no one notices her.
Madchen: and that poor Brady, getting hated on just for being made of gold. and the golf. the Bump golf thing. that press conference where Brady revealed his sick mother broke my heart for him. made him human. that is so important nowadays. i'm definitely rooting for his side this Super Bowl weekend. see that empty dais over there? i want Brady's mother there, i want to meet her.
Carmen steps onto that very empty dais.
Madchen: thar be ghosts about. look at these statues. to the right of me is Bessie Coleman. and to my left is Edmonia Lewis. wait.......these statues are made of butter! RAMSAY GET YOUR LILY-WHITE PALE MANCHESTER MASSHOLE ARSE IN HERE!!!
Ramsay: mum? stop yelling at me.
Ramsay: i love how your first instinct was to lick the statues, that is such a woman thing to do. what, what? i did what you told me. it's not just butter, i made sure to give them an outer shell of brown-sugar candy glass that i fired myself with an extra match i found in the loo.
Madchen: DISGRACE! these women were pioneers. i mean Edmonia was a sculptor for cotard sake and this is how you sculpt the sculptor!
Ramsay: i just don't see their importance.
Madchen: you weren't taught them that's all. no alternative facts but alternative history. GET OUT! i need a real man to do a real man's job. build them in brick. these women were brick houses, ow!
Lysander: on it. i know a guy. i'm really wrapped up in you now, my queen. i am connected with you.
Carmen: *clears throat painfully* ahem, mama?
Madchen dons her blue hood and speaks in her royal ASMR voice.
Madchen: step forward, child, into the light.
Carmen drags her knees forward.
Carmen: sirs, i know i've been aloof lately but, well, i did it all for you. all the pain i've endured was for you, before, now, and in the futures.
Lysander is trying to think of a joke.
Carmen: you guys ever wonder why i'm never around? when you were all out there battling those battles Musculo put forth, trying to put out the fires he concocted?
Lysander: yeah you missed out, hon. after our bombing raids we'd have a pizza party and after we'd all get naked and take a communal dip in the Roman-style pool. Harfi was accusing you of being in the itty-bitty-titty committee. i brought the bath bombs.
Carmen: cos i wanted to please you, your clarity. miss i know what it all means. it's not about war. it's about more. much more. mush more. so i mushed myself on. i come and stand before you after my 4th poo and 5th pee.
Lysander: ew. is your pee a dull orange, like a burnt sienna?
Carmen: why yes, yes it is. what does that mean?
Lysander: i dunno but it's not good. orange is an unsettling color. been getting a lot of those patients lately. it's coming around.
Carmen unwraps the heavy coat around her core and loosens her unbuttoned blouse. there is a collective of bloody ace bandages fiercely soaked into her trunk that it's stained into her skin. she undoes each strip slowly Twilight-Zone style and unhooks the tiny metal hooks. she steps fully into the light.
Carmen reveals her chest. she has no breasts, it's like her breasts have been lopped off. her chest is completely flat.
Lysander:................i know it doesn't seem it right now but one day we'll all look back on this and laugh.
Madchen: *quietly* Lysander, get out.