II. Tonight, Tonight – Polyphemus

I found myself standing near a huge ash tree in the middle of a green meadow; about 50 yards away I noticed a large multitude running in a state of violence and horror. I then witnessed a series of large bangs that shook the earth like quakes. I realised the multitude of humans were being squeezed by a huge cyclops, a one-eyed giant like Polyphemus. When I finally got close to the scene, the giant had withdrawn to a safe distance where I could still see him. He was now playing a Greek lyre and singing the lyrics of that deranged singularity song: ‘‘That life can change / That you’re not stuck in vain / We’re not the same, we’re different / Tonight’.

I looked around me in shock and disgust, as I could see the remains of those multitudes squeezed like bugs. Not all of them had died; some who had escaped were still visible in the distance, catching their breath and looking at the cyclops in anticipation of his moves. I also noticed a concert piano close to where I was standing. Out of nowhere the thought occurred to me that someone worthy was expected to play that piano in order to tame the giant. If he liked the music, he would accompany the pianist on his lyre and finally make peace with humans. That thought gave me enough confidence to approach the cyclops and watch his moves intently.

As I drew closer, I noticed him having a great time playing the chords of Ed Sheeran’s ‘Shivers’. I started clapping timidly to the rhythm of the song from a safe distance. He noticed and was thrilled. He immediately jumped to another one of those God-awful Ed Sheeran songs, ‘Bad Habits’. I know all this because my colleagues at the Pixel Factory used to listen to Capital every single day. I continued clapping and humming.

Cyclops: you recognise this tune?!

Me: of course I do, and you are playing a very good rendition of it, if you don’t mind me saying!

Cyclops: it’s good, isn’t it?! Cheers, mate! I’m so glad you like it, you have no idea!

[he suddenly shifted his gaze to the sky, slightly left, then he continued, as if talking to someone invisible:]

Cyclops: I love that @EdSheeran Catering is testing @BeyondCuredMeat #vegan ham! I got to try some earlier this year. I hadn’t attended any of his live concerts in over a decade, but I did it for this. Fur fox sake, go vegan! This will save SO MANY piglets!

Me: I didn’t realise you were invested in the vegan cause!

Cyclops: [laughing] Oh, I’m not invested as much as I am in-basted. [laughs again, looks at me] I’m a weirddough! [laughs again] All I want is peace, love, understanding and a chocolate bar bigger than my head. [I burst into laughter, he continues:] Ways to my heart: 1. Buy me food 2. Make me food 3. Be food [ he pauses for effect]. When STRESSED and in DOUBT – CUPCAKE it out. And always remember – the secret ingredient is always cheese!

Me: So you love having a good time with foodie puns, I take it?

Cyclops: We all love our little food puns, yes, but at the end of the day we want to make sure we advocate for the causes that deeply and earnestly concern us.

Me: and what would you say those causes were, aside from veganism?

Cyclops: We are a global design studio leading the evolving world of experiential culture.

Me: Okay… What is your end product?

Cyclops: A virtual architecture that surprises and seduces. We bring together architecture, storytelling and emerging technologies to create award-winning work. We make animation and film, too, testing the limits of what is possible and what is real.

Me: So your goal is to seduce the masses?

Cyclops: Of course! I am a sybarite! A sybarite is a devotee of luxury, blending fashion and function, blurring the boundaries between the arts and design. A sybarite has an appreciation for the finer things in life and lifestyle – from the everyday to the exquisite. The strength of a sybarite lies in its studio culture – a diverse global melting pot of ever evolving talent and personalities operating all at once from all across the globe.

Me: Right. But we were talking about the causes that concern you deeply and earnestly. Are there such causes beyond surprise, seduction and the finer things in life?

Cyclops: There must be… Take balance, for instance. You surely agree we must all strive for balance in all aspects of our lives?!

Me: [Lighting up:] Yes! I completely agree. I keep telling others about the importance of balance as a metaphysical universal.

Cyclops: A balanced diet is having a cupcake in each hand! [We both burst into laughter] Does that sound good?! [I nod]. Seriously, the timing of the jokes and their phrasing must be refined to perfection. I can tell when I’m getting close to that. Believe me, some days I think I am on the verge of a fantastic breakthrough, that I am becoming something more than humanity allows for. When I get that feeling, I am convinced I can achieve anything I set my mind to, instantaneously.

[I remain silent, not knowing what to say]

Cyclops: [looking at me] Doughnut take us lightly! We wanna give this world something to taco ’bout! Can I get an ah-men?!

Me: We certainly want that. But wouldn’t you want to give the world something a bit more stable and consistent? We have been jumping from one subject to another without any concern for consistency.

Cyclops: Geez, mate! You totally sound like Theresa May! ‘Strong and stable. Brexit means Brexit.’ Well here is something @StrongAndStable: Joie de Vivre! #LifeLust! Have you met anyone with a lust for life comparable to mine? [I shook my head] You’re so absinth-minded! I AM life lust itself. Look around you! You notice other people here?

[I had a look at the multitudes that used to run away from the cyclops minutes ago. With every word of this strange character, with every silly pun or declamation, they shook and jerked in all directions like ragdolls, as if some invisible life essence was sucked out of them. Whenever he would make a joke, they would burst into laughter. Whenever he would quote a maxim, they would open their mouths as if to swallow it.]

Me: Life lust, you say? Without any other goal or reason?

Cyclops: I like to party, mate. A party without cake is just a meeting! [the multitudes are in awe, to his delight].

Me: Then it’s understandable why you wouldn’t be interested in anything stable and consistent. All you want is to put up a show and receive praises for your performance. [He nods] You love transient and colourful moving pictures; technology that thrills and intrigues [He nods and smiles].

Cyclops: We do not see our time as continuous with what has gone before. Instead, we believe we live after a violent break with history. I’ll tell you what I want. What I really, really want. I want the end of history. [the multitudes burst into wild applause] For the gamers out there [his voice lowered and distorted]: ‘Hrrmmmmm? Mmmmmm… Very well! You… join the Serpent King as family! Together… we will devour… the very gods!’ [the multitude erupts in applause once again]

Me: So you must have a big problem with history, religions, inherited culture and customs?

[He bursts into laughter, then looks at the same invisible spot up above and to his left, as he recites emphatically:]

Cyclops: Superstitious centuries / Didn’t time go slow / Separating sanity / Watching children grow! [crowd applauds frantically] A’right, children. Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground! (Oh my god, I nailed it; perfect timing and perfect phrasing. They love it!)

Me: I see you know your classics.

Cyclops: [blushes] Nothing a quick little search cannot fix. Salami-get this straight: [switches to a Southern accent] ‘Seek and yeee shall find’. No, but seriously! [crude laughter] This is indeed the essence of religion! Holy Land Frankincense covering the smell of guilt. All in remembrance of the sacrifice of the galactic CEO’s son! [applause]. You know… when the rascal got in trouble with the rabble… [outstretches his arms in mockery, crowd laughs]. Except the aroma of my incense isn’t obsolete, humourless, anachronistic. My religion is literally down-to-Earth! [crowd cheers] It’s called life lust. You know what life lust is called down here on earth? PENIS MEETS VAGINA! [crowd is electrified] Aside from that, my butter half… Eat well, travel often. I hope you find your inner peas.

The Cyclops and the multitudes have become so infatuated with each other that nobody notices me moving away from the whirlpool of the spectacle. With each new pun, the cyclops looked at the crowd with such great enthusiasm and insistence, as if to say “Look, look! Don’t you get it? Isn’t this amazing!? No, seriously, look at this!!!”

And yet again I found myself standing next to the giant ash tree I had noticed at the beginning. The distant chatter of the cyclops had turned back into the same loud bangs that shook the earth like quakes, while the multitudes – instead of laughing and applauding, were fleeing in terror as they were being squeezed like bugs.

The Deep State vs. The Deep Right (mirror)
Dystopian Short Story

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