Saturday, 28 July 2012

The first chapter of the "Conversations with Theo" thingie. Early material.

Paper Kay is the book thief employed by King of Dreams, Murphy, to steal destroyed books before they are actually destroyed thorough history. She travels through time and space to interfere with their being lost. She has a team of friends who back her up, though usually from behind a safety of their janus (one way) portal: Cole is her bodyguard and second shooter (her husband The General usually being the first), Spotter is her assistant; The German Anne (along with the English Anne) is her executive officer; Fidi is their child witch and Starbark is their wolf-dog. The aliens in this story are Lord Qash’kai of the Yautja (taken from the story Predator), later Kay’s chief security officer, and Promethaneous of the Mala’kak or Prometheus (also prince Theo), the Earth pan-sperming Engineer as portrayed in Ridley Scott’s film of the same name … The poem in question is called The Sport.

Part one. The first impressions. London, 730 am; Thursday, early June.

I have a thing for battles. That moment, when the two armies clash, that's like a thump of a heart of history to me. Not only am I not afraid of the smells and the screams, I am turned on by it. But only if I can ride through it very quickly and not really see at all what’s happening. If I had to stay though the whole event, I would probably be traumatized for life. Whether or not I’d be aware of the fact I’m immortal by comparison. In and out in two minutes, that’s my frame. Rarely the quiet moments just before, never the aftermaths. And the one thing better than being a tourist in these things, is being the thief.

Obviously, humans are not the ones to invent pointless bloodbaths. Pretty much any world, story or alternative universe you look at, if you look for a larger band of men for longer than five minutes, somebody somewhere is going to start a war. Sometimes they fight for land, sometimes they fight for resources, women, valleys, sunlight, drugs, whatever; often they fight just because they’re men. Seems like God wasn’t being creative when he imprinted sapient species with their rights of passage. I don’t think micro things gnaw amidst themselves. They fight other microbes, but one another? Then again I don’t suppose there’s much of a thrill to it if you’re bound to reproduce by mitosis. If you’re male, phallic pride driven, you’re a combating idiot. Only exceptions I can think of have been Neanderthals, but then they got (b)eaten by the feisty alternatives, Cro-Magnons, fairly quickly.

Anyway, long intro short, there was a book Morphy wanted, and we only knew of the two times it was witnessed in public – once in battle, on a body of the writer, and the other times sank into the sea by the people who didn’t want to keep it. I wasn’t going to go dive to get it. Unlike clashes, water was not my playfield. The man, the guy, the priest who wrote it, a big guy, he who actually fought in battle, wasn’t strictly human, because neither of the sides of the confrontation were. It wasn’t that kind of a planet. And up until then, I’ve only ever met those people once.

Yautja are very very large. Bar the elementals that I sometimes have to spar with over agnosticism, they are the largest people I can think of. They’re hulky. Nobody is less than seven feet small. Sepp, who is 6.6 and lean, appears modest standing in their shadow. (Not that he ever would, but you get my meaning.) They are obsessively combatant and good at it and have very good and able bodies, whereas their faces could only be described as ridunkjolously butt fugly. Even I preferred them to keep their battle masks on, though in this case there was no need for it. They were fighting on one of their lungs-friendly planets; fighting man on man. The masks they wore were practical. Their menial conflict was scheduled to occur in half an hour. I was bored, waiting for them to get it on, so I sat on my meadow behind the Shop, rewriting an existential poem that I wasn’t yet quite happy with. Poetry is not my forte, nor is spirituality. I get lost in it and make a mess. You’re not supposed to over-think poetry. It’s supposed to come from some other part of you than the brain. Haven’t figured out what that is, yet, though.

My team was prepping the passage in a crowded waiting room on Heathrow airport. (It’s good if it’s an airport and it has to be crowded.) Morphy was off somewhere, setting me up on a date. It was a lovely day on my end of the lounge. Because my faithful mount Kerber was off on another assignment, Cole hooked me up with a war animal that was almost as large and ten times as nuts as my pony, who is so large you can put up a tent on him and yet he’s very clever. This new one was just nasty. They chained him to four trees with chains the thickness of my forearm and he kept bucking and kicking, smelling the battle that was going to happen on the other side of the waiting room. Two passages were currently opened, meaning that at some point all I had to do was ride through the waiting room on the airport in Reality and my next very own private reality will be the clash of a gore feast. My poem took an odd turn into the macabre and I scratched out the last verse, replacing it with curious tranquility.

My existential period was slowly coming to a halt. All thing created, all things making an intertwined sense, no matter how small or how big – the poem was making it clear to me. Or at least that’s what it promised.  I enjoyed my idea. But I did miss someone I could talk to about the things going through my mind. Not really trusting gods, hating religious institutions and being tired of playing chess by myself, I was really excited about Murphy bringing in my potential date later today. I’ve been missing my husband more than I could tell, but that was not for me to depress over. I hated him being wounded, but as he insisted on me being away until he’s perfect again (not so much because he would not like to be seen faulty, but because with me in the room it was only a matter of time before I needed backup and for that he needed two good arms), I had plans to prove all perfection on this world wrong. Starting at the source. I was THAT angry.

Two minutes till clash, I noticed my friends ready as they’ll ever be; snipers, healers, stop-watch wranglers …  Was getting bored, so instead of awaiting for my cue, I jumped on my new horse and made him kick so that he tore all his chains. He charged into the lounge, manic with rage and drugged by sudden freedom. As much as he needed to find his footing on the slippery floor, I winked at an attractive man in the perplexed audience, slapped down my vizier and caught my banner pole, which was thrown at me. The horse moved fourth, puncturing realities like it was nothing (admirable feature in a beast indeed), going straight for the battle. Both armies have already clashed and I needed to catch up with the front line from behind, crossing one faction which will unlikely notice I am a stranger, straight into the mince machine of their opposition. The man who had my book was a very high ranking priest, fighting next to one of the high officers.

My team barely needed to raise a finger while I made my way through the first half of the rapid riot. I was almost amused to notice some people (well, Yautja people – to our audience big scary aliens) weren’t in any hurry to get to the line at all. An interesting personality fail in a Yautja. The horse plowed through the crowd getting ever more intense, until we reached the first margin of the clash. People were getting cut up pretty badly. This faction was using large, long scimitar-looking weapons, the other had similar sickles and this was a lot of steel. There was also a lot of bone, blood, screams, shield and body parts and quite a bad smell of bodily fluids that were already beginning to soak the field; also my horse’s adrenaline-dense sweat. Spotter informed me I have fifteen seconds to contact and I could see who my mark was. We had to jump across a lot of warriors, my snipers shooting some (it mattered none who we kill. All the people fighting here were going to die. It was one of those battles).
Reaching my mark – he wore a large pale coat under which he held onto his book as if his life depended on it, fighting with his left – I threw the banner pole at him, throwing myself off the horse almost instantly afterwards. The surprised alien man caught the banner, but by then I already squatted underneath him and then charged upwards, almost under his coat, where my hands grabbed the book and my feet landed on his hip. I pushed off, ripping the book out of his arms, falling down, rolling and then jumping up again. I took off my helmed and used it to whack another warrior, regardless of his faction, out of my threat path. The third warrior, the large warlord who noticed my intrusion, only one who noticed me as an irregularity at all, missed my by this much when he swung is sickle. I capoeiraed off his chest, landing on the horse who never once in all this really slowed down his brutal climb over combating bodies. Back on the horse, the snipers and Fidi had a lot harder job keeping people from killing us, but we broke out of the line on the other side in under a minute. Then Spotter announced I only have ten seconds left before the horse is out – which would not have been such a problem if it didn’t turn out that that warlord, the large one whose buddies’ book I just grabbed, wasn’t on my tail all along. He was making his way after us almost as fast as we were.

Somebody, who snipers couldn’t remove in time because I blocked the view, managed to put a pike up so nastily, it would impale my horse through and through if we hit. But at such a point the horse disappeared from underneath me and I had to roll and continued on foot. The team back in the lounge expected the horse to appear all insane with the cries of battle and kind of shooed him back into the Shire to run it off. I had around half a kilometer till the opposite portal, on foot. On the plus side, there was someone chasing me, so I had their strength, but on the minus, there was someone chasing me.

The large alien man on my tail was incredibly serious. Once, during a roll to avoid people trying to impale me, too, I saw his face and he was frothing around the fangs. His eyes were yellow and on fire, his face and body was covered in blood and sweat. He was coming at me like a wrath of God. If it was just me, if I didn’t have Murphy’s blessing of matching my opponent’s exact strength, I would not stand a chance. It would all be over so quickly. As it was, a chase ensued. He was a lot faster, a lot more agile and quite a bit angrier than me. He also had two swords and I had a book. Luckily, in my world, that meant something.

We got to the portal when he was almost on me. The last few hundred yards were sprinted so quickly, I could feel my heart swell with thumping. I got through the portal, which instantly closed, leaving the alien outside. He ran into it as if it were a shopping window, but he could not break it. We had to stop, him two feet behind me, panting, soaked, almost burning. I looked at Cole, who came close, carefully, to make sure I was not in fact wounded. Spotter took the book. Although I was cowered in bad things, I was not injured. Yet. Somehow the day didn’t quite feel finished. It’s always odd if you do everything right by 8 a.m. My team moved away from me, never really having let their guard quite all the way down. As we had stopped moving, save for our thumping hearts, all the energy otherwise used on motion now piled into the warrior’s rage – and that made the battle behind us feel mild. He trembled with frustration, unable to get to me. He hated me more than he hated anyone else on that field or in that instant indeed anyone in his entire life.

But my audience was strong. And I liked this man. He somehow felt too good to die. Too much of a waste not to at least test. My friends may not agree, but they have forgotten they were once in his shoes. I turned to face him, quite close now, then made a few steps back and pulled off my hoodie, and the bullet proof blouse. I opened my arms to him, wearing nothing but my tank top and my sweatpants and sneakers. That did not make any sense at all. To most it must have looked like a mad woman’s taking-on-a-moving-strain suicide. But then the portal barrier retracted and he was invited to enter my world – the airport lounge full of audience with large eyes (to them this was but a dream, but it was still kind of unhinged) and my friends, who were expertly armed, but not part of the fight. Perhaps, if he wins, they will step forth. Perhaps, if he tries to hurt them, too. But at this point, they were Switzerland. Support team did not partake in the leader’s crazy.

Like a serpent, like someone who eats vipers for dessert, he charged. He was sick fast, sick strong. After five moves, all of which I narrowly avoided – being bare handed and fooling around – my heart, which has just barely calmed down, began to swell again. My blood boiled. I could feel my fear in my ears, because I could not feel it in my mind. The hair that got out of my pony tail as I pulled off the hoodie, stuck to my wet forehead. Cole, who could see how the cards were dealt, mouthed – no matter what you do, never allow him to reach you. Also, the warrior was desperate and he must have suspected he was already dead. He had nothing to lose. But he was not going to go down on anyone else’s turns. I probably would have had an easier time dancing with a rabid Gregor Clegane.

The thing is, no matter how large my opponent, no matter how much of an animal prowls in his soul, normally my opponents cannot reach me – but - there’s always a but. I could tell there was something wrong – my evasive powers are great, but they are not that great. There was somebody in my audience who made me greater. I looked around and saw that through the third gate portal during all this commotion, Murphy returned to watch how my day was going and brought a guest with him. A very special guest. A very particular guest. Someone that, at this point, I was almost as glad to see as my husband, wit, clit AND trembling hands. With my focus momentarily interrupted, this guest also caused me to duck too slowly and the alien warrior struck me with his shield so hard, I flew across the room, still holding the shield, landing and rolling almost a hundred feet on.

Ready to get up, quickly, like a trooper, I looked up with my mouth open and met a stunned stare of a creature too flawless to be described. He made my opponent look like a grotesque joke of creation. Something twisted by bad ambitions. Everything about the being before me, his long gray cloak, his large pale face and deep dark eyes reeked elegance and intellect, but he was caught off guard with this spectacle. The battle of Yautjas was odd enough – he’s only ever heard of them, never actually witnessed any – but a tiny fat human taking on a Yautja for a little bit of a morning exercise … that seemed like a frightening form of underground boxing.

While the Yautja – who recognized the Mala’kak Engineer – only got more angry (running out of headspace here), he charged for my lying down form. Me, still amazed by the young prince’s beauty, pushed up from the floor and the prince, with Murphy enjoying the show by his side, protectively, unintentionally opened his hands as if trying to warn me, a little. The Yautja warrior fell down on me, both his swords set on cutting me in three, his dreadlocked hair flailing, blood and sweat and spit spraying and everyone in dead silence. In my head that was all in slow motion. I no longer cared about what the Yautja war man thought. There was more adrenaline in my brain than blood and instead of oxygen, there were tiny nuclear explosions. Using the shield he hit me with, which was still under my stomach, I blocked the swords and pushed up, turning, into his embrace. As he was falling, I was rising. I rose so high, in fact, I used his thighs as stepping stones to climb, and his chest and shoulder, until I was on top of his back like a cat monkey, using one of my hands for rains, the other behind above me for balance. People couldn’t see what was in my hand – a thing that touched the man’s body from start to finish of my move, but it was clear the object was fatal. The massive man’s body fist fell to his knees, then down, with all the while me still squatting on the top of his back, riding him, bringing him under. The gaze we locked with the majesty in the gray cloak before me was never broken. His face, as shocked as that of a child and as impressive as that of a marble statue of a Greek deity, beamed on me. I could swear at least one of Murphy’s egos at that exact moment had an erection. From an outside, it must have appeared as quite a sight. Inside, however, I was all alone.

After the moment regained credibility, the alien warrior lay unmoving on the ground, almost already forgotten, I wiped my hand in my clothes and appeared to be deciding whether I should go talk to Murphy and my date. Fidi, who recognized him, was stunned herself and urged me to do just so. I said I no longer think this was a good idea. Knowing myself, I will probably come off as a complete and utter fucktard he’ll end up not creating us and it will all be my fault. Fidi shrugged in that case we’ll never know and the German Ana grinned, that that was what the prince said, also – asking if this was a test, but then she said he came because of me and my poem, so I should stop being an idiot. Cole said that if I write poetry, I should be prepared to face my own fucking consequences.

Overwhelmed, feeling like a geek on a first date, I walked over to them quickly and hoped Murphy will take the initiative. I had no idea if the prince will be able to understand me or if he will expect me to shake his hand or anything… I could not know how much Murphy explained, so I felt fairly naked. (And small and ugly, but that was not so hard in front of a creature who jump-started creation just because he was ideal for the job.)

                Raised as if he actually was an adequate jewel, he probably expected our meeting to be more ceremonial and I won’t be wearing clothes fit for a jailbreak, but seeing my skin, my tattoos and my battle-filthy sweat oddly compelled him. (It also helped I still had my hair laced with estrogen, but we’ll get to that later.) Used indeed only to very rich, very scheming women and their mothers, he was glad to have taken this chance. At first when Murphy offered to introduce him to a human female, he wasn’t interested. But there was this poem that came up. And now there was this dead Yautja. Nobody would ever believe him if he said these things made for an excellent start of a blind date.
On the other end of the beeline, probably quite jumpy and messy, with eyes as alive as anything myself, I managed to come close enough to blurt: “Hello!”
                The lovely titan with the eyes of a blueberry night said: “You just dropped a Yautja warlord?”
                “Yes. I’m like that sometimes. Friend of yours?”
                “Not at all.” Mala’kak knew Yautja, but the Engineers – the civilization elite among their people - thought of the race not so much the warrior supremacists but instead warmongering thugs who couldn’t comprehend existence if it smacked them in the face with a pitchfork handle. Mala’kak looked down on Yautja as a waste.
                Murphy grinned and gestured at me: “Prince Prometheus, may I introduce you? This is one of my librarian hunter-gatherers, Paper Kay.”
                “No kidding,” Theo nodded approvingly, and smiled. He almost added he was expecting someone never so little lady-like, but realized in time this may come off less as a compliment than intended. Still, as long as we were all talking the same language, because this was probably still only a dream, at least by Reality’s standards, he could say anything he cared.
                Yet that just made my whole day. “Ha! You have very small teeth!” I barked out, crazy happy.
                I was honestly expecting something more of a carnivore. His distant cousin Evon, him of my previous mission, was a fucking juggernaut. Sharp teeth and all. But just as it was, Prometheus’ teeth were blunt and tiny by comparison to his large face and they reminded me distinctly of human dentals. Uncertain if this was of a cultural significance or just something strange little women tend to say when they are nervous, he decided to add: “Thank you.” to his amused discretion.
                “In fact you are nowhere near as titanic as I was afraid. Or scary. Still tall, though. Come, let me get on a stepping stool, otherwise most of the time it’ll appear as if I’m attempting to address your penis.”
                There was a small voice in my head saying: stop talking. Please, for the love of Gods’s boxer shorts, stop. talking. If I wasn’t already blushed from the fight earlier, I would have turned crimson right now, stabbing myself in the leg, but I hurried backwards to climb on the Yautja warrior’s corpse. This made me stand a foot taller, though in a grand scale of things, a lot it did not improve.
                Genuinely embarrassed, the titan looked at Murphy, who chuckled. Murphy was used to me and he has seen me a lot more relaxed, not to mention profane. He’s seen me a lot hornier, also. But his closed-eyes laughter into his chest proved to Prometheus that I am completely harmless and as a gentlemen, he’s decided to lend me a courteous hand by not taking me too seriously.
                When he came close to me again, I managed to change the subject without causing a car crash. “Lord Murphy told you the basics of this world, I see. He made you read all the books and showed you all the galleries?”
                I was doing so well! But then of course Cole grabbed me by my shoulders from behind and said, very loudly: “You know, the sooner you crazy kids stop talking metaphors, the sooner you’ll see each-other naked.”
                And down we go again. Like a wet balloon. “Yes. Thank you, Cole. Thank you for your help.”
                “Aww, look at our boss blushing. It’s so nice to see you be someone’s bitch for a change.”
                He smacked me at the back of my head and laughed away. Once my petrified chili pepper red ears turned back to my normal tomato embarrassment red, prince Theo thought it safe to continue our conversation. It took me a little while to rewind and remember where we were before Cole planted images of him naked in my otherwise very small and one track brain. (Which is chocolate. Despite contemporary theories.) Right. Galleries and … that similar serious shit.
                “He showed me some. Enough to understand what it means of you to be a photographer.”
                “And you understand our speech, which is good. I would hate to say stuff like ‘ala, amayo’ to you.”
                “Yes, as I do not know what that is supposed to mean.”
                “’Hey there, cupcake’ in Proto-Indo-European.”
                 “I do not speak that language.”
                Well, thanks for that misinformation, Ridley Scott…
                The German Ana interrupted us. “Paper? He has eighteen seconds of life left.”
                My team was talking about the Yautja warrior. We all looked down. Prometheus asked if he was not dead and I replied, he was dead, but his brain and body did not know it yet. If the realities between our worlds had not been interrupted by my intrusion, he would be in the battlefield. It mattered none to fate where he was now. His number was up. But I was not in the habit of killing people. Dream king’s weapons cannot kill. I excused myself and clamped off to squat by the dying warlord for a moment, redirecting my attention to the large alien’s head where I supposed his ear would be. “What is your name?” I asked clearly.
                “His name is Lord Heushekwa’ee,” said Fidi, who could read mind as much as she could read his vitals. Under her protection spell, the large alien got up somewhat sitting and stared. He was too defeated and broken to attack, but his mind was a clear as anything and he could not believe a human had the nerve to speak to him in that form of manner. After what just went down.
                “Lord Qashkai, I am Paper Kay. I am a hunter-gatherer of stories. The banner I rode under belongs to the King of Dreams and fables, Morphe’is, who was also the one who enabled me to best you in a man-to-man. I tell you this, because I want you to gather the extent of his power. You see your battle, the one ending over there, is lost. No faction wins. Everybody dies. You, your leaders, your brothers, your sons. It is a famous battle, because it is so very pointless. True, as warriors your entire clan is praised as heroes. You are fantastically remembered. But you die. You are going to die now. You may step back on your battlefield and your body will be found, eventually, and buried. You may die here and I will make sure you are buried honorable just the same. But as talents go, I can offer you two more options. I’m a sucked for second chances. You may live, if you like, under my blessing, though you can never return home again, on the pain of spoiling your honor. You may do anything you want instead. Anything at all. Noble, plebian, foul. You may travel, explore or turn a trade. Or kick back and go nuts. Which brings us to my last of offers – you can stay with me. I’ve been in need of a chief of security for a while now and you seem like someone who hasn’t any loyalty or competence issues. I promise you will not be bored on my clock. Should you consider this?”

Prometheus watched and listened and found himself to be somewhat in awe of the whole setting. He’s never heard anyone talk to a Yautja like that, yet alone a Yautja high ranking official, yet alone after he’s received such a humiliating bitchslapping from a fat little girl. The woman before him, he thought, should write more poetry.

Now that I was no longer able to stand on the body, leaving the fallen warlord to consider matters, I made another few nervous, girly, dancing steps away and picked up the conversation with the beautiful titan, who followed me, intrigued, his senses and instincts repulsed and aroused at the same time. He found something unpleasantly lyrical in my mannerism – something he sometimes found within himself and sought to ignore it. We were indeed inferior species, but we were as inferior as pursuit of solitude or artistry is an inferior emotion.
You see, when it comes to creatures less of fantasy and more of extraterrestrial persuasion, should and advanced civilization ever arrive on our planet in pursuit of contact, this is what we should probably do. Make them land somewhere very remote, like some ridiculously posh Dubai hotel in the middle of the desert, or some sublimely romantic village on some remote Irish island, or in the middle of Greenland or such … Just as long as they never ever see places like New Delhi or South LA or pretty much any city in Mauretania. Then send some incredibly sophisticated person, I dunno, Michelle Obama or something, someone very calm, clear witted and diplomatic, to say hello by courteously nodding her head. Give them stuff like good cognac to drink, excellent bread to eat, show them a very pretty and benign renaissance painting like the Birth of Venus. Play them some Mozart, give them the collected works of Shakespeare, let a small child recite a haiku, possibly not one about drunken conversations with the moon. Give them an exotic flower, like the Passion flower or something. Maybe a shoemaker’s lamp. Then send them the fuck far away, before they start asking question. Pray they don’t receive internet, or can read our minds. Just send them off with a dowry of a white cotton shawl and a beautiful wooden chair and a lovely clay bowl and ask them to speak nicely of us to other civilization. Because perish the thought they would ever find out about our religious institutions and pedophiles, about our wall Street greed, genocides and war rape, Congo, pharmacy lobbies, Japanese cartoon porn, meth labs and serial killers… Good luck asking them to speak nicely of us to other civilizations then. 

The thing is, we want the aliens, when they do happen, to be ethereal and serene, angelic almost. Like Theo was. Sublime, and mild. God-like, if you will. What we think we would be like, if we found the time and money, to be this slow, this quiet, this beautiful. We want to look at them and see calmness, dignity, health and wisdom of young Buddhist monks, regarding universe and death and all that stuff that doesn’t really change anything, we just don’t like it, because it’s dark… And we always want to go into that selfish direction, thinking – imagine what they can do, imagine what they know. Will they bring us shiny gifts? Will they bring us medicine and resources and science and energy? In that case we’ll make a really good impression and pretend to be very eager and meager, like Oliver Twist. Please, sir, give us something. We’ll steal from you and dirty your clothes, but please take pity on us, because somewhere within the putrid mess of our fucked up psyches, I’m sure we can find something nice if we dig long enough…

Cause of course if they came to ask something of us, asking *us* for anything, we’ll just fucking kill them all. Cause then they’re pests. You need water, air, snow, dirt, cancer? Fuck off. Can’t have it.

Are you kidding me? We will NEVER be welcomed into that club. NEVER. We are the most selfish, the worst species in the world, and I’m saying this in an affectionate way.

Oddly enough, though, the Mala’kak (- that’s actually pronounced mei-lay-kaa) or as I preferred to call them and kept calling them, remembering it wrong, Mala’kai, because that is a Hebrew for messenger) came in two editions. One faction was Theo’s clan – those were the Engineers of the Prometheus fable. They were calm and very curious. They really liked science and progress, though also dignity and stability. Periodically they got buttfucked by hubris like all such creatures always do, but mostly they were kind of excellent. But their cousins, like Evon, the other faction, were combating, aggressive, progressive, greedy, all-business, techno-happy kinds of bitches, who thought of their mild counterparts as hypocritical and shedding double standards around stars. They looked no different, of course, they just dressed, thought and fought differently, and did different jobs. Oh, how that reminded me of my neighborhood.
I returned to Theo who watched with Murphy at his side, now having taken a small bowl from his bag.
                He said to me, when I joined them: “I made you something. There was not an opportunity to give it to you earlier, but ... It is considered polite to share where I am from.”
                Looking at it, I couldn’t but frown and smile at the same time. It was terrible. “It’s … interesting. Thank you. So much.”
                “It is also a thank you. I wanted to make it look special, so I made it myself. I put a lot of effort in it.”
                “I, uh… I didn’t think you were genetically capable of creating anything ugly.”
                He grinned. “Exactly.” Hence the effort.
                We laughed and I said: “Well, I wrote a poem.”
                The laughter stopped. He gave me a serious, an honest look. “Yes.” Maybe he didn’t understand how rare that is for me. I am afraid of poetry, so perhaps in all my days I’ve only ever written five of them or something. dD was the resident lyricist. I just enjoyed provoking them.
In the prince’s mind he looked back on the past couple of days, in which that poem ruined his last date. Two nights ago, after Lord Murphy has already proposed to him to come meet the author, he was in bed with a beautiful woman. She was from a rich and popular family and no doubt had very little say in the family’s ambition to set her up on a private time with him. She was lovely, though, very friendly and polite and when they were in bed, she was also very pleasurable. He spend a long time kissing her wonderful body and she was enjoying it herself. Then he climbed onto her and began copulating and she was making small sexy noises and the whole thing was going nowhere. His whole brain was full of imagining what it would be like to meet someone who wrote that damn poem. And then, as if the whole set wasn’t bad enough, he blurted out, without ever really thinking what he was doing: ‘I am so bored right now’… And there went another prominent family his father wanted to be endorsed by, crying out of his bedroom.
                Some people shouldn’t touch paper. After a while he added: “I’ve read it a thousand times. I’ve read it in my dreams. It’s made the past few days of my life fairly unconventional. ”
                “I’ve changed it since.”
                “You did not!”
                “Yeah, I’m upon my fourth version. Theoriginal still exists, but.. I want you to help me fix it. My aim is to keep the tone, but make it more proper. More mathematical.”
                He laughed. That he could do. Math he understood. “I can try that. I’d be honored.”
                Fidi came over and I gave her the ugly bowl. Also, when I did that, I gave her a look that said: find me where this bowl is from. She wasn’t happy to have to spy and trick our guest, but she, too, was much too curious to resist the challenge.
                I prepared to give him a long, Twilight-quality stare, when a whinny interrupted us.
                That was that for Lord Qashkei’s decision making skills.
                “Excuse me, I was just veering on speechless, but it seems like SOMEBODY JUST STOLE MY HORSE!! People, what the eff?”
                Cole waved in mock confusion: “You said he can leave if he likes.”
                “On foot! He still has Murphy’s knife stuck somewhere between his groin and his brain!... Someone go get it.”
                “I’ll go,” said little Fidi, who was ready to leave as it was. She mounted her pole-turned-into-broom and whooshed behind the Yautja through that portal. The German Ana, Spotter, Cole and Starbark waited for me in the sheen of the next. Cole was smoking and talking to Spotter, so they were sort of on a break. The spell on the lounge was diminishing also, so we were sort of in a dreamy limbo. No rush. If the impolite dying warlord didn’t interrupt me, we might as well have been on a coffee break from all things weird.
                Prince Prometheus took the hood of his coat off and rubber his eye with a knuckle. He was strange, not a single hair on all his body, not even eyelashes, and yet he seemed all kinds of right. How did we get so hairy I have no idea. (Yes, okay, I know, the primates environmental evolution thingie, I know that. It’s not what I was referring to.) I know there’s a good reason for all our lashes and eyebrows, but if he was ideal and we originate from the same amino acids as cocker spaniels, I would give my right kidney to see what we all end up like on the other side of the candy wrapper.
                Later he finished our previous dialogue: “Your poem, though, you know… It’s not true.”
                “How would you know?”
                “Because it’s not.”
                “Do you believe in God?”
                “I believe in everything.”
                “Even if it IS just a coincidental cynical happenstance?”
                “Even if it’s just what I think.”
                “You are not a God, beautiful darling. You can’t prove me wrong on the subject of creed.”
                “It’s not how it works. It would be egoistical and narrow minded of you to assume so.”
                I looked up at the skies and cried: “Egotistical?! You can’t talk to me about ego, for the love of…, I am a human talking religion with an extraterrestrial fifth element who spawned our entire creation! I’ve got ego coming out of my ears!”
                “Well. It’s not.”
                “Well, you’re just one another cog in the grand debate.”
                “I spoke about it with my teachers. Whether or not they are honest in praising me as their student, they themselves are seldom this thoroughly wrong, as you claim.”
                “Your teachers?”
                “These teachers, who are putting you though classes of physics and philosophy, training you not to fear pain, not to fear oblivion, just so that you would kill yourself graciously when they hand you the poison?”
                “The stoics who praise you when you are quiet because they favor your dumb?”
                “That is not true!”
                “Devout of conflict and questions, to make their job easier? They dictate your last breath!”
                “They love me!”
                “A monkey could do that!!”
                “Fuck you!”
                “They murder you because you are impressive alive and they can sell you off as a proof of their well placed taxpayer’s trust!”
                “You are completely missing the point!”
                “So what you do *couldn’t* be done by a simple donation of blood or semen or stem cells or something?”
                “Could I do it?”
                “Could you do it?”
                “Could I, flawed as I may be with my spotty spleen and glacier metabolism, go to a ripe, ready planet without any biological pollution hitherto, die and fall into its water, rot, and thus spawn life which five billion years later would drink Starbucks and play Zombies versus plants?”
                This, oddly enough, he could not know. He wanted to say ‘no, you couldn’t’. He wanted to believe it. He certainly never thought about it. They’ve always told him he was the one chosen to seed earth, but…
                Now he wished he had asked his teachers more questions. He was shaking.
                I said: “May I ask you a personal question?”
                “Well, don’t stop now.”
                “All this ... “ I gestured at some really cool very large posters of Eugenio Recuenco photography  and some other nice things around the airport, including its architecture. “… expression. This art. All this science. It is not necessary for our biology. Existentially, it doesn’t make any sense. Why push the preset pattern of instincts, if they seem to do their job? As animals go, we would do just fine surrogating the womb with caves and patching back together our genes with diets and mating, but we, humans, we tend to do this thing, this…  civilization thing, these details, this illusion of culture, of higher state of awareness. Nobody knows where that comes from, why do we do it and nobody else? Why do we so intensely yearn for the next level? Like, is it because we’ve mastered the basics quickly and we occupy our competent brains with idle, harmless decoration, or is it … you know…your fault?”
                His face got very strict and very serious and he became uncomfortable. After about a week of staring at me, he glanced at Murphy, but this time Murphy wasn’t going to bail him out. In fact I think Murphy was wondering about the same thing himself and wanted to hear it.
                Prometheus never really answered, but never really didn’t answer either.
                “Do your venerable teachers know you’re faulty?” I asked.
                “I am not faulty!”
                “Were you genetically engineered?”
                “You would only have to see my people to know that question is ridiculous. My upbringing and my education have nothing to do with the sacrifice my family was asked to make so that YOU could crawl out of that pointless soup on your useless little planet.”
                “Oh, when you do say it like that. Then why do you have a real problem with people liking you only because your face is flawless and your measurements are flawless and the ratio between your eyes and your teeth and your chest and your navel are all flawless.”
                “That is not a matter of popular conviction, it’s a mathematical fact.”
                “As if that means anything when you’re alone, in the dark, with the stars. Tell me, though, now that your parents and your teachers are not here to test and parade you - underneath the perfect skin, something dangerous lurks. Does it not? Something unseemly. A curiosity and tenderness unbefitting a young pan-sperming prince.”
                “What is it about you and your need for beatification? To make everything you cannot harness so very much the subject of idolization? Why do you need to make a creature supreme out of everything that comes your way anew – is it because I’m pale, and tall?”
“Well, it doesn’t hurt, but it just so happens everything around us stems back to you, so in this particular example the jury may be out.”
 “Mhm. Would you like me to dangle something shiny and reflective in your face, so you could see yourself? Give you a toy whistle? Would that help?”
                “Touché. And yet you still sound like you prefer yourself fallacious.”
                May not have been the best choice of words, especially because I’ve pronounced way too much of a ‘fellatio’ in that one. Luckily, it let some fresh air into the conversation, because as it turned out, we are both equally tempestuous.
                His chin got very pointy as he tried to look down on me, hot and jaws clenching. They probably trained him how to calm down and he rarely met the opportunity in which his tranquility was this challenged. “You will like my husband,” I snarled. “He despises being described in superlatives just as much, if not more.”
                “Not at all,” he said coldly. “I actually take great joy in being more perfect than Helvetica.”
                Catching me unprepared for such a witty humor, I had to blink and choke before I could laugh out with my heart. Again, eventually, we calmed down for the second time and I smirked. Speaking in Proto Indo-European, I uttered a long line, still smirking. It started with: “Careful, prince. I may just have to …” It is not difficult for me to bead up words of PIE, because quite a lot of them are still the same in Slovene, which I speak in entirety, I am just a bit limpy on grammar.
                For a little while prince pretended to be ignorant about my aloof linguistics. Then he said: “What is it about me naked that occupies so much of your head space?”
                Fuck?! “I thought you said you didn’t understand PIE?”
                “That part I understood.”
                Fich mich. 
                Cole gave him a thumb up on his way out, as if ‘finally, retard!’ and after a little while we were the only ones left in the lounge. My Reality became quite mundane. If he put his hood back up, people ignored us completely. I said: “It’s funny your family was so quick to let you come here,” I muttered, intrigued. “Normally people hear of us, nail their shutters and lock their young.”
                “Oh, my father said he’ll take your heart out and eat it if any harm comes to me under your banner.”
                “Spoken like a true senator, made popular by his youngest son’s suicide.”
                This subject he really did not like. He did not like me judging and speaking ill of his family. Like a child, he put his lips together and chin up and stiffened into a warning statue. I was terribly inclined to saying ‘don’t ever play poker’. “For someone schooled in stoicism, you have way too many tender spots,” I muttered.
                “Why do I get the feeling you don’t WANT me to do it? Kill myself.”
                “Er.. That doesn’t make any sense. Could it be because I like you and I don’t want you to die?”
                “No, why do you not want me to create you.”
                “Don’t be stupid, of course I want you to create us. I’m just saying ritual aside, there are other ways to do it. Cutting off a leg, for a start.”
                “You know they are some who disapprove? They would rather see me waste namelessly into the earth of our own graveyard.”
                “Yes, I know.  I’ve met your cousin. But I also know your people, some of your people, like us. They come to visit us sometimes and slip us tidbits and earth’s civilizations peak their golden eras when they do.”
                He smiled. I shrugged, “I notice patterns. Also my dad believes all the cool stuff was built by aliens.”
“What do you believe?”
                “I think aliens are overrated. I think the great stuff is overrated. I believe half the things people worship as sign of unearthly genius is just a bunch of clever rich people showing off to fend off boredom.”
                “As opposed to poor people who cannot be clever?”
                “As opposed to poor people who have cows to milk and crops to rip, before they have time to pile rocks in straight lines.”
                “You would think you are quite unworthy of all our fears and frustrations. Just a little wet planet, nothing but a school project of a stubborn philosophy school in the sky.”
                “Well, I guess that’s why once in a while Universe makes someone like me. A make for a terrible student.”
                “I imagine so. Murphy tells me Elders have stopped banishing you, because you keep coming full circle back on their sore toes. Your species, minute as they may be, at times just can’t take a hint. They have no idea how to choose their battles and simply know not when to quit.”
                “Yeah. We get that a lot. And give us another hour. We are just about to grow our stellar wings.”
                “Evon will never let you. He hates you. He will raise an army and destroy you.”
                “Not on my watch.”
                We were standing rather close now, and neither of us could decide whether we are very angry or very aroused. All I knew was that I really didn’t want this conversation to end. I didn’t even want to risk it by changing locations. Least of all to any bedrooms. I asked: “How old are you, prince Prometheus?”
                “How old do you think I am?”
                “I think you’re quite young. I think in human age you would be around thirty.”
                “And so?”
                “Are you not married because it would be difficult on them, having to watch you die at some point, or because it would be difficult on you? If there’s a chance your resolve would … topple?”
                “Do you think my resolve is so poorly grounded a relationship would move it? I spawn Earth. I have no need for offspring of a regular kind. As far as sensational emotions for the sake of feeling good and alive go … I’ve never had any shortage of those. For sport, as you would put it. ”
                “That’s nice. I have an uncanny tendency to cause wars within people’s souls. It’s both a blessing and a curse.”
                He nodded, comfortably. “I came prepared. A test of my conviction. Lord Murphy gave me a heads up.”
                “I am very fond of resolves in others. Mayhap because I myself had never tasted one.”
                “It is too late to speak you’ve never had one if the one you had toppled in the face of the first challenger. It is not funny, is it, to believe you know everything and then fall in love with someone who believes in nothing. Plays tricks on the feeble mind. Right?”
                “Riiiight. I’ll have to ask you at this point, not to be much wittier than me. It’s a most annoying characteristic in a lover.”
                “Oh, are we lovers now?”
                “Of course we are. What a foolish question.”
                He grinned and now he was not as uncomfortable as he was in the start by the prospect of someone wanting to touch him.
                I realized I am really ready to get him somewhere alone and try to show off with everything I’ve got. Being able to walk on water might not quite cut it. I’ll have to bring out the big guns. Where oh where did I last use and leave my best frying pan?...
                “Did lord Murphy offer you his house for the duration of your visit?” I inquired suggestively.
                “He did.”
                “I have some say in that house. I’ll put up a cot for you, so you will always be welcomed in it. And I can teach you to walk on water. We can take photographs of the confused sharks.”
                He laughed: “All this before breakfast.”
                “Oh, you are hungry?”
                “No, I’m just very curious.”
                I reached into my pouch and brought out one of the neatly wrapped chocolates that I keep for special occasion. Unwrapping it, I held it up in my five fingers. “Here. In case you ever doubt yourself. Five billion years in the making, and here we are. I’d say it was worth it. Wouldn’t you?”
                He ate the chocolate and got the exact same dumbfounded oral orgasm expression as everyone else who eats it for the first time. Hooked at all?
                I grinned. “Haha. Alright. Come on, kid. I’ll make you pancakes.” There are things in this meager little planet that will knock those damn stellar stoicism school principles’ socks off any day and twice on a Thursday. 
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------end of first chapter-----

(* The Sport, version 4... and changing a lot ...

God kept making things, but they were all perfect.
He kept creating glorious things, but they were only ever perfect.
He made all the perfect spheres and golden ratios and the cleanest water.
By numbers he made shapes, and by the rules he made the motion.
He thought, with everything I do, I only ever do myself reflected.
I am nothing more than a cynical glorification of happenstance.  
And nothing better. How can I be a thing of soul, not righteous, not pleasing,
If I cannot even dare myself?  
If I cannot climb down from this mountain called The Graveyard,
Mountain made of thoughts that were half-meant.
How can I walk around with pride of what I do, if it’s for granted?
This cannot be my legacy.

Aroused by fear of failure, the cynical happenstance put his wit and might into a culling
Befitting, quite questionable, very original majesty.
He tested a new route to courteous chaos. He exceeded even himself
When he built a world that was alive with turmoil and change.
That has never been done before. It has never been sustained.
With all his grip, twisting it furthermore, therein that ambition
Before his feet at a mesmer of a new dawn
Lay Universe, the womb of all things challenging.
There was no Graveyard of ideas there. He didn’t build it with the thought of breaking it apart again so easily.
Distances, too great; nothing could travel them.
Things too small; nothing could conquer them.
Everything was at war, everything was fickle. Everything was a bastard child. Why would anyone ever want to be proud of such a nightmare?
For every rule came fifty plus exceptions. In every surface there was a dent. Nothing stood still long enough to be beautiful.
The dirtiest river between Heaven and Hell, and the ships on it were burning
This is terrible, though God. I have made a crypt of grace! Nobody could fix this!
This was the first time God was not satisfied but instead stood inspired through
The heart he never knew could be so very ready to feel awe.
It was like a migraine of titans, like diarrhea of a worldly whale.
Everyone will want to taste this poison, everyone will want to dance in this house
Just to say they’ve danced on the edge of reason.
He wasn’t going to admit it – that he alone could never set it straight again
And for the first time ever, he felt truly happy and excellent.
Until all the suns burn out and he is left alone in the churchyard of his pebbles,
His broken pearly chain, his baby teeth, tombstones of all his wonderful ideas unrealized… he will stand a proud creator.
It was not going to happen this time, the birth and death of something like this, unnoticed. It was not amazing enough. It was not outrageous enough. It had no critics, for starters. He knew he should do better.

   He could go the next step further.  He breathed life into the barren elements.
He created things that beheld within them kingdoms of their own.
And in their dreams countless more kingdoms to come. No matter how small, no matter how far apart. Each promised to deliver
A birth of a loud remonstrance.
He gave them power of thought, so they could break things more
And songs of tranquility, so they wouldn’t catch His madness.
When this is how it was, sky on fire, mountains in oceans, problems having problems,
Masses of things with claws and phoenix wings, all teeth, no lips
Problems going crazy with worry of being left behind and never solved,
He sent forth a good messenger, One with a soul like a haiku written on an early summer morning,
To make them. People.

He created people.
He made people, who will see that everything is wrong and they will take every single thing,
No matter how small or grand, and bleed and dream and draw until they fix it.
They will conquer his unconquerable distances. They will spy on the minutest molecules.
They will be so many of them because he will want them to never stop being born
And he will make their want to be touched and touch so true, they will want to do it all the time.
He will stand like a king in a theatre, disguised as a commoner, and watch the dress rehearsal of his favorite childhood fable. People will dance, sing, swordfight and kiss.
They will act half like the fireflies in the garden, half like the oxen in his chariot.
But they will all be scientists, engineers and poets, even if they won’t really understand it.
They will count all living things on lists, they will cure their broken fins.
Clouds they will name. Stars they will measure. Machines they will employ, invent and remodel.
They will put new skin on the world. Mills will slave under the elements for their industry.
They will never stop. Soul bearers. Shield breakers. Book mongers. Nothing will convince them
Solving the world is not worth a hundred thousand attempts.
Not the blackness of their graves will faze them, not the brightness of the curtain fall.
They will knit their genomes into armor. They will fly.
A day will come when not a single of God’s planted problems will stand a chance.
On that day God will retire. He will think: This is the one thing I did right,
this is my one good, proper deed. I have created now indeed, so utterly, so unforgivably, so wonderfully everything.