Though This Be Madness, Yet There Is Method In’t?
The task of telling a hawk from a handsaw is clearly an impressive feat of acumen, and a vitally intellectual one, else Hamlet would not boast it as a point of pride in proving his sanity. The difference in this clarity claimed by the direction of the winds admonishes that sanity, at best, is a fleeting enterprise in the human condition. All thinkers who are comprised of any real substance are prone to lose themselves in thought, but can come to their senses again with seemingly no cause, so might as well turn it superstitious and blame everything on the winds.
If anything, Hamlet is too sane. He knows everything too clearly, which is one of the things which drives him so "mad," to begin with... but is it real madness, if there's method to it? Nay, he has simply given up on acquiescing to the pointless game of sanehood; decided that wallowing in a sort of attractively despairing rancor and disregard for social convention is infinitely preferable to quieting the alleged worry of his callously insensitive Uncle/father and aunt/Mother.
But to answer your question; yes, even someone as prone to admiring mental-disquietude as I am can tell a hawk from a handsaw, given the correct lighting of course.
"In ancient Rome
There was a poem
About a dog
Who found two bones
He picked at one
He licked the other
He went in circles
He dropped dead." ~Devo - Freedom of Choice.
"No, no I've had enough! Go ahead and do me in already. I'm a writer, not a composer.. And even if I was (I mean, alright, I dabble..) Saint Saens was a musical genius and Animal Carnival was a masterpiece. Next you'll be getting me to re-imagine Danse Macabre or Samson and Delilah. After that I suppose you'll have me writing a high-class restaurant's metaphorical misery menu or a sexually provocative rhyme about aviary hexapods... I mean I have a few ideas... but no! No I've simply had enough! Your requests are getting more and more imperious."
Ghost Writer Number Ten quivered slightly but courageously stood his ground, like a heroically invincible ninja, squinting his eyes mostly-shut, waiting for the inevitable swing of the baseball bat named Surgeon General.
"Hah. So you've got some cojones in those pink pajamas after all?" Pesci snickered then clapped the brave writer on the shoulder, nodding in approval. "You're alright kid. I like your style. Say, what are you trying to do with those outrageous drawers anyway? Support some sort of flamingo world conquest?"
"What's wrong with pink? It matches the good-intention pavers... besides, my batman pajamas were recently repurposed; sewn into a frisbee to please Fritzy the Goliath Beetle. You don't mess about with Fritz's requests.."
Pesci nodded again, "Fair enough. What say you come with me and the Attorney General, we'll go collect the money from the Raven."
Ghost Writer Number Ten hesitated for a moment, deliberating about the moral qualms of giving Pesci the middle finger while his back was turned... "I guess I could come. Why does he call himself the Raven anyway? Why not the Hummingbird... or the Woodpecker?"
"You'll see." Pesci replied mysteriously, a deranged smile contorting his (to be fair already contorted) features.
*** the ending to this story is, regrettably, being held for ransom. If you ever want to see your beloved conclusion alive, you will first have to provide even more outrageously brilliant prompts for consideration. Failure to provide adequately stimulating topics will result in a finger or ear being brutally and barbarically chopped off of the narrative for every month without compensation.
Chapter 7 ~ Dismembered Hopes
"What in the hell did you think you were doing old man? You don't lop off a perfectly good foot just because a zombie takes a nibble out of it." Margo chastised Brad, trying (somewhat unsuccessfully) to be a comforting presence as the Phoenix Military Base doctor cleaned up his wound. Jules stood silently by the stretcher and observed with a scientific but kindly detachment.
"No, what you don't do is abandon a perfectly good ship." Dale piped up, seeing Marconi's pain-sickened expression and resolving to change the topic. "Best ship I ever worked on; Star Ride was.." his eyes glossed over lovingly... "You know, all she needs is a new on-board electro-navigation patch, a little spit and polish, and she'll be good as new."
Margo raised an eyebrow at him questioningly. "Spit and polish will hardly be enough to hammer out all the dents made by that hoard of undead. When we took off I literally couldn't see a scrap of hull; the whole ship was covered knee-deep in a hulking mound of putrid flesh and guts." She shuddered a little to emphasize what a disgusting job it would be to clean up.
Brad smiled groggily and promptly lost consciousness.
"Morphite's kicking in" the doctor explained calmly, ignoring their conversation.
~~~ A few rooms over:
Clint shook Phil's hand vigorously and clapped him on the shoulder.
"Steady on there whippersnapper, i'm not as spry as I used to be." Phil joked, a big grin plastering both faces.
"You sure are a sight for sore eyes, Phil." Clint glanced around expectantly at the line of soldiers and officials in the small conference room, "Where are Zach and Andy?"
Phil hesitated before indicating with a comforting facial expression that there was probably nothing to worry about. "I'm sorry for the timing of it old friend. Your boys have gone out on a recon mission. You saw the wall, right?"
Clint nodded, successfully hiding the nervous feeling which punched him in the guts at Phil's moment of hesitation. The 10-ft high wall surrounding the whole Valley of the Sun seemed to be made of thick concrete blocks held together with some kind of innovative resin. He was impressed while flying over it.
Phil continued proudly: "So far; 1 year 6 months and no breaches. But now the engineers are getting nervous. There have been recent observations made by some of the scout flyers that zombies appear to be congregating just north of here, in the middle of the snow-covered desert about eight miles out from the wall, with no targets nearby other than an abandoned bunker. One of the scouts thought they might be digging. Obviously if they stop eating each other and start working as a team it implies that they're capable of organisation, which further implies rough times ahead. More likely they're being attracted by some sounds or vibrations, perhaps seismic activity, but it's all very strange... Andy and Zach are one of our best pilot/gunner teams so they've been sent over there with a couple others to see what's what. It shouldn't amount to any confrontation, don't worry. Their orders are simply to observe and report back."
"I hope so. It'd be yet another cruel twist of fate if, right when I got here..." Clint trailed off, unwilling to give his fears credence by putting them into words. "Anyway, I'm grateful that anyone is still alive on this hell-hole of a planet, I was beginning to think we were the last ones."
Phil's expression became even more encouraging and sympathetic. "Well, no time to catch up properly just yet." he apologized, "Consider yourself debriefed. I have to get back to communications. We just got a communique from the president of France, if you can believe it. They're saying they're willing to help us out, but clearly they're going to want something in return... Anyway, Kurt here will lead the way to the infirmary so you can meet up with the rest of your crew, then show you all to your rooms." Phil turned and nodded at a soldier who stepped forward and saluted.
We've already been here in the Valley for three weeks? Hard to believe...
The Valley of the Sun is still aptly named. The city is covered by a weather-control station the likes of which I've never seen. When it was constructed apparently it was used to cool the place down, before the global weather went to shit. Now it's our main source of heat in this endless desert of snow. The city really is an oasis. I have to admit, I like being able to walk around in regular clothes without the need to be constantly clad in a space-suit. But all that creature comfort changes today. They've issued us each one of their custom flight-suits. These things are less clunky than our E.M.Us at least. They're also thermally-regulated and supposedly bulletproof. I have an inkling that we'll soon get to see if they're zombie-proof as well.
It feels almost good to be getting back in the action again. I guess I'm just loony like that; can't stand staying put. I never could. I feel bad for Clint though. His two sons have been M.I.A since we got here. That man's bad luck is ridiculous. The very day he was set to meet his sons, his only family who he hadn't seen in years, and they were taken from him again, just like his wife, and the daughter he never got the chance to meet. Well I reckon he's had enough of fate's whims. We're going to make our own for him from here on out. Dale and myself are going up with him and 3 of the Phoenix MB soldiers on a rescue mission. The fighter-jet which was carrying Andy and Zach has been spotted wrecked a dozen klicks north of here, near a huge pile of un-moving carcasses. Our plan is to set down near the wreckage and investigate the site. We're holding onto a little hope that someone made it out alive and is holing up in the bunker nearby.
Jules is staying here with Brad; he's worried that Marconi's leg stump isn't healing quite right, and the doctors here don't seem to give a damn. Come to think of it, no-one here does, not even Phil. Clint is furious that it took this long to get the rescue mission organised, and I don't blame him. I don't trust the people here; something seems off about them. I'm probably speaking too soon. Could be all that time in space made me a little lone-happy. I mean, heaven knows I've never exactly been a social butterfly, but still.. There's this look they get sometimes, a blank expression, faraway, and sort of ...hungry...
Ugh, enough of this crazy talk. Time to suit up and dive back into hell.
Margo Jessup, signing off.
"No... please... no... damn it!" Clint sobbed as he pulled Margo's body from the wreckage. Uncharacteristic tears started welling in his usually-calm eyes as he saw the severe angle of her neck and realized she wasn't breathing. He checked her pulse to be sure, then choked down his anguish and looked up at Dale questioningly, "Are we the only survivors? What in the hell hit us? Did you see? How did we crash?"
Dale nodded in response to the first question, desperation lining his gaze as he scrambled for some semblance of sanity amidst the overwhelming horror, finally answering pallidly: "I could see from my position in the cockpit. There were frozen body parts being catapulted at us, from there." He pointed at the huge mound of carcasses a stones-throw from the bunker entrance. There seemed to be some kind of makeshift gravity-manipulation-device set up next to the pile. A reloading-conveyor-belt was depositing the corpse-ammunition into a receptacle which was set even now to launch more gruesome ballistics at any aerial targets which happened to fly too close. Zach and Andy's ship had undoubtedly suffered the same fate; they could see the bloody spectacle of entrail-lined hull just past their own crashed vessel.
Just then, a feedback-screech from an old-style speaker squealed over the devastated silence, and a voice was heard clearly stating a simple order:
At the voice's command, the pile of corpses became animated, writhing and reaching to grasp and engorge themselves on anything they could touch. The dead MB soldiers also obeyed the command; stumbling over their own broken bones and crawling out of the wreckage through the melting blood-slushed snow to devour their comrades.
Clint and Dale locked shocked eyes as they lit their flame-lazers. That voice over the speaker. They both recognized it...
"Mycrovitch." they hissed in unison as they began burning back the scourge, both brains working overdrive to register the auditory information as fact.
Dale sensed movement out of the corner of his eye and turned his terror-stricken face behind them. Margo's body was moving as well. Shakily he turned his weapon, pointing it at her struggling form. There was a gurgling crunch as the body's broken neck was pushed back into place with it's battered hands. Then fear flashed across the dead eyes as they saw the weapon pointed between them. Dale's finger started squeezing the trigger.
"Sorry Margo" he whispered.
"W-waaait." the figure rasped.
**Image for this post is, with sincere and grovelling apologies, an obviously-amateur illustration by my own fustianly picayune hand (I just couldn't find anything I was looking for online!) If there are any objections to it I will gladly accept defeat, and replacement images, so long as they are accompanied by generously harsh recriminations and directions to the nearest loony-bin and/or equivalent fan-art-failure storage facility.
For those it may interest, and so that there's no need to go off on a wild zombie-chase, here are the links to chapters prologue-through-six:
Prologue, by Danceinsilence: https://theprose.com/post/448127/the-premiere-earthbound-2222-ad
Chapter 1, by WhiteWolfe32, While They Were Gone: https://theprose.com/post/449088#comment750232
Chapter 2, by EstherFlowers1, Seeing is Believing: https://theprose.com/post/449846#comment750826
Chapter 3, by Danceinsilence, Secrets Laid Wide Open: https://theprose.com/post/450772/chapter-three-secrets-laid-wide-open
Chapter 4, by GLD, Purpose: https://theprose.com/post/451818
Chapter 5, by Roses311Sublime, Plans: https://theprose.com/post/452673#comment753278
Chapter 6, by Sanjana_S, Survival: https://theprose.com/post/455599/chapter-6-survival
I've waited like a lumpy sack;
For inspiration to come back,
For tides to bring a song to sing,
For faults to die,
For hopes to spring.
I've kicked the dirt and punched the wall,
Waiting for good luck to fall.
My heart's been strung up, beating barely;
Waiting for those words so rarely uttered from a shaking mouth -
I've waited til North turned to South.
They say watched pots don't boil. -Wrong.
There's nothing that will stop for long...
Enough! To live. and laugh, and die.
And take a pause to wonder why.
The Trouble With Cussin’ Is There Ain’t Enough Words For Excrement and Fornication.
I've always loved curse words, and fuck in particular, for it's versatility and gumption, but as I spend most of my time around little earthlings, it becomes a definite priority to curb the expletives in order to adequately civilize the darling little munchkins. Some of my favorite sci-fi's have tackled the problem, coming up with great replacements- "Frack"(Battlestar Galactica) and "Smeg"(Red Dwarf) being prime examples.
I've noticed that curse words tend to have a common theme; being short and satisfying to say is only one prerequisite, the other is that it must be a shameful subject matter. Many of the best curse words simply mean poop: "crap" "shit" etc.. The only thing which makes fuck more objectionable is that it equates to sex, and if there's anything humans find more shameful than shitting it's sexing, especially around children, obviously. Can't let 'em know that they were born into a sexually reproducing species, they're not ready for that harrowing dingleberry of bad news, not for another few decades at least...
"Cock" is another of my favorites in adult company. eg: noun: "what a marvelous cock you have!" exclamation, verb & adverb: "cock! I've cocking cocked it up again." alternate verb:"all I need is a good cocking." adjective: "you're looking mighty cocky about it." more questionable adjective: "what the cock happened to that sandwich?" (and it has the advantage of being brushed off with the definition of "rooster" if accidentally overheard by young ears. But it's still cutting it a little close to the mark of social-unacceptitude...)
All that said, there is actually another existing word which has all the uses and which is acceptable to say around litl'uns: "Snot."
noun: "wipe the snot off yer face youngin."
verb: "stop snotting on the furniture, that's what snot-rags are for."
adjective: "Alright, I see your handkerchief is already quite snotty.."
adverb & exclamation: "'snot my fault your father skimped on our snot-wiping expenses. Just use the snotting toilet paper or sniff it back in. No, your sleeve will not do in a pinch, we shall not be a family of grotty little snots!!"
The Hurt Of It, And Why.
I wonder at my wounded pride;
That thing I like to quash and hide.
I wonder why it hates all fine suggestions...
But then again, in it's defense,
(By way of paltry recompense)
A part of me still questions:
Would a heartless editor pull these stunts on a painter?
Convincing him; Nay! bolder, fainter...
P'rhaps more red... And as he chokes
Against his faltering will...
Would thee then move in to kill;
To seize his brush and make the final strokes?
Interview with a Scribbling Sanguisage
1.) When did you begin to write?
To be horrendously honest, and even after embarrassingly painstaking memory-wracking, I don't recall when I began writing specifically. Must've been way back. Before sanguisage was an obsolete word, at least. I don't even remember why I started writing, or whose metaphorical blood I sucked to get to this point; engorged and swollen with the half-forgotten passions of thousands of scintillating thinkers who came before my senseless floundering. The enterprise of writing anything at all seems futile at times, in the face of so many linguistic geniuses, both archaic and contemporary, to whose heights I cannot hope to aspire. But that's the thing about writing, isn't it? More of a compulsion or an instinct; seldom ever a rational choice. Like love in that respect.
2.) What does writing give back to you?
Life. The universe. Despair and bliss. Everything in between. Indeed I have spent many a lengthy insomniac night yearning for the touch of words upon my blank but intrinsically-lecherous mind-canvas. To pass the time, I grow fat on the thoughts of past masters, taking months to digest them fully. But, tumescent as I am, I still hunger; to connect, to understand, and to play with new thoughts; each elementary phrase and far-grasped-at wording a precious gift from unknown philological deities (or the past-imbibed blood of romantics) which I regurgitate here in my shamefully egotistical ductus.
But if you'll allow me a moment of simpering cheesiness:
I was lonely you see, before this. I still am (it's incurable) but it's not nearly as bad as it was. You've nourished me. Writing, here, on Prose, has given me the best friends a sybaritic leech could ever dream of. Better in fact. It was through your hopeful and courageous eyes that I have for the first time been viewed as a possibly medicinal curiosity instead of purely a pleasantly self-effacing parasite. And, though some newfangled scientific advances might at any moment prove me obsolete without a shadow of doubt, it is still a thing of beauty; a fleeting touch of ecstasy; to entertain the notion that something about me could be healful or otherwise pleasurable to you; that my slimy introspection could be let loose upon your exceedingly generous souls and result in such fun and worthwhile banter. I thank you, fellow Prosers, sincerely. I thank you.
3.) What is your ultimate writing goal?
The impossible. To have and effectively (or at least enjoyably) communicate an original thought or idea. We all know this goal is preposterous. Why, even this post (and to a larger extent this very answer) was heavily influenced and shamelessly inspired by the other entries to this same challenge. But I don't want to attain my unattainable after all; I want to admire, to aspire, to reach, but not to reach, if you take my meaning...
For, original thoughts are like virgins in a way; as soon as you have them you defile their defining characteristic.
The Phantasmagorical Carpet.
When I was too young to know innocence mattered;
Trussed up aloofly as shop door-chimes clattered,
I dreamed chipper trotters who pittered and pattered...
Oh how I longed to be mud-squished and tattered;
To be chosen and kept; to belong.
I didn't much care what beast muddied my thread,
Unfazed by the pet fur I'd been told to dread,
I yearned to be scuffed by a confident tread...
Or at least provide grip for a gong.
But year after year I was left on the wall,
Dotage and sun fading patterns to pall,
My fibers lost luster and started to fall,
When in walked the angel who ended it all,
Whistling an old-timey song.
He tugged me down, coughing from dust he let loose,
Stomped up and down till I looked nice and spruce,
Then rolled up a corpse in me (What strange abuse!)
And wheeled me out (whistling still) in his caboose.
Never'd I thought I would be of such use...
The fishes and I get along.
Stifled Confidence (Immature Adult Content)
No need for a jock strap sock
It’s on tonight; he’s hard as rock.
She can’t help pawing, feeln catty;
Breathing shallow, hot and chatty.
Craziness seems ultra sane;
Each thought pulsing through a vein.
Her eyes lock on his cock and brain
Nothing ventured nothing gain -
“So.. *nervous snortle* do you like pizza?”
Writer’s Block might as well be Parcopresis (Terror of defecating in public places)
The bashful writer is always convinced that outside the stall lies a long queue of peevish strangers impatiently awaiting an apologetic splash.
Delete the post. Delete my brain.
Delete it all! I’m foul; insane.
But wait! Not that! I don’t have time
To sit here straining out a rhyme
Just to have it go back in.
It feels so wrong; it must be sin.
Out of me! Out, out I say!
Let all who read cringe in dismay.