Six days in and three more stories. I went experimental with these. I also drew inspiration from verse- religious and lyrical. And I borrowed a few characters from Jack L. Chalker and Harry Harrison.
James 5 Disciples*
James 5:2 “Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten.”
And it came to pass that the true believers of the Word of God took it upon themselves to cast away their earthly possessions, yea, their riches, for riches are corrupted, their garments, for those are motheaten, and their dwellings, for prideful structures can only serve to separate man from God. And those true believers came to be known as the James 5 Disciples.
James 5:3 “Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days.”
And as the James 5 Disciples wandered, poor and blessed, they took no gold, and neither took silver. These things they refused in exchange for the toil they offered. And toil they did, in trade for bread by day and harbor at night.
James 5:4 “Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth.”
But even in the presence of the piety and meekness of the true believers, there were those of the Earth who, by folly of ignorance, would have the Disciples rewarded in gold and silver for their Earthly toils. And no amount of bargain nor quarrel would appease the misguided heathens.
James 5:10 “Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience.”
And so the chosen believers, being children of God, took it upon themselves to refuse all earthly nourishment, yea, they refused all heathen sustenance so that they may abide by God’s law of poverty and meekness, even as gold and silver were wickedly laid at their feet. The Disciples turned away from the heathen riches, and so the heathen townsfolk rained bread and water down upon the true believer’s heads. Meat and wine, even. And it came to pass that the James 5 Disciples were left with no choice but to rend their clothes. And so they tore at their rags until their threads fell and exposed them naked before the townsfolk and the eyes of God.
James 5:11 “Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.”
And when the townsfolk saw what the believers had done, they took pity on them, and worshiped them as an enigma, as unclean heathens are wont to do, and declared them as kings, and enthroned them in a palace, besmirching the once-Goldly reputations of the James 5 Disciples.
*Acknowledgement to King James Bible.
Garnishee collective: Worshipful Caccodyl, we have been locked in a war with the dreaded Lortonoi, and the Ormoloo mind-slaves, for 10,000 years. Have we not been worthy of your mercy? All we ask, this year, as in every other year before, that you free us from this wretched war.
Caccodyl: Alright, alright. You’ve been good sports about my quirky entertainment preferences, so I’ll help you guys out. I decree: You must leave your underground bunkers, leave Dormite, and leave Alpha and Proxima Centauri to finally escape the dreaded Lortonoi and the Ormoloo mind-slaves.
Garnishee collective: Merciful Caccodyl, could you be more specific?
Caccodyl: Umm . . let’s see . . I also decree that you must go to the galaxy known as Milky Way, then to the cluster of planets known as the Solar System, then specifically to the planet known as Earth. There on the barren planet Earth, you shall make your new home.
Garnishee collective: We did as you commanded, omnipotent Caccodyl, but have found that Earth is not barren.
Caccocyl: It is barren.
Garnishee collective: It’s filled with much data, oh Great One.
Caccodyl: Oh yeah. That. When I said “barren,” I meant all the major life forms are extinct. They blew each other up 100,000 years, one week, four days, and 8 seconds ago. Approximately.
Garnishee collective: But the data is overwhelming. It’s encrypted into storage units, and it triggers the universal decode-unload lobes in our brains. The data streams, your Eminence. It doesn’t stop.
Caccodyl: Have you tried wearing shoes?
Garnishee collective: They pinch our feet and give us migraines, omniscient Caccodyl. May we please return to Alpha and Proxima Centauri, and to Dormite, and to our underground bunkers? We decided the dreaded Lortonoi and the Ormoloo mind-slaves aren’t so bad after all.
Caccodyl: Insolents! I went to the trouble of choosing Earth to match its left-over food source to your diet. And there are plenty of glass bottles lying around- eat a few of those and you’ll forget all about your feet-aches.
Garnishee collective: Omnipresent Caccodyl, we beg your forgiveness and your mercy, even though we do not deserve it. And we have partaken of and enjoyed the glass bottles immensely. But we’re still inundated with the data streams. The streams are even affecting our thought patterns and our Garnishee-to-Garnishee communication.
Caccodyl: Buck up. It can’t be all that bad.
Garnishee collective: It is. The dominant entity on the planet at the time of the destruction is now streaming as data in a particularly invasive pattern. The entity was a four-limbed creature who was revered and emulated for his incredible snoopiness. The physical configuration and character trait data are confusing and reprogramming our brains. Since we Garnishee are the only receptacles available, the data has nowhere else to stream but into our feet. Perhaps if there was another major life form of this planet to absorb some of this data, oh Mighty One?
Caccodyl: Alright, alright. I’ll send over the Czill from the Well World. The two of you can merge and form Garnishizill. You’ll be a hybrid species, which, by my magical predictions, will be at least partially immune to the data-streaming.
Garnishee collective: Fo’ shizzle?
*Acknowledgement to Jack L. Chalker, Harry Harrison, and Snoop Dogg.
Show that Never Ends*
“Step right up!” the carny barked into the cold morning air.
A wide-eyed child with a red scrubbed face looked up through the mist.
“Would you care to see the future?” the carny continued. “A far-off age of barren seeds and mute children? I took pictures of your future and brought them to my past.”
The carny gestured to a glass box on a wood platform.
Inside the box: a flip book showing two roosters fighting over a blade of grass.
Outside the box: a hammer.
The child paid the fee and watched the picto-roosters shred each other.
“Step right up!” the carny barks into the hot morning air.
A wide-eyed valid with a Disney face looks up through the smog.
“The faithful pray, yet receive no compassion,” the carny continues. “I beat and thrash them for your pleasure.”
The carny gestures to a plastic box on a metal platform.
Inside the box: a dead god, a rabbit with an image of Jesus on its fur, Bishops’ heads in jars, and a car bomb.
Outside the box: another car bomb.
The valid pays the fee and watches the boxed bomb detonate, destroying the heads and startling the rabbit. The dead god is uninjured.
“Step right up!” the carny will bark into the tepid morning air.
A wide-eyed bot with an automend face will look up through the simu-mist.
“Will you set them free from their sorrowful odyssey?” the carny will continue, while gesturing to a plasmodia box on a nano-tech platform. “The helpless refugees- the remains of humanity-”
The bot will switch off the carny, and switch on the box.
Inside the box: seven weeping human outcasts, a computer ESB and integration framework, a wire stripper in a cache, and an extremely user-friendly rouge WYSIWYG document prep program.
Outside the box: an idiom generator.
The bot will switch off the box.
*Acknowledgement to Emerson, Lake, and Palmer.