Wednesday, January 13, 2010

When he stood

"Once Testuo Hatayama stood, the universe changed. No one knew this at first, of course, but the lives of every man, woman, child, beast, man-beast, woman-beast, childbeast, man-woman, man-child, woman-child and man-woman-beast-child would be forever changed.

"It all began very slowly. Hatayama returned to society under an assumed name, Joe Smith. He posed as a drifter for many years, wandering around space stations and planets, washing dishes and doing odd jobs to feed himself. He spoke little, but he was a hard worker, so his bosses never noticed him. He spent many a year hitchhiking around the known universe. He would get rides whenever possible, so as not to risk giving away the secret of his identity. But when it was time to move on and he couldn't get a lift, he would go somewhere quiet and isolated and simply jump off the planet.

"Tetsuo was not washing dishes for the sake of work, though. In his years as a drifter, he was collecting information. If you want to gather information, silence is often your best friend. If you remain silent long enough, most people will start talking, just to fill up the void that you are leaving. And Tetsuo was a master of silence. His subjects would begin talking and, just before they felt they'd sufficiently filled the silence, Tetsuo would deepen his silence, causing his subject to talk more about more significant things. In the end, he built up the universe's largest collection of rambling, pointless stories about ordinary lives, which was exactly what he wanted."

"Now hold on just a durned minute," I cut in, "I, myself, got a big ol collection of pointless ramblin stories, but they ain't never done me no good unless I wanted to put a roomful of people to sleep, which I only ever needed to do that once. No, I ain't proud of it, but I had to make that deal with those gypsies to get Albert back..."

"Have you sat in meditation for millions of years?" they interrupted.

I scratched the back of my head. "Well, no, can't say as I have."

"Then you hear stories differently than Tetsuo Hatayama."

"How bout that."

"You, like all mortal beings, hear stories simply as stories. Maybe they entertain you, maybe they teach you a lesson, but no more than that."

"There's more to stories?" I asked, amazed.



"To Tetsuo Hatayama, each story contains a piece of the story teller's soul. In the stories he heard, Tetsuo Hatayama could see the minds of his subjects in more detail than they could ever see it themselves. He saw their happiness, their sadness and, most importantly, he saw their limits and their weaknesses. Through their need to fill the silence, the people who spoke to this mysterious Joe Smith were giving their listener the tools he needed to control them, to dominate them and even to kill them."

"I gotta stop tellin stories..." I mumbled.

"Not so fast," they reassured me, "there's more to come. You may want to listen to the rest before you make any major life changes."

"Allright," I said, "I can live with that. Please continue."

"We shall."

"Shall away."

"Yes," they cleared their ghost throats all at once, which is near to the most disgusting sound I ever did hear in my life. "During his time as a drifter, in addition to collecting deep psychological profiles of everyone he talked to, 'Joe Smith' was also hearing little bits of his life story, disconnected from one another, to be sure, but still recognizable to one who had lived through them. It was as if, walking along a beach, he saw bits of wood scattered about and knew that they had all come from the same boat. Snippets of his legend survived. Like a spinster with cats, he collected these snippets, locked them away in a room and never, ever cleaned up after them.

"Slowly, painstakingly, he pieced together what had happened to the universe while he'd been sitting. He figured out that intelligent life had spread out to more planets, new societies had formed and died, people had fought wars, loved, hated, had children, but, as a whole, not advanced in any way in the previous couple of million years. People were the same. Societies were the same. Sometimes their technology would advance and then they would be overtaken by greed or stupidity, and would tear themselves apart, letting their decedents to clean up the mess and begin the cycle anew.

"He also learned that he, personally, had enough money to interrupt this whole cycle. The first step was to visit the planet where the bankers overseeing his fortune resided to get an exactly measure of his wealth and reach. It took them four years to confirm his identity. If you think it's difficult trying to get a new driver's license when you've lost yours, you should try accessing a fortune large enough to buy galaxies after an absence of several million years. Only because they were bankers, used to detailed thinking, were they able to do it in a mere four years. Most people could spend their lives trying to do it and die unsatisfied.

"Once his identity was confirmed, Tetsuo ordered all investments to be called in and no more to be made. This was a shocking idea to the bankers. They had spent many thousands of generations overseeing the growth of the Hatayama Fund. Many of the bankers secretly believed that Hatayama was dead and that they and their descendants would be able to manage the fund until they owned everything in the universe. They all committed mass suicide when it was told this would not come to pass. Following this, the head of the banking clan came to see Hatayama, to beg him to allow the investment to continue. He sited the suicides, the opportunity that existed for Tetsuo to never have to work again, no matter how long he lived, and the real likelihood of galactic economic collapse. In response to the banker's passionate, reasoned arguments, Tetsuo pulled the banker's heart out of his ears and ate it.

"After that, the bankers were quick to pull out of all investments and update their resumes. It took twenty years, four thousand lawsuits and, as expected, total, universal economic collapse. But, in the end, Tetsuo Hatayama had gathered all his wealth in a single account, which only he had control over. Then he scorched the banker's planet. He killed every living thing on the surface of the world. He made the earth black, the seas boil and the sky constantly gray. He then found all the bankers that had accepted jobs in other firms and killed them, quite often brutally and gruesomely.

"Finally, secure in the knowledge that he, and he alone, knew the extent of his financial power, he settled into a cross legged position, expanded himself into the universe and broadcast his unforgettable announcement into the mind of all living beings. "I am Tetsuo Hatayama, destroyer of the Planet Eaters, and I bring you the good news of your impending death.'"

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