Thursday, June 17, 2010

Bustin out all over

"I believe this is your branch," said Loki to Hiroki.

Hiroki just nodded his little head, bent down and got to work cuttin that branch. And let me tell ya, nothin clears existential dillema out of your head like a little bit of wood cuttin. I remember back when I was 18 or 19 or somewhere about there. I got myself hired down at the shoe factory, puttin the paper in the toes of the shoes. Of course, this was long before all that kinda stuff was outsourced to 2-year-old Chinese robots or whatever. Anyhoo, there was this guy named Tony who worked at the factory as a box polisher. He'd been polishin them boxes in 12 hour shifts for neigh on 15 years, so he was a little loopy in the head. People said he took the polish home at night to drink it, but I don't think that was true, because I figure his farts would be shiny if he did and, even though they smelled like turpentine, they sure as poop on a pringle wasn't shiny. Regardless of the reflective properties of his gas, this Tony was a real well read sort. He told me once that he had himself a PhD in literature or some such thing, but didn't want to deal with all the politickin of a university job, so he polised boxes, read and wrote criticism in his spare time. At the time, I was gettin mighty interested in readin, but I could mostly only get my hands on old newspapers because I'd been banned from the library for reasons I won't go into right now. When Tony heard I liked readin, he gave me a couple books he said were like to blow my mind.

He gave me a couple books by these guys, wait, there's a 'z' in there somehwere. Good lord, that boy's name is right hard to spell. Anyway, he's this guy who talks a lot about Superman for some reason and says God gone and died. Then he gave me this other book by this Kafka guy. He wrote this story about a guy wakin up as a giant bug one day and his family gettin all mad at him because he can't go to work no more and feed them. Also, they don't seem to like bugs too much from the beginning. At first, I thought he was there when I went through the whole hullaballoo at the library, but then I read the intro and saw he had written that book quite a bit before the library thing, so either he was psychic or he was really writing about the plight of the working man in a society that only cared about his ability to produce wealth for the elite and then discarded him as soon as his productive days were over, showing that, in an industrial society, man has no inherent value as a person, but only as a means to an end. I felt this reflected somewhat on my position as a shoe stuffer. I started feelin like I wasn't nothin but a cog in this big machine, totally without control over my own actions. So, you know what I did? I cut down a tree. With a rock. Then I killed a rabbit with a piece of the tree I'd just cut down and roasted the rabbit with the rest of the tree. In short, I got right back to my primitive roots, where I was in control of my basic survival. It was right then I decided to forgo the whole shoe stuffin business for a couple years and light out for the territories, as it were. That when I got into all the alligator wrestlin mess and all that I believe I've gone over before. But if you don't remember, let me sum up. I wrestled alligators for a bit. There ya go, all caught up.

I guess what I'm tryin to say here is that, when you feel like you ain't nothin but a tiny little piece of a great big ol' machine, ain't nothin better to cure your malaise than cuttin down a tree. Barrin that, you could cut off part of a tree that it roughly tree sized. So, based entirely on my own experience with ennui, I woulda said that Hiroki would have gotten his mind straight in sawin off that tree branch and then woulda gone out to wrestle some alligators for awhile before goin back home and accepting his place as a tool of the corporate machine. I guess in this case it would be a literary machine, but that don't matter none. But instead, he did somethin crazy.

He was sittin there sawin at the branch and he asked, "So, whatever action we do has been chosen for us, right?"

Loki nodded.

"And so we our actions are not subject to our own will, but some sort of fate made by the story teller?"

Loki nodded again.

"Then I am not responsible," said Hiroki standing, "for this!" He swung the saw in a wide arc, catching Loki across the throat. As a bright rooster tail of blood shot from the god's jugular, his eyes went wide with surprise. Now, like I said, I may have wrestled an alligator or two so I could assert my independance and get in touch with my personhood, but I never really considered deicide as a valid option. I guess I was wrong. It worked out pretty well for Hiroki.

Something had come loose in the boy. He was tired of everyone and everything telling him what to do and who to be. All his life, he was the son of this or the member of that. He was used as a tool by Clan Platypus and would never be anything more, if they had a say in it. And what was his rebellion? Pizza. What the heck kind of rebellion is going for pizza and playing pinball? That ain't hardly no rebellion at all. And now, now that he was thought he was doing something on his own, something good and kind, he was used as a tool by the gods. Gods, for god's sake! Well, he wasn't havin none of that. He cut down his tree limb, covered both ends in Loki's blood and went on the hunt.

First, he went to Al's cabin. He kicked the door of that sucker in so hard that splinters flew across the room and killed the unkillable pig. Spinning his new staff just like he'd learned when he was three, he went whirling and twirling through the hall of the undead warriors; a compact, woody tornado of death. And because his weapon was made from the world tree, those whom he killed stayed dead. There wasn't none of that "risin in the evenin to drink and carouse" stuff they'd been doin up until then. Many of them warriors, not realizin what was happenin, just drank and laughed, waiting for their turn to be slaughtered. Some jumped up and started swingin swords and axes just because they enjoyed doin that sorta thing. Sides formed in the room and the battle was joined full force. But Hiroki was his own side. He waited until one group of Vikings would form up behind him, hoping to press into the enemy ranks, then the turned and slaughtered those nearest to him. Thinking he was pulling a brilliant double-cross, the enemy side would group up behind him to press back, but they got the end of the stick as well. All the warriors in the hall died that day. Their souls did not move on to some better, more perfect world. They lay in the spilled grog and pig drippins on the floor of that hall, never to move again.

After the slaughter of the Einherjar, Hiroki went to visit Baldr. The lame god saw him enter and attempted to arm himself. But, god or no god, it's right tough to move faster than a ninja when you got two bum legs. Hiroki's staff met him in the teeth and mingled the brothers' blood for the first time since they were in the womb together.

But the killing wasn't enough. He needed to wreak a destruction such as had never been seen. Hiroki tore the shirt off of Baldr and wrapped both ends of his bo in rags made from the dead god's clothes. Then he spotted an oil lamp on Baldr's shelf. He smashed it with one end of his staff, covering the rags in the oil. Using his lightning ninja speed, he twirled the staff 180 degrees before the oil had time to splash on the ground and soaked the other end. Then he thrust both ends of his oily q-tip into Baldr's forge, lighting up the former tree branch with the fire of the gods.

With his new firey stick of death, Hiroki ran through the tree, killing all those who came in his path and setting the limbs on fire wherever he could. The fire spread slowly at first, but when it reached the thinner outer branches, it ballooned. Before Hiroki could find Odin, the smoke and the heat began to overwhelm him. He took one final breath, held it in, and jumped off the planet. As he was slingshotting around the sun, Hiroki got one last glimpse of the space tree, lit up like the worst Christmas imaginable. He knew that Odin would be coming for him and he would be prepared. After all, he was master of his own destiny now.