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Short Story by
Dorianne Emmerton

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Fantasia III for Piano
by Suchoon Mo
Art by Melissa Stern
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Rejoyce, Rejoyce, The End Is Nigh

“A plutocrat and a bearcat are rutting in the bushes, I’ll come up behind them and stick them in their tushes…” sang Molly Two-Lips, through the topmost two of her lips as she strolled down the boulevard on a clear and brightening day in May. The bank was her destination, fiscal transactions her goal, an excursion of utter banality: but this was to be a day of no ordinariness.

Art by Melissa SternAt the edifice Stephen was standing, bisected from the back by the metal slit that exists between closed glass doors. His wings were eagle spread across the potential entry, melted across every opening, wax-sealed shut, the bank barred by his saturnine body. “Are you ok?” asked Molly Two-Lips.

In response Stephen cried “Dead, All of us, Dead!”

Molly was surprised by his capitalization, if not by his situation. She lifted her volume to meet his and cried in return “The bank, the Bank, my queendome for a Measly Cent, a farthing for my furlong!”

But it was no use: Stephen stood still. Stephen still stood and said, “It’s no use, no use at all, I’ve flown too close to commerce,” and he stomped one cloven hoof. “Dead, All of us,” rose his refrain again. Molly made a low down moan in grief and sunk to rescue a badly halved ant from beneath Stephen’s negligently murderous hoof.

“Oopsy days, me-a-culpy!” said Stephen. One little ant leg twitched miserably, so Molly put the poor thing out of its misery by tearing its head from its body. Then she tore its body in half, just to be certain, as in embalming.

“I love insects!” she cried and Stephen misheard the word and thought Molly was a Daddy-diddler, but Daddy was away, so that’s ok. Stephen’s own Daddy had thrown himself down a rabbit hole, so the whole world was now fatherless.

They held a funeral for the ant right there, Stephen stuck upright and Molly on her knees: they dirged until the dirging was done and then Molly sulked away, ignoring Stephen’s exhortations to either fry him free or melt him more. And this is when the day became extra-ordinary, which is more ordinary than ordinary can be.

“No sleep for the wicked, no rest for the best!” shouted a man out of an airplane’s open cockpit window, his aviator glasses sun-glinting in Molly’s left eye and then he drove the plane into a tall, straight, skyscraper tower and the world came tumbling down.

The sun retracted out of the sky, perhaps in protest, perhaps because his brightening had reached its zenith and there was nowhere else to go.

Molly walked on through a napalm dawn, bits and pieces of flotsam and jetsam and random debris fluttered down from the sky, keeping company with bombs and other assorted purposefully released projectiles. The crowd on the street had as many different reactions as there are people: there was wailing and laughing and gnashing of teeth, there were acts of compassion and ones of malice, every advantage was taken and every opportunity exploited. Molly thought she should try to find her husband, for no reason other than it might be nice to have someone to talk to in the midst of all this.

She found she could avoid getting bombed or otherwise assaulted from an aerial direction by looking intently at the ground and stepping carefully between the cracks. The minute she stepped on a crack was a minute of pure danger. Her head down in such a manner she made her way to her husband’s office building where he was standing outside, smoking a cigarette and watching the city burn.

“Molly Two-Lips!” He exclaimed, “What a pleasant surprise to see you on this most extraordinary of ordinary days!”

“Hello Ecce Homo,” she said, which was a nickname and not his real name at all. His real, full name was William Lyon Mackenzie King the fourth, although, being an Irish-American, he had no clue that most of his name was also shared with the tenth Prime Minister of Canada. Stephen, who had a streak of omniscience, had once or twice almost informed him of the fact but had decided against it for personal reasons.

Ecce Homo was a shorter name to pronounce, and it also embodied fact that he was both divinely inspired and a pederast.

“Hello Ecce Homo,” said Molly Two-Lips to her husband.

“My my, the sky seems to be falling and the chickens have roosted so there are none to roast. What to do, what to do?” he asked.

Her answer was an answerless “I believe it’s the end of the world.”

“The end of the world!” He exclaimed in enthusiastic tones, “What a day to rejoyce then! Not a whimper to be heard! Bang, Bang!” He continued to yell “Bang!” suddenly and with a great power of projection at each and every passing pedestrian.

It was then that she remembered the button. “The button!” she cried, “Ecce Homo, we must find the button!”

“I’ve got buttons on my jacket and buttons on my shirt and buttons on my pants…” he listed, to the right.

She shoved him upright again and explained, “No, the big red button that says ‘peace’ on it. The big red button of peace will make the world whole again.”

Ecce Homo cheerfully disagreed, “The world always had a hole in it. That’s how it’s strung on this milky white neck of lace.”

“I want to push the peace button.” Molly Two-Lips was nothing if not stubborn.

“Alright,” agreed her dandy of a hubby, “I haven’t much use for the world at large, but I’m fond of you. You and young men. If it weren’t for you and young men I’d have no use for anyone! And isn’t it interesting that 'you' and 'young men' both begin with the letters ‘y-o-u’?”

They side-stepped like crabs, avoiding the cracks, into the centre of town. Molly was sure the big red button of peace must be in the town hall. Where else would it be? A public button wouldn’t be housed in a private residence and it didn’t seem suited to schools or libraries. The town hall it must be, and if it was not there then least at least there was a pub next door in which to drink themselves oblivious until oblivion reigned.

Their course took them once again near the bank where they took a short detour in order to throw rocks at the immobilized Stephen. He yelped in pain and muttered about imminent doom and taxidermy.

They continued on into the bloody beating heart of town. A levitating man tried to sell them some god but they weren’t buying. They kicked his air out from under him instead. Then they picked a flower and gave it to the next little girl they saw as a balancing act of kindness.

“Why, where are all the young men at?” asked Ecce Homo after a while. “Your company is delightful dear but I declare, I do require a slight distraction and there seems to be none available.”

“Perhaps they’ve mobilized?” Molly ventured. “This does seem a lot like war.”

“Drats and tassels, that’s dastardly indeed!” Ecce Homo was clearly vexed. But a little farther on (A farthing for a furlong, thought Molly) a young man darted out of a building and wended his way around a corner ahead of them.

“There’s one,” bellowed Homo and gave chase. Molly followed, worried that in his haste he would step on a crack.

With luck, with fortune, with divine intervention perhaps, being that Ecce Homo was divinely inspired (though not given to purchase the wares of god-sellers) the young man was heading for the town hall too. As he ducked behind the Doric columns that obscured the entrance from view, Ecce Homo bellowed (for he was a man of much voice and little tact) “Come back, duckling, let me plumb your murky depths!”

“Shush,” said his wife, coming up behind them “There’s room in the town hall for two, even for three, I imagine.” And so they Doriced away themselves and to the town hall came.

Inside was a must of haze and overturned furniture. Bird wings fluttered in windows, refracting the retracting sunlight. The young man stood at the far end of the hall unbuckling his belt: he was preparing for the impending anal onslaught. He knew what he had coming to him, and in him, and on him: for after all, Ecce Homo was not just a man, but a myth, a legend and even a legacy.

Homo licked his drying lips. Molly sucked her tongue.

The dark, handsome, and most importantly youthful man threw the belt across the big room. The buckle landed and imprinted on Homo’s cheek. He poked the bruise out from the inside. The young man turned and disappeared through a door in the wall behind them.

“Quick, catch that pigeon!” cried the lustful one. Molly herself knew no lust at all, but followed across the mammoth space, void of all but abandoned objects. Outside thunder sparkled and lightening howled. Back at the bank Stephen tapped his hoof impatiently. Either eventually someone would come to free him or eventually the apocalypse would end. Until then he had only his limited omniscience to entertain him.

The young man, trousers lowered, was bent over the big red button. Ecce Homo was delighted and immediately took his advantage with the situation but Molly was distraught: the pederasty blocked her access to the peace-making! She could see the button's big red side under the sweating torso of the anonymous young man, but how was she to reach it?

Finally she stuck her courage to a point of screwing and drew up beside the thrusting flanks of her spouse. She carefully extended an arm beneath the other body, fearful of having it crushed were climax to come – luckily her husband was a man of stamina. She had more than enough time to push the button and retrieve her hand.

But nothing happened.

Eventually great jets of jism spurted from the young man’s mouth and the buggery was completed. “Shoo,” said Echo Homo to the young man.

“Shoo yourself,” he replied and Molly decided she liked this one. Still, she had a very pressing concern regarding the pressing of the button.

“Why didnít the button do anything?” she asked, so plaintive that the men stopped eyeing each other with hostility and turned to address her query.

“What did you expect to happen?” asked the young man, his onyx hair falling across his handsome forehead.

“Peace was supposed to happen. The darkling day out there was to change to brightening. The bombs stop falling, the birds fly forward. The guns go away and the people play.”

“You sweet idealistic child,” her husband said and kissed her on the forehead. “This is my wife,” he said to the young man, the closest thing to a way of introduction that she had ever known Ecce Homo to have.

“Why did you think this button would do that?” asked the nameless young man, who in the darkening was becoming faceless as well.

“Because it’s the big red button of peace!” she exclaimed, appalled by his lack of grasping the obvious.

“Go back to school,” he said, meanly, then sauntered out the door with nary a backwards glance.

She held her husband’s hand and approached the button. In stark white letters, courier font, was written “PIECE.”

“The wrong piece,” she sobbed. Her husband took her in his arms. He was always most affectionate after a satisfying bit of sodomy. “The wrong peace. The song peace. The song peas. The song ceased.” And everything, on this extraordinary day, did then cease. This was the end of the world, after all.

 

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Dorianne EmmertonDorianne Emmerton grew up in small town northern Ontario, escaped to a post-secondary theatre school in Toronto and now has an office job. She has written screenplays for (and otherwise been creatively involved in) three indie films: The One Time Tom Saw Bill on The Street, Dollars & Scents, and The Modern Things. She has had a number of short plays produced including one in New York City which she found very exciting. She is a member of the Outwrites queer writing group in Toronto and does readings around that city regularly. She has a collection of short stories she would like to have published some day.

 

Melissa SternMelissa Stern is a seminal figure in American letters. Emily Dickinson wrote of Stern, "Brothers and sisters, she has none, Melissa Stern's father is my father's son." She lives in New York City with her dog, Max. Stern is married but does not like to talk about it. Stern began her drawing career as a graffiti artist on the New York City subway system. Struck down by an F train running uptown on the downtown tracks, she now paints with one foot and her tongue. "I love poetry," she says. "Just not poetry in motion..." Visit her website for more information.

 

Suchoon MoSuchoon Mo is a Korean War veteran and a retired academic living in the semiarid part of Colorado. He writes music and poetry and other useless things, regardless of weather, climate, or stock market changes.

 

 

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