Sunday, March 12, 2006


The Importance of Mirrors

Everything stank in his world and there were no regions of close approach between spiritual latitudes. The psychic conjunctiva that seals in and protects the small details of self which help to preserve human sanity didn't exist. Only central issues mattered, intelligence was collective; a broth of ersatz consciousness in a communal skillet, frozen, loveless and colourless. Normality skulked away from the light in the same way that the children shrank from a loving touch or a kind word. One day a spaceman may come and reintroduce humanity to this place; then again perhaps he will simply destroy it.

The sprite was West Indian Oriental, with an accent that suited the paper folding image. He was busy with some coloured card and tissue paper. "How will he find you?" he asked, not looking up.

Lucien sucked his teeth. "He knows everything, man. No problem," he spat, "He rules this town - the whole damn world in fact - from a bunker somewhere, communicating to his agents by telepathic means."

The paper folder looked up, still folding: "Seems to me you got yourself an evil demon."


"Yes sir, that's what I reckon."

"What the hell are you talking about?"

"Well there's this guy, some kind of philosopher, goes back some ways... anyhow, he's trying to find a method to suss out the meaning of existence, you know, as you do. So he posits this theory that God is actually a great and powerful deceiver who's like fooled everybody, including himself, into believing that they exist, when actually, they don't, yeah?" He paused, fiddling with some particularly intricate piece of folding.

"And?" said Lucien impatiently.

"Oh, he gets out of that one, man. Oh yeah."


The sprite leaned forward in his chair and whispered: "Cogito ergo sum, my friend. I think therefore I am. Get it?"

"No. But, anyway, everybody needs to believe in something, don't they? What do I know about metaphysics. I'm a damn chemist!"

"Everything's chemistry, bro. You said that."

Lucien shook his head. "Look," he said, "I wish you wouldn't quote me back at myself to back up your own position, you know? After all, I mean... not only are you a figment, a posit, you're my figment, my bloody posit. You wouldn't even exist without me. You know that, don't you?"

The figment shrugged: "Since I don't exist I can know nothing."

"Look, don't sulk. And don't try to screw me up with philosophy, right?"

"Ok. But let me just say this: if, as you seem to strongly imply, I exist only through you and not as an independent entity... well, you can see where I'm comming from, can't you? Like, who's doing the screwing up, yeah?"

Lucien didn't rise to the bait. "It's just that I don't think he's evil, that's all"


"Your demon."

"Oh, so I don't exist but now he's my demon, right? Yeah? Hello? How does that one work?

"Shut up. You're such a brat, you know that? I mean The Man, the magic gangster, you know, the one I'm waiting to hear from?"

The posit sat back in his chair and crossed his legs. "So, let me get this straight," he said, "just so I know which way the candy's melting here. He's a gangster, right? A killer, a murderer and a kidnapper, an extortionist and a torturer - but he's not evil, right? That's what you're telling me, yeah?"

"Shut up. Listen: he has no sense of evil. The concept of good doesn't exist for him, and you can't have one without the other, right? I mean... if you've only got one arm, then there's really no question of it being the left or the right, is there? There's only one arm. He's beyond that, beyond good and evil. Differences between pleasure and pain, right and wrong, good and bad, love and hate don't exist for him. Evil doesn't exist for him, only power, that's all, pure power, raw power, power for its own sake. Power is everything!"

"You mean like chemistry?"

"Don't start that again. But yeah, if you like."

"But you have no power, do you?"

"For pity's sake that's why I'm waiting for him to contact me, isn't it, you bloody idiot, to give me the frigging power!"



"Why should he give you anything? I mean, does he owe you for something? Can you do something for him? What can you do? Why should he give you anything, do you any favours? What is it about you? What the hell have you got that a guy like him needs so damn badly? Hmm? Tell me that."

Light, bright and brittle, the morning sun cut a swath through the dust that hung in the air like the question. And the whore in the mirror cried "Screw me, Screw me Lucien, love me like a bastard and I'll be yours forever, I'll work just for you, just for you Lucien...." And then he was awake and alone and wondering what it was he could do for the magic gangster.

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