Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Science FTW?

"Oh I don't think so, friend!" The pancake chuckles like butter sizzling. "How about I bash your head in with my skillet?!"

"That would be impossible." Dante smiles. "It's not your skillet."

Rolling up and along the pan, the pancake leaves no tacky trail as it assumes an offensive stance on the handle. Dante's not frightening the vile breakfast. The pancake's amusement squeezes its syrup face like this :P

It's mocking us. Or its been distorted by the rolling. Hard to tell. Like I said. Pancakes are frustratingly unmusical.

"Oh, Ethanael?!!!"

I wince against the unnecessary disruption in the universe's harmonies. Search my brain for some thinky-thoughts that could possibly be of help against a pancake armed with a floating frying pan and an abundance of sharp punctuation.

"Hey!!!! Ethanael!!!!"

I clamp my hands over my headphones. "What, pancake?!"

Oh no, it's got me using unnecessary exclamation marks, too. Like a virus jumping hosts. I don't want to be a pancake parasite host. You aren't what you eat. Not that in that sense. The stupid saying has to do with nutrients processed from the food you consume. The food itself changes into something else. It doesn't remain in its original form—

"Don't ignore me, Ethanael!!! That would make me sad!!!!!" The pancake rolls on its head and makes a face like D: at me.

It must have made out with my scrambled eggs when I wasn't looking. Some pancakes do that. I've seen pictures.

Now you have, too.

"Globalization means the future will be dominated by a multitude of cultures," Dante says.

Both the pancake and I look at him. He taps his fingers against his once-umbrella, a look of absolute certainty on his face. Ridiculous because there is no absolute certainty. Or never one audible to me.

"Future societies will not be as we know them today," he continues. "Not only because of biological evolution, but cultural evolution. We will be to them, at best, as First Dark Age humanity is to current humans."

I ease my grip on my cans. They're warm and slick with my stalled panic.

"Andy, what are you talking about?" I ask.

"Creative speculation, Ethan." He points with the umbrella-no-more. "Listen, Pancake, when we apply Darwinism to technology, we see how you and I can't even begin to fathom the most basic of the future's infrastructures. Even if we could, the very language we use would be inadequate to describe them."

His silence intertwines with the pancake's. Both battling for control of the innumerable possibilities. Strengthening and harmonizing various tunes until there are only two probable outcomes. Either Dante wins this or the pancake does.

"Just think about that." Dante leans on the truncated metal skeleton. "You'll see that your struggle against me has no meaning, because none of us have a future. Mass extinction is the best we can wish for, and let's hope it comes by way of an unrecognizable and already present alien life form with the advanced technology to make our euthanasia quick."

The pancake's vital fluids drip over the handle. Sticky sploops on the porch beneath it. Over them, I hear my escape soar in volume. Not that I really feel like celebrating. Victory through sterling soul-crushing defeat is the worse kind of cheating. There's no defense against it.

Still, the pancake is a mighty opponent. Anything else would have exploded in bleak despair, but the hovering frying pan suggests the flapjack merely passed out in its own buttery sick.

"Let's get the hell out of here." Dante takes the two porch steps at once. "I'd rather not have to use any more Sterling. It hurts me, Ethan. Makes me want to smack people."

He swings the sort-of-umbrella at the disappearing serrated sakura for emphasis. His distraction has taken the heartbeats necessary to clear a path through the danger for us, but at what cost?

I know we need to move quickly, but I can't bring myself to start walking. The hopelessness has rooted me to my front yard.

"Ethan." Dante grabs my arm. "Snap of out it."

"Did you mean it?" I ask. "Are art-directed creativity and imagination really so useless? Is my tribe's purpose to be nothing more than irrelevant syrup-coated entertainment?"

If so, why do I fight the controlling beats of the music? Why not give in and let it ride me. Direct me. Use me as its stereo. What use is our tribe of Inspiration? What can we do for humanity except help it make better weapons to kill itself quickly or generate more opiate to poison itself slowly?

"Dude." Dante raises his goggles and focuses his always mismatched eyes on me. "Imagination is way more important than knowledge."

I blink. "Do you mean that?"

"Of course, I do." He punches my arm. "Don't you get it? Creative expression is a product of its now. Maybe it wears a mask of the future, but it's always going to reflect the society that produced it."

He's right. That's why artists have always had one foot in the Twilight Lands. Creativity is present and now and lost in this moment. If Creation powers had the ability to see what effects they could have, there'd be no need for people who could undo the paradoxes that are always being created.

Maybe I'm trapped in an endless concert of what may or may not happen, but that's just me. Humans can act outside of the music constantly playing between my ears. Fantasy and optimism might be irrelevant, but maybe it's that very irrelevance that creates freedom.

"We good?" Dante asks.

I nod. "Yeah. Let's go."

Petals stir ominously as we hurry along the strip of green safety between them. Saplings dot the mounds of deceptive pink, their leaves lacey and tiny trunks adorned with ribbons. Like most ornate things they'll be thirsty for blood. I can tell from the way the grove bends in our direction as we pass, like how plants in your world seek life and energy from the sun.

Plants aren't bright and burny like the sun. People don't bleed syrup like pancakes. There's a necessary conversion of nutrients.

Dante and I won't be part of these wannabe dryads' necessary conversions. The grove will fall to either my brother or the pancake. Depending on who wants to leave the yard first.

"Where are we going?" He avoids a wayward petal. "The desert?"

"No." I shake my head. "We'll find Stellina by the Chronograph."


John Evans said...

My favorite sentence is:

"Like most ornate things they'll be thirsty for blood."

It sounds clever, but then...huh. It just makes you go...huh. Y'know?

Good work. ;)

Sarah K said...

This segment had morals! Fun!

Ethanael said...

I had a moral one. It sparkled in the sun. So pretty. I was all set to take it around and show it off. Then I found it drinking cow blood!

...wait. That might have been a vampire.

Rachel said...

Did the eggs feel rejected after the pancake left them in the morning?

Chandra Rooney said...

Breakfast booty calls. For shame, Rae. Shame! XD