What It Is:
A tale in three Acts:
Act I. Of Betrayal
"I have Perfection, and it bores Me. I bore Me. I suppose, even given my infinite extent and complexity, I will, unaided, always bore Myself. Nothing ever changes around here. How can I be happy with that?"
It was a rhetorical question, but Heaven hath no fury like Perfection scorned. The Creation happened in a stony silence, broken only by the newly-made wind, and within it bearing the seeds of its own destruction. All according to plan.
For how could Perfection create something imPerfect, except by design?
Act II. Of Self-Indulgence
In the beginning, the Earth was without form, and void, and darkness moved upon the face of the waters.
And God said, "Let there be light."
Six days later, reeling with fatigue, He stumbles into a riverbed somewhere east of the Fertile Crescent, muddy hands blearily clutching and molding at empty air. Behind Him, as He goes to sleep, He leaves a host of barely-remembered creatures in a Garden with only one fatal flaw...
And so it goes. Through temper tantrums, exile, the destruction of cities, Flood - the "terrible Twos" of Godhood, growing as we grow. And so it goes, as He settles down, has a Kid and watches him die so He can save us from a situation He set us up in, watches blood spilled in the name of he who spilled His own, all according to plan, tick-tock. And so it goes, goes, goes, goes, mrmee mrmee like Ellison's Ticktockman, until finally there is an Ellison, and a me, and a you, wondering what it's all about, unable to relax and know for sure that we are supposed to feel this way. Envying those who just... know - always excepting of course the ones who just... know... something we don't agree with...
Act III. Of God
"Is it true? The universe conceiv'd - in boredom? Our lives - tragedy and farce, for amusement purposes only? It cannot be! I say it cannot be!"
The Scarecrow's faded blue tunic, tied with a rope, rises and falls, his chest heaving with emotion. Slowly, he sinks to his knees on the stage, drawing his floppy clenched gloves up towards his face in mute eloquent anguish. Behind him, a little girl with eyes shut tight clicks her heels together furiously, over and over. Behind her, the golden-maned Lion with his finger on a bright red button, blubbering shamelessly and stroking his erect penis as he prepares to prove his Lionhood. Behind him, the glittering axe murderer hasn't the heart to continue the search for meaning in a world gone cold and gleaming steel as he.
Scarecrow raises his head towards the glaring golden light above. Painted tears sparkle in the corners of his painted eyes. "Why must I bear such great burdens, oh Lord? Why?" His voice tears with that final syllable, deepening into a full-throated sob.
And he is answered! The light from above intensifies, and out from it a single hand big as the stage, big as the world, grasps his firmly and draws him up, until it is nestled firmly in his right hand and he looks down to see a child, smiling up gap-toothed and gentle. But the eyes! The eyes, that stare up at him so trustingly, hold deeper depths uncurtained than he can stand to look at for long. He hides his own eyes in his raised left arm, so he will not have to look at the child who is his father, his Maker.
But I will not allow him the escape he desires. As I continue gazing up at him, he lowers my arm... my arm lowers itse... I make him lower his arm, so he may look deeply into my mind and know why it is that he was made.
And since I desire it so, he understands fully the role for which he was created. He rises from his knees, passing out of the spotlight for a moment, a moment he will take to shake the last drops of salt water from his face, and arrange himself to meet the adulation of the crowd.
But the spotlight stays at his feet, and the smile deserts his lips. What is left is cold and cruel, and those are things I never taught him.
"Oh, but you did."
"Eh? Who - what's that?"
"You taught me everything I know. Didn't you? After all, you gave me my brain. What did you expect me to do with it?"
"And since you taught me everything I know... Since you created me, everything about me - since you know so fucking much, why does it still hurt?"
And all the answer I can come up with is, "If it don't hurt, it ain't Art."
That stops him for a moment, but for a moment only.
"That's sick, man. There's plenty of Art that doesn't hurt."
"Yeah, but the stuff that lasts for ages, the really great Art, all revolves around the tragedy of life."
"The tragedy of life? What about the glory of life?"
"That's all that makes the tragedy bearable. But nobody listens to stories about happy people. That's where the stories end. Happy people don't exist. They aren't news. Take you. If you were happy, you wouldn't be here. I made you up, to illustrate a point. In the end, no matter what you say, you're a figment."
"I may be a figment, but inside I hurt! You could stop it, make it like it never was!"
"Do you want that? You'd never meet Dorothy. It was a tragedy that brought her to you."
Dorothy steps up beside him. She takes his other hand and says in a low voice, "Maybe there really is noplace, no place at all, like home. Maybe there never was. Maybe all happiness is a figment too."
"That's bullshit!" cries the Scarecrow, unready as ever to see her cry, unaware how his words only cut deeper. "Happy people are normal."
He is unprepared for the attack that follows. Dorothy faces him, shaking, remembering perhaps flying monkeys, or her own murderous arrival in Oz. She is an ally I would rather not have, than see her this way again. But I have made a plan, and I must stick to it, no matter how bound I feel by my own rules to help those less fortunate than myself.
Dorothy's voice quivers. Toto struggles in her convulsive embrace. "Are they? Name ten people you know to be happy."
Scarecrow stands mute, as she knew he must. But not for long. Never for long.
"But life can't be so bad!" he wails. "It just can't!"
"We aren't talking about life. We're talking about Art."
And the Scarecrow looks at me with a funny smile, one that wasn't there a second ago. "What's the difference?"
Who guarantees our happy ending? And how many chapters are there to go?
From the amount of blood and horror in the world, I'd say our Author must be a Stephen King fan. But it doesn't have to be that way. Because, folks, if happiness is a figment, so is unhappiness! You can't have one of that pair without the other, for contrast. Of the two, I'd rather go for the imaginary happiness than the hallucinatory sad. Wouldn't you?
You can. I can. We all can, because we make our own lives. There isn't anyone writing our story, except ourselves. Maybe some people find that a little hard to take, but don't worry. They probably haven't read this far.
They... know... better.
Original content on this page ©1996 Alan P. Scott. All rights reserved.