Volume One...Issue Two...November 15, 1999
Published by "The Wizard of Odd"
-AND NOW FOR TONIGHT'S PIECE OF STATUARY-
(-All items are the sole property of Wayne Brown. Use of my properties without my express written consent, is against the law.-)
"THE CRYSTAL BALLERINA"
by Wayne Brown February 1984
The ravenous tongues of flame, flicked sharply at the brisk night air, devouring the darkness and teasing the cold with it's ever-increasing efforts. Shadows danced on the crumbling, stuccoed wall, and the sharp crack of dying embers broke the silence of the ebon night. Four animals kept watch o'er the flickering fire, human in appearance and cursed with human desires. These were desperate creatures, victims of a war that seemed a thousand years in the past and presently troubled with their quest for survival. They fed shards of timber and splinters of wood to their newly-rediscovered god, and prayed for deliverance from the hell of Earth. The fire roared on, engulfed within it's own need for survival. For without the fuel it received...it too, would soon wont for life.
These human-like beings had names, though their meaning had been lost long ago. Proteus, the face-changer, had once gained leadership by virtue of his ability to master a long-lost magic known as "Protocol". He now sat wondering at the futility of his talents in a world where communicae was restricted (by need), to the baser needs of survival. This leader whose sole worth to a group of individuals, had been based upon his ability to mince words, had little value in a world of immediate needs and action. He was a conceited man filled with a need for reverence and self-satisfaction. He was obese, or at least had been at one time, and his appetites had changed very little since his age of affluence. He felt himself to be the leader of this beleaguered troupe, and his companions felt little need to assess his true value further. His small, grimy hands stretched hungrily for the warmth proffered by the flames. The bitter smoke nipped at his sensitive eyes and an occasional spark would seer his ragged, greasy clothing.
Lorelie, the only female within the quartet, sat opposite the dejected Proteus, also warming herself with the fire. She had once exuded a great sensuous beauty. Her long, blonde hair and finely turned legs had captured many an admiring eye and broken many an innocent heart. But that was the past, and now in the present, her hair was matted and tangled, and her once lovely legs were pocked with the scars of survival. She spent little effort in the rituals of cosmetology now. Her purpose in this male-dominated group was a shared and biological one, and the need for romance had long since vanished. She didn't particularly care for her new-found companions, but they were gentler than some, and kept her sheltered and fed as well as any of her past associations. .
The soldier, designated as Number 431-S, Special Forces...sat away from the fire, his arms crossed over folded knees, and his eyes searching the stars above. He had been troubled recently. He had remembered his name...Preston Poole...It meant little for him really, except that he sensed it was his, and in the tradition of the Imperial Guard, possessions of any kind were "Verbotten!". He attached little significance to the name, for no memories had surfaced to help bring it into focus. Yet he still had hopes that maybe, someday...he might discover who he truly was.
The "Super-Soldiers" had been a last ditch effort on the part of the Western Democratic Alliance to combat the murderous, suicidal hordes of the Neo-Arabic Druz. Conventional soldiery and weapons had quickly fallen short of the expectations of the established military complex, whence confronted with the incredible savage obsession of their fanatical, fundamentalist enemy. The "S-Troops" were trained to the utmost of human endurance. Their pasts were erased, so as to limit their empathy and fear. They were castrated and lobotomized to eliminate any physical desire and to enhance their obedience, and they were conditioned to kill any human being that came within six feet of them. They would fight to the death if so ordered, and it was said that in one particular engagement, ten S-Troops had managed to kill nearly two hundred of the enemy, before finally succumbing to their far greater odds. They were literal killing machines, humanoid in appearance, but bearing little real resemblance to their long-lost parents and friends. However, the technologies employed in the training of these men, were not always without fault, and occasionally a soldier would go mad, grasping for a taste of his past humanity, and ending in his necessary termination.
The fourth member of the party picked inquisitively through a nearby pile of rubble, searching for the tools of survival. His past life, that of a merchant, still dominated his present existence. He searched diligently for that which would prove his worth. Something that would set him apart from the others and arouse their envy and greed. His name was Chandler. He was middle-aged and still kept a money belt laden with gold currency around his waist. He kept that prize hidden, for he trusted not his companions. If they knew of his folly, they would surely laugh, for what use was money in a world of no commerce?
The fire spit contemptuously at Proteus and Lorelie, as they slowly fed in turn, their meager offerings to it's ever-increasing thirst. The soldier continued to stare off into space, looking for a moon that had long been displaced. His reverie was interrupted by the excited shouts of Chandler.
"Hey! Look at this will ya?...I just found it over there under that parkbench!"
Proteus and Lorelie looked with mild curiosity toward Chandler's prize. Frantically, he rubbed with a ragged shirttail, a small glass figurine. From his efforts, could shortly be discerned a crystal statuette...a ballerina...posed in a pirouette. As he cleansed the glass, and the starlight (...or was it firelight?), glistened upon it's facets. Proteus and Lorelie became more interested. The soldier continued to stare off into the void, though he suddenly felt a hint of something...something from long ago.
Chandler brought the figurine closer to the fire and Proteus and Lorelie gathered 'round to view the wonderment.
"Isn't she beautiful! So perfect, so..."
"Please...Can I touch her...?" Lorelie's eyes sparkled in anticipation. The statuette was exquisite, and it had been so long since she had seen anything of beauty. Her wanton hands reached for the trophy.
"NO, NO, NO! She's mine! I found her and she's all mine!"
"Oh, c'mon now, Chandler. She just wants to touch the damn thing! Let her have it for a minute." Proteus interceded.
"NO! If she takes it, I'll never get it back!" Chandler was childlike in his greed. They had never seen him quite like this before. He clutched the figurine to his chest and began to back away. Proteus and the girl got up and slowly moved towards him, pleading with siren songs.
"C'mon Chandler. We just wanna look at it for a bit. We'll give it right back. No one's gonna steal her from you."
They cornered him and then looked at him pathetically. He chanced a glance behind himself and saw that he was backed against the crumbling, stuccoed wall. He looked quickly at the ballerina and then at Lorelie.
"Well, maybe...for awhile...but only if...you promise to...you know...keep me warm tonight."
"YOU FILTHY PIG!!!" Lorelie screamed. Her right hand caught Chandler across the face and her left quickly grabbed the statuette from his trembling hands. As Chandler reached desperately for the figurine, Proteus punched him in the groin, forcing him to the ground in a grimace of agony. Chandler finally collapsed in a fit of tears and groans.
"Thank-you, Proteus." She eyed her compatriot warily, and backed away from him towards the fire.
The soldier, distracted by the drama, suddenly remembered more than expected. His attention now reverted to the conflict at hand. He saw Lorelie clasping the statuette to her bosom and staring defensively at the other two men.
"She's mine now! I'm a woman and I need pretty things to remind me of who I am. This ugly, vicious world, corrupted by you and your like...Have you not taken enough from me? Is it too much to ask of you...to allow me this one little pleasure?"
Proteus stared at her thunderstruck. He slowly moved towards her with immediate trepidation.
The soldier raised himself from the ground and stretched long-worn, weary muscles and limbs.
Proteus edged closer to her with beckoning arms. She stepped back, clinging her prize desperately to her breast.
"Actually, Lorelie. The figurine should be mine. After all, I am Leader of this little troupe...and if it's in my possession, we can all share in her beauty equally." His shallow smile did little to convince her of any sincerity on his part.
"NO! NO! NO! You can't have her! I won't let you take it!" Lorelie cried with fire in her eyes.
"It's mine! I deserve it! I'm your Leader!"
"NO, NO! I found it...it's MINE!" Chandler yelled like a spoiled child.
.From the still beyond the cackling flames, the soldier spoke in a quiet, even voice...
"You're all wrong..."
Slowly, and with great reverence, he built the cairn. He carefully selected undamaged blocks from the devastated buildings around him and laid them together, in such a way as to impede violition. Once he felt the shrine met his expectations, he gently laid the Crystal Ballerina inside. He then placed the final stone with a tender kiss, buried the tomb in dry, sterile earth and stood up.
He looked around at the three broken bodies, already beginning to rot in the sweltering noon-day sun, and turned and walked away.
(I have made some minor grammatical changes to the original MS. -Wayne Brown)
by Wayne Brown September 1979
( Copyright ©1980)
The Mesmerist creates reality from a spool of cheap thread
Then binds your compassion to the rock of life's blessings
Love is a concept for idealistic fools
And Life is a lesson in slavery
Capricorn dogs will occasionally speak
And perform tricks wholly expected
While balancing on balls that are prone to explode
And betray what's essentially Life's essence
"I once had a girl, or should I say...she once had me..."
Truth, Integrity, Reality, Honesty, Love, Justice...
...Just advertising slogans invented by a storyteller from
Madison Avenue, who wore sandals, a beard, and a chastity belt...
...Oh...He worked for MacDonald's on weekends
-A grisly little number, I call"BROTHERLY LOVE" and "LA MORTE'"... another poem about my "Great Depression"!-
"BE SEEING YOU!!!"