The Toucan Clock (I/I)

It is 1995.

Just inside the Underworld, there’s a toucan-shaped clock. Its beak is a rainbow. It makes a raucous sound. “Your dreams are nothing more than dust,” it says.

It says that every hour, on the hour, except at 6 o’clock pm.

At 6 o’clock, it tells Martin, cleanly and lucidly, “You’re an evil kind of boy.”

He can’t hide from it. Not there.

“I’m letting her suffer,” Martin says. “I think maybe it’s good. I think maybe there’s something she can get from it. But I’m letting her suffer.”

It’s twenty-three hours, fifty-seven minutes, and thirty-eight seconds before he gets to hear it tell him again, “You’re an evil kind of boy.”

He stays there for seven days.

Once, he says, “If I give you Froot Loops, will that make me good?”

He’s timed it right.

“You’re an evil kind of boy,” says the clock.

So he goes downwards.

“Note to self,” Martin says. “Froot Loops morally neutral.”

His footsteps echo in the hallways of the dead.

7 thoughts on “The Toucan Clock (I/I)

  1. Froot Loops are morally neutral? That’s the most depressing thing I’ve heard today. The only hope we can hold out is that Froot Loops which are mixed with milk and then allowed to disolve into a rainbow slurry of powdery chunks (you know, the way that you actually have to eat them) somehow have the same positive moral gradient that I imagined they did when I was younger.

  2. Well, since Martin has his origin in the Firewood World, which is partly Jane’s creation, it does seem that his origin involves here.

    This, here, makes me think again of the “call to God” that Jane made, her desire for a world in which (although the Monster existed and was torturing/abusing her still) there was at least a reason for her suffering.

    Martin is waiting while Jane suffers. It seems that he thinks that it’s his idea. I suggest that it isn’t, that he’s instead an answer to Jane’s call, and his function is to make the world one where, although suffering exists, it exists for a reason. I wonder how he gets alone with Dukkha?

    Also, I quite like the recent Martin stories from before when he and Jane came to inhabit their current weird balance.


  3. Nah, I think it’s weird to see him uncertain. Normally he has the sort of certainty that only a thirteen-year-old boy who’s become convinced that he’s smarter than everyone around him can have.


  4. I think I’m seeing a parallel between Maya suffering long enough to give birth to Siddhartha and Jane summoning/creation/birth/whatever of Martin. Of course, Martin doesn’t seem to have nearly as many problems with suffering as Siddhartha did.

    Also, something interesting I noticed in The Summoning of the King

    Maya answers:

    What must be done, I must.
    The treasure wheel of that King is mine.
    It is jeweled, great Deva, and thousand-spoked,
    And where it goes it conquers,
    And where it conquers, it spreads its doctrine,
    And if it rolls to the east,
    The Kings of the East make obeisance to it.
    And if it rolls to the west,
    Then the Western Kings, the same!

    Yet what good is this supreme treasure to Maya?

    She holds up her hand. There is a wheel burnt into her palm.

    This is the same treasure wheel that Persephone destroys, that Demeter calls the heart of the world.

  5. Martin doesn’t seem very similar to Siddhartha. He cares about people, in a way, but he accepts the fact that they’ll suffer and even sees it as a good and productive thing. He seems to come into existence with a knowledge of suffering.

    They deal with the same issue, but not in the same way.


  6. I was originally going to try to come up with something clever about the breakfast cereal theme with the underworld here and in Priyanka (I/II) and Persephone’s mom, Ceres, but the latter has enough non-cereal-related mascots that I really have no idea.

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