Are Siggorts? (I/I)

“What do siggorts do?” Max asks.

It’s 1979 and Max is 18 years old. He’s wearing jeans and a jacket, but he isn’t an angel. He’s a young Republican.


Sid’s walking with Max, like he does now and then.

“Yeah,” Max says. “Like, fairies reflect the chaos, and As bring you hope, and ghosts cling to your memories, and stuff. What do siggorts do?”

Sid thinks for a moment. Then he points.

“There,” he says.

There’s a siggort, down a few streets and over.

It has one hundred hands and the parts of it move like clockwork gears. It is in constant orbit around itself and it is subject to a chaos of form. Wings spread behind it, metal wings, folding and unfolding. They reflect the sunlight so that it seems like the air is a riot of feathers. Its central portion is bulbous and smooth, roly-poly, round, like Santa’s stomach or God’s eye. Its legs are long. It has a wheel of knives. Its hands open and close and a singing rises from it like the singing of seraphim. It is vivisecting passersby. It is leaving their corpses for investigators to discover.

It is pure and it is bright and it is innocent and clean.

“Wow,” says Max. “. . . That’s a siggort too?”


Max frowns a little. “Hey, is it vivisecting that guy?”


“It’s just like in Scanning Things!“, Jane says proudly, pumping her fist, with a shocking disregard for whoever that guy who is being vivisected back in 1979 is.

“Not quite,” Martin says. “See, you tend to notice the singing before the vivisection in this history, while you had it the other way around back in the legend.”

There’s a silence.

“Maaaan!” Jane exclaims.

“So you vivisect people?”

“Yes,” Sid says.

Max pauses.

“I am currently reviewing my life to figure out whether there have been more vivisected people in it than an objective observer would expect,” Max says.

Sid makes a face.

“But I’m only coming up with that one,” Max says.

“Yeah,” Sid says. “I haven’t actually felt like vivisecting anybody yet.”

“But it’s your nature?”


They walk on for a little bit. Neither of them stops to help that guy whom the siggort is vivisecting, since, after all, siggorts happen, and there’s not much anyone can do.

Max is deep in thought. His brow is really furrowed.

Then he says, “Oh!”


“It’s because you’re an isn’t,” Max says. “You aren’t. So even though you’d think, having a nature to vivisect people, that you would, you don’t. Actually. Instead you just hang out with me.”

“I am so,” Sid says, wounded.

“You’re totally an isn’t. I bet that guy getting vivisected was an isn’t, too. That’s why I don’t feel at all concerned about his fate.”

Sid looks aggrieved. “That’s ridiculous,” he says. “Siggorts have been around since the dawn of the world. We’re totally not isn’ts.”

“Prove it.”


“Vivisect me.”

Sid stares at Max for a long moment. His wheel of knives spins.

Max looks really uncomfortable. “Wait,” he says.

“You know,” says Sid bleakly, “in a lot of fairy tales, I’d have been waiting for you to say just that. I’d have been hanging out with you since you were seven so I could vivisect you, and then you’d ask me to, and I would, and as I cut open your chest I’d find the magic that was taken from me long ago and I would finally be free.”

Max shifts. He’s thinking about running, except, well, running from something like Sid doesn’t help.

“Is . . . is that going to happen?” Max asks.

Sid shakes his head.

“No,” he says.

“Then you are an isn’t!” Max says.

Sid sighs.

“Look,” Sid says. “I’ll . . .”

He tries to think of something he can do to prove he can have a substantive effect on the course of events.

“I’ll . . . I’ll get Ronald Reagan elected President. Through grassroots activism!”

Max stares at him for a while.

Finally, Max says, “Okay?”

“It’ll prove I can have a substantive effect on the course of history,” Sid points out.

“Do it, then,” Max says.

“I will!”

“Do it!”

And so Sid does.

“So that was you,” Martin says.

Sid hangs his head.

“Man,” Martin says. “I was so sure it was Dr. T.”

“Multiple citizens can participate in grassroots activism,” Sid says, stoutly.

Reversing himself with the suddenness of humor becoming outrage, Martin says, “That was so not you.”

Sid opens his mouth to protest, but . . .

“Sh!” says Jane. “Jigsawing!”

“So,” says Max.

Secretly, he’s starting to hope that Ronald Reagan will lose the election.

But the numbers aren’t good.

They’re at this little comic shop by the beach where they hang out sometimes and there’s a newspaper right there and Sid’s pointing at it and the numbers just aren’t good for President Carter.

“See?” Sid says.

“Yeah,” Max says.

He looks unhappy.

“Fine,” Max says. “You’re not an isn’t.”

Sid grins.

And Max almost hits him; and he says, “That’s not good, Sid.”

And Sid’s grin drifts away.

“That’s sick, what siggorts do.”

Sid pulls in on himself, just a little. He doesn’t look like much right now. Just a Sid.

“But still,” Sid says, “I’d rather be.”

“Is it relevant whether Reagan won?” Jane asks. “I’ve got this bit about the three fairies visiting him on the night before the election here. So we can probably figure out whether he got to be President.”

“I think we can skip it,” Martin concludes.

15 thoughts on “Are Siggorts? (I/I)

  1. OK — we now have an idea of what siggorts do, and whether they are (very funny, the grassroots activism bit — see, even non-voters can participate in politics), but what do they *mean*?

    They need not mean anything, of course. There could just be siggorts.

    But in my function as letter-sender of possible meanings, I suggest that siggorts represent a particular type of problem of suffering, not a type of answer to suffering as most of the isn’ts do. Specifically, they appear to be a personification of natural, morally innocent harm. Whenever someone is killed by lightning, and that lightning wasn’t hurled by a god but rather struck randomly — that’s like a siggort. There’s a particular branch of the Problem of Pain that they correspond to — suffering that isn’t anyone’s fault.

    But since they are personifications, they don’t have to follow their nature. They have free will and can choose to do something else. That makes them a focus for Hitherby-themed questions about intentionality, whether your nature really defines you, how to deal with a nature that has seemingly been defined in ways you don’t like, and so on.

  2. I suggest that the primary reason siggorts exist, in narrative terms, is so that Sid can be one, and yet not act as his nature directs.

    I agree that your idea is relevant, too. I think that’s a secondary reason. But I think the main reason is to teach us something about gods, and about Sid.


  3. Actually, Max’s comments on the natures of various categories of gods lead me to a question.

    How much do typical humans in the Hitherbyverse know about all this supernatural stuff?

    There are signs that a number of humans, even ones like Max and Erin’s friend Branwen that don’t have an obvious source of knowledge, know quite a bit about these things.

    So, are regular folks aware on some level that they live in a world that’s several ticks to the left on the magical realism normal spectrum? Or do the folks with speaking parts have more knowledge than most?


  4. “It’s 1979 and Max is 18 years old. He’s wearing jeans and a jacket, but he isn’t an angel. He’s a young Republican.”

    shit! she’s onto me!

    and I thought Sid was kicked out from the Siggort collective for not vivisecting enough people? I guess that happens after this.

  5. I could have sworn that there was an entry, quite some time back, in which a fairie appeared on television; yet I cannot find any such. (The faerie was not the focus of the entry.)

    The siggort collective ( has only appeared in legend.

  6. The difficult aspect of this analysis is whether the efforts of the siggort were either necessary or sufficent for the grassroots effort to elect Reagan, whether or not Sid the Siggort’s efforts effected the grass roots campaign. Just because he said he would do something and it happened doesn’t mean he caused it.

    After all, Reagan was clearly elected in order to satisfy torment required for some of my friends’ dharmas.

  7. Qwik Club, Tortoise Market Square Branch

    Bartleby pulls out the next piece of paper. “Dear Ms. Chatterly,” he writes “the SIGORT program committee is impressed with your paper ‘Differentiating Hell and Non-Hells.’ We hope you are still able to lead a workshop. Please write confirming your attendance.”

    His ink well gurgles. He thinks, “I should be down on the beach reviling evil chair. But when the Qwik Club called for a secretary to handle the Special Interest Group: Orthogonal Reification and Transformation, I had to point out ‘I’m a secretary’”.

    He sings
    “Get a splendid secretary,
    Once you have one work wont tarry,
    Don’t despair of deadline terror,
    You’ll blot away your every error.”

    And back at work. “Sir, SIGORT is a juried conference. Your clients’ presentation on ‘Imposing Hierarchal Relationships’ sounds extremely topical. But your client will need the approval of the SIGORT committee.”

    Tacked on his side, a poster reading “SIGORT: Call for Papers.”

    He finishes that letter and begins the next. “Dear M. Chaise de Mal…” In the distance there is a splash.

    * * *

    I was working on an Audience piece. It isn’t ready, but tell me when I’ll get a better opening. I’ve spent too long in school learning Computer Science. In that field, there are lots of “SIGs” – Groups dedicated to a Special Interest.

    Orthogonal has lately been one of the buzz words. It is used to mean two things which are separate from one another. So nothing one does effects the other. Even is they’re the only two things in a small room.

    Reification is another favorite buzz word. “To make real.” It involves moving from the abstract to the physical. “See justice” for instance.

    I haven’t finished digesting the Palm Sunday Hitherbys. My take on Siggorts is they increase division. A Siggort vivisects people. Literally, it chops them into many separate and categorized pieces. Since this is Hitherby and no one (perhaps even the vivisected person) notices, I think it is a source of transformation. The pre-Siggort person is whole but possibly contradictory. The post-Siggort person is more simply defined. Siggorts carry a spinning wheel of outward facing knives. Wogglies are spinning wheels of inward facing teeth.

  8. Oddly enough, that middle link is a bit of evidence I wanted to respond to rylen:
    Wogglies are spinning wheels of inward facing teeth.

    No — Mei Ming (I/I) specifically denies wogly teeth. They have holes for spokes facing inwards, and they devour integrity, but they don’t have teeth as such.

  9. Hmm. So, those people in entries like those are at least rather representitive?

    Interesting. Obviously the baseline earth of Hitherby Dragons is even weirder than I gave it credit for.


  10. That does poke a hole in the theory. I still think there is some connection b/w the ring of knives, the treasure wheel, and the wogglies. But with the criteria I’m using I could also throw in donuts, which also lack teeth.


    So, people know much more about fairies then I thought. This raises many questions: what superstitions were swept away in the enlightenment? Was Newton a Monster?

    Also, I’ve been meaning to ask — Hopping Vampire: Singular or Plural?


  11. you know, the discussion of using faries is really quite fascinating from a modern perspective. I don’t know about you, but I was never tought about anything as useful as faries in school. Did the existance of faries somehow make the education system magically competent? Are they using the faries to realize how to actually teach people about faries?

  12. Hmm. Rylen, have you taken Belshazzar into account in your theory?

    He was a ring full of sharp teeth.


  13. Pingback: Hitherby Dragons » Max Sets Forth to Kill God (1 of 4)

  14. Pingback: Siggorts « Some Open Space

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