No Legend Today

No legend today!
No legend today!
Hooray!
Hooray!
No legend today!

The tower is silent
Like Mortimer Stilent
Who only exists
To make that line rhyme.

The curtain has fallen
Like poor Flora Pallen
Who was pushed off a cliff
By Fiona the mime.

The chaos is stiller
Than Ms. Penelope Diller
Who dallies most still-ly
In loiterish crime.

And as for the chorus
We hope you adore us
For appearing just long enough
To utter this line.

Weekend Intermission: Why Penny Has Too Many Arms

No arms would be scary!
One arm is neat!
Two arms are normal!
Three arms, elite!

Four arms—that’s special!
Five, help get dates!
Six, help with harvests!
Seven—that’s great!

Eight arms—that’s ideal!
But nine’s a bit much!
Ten’s just past the limit!
And eleven would crush
The hearts of the
Arm-loving girls
Of Monnush.

So
Twelve isn’t dandy!
And
Thirteen’s not handy!
Though
The tasteful excess
Of fourteen’s sweet like candy.

And
Fifteen is rotten!
And
Sixteen’s too many!
So
Please do not have seventeen
Arms
Like our Penny.

(Bonus Content) The Song of Bloody Bill Rhys

See also the audience discussion on the recent essay and the entry Gallows Steve and Ripper Kringle. Rhys is pronounced ‘rice’, and Fiennes ‘fine’.

This is the story of Bloody Bill Rhys,
A sick sort of man who just wouldn’t think twice
Of cutting your head off
And feeding it to
Your mother and brothers in the form of a stew.

He wasn’t a good man, not Bloody Bill Rhys,
But the things that fell out of his life, they were nice.
If he’d been in a town
The survivors knew bliss—
‘Twas the mark of his passage! And it was like this:

There were rainbows and kittens and great chocolate muffins,
There just wasn’t no one who didn’t have nuffin’,
In every home there was marital bliss!
And the air it would sparkle when two lovers kissed.

There was wealth and no shame and the bookstores were full
And the people worked hard and no children were dull
For all he was a fuckhead he had wonderful shoes—
In each of his footprints a new flower grew.

This is the story of Bloody Bill Rhys,
He didn’t kill once, it was lots more than twice,
At torture an expert,
At theft a guru—
And a deliberate vector for new kinds of flu!

A sadist, a killer, a filthy old bugger,
And no one would doubt he was truly meshugga
But nobody cared
Because when he left town—
The survivors were better ’cause he’d been around.

Were you were someone he hurt? Well, then,
That was a shame;
But that some people suffer
Is the price of the game.

This is the story of Bloody Bill Rhys,
It wasn’t on purpose. He wasn’t that nice.
His good works were burdens
Inflicted by fate—
His nature was rotten but his deeds turned out great.

When it came to protection,
The law looked away.
They knew they should seize him
But what can I say?

Were you someone he hurt? Then, well,
That was a shame;
But that some people suffer
Is the price of the game.

For twelve years of horrors
The price of the game.

This is the story of Bloody Bill Rhys
And a lawman named Fiennes just promoted from Vice,
He tracked down Bill Rhys
At the scene of a crime—
And “You’re under arrest,” said Officer Fiennes.

No rainbows, no kittens, no great chocolate muffins,
Until Bill moves on karma don’t give you nuffin’,
And when Bill resisted
Rick Fiennes shot him dead—
Once in the chest and three shots in the head.

No hearts and no flowers, no magical kiss,
The people of Fiennes’ town, they could have had bliss,
But he ended it all with the ring of his gun—
Filed a report, and Bill Rhys was done.

He was a sadist, a killer, a filthy old bugger,
And no one would doubt he was truly meshugga
But nobody cared
Because when he left town—
The survivors were better ’cause he’d been around.

There was wealth and no shame and the bookstores were full
And the people worked hard and no children were dull
And for all he was a fuckhead he had wonderful shoes—
In each of his footprints a new flower grew.

At his trial Fiennes said he was sad and ashamed
Of the outcome he’d brought
But he said, all the same,
“In the face of such men a cop
Does what he must—it’s
Cause outcomes are outcomes
And justice is justice.”

Martin visits Liz

PROLOGUE 1
1. Liz reads.
2. Martin knocks on Liz’s door.
3. Liz opens the door.
4. “Hi!” Martin says. “I’m here to explain the divine plan for your life.”
5. Liz looks skeptical, so Martin shines with the subtle radiance of the numinous.
6. Liz sits back down.

MARTIN VISITS LIZ
“First, ” Martin says, “you need to have faith.”

“I do now,” Liz admits, having seen Martin radiate.

“No,” Martin says. “That’s rational belief. It’s mundane and normal to accept the numinous when you can see it firsthand. Then, later, the preponderance of evidence makes you doubt. Surely, you decide, I never happened. It was drugs in the water. You were tired. It was a hallucination. It wasn’t real. The numinous doesn’t fit the rest of your life. Therefore, it can’t exist. That’s how rational people cope with me. You need to give that up and have faith. Otherwise, you’ll fail at everything I want you to do.”

Liz sighs. “Faith scares me.”

Martin shrugs.

Liz sighs and looks for her faith dial. It’s a big dial on the wall marked “Liz’s Faith”. She cranks it up to 8. “Are you happy?”

“Maybe.” Martin thinks. “If you really loved me, you’d go to 10.”

Liz smiles wryly.

“In any event,” Martin says. “I want you to move to California and become a lawyer.”

Liz glances nervously at the faith dial. “Okay.”

“And then I want you to kill the first gas station attendant you find.”

“Pardon?”

“You heard me.”

Liz frowns. “Can that be right?”

Martin thinks. “Yes, it can. That’s the advantage of knowing the divine plan for you. Everything you do is right. You don’t have to know how or why. That gas station attendant might be a future war criminal or a serial killer. Or maybe it’s that one domino to push over to ensure a happier tomorrow. Whatever it is, it’ll be okay.”

“It sounds almost schizophrenic,” Liz says. “I mean, you come here, and you start telling me to kill someone—isn’t that what happens to mad people?”

“Yes,” agrees Martin. “And they’re right to obey. It doesn’t matter why they hear the voice of the divine. Their brain records it as evidence of divine will, and that creates a responsibility to fulfill it.”

“So . . . it’s not immoral?”

Martin tilts his head to one side. “Well, it’s murder. That’s immoral. Divine will doesn’t let you off the hook. It just creates a separate, higher responsibility.”

“Wait. You’re telling me that I have to be a murderer? I mean, that it’d be real?”

“No excuses,” says Martin. He radiates more intensely. “It’s your choice to do the right thing and serve me. It’s your duty to pay the moral cost.”

“But it’s not a choice. You’re standing there radiating. If I don’t kill him, it’s derailing the way things should happen. It’s betraying everything.”

“This is true,” admits Martin. “But I’ll leave. You can decide I wasn’t real. You can decide this didn’t happen. It was drugs in the water. You were tired. It was a hallucination. Then you won’t have to be a killer. You won’t even have to move to California. All you have to do is turn the faith dial back down, and fail at everything you were created for.”

“I can’t.”

“Not while I’m here,” Martin agreed. “You’d never do it to my face. But the dial’s there. And I’ll be gone.”

The Righteousness Game

RICK 1
1. See Rick.
2. Rick is reckless.
3. Rick tests his nuclear weapons on Earth.
4. Test, Rick, test!

RICK 2
1. People live on Earth.
2. Rick tests his nuclear weapons on Earth.
3. People get irradiated.
4. Mutate, people, mutate!
5. Now you can shoot strange rays out of your head.

MEREDITH 1
1. “I could do that already!” exclaims Meredith. “Mutating me was redundant!”
2. Shut up, Meredith.
3. No one wants to hear about your stupid superpowers.

RICK 3
1. Ducks live on Earth.
2. Rick tests his nuclear weapons on Earth.
3. Ducks blow up.
4. “Quack!” BOOM!
5. “Quack!” BOOM!
6. “Quaaack!”

DIANA 1
1. “Rick’s tests went poorly,” says Diana.
2. “Now people are irradiated mutants.”
3. “Also, the poor ducks!”
4. “I will test MY nuclear weapons in space.”

GOD 1
1. God lives in Heaven.
2. Heaven is in space.
3. God is out golfing.
4. The Voyager space probe hits him on the head, disrupting his shot.
5. God doesn’t complain. He’s a good sport! He just accepts his first birdie ever.
6. We could all learn a lesson from God.

GOD 2
1. God lives in space.
2. Diana tests her nuclear weapons in space.
3. Oops.

RAIN 1
1. God falls to Earth in little bits and pieces.
2. God gets into everything.
3. God was already in everything, but that’s different.

RAIN 2
1. People start picking up the little pieces of God.
2. “Now I’m righteous!” people say. “Look! I’ve got a pocketful of God!”
3. Everyone oohs and aahs. Then
4. SNATCH! They steal the God.
5. People are like that!

RICK 4
1. “God supports my testing nuclear weapons on Earth,” says Rick.
2. “See?” He points to his little piece of God.
3. It squirms uncomfortably. It wants to disagree, but Rick has it trapped!
4. If God argues, Rick will poke Him with a stick. That’s Rick’s way!
5. God used to argue with Rick, but soon He got very sore.

DIANA 2
1. “God supports my testing nuclear weapons in SPACE,” asserts Diana.
2. “See? I’ve got a piece of God too!”
3. If God argues, Diana won’t feed it! She’s not very nice to God either.

GOD 3
1. “If I were only in one piece again,” says God, “I’d sort out what for!”
2. You tell ’em, God!
3. Rick pokes God with a stick.
4. Diana sticks her tongue out at God.
5. God sulks.

DIANA 3
1. SNATCH! Diana tries to steal Rick’s God.
2. “Silly Diana!” says Rick. “That’s not the way to be righteous!”

THE RIGHTEOUSNESS GAME
1. People keep their pieces of God very safe. You can’t just snatch them whenever!
2. You have to wait until immediately after someone says, “God supports me in this.”
3. They don’t have to use those words, but it’s what they have to mean!
4. People can’t say stuff like that unless they’ve got a piece of God. And saying that is like taking it out and showing it to you.
5. That’s your opportunity! That’s when you can grab it!
6. But do it quickly. You won’t have very long!
7. If you can grab everyone else’s righteousness before someone grabs your own, you’ve won!
8. You’ll have ALL the God!
9. That’s the righteousness game.