A preliminary narrative to the launch of Fauxist’s ‘Museum Of the Apocalypse’.
Posted by Regrette Etcetera on August 7, 2009
The fear that the human race might not survive has been replaced by the fear that it will endure.
You cannot end an English sentence with a preposition.
Regrette had more than once read that. Or the world with “with”–leaving the whimper unwhimpered. Or with “on account of”–overpopulation, for example–unspecified. Or with “in”–omitting fire or flood or wind, a storm of hail the size of eyeballs. Can you imagine what it will die of? If it actually can die. There will be many endings vying for the honor. And any agent of our end will have a radiant sense of ruin. Any agent of our end will dance where the score says rest. Oh–Regrette oh’d, in pony’s sermons to ponyself–Oh, the decomposition of ‘man’ will stench the sky at first but how immeasurably it will manure the soil, how thoroughly it will improve the land with all those fine bones added, while plants cover and trees stand. For the worm the climate will be tropical; they will grow longer than tunnels and their five hearts beat for blocks. Lakes will deepen and be blue again. Clean sky will harbor happy winds. Mountainsides of aspens will be able to color and flutter without having their picture taken. Waterfalls will fall free of enterprising eyes. It will be grand. Unless there is a universal flood and fish school in corner offices; unless there is an atomic wind and an image of our race is burned into the side of a glass cliff; unless glaciers creep down from the North almost as blue as green as winedark as the solidifying sea.
Our concern that the human race might not endure has been succeeded by the fear it will survive.
Those who suffered the Plague and survived: They suggested to Regrette Etcetera the unpleasant likelihood that ‘Man’ might squeak through even Armageddon–one death per second not fast enough–and outlive the zapping of the planet, duck a fleet of meteors, hunkerbunker through a real world war with cannons going grump to salute our last breath as if horror were a ceremony, emerge to sing of bombs bursting, endure the triggers of a trillion guns amorously squeezed until every nation’s ammo was quite spent, and all the private stock was fired off at the life and livestock of a neighbour, so that in battle’s final silence one could hear only the crash after crash of financial houses, countless vacuum cleaners, under their own orders, sucking up official lies, contracts screaming like lettuce shredded for a salad, outcries from the crucifixion of caring borne on the wind as if in an ode, the screech of every wheel as it became uninvented, brief protests from dimming tubes, destimulated wires; shit herded up in the street to be refried by aberrant microwaves, diseases coursing about and competing for victims, slowdowns coming to standstills without a sigh, until the heavy quiet of war’s cease is broken by… by what? Might we imagine boils bursting out of each surviving eye … the accumulated pus of perception? a burst like what? like trumpets blowing twenty centuries of pointless noise at an already deaf-eared world with a roar that rattles nails already driven in their boards; yet out of every heap of rubble, smoking ruin, ditch of consanguineous corpses, could creep a survivor–pony was such a survivor, Regrette, faux doctor and scientific hysteric–someone born of ruin as flies are from offal; that from a cave or collection of shattered trees there might emerge a creature who could thrive on a prolonged diet of phlegm soup and his own entrails even, and in spite of every imaginable catastrophe salvage at least a remnant of his race with the strength, the interest, the spunk, to fuck on, fuck on like Christian soldiers, stiff-pricked still, with some sperm left with the ability to engender, to fuck on, so what if with a limp, fuck on, or a severed tongue, fuck on, or a blind eye, fuck on, in order to multiply, first to spread and then to gather, to confer, to invent, to philosophize, accumulate, connive, to wonder why this punishment? why this pain? why did we–among the we’s that were–survive? who of our race betrayed our trust? what was the cause of our bad luck? what divine plan did this disaster further? but weren’t we special? we few, we leftovers, without a tree to climb, we must have been set aside, saved for a moment of magnificence? to be handed the trophy, awarded the prize; because the Good Book, we would–dumb and blind–still believe in, said a remnant would be saved; because the good, the great, the well-born and internetted, the rich, the incandescent stars, will win through: that … that we believed, we knew, God will see to that, he will see, see to it, if he hasn’t had a belly full, if the liar’s beard is not on fire like Santa Claus stuck in a chimney.
The thought that mankind might not endure has been replaced by the fear it may make it through another age of ice.
The Gothic house pony and pony’s mother shared had several attic rooms, and Regrette had decided to devote one of them to the books and clippings that made up pony’s other hobby: The Apocalypse Museum. Pony had painstakingly lettered a large white card with that name and fastened it to the door. It did not embarrass pony to do this since only pony was ever audience to the announcement. The stairs to the third floor were too many and too steep for pony’s mother now. Daily, pony would escape pony’s sentence in order to enter yesterday’s clippings into the scrapbooks that constituted the continuing record. Next door, though the room was doorless and open to anyone who found their way there, was the library, three of its walls lined by crude plank-and-brick cases crammed with books bearing witness to the inhumanity of man, especially a complete set of the lives of the saints, the Newgate Calendars, several on the history of the Church, the many-volumed International Military Trials in an ugly library binding, or several on the practice of slavery through the centuries, lives of the Caesars, careers of the Medicis, biographies of feminists, the fate of the ‘Gypsies’ or the First Nations Peoples, and, of course, tome after tome on holocausts and pogroms, exterminations and racial cleansings from then to now; however, the library did not hold works merely on barbaric rites and cruel customs or on spying, strikebreaking, lynching, pillaging, raping, but on counterfeiting, colluding, cheating, exploiting, blackmailing and extorting, absconding, suborning, skimming, embezzling, and other white-collar crimes as well: proof through news reports, through ideas, images, and action, of the wholly fallen and utterly depraved condition of our race–testimony that Regrette augmented, on the few ritual occasions pony allowed pony to observe and celebrate, by pony’s reciting aloud, while standing at what pony deemed was the center of pony’s collection, alternatively from a random page of some volume chosen similarly, or from a news bulletin pulled down blindly from whatever stalactite came to hand, although pony did occasionally cheat in favour of the Newgate Calendar, from which pony would read with relish accounts of crimes like that of Catherine Hayes, who contrived, by egging on several of her many paramours, to have her husband’s head cut off, in the punishment of which the righteous were seen to be even more inventively wicked than the criminal.
Pony had acquired an impressive collection of volumes on perverse religious rituals and social practices, a few containing directions concerning the cutting out of human hearts, the placement of beautifying scars and punctures, the timing of soprano-sustaining castrations, the grooming of sacrificial animals, the strategic placement of impurity huts, the designing of corsets and binding of feet, of types of dungeons, and places for the sequestration of monks, nuns, and the general run of women who “weren’t thought to be unclean for other reasons”.