Through the magic of fiction, all lifeforms in Omégaville have been transformed into creatures of the underworld. They are miffed because the military’s missiles incinerated their township. Part 1 is here.
I’d never really liked my neighbor, Maria Isabela,
endlessly complaining about my midnight bagpipes,
until she became a succubus with eyes
like sinful turn signals, flashing left and right,
She told me she would lead an army,
the finest Omégaville had to offer,
and asked me if I’d join her.
We’ll set out tomorrow, after morning tea.
Moira and her sisters have woven us a flag:
the dispossessed, the trodden down,
dark stars before a rampant sunset.
She remarked my hesitation.
We’ll play the games that people play
when the heat is stifling,
when the walls are melting
and there’s nothing on tv.
Can I bring my bagpipes?
It will have to be the tuba then,
I thought but didn’t say,
and though my lately cloven hoofs
made suitable footwear hard to find,
I became a part of Isabela’s infernal retinue.
All efforts at diplomacy have failed,
the president announced,
although there never were any,
the only choice is savagery.
As we journeyed, they bombed their best,
and more and more of us appeared—
the underworld was rising to the overworld,
to a meeting at the earthly midpoint.
But one perceptive generalissimo put two and two together
with several hundred more, and after a delay
in random correspondence with the flight time to Miami,
he sent an email recommendation
of a strategic pause in their hostilities.
Even so, our progress to the capital Brasília
was incremental: we never marched on public holidays,
and half the troops insisted we divert
so they could drop in on their relatives.
While the Moira sisters, comptrollers of the fates of men,
were visiting their mum in Rio Preto,
the troops of hell were playing football with the locals,
and Isabela and I were downing rooster tails
at a nearby bar, debating the usual puzzles.
Does fantasy ever really change anything?
Isabela unfurled one wing and tried to swat
an agile monarch butterfly.
At times it lends us hope. If it’s dressed
as fact, clothed in bias and deceit.
The butterfly hovered above my glass,
unrolled its tongue while I did the same.
Forlorn hope, circuses and spotlights.
Fantasy is never truth,
its illusion always shatters.
Our awkward silence was broken by
a tiny pterodactyl with a letter in its claws.
I read it and devised a summary.
It’s Rede Globo, Tonight Tonight.
The media have named you Succubus of the Year,
and they’re offering you a guest spot.
There’ll be an interview, questions from celebrities
with expensive orthodontics,
and someone’s drafted your acceptance speech:
humility, love of the common people,
and abstract hopes for peace.
Their starting point’s six zeroes.
Oh, and Fashion Caliente wants to sponsor you.
Isabela belched a vermouth flame.
Ask for double. And I want a tiara.
What were we talking about?
Once when I was walking alone in a bush park at twilight, a stranger with bagpipes crossed my path. We greeted each other and went on our ways. I still wonder about that piper. Consistency note: there are bagpipes in hell, and the protagonist’s bagpipes were reconstituted in plaid during the transformation of Omégaville. The tuba too, but not in plaid.
Moirai, the fates
a child’s sun, part above