Isabela, leader of the infernal army from Omégaville and winner of the Succubus of the Year Award, has been interviewed by a panel of celebrities, and now she’s having a little ‘me’ time. Part one is here.
Another bar, on a rooftop
far beneath the overworld,
another tissue paper town,
another rooster tail or two.
Isabela was staring down the unrepentant butterfly,
while I was writing up her interview.
Her media performance had ended with a revelation—
the octet of fiery-headed mules and riders
had grown tired of terrifying bystanders;
they were planning new careers
in politics and the media.
When the celebrities voiced concerns,
Isabela reassured them:
no-one would be made redundant
unless they were already,
and explained a little fire-headed physics:
Their thinking’s solar chromospheric,
and their speech is modulation
of hot and vaporous emissions,
much the same as yours.
Should I write about the butterfly?
I’d tried to trap it in the pages of my notebook
—a flattened unitary collection—
and now its tongue was taunting me.
Forget the butterfly, it’s a random creature,
technicolored, transient and chaotic.
Tell me about your notes.
I shrugged contagiously.
They mostly say, “miaow, miaow,”
my furry hands make writing arduous.
Isabela looked closely at my paws.
They’re not as furry as they were last night.
I noticed too, with some alarm;
my pelt was patchy, lacking lustre.
I must stop using cheap shampoo.
A good idea, but it isn’t that.
This world, its carefree malice,
its mediocrity and tragic happiness,
is infecting us.
We’re morphing into natural creations.
Even the devils of Tasmania* are not immune,
now they’re more domestic than diabolic.
They’ll fire up a barbecue
for a rare-to-medium steak.
A light came on and flickered off,
the bartender called for final orders,
and the butterfly fluttered towards him.
Butterflies to barflies, I thought,
Darkness rose, no stars but
Isabela’s bioluminescent eyes,
and swirls of firelit smoke
from the eight-fold harbingers of change
waiting on the street below.
That was how it happened, all those years ago.
Now the children watch me try to catch
the butterflies, and laugh,
but they don’t believe my story.
Why would they?
The past is the tail of time. When it wags,
our memories, our history, they wag as well,
and the nights of the Omégaville fires
have been lost to unreality,
long gone into the never-was.
And yet … I still remember
when the Rede Globo news team
belched apocalyptic fire from their necks,
and a headless mule was Mayor of Ubutuba.
*A number of underworld creatures cameoed in Omégaville, The Tas devils are here, the mules are based on a Brazilian myth, and the narrator is some sort of hybrid, but without batteries.
butterfly plans (detail above)