You hold in your hand a small, flat packet: a belated birthday gift you received in the mail just moments ago. Your friend said it was a small painting by that f*ggot artist so popular these days. You hope not. You’re sick of seeing his insipid face on the cover of Time (the last three issues, for God’s sake!)…and, all in the short span of one week, on TV pap like “Okra Winfree,” “I Love Lucifer,” “Glove Connection,””Married With Mutants,” “FBI: The Unsold Stories,” and “Masturbate Theater“. Enough is enough, already! “Actually, the pervert’s a f*ckin’ genius,” you admit to yourself. “Anyone who owns a piece of his art becomes an instant celebrity–and rich!” (Not by selling the painting, but by charging admission to view it.)
Musing over the packet’s contents, you sit at your desk and turn it in your hands with delicious anticipation. Pondering, you get swept up in a whirlwind of reveries…and land somewhere in the future, on a barren strip of land that goes nowhere in every direction. When you look down, grass grows under your feet, and all about. When you look around, people pop up like mushrooms. You find yourself part of a small crowd of fourteen, and know who you are, and know this is the month of Horus in the year 2335.
You rub your eyes and say to the woman beside you: “What a strange daydream I just had. Can you imagine: men with no hair on their heads?”
The stately dame smiles at you and replies, “There are stranger things in sky and ground than bald-headed men…though not by much,” she adds, scratching her own shiny pate in bemusement. Jewel-encrusted tattoos on her skull make her look twenty years younger.
A late arrival appears, looks around, and brushes lint from his toga top. “My deity, the traffic was awful!”
“Am I late?” his voice booms in the peaceful ambiance.
The dame narrows her eyes and snaps at him: “My astute young fellow. Obviously you are on time, or we wouldn’t all be standing here like turkeybots in a Formularium. ” She withdraws a Cylinder of Deimos from her sleeve and, with it, taps him on the shoulder. “Besides, I can hardly bear…”
A sharp, electric “crack” breaks the conversation, then all is silent for a few, expectant moments. A powerful resonance grows from the ground to your ears, as the image of a building takes form, hovering only inches from the ground. Its looming presence dwarfs the small crowd. It appears massive and ornate, like a nineteenth-century museum, and slowly turns (as if you are walking around it, only you stand still). Once the main gate faces the visitors, it halts. Grand marble steps lead to the gate, and are bordered by two Doric columns. Around each pillar writhes a silver android python. They flicker their sinewy, orange tongues within a hair’s breadth of the tour guide who stands atop the steps.
“Ahem! Do not feed the snakes,” he reprimands a child caught feeding bionic mice to a python. Embarrassed, the offending lad quickly backs away from the leviathan reptile that recoils in dismay.
“Let the tour begin,” the guide continues. He waves his hand with a flourish toward the stone lettering above the gate: IN MY MUSEUM THERE ARE MANY MANSIONS.
“Many mansions indeed,” remarks the guide. “As a matter of fact, we have yet to discover an end to the number of rooms. Some Krahlinologists hypothesize the number of rooms to be infinite; that this Great Talent discovered a way to continue His existence into other dimensions, where He is happily painting canvas after canvas to this very day.” He pauses. “But, like deity, this is just a romantic notion.”
“Each room is dedicated to a single painting,” continues the tour guide. “And as we discover new rooms, we discover new paintings. While The Artist has been dead now for over two hundred ninety years, we are still charmed by the presentation of His latest work, just as if He were alive today.”
“But when will He be undead?” interrupts a visitor (obviously a devotee by the anxious tone in her voice…by those subtle, but distinct, random scarifications of the body that must always remain exposed to the air and the light of truth…and by the twelve, Siamese-cloned androgynous consorts who perpetually tend to the cleanliness of her suppurating wounds).
The guide expounds, with a melancholy timbre to his words: “Nobody has ever viewed His Postmortem Contract, for it is piezosecured in the NuVatican’s Sacred Vault. So no one knows, not even the NuPope. ” He sighs. “Remember the vision of three NuSpanish children some seventy years ago, who claimed that the Holy NuVirgin revealed the year of The Great Artist’s Resurrection to be twenty-two seventy-two?”
“Yeah,” replies the questioner in discouragement (as several consorts wash her wounds in silent empathy), “I was only a hatchling then. It never happened.”
“That’s right,” the tour guide recalls. “And the resulting global riots almost toppled the world back over the edge to the Premetamorphic Era–the era which defined all of humanoid history prior to 2013–the era Our Great Artist strove so long and hard to pull us out of: to lead the world into our own, enlightened era.”
“The POSTmetamorphic Era,” comments the boy with the bionic mice. He is petting one.
“Er, yes,” replies the nervous guide as the two pythons eagerly lash their tongues at the boy, who stands less than two meters away. The decorative snakes are now completely unraveled from their marble pillars. They sprawl across the landing, heads hovered over the topmost step.
“But please, put your mouse away!” cautions our tour director as simulated beads of sweat roll down his high forehead.
The lad retreats down the stairway, and the pythons withdraw to resume their coiled embrace of the columns . But they glare at the scruffy-haired youngster: for protruding from each of his numerous pockets is a semi-automated rodent’s nose and whiskers.
The tourist guide straightens his musclelet in relief, and continues: “This incredible museum is just part of Our Great Artist’s wonderful legacy that has done so much good for the world–and continues to do more, as we evolve along with His art each time a new discovery occurs. Knowing the brilliant and clever man He was, we do not expect to uncover the last room, the last painting, anytime in the near future.”
An impatient teenager speaks up: “Okay, okay, cut the education scat. We all know this stuff from hatchery school. On with the tour!” Her four arms (one pair longer than the other, identifying her as a future biostronaut) are stubbornly folded across her chest.
The affronted guide widens his eyes: “Very well. But there’s no need to be rude.”
“Why not?” retorts the teenager, “You’re just a hologram.”
“True,” quips the guide, “but an interactive one.”
Our museum escort turns to face the gate, which rapidly vanishes into the ceiling like a reverse waterfall. The museum descends into the ground–marble steps, columns, and all–until its floor is submerged half a meter beneath the grass. It moves forward and swallows everyone up. Now, we all stand in the main lobby. The walls are built from large, mortared blocks of stone, in the fashion of medieval castles. The interior is dark and cool, lit by a single torch set in a sconce.
“The museum itself,” continues the guide, “was also created by The Great Artist. But He had to wait almost fifteen years before His dream castle would be converted from blueprint to edifice…which is how long it took NuTechnology to catch up to his dreams. This NuTechnology of Hologramacoustic Engineering, by the way, is another invention of The Great Artist.
“Can you imagine?” whispers an elderly gentleman beside you, “People living in buildings that don’t move? And they were solid, too!”
“Let us now enter the first vault.” the guide turns his back to us, as the museum moves forward and rotates, pulling us into a small, tiny chamber with just a small, tiny painting on one wall. The diminutive masterpiece seems to illuminate the entire cell in its own unassuming, but saintly, way. Several visitors gasp and swoon. The painting, entitled “Don’t Tread On MOI,” seems to speak:
I sing, I dance. I celebrate. Deity’s promise to man is fulfilled in me. Who am I to deserve such honors? I do not know. Deity says: “No man earns it. It is simply given. A gift.” I do not know. But I do know one thing: I am truly blessed! Isn’t that my message? That we are all truly blessed? I am here to wake everyone up! I am truly blessed to have the gift to show everyone else that they are also truly blessed! Blessed among the blessed, I am! You can never catch up to me! I won the golden apple! Here! Take a bite and see how wonderful it tastes! Sing with me! Dance with me! And don’t forget to give me a little credit where credit is due! Was I really such a bad guy after all? Didn’t I teach woman and man to think for themselves?
“For such a simple design, it sure is a talkative little piece,” you joke to yourself, as joy leaps in your heart like frolicking ponies. “He should have named it Yakety-Yak,” you think, and start chuckling, for you suddenly realize you are conversing and laughing along with the picture: you are joking with the snake! There is laughter all around you.
The tour guide wipes tears of joy from his eyes and composes himself. “Yes,” he remarks, “it is always a pleasure to renew this experience, as common as it is these days. And to have it, all we need do is take a moment to look at any of The Great Artist’s works, to which we have fingertip access anywhere in the world…for NuCivilization has long since manufactured billions of quality reproductions for anyone to own, for free! This is the Great Legacy of The Great Artist: through His paintings we gain the capacity of true joy: that is, oneness with the Deityhead.”
“Why, that’s like the snakes outside the museum!” exclaims an enthusiastic tourist. “And those stripes are like the ones I saw from an old holo-pic called ‘Noah’s Ark and the Slave Booty.'”
“Correct in both cases,” the guide affirms. “The colors in those stripes were once referred to as a ‘rainbow,’ after a once-common meteorological phenomenon that occurred worldwide, until The Great Artist copyrighted it and took it with Him to his piezo-mausoleum. With His death, the rainbow colors died also, until, by this time, few people even know what they are. The Artist wanted to mark the great loss to the world of His own existence, by taking with Him what He (and apparently many others, at that time) considered to be the most aesthetic symbol of the soul of art.”
The tour guide then took this visitor aside and sternly whispered, “The holo-pic you mentioned is censored. Don’t EVER bring it up again. Ever.”
The guide smiled and turned back to the crowd: “The Great Artist painted ‘MOI’ before He was self-realized. The incredible message to be carried through His Hand had begun, though The Artist Himself did not know. He decided to copyright this painting, for He knew it was clever enough for another artist to steal. When His nation’s government returned the ‘proof of deposit’ certificate for ‘MOI,’ the number assigned to it was 187-666.
The Great Author chuckled over the number, for the last three digits, in PaleoChristian mythology, signify the devil, often represented as a snake (the classic example being the serpent in the Garden of Eden). The Author thought, ‘There is no way to predict what number they’ll assign to any work. And this is the only design I have done that incorporates a snake. The odds against 666 must be astronomical to the Nth degree!’ Little did The Great Artist realize at that time, the profound machinations the cosmos had begun working, through Him, and through this painting.
“The Artist created several versions of ‘MOI.’ This version He duplicated by hand, many times over, and peddled them on the streets. It is made of a combination of cloth, vinyl, and paint; pieces made separate, then appliqued in layers. Through ‘MOI,’ He invented the 3-D patch, a truly remarkable innovation for His time…but something so common today, we don’t even think about it, like hydroponic cows.”
“He also painted several ‘flat’ versions suitable for picture-reproduction in the form of two-dimensional patches, stickers and buttons. The back of this particular 3-D patch is coated with a special glue that allows you to stick the patch on the back of your coat, or to any other reasonably flat surface. It could be re-attached over a hundred times before requiring fresh glue! The glue would not leave any residue on the surface receiving the patch…and some adhesive still remains on the patch to this very day!”
“What’s so amazing about that?” challenges the teenager with four arms (now waving them about like a windmill). “We have glue now, that’ll attach your own head right back onto your neck, and instantly restore all severed nerve, blood vessel, muscle, cartilage, and tendon connections.”
The guard narrows his eyes at her and says, “Shall we try it on you?”
“I never saw this picture before,” you intervene. “I thought you said all His known works were copied en masse throughout the world. Is this a newly discovered piece?”
“No it isn’t,” says the guide. “It is actually His First Known Piece. Known to the people of His time, that is. Because of His Copyright On The Rainbow, this is the only known piece hidden from the world. This Museum is the only place you can view it. Apparently, this is your first visit to The Museum.”
“Of course,” you emphasize, “I know what is in The Great Artist’s heart–it only takes one picture to tell you that. So I could never dream of repainting it myself to have at home, and show my friends.”
“Nor could I,” agrees the guide.
“Nor could I,” chirps a chorus of voices from the crowd. “Nor could I.”
“Let’s move on,” the guide commands, and vault number one is suddenly plunged into darkness.
When you can see again, you are once more sitting at your desk, still turning the birthday package in your hand.
And…it is still unopen.