Sisyphus descends a spiral staircase connecting heaven to hell. He’d been demoted at his job and now tasked with lugging a square boulder up and down the steps. Along the way, he encounters the ghost of Virgil who remarks that his situation had taken an abysmal turn. Sisyphus inquired if his situation was truly more futile than before. The task remained endless, yet rest proved monotonous for nothing would change and he’d lapse into ennui. Virgil guffawed and then gifted Sisyphus a clock so that he’d suffer equally in mind, body, and spirit.
Poppy stood motionless by the Cabernet collection. Empty bottles and cigarettes stubs littered the flat that was once a lively studio. Her next victim, a former gambler who had stowed himself away in witness protection, dozed off this fine rainy Sunday. He’ll take his last swig tonight, just like all the rest who drew too deeply from her vines and entangled. She was now his best friend… his only friend for that matter when the days ceased to start, life’s currents spiraled nowhere. One last swig she bubbled and extended her hands from the eddies. They were met in kind.
The Delphic oracle prophesied that a great pestilence would sweep over the land, cleansing it of all the weak and the corrupt. To hide the pronouncement from the masses, the Grecian king appeased the soothsayer with sacrifices of his most prized possessions each year. The stakes crossed the line however when the oracle wished to see the king’s stallion. Outright refusal would not suffice and so a plan was actuated to replace the steed with a lesser stock. Manes were trimmed, muzzles cleanly waxed, and calves embronzed to imitate the true prize. On the day of the offering, the king unveiled the nigh indistinguishable impostor to the gasps of the court. The priestess starred for a hard minute before replying face in palm.
“I thought it taller and nobler, but I see now its dense backside. A blind ass would have done better.”
Her mordant wit flew over everyone’s heads.
Lucifer meets with Adam in a dream. Outside the gates of Eden, the devil transforms into a rabbit and tempts the boy to follow. Adam complies and enters paradise. However, there was nothing idyllic about the garden. Nature had been reduced to a ribbon farm with every species of plant and animal perfectly arrayed, cataloged. Adam asks the rabbit why he’d been shown this. Lucifer transforms back into an angel and offers a lighter in one hand, a shovel in the other. Unable to choose, Adam wakes up in his capsule. Terra-forming mars was turning out to be a drudgery.
The Buddha happened upon a starving beggar. Offering a parcel of bread, the vagrant instead absconds with the entire loaf. The next night, the Buddha returned to find two beggars in the same spot. He offers another loaf but they fight over the right proportions. On the third night, four beggars demanded their share. The Buddha splits a loaf into four equal parts but the small portions lead to discontent. On the fourth and final night, eight beggars awaited their free handouts. The Buddha leaves a sack of flour on the ground with some water. The octet spills the cup as they devoured the sack and left retching.
Weight: An old shepherd tugged on the ropes that had bonded with his waist. Daisy-chained were an ashen woman, boy, and girl, presumably his family. They had sullen looks and a world-weariness of those who had lost their home. Together they scaled a pass that spiraled up and down a mountain to an uplifting tune that went nowhere.
Lightness: A pit-bull grew up tied to an oak tree. His world was a nine-foot circle of dirt, acorns, and taunting squirrels. Having given up on escape, he fell into a deep slumber and dreamed of the pearly gates. A voice told him to come forth, but he couldn’t. The clouds turned dark and erupted with rage. The smell of burnt ash then woke him up. Tugging at his leash for the first time in years, he found it slack.
Jack: “So I tricked the devil into paying my tabs.”
Jon: “Oh. How’d you do that?”
Jack: “Satin agreed to a drinking match. My eternal soul if I lose. Ten extra years if I win. Half-way in, I slipped a note to the bartender.”
Jon: “What was on it?”
Jack: “An unsigned IOU from hell.”
Jon: “Damn, how’d he take it?”
Jack: “He started mixing holy water.”
Inspired from the original stingy Jack myth!
“Who is first amongst equals?” Socrates asked.
“I am!” stomped Earth. “Without me, there is no ground for arguments to stand on.”
“Boooo!!” howled Wind. “Did you lift that bit from Water? Or did you get mud in your ears?”
“Stop blowing smoke!!!” roared Water. “No, I mean… stop with the nonsense.”
“Hahahaha” cracked Fire. “Water, I thought you’d be the most fluid. Never knew you’d rather be air-dried cough cough 😊”
Socrates rolled his eyes and sighed “I’m appointing Aether as first. Rest of you… get a planet.”
“What hubris!” the four exclaimed.
Entry to this week’s What Pegman Saw! Location is La Santísima Trinidad de Paraná in Paraguay.
A young prince once asked an old cripple how he could sleep so soundly each night. The cripple responded that he had been born with his deformities and had learned to live with this fact. Curious, the prince offered to have his best doctors and servants treat him. The old man chuckled and politely declined, replying that he was content with his lot in life. That night, the boy dreamed that he had turned into the cripple who begged for his livelihood. Waking up from the nightmare, he swore to never let such a fate come to pass.
Decades later in old age, the prince who ascended the throne and became king wandered the halls alone at night. Now an insomniac, he cursed the cripple for having steered him onto his current path. On his deathbed, the man finally broke down and begged for a reprieve. His wish was granted.
A young boy frolicked by a spring-time lake. In his exuberance, he accidentally trips over Death’s scythe and falls into the water unconscious. Death pulls the boy out from under as it was before his time. He then etches the true hour of fate in the back of the child’s mind.
Decades later, an old man returns to the site. He finds Death waiting in a gazebo overlooking a winter-time lake before announcing that he’s ready. Death inquires whether he’d live a different life if ignorant of his fate. The man replies no. The reaper grins and wakes him up.