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.
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.
A grasshopper ambled towards a road’s edge. Looking both ways, he saw neither car nor cyclist approaching and decided to cross. Half-way in, a thought struck the creature that his kind never explored the path to see where it led. A simple ninety-degree turn would do… As he lollygagged under the open sun, a bird swooped down and ate him.
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!
Priory: The priestess gathered her acolytes at the dining table. Tonight, they will make a sacrifice to the moon goddess so that she will hide their passage west. A calf was brought to the pedestal and a sharp blade drawn. Two slashes later, blood stained the walls. The calf was still alive.
Bastion: The revolutionary huddled with his conspirators in a dark corner. At midnight, they will raid the armory for explosives and set them over the palace’s supports. One who had second thoughts fidgeted with a pistol in his coat pocket. A loud bang went off, commotion reverberated the walls. The lantern had fell.
Museum: The activist raised his microphone atop the podium. After dawn, they will parade across the finance district with artifacts stolen from their homeland. Riot police looked uneasy as they gripped their batons. A building alarm blared; sirens flooded the street. The uptown heist began.
Solomon at the height of his power sought to resurrect Babylon, a city in the desert where the mythical garden of Eden could descend upon. Scouring the far reaches of his realm, he discovers traces of a dried-up system of water ways that had long been scrawled out by the passages of time. The nexus at their intersections form a vast underground hull several miles wide, the result of perhaps a meteoric impact from ages past. Entering the cavernous space, he finds faint trickles of water emanating from an unknown source. Following the residual streams leads to the entrance of a sealed chamber blocked by a massive boulder. Two large hand-prints cover its side along with an inscription in an unknown yet familiar language. Placing his hands over the impression, a woman’s voice whispered from without. “Beware of floods. Towers and arks won’t save you this time.”
Seth received careful instructions for the wedding. A cornucopia of balloons, draperies, and fans would spring from the building’s façade. Explosions of color, fruits, and music would fill the venue. A pink convertible will take the newly weds away into the sunset. The promised day came but the bride and groom were no shows. Seth called all the family members, friends, attendees as to their whereabouts but nothing turned up. Frantic, he checked their social media, but no updates had been made. The following day, he received a text message from the would be couple. Both the bride and groom developed cold feet and fled the state. Chance found the two at the very same casino in Vegas after a night of heavy drinking. Swords were drawn and venom spewed but by early morning, the pair found themselves happily married outside a gaudy chapel.