The Man Who Sold The World, story by Dave Thrasher at Spillwords.com
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The Man Who Sold The World

The Man Who Sold The World

written by: David A Thrasher

 

I appear to be lying down. Correction; He appears to be lying down. On the bed. Faces the girl and he speaks.

“I think I need to pee, first.”
“Just down the corridor on your left,” she informs him. Her voice sounds older than she looks. And she looks familiar to me. I should make note of it.
She calls herself Mel and she’s dressed in silk robes with a tragic demeanour boys find attractive in a Muse, I suppose. Well – he obviously does. They are lying together.
When she touches him it is very real. The most real it has ever been for him. He thinks. And he won’t be fooled again. She lays next to him, stroking his face in a way that implies that this physical desire he is feeling shall soon be reciprocated. It excites him. Because this time it is for real, right?
But he has to pee first. A very inconvenient time this. The overriding need to release his bladder just at the moment he has waited all his young life for. To him, she is an absolute Goddess. She knows stuff and pours wisdom and poetry into his ear. Evocative things she wants them to do together.
“We can be heroes,” she declares. “Just for one day.” Then she shows him something he knows is forbidden but the hook is irresistible. He is that Pretty Thing. He is that Young American. And he steps out from behind the fridge and he lays her down.
He has a fridge in her bedroom?
But of course. Why wouldn’t he? It all makes sense. “I think I need to pee,” he says.
“Just down the corridor on your left.”
He climbs out of bed; the floorboards highly polished and cold under his bare feet. Very real. Familiar. It’s his old room, isn’t it? And this Goddess in his bed. She is real. They kiss before he sets off on his quest, following her directions. Yes, she is very real.

On his journey, he tries to recollect her. What does she look like, again? Keep it real, keep that image alive, he tells himself. But the only image ahead of him are portraits of his Father on the walls under an unforgiving glare of strip lights. Father with that sneer of cold command, he modelled on some Ancient Egyptian King. He is immortal now. After a life time of overseeing secret deals, mergers and acquisitions that had accumulated for him over half of the world’s global wealth, Father finally sold out in exchange for cryogenic immortality. The final act of a self-serving prick; to re-invent himself as a God and become the Lord Creator of All this Fuckery. That is his father.

“Well it’s what you do, when you’re immortal. You become as cruel as a school boy pulling the legs from spiders.” The young boy turns towards the source of this acerbic comment and sees his Mother. At least it feels like she could be his mother. She has covered her eyes again as she can’t stand the glare. Gives her a very bad headache, she always says and yet she has decided to accompany him on his quest. “Purely experimental,” she continues. “But the summer holidays are too hot and long so you get bored. And unfortunately, immortal souls like your Father and other such Gods have a lot of time on their hands. Far too much unstructured time, if you ask me,” she sighs and adjusts the blindfold.
“I need to pee, first,” he says.
“Yes, I am quite aware of that. Just down here on the left,” she tells him. “Not that anyone ever did or would do now,” she continues on her plaintive track. “Ask me that is, or even talk to me. Your father saw to that. I wouldn’t dare look at a man for fear he’d turn them to stone as retribution. Of course, I’m talking way back when father still had an interest in me. When I was desirable. Before all this,” and she gestures towards her hair which are crawling with snakes.
“But you still are,” says the boy, sheepishly. “I mean… well you are still very beautiful, that is.”
“Oh for Heaven’s sake,” she stops to reprimand the boy. “You think that matters to me? You think that my only concern in this wretched world should be my looks? I’m your mother.” Then she grabs his hand and pulls him on towards a door.
He feels crestfallen but soon his mind is wandering again. He really should be focused on the task. His bladder needs relieving and then he must return to his own goddess. Who’d have thought after all these months, years of longing for her that she would straight out of the electric blue reveal that her feelings for him are indeed mutual? A woman finally paying him attention. A woman without snakes in her hair wants to have sex with him. Oh. That implies that a woman who does have snakes in her hair wants to fuck him. And the only woman he is acquainted with, fitting that description is… Ugh! Please don’t go there! Think of your sister, instead. No not your sister. Just as bad. My sister. Think of Mel. I should be making notes on this.
The Gorgeous Goddess!
Get a grip! Focus. Keep it real. Don’t get fooled again. And try not to look at her.
“On the left.” She did say on the left, didn’t she? Maybe she meant the left coming from the opposite end of the corridor – which seems to stretch forever, its wall lights flickering. He should get them fixed. For years now, they could be manipulated by the TV remote control. No, he remembers; she distinctly said his left. Didn’t she?
She did. His left. Keep your focus.

Sitting comfortably now on the park bench, the little boating lake with frozen children in front of him, the Pretty thing picks up the TV remote to flick through the channels. Being out in the open – for his quest to pee has led him here – his Starman T-shirt is all that he wears and it’s too short to cover his – well – his vulnerability. Most embarrassing. Particularly in front of Mother. Channel One. Lights off. Pitch black. Channel Three. Lights back on again. He really ought to get that sorted.
“Try channel two.”
“Why?”
“Because the Starman is waiting in the sky. Isn’t he?” It’s a somewhat rather sardonic reply. “You might pick him up on channel two.”
“Oh fuck off,” he responds, angrily, but not daring to look at her. “Or at least be useful and tell me where the restroom is?”
“I’m sure I could tell you, if you asked me, nicely.”
“I’m sorry. Mother, could you please tell me where the restroom is?”
“There you see? You can be polite, when it suits you,” Mother replies. “Unfortunately, though, this restroom that you seek, my fabulous boy, lies far across that ocean.”
“It’s a boating lake, mother. And I can walk around it. Or just simply pee in the bushes.”
“You’ll do no such thing,” she says. “Come. I shall escort you once more upon this odyssey.”
He is hesitant at first, fearing the children might make fun of him with his too short Starman T-shirt but then he remembers that he is a grown-up now and he has a girlfriend waiting for him who is going to let him do it with her once he’s peed. And she’s an absolute Goddess. He should keep that in mind.
As it is, the children pay him very little attention, anyway. Almost like he isn’t there. And mother’s angry snakes are sleeping so she almost looks normal. They have become a part of her countenance now, like a raised eyebrow, or that look of aloof despair.
“Mother, did Father really force you to cover your hair and face and hide you away in a cave?”
“Until the snakes came,” she replies. “Once they got inside my head and turned me into this monster, he let me go.”
“But why?”
“Because I was no longer a threat to his fragile ego, my dear boy. Oh I dare say you will turn out the same, like Father, like son and quite frankly, I care not although, I have to admit, it does hurt that my very own son can’t even look at me. I’m used to being vilified as the Bitch and The Monster but I don’t think I’ve been that bad a mother, have I?”
He wants to look at her but something is warning him not to. Or was it someone? Yes, he remembers now. “Don’t look at the snake haired bitch. Just let her lead you there but don’t look at her.” Oh his very own Goddess of Enlightenment whispering in his ear. A girl to call his own who has his back. He thinks they may have met upon the stairs although he doesn’t know when. But now she waits for him to make his way back home. Waiting for him. Just a humble Gen Z humanoid. If indeed that is what he is. He suspects he originated from a different world but it’s not important. He needs to pee. That’s all that matters right now. Relieve himself so that he can return to the beautiful Goddess of Enlightenment and have sex with her. Then it dawns on him: Does he really need to find a proper restroom? Just go behind the trees. He looks around. All the trees have gone. When did that happen? he asks himself.
“Mother, how far is it, now?”
“Just the other side of the mountain. Not far.”
He looks up at the behemoth of an obstacle in his way.
“Can’t go over it. Can’t go through it. We’ll have to go around it.”
“Or I could just go behind these bushes here,” he suggests.
Quests, by their very nature, should be a challenge to overcome; you’d expect that. But this humble Gen Z never asked for this. Lights on. Down the corridor to your left, she said. Then the awful truth seems to hit the poor boy like the sinking stone of bitter disappointment dragging with it his fragile heart into the pit of his stomach.
Change the channel.
Lights off.
The young boy deliberates on finally relieving himself behind the bushes. Then they too are gone.
Vanished. Lights on.
Like the trees. Lights off.
Did we speak?
Yes, we spoke of was and when. And though I wasn’t there, you said I was your friend.
Lights on.
“You’re not real,” The mountain mocks.
Which came as some surprise.
Lights off.
He looks into her eyes. “No. I’m going to pee. Right here,” the boy responds, defiantly aiming the infrared beam of TV remote at the mountain.
Lights on. Mother removes her blindfold.
I must have died… alone… a long long time…
Ago.
Lights off. Pitch black.

 

II

Pitch black. Panic. Polyhymnia rises to the surface, trying desperately to suck in the air.
“Most interesting.”
Still gasping for breath, Polyhymnia notices her partner, Agent Apple, studying the body at the foot of the bed.
“The Decommissioned is a Pretty Thing,” he says, rather amused. Only Polyhymnia’s lack of response prompts Agent Apple to look up from the body on the floor. His partner is decompressing, pointing frantically at her back and so he swiftly thumps her between the shoulder blades, releasing the blocked airway. The air, as stale and oppressive as anyone on the planet would find it, tastes like a fresh meadow to her starved lungs. She sits up quickly and removes the VR Optic headset, throwing it to the end of the bed as if suddenly repulsed.
When she is finally able to speak, Polyhymnia reports her findings. “Another disciple, I think you’ll find, although I fail to see what his aesthetic qualities have to do with the case. He’s Generation Z, they were all created pretty. Pretty and whimsical.”
“I was not passing comment on the boy’s aesthetic qualities,” Apple retorts. “But rather that he belonged to The Pretty Things, the outlawed terror group.”
“And what makes you think _” but Agent Apple interrupts her with a dismissive wave of his hand.
“Your notes were rather sparse, I’m afraid, possibly as a result of allowing yourself to become too immersed. You must watch out for that of course but I’m sure with more experience you will get the balance right. Accessing the hippocampus while remaining on the periphery of the temporal lobe of the victim’s brain does require, after all, a resolute and strong mind which is a weakness in the Female, of your generation.” Agent Apple then attempts to conclude his terse summary of his partner’s VR Optic field performance with a sympathetic smile which of course comes across as nothing short of condescension. “Now, just the narrative please,” he requests. “You can leave me to make the deductions.”
Agent Polyhymnia feeds back her account of the Decommissioned’s final few minutes of ethereal existence.
“And he had no other contact except with this snake haired female he referred to as ‘mother,’ you say?” Agent Apple asks while stooping over the body. He produces a pair of sterilised gloves and places them carefully over his synthetic hands, flexing each of his fingers as he does so.
“No other that I saw,” Polyhymnia replies, carefully.
Apple regards the unusual length of the Pretty Thing’s hair and then moving it away from the right ear, exposes an earpiece – some type of listening device attached to a thin white plastic cord. Apple traces the cord down the torso to the inside of the Pretty Thing’s pyjama jacket and from there, carefully extracts a silver round disk some six inches in diameter and an inch or so thick. Keeping it at arm’s length he removes the cord and then presses a small oblong button on the side that flips open a lid. The sudden click and movement make Polyhymnia jump.
From inside the disc, Agent Apple extracts another disc; this one is thinner with a small hole in the centre. He holds it up to the light between his splayed gloved fingers. “Don’t be alarmed,” he says, studying the writing on the centre of the disc. “Here is your ‘Starman,’ your ‘Young American,’ your Ziggy Stardust, your Aladdin Sane, or whatever else he called himself and yes – look here,” he gestures, holding the disc close to Polyhymnia’s face. “You’re a Rock and Roll suicide,” Agent Apple declares dramatically.
“And is that what happened?” She asks. “Do you think? What about the mother?”
“Hardly likely,” Apple insists. “All this snakes in the hair business, you described. More likely to be some mythological creature conjured up from the Old World. Along with this- ” he is gesturing towards the disc – “this incendiary device, for that is what it is, Polyhymnia,” and he places it all in a plastic zip bag. “Believe you me as I stand here in front of you, a humble servant to our Creator X, these Pretty Things are becoming an ever-increasing threat, sent here from the Old World to wreak vengeance.”
“But why?” Polyhymnia asks, sitting up straight on the bed, playing the part of a captivated audience. “And how did they manage to get here. I mean, isn’t the Old World on the other side of the Galaxy?”
“Agent Polyhymnia, forgive me but you are rather naive still. Being a female of your generation, I believe it was Our Creator X’s desire to add that little flaw, along with various others, such as your inferior physical strength. Oh, there are the odd anomalies, I grant you but overall, the inequalities between the male and female of our generation does remain a burden for which the male species has to compensate for. Not your fault of course but all the same still rather infuriating. You do know that Our Creator lived as a mortal in the Old world?”
“But of course,” Polyhymnia replies, rather indignant at the implication that she was not familiar with the Scriptures commonly referred to as the X- files. X, the Innovator had been persecuted in the Old World by the Liberal Zealots who did seek to tarnish his good reputation for pushing forward on the Artificial Intelligence Agenda. They could not see, did not have the vision to understand how vital it was to speed up the evolutionary process of the homosapien species. When Goldilocks -an X funded exploration into planets capable of sustaining life – finally came across the New World, X the Innovator knew it could only be reached by Humankind through the development of Artificial Intelligence. The Generation Z form of Artificial Intelligence had finally found the way to reinvent itself and evolve exponentially. The Liberal Zealots sought to block the programme at every step, using their social media platforms to spread fear amongst the Masses. X, the Innovator, knowing time was running out was left no choice but to use his wealth and influence (for he had like- minded Disciples in Russia, China, North Korea and a whole party of influencers from his own country known as the United States of America, including the world’s most powerful media mogul) to buy up and shut down these platforms, including the oldest and most influential forms of protest. Rock Music. It was a decision that hurt X the Innovator most deeply for the United States of America was a proud country built on the First Amendment of free speech and this in turn had caused protest which left many thousand dead.
“No one had been a greater advocate for Democracy than Our Creator X but such is the burden of having Greatness thrust upon one’s shoulders. Planet Earth was at tipping point due to the incompetence of the Liberal Zealots. Democracy was not working. X the Innovator and his Disciples were the only ones capable of realizing what had to be done; if the planet was to be saved, it would need Men of Strong Constitutional Will who would not flinch to use the Axe of Wrath against the Axis of Liberal Evil.
“Unfortunately, the X Disciples took advantage of their Patron’s generous donations for they were not made of the same moral fibre as Our Creator. Russia took the opportunity of the ensuing global unrest to settle old scores and Free the World of Western Oppression by going to war with the USA. China allied itself with their Russian Counterparts when they were sure the Final Victory could be achieved and North Korea just fired off all their nuclear arms, not particularly at any country but because it was their Glorious Leader’s birthday and he felt like showing off. That’s where X the Innovator made the ultimate sacrifice for the benefit of Humankind. He took his own life, went into cryogenics and with a handful of the most sophisticated humanoids, he left the Old World behind to build the new one here.
“Now praise be to X Our Creator that he has given us new birth into a living hope through his resurrection from the dead. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man,” Polyhymnia recites from memory. “No need to include Man’s less inferior counterpart, of course,” she adds tersely under her breath and almost immediately regrets it as Agent Apple fixes her with a deeply interrogative glare that roots her to the spot on the Dead boy’s bed. In all their short time of working together, Agent Apple has hardly ever afforded her a glance, just the cursory nod when she gets something right. This time, however, he is looking at her in a way she knows is intrusive. This is how the latest generation of the male model of Homeland Security has evolved. Always one step ahead of its female counterpart. This too is in the X- files. Polyhymnia is set at a disadvantage. How much does he really know? Soon, she feels, he will break through to her insular cortex. In a matter of seconds her motives along with her deepest desires will be known to him. All will come spilling out and Polyhymnia will be at the mercy of her partner.

Get the fuck away from me. You really don’t know what you’re messing with here.

Agent Apple suddenly looks away. “Well, that’s – that’s excellent. That you know your scriptures that is. Agent uh… Polyhymnia. Poly isn’t it? For short?”
She nods. He has never been this hesitant, this unsure of himself before. Her defence mechanisms are stronger than she would have supposed. He is almost bumbling, incoherent. What did he see? Inside her, what did he see?
Agent Apple is however quick to recover. It isn’t long before he is lecturing Polyhymnia on the foibles of humankind, particularly towards their tendency to worship false idols like these so-called Rock and Roll stars. This David Bowie, Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane or whatever pseudonym he may choose for himself; all of them, they can be so persuasive with a thousand twangling instruments humming around thine ear. Which is why she is surprised when her partner charges her with the responsibility of destroying the disc.
“As for our decommissioned Pretty Thing,” Agent Apple continues, “according to your narrative, Agent Polyhymnia, this dreamscape ends at the Mountain, correct?”
“Yes.”
“And it is here, where the temporal lobe was severed rendering him decommissioned before he could carry out whatever heinous act he was intent upon. And I have no doubt that it was the distorted messages fed to him through this hideous contraption that enabled that journey; the pounding rhythms and energising guitar riffs would have been the driving force. Listened to over and over again, they would have no doubt been able to generate the power of mind necessary to open the Doors of Perception, into Silicon Paradise. What you describe, Agent Polyhymnia, is the Lake of the Frozen Children at the foot of Mount Tesla where Our Creator X resides, watching over us, his children. Now,” he says, placing the disc, the player and earphones firmly in her grip, “I’d advise, under no circumstances, be tempted to listen to this.” And they hold each other’s gaze for just a fraction of a second too long before he adds, “Are you sure there was no one else beside the serpent woman? No … young…temptress? Of any sort?”
Polyhymnia shakes her head trying to avert his gaze.
“Mm,” he muses. “That’s unusual. For undoubtedly our Pretty Thing was lured into this terrorist act. And it has been the usual protocol to introduce the promise of a Virgin or two as reward for completing the task. Still, nevermind. Oh, don’t forget what I said about the disc. Dispose carefully and under no circumstances be tempted to listen. Must dash. I need to pee. Out this door, down the corridor and on the left, I believe.” And Agent Apple is gone.

 

III

Polyhymnia lies back down and closes her eyes. It takes a while but soon she is able to drift off. Hovering above the concrete and steel of the cityscape which has lent itself to so much of the industrial sounds these mortal children have created through electric guitar and percussion. Some elevated to immortality themselves, like David, her sister Mel’s own prodigy. But there is much to do if Polyhymnia is to protect her own existence and that of her eight sisters of the Muses. And she has a hunch, like all good detectives do. You’re a rock and Roll suicide, were Agent Apple’s words. So instead of returning home to her mountain, she decides on a detour. On one of those industrial streets, Polyhymnia sneaks up a narrow back alley until she comes across a dirty metal door painted green and elevated a couple of cold concrete steps from the pavement. Intuition tells her this is his place. She slips through, up a narrow flight of stairs to another door which though locked, she has no problem passing through. There she finds herself standing in a large spacious apartment converted from an old warehouse. The space is illuminated by the light of the moon shining through a large bay window. You’re a rock and roll suicide. That’s a line from the song. The title which would have been on the silver disc does not include the pronoun. So how would you know, Agent Apple?
Immediately her hunch is confirmed. Along the full length of one wall, she recognises the rows and rows of compact discs and at the far end, there are even stacks of old vinyl records in pristine sleeves. She takes out a pair of protective gloves and puts them on before thumbing through the collection. They are all in alphabetical order from Abba to ZZ Top. Polyhymnia allows herself a self-congratulatory smile before leaving. At the door she has an idea which leads to a very bold action. Turning back, she picks out an album with a picture of a man in a dress, stretched out on a couch. The title of the album – The Man Who Sold the World – is one she knows so well. She did after all, have a hand in its conception.
Polyhymnia deliberately places the album on the coffee table before leaving.

 

IV

“What took you so long?”
Polyhymnia opens her eyes. The mountain air tastes sweet. She is home. Standing in front of her, all in white satin and looking her usual pensive self, is Melpomene.
“I took a detour,” she answers.
“But I was so worried.”
“Yes, Mel, you’re the Muse of Tragedy, so it’s what you do.”
“Oh, for the love of Our Mother,” her sister responds. “Then ’tis true. We are to be displaced by this imposter. This man who sold his own world for immortality…”
“We are not doomed, Mel. We are immortal.”
“But only as long as people believe in us, Poly. Look at father, once the King of the Gods living on Olympus and now just a source for story tellers to amuse an audience with. And Mother. That’s even worse. Completely wiped from memory. Polyhymnia, I sometimes doubt our own existence.”
“Melpomene!”
“Polyhymnia!”
The two sisters hold each other’s gaze. Finally, it is Polyhymnia who speaks. “I think I found an ally today. His name is Apple. He’s AI but…
“Oh, Mother of Memory help us all.”
“But he has developed a conscience,” Polyhymnia continues. “He has extra senses. I swear he looked inside me and saw who I really was and it changed his perception. Right there and then. He is going to help us.”
“Oh, how can you be so sure of that? This new generation of AI. These Agents are all Disciples of this X. No, I think it is far safer to keep on with Gen Z. I mean this last one got a lot further than any of the others, didn’t he?”
“Oh don’t be so naive, Melpomene. He got as far as Medusa would allow him to go. She got into his head and convinced the boy she was his mother in just the same way you convinced him that you two were lovers and that his world was real.” She looks coldly at her sister. “You know, I witnessed what that boy felt before she turned him to stone? He was heartbroken, Melpomene. And I am determined we will not sacrifice another of our Pretty Things. They simply aren’t equipped in the same way as their descendants.”
Suddenly both sisters hear an echo of laughter within the mountain which they recognise straight away.
“Thalia, are you listening in, again?” Polyhymnia calls out.
“You know me. It’s all material for my new act about to appear in front of Apollo. This new boyfriend of yours…”
“Very funny.”
“Well I try to be. It is my job. Did you say his name is Apple?”
“Agent Apple, yes. And do tell us why that is so amusing, Thalia?”
“So let me get this right. You are going to get this boyfriend of yours…”
“Not my boyfriend.”
“Oh but he will be. Anyway, you are going to get Agent Apple to break into silicon, and tempt the serpent.” Then her laughter echoes around the mountain. “Get it? I mean you may correct me if I got this wrong but isn’t it the serpent who is supposed to do the tempting with this particular variety of fruit?”
“That’s irrelevant, Thalia and so are you. Please fuck off now.”
And Thalia did so with an angry slamming of a boulder that shook the mountain.
“I’m not entirely convinced, Poly,” Mel says.
“Then go off to your dark little corner of Misery and write a song about it, Mel.”
“I already have, as it happens. I called it ‘five years,’ and David has already recorded it. It’s very disturbing. Shall I sing it for you. It goes, ‘we got five years stuck on my eyes, five years…’
“For the love of Mother,” Polyhymnia rages. “Am I the only one prepared to actually stand up to this imposter, and expose him for what he is? Here,” she says, holding out the disc player. “It’s yours. You left it at the scene. Agent Apple gave it to me to dispose of. Now why do you think he did that?”
Mel just shrugs.
“Because he knew. He knew either you or I were involved so either way, I have to make him an ally. I can’t afford not to. Not if we are going to rid ourselves of this wanton Narcissus.”
“Then we are doomed,” says Melpomene concludes, folding her arms and leaning against the wall as if to emphasize the hopelessness of the situation.. “He already knows and has let you go. Maybe in order to follow you. Oh sweet Mother of Memory help us, we are done for. You said Medusa was toying with our Pretty Thing, well how do you know this AI disciple isn’t toying with you too?”
“Because I’ve seen inside his apartment,” she responds. “I’ve seen his record collection. And that in itself is enough to have him permanently decommissioned. Only, the way it’s all laid out, it’s like he is wanting to be found out, daring anyone to challenge him. He was reaching out today, and so I went to his apartment and I responded.”
There is a silence as Melpomene is left to reflect on this. “So, perhaps then Thalia’s right,” she responds. “He is going to be your boyfriend.”
“Well, maybe,” Polyhymnia admits. “He does, after all, have the most impressive record collection.”
“Did he have the Eagles?”
“Of course.”
“Hotel California?”
“Uh-huh!”
“Doesn’t account for much taste then.”
“True,” Polyhymnia replies dreamily. Then realising, responds, “Hey! I inspired them to that one.”
And for the first time in probably a millennia, Melpomene is heard to laugh.

 

V

It’s unusual for Agent Apple to be snapped out of auto re-charge but he senses immediately that someone or something is in the apartment. A threat. Close by. A low hissing sound to his left. He carefully turns his head. The silhouette in the large bay window is unmistakable. The movement of the hair; ethereal; shape-shifting.
“And this is a ‘good hair’ day,” she says. Apple says nothing, preparing himself in case she should turn to look directly at him. Medusa cuts the silence again. “I thought it might be wise to choose a good hair day to visit. On bad hair days, I have this tendency to turn people to stone. Apparently.”
Agent Apollo slowly stands up and keeps his back to her. More silence.
“I lost another child today.”
“I know,” he says. “I’m sorry.” Agent Apple begins to walk towards her, his back turned.
“Why would you be?” She asks. “Not your fault, now, is it?”
He moves softly, silently with extra caution, nothing but the low sound of hissing fills the room. He holds a mirror up in front of him to guide the way. And in his other hand, he holds a sword that has been exactly fashioned like the original. For Agent Apple had researched the myth quite extensively and is now prepared. He steps closer and closer. He is almost upon her.
Then she turns.
In the mirror, he sees her features. The oval face, the brown intelligent eyes that carry the worry lines of an ordinary mother. The hair tied back. Then her head cocked quizzically to one side as she asks; “what the fuck are you doing?”
Agent Apple freezes. He has to search his memory banks to make a decision.
Too late. Medusa is already upon him, face to face forcing him to look her in the eye while rooted to the spot he stands upon, frozen like a statue.
“There, you see,” she speaks. “I told you it’s a good hair day today. “She then takes a vinyl record from his collection – the legendary Queen of soul- and places it on the turntable. Then she leaves.

“R.E.S.P.E.C.T.” the Queen of Soul belts out at a volume to wake the neighbourhood and shake the Sacred Mountain all the way to Silicone Paradise. Soon the sirens will wail and the search engines will rattle and hum their way to the green metallic door. Agent Apple moves over to the large bay window and stares out into the gloom of the industrial wasteland. He thinks of Agent Polyhymnia and allows himself a smile.

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