The Mash Up
Lightness Of Boing
Mournfully Eric surveyed the desolate plateau, grey crags against grey skies. Today, absolutely everything was fucking grey. Silent and withered and grey. Again. The lumbering God chewed pensively on his nails wondering how, exactly, he had got himself so messed up. Life had been so damned easy, for millennia, he just hadn't realised that anything was wrong. In the beginning it was so fun. The Way had started dabbling with creating stuff out of nothing. From Unity to Duality to Trinity to all existing things, as that old Chinese bloke sort of used to say. Bang wallop, you've got a Multiverse. The Manifold divided, all-of-a-sudden-like in an incomprehensibly loud and even more incomprehensibly huge cosmic mitosis. Eric could still picture himself there, aeons ago, newly formed and fresh in from non-existence, shivering and wailing in an ever-expanding celestial delivery room. Essence had taken form, alright, and suddenly you had creatures and their Gods bloody everywhere. Cue the Good Old Days. Eric burped nostalgically, sweet memories shuddering through his gigantic prone weight to the tips of his blond Afro, and shaking the cardboard silver tiara he had garnered during last night's revels over his eyes. Oh Eris, sister, what mischief and Chaos we spread across the worlds. It was a bit tricky sometimes, being the younger brother of the Goddess of Chaos and Confusion, second fiddle and all that, especially when your sister is such a tease. Eric always got the feeling he was short-changed in the old genetics department compared with Big Sis. Some sort of cosmic leftovers or something. They had the best job of all though. Maintaining the creative Dance of the Multiverse, injecting sweet Chaos whenever order risked making things a bit dull. The smiting had been fun too. Eric snorted with amusement, recalling giant blocks of sulphur falling from the skies to consume towering cities of gold. The screams of the wicked his lullaby before the well-earned post-smiting snooze. Even better was the unimaginable debauchery.
In the golden age of Greece, when Eris had got her current name, he'd been Goatboy, the fabulous fucking faun. He'd shagged Gods and Goddesses, Titanesses and Giantesses, maidens, beasts, boys, nymphs in lakes, dryads up against their trees and a whole host of strange androgynous things, non-corporeal doo-dahs., and inanimate objects. Yea Verily, he had been a randy goat fucking everyone. There had been none of that politically correct bullshit back then. Things had got so stale. They had been so busy he hadn't noticed anything. Eris had, but never told him. Perplexity, that once treasured feeling, tore through him like a big teary sharp thing. Then again, She was the Eternal Women. He, on the other hand, could still remember what had happened when he had tried to get another job. When he'd got really disillusioned, he tried a work placement with his cousin Satan. A minor God of "The Place Christians who have decided they are Evil and should suffer for Eternity go." Hell to Earth mortals. There were loads of Hells, testimony to the indubitable dimness of humanoids across the Multiverse. Because he was only qualified in Righteous Smiting, as opposed to torture, most of the time he got relegated to Demon of Colds and Flu. They couldn't give him anything to do with sex. That had never been in Satan's job description in the first place, apparently. Satan specialised purely in the art of inflicting unbearable levels of suffering for infinite periods of time, and in interesting and varied ways. He'd got hold of his file, 'Excessively unimaginative' it had said. Well, sod that. There's only so many ways you can stick a poker up an arse.
Eric sat up, vexed, and cast about for something to destroy. He zapped some hovering dust, into dust-like smoke. He blew off the end of his tail. Pathetic. Satisfied that there was nothing that would get any smaller or wouldn't hurt like buggery to blow up, he gave it a rest. A cold wind blew grey dust across the plateau. He groaned pitifully. Why was it? Every time he was on a comedown, he had to spend days in this freezing desolate space, with nothing to do but contemplate his misery. That job had been the end of him. Spanish Influenza had been ok, but he was sure his cousin was just being nice. Seemed like all the other Demons were having a ball in those days. In contrast, he'd got himself snared into some kind of bleeding existential crisis. His brow knotted into the appropriate grimace of dim-witted intellectual constipation. He'd started questioning his purpose. It hadn't helped that even Eris was having trouble finding work. He'd watched as his elder sister was slowly pushed out by the New Order. Her creativity was smothered, her daughters enslaved and brutalised, and all the while, the Father Gods ran rampant. It was then that Greyface truly took hold, casting them into a dark and cold nightmare: like Midas, his perverted magickal project threatening to turn the whole world, and everyone in it, into gold. Eris had fought back, with artists, children, revolutionaries. The 60s had been great, they had worked so hard, Eris had even appeared to mortals once more. Then the 6os hit the high-water mark, and the wave receded. Eric had watched in horror as the reaction, and the punishing repression of her children that came with it, tore his sister apart. He'd hid and nursed her. One day he came home to find her gone, with only a kiss of red lipstick left on his bathroom mirror as a message. Eric let himself fall flat on his back, acquiring quite a strong resemblance to a beached hippo, his lonely wails shattering the unholy silence.
His blubbering over, Eric rolled himself up, and paced heavily in a random direction. He'd worked out long ago this place was infinite, and empty. He had to think. How he missed Eris, she was always the cleverer one. If only he could remember the first time it had felt wrong. It wasn't the Inquisition, or the Enlightenment, the Renaissance had been great... No ... It wasn't even that writer, who had really upset him by explaining to him he was a metaphor, worse, an anthropomorphic personification. Never what anyone needs on a Monday morning.
Morning... Eric let out a groan. Broken flashes, fragments of memory came back to him. This was a good sign, despite the fact it reminded him exactly which of his actions now caused him to feel like Hell would, at this point, be quite a restful, migraine-free place. The memories hurt, but at least he would soon be sure what over-indulgence had got him in his current predicament... Something to do with confusion maybe, usually is...Was I at home thinking? and...
That's what it is, thought Eric: the thing that makes these little human buggery blightery bastards so appealing is their amazing capacity for confusion. In fact, that whole strange march of human 'advancement' across beautiful Gaya is, more than anything else, a monolith to Not Getting It. Homo Sapiens Sapiens, thought Eric, are surprising even by my mystifying standards, except they're also, by turns, insufferably drab and puritanical little bastards sometimes. If they'd just make up their minds he could finally decide whether he was going to keep them around as toys or just go for an all-out smite-fest (not that he was allowed to do that anymore anyway). The curse of Greyface, mused Eric, had hit the poor little buggers hard (as it does periodically) since that Ronald Bloke had taken over America. 'Whatsisname?' wondered Eric, 'McDonald, that's it. Ronald McDonald'
???Ronald ??confusion? mystification? Nope, continuitywarp & mental memory mashmeld, that memory came from elsewhere... Limbo and comedowns did pretty nasty things to both short and long-term memory when combined. And believe Him, a year or two in the most dull, boring, senseless place in the Multiverse with the memory of a goldfish was an experience of eternal (and very scary) meaninglessness he really did not relish.
Could he? yes ... He'd incarnated into a bloody human again. This really was worrying. He'd done it many times before, but his current presence in Limbo meant this time he'd been a bad naughty little Drug-Hoover of a God, yes Siree. That wasn't the first time either, he'd started doing recreational drugs through humans centuries ago, though it was in the 60s it really kicked off in a big way. Damn, when it came to the whole drugs thing, him and Eris had written the book, then thrown it at each other. And lets face it, Ambrosia's lovely, but it doesn't get you high. Since Eris had gone it was different, and after the mess he'd got himself into recently, he'd studiously avoided caning himself back in to oblivion, at least until he worked out what in the name of _________ the Un-mentionable had been happening to him. Incarnation usually involved the conscious controlling of the humanoid by the Entity wishing to interact with the material plane. Much to the annoyance of the Multiverse staff, direct manifestation had been banned by the New Order, as too archaic and too irrational. Nowadays Eric entered humans, induced them to get even more trashed than they had originally planned, and abandoned himself to their beautifully malfunctioning minds. Eric surveyed the grey dust around him. Confusion... Confusion is commotion is mix-up is muddle is chaos is undefined (and therefore definable) and therefore-free- Eric knew that. He did; honestly, but when you're stuck between a rock and a chaotic place for what seems like countless Millennia, the rock starts to look increasingly appealing and comfy (even if it's a bit knobbly and, for that matter, downright jagged and/or covered in poisonous snakes). He used to be an absolute master of confusion, no really, I mean, we're talking confusion incarnate here, but nothing since the cheerful, ape-shit, cluster-fuck that was the Sixties had really grabbed him by the short-and-pointys, so to speak. It certainly hadn't warranted his own special brand of attention, or incarnation for that matter. Until...
Rave had been the trigger. He'd been searching everywhere for Eris till he hit England in the second Summer of Love. He could feel her inspiration in every warehouse, at every free party. The creativity, the music, the children and their love, all spoke to him of his sister and her rather odd way of keeping things interesting. He had caught glimpses of her, in the eyes and smiles of her beautiful daughters. Danced, then ground to a halt, mesmerised by a voice or laughter which sent him rushing through the party searching every face. He'd even thought once, at a party in Spain, as the sun broke over the mountains and the music, and a song of joy from many voices rose to greet it, that she'd turned round and winked at him. Problem was he was banging loads of pills by then. He was Mashed brother! Off his nut! Last night, popped eight pills, and two wraps of Billie, I was fucking buzzing mate, wicked! Had to smoke half an ounce of Thai to come down. Right....yeah. Safe?! Have it large. Massive! Do the box, stripy rainbow jumper. White-Gloves-And-A-Whistle. Maracas and luminous trainers, anyone got any poppers? Eat one of these, shut up and dance.
Bless him, Eric was rushing his little horns off. Those days and nights had been the best of his Godly existence since the debauchery days. The first incarnations he marvelled at the unlocking of energy, the powerful magick his sister had wrought. The new freedom of her sons and daughters, their mass transcending of the dark, lonely world of 80's England which their birth had trapped them in. He chuckled and swelled with pride when he saw how the children used all their work of a few decades ago. Their ideas and inventions had taken hold, and a life of their own. Just enough to pop the foul tyranny-bubble of the Old Witch Magick Snatcher.
The return of psychedelics and pot had been a good thing. Acid had always been a favourite toy. Except here. Bugger that for a laugh, he thought, cleaning his ear with a knotty grey twig. What a twig was doing here he had no idea. There weren't any trees. In fact, the only thing that actually warranted the label 'thing' was that old stock-pile of acid which he'd smuggled in from the material plane back in '89. The real downer about a pile of acid in Limbo, however, was that it didn't really obey the rules. It never aged, for example, or for that matter, ran out. And there is nothing, Eric had decided, worse than a never-ending pile of ultra-strong acid. Albeit Allegorical, sort of figurative, non-material, ultra-strong acid. Sweet Mother of Jesus, no. Anyway, he incarnated more and more often, sometimes spending weeks in one body, oblivious to anything outside his host's mind, like when he'd possessed a teenage French Metalhead; thirty bongs a day in a tiny badly-lit lounge. That was cool. He'd induced him to shave all his hair off except five straggly dreadlocks that hung over his eyes. The expression on the face of the kid's mother cracked him up every time. He did love winding them up. It was not much later, though, that Things went a little strange...
Lost. Submerged and lost amongst thoughts and feeling that were not his own. He forgot himself on the shores of an ocean of Ecstasy-Bliss. As his hosts had a no-mind full only of joy, so did he. He was without any capacity for control, abandoning himself to the raw experiences of another living being, and a really fucked one at that. He was flying with them. He spent more time incarnated and off his tits than in any of the Heavens , or in his Godly Home. He only went there between incarnations, to sleep for a year or two. The whole thing had been like heavy opium dreaming. He couldn't remember most of what had happened in those days and nights. Though he would have quite liked to. What had happened when he had woken up was the problem. What a bastard, can remember that oh yes pain sorrow. Eric sat up and bit his thumb. Don't bloody understand it though. He'd appeared to one of his hosts, poor little blighter. When he'd looked in a mirror. Scared the shit out of him. Out of both of them. He'd shared the terror of the human child, as a gigantic horned monster, black pits of soul-destroying agony for eyes, blinked in and out of existence in front of them. Forgot to quell the little one's fear, caught in the horrendous realisation that until he had unwittingly let himself appear in the mirror, he'd had no knowledge of being there, of existing at all. Eric could not escape, he could not disincarnate. Like his host, who, after, would wake screaming internally for escape from his nightmares, clawing for wakefulness, Eric was separated from his body by an invisible film, as though unable to move to rouse himself, suspended powerlessly in the utter undifferentiated terror of a child. He had forgotten himself so completely it was like he'd never existed. He tore around his host's mind for identity, for a way out, both minds filled with the fear of onrushing madness. Nothing for it. Trapped. Cower in forgotten layers of host's deep mind, before closed gates. Hide from the raging storm above. Think... Think...
'Fuck this! Stop! Shut up!' Eric shouted out loud to himself, as he held his head and curled up, rocking slowly. He did not want to remember this, not yet. Anyway he was starting to recall far more recent, and pleasant, memories. Smite me! Fun had been had. Eric rose to his hooves and puffed out his chest meaningfully. He then promptly sat down again and felt a bit silly for standing up in the first place. What had possessed him to possess a human again? Eric sat and stared blankly into space trying to work out whether or not that question contained an interesting philosophical conundrum. Probably not, still he'd quit incarnation for a good half decade now. Was it a relapse? A sneaking suspicion that he was missing something ran about the back of Eric's mind, stabbing it merrily. He'd even taken a holiday, visiting old friends in Elysium, and played with one of his imps, fBugor the Untidy, 'Lesser God of Messy Rooms', inducing small children to produce the most godly and creative of Wholly-Holy Messy junk mash piles.
One of the reasons he didn't incarnate anymore was so he didn't end up here. When he'd finally been able to leave that host, after helping him to put his mind back together, as was only fair, all he needed to do was bosh some drugs, and automatically, on the way back to his body, hey presto, you're in Limbo. The Terrible Place. Sometimes for an hour, or two, sometimes for millennia. It's The Void, there is no time there, or rather it functions on it's own timescale, bit like Narnia really. You were the same on leaving Limbo as when you'd got there, even if you'd mentally aged by an Aeon, and no time had elapsed where you'd come from. He'd thought he'd learned his lesson by now. Unless... Yes! His final holiday destination, one of his favourite old haunts, Valhalla! That's it, he got pissed with Thor, the old pirate, and a bunch of Vikings. He'd frolicked with Valkyries, a feisty, if heavily-armoured group of young ladies, got hold of that never-ending supply of mead in skull of defeated enemy thingy, downed that... Out of a pissed-up black hole came a snatch of conversation...