Some say a gentleman’s crimes, no matter how well-intended, are permanent. That they affix themselves to his brow, or shine from the skin of his neglected soup, or find some other way to creep about his person and stamp themselves into the mold of his legacy.
Yet no matter how many times Gaspar Villon fell, I believe time will vindicate him. He was, indeed, one of the most honorable people I have ever known. At present, unfortunately, more recall his transgressions than his attempts to right them.
They say he raided tombs, jointed skeletons together, motorized them. That he raced bodies in secret backyard games that amounted to part spectacle and part mechanized chaos. That one day he pushed a man in front of a train just to gather together the pieces and turn them into fun cars. That one occasion he was not averse even to the goo of the liquefied. Alas, all these accusations and more contain a germ of truth. But his attackers forget this: that when the depression was at its worst, when the economy had plunged through the proverbial floor and left a stinking hole, when desperation led to even greater and more fantastic forms of escapism, Gaspar was there. Neither were his entertainments wholesome, but they did the trick better and quicker than any of the other available remedies. Does that not count for something, at least?
Do you not recall when the President went on TV and made the statement in which he admitted we were all doomed, fucked forever? Of course they rushed out an incredible retraction, even went to the trouble of using a ventriloquist with the uncooperative Chief Executive. A lot of people by this point were mush, their skulls aglow, muttering in the dark about helicopters that descended by day like giant gnats and by night burrowed into the grey matter, miniaturized. That the government was making us all soft, had its eyes on our storage facilities, wished to rip out the gun units from our dead, frozen grip…The President might have said anything and we most of us would nod and say, of course…the formerly democratic regimes of the world having fused together into one centralized imperial corporation. Even so, a few did notice and jot down notes to themselves when they saw Malleus Carumba at the microphone, spinning down his weird platform to the essence, and daring the President to respond. He did, in his own way, which is what set the ball finally rolling to the End.
Then Gaspar came before us. He used his own micro-bully-pulpit—and how fortunate we are to all have one—to hammer forth a way out. He said the flesh was vulnerable to replacement with machine parts, and how much more enjoyment we’d get if we started now. Men and women were chopping off limbs, tying tourniquets themselves, and really slamming at the boundaries of auto-surgery. You could hear the sewing machines hum at all hours. Home-grown partial cyborgs roamed the streets, and some of them were beautiful. I don’t think anybody will forget the insects among them. The wasps, my friends. The wasps.
And if then the static-shrieking lava descended, if the meta-flesh creatures were pushed past the threshold suggested by Malleus in his infamous Dictum, and the wild orgies that flecked the rooms, virtual and otherwise, of the One House of world government with gore and sexual fluids dripped down into popular culture, so what? We all benefited in one way or another. Ours were the gifts that in time spawned their own monuments, framed their own texts, were the blackened, rotting, deliquescent servants that went before us when we couldn’t possibly figure out how to leave the house.
It’s been said Gaspar, the closest thing to a saint among the new detectives ever seen, was nothing but a criminal, an outlaw, and a rogue artist. While indeed some of these charges were accurate then, were they not destined to become the true Holy Writ? Did they not saturate the acts they described in perfumed magic unseen by any before except the Porn Priests of Pooner? And how often did you, gentle reader, kneel at that altar? Whereas now it’s all denial and “Of course we’re not robots, ha ha, what is your damage?”
Oh my derelict darlings, spinning in your own separate cages, alone in the dark, stained by the death juice of contrition, in your aquatic chambers of isolation, surely you can recognize that Gaspar’s detective work parted the waves of crime like some new Red Sea. That he worked hard, and backwards in time, to bring us the salve or cream of forgetfulness? That, in the end, we all morphed together so as better to view with the Single Eye?
How else, and with what other light, can you read these words?
I rest my case.
Bio: Called “a mad, genre-defying genius” by author/filmmaker Terry M. West, Alex S. Johnson is the author of such books as The Doom Hippies, Bad Sunset, Shattergirl and Doctor Flesh. He has also edited and published the Floppy Shoes Apocalypse clown horror series, the Axes of Evil heavy metal horror series, Chunks: A Barfzarro Anthology and others now in preparation through Nocturnicorn Books. He recently edited the dystopian satirical anthology Trumpocalypse for Horrified Press, and plans to do more work with them soon. Johnson‘s novella Freaks of Hell is due to arrive later in the year from Sleazy Viking Press. He enjoys salty, sour and spicy foods, coffee and all manner of media. Johnson currently lives in Sacramento, California, at the heart of the Central Valley.