26 jun. 2015
Mis Subrayados: Deathbird stories por Harlan Ellison
“To me God does not yet exist; but there is a creative force constantly struggling to evolve an executive organ of
godlike knowledge and power: that is, to achieve omnipotence and omniscience; and every man and woman born is a fresh attempt to achieve this object....
“The current theory that God already exists in perfection involves the believe that God deliberately created
something lower than Himself when He might just as easily have created something equally perfect. That is a
---GEORGE BERNARD SHAW
“When inward life dries up, when feeling decreases and apathy increases, when one cannot affect or
even genuinely touch another person, violence flares up as a daimonic necessity for contact, a mad
drive forcing touch in the most direct way possible.”
--Rollo May, Love and Will
Worship in the temple of your soul, but know the names of those who control your destiny. For, as the God of Time so aptly put it, “It’s later than you think.”
She pushed away from me, tossing her head so the auburn hair swirled away from her face. Her eyes were dry.
Ghosts can do that. Cry without making tears. Tears are denied us. Other things; I won’t talk of them here.
I sat down on the curb and thought about the years since I’d died. Years without much music. Light leached out.
Wandering, Nothing to pace me but memories and the unicorn. How sad I was for him; assigned to me till I got my
chance. And now it had come and I’d taken my best go, and failed.
Lizette and I were the two sides of the same coin; devalued and impossible to spend. Legal tender of nations long
since vanished, no longer even names on the cracked papyrus of cartographers’ maps. We had been snatched
away from final rest, had been set adrift to roam for our crimes, and only once between death and eternity would
we receive a chance. This night...this nothing special night...this was our chance.
Oh, how I sorrow for anyone who has never seen the world-famous Saint Louis Cemetery in New Orleans. It is
the perfect graveyard, the complete graveyard, the finest graveyard in the universe. (There is a perfection in some
designs that informs the function totally. There are Danish chairs that could be nothing but chairs, are so totally
and completely chair that if the world as we know it ended, and a billion years from now the New Orleans horsy
cockroaches became the dominant species, and they dug down through the alluvial layers, and found one of
those chairs, even if they themselves did not use chairs, were not constructed physically for the use of chairs, had
never seen a chair, still they would know it for what it had been made to be: a chair. Because it would be the
essence of chairness. And from it, they could reconstruct the human race in replica. That is the kind of graveyard
one means when one refers to the world-famous Saint Louis Cemetery.)
Lizette and I were two sides of the same coin, cast off after death for the opposite extremes of the same crime. She had never loved. I had loved too much. Overindulgence in something as delicate as love is to be found monstrously offensive in the eyes of the God of Love. And some of us--who have never understood the salvation in the Golden Mean--some of us are cast adrift with but one chance. It can happen.
“This is Heaven. But let me explain.” Griffin had not considered an interruption. He was silent and struck dumb.
“Heaven is what you mix all the days of your life, but you call it dreams. You have one chance to buy your Heaven
with all the intents and ethics of your life. That is why everyone considers Heaven such a lovely place. Because it
is dreams, special dreams, in which you exist. What you have to do is live up to them.”
Perhaps it was because Norman had never suffered from an excess of oily, curly hair that he had been unable to make it
as a gigolo. Or as Norman had phrased it: “I can’t stand patent-leather on my hair or my feet.” So he had taken the easy way out: Norman Mogart had become a pimp.
Er, let’s make the semantics more palatable. (In an era of garbage collectors who are Sanitation Disposal Engineers, truck drivers who are Transportation Facilitation Executives, and janitors who are Housing Maintenance Overseers, a spade is seldom a spade, Black Panthers please note.) Norman Mogart was an Entertainment Liaison Agent.
Pfui. Norman was a pimp.
Tears were impossible, yet tears were his heritage. Sorrow was beyond him, yet sorrow was his birthright. Anguish was
denied him; even so, anguish was his stock in trade. For Trente, there was no unhappiness; nor was there joy, concern,discomfort, age, time, feeling.
And this was as the Ethos had planned it.
..there are men whom one hates until a certain moment when one sees, through a chink in their armour, the
writhing of something nailed down and in torment.
No God is sane. How could it be? To be a Man is so much less taxing, and most men are mad. Consider the
God. How much more deranged the Gods must be, merely to exist. There can be no doubt: consider the Universe
and the patterns without reason upon which it is run. God is mad. The God of Music is mad. The Timegod
is punctual, but he is mad. And the Machine God is mad. He has made the bomb and the pill and the missile and
the acid and the electric chair and the laser and the embalming fluid and the thalidomide baby in his own image.
For the lunatic Gods there are minuscule pleasures. The beloved of the Gods are the best, the most highly treasured, the most zealously guarded. God is brutal, God is mad, God is vengeful. But all Gods revere innocence. The Iamb, the child, the song. To steal these is to steal from the mad Gods.... But all Gods revere innocence. The Iamb, the child, the song. To steal these is to steal from the mad Gods....
“You know, you’re really ghoulish. I think you’re enjoying this in some sick way.”
“What other way is there to enjoy it?”
There was so much to talk about. So now they sat in the street cafe and he could not talk to her. He could not
even look at her. He could not explain that he was a man trapped within himself. He knew she was aware of it, but
like all women she needed him to come only far enough outside himself to let her share his fear. Just far enough
that he could not make it. She needed him to verbalize it, to ask for it--if not help then--companionship through his
country of mental terrors. But he could not give her what she wanted. He could not give her himself.
He knew what he had to answer to please her, to win her, but he said, “I don’t know what that means.”
He wanted to tell her his need was not a temporary thing, not a matter of good times only, of transitory bodies
reaching and never quite finding one another. He wanted to tell her that he had lost all belief in his world, a world
that seemed incapable of bringing to him any richness, any meaning, any vitality. But his words--if they came at
all--he knew would come with ill-restrained fury, with anger and sharpness, insulting her, forcing her to walk away
as she now walked away.
They were an ancient people, with a heritage of enslavement, and so for them anguish had less meaning than the thinnest whisper of crimson cloud high above a desert planet of the farthest star in the sky. But they knew the
uses to which anguish could be put, and for them there was no evil in doing so: for a people with a heritage of
enslavement, evil is a concept of those who forged the shackles, not those who wore them. In the name of
freedom, no monstrousness is too great.
The War God grows fatter each year, gorged on blood. The Love God fornicates with himself, weakening his
genes, rebirthing as a thalidomide monstrosity. Paingod does his work and doles out his anguish, paying no
attention to the cries of those crushed beneath his millstones. But the Machine God...
Was Adam being a gentleman when he placed blame on Eve? Who was Quisling? Discuss “narking” as a character flaw.