It all started one day at the market, when a guy slapped another guy for having tried to sell him a far too expensive bag of tomatoes. The news spread so fast that by the time the bag of tomatoes touched the ground, the entire market was talking about it. The following day it was on the cover of every major newspaper in the world. People were shocked and could not understand how such a thing was possible in those days. The sceptics thought it was all part of a conspiracy and that the government was trying to fool them into thinking they’re animals. The faithful believed it was a sign from God, telling them to stop selling food to one another. The economists said it was a sign from the stock market, telling them to take it easy with the price of natural goods. The thing is, in little time, everybody had different opinions about what the slapping meant. Children discussed it in schools, women talked it over on the phone, men argued in bars. It wasn’t long before disagreements lead to fighting and in a few months time, thousands of cases of slapping were reported all over the world. The authorities were overwhelmed. People started slapping each other whenever they felt there was something they didn’t like. In two months time, there was no way of taking out the garbage without knowing you would get a fresh one. The period was known as the Great World Slapping. Everybody’s cheeks became blood-red and whoever had a normal skin colour was considered an outcast. You could hear stuff like: ‘Yo, white boy, shine my shoes!’ It was by that time that the Non-Slapping Society took form. It was made up of the most peaceful people you would ever think of encountering. They all wore white clothes and their skin was as pale as a dead man’s. The thing about this society was that every member was asked to answer with a smile to all the slapping he would get. The other people did not understand such a strange behaviour and without any previous conflict, a group of angry men entered the main headquarters of the Non-Slapping Society and slapped everybody silly. That moment was recalled as the end of peace on earth. The Non-Slapping Society kept its name, but instead of smiling at every hand that touched its face, it began to respond with a foot in the backside.
From that point on, everything went straight to hell. The battles never ceased. The Non-Slapping Society began wearing metal tip boots, while the other ones, who formed the ‘Hands of Justice’, came with spiked gloves. Now you could virtually kill a man with a single well placed boot or a firm slap on the neck. And so it happened. The two groups started killing off each other’s members with voracious appetite. Years passed and the conflict grew stronger and stronger. Nobody knew what they were fighting for any longer and everybody became tired of having to watch their backs all the time.
So when a peace meeting between the leaders of the two groups was announced, the entire world froze. You could not hear a single breath. The meeting was televised, so that everyone could witness its outcome. The two leaders spoke of peace and forgiveness and it seemed it was the end of the war. But as they finally shook hands, the leader of the Non-Slapping Society shrieked with pain, and by the time anyone realised it had been a trap, the Non-Slapping Society no longer had a leader. He was lying on the floor with a torn hand and a ripped up neck. The world’s population stopped its inner scream, sighed, and went to war all over again…
It all ended one day at the market, when a guy didn’t slap another guy for having tried to sell him a far too expensive bag of tomatoes. By the time the man who bought the tomatoes lifted the bag, the extra money he paid became his fortune.
Being a worm, you are given the rare opportunity to see both sides of the story. You live at the border of what is pulled towards the center of the planet and what is kept at a fair distance from it. Though, you slide through the earth as if you were water and you are scared of lifting your head too high into the air for fear of falling into space.
Being in between worlds, you know there is no supreme truth and that everything has two faces that are exactly opposite. A flower grows both ways. That is why you don’t have an opinion about anything. You live your life without a thought about anything. You simply take it for what it is. An illusion. Because, as a worm, one of the first things you learn is that nothing exists. Nothing is real. You call it – `The Basic Principle of Mathematics` – and it goes like this: 1+(-1)=0. It is one of the great philosophical thoughts you get to master as a worm, and once understood, you take it to the grave. That is why, whenever a worm dies, it crawls into a tight neat circle. For it was 1, and now it is 0.
For this reason, as a worm you do pretty much everything there is without any preconceived ideas. You eat all sorts of plants and flowers; crawl through mud, manure, intestines, soil as you would through shiny apples; have casual sex with almost any worm that happens to pass by, no matter how good looking they are and, most of all, have a careless attitude towards the things that surround you. Because, if nothing exists, then there is no such thing as hierarchy. All things share the same importance.
Now, as a worm, you still have some responsibilities and duties to attend to, because even though nothing is real, your actions can still have grave repercussions on the world and on yourself. And you don’t want that to happen. This is where the other great philosophical thought of the worms comes in. And it says – `Action is the most durable thing of all matter`. This suggests that there is something to pay attention to while doing pretty much everything – and that is how you do things. Because when nothing exists, not even your body, you are left with just your actions. And it is preferable you find comfort in them, otherwise your inexistence – which is equally as long as your existence – will be miserable. This second philosophy actually comes with a little song (though it has no melody, because worms don’t do singing):
`Why leave this world without a trace
When all the things that go aren’t gone?
We have but one heart, like a vase
And everything we do stays done`
And this is why worms put every bit of soul into digging holes in the ground and eating dead cats. So that when the birds come to feed on them, they don’t give a shit.
A.Looking into the black hole, Jim had the feeling he was looking into the very essence of existence. The primordial soup from which he came had always been Nothingness. Yet all his life he tried to deny this and pretend there is more to it than that. Now he knew there wasn’t. And now he understood that the emptiness he felt inside was not due to his inability to cope with the environment, but to the eternal cry of the black hole, calling every particle of his body and spirit towards its centre. Looking into the black hole, Jim saw everything that was missing from his life. He was missing Nothing. But that was everything there was…
Coming down from the Observatory, he knew things had changed. All appeared in a new strange light. He looked at the yellow dandelions growing tall above him and could not find comfort in their sunny warmth. It’s amazing, he thought, how Nothingness can have such beautiful shapes and colours. But he didn’t stop to stare, for now he could see the void beneath the petals and it was a horrific view.
Walking with his eyes in the ground, Jim tried to keep his mind clear and not give in to despair. He knew that what he had learned was a dangerous thing that could lead him either to illumination or to insanity. Both scared him equally.
Never had he been so frightened than when he got in the hole in the ground that he called home and locked the door. He had passed many worms on his way and was terrified by the empty looks on their faces. His only thought was to see himself in the mirror. Was he as hollow as they were? Was Nothingness part of his structure as well? He stood by the door, frozen into position, not having the guts to make another move. Through the open window he could hear other worms crawling and it seemed to him that the sound of their bodies against the soil was the sound of the black hole, spinning endlessly into vacuum. He looked outside. It was clouded and a cold wind was blowing through the autumn grass, so there were dozens of worms out in the open, appearing to have very important things to do. Jim could not see their faces anymore. They were all the same to him. Parts of Nothing moving from one place to another, pretending to have a meaning. He was stunned by this. He realised that nothing around him was real. It was just the form of Nothingness’s desire to have a purpose. Life didn’t begin with a Big Bang. It began with a Big Make Belief.
As rain started to pour, he got away from the window and decided to look into the mirror in the bathroom. He was almost sure of what he was about to see, but he had to do it in order to gain confidence for the idea that started blooming in his head. He turned on the light and was almost startled by the sight of his face. It was as if he saw himself for the first time. A pointy pale-looking head with two or three wrinkles going around his neck. Nothing unusual at this point. But his eyes… His eyes shared the darkness and the cold density of the black hole. He could see it perfectly in his eyes. It was there, with every small detail and every eaten star. Two small black holes were fitted inside his orbits, calling every piece of his body towards them.
He now knew what he had to do.
He got out in the rain, went to the first bar and bought himself a bottle of Jack, drank it halfway and crawled swiftly towards the edge of the Sidewalk. As the rain was quite cold, the huge steps passing on the Sidewalk were busier than usual. He saw another two dead worms scattered on the concrete, squashed by the angry feet of the Gods. Without any hesitation, Jim plunged out from the cover of the grass into the desert of stone. He heard a great rumble as two strangely looking feet with some sort of high heels closed upon him. ‘If I am nothing, at least I shouldn’t pretend’ Jim thought. And that was the last thought he had.
B.It was at the age of twenty seven on a cold November night when Paul decided he didn’t want to be a man anymore. He had been fed up with the entire falsity of people and was too tired to pretend anymore. He had all the inclinations of a woman: the meticulous way of doing things, the sensitivity of a woman towards the surroundings, even her curiously strange intuition. He hated being a man, they were all so rude and careless and not giving a damn about anything. He had nothing in common with men, apart from his penis, which he had grown to despise. And he also hated the society of men, which had all the possible bad habits: lazy, false, superficial, taking without giving in return. The sight of people so miserably trying to pretend they’re in a certain way made him sick.
That is why on the twentieth of November he decided to give up every lie. He gave up his job, gave up his social status and gave up his masculinity. He even changed his name to Paula. Shaved all over, bought some women’s clothes and some makeup and went home to prepare his transformation. ‘If it’s all lies and pretending’ she thought ‘what harm would another small lie do?’. She put on her makeup, dressed up in a short skirt and a glossy blouse, put her high heel boots on and went for an evening walk, to see how society would cope with her new change.
It was cold outside but she was too excited to feel anything. Few people were out because of the cloudy weather, but the ones passing by her didn’t even notice her. She began to lose enthusiasm. Nobody would look at her. They were again pretending, this time not to see her. The sound of the high heels on the sidewalk made her feel uncomfortable and strangely lonely. As the rain started to fall, she got scared and confused and did not know if that was what she had really wanted. As people kept passing by her, she felt that all she wanted was to be home and dry. She should have taken an umbrella, but was too nervous to do so. The degree of physical comfort disappeared in an instance when the water got through her blouse and soaked her skin. The makeup started dripping of her face and she felt she was walking silly in those boots. The rain was so thick she didn’t realise where she was going. She was so frightened that when she tripped over a crack in the ground she started crying.
She was surprised to see that the sound of her cry was the sound of a woman’s cry. The transformation had surpassed her initial plans. It was like in a nightmare. The sidewalk swarmed with worms, crawling straightforward as if driven by some unseen forces. She got to the not so pretty side of the neighbourhood and the thought that a gang could stumble upon her dressed like that made her heart beat like crazy. She accidentally stepped on a big worm and slipped down. She said ‘Oh’ in what was apparently the right way, because right after her scream, she heard a man’s voice calling her: ‘Missy, this way if you want to keep out of the rain’. The man’s voice was so calm and luring that she followed it without hesitation. The last thing she saw was a bright light and some sort of spaceship floating in mid air.
C.Lar was visiting Earth in order to gather information for a biology project. His job was to determine the characteristics of the human sex. He had a terrible week and a visit to Earth was the last thing he wanted. Bad luck followed him all the way. He had just broke off with his girlfriend, he got mad and wrecked his room, his mom punished him for this by taking the keys to his spaceship, and now there was this project that was not going too well either. On entering the Solar system, he got hit by this sudden rain of meteors, which made a huge hole in his ship. Needless to say that he had stole the keys thinking his mother wouldn’t notice, but this hole ruined everything. He reached Earth, tired and angry and noticed that rain was pouring in through the hole. He parked in midair in between some large buildings, but the rain kept coming in. He was absolutely furious and decided he would take the first human that would pass by. He didn’t wait more than five minutes when he heard a pointy sound of footsteps. He placed the lure carefully, as suggested in the manual, and soon, an ugly looking human dressed in a weird manner was lying unconsciously on the table of his ship. He programmed the computer to collect data. This project was essential for him in order to pass the grade. ‘At least there are no other complications’ Lar thought.
D. Foreseeing this, God laughed so hard he gave way to a shower of meteors that spread through the entire Milky Way…
There was once a worm named Brian who lived at the crossroads of the small and the large intestine of an ox, in a cul-de-sac called the Cecum. He was no ordinary worm, as all worms share something of the extraordinaire, attribute often contained in the sparkle in their eye. What kept him from being regular was the rather curious passion he nurtured for science.
Despite being simple creatures, the worms had still many complex and praise-worthy activities in their itinerary, such as spreading diseases, copulating whenever there was time to spare and eating as much as possible from whatever came down the small intestine. Being too preoccupied with scientific research, Brian hardly ever did any of those things, so no matter how extraordinary they were, the other worms hated him and ironically called him a wise-ass. Brian didn’t mind though, as he too considered himself to be rather wise.
All day long, Brian walked around, butt-naked, messy and unshaved, smelling the ground, tasting the walls, touching the ceiling and taking samples of whatever there was to sample. He called it ‘pickin’ on God’ for who knows what strange reason, while the others called it ‘pickin’ on Brian’ because they much enjoyed making fun of him. He could hear all sorts of intelligent jokes such as: ‘Hey, Brian, need ketchup with that wall?’ or ‘Hey, Brian, what about mustard?’, but he ignored them all, for in the end he could always hear that encouraging ‘Wise-ass!’ he pretty much agreed with.
One day, Brian came out of his poorly built shack, eyes almost popping out of his skull, saliva dripping down his chin, hair messier than a bird’s nest and wandered through the neighbourhood for hours talking to himself in a weird tone. The other worms thought he might have licked on a poisonous mushroom from one of the walls, so they found it fit to make even more fun of him: ‘Hey, Brian, did the mayonnaise bother your stomach?’ or ‘Hey, Brian, who you talkin’ to? The ceiling?’. Brian didn’t answer to any of them.
On the following day, he announced that he had uncovered a great truth about the Universe they lived in. ‘It is a living organism,’ he said ‘that feeds on other living organisms. And we are located somewhere in its digestive system’.
There was a rain of laughter coming from the worms and some even threw rotten tomatoes at him, but with no luck. ‘Now this explains why you’re a wise-ass,’ said one of the worms and everybody else started laughing again. Brian did not mind that accusation, for it was actually a very plausible one. Instead, he added: ‘How else can you justify the huge amount of food getting to us every day?’
The crowd stopped laughing. One worm in the back shouted: ‘Blasphemy!’, as it was well known that the food they received was a token from the gods, as a reward for being such good worms. Suddenly, everybody started throwing whatever there was to throw towards Brian, who soon realised it was not safe to be there any longer.
Alone and dazzled, Brian went back to his shack to rethink the whole situation. Clearly, he had not expected such a reaction from his community. The hatred and anger in the eye of the crowd troubled him to his core. He immediately understood what he had to do in order to regain his people’s trust. ‘I have to find the exit to the digestive system and return with evidence from the outer Universe!’ he said to himself. And so he did.
He prepared a small backpack with the things necessary for the journey, and hours later, while everybody was sound asleep, he sneaked towards the edge of the Cecum. By his calculations, based on sampling, there was supposed to be a small passage leading into the large intestine somewhere around there. Dark as it may have been, he found it in no time, due to his developed ability to feel the walls. He squeezed the backpack through and then plunged in himself. The hole was tight, but he was thin and slippery, so he managed to pass without much problems. The line had been crossed. A darker and more cavernous journey now awaited him.
There is no saying how many days or weeks he wandered through that dark maze of a Colon, faeces scattered all over the place, poisonous winds blowing for dear life, everything looking the same everywhere he went, but he kept on going. He knew it was the right path and he knew that truth waited for him at the end of the tunnel. ‘There is no easy way’ he thought to himself while resting one time near a digested leaf of clover, ‘everything has to be done with great effort and great sacrifice, otherwise there is no real achievement’.
He often sighed during his time in the Colon, mostly because whenever he got lost, he thought about the worms back home and how they happily accepted the daily dose of shit fed to them by their so-called gods, without ever feeling there is something more to life than that. The thought made him sad and it made him feel old and overburdened, but it also helped him get back on the right track every time.
After countless days, after countless moments of despair and terror, after mountains of faeces and valleys of stench, Brian one day finally hit a dead end. His heart started pumping like crazy. He dropped the backpack and with a shivering body he began to touch every part of the wall blocking his way. He was supposed to find the tiniest little hole there was. The way out. This was it, the moment he had expected. The wise-ass going through the asshole to find the truth. Life’s perfect irony. He laughed as he walked his head to-and-fro around the Universe’s huge anus, but his laughing stopped when he came across the hole.
It was indeed tiny, but so was Brian. He closed in on it and tried to feel the hole with his heart. A strange, yet sweet-scented air came in through the thinner membrane surrounding it. He took a deep breath and without further thinking pushed himself into the sphincter, beyond anything his kind would ever know.
The light he saw blinded him in an instant. He wanted to close his eyes, but it was of no use. The rays pierced through his entire body, turning him into a being of light. He felt a slight sensation of discomfort and quickly came to realise that the cold air and the warm beams were drying up his moist body, making him unable to move. ‘But this is not what I want,’ he yelled, ‘I want to know!’. He twisted and turned in his useless attempt to resist the phenomenon, but with no results.
Soon, his body became as hard as a statue’s. He could not even open his mouth any longer. A pale wind dried him up for good and he fell off the anus.
While in the air, he had a glimpse of the ox’s body. An immense creature resting on four grandiose pillars, moving with extremely slow gestures and emanating a state of benevolent peace around it. It was the most beautiful thing Brian had ever seen in his life. He wanted to cry, but was too dry to do so.
‘It was worth it’ he murmured just before touching the earth.
Moral: Think outside the ox.
1. He met her in the dark of night
On streets no soul would walk,
She thought he’d rape her, but in spite
He just wanted to talk.
2. She was relieved, and so it was
They talked and talked again
And by the time she called for pause
Love had them in its chain.
3. ‘Oh, Mary Lou! Oh, brightest dove!’,
He whispered in her ear,
‘Let it be me the one you love
And let us go from here!’
4. ‘Oh, Johnny B, please understand
My heart is yours to keep,
But like a raindrop in the sand
My mind is troubled deep’
5. ‘Sweet Mary Lou, these things you say
Don’t bother me at all!
Let us be merry on our way,
Your trouble is but small’
6. And so it came that Mary Lou
And Johnny B were one,
Yet if you counted there were two,
But counting isn’t fun.
7. Beneath the warmth of her embrace
John felt a mighty joy,
He felt thrown back into the place
And time he was a boy.
8. And through that misty scented air
Of childhood he had caught,
While meditating on a chair
He had a crazy thought:
9. To start a clan of angry men
Who’d wear hoods if they may
And drive the niggers in their den.
He called it… K.K.K.
10. ‘Oh, Johnny dear, please stop and think!’
Said Mary from atop,
‘Skin might be black, but heart is pink’,
So Johnny gave it up.
11. Years passed and Mary had a son
She said he was her prize
But sure as bullets make the gun
Her problems would arise.
12. Between the wrapping of her legs
John felt his childhood spent.
He did no longer play with pegs,
He was adólescent
13. And in that twisted gloomy mood
Of aimless teenage aim,
He forced his mind more than it could
And with a plan he came:
14. To form a gang of righteous gents
Who’d wear robes if the will
And love the children without pants
And teach us not to kill.
15. ‘Oh, Johnny boy, please change your mind!’
Said Mary from above,
‘Children are ugly from behind’
So John gave up his love.
16. More years and more ideas came
While Mary choked them whole
Till Johnny started feeling shame
For having them at all.
17. Beside the beauty of her core
John saw there was no cage
And nothing held him anymore.
He had become of age.
18. And in that fearless way to be,
While he prepared some tea
With just a pinch of sugar – he
Had an epiphany!
19. That he could change the world as such
Without making a sound,
By doing little. Or as much
As laying on the ground.
20. Before he could even resume
The dream he had to tell,
John walked into the living room
And what he saw was hell.
21. Right underneath the chandelier
Hanged Mary like a sack
And on the couch his child most dear
Had two knives in his back.
22. ‘Oh, loving John, please do not grieve,’
Wrote Mary on the wall,
‘I’m leaving and I’m taking Steve…
This world is getting small.’
23. And so it came that Mary Lou
And Johnny B were one,
Though if you count, there’s only you
‘Cause otherwise there’s none.
24. Inside John’s heart it all went dark
All hatred came outside
The skin around him turned to bark,
His human nature died.
25. And while he gazed upon the sky
With thirst for blood and gore
There was a cry: ‘Let’s occupy!’
And thus began the war.