AND THEY WERE ASHAMED by Paul Corman-Roberts

AND THEY WERE ASHAMED by Paul Corman-Roberts

Uncle Draco the dragon rolled on down from the star pool to get a gander at his brother Joe’s fancy new terrarium and visit with all his nieces and nephews so freely frolicking, feasting and fucking among the shimmering foliage of their world without a care or concern as to how or why they should be so lucky to do so.

After a week had passed, Uncle Draco quietly led the kids to the grove of apple trees, which Papa Joe hadn’t really mentioned anything about other than to say it was still “under construction” and therefore “off limits.”  Uncle Draco pulled down two apples; one red and one blue. He presented both of them to his nieces and nephews, and said:

“Your Father hasn’t explained to all of you that the world is bigger than just this garden you live in. And why should you wonder at why the world is a bigger place when your bellies are always full, when your thirst is always quenched by the dizzying ambrosia that pours from the fountains your father built for you, when sleep is always warm, and there are always arms to hold you when you fall?

But all is not as it seems, for being here, I have seen those times when your beautiful bodies stand, nay strain; against the boundary which your father told you not to cross. I have seen many of you staring at the harvests of the forbidden forests while you thoughtlessly explore and caress each other’s Chakric coils.

And why shouldn’t you know the taste of the Earth’s pungent sweet?  Why shouldn’t you come to know all the strange wonders which inhabit the whole of the world of which your terrarium, in which you are essentially well fed slaves, is but a small portion?

So here, as your uncle who loves you as much if not more than your father, I give you this choice: feast upon the blue apple, and you shall never have to wonder again what lies beyond the terrarium and you shall spend the rest of all existence in the only perpetual dream you have ever known.

Or instead feast from the red apple and you will find the knowledge which will allow you all to reach beyond the terrarium; that will allow you all to undertake the glorious adventure of your freedom.”

Uncle Draco was so warm and charming and generous with his offer, that all Papa Joe’s beautiful children feasted on all the red apples on all the red apple trees in the terrarium and it was as great and golden and orgiastic a feast as had ever occurred in this dimension; a cornucopia of sticky sweet amber juices flowing down beautifully curved bodies; soft pillows of rich light condensed into flesh melting among a sudden convulsion of savagely gnashing teeth, biting, touching, hitting, caressing, copulating and consuming until satiated, and afterwards while lying together in a great, huddled, post-coital mass, knowledge came to the children of Papa Joe, and in turn, they were able to see everything their father had been able to see the whole time, and they knew he had lied to them.

With this realization everything the children had ever known began to transform. The colorful fruits throughout the terrarium were suddenly overtaken by molds and fungi.  The trees petrified and crumbled to dust before their eyes. For the first time in their lives, air pressure driven wind poured into their realm, building into a screeching howl that caused the tree dust to obscure the light. In this wind, other foliage began to writhe and dance like serpents in perfect time with the whipping back and forth of Uncle Draco’s tail, while the fountains of ambrosia became vats of distilled sludge.

Day became night. Four enormous walls of pitch darkness surrounded the children in their new found freedom, and with that dark came a condensation and chill that brought a new, excruciating agony that pushed out from within their hearts, as well as crushed their spirits from without by the great twin weights of carbon and gravity, suffocating them between icy jagged sheets of loneliness.

Thick blankets of frozen existential doom covered the children. From each and every one of their newly formed orfici their rose a great keening wail, slowly at first, but building gradually louder and louder until the sound became its own screeching, hollow gale of black, the wind that fills the passages between this world and the underworld.

When Papa Joe finally woke from his nap, he discovered this horrific dissonance; found his precious creation had mutated beyond his control, and this sent him into such a despairing rage, that he lashed out at his children and sent them all packing to a permanent time-out in the desert world beyond the ruined terrarium. And for this, they were ashamed and have remained so ever since.

Then Papa Joe looked at his brother, cut his legs out from under him, so that he would never look so charming and handsome again without the stigmata of his belly betraying his worldliness. Then Papa Joe said to Draco: “get the fuck out.”

Draco laughed as he slithered out the door, but not before hearing his brother moaning “why?  WHY?” to which Draco paused, looked back over what used to be his shoulder and said “shoulda paid me my money bitch.”

Paul Corman-Roberts is a finalist for subTerrrain’s annual fiction contest for his short story “The Deathbed Confession of Christopher Walken.” He has appeared in The Rumpus, Buddy, and sParkle and bLink.  He’s mostly  known as a poet but is the current fiction editor for Full of Crow and the founder of the Beast Crawl Literary Fest in his hometown of Oakland CA. His latest collection of poems is We Shoot Typewriters from Nomadic Press.

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