Rant of the Purple Monster

“You see, it’s not that easy to convince a large collection of humans that their demise is going to benefit the rest of the world. Look at how successful the Russians were, look at how successful the Nazis were. No one will go willingly to their deaths, there will always be those who fight back, and they can stir up a pretty big furore. It’s really troublesome to go clean up the mess. I hate dealing with the public relations when it comes to that. Can you imagine, having to convince seven billion, yes BILLION people of the necessity of their deaths. Just try to do something even remotely unpopular for a start, maybe go campaign for universal healthcare or common sense gun laws or something, and see how quickly your mailbox fills up.

But it has to be done, either way, someone has to step up to do it. Someone with the drive, with the conviction, with the balls has to take charge, if not we’ll all die, forever. And that means nothing comes after us. And no one wants that. We all want children right? We all wish for progeny, to carry on our name and our likeness? It’s the same thing on a universal scale – the universe wants, no needs continuity. At least in my way the universe would have a second chance, an opportunity to grow again. Surely that is preferable to having existence cut short for the rest of eternity. You now see why this is inevitable, why I am inevitable? But it is not me that is inevitable, it is the event that we cannot run away from, for the initiator could have been anyone of us, he can appear anytime, anywhere, the only certainty we know is that he will appear sooner or later, so why not here and now?

You all do realise that you will not feel a thing at all, right? It will be over in a poof. There is no afterlife, not like what your bishops and your priests tell you. We are all just atoms – made out of finely ground stardust, and destined to return to that state eventually. You think there’s a soul, there’s an animus? Not really. Your consciousness just ceases to exist as your brain stops functioning. You won’t even feel it, it’ll be like falling asleep, heck, it’ll be like blinking, over in a flash. Life passes in a second, eternity in an hour. No rebirth, no Heaven nor Hell, just, nothingness. It is really quite alright and nothing to be scared about, you will not have the time to complain about the experience.

So, guys, be a good sport, and don’t make this harder than it already is. The greatest burdens lie with those charged with responsibilities. I take all the guilt and the sin for wiping out the entire universe. It is a burden only I will hold. In a sense that is good for you, for you all can die peacefully. Or would you rather be eliminated in pain? I guessed not; all that matters is going out with that clarity of purpose – that’s why you leave your grandparents neglected until their deathbed when you spout all that nonsense about how much you mean to them, right? So now too, we go out full well knowing our purpose: that even as we die now, today, some universe will live on tomorrow. And hopefully, just maybe, the echoes of our sacrifice, will carry on into eternity.”

“Ahem…” the emcee gave a nervous laugh “Alright, thank you, Mr. Thanos, for that enlightening speech. Our next speaker at this year’s World Economic Forum, founder of Ali Baba Group, Mr Jack Ma, will be on stage soon.”

New Year

At the bark of command from their officer, the four policemen sprang into action, dragging the vagrant to his feet and hurled him towards the sidewalk. “No blocking the roads, look at the crowds, man,” said the officer, gesturing at the ever increasing mass of bodies as they flowed into Times Square. The vagrant just stared at him, dazed and too drunk to respond. I dropped a ten dollar note into his pan and watched him clutch at it, peering at it with fascination, and perhaps, a tinge of suspicion, not knowing whence came this generosity. My friends stared at me, somewhat judgemental, but I ignored them, it wouldn’t matter anyway.

Clint steered us round into the shelter of a small shopfront, it was less packed here, and the people were less rowdy too. All around us party-goers were engaged in conversation, or dancing, or drinking, or just peering around and taking in the sights – the sights of New Year’s Eve at Times Square. Right in front of us rose massive skyscrapers, adorned with dazzling, blinking lights, reaching out from the ground towards a starless sky. I heard the chant begin, starting out thin and incoherent, but quickly gaining strength. “Ten, Nine, Eight, Seven…” People were pointing towards the huge numbers plastered on buildings. “Six, Five, Four,” Even my friends, red-faced from the beer, were counting down excitedly at the top of their lungs.

I was struck by how joyous the mood was, as if everyone expected something wonderful, something magical to happen as the clock struck midnight, this arbitrary second which humanity had somehow collectively ascribed particular meaning to; totally illogical. Hands were waving in the air, bottles of champagne primed and ready to blow, lovers already tightly snuggled in each other’s embrace. I guess no one knew what was going to happen besides me.

“Three, Two” I lifted my head and looked past the blinding outline of the buildings. There, that dark patch in the sky, it would start there.

“One, Happy New Year” The first fireworks shot up into the sky. As if on cue, the rumbling started, and there the sky quickly brightened. In a thunderous flash that drowned out even the biggest fireworks, it appeared. That big, monolithic ship, shaped like a giant dagger, perfectly balanced, floated down from the heavens. A hush descended upon the crowd of onlookers. The ship got closer and there he was, stand in the center of the transport, the big purple man clad in that regal armor. He raised his left hand – it was clad in a fantastic golden glove embedded with gems of various colours, and though I was still thousands of meters away, I could almost hear what was going to happen next.

The man smiled. And pressing his thumb and index fingers together, he snapped.

The Invincible Man

The 2020 Olympics were the first one Kilsung ever attended, after all, he was only 16 years old. He was the most promising young athlete in the nation, and he was expected to win the gold medal easily at his pet event – taekwondo. It seemed to the country, to his coaches and all who had the good fortune to spectate his matches, that he possessed the rare talent of being able to knockout anyone on demand. It didn’t matter whether it was a roundhouse kick, or a finger jab; when Kilsung wanted his opponent down, there was nothing the opponent could do to stop him. “Blocking is just a formality for that monster,” his coach had once famously remarked.

Unsurprisingly, Kilsung entered the tournament a hot favourite to win, despite his relatively young age and lack of experience. Round after round, each country’s bests fell to youth. Some went down in a single blow, others managed to dodge around several punches but all were ultimately floored within a couple minutes. “Almost effortlessly,” announced the commentators, “Kilsung progresses to the finals to face Jeremy Flint of Western Samoa.”

Now that guy was an unknown as well. It was the first outing for him too, and in the pre-bout brief all Kilsung’s coach could say to his mentee was “watch out for this lad. He’s breezed through all the stages too.”

“I’ll sort him out, don’t wowwy,” came Kilsung’s reply as he stuffed the mouthguard in between his jaws. He did not really need that mouthguard, but he kept it on to prevent disqualification.

The two men faced each other on the met. “Chunbi” said the referee. Both sides bowed deeply, and then swiftly brought their fists up in a ready position, eyeing the opponent that stood before him. The bell rang out – the bout had begun. Red and Blue circled each other slowly on the mat like sharks, each one fully confident of himself, but hesitant to go closer.

Hesitant? Only for a brief moment for Kilsung, it seemed. He lunged forwards, throwing a front kick to Flint’s right hand side. Flint reacted quickly, blocking it with one hand. Too late, it was a fake. Kilsung’s other foot was already in midair, coming down in an arc aimed straight at his opponents head. But Flint’s head wasn’t there. It had moved, and almost as fast as Kilsung had struck, the return blow was coming from Flint.

In a split second Kilsung realised the danger he was in, and his hands moved to intercept the punch aimed at his chest. Their arms met in midair, and both parties were pulled into an interlocking embrace. Their foreheads almost touching, Flint suddenly broke into a knowing smile. Kilsung chuckled with recognition. “Never thought I’d meet someone with this ability too.” Said Kilsung under his breath. Flint said nothing, but continued smiling, while his arms sought to come to terms with the sensation of being blocked by something as strong as themselves for the first time in his life.

Both men moved together – one step forward, one step back – their arms still tightly grasped the other. Either one unable to break free. Suddenly, Kilsung’s leg shot out, a sly attempt at a leg hook that would ground Flint. But his opponent was prepared. There was a twist and a skip and a clap as their palms collided and then almost as suddenly, the two were apart again, facing each other with renewed vigor. Each had successfully pushed the other away. Each now eyed his opponent, spaced two meters apart from toe to toe.

There is an old Chinese proverb that goes “one mountain isn’t big enough for two tigers”. Maybe Flint was thinking about that when he lunged. Maybe that’s what went through Kilsung’s mind as he too charged forward with his fist. Maybe the proverb is true. Certainly there could only be one gold medalist in this sport, right?

Contact

“Oh Leomund!” cried Stibbons, “what a strange planet! They live on land instead of under the water! Is it not the domain of the devil, that which is parched and dry throughout?”

“Alas,” replied the older man, “there are somethings we are bound not to comprehend. Such is the nature of alien civilisations. Don’t hurt yourself over-thinking these things. Come, prepare for landing.” The ship descended over a collection of metal spires that reached up towards the heavens, like gigantic fingers stretching out from the ground, each one countless times bigger than the two men’s starship. The aliens were thoroughly alike our two characters in build and in feature. With the cloaking technology activated Leomund and Stibbons easily blended into the native population.

Around them, the aliens went about their daily business, some sitting, some standing still, but mostly walking, though to where and for what reason eluded the two pioneers. In front of them loomed a massive structure that bodies were emerging from. Inscribed above in deep set lines carved into the stone (or what seemed like stone from their perspective) were the symbols, written as they were copied by Stibbons: M U S E U M. Stibbons and Leomund looked at each other, and seemingly sensing the other’s intention, both men approached the ingress.

The external facade of the structure belied the sheer magnitude of space within. The walls shot up from the ground high up above both men’s heads. And along the walls hung giant portraits of individual aliens, bigger than life itself, stretching from the floor at one’s toes to the ceilings edge. It was breathtaking. And if the natives themselves were awestruck at this lavish design, the two visitors were much more deeply affected.

They looked around the entire place. The hall seemed to stretch on forever. But as they were walking, Leomund stiffened, for something had caught his attention. They had come abreast with a portrait of a man, long faced, and sharped chin. Whose nose curved downwards ever more slightly than normal, and whose eyebrows were furrowed in a pose of everlasting bewilderment. Could it be? Yes it was. A motionless replica of the one who was now staring agape at the painting – Leomund himself. A space explorer from a planet thousands of lightyears away, stepping foot on this new, untouched planet, only to find a close to perfect representation of his likeness. The two men stood marvelling at the detail, as if this civilisation had known Leomund somehow. Stibbons dutifully copied the symbols at the bottom of the painting. They were:F E Y N M A N , S C I E N T I S T , 1 9 4 1.

It didn’t take them much exploration to come across another portrait, this time of the likeness of the King of Berhenheim, also a one for one representation. He was labelled: P R E S I D E N T amongst other titles. Then there was the renown entertainer Maslov, who was also featured in a collection in the hall, and he was followed by Erva, and Ostidian, and many other prominent figures from home who, inexplicably, seemed to have doppelgangers on this planet. “I am utterly flabbergasted,” expressed an exasperated Leomund, finally. They had long given up recording the names of those on the walls, the sheer number was overwhelming.

“And what is this?” said Stibbons, for he had found and was standing in front of a portrait of himself. “Quite a charmer, ain’t I?” He said to Leomund as he came up from behind. “Certainly dashing,” came the reply, as both men mused at the artwork, deep in thought. “Though what the hell does this mean? They certainly aren’t my initials,” said Stibbons as he traced out the inscription at the bottom: H I T L E R.