Friday, April 2, 2010

The King in the Hat

(for Henry)

The sun did not shine.
It was too wet to play.
So we sat in the Lethal Chamber
All that frigid, bleak, grey day.

I sat there with Sally.
We sat there, we two.
And I said, "How I wish
We had something to do!"

Too wet to go out
And too filled with anomie to play ball.
So we sat in the Lethal Chamber.
We did nothing at all.

So all we could do was to
And we did not like it.
Not one little bit.

And then
Someone cried "The King!"
How that cry made us spring!

We looked!
Then we saw him step in on the mat!
We looked!
And we saw him!
The King in the Hat!
And he said to us,
"Why do you sit there like that?"

"I know it is bleak
And the black suns are not sunny.
But we can have
Lots of good Fun that is Funny!"

"I know some Carcosan games we could play,"
Said the King.
"I know some...tricks."
Said the King in the Hat.
"A lot of good tricks.
I will show them to you.
I will remove the Pallid Mask
And no questions will you ask.
Your mother
Will not mind at all if I do."

Then Sally and I
Did not know what to say
Our mother was at the reef, dwelling amidst wonder and glory
For the day.

But the Fisher of Men said, "No! No!
Make the King go away!
Tell that King in the Hat
You do NOT want to play.
He should not be here.
He should not be about.
He should not be here
When Mother Church is without!"

"Now! Now! Have no fear.
Have no fear!" said the King.
"My tricks are terrible in their simplicity,"
Said the Mad Yellow King.
"Why, we can have
Lots of good fun, dear Sally,
With a game that I call
Drowning the Fisher of Men in Lake Hali."

"Let me go!" said the Fisher.
"I’m being done brown!
Let me go!" said the Fisher
"I do NOT wish to drown!"

"You will know fear." said the King
"Long will you moan.
I will hold you below
As I sit on my throne.
With my scalloped tatters wrapped ‘round one hand!
And hiding Yhill behind string!
But that is not ALL I can do!"
Said the King...

"Gaze upon me!
Gaze upon me now!" said the King.
"Comprehend the black stars and the thoughts
Of men lengthening!
My empire spans from Carcosa to Hyades
To me men’s lives are as fleas’!
And look!
I can hop up and down on a ball!
But that is not all!
Oh, no.
That is not all...

"Look at me!
Look at me!
Look at me NOW!
I find it fun to have fun
But only I know how.
Read the play and learn of the depths of Demhe!
Trace the genealogy of the Carcosan Dynasty!
Look at Aldebaran
And the lands that are barren!
Look at Naotalba
And Jessica Alba!
And look! With my tail
I can hold a yellow fan!
I can fan with the fan
As I hop on a ball!
But that is not all.
Oh, no.
That is not all..."

That is what the King said...
Then the walls of reality fell down!
They fell down with a bump
From above the King’s crown.
And Sally and I,
We saw ALL the Things fall!

And the Fisher of Men came down, too.
He fell on to a bonbon
He said, "Enough!
Outcast and unclean spirit, begone!
Depart then, transgressor!"
Said the Fisher as he lit.
"Everlasting ruin awaits you and your abettor
Give place, abominable creature, to your better!"

"Now see what you did!"
Said the Fisher to the King.
"Now look at these children!
You lure them to sinning!
Your play ruined Paris and Rome
That unspeakable tome.
You shook up London
With words that cannot be undone.
You SHOULD NOT be here
When their mother and Church are beyond our ken.
Begone from this place!"
Said the Fisher of Men.

"But I like to be here.
It shall be my new den!"
Said the King in the Hat
To the Fisher of Men.
"I will NOT go away.
I do NOT wish to go!"
And so," said the King in the Hat,
I will show you
Another good 'game' that I know."

And then he flew out
And then, without a knock
The King in the Hat
Came back with a catafalque.

A basalt coffin catafalque
It was draped with a pall.
"Now look at this 'game',"
Said the King.
"Look and do not squall!"

Then he got up on top
With a tip of his wing
"I call this game 'Tekeli-li',"
Said the King.
"In this box are two Things
I will show to you now.
You will like these two Things."
Said the King with a bow.

"I will break the seal.
You will see something new.
Two Things. And I call them
Shoggoth One and Shoggoth Two.
These Things will not bite you
At first—they want to have fun."
Then, out of the coffin
Came Shoggoth Two and Shoggoth One!
And they oozed to us fast.
Their alien consciousnesses thought-beamed a piping "How do you do?
Would you like to exchange DNA strands
With Shoggoth One and Shoggoth Two?"

And Sally and I
Did not know what to do.
So we placed our hands in the viscous jelly, which looked like an agglutination of bubbles,
Which comprised Shoggoth One and Shoggoth Two.
But the Fisher of Men said, "No! No!
Those Things Should Not Be!
Not outside of the unknown aeons! Make them go!"

"They should not be here
When your mother is trapped in an Innsmouth fen!
Cast them out! Use whatever curious weapons of molecular and atomic disturbances you have!"
Said the Fisher of Men.

"Have no fear, little Fisher,"
Said the King in the Hat.
"These Things are good Things,"
And he gave them a pat.
"They are tamed. Oh, so tamed!
Their will is quite broken.
They will show no resistance.
No, not even a token."

"Now, here is a game that they like,"
Said the King.
"They like to consume,"
Said the King to me, Sterling.

"No! Think of the children!"
Said the Fisher of Men.
"They should not be allowed to consume!
They are beyond your ken.
Oh, the lives they will ruin.
Oh, the world they will sicken.
Oh, I am not sanguine!
Not one little smidgeon!"

Then Sally and I
Saw them slither down the street.
We saw those two Things
Consume every human they’d meet.
Chomp! Dissolve! Chomp! Dissolve!
Human meat in the street.

Shoggoth Two and Shoggoth One!
They oozed up! They oozed down!
At the end of their tendrils
We saw half of the town!
Their insides were out
Viscera pink, white, and red.
Then we saw one tendril flicker
And some orphans behead!

Then those Things ran about
Driving before them a spiral, rethickening cloud of pallid abyss vapors.
Nightmare, plastic columns of fetid black iridescence.
Up to all kinds of bad capers.
And I said,
"I do NOT like the way that they play!
If Mother could see this,
Oh, what would she say!"

Then the Fisher of Men said, "Look! Look!
And the Fisher shook with fear.
"The Inquisition is on its way here!
Do you hear? Do you hear?
Oh, what will they ask of us?
What will they say?
They burned witches for years
They will not like finding us this way!"

"So DO something! Fast!" said the Fisher of Men.
"Do you hear!
I saw them! The Inquisition!
The Inquisition is near!
So, as fast as you can,
Think of something to do!
You will have to get rid of
Shoggoth One and Shoggoth Two!"

So, as fast as I could
I went after my curious weapon of molecular and atomic disturbance.
And I said, "With my curious weapon
I can get them, I reckon.
I bet, with my atomic javelin
I can disrupt a Shoggoth’s organ!"

Then I threw my atomic javelin
And I had them! At last!
Those two Shoggoths had to stop.
Then I said to the King,
"Now you do as I say.
You inter those Things
And you take them away!"

"By the Phantom of Truth!" said the King.
"You did not like our game…
Oh dear.
What a shame!
What a shame!
What a shame!
And to think, the city, the State, the whole land, were ready to rise and tremble before the Pallid Mask."

Then he shut up the Shoggoths
In the basalt coffin catafalque.
And the King went away
With a baleful kind of look.

"That is good," said the Fisher
"He has gone away. Yes.
But your mother will come.
She will find this big mess!
And this mess is so big
Piles of corpses so tall
We cannot cremate them all
There is no way at all!"

Who was back in the Lethal Chamber?
Why, the King!
"Have no fear of this mess,"
Said the King in the Hat.
"I always pick up after all my minions and thralls
And so…
I will show you another
Good 'trick' that I know!"

Then we saw him resurrect
All the half-eaten corpses.
He resurrected the Mayor,
And Mr. and Mrs. Atorpsis,
And the Chief of Police and the Doctors
And the Nurses and Actors
And Orphans and Teachers
And Drunken Cubs Fans Who Live in the Bleachers
And they began to dance as he whistled a tune
Then he said, "I’ll be back again soon."
And then he was gone
With a tip of his Hat.

Then our mother came in
And she said to us two,
"Did you have any fun?
Tell me. What did you do?"

And Sally and I did not know
What to say.
Should we tell her
The things that went on there that day?
She’s not really listening. All she says is
"Ia-R’lyeh! Ia-R’lYAY!"

1 comment:

Dave Hardy said...

When will we see the illustrated version?