Fame

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by Heckel’s Horse Jr.

Fame is a short story.

edgeworth johnstone studio. march 2018

The Pentagoct office workers look glazen, staring over the historic and protected Saz Field their building looks over with them. All standing at their chunk of the wrap around single widow frame of the 11th floor. A contemporary towering monument to the rule of five eighths, the Pentagoct building houses all its residents on the 11th floor. The other floors are for laying empty. The Pentagoct was built five years ago in eight months.

The Pentagoct sits obliviously over an ancient furnace the nomadic Turkish shepherds used as part of their exterior heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system. From hereon referred to as HVAC.

Discovered a mere century ago, the first of these ancient HVAC’s to appear in reasonably modern times happened to have been dug up less a mile from where the Pentagoct stands. Initially mistaken for a Roman kiln, a surrounding lack of pottery lead archaeologists to think again. Only via 3D printer technology did this ancient outdoor ventilation systems true purpose become apparent.

The Pentagoct architects greatly revised these designs to build their own, patented, modern indoor HVAC. The uniform versions they made from the various species of old ventilation systems they had come across, they called ‘units’. ‘Systems’, as they were until then called, suggested complexity. ‘Units’ gave the architects credit for the laborious and otherwise thankless work they had put in to this massively reductive redesign. This was a major achievement and breakthrough for them. HVAC’s are not usually designed by architects. But, just as 20th century man took it upon himself to secretely perform plastic surgery on dead animals faces, Pentagoct architects took it upon themselves to reinvent supplementary wind and oxygen provision for all indoor local nature. Burning off the unnecessary and elaborate chaff. Ridded them and their customers of the expensive time-wasting inefficient near-living-organism of adorably dumb superfluousity the ancient Turks had humiliated themselves by leaving behind for us to pick through and laugh at. Whittled the ancient HVAC down to its bare and beautiful essentials. Blindly dissecting these long forgotten remains. Pissing themselves as they worked. Arrogantly tossing intrinsic and essential nerve channels over their shoulders. Hollywood plastic surgeons of industrial reconstruction.

“Allow me to liberally spurt our dizzying milk of desperation deep into your clients neck.” one architect would suggest to the other. The new and improved HVAC is a permanent tribute to a temporary, self-induced delusion mankind has inflicted on itself.

The wise old Turks were nomadic in as far as they perpetually wandered the peripheries of the same dirt barren field, generation after generation, never moving inward nor looking outward. Never moving outward beyond the ankle high white metallic fence they rightly saw hemmed, and should hem, their people in. Within the culture of the Turkish shepherds, minstrels enjoyed high regard. The saz player of them would endlessly compose new and increasingly eratic jingles for their dancing goats to tap along to. Thumping SOS calls of “Come and get it!” raged down to the frail and randy grass roots lying deep and invisibly below.

The cream of the dancing goats were lauded over, to even greater extent than, the cream of the saz players. Each years champion goat was bred with the wife of its accompanying saz player. This nomadic nations only recognised holiday. The administrators up on the 11th floor were often kept in place for hours, watching these goats in, both theirs and the goats, erotic hypnotic wonder. They with their clapping, penetrating ankles and yellow goofy teeth.

The wandering Turks of Saz Field are more intent on almost nothing more than the innately obvious need to keep all footsteps, of both themselves and their goats, solely to the fields outer circumference, thereby guaranteeing economical fertilisation of the inner ground. Like pre-meteorological myths gave man comforting explanations for the weather, the saz players also came to strange conclusions as to how their footprints gave life to the lush grass beneath them and, mass but not universal, death to the untrodden dry land within. Such was the atmospheric density back then, any open space without a nearby battery powered HVAC was designated uninhabitable, at least in the long term, and used only as a temporary holding space for newly convicted prisoners. Only prisoners are subjected to economical fertilisation. One sperm, one egg, no uterus, distributed on the second day of every month.

On the 11th floor it’s employees, not prisoners, getting conscripted into these existences of planned obsolescence. Prisoners conscripted into work. Administrators conscripted from work. All administrators were once prisoners and all employees are now administrators. All 11th floor administrators were once Turkish shepherds prisoners.

It’s a well-known failing of the ancients, how they only considered prisoners suitable for death. Later societies considered them only suitable for work. Only in more recent years are only prisoners considered suitable for administration. 

Looking now at the Pentagoct’s HVAC whilst considering the significantly more effective shepherds version from the past, conjures up images of middle aged fat men sat naked on the faces of scrawny old Pentagoct managers. Suffocated whistles blown up their intestines as they all laugh in unison. Each fatty mimicking their bubbly glasses of champagne. Holding them out towards the distant walls, as if cheerfully toasting frustrated radiators. Ceremonial reenactments of goat dances, lodged deep in the spinal column memory of our ancient DNA heritage. Those poor old gasping men. That useless Pentagoct HVAC. Those gleeful laughing managers with their whining fat mistresses.

On the third of every month the Turks switched the HVAC’s off, making way for the next batch of convicts. To the Turks, they were batches. To the parched land beneath, they were crops. This open air execution chamber was overlooked by public stands named The Infinite Auditorium. Members of the public could attend for free and often sat there for hours doing their knitting or reading newspapers. There were no football stadiums or theatres. Only The Infinite Auditorium was needed to satisfy and house every social need of the general population. There were no demonstrations or uprisings. No opposition parties. No music. Prisoners were envied by their audience. They were the only famous people in the world, and so were all the newspapers had to write about. There was no politics or tragedy. Justice was punishment without suffering. The audience weren’t even considered human. Just eyes that lit up whenever an electronic pulse throbbed at their receivers.

Doomed prisoners were psychologically and physically fruitful digestion bacteria for the onlooking Infinite Auditorium audience and the inner Saz Field, respectively. One crop would give birth to one withering blade of grass, born into a life of perpetual near suffocation, whose lifespan, mercifully, never exceeds one menstrual cycle. The extent to, and ways in which, the convict executions benefit the auditoriums audience vary and can’t be calculated.

Not even the prisoners victims and their families begrudged them this idyllic end. Satisfaction enough to know they would be dead in a month. The state awarded death penalties in the same way olympians get handed up their medals. Podiums without dread. No dreaded national anthem. No dreaded flag. A drive in cinema to feast it all from. The stupidity of walls, underarm girlfriends and excitable fertility spewing flagpoles only came later.

2022

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