~ a short story

See this place, observe it from afar, the solitude of a master well within his craft.

Look upon thee room, and rejoice.

We have found a solitary god, untouched, untainted.

Ripe for a reception. Watch him in his habitat. The opportunity may never beckon again, so take it in.

Filled with collected materia, flapping against the steadfast breeze of the unchangingly conditioned air, the silent walls closed off the world. Posters of characters and their franchises encircled and beckoned. No spot of the white remained uncovered, unadorned with art or title or depiction. Hundreds of films and shows and series were represented, boxed together at a rising gradient of theme and coloration. All the decisions within this organization meticulous, the corners called for and checked, and re-checked, for nigh perfectible symmetry. Some of the older patrons, “the classics,” were half-obscured by new entrants, “the next gens.” Each is honored with its place, however, unforgotten and well-respected.

Shelves held strong, weighted by figures of steel and plastic and glass. Some of these toons were heroic, others merely lewd. Platforms of monstrous entities posed adjacent to cutesy members of animalia astride finely carven landscapes of rolling hills and thunderous mountains. An ocean of colorful brushwork lay upon the ceiling, going unseen day after day, but felt and augured to a different kind of sight. Having it placed there took the most time of all, so to afford it the least attention held some painful irony. Hand-painted depictions of regimented battling made its heavy presence felt upon the one table of the studio space. It was full with miniature trees and windowless buildings and front-facing armies of well-filed freaks full of micro-animated fury.

There was no room to walk; no room needed. No food stored, all of it was delivered and consumed on-site and then disposed of elsewhere. Nothing moved at the moment, other than bits of manufactured wind along the papered posters not pinned down on the walls. No sounds were produced, other than the air encircling the fashioned folk shelved along these walls. The blinking of more than a few machines lit up the patent darkness. Computers and clocks clicked their incessant manufacture. The blinds of the sole window were forever shuttered, locked into their place since the origins of residence.

Some of this air did come in the form of breath, the breath of the boy inhabiting this place. The solitary God. No, a man now. But neither identification sprung to mind for him, or at his sight. He was beyond such an identifier. He was something else. He would regard himself as part of the dressing of his silent chamber. There’d be no pride in it, no measuring of his collection against some competitor. Undoubtedly, the most important component of the whole collection was him. The only thing truly more than materia. Proudly part of it nevertheless.

He sat unmoving upon a pile of cushions. No care entered his frame, save for the one playing out upon the pages of his tome. He read it intensely. Energetic eyes poured over the pages furiously, longing everlastingly for art melded with character arc’ing and big double-page splash payoffs. It was his favorite series, his favorite artist. His favorite spot. This was his midway reading for the day. Ten more chapters. Than ten episodes of his latest fancy. Each was growing a fandom within him, building mental models and thematic confluences for reactively aspirational posts on a blog astriding finely worded video essays. This was a game he’d been playing for the better of a decade and could continue its persistence for triple that, and beyond. As long as it could be had.

Once again, he was right on schedule, his day expended exactly as planned, experienced as a flow of media in a chamber of his own making. Controlled consumption won the day, as it always did in the annals of his finest solitude.

And so the days go. And so we watch.

Dosage set, the boy smiled, his body resting here within the silent chamber, his head far, far away on a flight of fantasy.

~

A lazy Sunday afternoon for a boy-man in his room. Nothing was different than the weekend before this one, or the one before the previous. Nothing except for the watchers. They watched this man with a keen eye for his dominance, his resolve amidst his vast collections. They paid especial attention to the control he exhibited upon himself and the space around him. A natural-born leader of miniature men and women, he was clearly well-loved and well-listened to. Admired and loved, feared and respected. A master of his domain, resting and recreating within it flawless day after flawless day. The solitary God wasted no time he spent all of it doing what he mayest.

There’s was a perfect place for observation. From a small optic in the fan upon the roof of his room. Naturally, and unintervening, they observed. Constantly, studiously, they watched and notated, and waited for anything at all to happen. It’d be documented. This was the only way such documentation could be gathered after all. The lonely god was beholden to his supreme seclusions. And his media. No one else watched this stuff alongside him, and to them, it appeared as though no one knew of his days and their actions. His books and stories and shows were consumed alone. But no longer. Now they were captured by these voyeurs too. They didn’t quite comprehend their draw initially. But as they kept with it, just the same as him, they came around. They looked forward to the reading and viewing sessions nearly as much as he did. Those arcs and those splashy arts, how magnificent, how life-giving. No wonder the god never left at all. No wonder the god filled his space with those materials so akin to his heart. No wonder this one felt so unchangingly secure.

The observations of the god occurred for many months turning to a few years. His manifest over his own solitude and it’s afforded godhood only seemed to increase in its intensity, just as the crowd within his hoard did. The studio for his things grew no larger, even as less room became available. It was no bother to this man. The consistent impression was that his power was limitless here. There was no one else to check him. The boy-man-god thrived.

Why not elsewhere? asked one clever observer one fine day of observance. Why not use this power for our own, within our own hold? Could he not create more domains, domains for each of us, where we might realize similarly disciplined and profound and omnipotent control over the consumption of his culture, of his brethren, of life? His culture, so carefully built and forevermore maintained, and eventually our own?

We should bring him in, said another of the observers, a veteran. We can make him teach us. Or simply relocate his space onto one of our ships and explain to him our intentions. He has so much to share. We still have much to learn. This god can show us the way!

He shall be our God! exclaimed a third observer.

And so it was, the observers deigned to bring in the lone god, to be among them and wield his grand powers for them.

~

When the solitary god awoke, he immediately knew something was off. While the positioning of his room had been reconstructed quite well, there were cracks. He took note of them, wondered at their oddity and slowly but surely went for the door. Must be a dream, he garnered. When he opened it and saw the chrome gleaming of the starship’s foreign finish all around where the hallways of his complex should’ve been, and the dozens upon dozens of yellow and green eyes staring down upon him from atop the stalks of towering snake-like beasts, licking and lolling their twin tongues and beating many-fluttering eyelids, he didn’t panic. He did not freak out. But instead was impressed. With himself, his mind — that unconsciously clever bastard — for dreaming up such a wildly imaginative new space for him to play within.

What a mind I have! What a dream to build yet!

It’s about time, I suppose, the boy thought to himself. Something new. Change is good. I can do this.

No, no panic set in for him, because he was a solipsist. None of this was real. Just a new dream, a new stream to swim within. It was all him. New beings for his ever-expanding collection. A novel wilderness for his imagination to sift.

The boy smiled and waved and then walked back into the seclusion of his room, shutting the door away from the new novelties, for now. ~