Sunday, December 31, 2006

Death by denial

AFTER the Last World War, denial replaced capital punishment as the last and only deterrent for crime.

As the smart bombs nearly wiped out the entire human race, as well as all of private property, it seemed superfluous to make petty distinctions between bicycle theft and rape, for instance.

It was hard to find a wheel, let alone a bicycle still standing. A man had to walk through thousands of miles of devastation before he might chance on another human being. All that exertion put an end to one’s soles, as well as any instinct, base or noble.

In any case, if someone broke the law, there were precious few left to do the squealing, arresting, interrogating, judging, guarding and rehabilitating. It was less tedious to just deny any crime.

But after the reconstruction was well under way, the Religionists feared that the search for wheels and companionship could no longer keep at bay the dark side of humanity.

The Religionists believed a new world order could only come to be if a person succeeded in subjecting the body to the discipline of the will.

Believing that the human skin, as the root of all sensation, was the hotbed of criminality, the Religionists outlawed any kind of baring, private or public. They figured it was easier to deny if people were also incapacitated from desiring and touching and getting into all sorts of monkey business.

Hence, the invention of the Suit. A cross between a monk’s cassock and a knight’s suit of armour, it was totally devoid of fashion sense. It did have strategic chinks for breathing, smelling and other bodily functions.

In hot or cold weather, it was torture inside the suit. One was always fighting not to drown in sweat or die of blood loss from extreme chafing. The suit took care of all cravings criminal in nature until the year 0917 when an Asian male assigned to the Museum of Past Glories attempted to do the undeniable.

Listed as No. 80-8 in the index of demographics, the duster was tasked to keep spotless every artifact in the Hall of Ancient Egypt. Although they had routinely denied till they were blue in their face, the Religionists were all too aware of 80-8’s near mishaps: once, in Oceania, and then twice in the wilds of America, his suit had dangerously overheated, indicative of a rise in criminal desires.

Figuring he could do no wrong in a room full of mummies and moth-eaten sarcophagi, the Religionists reassigned 80-8 to Ancient Egypt and promptly forgot he existed.

This suited 80-8. In the course of his duties, he chanced upon the half of a head of a prehistoric queen. Whether during some forgotten war or the Last Great One, the yellow-stone head was sheared clean from the top, leaving only a dimpled cheek, the imperious jut of chin, and full, shiny stone lips that 80-8 longed to warm with his own.

The suit, of course, restrained him. He could not bend down or lift up those forlorn jasper lips. The slit that sliced the upper bow of those engorged lips so distracted his days and nights, it finally drove him mad.

When the Religionists rushed to check what was burning up the Ancient Egypt Wing, they found that 80-8 had burnt to a crisp inside his suit. They did not suspect he perished from a fatal denial of desire as the head of Queen Tiye, consort of Amenhotpe III, was its usual half, even very well dusted.

Ruling that self-immolation usually purifies any hazardous remnant of the human soul, the Religionists dumped the charred remains in the State Pit. After they fiddled with their digital file, 80-8 ceased to exist. This spared the Religionists from having to deny him at all. 0917-3226131

* Published in Sun.Star Cebu last Dec. 31, 2006

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