Prose Header

Quartered in the Sunset

by Mia Tijam

Part 1 appears
in this issue.

There is an entity once named Yorierik Imu

This zombie was born a grown fetus under a desk on a lunch break. Yorierik Imu and Piggy Ma Lion were somewhat friends because they don’t like rules but like saving as many in the Universe as they can and pretending to be animals frozen when the Dragon Lady passes by their cubicles.

The Dragon Lady is like a washing machine: after she’s done blasting fire on you about all your faults in finding and keeping gems, you would feel so clean.

Yorierik is now, according to Human Kerima Polotan, “Ignored with a nonchalance more cruel than hatred” by Piggy Ma Lion. Because Piggy Ma Lion says that this zombie turns into an obnoxious human — this certified village idiot savant — so as to be special. It is exasperating.

* * *

Bad bobots

By 5:30 pm, Piggy Ma lion talks to Tom Porcupine who is resisting lizard-brain reprogramming and tells him that he needs to smile and think gentle whenever he talks because he sounds rabid and turns folks off. He says that everyone says the same thing, even when he’s not bristling.

Piggy Ma Lion asks, “Separated?”

Tom Porcupine grumbles, “Yeah.”

Piggy Ma Lion asks, “Got a kid ya don’t get to see?”

Tom Porcupine grunts.

Piggy Ma Lion asks, “Been jobless for the past 6-10 months?”

Tom Porcupine grunts again.

Piggy Ma Lion says, “No caca. And no wonder you sound like that. Now, darling, you’re here and you’re gonna get a job and you’re gonna get your wife and kid back. But before everything, you hafta smile... C’mon smile... Smile before you pick up a... Damn it, you’re cuter when you smile, and if you don’t, you won’t get hired!”

Tom Porcupine cracks up and Piggy Ma Lion smiles, “That’s the spirit...” Tom thanks Piggy Ma Lion by giving her a donut which the Northern Locos call Danken.

By 6:00 pm, Piggy Ma Lion certifies to the 02010.190 animals that they are successfully more than human. They all cheer and Piggy Ma Lion wants to cry. She knows that these robots will become zombies and vampires in a matter of weeks but hopes they stay humane.

If not, then Piggy Ma Lion has failed.

* * *


At 6:30 pm, Piggy Ma Lion has an impromptu meeting with her boss, the VP for Zoo Operations also known as the Dragon Lady. Piggy Ma Lion opens the meeting with smiling fury, “Santa talked to Piglet and me. Why didn’t you tell me?”

The Dragon Lady says, “I already told him that you only came on board because of the Transformation Program... But what Santa says will be...”

Piggy Ma Lion sighs, “Why are prepositions ignored... You and I both know that I work with you, not for you. You and I both know that it’s not about the credits for me... Who is this Shaman?”

Somebody with miracles, the Dragon Lady says, named Jorge of the Jorganauts and that Piggy Ma Lion would like him. Piggy Ma Lion tells her, “You know the differences in motivation? A robot doing a mechanical job would work better if you throw more money at it. A robot involved in cognitive processes needs three to work better: challenge, autonomy, and transcendental purpose.”

The Dragon Lady says, “I know you’ve been happy where you are. But don’t you want to grow and try other challenges, too? Try to be...”

The evolution ladder in the Sunset Industry: Humans → Animals → Robots → Zombies → Automatons → And on top of the chain are Vampires.

* * *

After years of going without a mandatory for sanity leave

Piggy Ma Lion is on leave from Monday to Thursday next week and will be going back to work on Friday for that team-building until Saturday. The Dragon Lady bully-mailed for her to be there.

Piggy Ma Lion is granted the leave because she said she was conking out and losing her screws. In Piggy Ma Lion’s head: I am not a machine. I am a wild horse. You will not cage me.

Piggy Ma Lion thinks of never coming back.

* * *

For an upgrade on nuts and bolts

That night, Piggy Ma Lion visits the Old Man of Du Biz because it seems her programming has been running on vitriolic petrol, this fuel that is oxygen attached to hydroxyl, pyridine, adrenaline, and cortisol.

The Old Man of Du Biz is in the oracle’s bar, analyzing and making bets with the oracle of the bar — and the oracle insists that it be called with a small o — about who will win the Deus Ex Machina Open. “I tell you,” the Old Man of Du Biz says, “It’s that fun in that swing...”

The oracle of the bar says, “Deus damn this prophesizing... It’s because of these nine years of being in the wilderness... Politics!” And the oracle sees Piggy Ma Lion, “Guapisima! Nine years of whoring my craft! How’s yours going, Darling?”

Piggy Ma Lion busses their cheeks, “Generating millions, thank you. How’s your sobriety going for you?” she asks the Old Man of Du Biz.

“Going very well, methinks,” he says as he looks at the gin on his hand. “What can I do you for?”

Piggy Ma Lion knocks her chest with three raps, “The heart is leaking.”

“Oh-ho! I thought we got that chakra locked,” laughs the Old Man of Du Biz, “Methinks you’ve got to stop whatever it is you’re doing.”

The oracle of the bar says, “Oh let her go on with her whoring! Look at her! She’s thriving!”

Piggy Ma Lion mumbles, “Cold. I need to be cold to do what I need to do. I’m being sucked. The mechanized world wants me to become a vampire. I’m in luuurv — ”

The Old Man of Du Biz laughs again, “What you need is sleep,” and he reaches towards her nape and switches her off.

* * *


Piggy Ma Lion dreams what a sunset dreams, dreams of a ladder to the sunshine.

* * *

Surfaces from the dream to see

The Old Man of Du Biz and the oracle of the bar gossiping and puttering over her parts:

The stomach is eaten, here put that pizza inside... The liver is all black, pour that Jack... The lungs are remarkable, pipe it with cog gold grass... The vocal cords are frayed, the acid for it... The spine, put liquid titanium... The brain, don’t touch that uranium... The vagina, sew it up, she has to be the fudging Virgin Magdalene... The heart...

Piggy Ma Lion gurgles, “Take... it... a...”

No, no, just twist that microchip...

* * *

Wakes up to Saturday feeling cold and all right

Piggy Ma Lion sees the oracle of the bar awake. “My heart is feeling lonely,” the oracle of the bar says, “After decades, it finally feels love... It hurts in places of your body that you thought never exist. And it has to be alone.”

Piggy Ma Lion wrinkles her brow, “I know this.”

The oracle of the bar sighs, “For your answers, you have to speak to the Deus Ex Machina. Come again soon, Darling.”

Piggy Ma Lion mutters, “Deus and I still have a fudging problem over what it’s done to humanity. Besides, it’s the weekend for fudge’s sake,” and exits the oracle’s bar into the human traffic that is a machinery of rats.

* * *

Sunday is still not a weekend

Piggy Ma Lion is typing reports and tracking robots until Monday with various inboxes lighting up with need, want, miss and more panicked numbers. She replies while eating patience cookies.

By Tuesday, Piggy Ma Lion is chugging to maltose ethanol, dumping whom and what was once and can no longer be processed by her microchip, and searching for Yo-Word from the Deus Ex Machina in the Universe that is full of noise.

By Wednesday, Piggy Ma Lion wakes up without feeling her heart. She is relieved, resolved.

* * *


On Thursday, Piggy Ma Lion receives more accolades from tagged humans trained to become images of the patron saint Holy Water Buffalo that have become teams of robots morphing to zombies transmuting into automatons evolving into vampires:

We Are Not Brain Farts!
We Are Not Fish Memory!
We Are Humanity!
All Hail Our Sunshine!
All Hail Miss Piggy Ma Lion!
Deus Ex Machina Bless You!

On Friday, Piggy Ma Lion gets on the waiting bus to the welcoming squeals of the Zoo and their “Missed you!”

Piggy Ma Lion smiles, feeling her fangs growing, the microchip in her heart making her into something ticking, ticking, until it tocks finally to transform her into sunshine.

* * *

Piggy Ma Lion prays

“Please destroy me... Please destroy me... Please destroy me...”

Copyright © 2013 by Mia Tijam

Proceed to Challenge 542...

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