The guiding principle of Six Ridiculous Questions is that life is filled with ridiculousness. And questions. That only by giving in to these truths may we hope to slip the surly bonds of reality and attain the higher consciousness we all crave. (Eh, not really, but it sounded good there for a minute.) It’s just. Who knows? The ridiculousness and question bits, I guess. Why six? Assonance, baby, assonance.
1. At the age of whatever, Vandor the Cro-Magnon sets off on an important albeit hitherto unspecified quest carrying only his father’s trusty elk-horn club and an antelope bladder he uses to carry water. What is Vandor questing for? Does he ever find it, and what happens when he does? Assuming he is extremely handsome for a Cro-Magnon (make of that what you will), but not incredibly bright (ditto), what are the chances Vamdor’s quest will be picked up by Netflix? Movie or series? Open-ended or closed-? Finally, who should play Vandor?
At the age of three, Vandor the Cro-Magnon sets off on an important quest to find his penis. He has only his father’s trusty elk-horn club and an antelope bladder for water—both as unusable as dung. Fortunately, his mom’s packed him a rucksack ballooned with golden trout and sachets of golden raisins dipped in golden syrup. Vandor’s in a good place with himself, and ready to rumble when he comes across an old school pixie that’s nothing better than a tart—the edible kind. The pixie begs little Vandor not to eat him, and assures the youngling that a donger is overrated, oh, my goodness, so much. By this time the gold in the trout, the raisins and the syrup has transformed little Vandor into an exquisite beauty whose quest for not-a-doodle makes headlines, first on Instagram, then on Twitter—after you-know-who tweets about the importance of white tally whackers. Netflix snatches the script, and casts a reincarnated Sho Madjozi, the golden tails of her cornrows all a dangle against her ebony skin, in a new quest for lovestruck arrows that will change the world.
2. Your cat has decided, for the thousandth time, to try to drive you insane. Through an admixture of indiscriminate vomiting, poor little box etiquette, and constant yowling, your cat succeeds! Please provide the pertinent details concerning your break with sanity. That is, how exactly did your breakdown go down and how were you corralled by the authorities? When you arrive at the State Psychiatric Hospital at Blah Blah, what will your diagnosis be? How long before you get out and what happens when you do?
At first it was a battle of who cares. But after the little shit spewed the tail of a rat, slimy and wriggling, into my bedroom slippers right in the middle of a lockdown, I made some noise and banged after the four-legged dope. We were skidding and sliding, yowling, and cursing, before I realized I was in the nuddy, tits out, parting a queue of citizens, each at six feet apart and wearing a face mask. Holy shit. So there I was with my holler and grabbing at a cat, right there at a Macca’s just off St Kilda Rd, who guessed there was a cop shop right opposite the bloody mess? That’s the kind of dog’s dinner—nothing to do with a crafty cat—that gets you to a psych ward at St Vincent’s. They allowed me access to a wireless kiosk: my boss still thinks I’m WFH.
3. How would the world be different if plants could speak?
‘Fuck me dead! Please, don’t eat me,’ begs the carrot, as my fork draws near. ‘Oh hell.’
4. Say you’ve wasted a lot of time on Facebook over the last…decade…how would you go about getting that time back?
I’d volunteer for a one-way mission to Mars.
5. It’s 2040 and the world has changed. Most notably, in 2022, djinnis were discovered to be real. A decade-long techno-magical arms race ensued, leading to the development of various djinni-location and -capture techno-magicologies. Predictably, Jeff Bezos used his vast fortune to corner the market on said techno-magicologies.
Once Bezos located and captured every djinni everywhere, he imprisoned them in an unbreachable fortress hidden at the center of the Earth. (OK, it’s not hidden very well but it is, in fact, completely unbreachable.) Forcing his captive army of djinn to crank out wishes day and night, Bezos has completely cornered the market on wishes. But he’s not selling them. That’s right, Jeff Bezos is giving wishes away, as long as you fulfill a few modest requirements first.
All aspiring wish recipients are expected to serve ten years in the Bezos organization beginning with a tour in the Bezos gladiatorial pits beneath Amazon corporate HQ. There, wish-aspirants fight robots for the right to work as unpaid interns in Amazon warehouses. Assuming you kill enough robots to qualify for warehouse duty and make it through the intervening decade of servitude—and, let me tell you, the robot gladiators were the least of your concerns, sister—you get a wish. Just one. What do you wish for? (Do I need to tell you to be careful with this?) Also, feel free to opine on the scenario in general. After all, it’ll be your reality soon enough. You should have some input!
A silent but deadly fart that knocks out politicians, clergy, every fuckwit that I hate, but solidifies into a gilded egg for anyone who touches my heart.
6. Is happiness real?
Happiness is perfection, release, chocolate, caramel, a whiff of jasmine and tuberose, a spread of warmth, the rise of sourdough, a baby’s smile in her sleep, every triumph that pulls you from a jar, every gesture against death.
Eugen Bacon is African Australian, a computer scientist mentally re-engineered into creative writing. Her work has won, been shortlisted, longlisted, or commended in national and international awards, including the Bridport Prize, Copyright Agency Prize, Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future Award, Australian Shadows Awards and Nommo Award for Speculative Fiction by Africans. Publications: Claiming T-Mo, Meerkat Press. Writing Speculative Fiction, Macmillan. In 2020: Her Bitch Dress, Ginninderra Press; The Road to Woop Woop & Other Stories, Meerkat Press; Hadithi, Luna Press Publishing; Inside the Dreaming, NewCon Press. Find her @EugenBacon on Twitter, or at www.eugenbacon.com.
Kurt Baumeister has written for Salon, Electric Literature, Guernica, The Weeklings, Entropy, The Nervous Breakdown, The Rumpus, The Good Men Project, and others. His debut novel, a satirical thriller entitled Pax Americana, was published by Stalking Horse Press in 2017. He is currently at work on a novel, The Book of Loki. Find him on Facebook, Twitter, or at www.kurtbaumeister.com.