Magical bears in the con.., p.1

Magical Bears in the Context of Contemporary Political Theory, page 1

 

Magical Bears in the Context of Contemporary Political Theory


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Magical Bears in the Context of Contemporary Political Theory
Magical Bears, in the Context

  of Contemporary Political Theory

  by

  Jenna Katerin Moran

  Copyright © 2010-2015 by Jenna K. Moran

  All rights reserved.

  Cover art by Elizabeth Sherry

  All characters in these stories are fictitious or heavily fictionalized. Readers are advised against drawing conclusions about or regarding persons living or dead based on this material.

  Portions of this material have appeared previously on imago.hitherby.com.

  Dedicated to

  Karl Friedrich Borgstrom

  for teaching me the joy of sailing

  And with special thanks to

  Cync Brantley

  Chrysoula Tzavelas

  Hsin Chen

  R’ykandar Korra’ti

  Gretchen Shanrock-Solberg

  Rand Brittain

  Anthony Damiani

  Amy Sutedja

  and

  Kathryn Tewson

  People die. People die in droves. There’s horror and cruelty and hunger and disease. Little children lying in piles with hands twitching. Dogs locked up in basements until they starve. Stuff like that.

  “Let’s visit everyone in the universe and fix their lives!” Jane says.

  “I’m busy,” Martin says.

  In Nebraska, Brandon Teena is violated and murdered for the audacity of claiming a male identity. In a specialty program for difficult teens, the staff force a recalcitrant boy to lay still, face down, for six months. In Gibbelins’ Tower, Jane hops from foot to foot outside the visit-everybody door.

  “Come on,” she pleads.

  “I’m busy,” Martin explains.

  Statues of the Buddha crumble. Soldiers torture prisoners of war. An angry and desperate crowd razes a museum.

  “Now?” Jane asks.

  “No.”

  “Now?”

  “. . . no.”

  Jane shoulders off her backpack and lets it thunder to the ground. She sits. She sulks. “Sometimes I don’t think you want to fix everyone’s lives,” she says.

  “I don’t,” Martin says. “I want to make their lives hard. I want to push people until they break. It’s cool. Sometimes it makes them better.”

  “But what about the dead?”

   

  Hitherby

  Dragons

  Table of Contents

  Stacking Mammals and Sid

  The Cut-Off Man’s Father

  Rainbow Noir

  At the Cherry Tree

  Panda Dancing

  The Bride of Transgression Bear

  Sympathy for a Stranger

  Why Don’t Ducks Have Hides?

  Rainbow Noir: the Case of Mr. Dismal

  The Land Where Suffering is Only Remembered

  Great Mother Horror

  The Filibuster of the Sailor-Senator

  If Animals Had Elemental Powers

  The Well

  The Alphabet Game

  No Actual Bears Were Harmed in the Assembling of this Short Story Collection

  No Crutches for an Angel

  The Division

  Flood

  Rainbow Noir: the Mountains and the Sky

  Salwa and the Bears

  It’s a Real Town

  Stacking Mammals and Sid

  Gelling agents are often made from various emotions. It is very inefficient to use happiness as a gelling agent, while sadness is extremely effective. That is why Jell-O jiggles so often and so tragically. However this story is not about jiggling or gelling, but rather about stacking mammals and Sid.

  It is possible to stack mammals to achieve almost any desirable effect. This requires sticky mammals, such as sticky goats and sticky elephants. These are sticky mammals because they adhere to one another and they bear live young. Sometimes this is a consequence of pregnancy and at other times a consequence of inappropriate stacking. Always read the assembly instructions before stacking mammals!

  Not every mammal is naturally sticky. You can test this out. Attempt to stack a cat on a dog. They may cuddle happily, or they may completely fail to adhere. That’s because their natural stickiness isn’t adequate to the task of stacking. You can also perform this experiment with cats and easily surprised pandas. Take note of the fact that this will surprise such pandas.

  In order to make mammals stickier one can use a gelling agent. This renders the mammal in question into a gelatinous mammal. Gelatinous mammals are always sticky.

  Some gelling agents are made with glue. Others, with happiness.

  In the Valley of Happy Gelatinous Mammals there are many mammals made gelatinous with joy and stacked into useful configurations. There is a stack of mammoths that forms the local government and end-to-end opossums that provide advanced communication services. Always the mammals there are happy, and their land is full of rainbows and gumdrops and singing.

  Among the mammals move the shimmer-things, which are things that manifest as visual distortions, or, shimmers. Some of the mammals think these things are angels. Other mammals hold different characteristic beliefs regarding the shimmer-things.

  Sid is a gelatinous ostrich. He lives in the Valley of Happy Gelatinous Mammals. It is the default consensus in scientific circles that ostriches are not mammals, but there are many specific objections that serious researchers have raised to this classification. These include the very real possibility that the “ostrich eggs” sold on the open market are in fact buffalo eggs. If you have ever savored a hearty buffalo steak over fried ostrich eggs and hashed platypus then you probably understand why many important culinary institutes support this theory. That is, anyway, the basis on which the shimmer-things made Sid gelatinous and stacked him in the Valley with the rest.

  “Can you make it rain?” Sid asks the shimmer-things.

  The shimmer-things stack the mammals appropriately to make it so. The sky glooms. Thunder rattles. Then lightning spears down and rain drums against the earth.

  Sid hides his head in the ground. That’s how impressed he is!

  Then he pulls his head out. He looks sly.

  “Can you make China untether the yuan from the dollar?”

  The shimmer-things form a swirling vortex of indecision. Then they whisk about restacking happy animals.

  “Whee!” shouts a lemur, as it is rapidly rearranged relative to various wildebeests.

  “Grmf,” grumbles a gelatinous bear.

  (It is a magical bear, thereby tying this story to the theme of the collection.)

  “In a move that could trim the trade gap with the United States, China revalued its currency higher against the dollar Thursday,” CNN explains.

  Sid hides his head even deeper in the sand this time. He’s very, very impressed.

  But after a while, he pulls his head back out.

  “So,” says Sid slyly, “if I wanted to see what being unhappy was like, you could just restack some mammals and I’d know. Right?”

  The shimmer-things rotate in a fanblade array.

  “Hm?” challenges Sid.

  “No,” say the shimmer-things.

  Sid looks blankly at the shimmer-things.

  “If we’d wanted to make gelatinous mammals unhappy,” explain the shimmer-things, “then we could have stacked them much more efficiently in the first place.”

  Thus ends the story

  “Stacking Mammals and Sid.”

 
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