Professor Nigel P. Arrisson, Cryptocapitalist, Paranotnormalist and Theatre Critical for The London Fogg
The Myth Council Handbook – Chapter One: Nigel Reemerges
The darkest of darkest nothingness.
Cold beyond description. Void of the natural elements which make up fundamental life. Deep space and long and wide time have been and will be here, waiting and watching over us for countless more millennia.
The Milky Way.
A clouded dream of forgotten eons slowly swims into consciousness like a disabled octopus as we accelerate and descend into its sinewy complex tangled web of matter, gravitation, and light: the three basic elements contriving existence.
The Solar System.
An ancient association of planets and gaseous bodies eternally sailing around their worshiped god, the Sun.
A dark blue orb seemingly both lost and at home lies within the ellipses and once again remains the question mark of the universe, crying out to its mommy like a lost child in the supermarket.
Intense cloud cover acts like an ominous shroud where great angels once stood; but now has all the natural appeal of an abandoned parking lot.
The North American Continent.
Against the relief of the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, the middle land bit of the Western Hemisphere stands like a naked Cherokee holding a flaming torch, posing for an awkward turn of the century carnival photographic selfie.
The American countryside.
Odd patchwork farmland comes to slow life as the sun creeps over the eastern curvature of the horizon, awakening the animals and beasts, while men, women and children dream in their most profound cycle.
Freshly fallen snow blankets the neatly kept Belleview Cemetery, which lays quietly next to the Belleview Mortuary, a Victorian two-story with rickety windows and in desperate need of a paint job. A crow caws, an owl hoots, a window rattles as a secret wind makes its damming presence known. In the midst of the eerie tranquility, the blackest of ravens, supremely guided by the moon’s watchful spotlight eye, descends from above, landing confidently on a tombstone.
Prof. Nigel P. Arrisson
Born a long long bleedin’ time ago; “died” March 24, 1939.
I mean, we’ll see.
The raven speaks and when it does, it’s not a raven’s voice at tall. No. It is the Victorian voice of an era way gone. An English chap, perhaps 50, perhaps ageless. And yet, the raven mouths the words perfectly, as they strangely come out and indeed sound human. As evidenced as you can hear…
“My name is Nigel Arrisson and I am dead and here present today speaking to you through this bird. I perished on March 24, 1939 just outside of Dusseldorf in a horrific biplane accident. My head and torso were tossed on either side of the Hungarian Romanian border. I was too unconscious to remember much after that, other than the sweet angel Gabriel carrying my soul in an intertransdimentional rickshaw up towards the Heavenly Gate, when lo and behold, Beelzebub shot an arrow he nicked from Cupid, piercing our hot air balloon and down I fell straight into the Underworld. It was a rough weekend to say the least and I decided from then on to pay a little closer attention to the details of existence.
On May 4, 3,256 B.C., it was a Tuesday I believe, I became employed as a junior auditor in training with The Myth Council, a 100,000 year old bureaucracy set up to monitor, tax and regulate myths worldwide. Every myth, from Cupid and the Devil to Lucky Number 7, but also modern myths such as weapons of mass destruction which led to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, to Climate Deniers to those are Nicole Kidman’s real breasts and to the basic notion that the free market democratic society works on behalf of everybody; every single myth – no matter how big or small — is created and monitored and regulated and ultimately taxed. Myths are not something to be merely relegated to ancient and superstitious societies. No. Myths are more alive, more prevalent and more powerful these modern days than ever before. Take for example, the final United States presidential election.
The notion that this billionaire celebrity could lead and in fact inspire the rest of the world by embarrassing his own nation, was a myth created by the billionaire himself. This was unheard of, heretofore; not since Julius Caesar woke up from a drunken orgy proclaiming to be God, had a mortal ever attempted this sort of political tomfoolery. Trump’s presidential victory caused such a row within the halls of The Myth Council, one meeting got so out of hand between the “Reality Right” and the “Leftist Imaginationers”, they had to bring in Hercules as head of security. And, even then, the lug-head sided with the wrong side.
The myth business has something called “A balanced myth,” whereby two opposing myths rise up and sort of bump heads if you will, causing discord and turbulence. Kind of like Jesus and the Devil, luck and science, and of course, gluten free and bacon. Never before has the beacon of civilization been so challenged. For here were myth creators on both sides. On one hand, you have those who believe that the man who ultimately became the final president of America was placed in office by, not just the will of the people, but by, much like Caesar believed, God himself, who I can assure you, cares fuck all about politics. To God, politics is merely mortal man pretending to be God. Politics to God is Cosplay. I’ve gotten drunk with him; I should know. On the other side of the opinion coin, the radical ultra-left intellectual set postulate that America’s last president was simply illegally seated by the head of an enemy state. And, by enemy state; of course, I’m talking about rednecks.
But even the 2016 election was incomparable to what had nearly happened to, well, the universe itself as we know it. Everything – and I do mean everything – was in various forms of control over the multiple millennia; that was a given. But, then, a very strange and totally unexpected thing occurred. Something so potentially devastating, it actually threatened the very existence of the sacred divide between reality and fantasy, which would certainly of course, implode every single atom ever created. In fact (not to take credit for it) it was my warning paper on the ever growing fissure in the fabric of existence, which caused sudden consternation within The Myth Council, and rather than taking my warning seriously as they should and funding research in an effort to prevent total universal destruction (as you do) those powerful fools instead decided classify my research itself as a myth, stripped me of my longstanding membership in The Imagination Guild, banished me from the faculty of Valhalla University, as well as making me redundant as Para-not-normal Investigator at The London Fogg. I was forever doomed to babble my proven hypothesis to unknown quantities of lessor educated minds, shall we say, inside of a maximum security mental prision.”
The raven picks at its feathers then shakes and caws, then continues speaking as he strolls through the cemetery.
“Apparently, it was my paper on the secret code of the English language that truly got them upset. It was almost as if I was somehow unwittingly revealing knowledge of a very powerful secret they didn’t want let out into the general reality. My paper, “The English Language Decoded”, not only postulated, but indeed proved, that the English language is not only purposely numbers based, but if properly understood and then applied to the inert laws of existence, Mankind could achieve godlike status and unlimited power. And that meant that everyone’s jobs would be up for grabs; not just mortal men, but gods and goddesses as well. Spiritual temp agencies would find themselves in an economic boon.
The Myth Council was very powerful for multiple millennia. There were a lot of lives and careers and egos at stake. And my hat’s off to them, for it is a tough job to tax and regulate all myths in the world, but to do so efficiently and quietly for a hundred thousand years is really quite the feat to be admired. However, let’s face it. They were too powerful. You see, The Myth Council could in fact not just affect so-called “reality” on Earth and other nearby being-based planets, but indeed change it; and that’s something that someone deep within the council apparently didn’t want to happen for one simple reason. It would make them all redundant. Useless. Think on it. If suddenly there was – let’s say — an app, which allowed every citizen of the final century of The United States of America to automatically, simply and easily get not just food, housing, and transportation immediately for free and forever, but also everything from unlimited coffee to eternal youth and indeed downright superpowers. Well, there would be no need for myths and if there was no need for myths, well, there goes the need for an utterly useless irrelevant bureaucracy. I’m talking about congress, as well as The Myth Council of course.
My troubles started off as sort of a meaningless pastime for me, you know, spending hundreds of years in solitary at the Universal Home for the Criminally Insane and Good Looking got boring. There’s only so many electroshocks one can truly enjoy before becoming addicted. And, so I doodled. I became obsessed with this notion that the very tool with which humans use to verbally communicate with one another was to them, unconsciously numeric and in fact secretly coded with the basics of the powers of the universe. The idea, at first, was quite simple. Allow me to simplify this for you as much as immortally possible. So. If I typed out the following sentence: ‘The red fox jumps over the fence,’ the human mind sees a picture. A picture of a red fox jumping over a fence. Nothing too mysterious about that. However, if one assigns the proper numeric value to the letters, the words, the phrases, the sentence, it means something entirely different. The word ‘the’ has a numerical value of zero. That’s because ultimately it’s a meaningless word. The modifier ‘red’ has a numerical value of 12,518 because red is such an emotional word and associated with things like fire trucks, bulls, blood, as well as early stages of syphilis. And, it’s not just words. Phrases have hidden numerical value as well. Full sentences, paragraphs, chapters, book titles, page numbers, punctuation and it goes on and on. Literally like the etymology of the ancient Hebrew language, but on steroids. When it’s all added up – literally added up – you end up with a specific sequenced number. For example, ‘The red fox jumps over the fence’ has a numerical value of 345,678. And that’s because the use of a second ‘the’ in the same sentence is not a value, it’s an exponential multiplier. And, that sequenced number (345,678) corresponds to The Myth Council Handbook and Operations Guide – Master Edition. For on page 3,456, the seventh line down and eight letters and spaces in, lies the following sentence: ‘God exists but only in church’ and when combined with ‘The red fox jumps over the fence,’ you get: ‘The red fox jumps over God but only in a church with a fence.’ You see? Trust me; it’s important. Ahem… Naively thinking it was just an interesting theory based on a mind boggling mathematical coincidence (as well as an overindulgence of Absinthe) I never intentionally meant to present these wild unformed drunken ideas to the Myth Council. Never. It was accidental. Although, ironically, according to the council, there are no such things as accidents. There is only miscalculation.
You see, when I presented another paper entirely; my paper on the existence of a universal fissure between the parallel universes of reality and fantasy based on a newly discovered growing fault within the universal matrix, well, I had been down the prison pub the night before and my theory on the English language’s secret numerical code, frankly, had been written on a cocktail napkin, which unfortunately, unbeknownst to me, got stuck on the bottom of the stack of papers entitled ‘The Final Fissure’. So, when it came time the next morning to present my paper on the potential disaster relating to the complete unknown parallel universe as we know it, well, I was basically, how do you modern Americans say….oh yeah, ‘fucked without knowing it’. The Grand Master Myth himself was even there. The entire board dismissed me out of hand without explanation, without even hearing my theory, and the next thing I knew, I was stripped of my doctorate and thrown in mental prison for 700 years, where I had quite the long time to think about why they were so upset with me in the first place. It took me literally 200 plus years, but one day whilst I was drying my washed socks on the steam radiator in my cell in Hades’ underworld, the penny dropped. I finally figured it out,. The answer was simple. The Myth Council were afraid of something else I had written. It would take me another 100 years plus to finally figure out that it wasn’t my somewhat dire warning of universal destruction in my paper The Final Fissure, but indeed the smeared cocktail napkin containing their heretofore ultimate secret of how the average mortal sentient being could indeed take compete control over their own lives by simply understanding the hidden code of the English language. And, my socks dried magnificently, by the way.
You see, like most ancient bureaucracies, The Myth Council has a myth of its own. A myth which circulates to this very day. They believe – and remember, myths are 50% belief and 50% real, they believed that nobody would ever discover there even was a code, let alone crack it. The code, which by definition, was supposedly purposefully hidden in the text of the literal bible and operations manual they use every day at work, was their little joke amongst themselves. The Myth Council Handbook, edition 11, was published and issued to all agents some time just before the Middle Ages, hundreds of years before ‘the invention’ of the printing press. (Another myth that things are invented.) In the Handbook of Myth Council Beliefs and Operations, every single myth ever invented is listed, as well as its origin, symbolic meaning upon the society when it began, as well as its powers of creation and destruction. Through the understanding of myths, the council controlled everything from world economies to religion to global warming (the worst plague seen on Earth in over 500 years), as well as the enormous disparity of wealth between the One Percent and everyone fucking else. The Myth Council was and remains the single most powerful governing body in the world and yet, very few people even know of its existence. They don’t have a website.”
The raven flutters up to and alights on top another tombstone.
“Like any out of control bureaucracy, they were and are potentially very dangerous. And, when something so unexpected happened in the world as we know it happened, they just didn’t have a clue how to handle it. And that thing that happened, happened simply because their system of accounting was flawed and they knew it. Mythical beings are created by the World of Fantasy and Religion Department on the 947th floor of Myth Council HQ in North London. Just up from that very nice new vegan restaurant on Rivington Street. Try their mango salsa. It’s lovely.
As many as one thousand years ago, I had warned the council that will-nilly retirement of myths, and modern myths in particular, could lead to some very serious consequences of epic and worldwide proportion. Then again, they never took anything I told them seriously. Those fools never realized they were simply playing god. For it begs to conclude that if a myth can come to life, then all evidentiary reason and inductive logic leads to the probability that a myth can also die. And, if a myth, which came to life in fantasy, dies in the real world; well then, you can pretty much kiss your optimistic ass goodbye.”
The ground around the grave starts shaking, the bird is fluttering up and down, trying to keep calm. A great underground earthquake rumble is heard and felt and all of a sudden, dirt starts unearthing itself, steam shoots up in spirals, the entire cemetery turns a monotonic chartreuse, and like a Victorian actor on an old stage elevator, a man rises up and presents himself. First, we see a black silk top hat. Then the dirt covered face of one of the oddest characters to ever enter a library, or a morgue for that matter, late at night. He rises up further, revealing an antiquated black Edwardian tail-coat. As the man’s spats reveal themselves, he appears to hold a black cane and a great white light from above, a spotlight from the heavens, beams and illuminates Professor Nigel P. Arrisson, Crypto-capitalist, Para-not-normalist and Theatre Critical for The London Fogg. He dusts himself off then extends his cane parallel to a grave. The raven flies and perches itself on the cane.
“Ah, sweet bird of flight. How I longed to be with you on the primal plane.”
Nigel suddenly and swiftly tilts his cane up towards the moon, the raven forced into his open mouth. He gulps, swallowing him whole.
“Yum. I was famished!…So, now, my universal flock. Let us being our story of how a troubled American teenage girl finds out she’s really the entire key to the potential destruction of everything as we know it. Let us meet the mysterious one. Let us meet……”
Nigel opens his hands and arms like Jolson meets Jesus and addresses the reader dead on.
“The one and only Mary!”
He instantly vanishes into a flash of smoke and fire, leaving confused field mice to squeak around the bit of scorched earth where he once stood only moments ago. On the outer reaches of the cemetery lies a lone tombstone, one which seems disenfranchised from the rest. As we inch towards it, the engraving becomes clear. And it is a sad shock:
Born: December 24, 1881 –
Died: December 25, 2019
Even though, it hasn’t happened yet and by all previous knowledge, might never happen at all.
END CHAPTER ONE
2018 Steven Alan Green for Larf Magazine