Wednesday, October 8, 2008

33 Ways of Winning at Life

But we shall speak no further of these matters, for the time has come to tell how these adventures, glorified in song like the gilding that makes the passing kalpas splendid, came sadly to their end. Few are the balladeers who can sing the last song of the cycle without tears, and there are even those who say to do so is a failing in the art.

It happened that, weakened from the revels of victory on Traken, and anxious at the cosmic alarum of the cloister bell, Justin Isis and Quentin S. Crisp came to ancient Metebelis Three in search of the fabled blue crystals, by which they hoped to replenish their depleted dancing and business skills before the final reckoning with the Black Guardian. Alas, the reckoning never came. Destiny intervened with long and cruel fingernails, like those of Weng Chi'ang.

While yet foraging for crystals on the plain, vulnerable and sorrowfully unstylish, they were taken by a brutish band of the Eight-Legs' slaves, and brought before the Great One, most mighty and evil of all the Eight-Legs, whose business skills were unsurpassed in all that quadrant of reality. The judgement of the Great One was without mercy, and She rejoiced in her quivering, slimy heart that two talented opponents had thus fallen so low. By Her decree they were sent to the lowest of the larder caverns, where a loathsome agitation of menial Eight-Legs bound the two anti-life writers in a tensile silk stronger than steel, gloatingly hissing, and drooling and rubbing the while their spinnerets in semi-sexual excitement.

Fastened to opposite walls of the cheerless cave, and physically paralysed by the obscene juices with which the fangs of the Eight-Legs had injected them, they knew that their fate was fixed. When human slaves or Eight-Legs came to ensure they were yet alive enough to taunt, they demanded to know what was intended for them, but ever were greeted with laughter. "This is a larder, is it not?" hissed one nefarious arachnid, and declined to show the mercy of revealing how and when the Great One meant to dispose of them.

Low in spirits as they were, they determined to pass their last hours by composing a wonderful document under the title of '33 Ways of Winning at Life'. It was the last true classic of dadaoist literature to be bequeathed the universe, and afterwards it was declared that dadaoism had come to its decadent phase. To this day, writers of unselfconsciously experimental prose who hear the distant murmurings of yuugen and know the sparkling of the Gold of Inner Space, declare '33 Ways of Winning at Life' the most splendid treasure to be fashioned from that Gold since before the pacifying of Traken. For that we must thank the single human slave to show taste and mercy, who, though he dared not do more, smuggled the document from that cave, keeping it safe in his hovel until the Armada of the Ghost of Magibon came finally to liberate Metebelis Three from the arachnid tyranny. Chomu guards each of the 33 Ways with unyielding stubbornness and devotion, and rejoices in its duty of revealing them again, at intervals, in this humble quarter of reality.

The first of the Ways will be made known soon.

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