No Fun Fiction

TheGodStory_MichaelWillock_forDiscorder_July2018

The God Story

author
Mack Gordon
illustration
Michael Willock

“From the time I was about five years old

I went to Sunday school everyday.

Grandma Kelly taught Sunday school.

It was mandatory.

I don’t know for how long. But it was a long time I thought.

 

“From the time I was about five years old

Grandpa Bob always had a fly rod and a sleeping bag in the back of his car.

And his hunting knife. His old hunting knife. I wish I knew where it was.

 

“He would come early in the morning and get me out of bed.

She knew it was happening. Sometimes she’d come along and stuff a sandwich in my pocket.

Otherwise we would just go. And we might be gone for two or three days.

 

“All we had was a sleeping bag and a fishing rod and his hunting knife.

Sometimes he would have a can of beans or a can of spaghetti.

He had mars bars in the glove box that he would eat like crazy because he was a diabetic.

When I was 12, I remember having my first beer with him.

Lucky Lager which is what I thought that you guys were drinking.

 

“Driving down the road drinking my one first beer and I remember how good it tasted.

He’d drive down these roads and we’d get to where a creek would cross.

We’d walk down the creek eight, ten hours, and you’d fish all along the way,

catching the brook trout.

 

“Then we’d camp someplace up in the creek. In the arch wilderness.

Camp, spend the night, and in the morning walk, fishing the holes all the way back.

I can remember going up the creeks –

I’ve got all my stories mixed up here but I can remember the ties.

 

“We would live off the land.

Grandpa was really good at that.

He’d make stinging-nettle salads.

I’ve eaten fresh water clams. I ate frog’s legs once.

We found this acre, it was huge, a pond. It was black with tadpoles.

Just some of the most exciting stuff I’ve ever seen. Just fascinating stuff.

 

“He knew where all the game trails were and what the animals were that were on them.

Grandpa Jack had taught Dad. He was a very very accomplished wilderness man.

There were old pictures of Dad and him out hunting deer on horseback.

 

“But anyway, when we were babies, my dad always suffered from hemorrhoids.

They were living up in North Vancouver, up in Dollarton actually, on the peninsula, and they didn’t have any money.

He always blamed his hemorrhoids on the fact that he’d come home from work and have to go out in the row boat and fish for cod for dinner that night. That was when Colleen was born.

He’d always blame sitting on that hard wooden bench, out in the cold, as the cause of his hemorrhoids.

 

“But anyway, we would eat so many things.

He would make traps to catch birds.

I was with him once when he threw his old hunting knife at a grouse and it went right through its breast and stuck to a tree.

Cook the frogs on sticks.

Of course we always had trout.

And there was always something green to go with it. God only knows what I ate.

I’ve got tons of stories of being with him.

 

“Did you ever hear the story about the first time I asked my dad about God?

The first time I can ever remember having a conversation about God I was five years old.

Lying on the banks of the Similkameen River near Cherryville.

It was absolute wilderness. Remind me and I’ll tell you another story about that wilderness.

We were there and we were sleeping and I was in a sleeping bag and I was five years old.

And I would sleep with him in the sleeping bag, he would just hold me.

We’d sleep under the stars.

Or else he was great at cutting cedar fronds or fir branches and making beds and making lean-tos and stuff like that.

But anyways, there we were on the banks. I remember asking, “Dad, what’s God?”

And I remember clear as day him saying:

 

‘You know I used to ask your grandmother that all the time

and Granny told me that God was everything.

God was our dog Queenie. God was the clothesline. God was the tree outside.

God was the flowers and God was the cactus plant on the window sill.’

Granny always had a cactus plant on the window sill.

 

“And my dad went on, ‘You know it’s funny, because I’ll tell you what happened,

she said God was the cactus plant so I started to celebrate God as the Cactus plant.

Pray to the cactus plant. Speak to the Cactus plant. Because I thought it was God.

And one day the Cactus plant died and my God was gone.’

 

“And it’s funny because I went to Sunday school for ten years

and in all that time I can’t remember a single story told by a preacher.

But I remember that like it was yesterday.”

 

X
Mack Gordon is a Canadian writer and performer. His plays have been produced across Canada. Published work includes, “Whistle Like the Wind” (carte blanche magazine), The Only Difference Between Me and Peter Bogdanovich (Speakeasy Theatre Press) and Six Fine Lines (Level-Headed Friends). He also runs a Family Feud Night at the Biltmore Cabaret that you can catch on July 19. You can learn even more at medium.com/@mackgord and mackgordontheatre.com.

CENTER_NFF3_byBryceAspinall_forDiscorder_Winter2017

NO FUN FICTION: WORMS IN THE DIRT

author
A.L.
illustration
Bryce Aspinall

Ah, Prometheus. A Robin Hood to humans and a pariah to the gods. Upsetting the status quo and paying for it dearly. There isn’t even any real moral in his story, except “don’t mess with the boss.” Or maybe “No good deed goes unpunished,” though that is from the demigod perspective.

We ‘demis’ also like Prometheus, though we have to shift our opinion depending on which side of the family we’re dining with. Without him though, we probably wouldn’t be around. The mortal side of our family would likely still be half-formed mounds of flesh with life cycles like oysters. They’d be dying of bacterial infections like it was going out of style, like the plague was business as usual, open 24 hours even on holidays. They’d be living in some swamp of the earth, unable to adapt to other climates, unable to escape the muck or even notice it.  They’d be the things our god-relatives would have stepped on and exclaimed “Whoops!”

But then that good fellow came along and gave those helpless clods (those humans) the gift of fire, and damn, did that set things off. Parties became a thing; emotionally-charged decisions became a thing; moving day became a thing.

CENTER_NFF1_byBryceAspinall_forDiscorder_Winter2017
Prometheus || Illustration by Bryce Aspinall for Discorder Magazine

And our boy Prometheus paid sweetly for it. You’ve heard the story: guy tied to a stone, eagle pecks his liver out everyday, liver grows back every night. Some real Saw stuff. What you might not have heard was this: that eagle was actually a demi being punished too. He didn’t want to eat the liver; it tasted bad and felt awful. And every day Prometheus would scream and cry and the eagle would scream and cry and the tourists, who often thought they were prepared for the scene but of course, how could they be, they screamed and cried, too.

Eventually Hercules came along, freed Prometheus and killed the bird, and was hailed as a hero (tough shit eagle-man, invest in a PR agent next time). And then the gods had a real predicament on their hands. Do they continue the punishment or reconsider their position?

You see, the gods started caring less and less about the transgressions of this human-lover Prometheus, mostly because they realized humans were a great source of servitude. And how much use would mortals have been as those flesh oysters? Yeah, they would worship you, boost your ego a bit, but who would work throughout the night lugging stones to capture your likeness on a grand scale? Not those oysters, that’s for sure.

Also, letting Prometheus go free was an easy way to placate the humans, most of whom really had a thing for the guy. It was nothing to the gods and everything to the mortals, and sometimes you just have to give the people a win. So, next thing you know, Prometheus is released.

BANNER_NFF2_byBryceAspinall_forDiscorder_Winter2017
Illustration by Bryce Aspinall for Discorder Magazine

He wasn’t fully free, it was definitely a probationary period. For one thing, he was stripped of most of his god powers except eternal life. The gods would never strip another god of immortality because none of them wanted that precedent to be set. It was, after all, their way to secure the status quo. It’s how they won every monopoly game and lawsuit and real estate dispute, simply by outlasting their opponents. It was their key to the damn city.

Of course, Prometheus was inevitably going to have to live among the humans now because he would never make it in the godland. Yeah the gods set him free, but do you think they were about to eat with him, or talk to him, or let him visit any of the oracles? Not a chance. So, dude was earthbound. But, the main clause in his probation agreement was this: no more giving away the secrets of the gods. No talk of immortality, no talk of soothsaying, Prometheus just had to shut up and be good.

So, there Prometheus was, stripped of almost all power, banished to the human realm, and under a strict gag order. And frankly, the guy was stoked. He changed his name to Peter, moved to Boise, Idaho, and got a job developing film at one of the last places in town that developed film.

But maybe all this acclimatization to Earth was causing our boy to lose his edge. Maybe he was beginning to slip up and make some very human mistakes. Or maybe, due to the predilection for pontification that no god could seem to shake, our poor hero was doomed from the beginning. All I know is, one drunken night at a dive bar in downtown Boise coincidentally called The Apollo, the guy erred hard.

SIDE_NFF4_byBryceAspinall_forDiscorder_Winter2017
Illustration by Bryce Aspinall for Discorder Magazine

“It’s the thin air. You get less oxidized, and oxidation is the major aging agent. You wanna live long you gotta live high, on the highest mountain you can find. Ever notice how the powerful always live high up? The mansions are always in in the sky? It’s the thin air. We gotta head upwards,” Peter slurred to his friend. “We’re living like worms in the dirt down here.”

And later, when Peter was drunkenly stumbling home, wondering if perhaps he had said the wrong thing, he noticed a bird circling in the sky. And it seemed to be moving ever closer.

 

X

 

A.L. lives in a small apartment in Vancouver, B.C.. She spends a lot of time thinking about T.V. commercials from her childhood. She wonders whether water gun technology has kept progressing at the same rapid rate.