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Magical bears in the con.., p.7
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       Magical Bears in the Context of Contemporary Political Theory, p.7

           Jenna Katerin Moran
 
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  **

  Elsewhere, Nihilism Bear’s alarm rings. He stretches sleepily. He pulls himself upright in bed. The sun shines fully upon him. “Huh?” he asks. “It’s 9 o’clock? I was sure I set my alarm for 7.” He stands up and putters about the room. He brushes his teeth. He pulls on a cap to cover his mullet. “Bother. Someone must have changed it. Now I’ll be late to destroy the city.”

  He wanders out onto his cloud. “Hello sun!” he cries out. “I’ll be destroying you today. Hello butterfly! Your days are numbered. Hello bird! Life is a pointless parade of misfortune and anguish.” The sun twinkles merrily. The butterfly whirls around his head. The bird tweets, twice.

  Nihilism Bear grabs a giant nihilism balloon and floats towards Shadow City. He touches ground at the edge. He looks around. He yawns. “Huh. I guess no one’s going to try to stop me. . . .

  “All right, then,” he says, sharply. “Nihilism Bear Glare!”

  He huffs. He puffs. He takes a deep breath and the shiny formless shadow that marks his stomach glimmers and glistens. Then a wind rises from beyond, and the air goes chill; there is a piping from far away of maddened, mindless flutes. In the alleys of Shadow City, a drunk girl takes out her knife and holds it to her wrist. On its streets, gang members strut and preen. In the high towers, gray bureaucrats push the papers all about that allocate the city’s color to the few. The void rises from Nihilism Bear to consume Shadow City, and the void takes breath.

  A glimmering rainbow rises to meet it. P’a chao! Color and shadow begin to drizzle from the sky.

  Nihilism Bear exhales, startled. The darkness dissolves. “Good morning!” he exclaims. Three figures stride towards him through the chromatic rain. “It’s Femme Fatale Bear! You must introduce me to your friends.”

  “These,” she says, softly, “are Annette, who was the Rainbow, and Terrence, her sprite; and they shall bring your madness to an end.”

  Nihilism Bear is beary pleased. He shakes himself, his tummy wiggling! “We’ll see about that,” he says. “Nihilism Bear Glare!”

  The symbol arcs from his shadowed chest and strikes against Ann’s heart.

  “A lot of people get confused,” he says companionably, into the numbness of the world. In the background she thinks she might be screaming. Falling to her knees. It doesn’t matter to anyone. “They start thinking,” Nihilism Bear explains, “that it’s better to exist than not.

  “That’s why you have Nihilism Bear. I bring the enlightenment of the void. I teach children that it’s all right to set aside the burdens of their life and dance forever in nothingness. My motto is, ‘Stop crying—start dying!’

  “You look like a girl who needs a fresh dose of nihilism. Have you been imagining that life has a point? That’s a good dream, sure, but all it does in the long run is hurt you more. When you realize it’s all a futile, endless cavalcade of pain, it makes all that struggling you did seem kind of stupid. Doesn’t it?”

  It’s an opening to speak. “I saved the universe once,” she croaks.

  “Tsk, tsk.” He points his fuzzy paw at her. “Bang.”

  Ann slumps.

  She’s done.

  Nihilism Bear relaxes the black glow and turns to face the other two. His hand goes out to them, palm up, and he wriggles his fused furry fingers in invitation. “Nihilism Bear is hot today. Who else wants some?”

  “Annie,” whispers Terrence. “You can’t die.”

  “What?” asks Nihilism Bear.

  “You can’t die, Annie!” Terrence shouts, hardened demeanor slipping. “Then I wouldn’t see you forever and ever! I believe in your rainbow, Annie!”

  “Bah,” Nihilism Bear sneers, and the black glow plays across Terrence and Femme Fatale Bear alike. “Your belief doesn’t matter.”

  But:

  “It does.” The voice is single-toned.

  Nihilism Bear turns back to Ann, who is straightening, slowly and painfully.

  “It’s one thing to doubt your purpose when you’re just a lost, tired girl gripped in a miasma of existentialist doubt,” Ann says.

  Her voice has two tones now, and rising.

  “But when a gray fuzzy alien in a trenchcoat declares that you can generate color and possibility out of the magic belt you wore when you were a little girl, then maybe—just maybe—the philosophy behind it all isn’t that important, after all.”

  “Oh, hon,” Nihilism Bear says, clearly moved. “You really do need more nihilism in your life. . . . do you want me to sing the nihilism song?”

  Once again, the black wars with the rainbow, against the sound of flutes; and a long seven-toned scream; and then there’s silence.

  In Shadow City, a girl fumbles and drops her knife. A thug pauses, and sniffs the air. A bureaucrat, for the first time in seven years, looks out his window to regard the street.

  A bluebird sings.

 
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