Faith (an ouroboros short story)

Faith

by Joel Nickel

Her boyfriend had started Mokeyism in 2007 but it only really became a religion in 2013. Alex had written things down earlier but it wasn’t until there was outside interest in the ideas of Mokeyism that he ever thought meetings were even a slight possibility.
“The episode blows your mind immediately as you begin watching it,” the Puppet Shaman to his followers or Alex Sunderland to her, sat on the couch reading from the notes in front of him. They didn’t really have anything for a pulpit so they just put a plush doll of Mokey Fraggle on the coffee table of whoever was hosting that week. “Doc is talking to his dog, Sprocket, about time travel. ‘Wouldn’t it be fun to travel in time? Of course you wouldn’t go anywhere because the past and the future are happening here and now in the present. It’s all a question of perception. I thought dogs knew stuff like that’.” Alex stopped to take a sip of his coke. “They made a model of a time machine and Doc suggests trying it out. So he stuffs Sprocket in and locks him inside. Then he begins to shake the machine and says: ‘and now to press the button to the not so distant future.’ But then he leaves. He grabs his hat and leaves with Sprocket still locked in the time machine only to return a few moments later dressed as an old man! He unlocks Sprocket from time machine and says: ‘Sprocket, where have you been all these years?’ Wow, way to mess with Sprocket’s mind!
“The story revolves around Mokey who’s putting on a play she wrote called the legend of Bloomdig; she plays Bloomdig. It’s about a great leader, Bloomdig, who was some sort of deity who ‘appeared out of nowhere’. Bloomdig lived in a time where everyone was bald and anyone with hair was instantly banished.’Better bald than banished,’ quips Wembley.
“Mokey, Boober, and Wembley are rehearsing in the cave in which Bloomdig supposedly appeared out of nothing. She makes them wear hats, because the ancient bald Fraggles needed to wear hats. Makes sense. They needed something to cover their heads, and it sure as hell couldn’t be hair! Am I right?
“We learn an important fact about Mokey in this episode: she’s a method actor. She has to go to the Sacred Cave to rehearse, and when Boober expresses his anxiousness about being in the Sacred Cave, Mokey responds: ‘Mokey? Who’s Mokey?” Alex even tried to use the Mokey voice. “I am Bloomdig, great and wondrous leader of the Fraggles who were Bald.’ Another thing we learn is that Fraggles call their ancestors Fraggles who were Bald.
“Boober finds a mysterious and somehow familiar painting of a Fraggle, which appears on one of the cave walls. Weirdly enough, the Fraggle was depicted with hair. Mokey immediately dismisses it. ‘Wembley, this is no time for ferburps.’ I assume that’s Fragglian for: nonsense.”
There was scattered laughter among the chomping of chips and fizzing of carbonated drinks.
“Obviously the word is archaic and Wembley has no idea what she’s saying. ‘Bloomdig lives in a time where Fraggles were bald, she talked funny,’ which I found amusing remembering my first encounters with Shakespeare and Chaucer, and I’m sure if I knew Latin or Greek the same would be true for Homer and Socrates. For Henson to include such concepts is why he’s my favourite storyteller! It makes you believe that they have their own Fraggle society that’s been going on for a very long period of time.
“Mokey also delivers a wonderful tidbit of information about Fraggle society when Boober tries to leave the cave because he’s afraid. She tells him: ‘I know Fraggles don’t tell each other what to do, so I’m asking you nicely, please do it for me, please?’.
“So, Fraggles don’t tell each other what to do. How would that work for a whole society? I don’t tell someone else what they can or can’t do. That leaves things open for assholes to take over unfortunately. But fortunately Fraggle Rock has no assholes. Boober’s kinda emo but he’s not an asshole.”
There was pockets of laughter that.
“I have a problem believing that it would ever work for humanity because there would always be that one person who is sadistically opportunistic and would abuse the freedom that Utopian Fraggle concept would offer.
“Anyway, she convinces Boober to stay and they begin rehearsing for the play. They rehearse a chant and the cave painting explodes in smoke and disappears.”
Alex made a grandiose gesture and a few of them mocked gasping.
“’It’s gone!’ says Wembley. ‘That’s funny,” muses Mokey.
‘No it’s not! Goodbye!’ Boober’s ready to turn tail and run but the sound of chanting can be heard in a nearby cave. A ceremony is taking place. A Huba Ooga band. They go check it out and in that instant Boober realizes they’re in the past. The cave is filled with bald Fraggles in hats singing Huba Ooga.
“’Please tell me this is part of your play. Please tell me this is part of your play,’ Boober pleads. ‘Well Boober, it didn’t used to be,’ she admits. ‘But the creative process is a very strange thing.’
The Fraggles that are dancing are suddenly told to stop by an angry looking green Fraggle who we can assume is their leader. He just looks at them for a while and then tells them to run.
“And a court employee of some kind yell: ‘Fish Face says run!’ And they all begin to run around again.
“’Are you seeing what I’m seeing?’ says Mokey. ‘If it’s totally crazy? Yes,’ Oh, Boober.
“The Fraggles see her and immediately recognize her as Bloomdig. The green leader guy, Fish Face, looks pissed! The little court employee comes up beside Fish Face and says: ‘At last she has come to rule us’ in the creepiest way possible.
They laughed.
“’I rule here!’ Fish Face bellows. He promptly sets out to discredit her, but a member of the tribe introduces himself to Bloomdig. ‘I’ve waited all my life for this moment.’ And it made me think of how people would act if Jesus came back and they were standing right there when it happened. What would you say? What would you do? Would you go shake his hand? Good job, thanks for comin’ back?
“’“We’re dreaming, right?’ Boober pleads to Wembley as they watch Mokey from a distance. ‘Where’s Red, where’s Gobo?’ Wembley cries. And the court employee jumps up from behind them. ‘Gobo? Did you say Gobo?’
‘Oh, no!’ The crowd covers their head with their hands. ‘What’s wrong with them?’ Mokey wonders. ‘What isn’t?’ Oh, Boober.”
They laughed.
“Fish Face gets even more angry. He yells at Wembley, telling him he has uttered the ‘sacred word’.
“Mokey tries to explain to the tribe that it’s just Gobo’s name by saying his name a lot and they get progressively more annoyed.
‘You said Gobo,’ one of the tribe says. ‘Gobo means, take off your hat.’ Woah! So we learn that they’re so freaked out about not showing their baldhead that even to ask to remove your hat is offensive!
But because they believe that Mokey is Bloomdig, they take their hats off to her. ‘Even though it cold enough to freeze heads’ I’ve become a grammar enforcer and that line of dialogue made me cringe.
‘The evidence is in, this is neither a play nor a dream,’ Boober realizes. ‘They’re all bald!’ Notices Mokey. ‘Bald?’ Wembley shrieks.
‘Bald.’ Boober nods.
“Turns out Mokey, Wembley, and Boober have gone back in time to become Bloomdig and her two followers who mysteriously appeared out of nothing. Sweet, huh? I love Jim Henson.”
Evan got up to go use the washroom and came back with a slice of pizza.
Awesome, there’s still pizza. He made a mental note to grab a slice after the sermon.
“The story goes back to Doc and Sprocket, and he’s still fucking with Sprocket’s head. He tells him that Ned Schimmelfinny and his cat, Fluffinella, had moved away. He says he could’ve moved too, but he always believed that Sprocket would come back. What a mind fuck, huh? Who does that to their dog? We rejoin Mokey, er, Bloomdig, and her two followers as they realize they’re in the past. Boober’s scared, so is Wembley, and Mokey, ever the optimist and trusting Fraggle, believes that they should just tell the tribe what happened, but they first bump into Fish Face who confronts Mokey about trying to take away his power and Mokey tries to downplay the situation and admits to not being Bloomdig.
“The Fraggle who had moments before expressed how he waited his whole life to meet her suddenly appears out of nowhere saying, chillingly: ‘We tie you to rock for trying to fool us.’ What!
They’re lead in front of the whole tribe and they try to convince the tribe that they are Bloomdig, and her followers, and they even try using some archaic words. This one Fraggle starts laughing at their accent and Fish Face gets angry. ‘Stop! No one laughs’ Fish Face growls.”
Some of the congregation hissed.
“It’s the law. It’s banned. Wow, so now we also know that Fraggles were not always as fun and carefree and sing-songy as we might think. In fact, they were going to arrest the Fraggle that laughed until Mokey stopped it. She said that she was Bloomdig and that in her great wisdom she demanded the man be set free. Fish Face reluctantly agrees but challenges her to prove she is who she says she is by moving sacred boulders. ‘You fail, you are a has been,’ Fish Face warns.
‘I’m a will be,’ Mokey says after Fish Face leaves. ‘Or a never was,’ Boober interjects.
“Mokey begins looking into her play notebook to see if there’s anything on moving boulders. But learns instead that it says she did move the boulders, but doesn’t say how she did it. And cue psychedelic ceremony where they sing about true voodoo; it’s a pretty awesome song.”
The congregation laughed and nodded in agreement.
“They try to move the boulder by shouting move at it! Ha!
When they can’t move the boulder, Fish Face tells them they failed and order them tied to a rock. ‘You lie,’ Fish Face says. ‘Tie them to a rock.’ ‘Tie them to a rock,’ the tribe chants eerily.”
“Tie them to a rock,” members of the congregation got in on imitating the chant.
“’We are from the future,’ Mokey tries to explain but they scoff at her. She even tells him her name and Fish Face laughs. ‘Mokey, is not a name,’ Fish Face says. ‘Mokey, means put on your hat. And apparently Wembley means: no scratch nose in public. And Boober means: tie him to a rock!
“Which they very quickly do, and in an older version of Gobo and Wembleys room, mind you! ‘That’s where our beds will be!’ Wembley comments through the gag in his mouth. ‘And that’s the nook where we build our fire.’ Wembley expresses how he misses Gobo, and Boober proceeds to completely blow my mind by reminding his friends that Gobo isn’t born yet. They go into a song: ‘I can hear our future calling like a love song.’ It’s a beautiful down-tempo song, which almost makes you forget that they’re singing tied up-with gags in their mouths-to the stairwell of their future apartment.
“She makes a plan to get back to the sacred cave and ends up untying herself and frees her friends but the top of the stairs a massive boulder blocks their path. ‘It’s all my fault,’ Mokey apologizes. ‘It’s not.’ Wembley tries to console her. ‘Yes, it is.’ Boober quickly adds. ‘Yes, it is.’ Wembley agrees.”
The congregation laughed. He really enjoyed it when they laughed at his sermons.
“Mokey realizes that they can just show their hair to prove that they’re from the future. Boober points out that they banish people with hair. The Fraggle who was imprisoned for laughing pipes up and asks to see their hair. ‘I need a good laugh,’ he says. Apparently, hair is the funniest thing there is. ‘It’ll make anybody laugh.’
“The court employee slides the rock open to give them food and taunts Mokey. She takes this opportunity to show him her hair and he flips out, laughing like crazy. The trio go to the main hall where Fish Face is standing with the whole tribe. ‘Jump,’ he says.‘Fish Face says jump,’ says the court employee. ‘No jump,’ Fish Face says. Before the court employee can repeat the order, the trio jump out and surprise the tribe. Fish Face inquires as to how they escaped. ‘It was really quite simple, we just went Gobo,’ explains Mokey, taking off her hat and showing her hair. Although that would mean ‘we just went take off your hat’, but I get what they mean.
“Fish Face keels over in laughter and knocks over the sacred boulders. The tribe sees that Bloomdig made Fish Face laugh and move the boulders and take that as a sign of her divinity and make her their leader. Still underneath the boulders, Fish Face pleads for help but the court employee basically tells him to fuck himself.”
The congregation laughed.
“’You’re no longer the great and wondrous anything.’
They start chanting ‘tie him to a rock’ and grab him. Thankfully, Mokey stops the madness. ‘In the future when Fraggles have hair,’ Mokey starts, ‘we also have no great and wondrous leader … we each lead ourselves and we each other … my suggestion is: give up, great and wondrous leaders.’ ‘But what will we do?” Fish Face wonders. ‘You’ll dance your cares away, worries for another day, let the music play, down in Fraggle Rock,’ She says.”
Cheering broke out and they tossed out an amen or two.
“And the tribe turns festive and they embrace the Philosophy of the Fraggles of the future. Mokey, Boober, and Wembley go back to the sacred cave and get ready to do the ceremony to send them back to the future, but not before leaving the Fish Face a cave painting. The very cave painting Mokey looked at in the beginning of the episode and thought was mysterious and somehow familiar. Fuckin’ nuts, huh? I love Jim Henson. They head back to their own time and meet up with Gobo and Red. Mokey tries to explain what happened, and the pans away to conclude the story of Doc and Sprocket.
“Doc is still wearing his fake beard and trying everything he can to coax Sprocket into the fake time machine. He tells him he got rid of all the dog food and when he sees Sprocket isn’t going to leave, he finally has to give up and confess that it wasn’t the future. He takes off the beard, and Sprocket laughs. I thought it was amusing that the Fraggles showed their hair, and Doc showed that he didn’t have hair.”
Nods of agreement dotted the congregation.
“Doc realizes that Sprocket was playing him back, ‘How long did you know?’ Sprocket continues to laugh. Doc says he doesn’t need the machine, ‘I can see the future right now. I see a man, his dog, a cup of tea, and not a beard in sight,’ Doc says throwing the fake beard into the time machine.
“I think this is a phenomenal story. Mokey goes back to make serious, uptight Fraggles into the Fraggles that we know and love. She was the catalyst in the cultural evolution of the Fraggle. If that doesn’t warrant a religion to be built up around her I don’t know what does. And now, without further adieu. I give you episode ninety one of Fraggle Rock, Mokey, Then and Now.”
The congregation cheered and Greg turned down the lights and started the DVD.
This week they were at Greg’s place. Every week someone else hosted the meeting. The sermons were often fairly short and then they’d watch the episode.

An Ontological Discussion With Matt [Short Story]

An Ontological Discussion with Matt
by Joel Nickel

“Every person is actually the same being experiencing reality subjectively,” Matt pulled the cup to his mouth. His words were spoken as though they were mundane and unordinary; some trivial conversation about some idle piece of gossip.
They sat down in the café after both had ordered drinks.
Lillith was so shaken by the enormity of Matt’s words that her body convulsed. It was if her whole body was doing a comical, overly exaggerated double take for some hammy vaudevillian act.
“Holy fuck? What?” She immediately covered her mouth. “Sorry,” she looked down, embarrassed. “I meant, to say . . .”
“I think you meant to say ‘holy fuck’,” Matt grinned.
She chuckled shyly and then tried to sit up straight. “Okay, I’m going to think about this critically. Convince me.”
“I think humans are identical pieces of the same being, but are represented in the physical world separately by each person’s consciousness. And only in that way are we differentiated. If we went back to the spiritual world we’d just be part of that same being. All consciousness is supplied by one being hosting separate bodies; a meta-subjective view of reality.”
“Hmmm, so that thing is everybody?” she swirled the coffee around with her brown plastic stir stick.
“Yes, but I think it’s a single being from a duality. There is good essence and evil essence inside us. When one of the essences controls another being more than the other that person becomes good or bad.”
“That would explain why so many religions are built around the idea that the world started by God for humans. Maybe consciousness developed when this entity was able to harness the body of the homo sapiens and insert it’s consciousness onto it,” she took a drink from her coffee.
“I believe that the first modern man and woman were given consciousness by just such an entity. So the Bible’s Adam and Eve were actually just the first two homo sapiens that had consciousness. And that explains how there were other homo sapiens for Cain and Able to mate with. They were just mating with homo sapiens who hadn’t attained consciousness. Maybe the first consciousness was only in Adam and Eve, but then through birth it separated from Adam and Eve into Cain and Able. And then was transferred to the rest of humanity through Cain. Eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was a metaphor for homo sapiens attaining consciousness. Both good and evil energies existed together as one in both Adam and Eve, but when they had children the energies were split apart. Cain contained more evil than good and Able contained more good than evil. But then Cain killed Able and the majority of goodness was lost from the timeline and the rest of humanity is filled with the evil energy that Cain propagated through the generations.”
“What if Adam and Eve have a good son that was hidden away?”
“Woah. What if he wasn’t written about again until Mary, but rather than the virgin birth, Mary was actually part of the biological line of the good son of Adam and Eve had hidden away from Cain’s evil lineage. What if in that isolation from Cain the good energy lineage exercised a kind of sexual selection where only those with a high amount of goodness were allowed to procreate until we reach Jesus who was almost entirely good energy. When Jesus became aware of the way that the Jewish religion had been distorted as a system of control over the people through the influence of an elite few, he decided to expose humanity to the real message. Everyone is a subjective piece of God’s consciousness.”
“What if the context of what Jesus said was altered by the people who reprinted the Bible? The original Hebrew was changed to Greek and then from Greek to Old English, right? I’m pretty sure that’s right,” it had been a long time since she was ever in Sunday School and she really didn’t know that much about religion so she decided to stop herself and Matt continued.
She looked down at the floor.
“There are single words in certain languages that represent whole concepts. Since word is a whole concept, it can only be translated as a sentence when there is no equivalent word in the language it’s being translated into. Although, actually I can’t think of an example in English,” he paused, scrunching his face together and looking up as though he were trying to peer inside his brain with his eyes and that somehow that would help him remember. “Well, the French have a word ennui. And ennui, means . . . actually,” Matt pulled out his smartphone and entered the word into the search engine on his browser. After an unbelievably short time, which wasn’t appreciated or even acknowledged as being as miraculous as it was, the smartphone gave him the knowledge he was desiring. “Ennui is the feeling of weariness and dissatisfaction. That one word actually means an entire concept. And the word petrichor! That is the scent of rain on dry earth. Both are concepts condensed into one word. What words in original Hebrew were like ennui and petrichor? Maybe the meaning conveyed in those original words were mistranslated when the scriptures were transferred over to Greek. And then again when the Bible was translated into English? I always wondered if when Jesus said ‘we should love another as yourself,’ he wasn’t meaning you should love one another as separate, disconnected individuals. Maybe he was saying you actually ARE the other person. Only you are subjectively viewing existence and have a different individual past that we have named as our self to which we tether recollections of events as having happened to that self. But it’s only because we’ve had different experiences from one another that shape our behaviour and the way we interact and perceive the world. There’s that atheistic argument that religion is dependant on where you are born. If you’re born in the US you’re probably going to be a Christian. If you’re born in China you’ll be a Confucian or a Buddhist and if you’re Japanese you’ll probably be Shinto. Those cultural designations and expectations will colour your experience of reality.”
Lillith remained silent. Staring, unblinking, contemplating.
Matt continued: “rather than being separate and antagonistic we should recognize that while we are only experiencing the world subjectively, our consciousness is the same consciousness as any and every other person experiencing reality subjectively through their body. That’s a pretty intense idea for the whole of humanity to posses if a certain amount of subjective experiencers want to retain their individuality and their control and power over others. So what did the Pharisees do? Well they killed Jesus and then made it seem like he was a heretic. He was going up against the control, the influence, the power, and the evil that Cain’s lineage stood for. Cain’s influence as the evil force even ended up usurping the spiritual message that Jesus true followers were trying to get out. The church instead used Christianity the religion to control the masses. Not to free them with knowledge. In the Dark Ages only the clergy and noblemen could really read. Why? ‘Cause knowledge. That’s why! Those who possess knowledge possess the power to shape the perception of those who do not have that knowledge. Have you ever told a lie and you knew it was a lie but the other person you told trust you so much that they believe that you are telling them the truth. In that moment you have altered their experience of objective reality. With words, you have changed that person’s awareness of truth. You have made an illusory film that obscures the other person’s awareness of the true, objective reality. So yah, if most people can’t read, they can’t verify whether what the bishop at the front of the church is actually reading is written on the pages of the book in front of him, or whether the speech and its meaning are simply propaganda that aims to control the thoughts and actions of others for the benefit of the elite. That’s why whenever I hear something I also put the information through a prism of critical observation. Who is telling me this information? Why are they telling me this information? Could the messenger have a motive or a bias?”
Lillith continued to stare at him. She was aware now that he was emitting a subtle light that danced in the air around him. She felt a recognition of understanding in his eyes and then she felt an odd sense of deja-vu. She remembered this experience. She remembered this conversation but she remembered it through the subjective experience of Matt.