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Presented by State Library Victoria

The nature of stories told through a story.

Hello everyone. While I recognize that holidays, for most people haven’t arrived yet, for me they have. So I’m doing all my stress-relief dances in secret while my other slightly antagonisticical friends do their stress-powered study for exams in fury. What follows is something that I made in the resulting hours of not having to think about anything, which are also the hours in which I couldn’t sleep because I was thinking about this story and how I would tell it. I came upon this list of vague themes while scrolling down twitter (the vacuous hole where pointless arguments begin and don’t end, where ‘controversy’ is presented as the next “read me” topic designed to inflame readers) and one theme, while the rest were fairly rubbish, that caught my eye was that of “what lasts?“. So what does? You can’t tell me that anything that mankind builds and creates, or sends into outer space or catapults into an alternate timeline will last. That would be a lie. All things end, sadly. The end of all things is a little further off into the distance, a safe distance, a comfortable distance where don’t have to worry about it (the ending the Earth itself however…) but it is coming. This story, just a short 600 words, was written with that in mind. It is written by a god. Rather, it is written from the point of view of a omnipotent being who (weirdly, out of all the celestial objects that exist) has a soft spot for Earth. Not all of Earth itself, but the nature of humanity, and our ability to create things that last. In his opinion, the death of all things is inconsequential, but it is the death of one thing, one idea, that has ramifications. This is story on the nature of stories, and our ability to tell things that will last.

 

Welcome. You are with me now as I turn the final page of Earth’s history and watch it burn. Finally. No. Finality. There comes a point where human tenacity amounts to nothing; in this case it amounts to nothing in the face of an exploding star called the Sun as it expands, making everything burn, As I said earlier, finality. Nevertheless, no matter how much they futilely persist, I will always hold a special place in my heart for them. Nothing they do could make me admire them any less. As they burn, somewhere on that rock exists a record of the first story ever told. That is a priceless item.

Disappointingly, I cannot retrieve it. I have no corporeal form, so I cannot cradle the time-worn papers and shield it from celestial wrath, I can only watch it burn. And I will shed a single, solitary tear for humanity. They were so impressive, not always for the right reasons, but impressive nonetheless. I feel… nostalgic, I think is the word. Longing. The fire has reached the most important site on the planet and I don’t want to see it go. It deserves something to commemorate its passing, the inevitable passing that was coming for it as it was first recorded, committed after 4 billion of only existing in memory, finally committed to paper. This needs to have a ceremony; it is important, and an occasion will preserve its memory forevermore. Yes. I think that is fitting.

Back to the beginning we go. The beginning of the story is the beginning of mankind. A man dies in a swamp, as men back there were wont to do. It wasn’t surprising. An alligator had stated its clear intention for what it would have for its first breakfast and the man saw this danger and slowly backed away. He should have been faster. A mother sees this sight, not the mother of the man but the mother of a baby, back in the cradle of humanity. The graphic gore sears the event into her mind. She won’t forget it. Good. She runs back and tells the others what she saw. She embellishes. The alligator was an instrument of death in her retelling, not just a hungry reptile. The man was brave, strong and taken by surprise by surprise, and did not wet himself and was not slow in her retelling. Her retelling had a message: No matter how valiant you are, you could get eaten, so beware. The true message was: everything is meat.

Somehow, that doesn’t sound so lovely.

Tomorrow exists in today. Just like the event was seared into the mind of the mother, the story she tells carves a place for itself in the mind of her child. And it goes on. We are almost at the end of it all as we trace it. From memory to story, to folklore, to short story in an anthology, to a novel, to a screenplay, to a motion picture, as time marches on, so does the story.

Things begin, and things end, and nothing stays the same. Except this. This and other stories told; stories of caution, love, creation, fear, happiness, sadness and rebirth. We learn from stories, to break free from the clichés they create and make new stories. From alligator killing man to man catching alligator. Nothing lasts forever, except stories. This one will. The paper crumbles. It is dust now. Nothing survives, except in this story it does. And this story is immortal, just as I am. Stories last forever just as I am there to record their passing. I am feeling very nostalgic.

 

Signed,

A Damned Monkey.

2 comments

ellipsis

Such interesting narration! And the points flow together well. It's also quite poetic, with all the imagery and varied sentence structures... Anyway, I'm very impressed. *applause* *audience throw flowers at stage* *audience members wipe tears from their eyes* *millions of people watching the live broadcast are immensely moved* *elite authors bow in deference* *this is getting a little indulgent, huh?* Well, the very subtle point is: Good job.

22nd Jun, 19
damnedmonkey

Thank you!! :)

24th Jun, 19