"Mod Skull (Vers.)" by Richard F. Yates

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Description:

He was perfectly coiffed, just messy enough to be believable, but clearly still stylish. His only problem was the bow-tie, which was having trouble staying put, since he didn't have any skin or flesh for it to hang on. It just kept slipping down to his collar bones.

But despite this … (read more)

He was perfectly coiffed, just messy enough to be believable, but clearly still stylish. His only problem was the bow-tie, which was having trouble staying put, since he didn't have any skin or flesh for it to hang on. It just kept slipping down to his collar bones.

But despite this slight flaw, or perhaps because of it (no-one should be thought of as perfect), the overall appearance couldn't have gone better.

The hypnotic implants in his empty eye-sockets kicked on just after the second commercial break. The entire room fell silent, and living-rooms across the nation became OPEN to suggestion. He did his best...despite the obvious contradiction in this action...to make a difference. But perhaps the ends justified the means... (Even if the phrase, "Slavery is Freedom" kept running through his empty skull.)

"Okay people," he said, once he was certain the tech had worked, "I want you to listen and do what I say! READ A DAMN BOOK! I don't care if it's fiction or non-fiction, just exercise your brains' capacity to IMAGINE based on abstract input! IMPROVE YOUR ABILITY TO REASON AND EMPATHIZE! Reading is KEY!!!"

"Next, take a class or find a video or something that teaches you CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS! There is a TRUTH that's out there, a REAL WORLD, which is being destroyed---RIGHT NOW---and although you will only have a partial data-set with which to judge TRUTH from LIES, you have to learn how to EVALUATE INFORMATION for plausibility and SOURCES for reliability. And, MY FINAL COMMAND, YOU HAVE TO LEARN TO THINK FOR YOURSELVES!!!! Don't just fall in line... And DAMMIT!!! Don't make me come back and do this again..."

He stared meaningfully into the camera for a few more seconds, then felt the diodes in his skull switch from ACTIVE to OFF, and the room began to fill will motion and noise again. Households came back to life, and nobody was aware of what had happened.

The interview went smoothly. People laughed, the host was generous, and when his wig started to slip off the top of his noggin, everyone gasped, but he stood up, bowed deeply to the crowd, and let the hair-piece fall to the floor, instigating the biggest laugh of the night and then a round of applause.

After the show, Mod walked to his car, pressed a few hidden buttons under the dash, and drove through the strange, warbling dimensional rift that had suddenly appeared in the alley, and he was nearly instantaneously transported back to the Afterworld, where he belonged.

And, in the coming weeks, things got better. Not instantly, but steadily...

The ends don't always justify the means---but, as Plato suggested, sometimes the masses are blinded and believe in shadows... When that happens, it's up to the Shadows to guide them to the light!

[P.S. - This is a satirical, simplified, fantasy story, in which I am sharing my wish that all of the societal division and belief in dubious "facts" that currently plague my country---perhaps the whole world, to some degree---could be corrected or even wiped away with a single, magical act. Unfortunately, I realize that isn't possible, that the situation is infinitely complex and may be irreparable---I still intend to TRY to improve the world in little ways in REAL LIFE, but I certainly WISH that we could instantly inspire folks to become more empathetic, more critical, and more independently minded with a single television stunt. It's fantasy, but as a writer / artist / creator, I get the luxury of indulging my fantasies. Whether you agree with my ideas of what would improve the world or not, I get to have my say through my art! So... That's what I do...]

---Richard F. Yates (Holy Fool)


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Comments

This piece is so interesting. I sense a vibe of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Congratulations for this.

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