Once upon a time there lived an ogre named Ergo. Palindromic jokes not withstanding, when he watched TV he was noted to shout bizarre statements: while watching Formula 1 he shouted “Race fast safe car”; when watching medical dramas he called “Nurse I spy gypsies, run!”; when watching cookery shows he exclaimed “Go hang a salami, I’m a lasagna hog!” ; when watching a documentary about how erosion caused the Grand Canyon he screamed “O stone be not so!”; he often lamented programming and called for a show he wished to see entitled: “Ah, Satan sees Natasha!”; watching a programme on how to better oneself he lamented: “To last, I remedy my demerits a lot”; if ever he watched a televised debate he announced: “Rise to vote sir!”; commenting upon a babysitting documentary he narrated: “Emil, a sleepy baby, peels a lime.”; and ever since he saw the I-Spy championship finals he would often remark “Now I see bees I won.”
Ergo was irreverent, opinionated, liberal, and an unapologetic chubby naturalist. He lived in Canada, so he had an accent similar to Shrek, although this story bears no resemblance to Shrek or its affiliates and exists entirely separate, with no fairy tale characters (stock characters notwithstanding) or talking donkeys voiced by Eddie Murphy. The talking donkey in this story is voiced by Chris Rock, and that is entirely accidental and coincidental. This donkey wore a halo, a thin veil to cover the insidiousness which dwelt deep within him like sleeping Leviathan. As such, he was not quick-witted and chatty, but rather a sceptic curmudgeon who was enjoying the slippage of time; if Ergo went somewhere, he would not automatically follow, and nor would he ask.
Ergo lived in a swamp in Canada with his talking donkey friend Fallor Sum (in Shrek the donkey is just called Donkey, so as you can see this is completely different.) In this swamp he enjoyed his company and solitude doing all his swampy ogre things, like listening to Ogre Battle by Queen, brushing his teeth with snail goo, eating wholesome steamed vegetables and boiled meats, reading his favourite book ‘Mr. Owl Ate My Metal Worm’, churning butter from the milk squeezed from his cattle, suffering from Aibohphobia (a fear of palindromes), and of course adventuring in the nearby woods, where he had earlier collected his precious goldenrod adorned log.
One day changed everything that Ergo held dear, ergo changing his life forever. The plot of land in the adjacent meadow had been vacant and derelict for a while; Ergo had considered putting in an offer and gaining planning permission to erect a twenty-seven metre high fence to keep out pigs, wolves, little wooden boys, cats wearing leather shoes, men shaped out of gingerbread, and female ogres who were cursed to look like princesses yet actually were Cameron Diaz. Unfortunately, the forms were long and complex, and Ergo was quite apathetic, therefore no such offer was submitted to purchase the land from the private land baron who had bought it originally from the council so as to prevent housing contractors to develop affordable housing for the forgotten generation. However, on this day featured in our story, somebody was moving in. All he could muster on the subject when pressed by Fallor Sum was “Dammit, I’m mad!”.
The removal company were pretty quiet and quite quick in their quintessential method of moving and removing and placing and replacing, and before long the new neighbour had built their house out of plastic, Danish interlocking bricks and Celine Dion CDs. Ergo was not particularly pleased that he had a new neighbour, but felt at least that he should be polite and make himself known.
Now, as the author of this story, I knew who this person was, and they were to have a starring role with all the untold fame, fortune and riches that comes with being a star in my story until I was overlooked in the casting for their new play, and therefore they are to remain anonymous out of nothing but spite. Quite telling though it is, that this particular person in the story was more secluded and private than our protagonist ogre and so kept themselves to themselves. Ergo did however catch a glimpse of Anon, who in fact covered their face with a photograph of a blinding white light at the end of a bridge, possibly as some sort of religious metaphor. Ergo could not decide whether Anon was a male or female, as they referred to themselves being the same person as the newly appointed Pope Mal Mal, who as regular readers know became Pope not so long ago. Anon could not be speaking right, nor could they be speaking left, as how could they be two people at once?
Confucius reigned for a short time, but confusion reigned supreme. Ergo watched Anon recreate Biblical stories using anthropomorphised animals and dolls with larger assets than thought previously available. The size of these assets hinted at Anon’s being smaller, like comparing the size of Mexico to Russia, and perhaps their surrounding themselves with such insidiously naughty and arousing plastic figures was to hint at their perhaps being male.
After a while, Ergo discussed the world and such things with Anon, although the first questioned he asked delayed their friendship somewhat: “Do geese see God?” As Anon was a person who believed in God, they believed Ergo to be mocking them and thus withdrew further, but uttered one thing only before closing the door: “Do good, I? No! Evil anon I deliver. I maim nine more hero-men in Saginaw, sanitary sword a-tuck, Carol I – lo! – rack, cut a drowsy rat in Aswan. I gas nine more hero-men in Miami. Reviled, I (Nona) live on! I do, O God!”
Fallor Sum had to ask what that was all about. Ergo responded: “Do nine men interpret? Nine men, I nod.” Fallor Sum went straight back to sleep with bewilderment his final thought.
It took some time but the two of them being so reserved led to them being great friends, even Fallor Sum was snapped out of his cantankerous attitude just long enough to befriend Anon also, and the three of them played with the dolls together, although Anon kept their face and real identity secret the whole time. During one game of ‘Touch this part on a real person’, Anon snapped at Fallor Sum for not sharing, leading Ergo to diffuse the situation by announcing: “Madame, not one man is selfless; I name not one, madam.”
Soon enough, the friendship became legendary, involving a visit from Pope Mal Mal to bless and consecrate the communion of friends that had congregated. Sure enough a demonic princess appeared, a wild and sultry dizzy-type broad, Tara a rat, a rather creative muggle, a Mjölnir wielding effervescent Irishman who was underwhelmed by Stonehenge, a bright yellow ‘coffee minion’ who was just as cynical as all the others, and it was all super effective. With such goodness present in one place it was obvious that no devil lived on. Anon did ask whether these women were of dubious nature, but Ergo corrected her, putting her to rights, snapping: “Name tarts? No medieval slave! I demonstrate man!”
A party was held and all had fun. Karaoke was present, but muggle disliked Tara a rat’s choice dismissing thus: “Elk rap song? No sparkle.” The demon princess left early, she was very upset and on her way out was heard muttering: “Egad! No bondage?” The dizzy-type broad was less than impressed with the food on offer, forsaking grammar and remarking: “Ew! Eat a ewe?” The Mjölnir wielder was disappointed and wept at meal time: “I saw desserts; I’d no lemons! Alas, no melon! Distressed was I!” The yellow coffee drinker appealed to Anon’s good side by musing: “Lived on Decaf; faced no devil.” The Pope, drunk as he was decreed: “Dogma in my hymn! I am God!” although because of his poor dress sense, Fallor Sum shook his head and announced Mal Mal was as “drab as a fool, aloof as a bard.” However, in the morning, as he was leaving he waxed rhetoric: “Revered now, I live on. O did I do no evil, I wonder, ever?” As for me, the writer, author and narrator: in words, alas drown I.
Even though Ergo never saw the face of the wondrous and hilarious doll-playing, play writing, right speaking, identity unknown mystery person who played this game where they pretended to die and be in heaven and would only answer yes or no questions through a pretend séance, also rocking in a corner whispering: “No, son! Onanism’s a gross orgasm sin: a no-no, son!”, he appreciated all the eccentricities that came along. Soon enough their loneliness dissipated and his modesty came back, no longer finding the need to be an unapologetic naturalist, at least not in Anon’s company. Ergo, Ergo and all the rest lived happily ever after, and when Ergo watched the movie of this story on the TV starring Jake Gyllenhaal as me, he declared: “are we not drawn onward, we few, drawn onward to new era?”
© Kris Blackburn 19/08/20