The Weight of the Contradiction

Posted on April 21, 2005 by Jenna

← Previous | Next →

Alberto is young. He is eating his upside-down cake. Inside his upside-down cake is an upside-down wogly.

Alberto pokes it with his fork.

The upside-down wogly has banded blue and black skin. It is scaled like a snake. It is shaped like a torus. Inside the upside-down wogly is more upside-down cake.

“Hello?” Alberto asks, uncertainly.

“Hello!” says the upside-down wogly. “Would you like to volunteer to bear the weight of the contradictions of the world?”

Alberto wriggles uncomfortably in his seat. He looks at his parents. They do not appear to have noticed the upside-down wogly. They are engaged in deep philosophical discussion.

(“Can a heart-shaped record fit in the record player?” asks Alberto’s mother.

“Vinyl must be adaptable,” answers Alberto’s father, “or it will never find love.”

He is a gruff man, Alberto’s father, and he shows records his sternness.)

“Well, would you?” asks the upside-down wogly.

“I don’t know,” Alberto says.

The upside-down wogly’s voice is soft and gentle and stern. “You know how things are unfair in the world, don’t you?”

“Daddy says we can’t have everything we want,” says Alberto.

“When not everyone can have everything that they should have:” says the upside-down wogly. “When not everyone can have what they should fairly have; or should righteously have; or should desire to have—then there must exist someone who bears the weight of that contradiction.”

Alberto pokes the upside-down wogly with his fork again.

“Do I eat you?” he asks.

“I am very cold,” says the upside-down wogly. “Your tongue would stick to me.”

Alberto leans down and puts his tongue against the upside-down wogly.

“That was unfortunate,” says the upside-down wogly.

“Unh!” says Alberto. “Unh!”

His parents are discussing deep philosophical matters, and do not at first hear.

(“So this whale,” says Alberto’s mother, “has a bandolier of ammo wrapped all the way around her, and she uses two Uzis in her teeth. She’s all like leaping off of her motorcycle and going blam blam blam blam and then, ‘oh, toodles, I’ve beached myself.'”)

“UNH!” says Alberto.

“Oh,” says Alberto’s mother. “Oh, dear.”

“What’s that?” asks Alberto’s father.

“It’s something cold,” says Alberto’s mother. “But even the coldest heart can be warmed by love. Have you tried love, Albert?”

Alberto attempts love. Soon his tongue unsticks from the upside-down wogly.

“That was close, Mom!” says Alberto.

“I knew you could do it, Albert,” says Alberto’s mother. “But you should try not to stick your tongue on strange things.”

She ruffles Alberto’s hair, fondly, and then turns back to her conversation.

“If you help to bear the weight of that contradiction,” says the upside-down wogly, “why, then, it’ll make the world just a little bit fairer for everyone else.”

“Huh,” says Alberto, who is still quite warm with tongue-unsticking love. “I guess that’s okay.”

“Yay!” says the upside-down wogly.

“Hold on, son,” says Alberto’s father, whose brain has slowly assembled the content of Alberto’s conversation from residual auditory input. “That sounds like a bit of a bad deal for you.”

Alberto’s mother turns to the upside-down wogly. She thinks back with a puzzled frown.

“I shouldn’t?” says Alberto.

“You’re too young,” says Alberto’s father. “Make a deal with the upside-down wogly when you’re old enough to understand it.”

“But the world needs him to live up to his bargain,” says the upside-down wogly.

“I thought that recipe seemed a little off,” snaps Alberto’s mother, putting it all together. She rises to her feet. She picks up the plates.

“But I didn’t finish my cake,” says Alberto.

“But the world needs him,” says the upside-down wogly.

“Too bad,” says Alberto’s mother, briskly, and she carries the plates, the cake, and the upside-down wogly away.