Aware that my reading public is breathlessly awaiting for another story and also realizing that my reputation as a Great Writer depends on my ability to finally put forth the Great Work of my career, I worked long, long hours, deep into the twilight and wrote it. It is offered here for your enjoyment, but principally for your education. For it is written: “What you don’t know can kill you.” And now, you are about to KNOW.
The Turd Apocalypse [a short story — by Sha’Tara]
In the beginning, as all such events must have, the people lived in emptiness and great darkness. They wandered about on the face of the earth with no greater goal than to find appropriate shelter in caves, underground tunnels or hollow trees. Their immediate concerns were to gather seeds, fruit and vegetables as the earth provided to eat. When an area was depleted, they would move on again. In those days of great ignorance, the people knew nothing. They had no leaders, no money, no cities and no technology and they were so ignorant of what life had to offer that they lived much longer than today and seldom experienced wasting diseases. Furthermore, they were even ignorant of sin and had therefore no way to make atonement should they contravene any law, of which they had none. Nor did their system provide any justice for victims of crime as they were too dumb to even commit crimes. It was a very dark and sad time for the earth in those days, for all of the people, from the youngest to the oldest, suffered from an over-abundance of endless happiness.
But nothing is ever so dark that hope cannot rise as a silver lining around the loin cloth and it came to pass that a small family group was wandering along the foot of a mountain chain at the edge of the jungle and they came upon… a turd. It was not just an ordinary turd. They had encountered many such, and knew that given time, the earth would change these turds into wonderful fertilizers that made their seeds grow. This particular turd was extraordinary. It rose higher than the shortest child in the group and it glistened fresh in the bright sun.
The people stopped and stared in awe at this wonder of wonders. A magnificent turd. What could it mean? What could it portend? The oldest member of the tribe approached the turd and smelled it. It had a very powerful aroma, unlike anything he had ever smelled before. He gathered his small tribe and for many hours they discussed the turd. It was finally agreed, with much forceful oration on the part of the elder, that this was no ordinary turd. It was a gift of some great one. So was the idea of the Great One born in the mind of those primitive humans. The elder ordered that a great hut be raised over the turd to protect it from the elements, and that sacrifices be offered to the Magnificent Turd in the hope that the Great One would be pleased and would consider them His Chosen People. For there never was any doubt in the mind of the Elder that only a Great Male would put forth such a gargantuan deposition.
The Great Turd could not be moved without being desecrated so it was decided to build a village around it. So the people became sedentary and settled down. They learned to till the soil more intensely to increase yields as the tribe grew in numbers. They also learned how to hunt and kill animals and use their meat as food, their skins as clothing. This led to development of special skills in weapons making, and in garment manufacturing. Soon, wild animals were captured and domesticated, making hunting less crucial. At this the hunters became despondent until the Elder suggested they go off into the jungle and see if they could capture other humans to use as slaves, and as much needed fresh blood for the tribe. So they went off eagerly, found unsuspecting groups, captured the young and killed the old, bringing young men and girls for slave labour and sex.
The tribe grew in size and power. The Elder chose certain young men to help him with the maintenance and service of the Great Turd Hut and special rituals of cleansing were performed before these young men could present themselves before the Turd. More and more sacrifices, now including animal and human, were brought to the Turd in order to please the Great Depositor as He became known.
Until then, in their ignorance, the people had thought that earth shakings and violent winds were a natural phenomenon. Thanks to the growing knowledge of All That Is as expounded by those who served in the Hut of the Turd, it became known that the shakings were the footsteps of the Great One walking through the mountains, dragging a great club with which he carved out new valleys, or raised new mountains. The great winds were his breath and his farts, depending on their direction and the smells they brought.
Once the hunters came upon a hill where a great devastation of fruit-bearing trees had taken place. They immediately turned back and reported to the Temple Guardians or Priests as they insisted on being called, that they had sure evidence the Great One had walked over that hill only recently and fed from the fruit in the trees, breaking them off to bring the succulent morsels to his lips. A delegation of Priests insisted on accompanying the hunters in order to make the discovery official. The hunters had to provide the food and the slaves so the Priest delegation could travel in the style their position demanded.
Upon reaching the area of the devastation, the priests declared it a new Site. A new Temple of the Turd erected upon that hill. Here, the more studious and spiritual, as well as those who applied to become priests, came to live, and to study, meditate and work. The Hill was declared holy to the Great One and an exact duplicate statue of the Great Turd was placed at its very top. Way stations were built along a winding path to the Holy Sanctuary of the Great Turd and the people came in droves to worship there, and to plead for healing from the many vexing, perplexing and devastating wasting diseases and plagues that accompanied them all the days of their shortened lives in the growing city below. Each supplicant had to bring offerings or sacrifices to the Head Priest, who took them and placed them around the Altar to the Great One.
When the supplicants finally found the words to ask the Head Priest why the Great One afflicted them so, he told them the truth:
“It is your manifold sins against the Great One, and your lack of respect for His Turd that is cursing your life in the city below.”
“And what are these great sins, Father?” asked the supplicants.
“You are being stingy with your riches, keeping them for yourselves and your children. The Great One knows what you hoard in your hovels, and how you seek to hide from His Legally Ordained Collectors. Come forth, children, be not afraid. Give all that you have to the Great One and He will look after you. Is that not what you are taught in the great Turd Document which your teacher-priests interpret for you? When you stop being greedy, when you give all that you possess and all that you are to the Representatives of the Great Turd, then and only then will you realize what prosperity is. Stop sinning. Work harder and give more.”
Some supplicants asked why the Great Turd took them so early in life, some in childhood. The Priest responded:
“Those are His specially Chosen Ones whom he takes to place in a Paradise far over the Great Mountains and beyond the Great Sea. It is a blessing of the Great Turd that you should die young.”
And so the people returned to their miserable lives, among the stagnant water, the rats and the fleas, and took the food from the mouths of their starving and dying children, and gave their daughters as sex slaves to the priests, and their sons to the growing military machine and to the Church of the Turd and the city grew into a nation, the nation became an empire and all around, the fires burned and the machines growled, driving the once ignorant relaxed and healthy people faster, farther and deeper into debt and death. But who had time to notice in all the excitement created by the new technology and the new wars? And who could believe the few mad prophets who predicted a coming Turd Apocalypse upon the land?
And so it came to pass that a distant people who did not know or worship the Great Turd, coveted the riches of the Turd Empire and launched a devastating war against it. Long the war lasted, until the resources of the empire were completely wasted and only old and infirm people were left. When the invaders finally entered the City of the Great Turd, they broke into the Temple and violated the Holy Turd sanctuary. In it, they found a small pile of debris with bits of dried up grasses, broken nut shells and seeds. Archaeologists who later examined these remains failed to comprehend why the once mighty empire had protected those remains or what was their social and economic significance, since the invading military commander had ordered that all the Turd Priests be killed and all their paraphernalia be burned or otherwise destroyed.
And how could these researchers arrive at some understanding of the Great Turd empire’s drive? Their own Great One was represented by an Egg, the Egg, so their priests claimed, that had once been laid by a Great Sea Creature upon the very shore where their ancestors had stopped to rest and gather the bounties offered by the ocean.
“Blessed be the Great Egg!” they intoned dutifully as they handed their reports to the Egg Head Priest. He eyed them haughtily and dismissed them with barely a flick of a finger.