The Metamorphosis — Redux
Brian A. Lopez
One morning, as Vompatti was waking up from unsettling dreams, he found that he had been transformed into a desert cactus.
He was not immediately aware of this however, since cacti don’t have eyes, (or any organ capable of sensation). Well, that is not entirely true, though that is best saved for later in the story.
[The author would like to note he was already out of creativity by this point, not really applying much energy to the work outside the cactus transformation idea, and feeling a bit pressured to produce, yet also struggling from writers block and lack of motivation]
After a long period of deep Cartesian meditation, Vompatti was able to conclude that he was at least a being of pure thought, being unable to conclude what he was as a physical form, if anything at all. Having no concept of time in whatever state he was, this meditation went on for days, (6 though he could not know that). Free from all senses, and contact with the human world, Vompatti eventually came to the firm decision he was a cactus. He was sure of it, though it could not be known, but he was absolutely sure in his soul, like Neo becoming one with the Matrix...you don’t need any senses, you just know, though this realization of his physical form shot him out of mediation like a rocket.
[The author is speed reading frantically through his copy of Descartes’ »Meditations on First Philosophy» to see if anything can be used from it, and wishing he didn’t throw away his notes from his philosophy class]
Vompatti has been many things in his life: A wombat, a horse, a corrupt computer program, and, intermittently, a human. However, these were always by choice, and under his control. This cactus incident was unexpected and beyond control, a real inconvenience to be sure. He could not move, or do anything at all. However, a moment of peace passed over him at the realization that it could be worse, at least he was not a member of Dream Theater.
All he could do was meditate, though his meditation was broken by the sound of knocking. The knocking became louder, turning into a pounding and a voice was asking, with increasing volume and concern, if Vompatti was OK. It was Mattias, one of his neighbors.
Vompatti had many neighbors in his apartment building, and most were unpleasant, if not outright terrible. There was David, an American living here in Finland, who was a nice person, but would always arrive at Vompatti’s door naked asking if he wanted to hang out. He also shared this building with an independent porn director specializing in hardcore, a youth who made drugs in their toilet, a 40 year old man out of prison for murder, and most horrifyingly, an investment banker.
Mattias however was a kind soul, and he visited Vompatti once a week to drink coffee and eat frozen pizza while discussing avant garde music. Now overcome with worry, Mattias yelled to open the door. Try hard as he could, Vompatti simply could not make any sounds. Mattias said he would be back with help, and though Vompatti used every fiber of his being to say, »No, don’t worry» it was futile.
He long accepted that he was going to shrivel up and die eventually like this, but as a cactus he could at least survive for a good length of time, and he would certainly use up far less resources that can be used by others. So that was a positive, though he would miss cheap beer. Then an axe came crashing through the door, again and again until Mattias broke through.
»Vompatti, I got this axe from your neighbor. He also gave me this bottle of wine, says he was gunna shove it up some girls asshole but he wants a better-» It was now Mattias noticed he was not here, though a desert cactus was on his bed.
Unsure what to do, Mattias asked, »Vompatti, is that you?» No response. »Have you become a cactus?» Again no response. »Hmm, I guess you wouldn’t be able to talk anyway...Is there anything you can do at all? I need to know if you have become a cactus, or if you have moved out.» Vompatti tried to relax his skin as much as he could in one area, hoping perhaps a needle would fall out. To his great surprise, it did. »Was that on purpose?» Mattias asked. »If that is you, drop another needle» Which he did. »Oh good, I’m glad you are not dead. Though we need to do something about this.» He paused to think. »Well, you need a pot to live in, soil of course. I should talk to Alisa about your government checks. Maybe I can accept them for you, say you have become disabled or something, oh! maybe that will get you even more. She’ll know, she’s the best lawyer and can help with anything. I’ll be back tomorrow, and don’t worry I’ll only spend what is needed for you, the rest I will burn in an act of defiance against the monetary system, as you’ve discussed before» Vompatti was overcome by joy.
Mattias did return the next day, with a clay pot, specially blended cactus soil, and began moving Vompatti into his new habitat. »I printed some instructions off the internet about how to care for a cactus, how often to give you some water and how much sunlight. I can receive your government checks for you, and Alisa said she’d come by to help as well, if you’re OK with that...do you still want me to come by and spend time with you? Drop a needle for yes» Vompatti did, and Mattias smiled.
Once a week Mattias, Alisa, or both, would come by to give him some water, and have a good time. They would talk about everything under the sun, and though Vompatti could not respond they knew he enjoyed the time. They explained that just because he was a cactus now, does not mean he shouldn’t be strong and beautiful, so they would tend to him to keep him strong, succulent and green. Over or under exposure to sunlight would change his color. He appreciated the care, and spent his alone time in meditative states, trying to become a being of pure thought. Perhaps he could transcend this Earthly realm and be one with the collective conscious, and hang out with Mattias and Alisa in the Astral Plane, where he could be more active.
[The author would like to note he has no idea about any of that, including if one could interact with the dreams of others in a manner as described, especially without them trying to do the same. It would, basically, be like breaking into their unconscious mind wouldn’t it? Uh, I’m getting off track here, though any New Age people feel free to let me know]
This went on for a while, and they told David what had happened. While he stopped visiting since he refused to abide by Mattias and Alisa’s request of wearing clothes, he did still sunbathe outside naked. The other neighbor was also informed, and informed Vompatti if he missed the feel of sexual intercourse, he could be placed inside one of the girls. Vompatti did consider this, but turned down the offer since it would be used in one of the man’s films, and he could not be involved with profit making. Then one day Mattias had an idea. »You know Vompatti, I could help complete your life’s work. Publish some of these writings of your computer, maintain your publishing website, the fans and writers have been wondering what happened to it. Alisa is a great writer, she can edit and do what is needed. Would you like this?»
Vompatti dropped a needle.
So it was done. Vompatti became world renowned for his works dealing with the abolition of the monetary economy, anti capitalist, anti government anti nationalist sentiment, and even released a noise influenced black metal album, »Lapland Winter» which won the praise of many internet critics, being named album of the year by one website and was heralded as a, »Grim, beautiful masterpiece as vast and expansive as the Finnish Lapland itself» by one reviewer.
[The author has realized it would be impossible for a cactus to make music, and already having written the above paragraph and feeling lazy, decided to simply leave it be]
A new party, the wombat party, dedicated to a voluntary exchange, money free economy, began in Finland and Vompatti was even elected mayor of Turku. He never was in office, or even took the inauguration, but this was part of the appeal to voters, satisfied to have a »true outsider» in office and someone dedicated to his belief of no government. His reclusive nature was indeed part of the allure, and his latest work »I am a cactus», an assumingly comedic autobiography, had fans jokingly wondering if he was indeed a cactus.
Mattias and Alisa greatly enjoyed the work they could produce for their dear friend Vompatti, who was also very pleased he could see his work come to fruition, and spend his spare time meditating. He did regret not having any means to communicate his new found philosophy to be published, he even had the perfect tagline »Lose your senses and mobility to find your true self» but he become greatly pleased when Mattias said he had accumulated years of government checks and book sales, and would burn the money in the middle of Helsinki as protest. Also the feel of water on his cactus skin was quite soothing and wonderful.
»Do you ever get bored?» Alisa asked. »Drop a needle if you do.» Vompatti had become great at dropping his needles, and could do so like we blink. The lack of a drop gave Alisa joy knowing Vompatti was not bored.
Not only did he enjoy his rounds of pure thought, but every night Vompatti had intense, psychedelic dreams. The likes of which would make Hunter S Thompson, Terrance McKenna and Bill Hicks shit their pants. Perhaps a strain of peyote was mixed in him, he thought, and tried very hard to produce more mescaline inside himself, to amplify the trips and test his willpower.
Like any movement, none of these panned out, and eventually slipped into the annals of history, though Vompatti was not perturbed. He knew the revolution would come eventually. He had at least 100 years to live as a cactus, and his work would live on forever, and he still had his publishing company.
[The author was completely unsure how to finish this story and felt it was a bit lost by now, so simply decided to end it there. It should be noted though he attempted an »anti-metamorphosis» in which the life of the main character, and those associated with him, improved with time thanks to his metamorphosis. However, the author sought to maintain the surreal aspect and humor, centered on the fact it is never questioned, by Vompatti or others, why this happened, but simply accepted. The author hopes he was successful in all these aspects, as well as making an enjoyable piece]