Jacob Lawrence, "Windows" (1977)
Jacob Lawrence, Windows (1977)
Can a Game Be Literature?

Mark's Pages

December 21, 2002:

Gilligan was confused by an assignment he'd been given by Turd Blossom.

He'd built five huts, arranged in a sort of inverted star shape around the one he'd formerly shared with the Skipper, now the property of the Old Ex-President and his Wife. The new buildings were occupied by the President, his family, and his closest advisors: Poppy, the Governor of Florida, Turd Blossom, and the High Prophet. By request Gilligan had planted a high hedge around this compound, screening it from view.

Now Turd Blossom wanted him to add a series of underground pipes, one inch wide, leading into and out of the huts in a peculiar way that made no sense to Gilligan. A pipe led from the Old Ex-President's hut into Poppy's. From Poppy's a separate pipe led to the President's hut. From there another led to the Governor of Florida's. From there, to Turd Blossom's. From there, to the High Prophet's. The pipes did not connect to each other, and Gilligan had no idea what they might possibly contain. He completed the construction as instructed. But, he remained baffled as to what it was about.

One day he was trimming hedges when curiosity got the better of him. All the huts in the compound were occupied: maybe now he could learn what the pipes did. Not knowing where to start, he crept stealthily below the window of the High Prophet's hut, and peeked carefully in.

She sat in lotus posture, crosslegged, inside a circle of black chalk drawn on the floor. Strong incense burned from brass containers, rising in wispy rings. Her eyes were closed; she was chanting something unintelligible. From both corners of her mouth oozed a viscous liquid, black and brown and urine-yellow, at times chunky and semi-solid, at times thin and watery. There was the sickly smell of decay, an organic smell like a dirty latrine. Drops of the liquid fell onto a writing pad she held on her knee. The mysterious bamboo pipe leading into her hut was connected to her right ear.

Gilligan was dumbfounded. Holding his nose against the smell, he crept stealthily away, to the window of Turd Blossom's hut. Carefully he peeked in.

The scene was similar. Turd Blossom sat in lotus posture, crosslegged, inside a circle of black chalk drawn on the floor. Incense burned from brass containers, rising in wispy rings. His eyes were closed; he was chanting something unintelligible. The smell of decay was here too, but, not strong. The mysterious bamboo pipe leading into his hut was connected to his right ear. The pipe leading from his hut to the High Prophet's was connected to his left ear.

Gilligan blinked his eyes and shook his head. He was just as confused as before. Stealthily he crept away, to the window of the Governor of Florida's hut. Carefully he peeked in.

The scene was the same. The Governor sat in lotus position, crosslegged, inside a circle of black chalk drawn on the floor. Incense burned from silver containers, rising in wispy rings. His eyes were closed; he was chanting something unintelligible. The smell of decay was here too, but, not strong. The mysterious bamboo pipe leading into his hut was connected to his right ear. The pipe leading from his hut to Turd Blossom's was connected to his left ear.

Gilligan crept stealthily away, to the window of the President's hut. Carefully he peeked in.

Again the scene was the same. Potty Mouth sat in lotus position, crosslegged, inside a circle of black chalk drawn on the floor. Incense burned from silver containers, rising in wispy rings. His eyes were closed; he was chanting something unintelligible. The smell of decay was here too, but, not strong. The mysterious bamboo pipe leading into his hut was connected to his right ear. The pipe leading to the Governor of Florida's was connected to his left ear.

Again Gilligan crept stealthily away, to the window of Poppy's hut. Carefully he peeked in.

As the others, Poppy sat in lotus position, crosslegged, inside a circle of black chalk drawn on the floor. Incense burned from golden containers, rising in wispy rings. His eyes were closed; he was chanting something unintelligible. The smell of decay was also here, but, not strong. The mysterious bamboo pipe leading into his hut was connected to his right ear. The pipe leading to the President's was connected to his left ear.

Finally, Gilligan crept stealthily away, to the window of the Old Ex-President's hut. Carefully he peeked in.

The Old Ex-President was seated on an infant's potty-training chair. He was naked except for a leather dog collar worn tightly around his neck. Vicki, that is, Ginger, held wrapped around her fist a short leather leash which forced the Old Ex-President's head backward as she pulled. Her other hand was out of sight, somewhere below the Old Ex-President's waist; but Gilligan could see her arm moving rhythmically up and down. The Old Ex-President's Wife, dressed in formal black lace, stood to one side, spooning liquid to his drooling mouth from an open medicine bottle. On a nearby table were several similar bottles, empty: a popular laxative liquid. The Old Ex-President's red and blissful face lolled from side to side, foaming, drool dribbling to the floor.

Flatulent sounds cracked like distant thunder from the Old Ex-President's leathery posterior. The smell of decay was overpowering. The Old Ex-President's running effluent landed in a funnel-like container below his potty-training char. Out of that container emerged the bamboo pipe leading to Poppy's hut.

Wide-eyed, Gilligan crept away, and ran into the jungle.