a tale by Kirk Jones
The old god is dead. The new gods are prototypes, Plastic and Meat Byproduct, each vying for the new position. Meat Byproduct, born from the slaughter of one thousand cattle a day, has French fry hair and a Crisco heart. His torso is processed chicken. His flaccid member is pork gravy packed tight in pig entrails. He wishes he would have lived in the Bronze Age, when gods were made of metal forged to protect their believers. His followers defecate in bed pans and curse his name as he congeals in their hearts. He longs to be a no trans fat God.
Plastic has a heart of Botox and debit card fingers. He swipes them through the minds of his subjects and they see beauty when they look in the mirror. They smile, fat lipped and big breasted, as their credit scores plummet. His subjects seem happy.
While Plastic can’t get to the heart of his opposition’s throng of consumers, he can rid them of their excess. This seems to make them gravitate towards Meat Byproduct more, however, and they only come to Plastic in times of need. The old god warned him that this would be the way of things, that there would be a standstill.
Plastic wants to replace Meat Byproduct’s Crisco heart with a pace maker, but he’d only be breathing life into the competition. He tries to devise a way to thicken cattle blood to the consistency of silicone, to slow their bleeding out, to make ground beef unappealing.
He realizes he is powerless to change the state of anything without human hands to forge him. He thumbs through synthetic minds, fills them with thoughts of restraining his enemy. They gauze Meat Byproduct in styrofoam and saran wrap, preserving him like an Egyptian Pharaoh.
Meanwhile, Plastic neighbors bones in cemeteries as flesh surrounding muscle implants rots away. His followers grow fat and dissatisfied when they wake in the morning. They stop worrying about how they look and focus on how they feel. “A cheeseburger will make me happy,” they think. Their lips touch Plastic. Their eyes graze him thoughtlessly in the grocery store while they crave chicken tenders and breaded mushrooms under the surface of his skin. He harbors his enemy, cradling Meat Byproduct like a newborn child.
Plastic weeps as the people begin to abandon him. He runs his debit card fingers through his hair and, for a moment, he is happy. Then his smile fades to a look of consternation as he realizes, what he really wants is a goddamned cheeseburger.