Sunday, 2 July 2017

No Fury (2015)

This story is the first in a linked series that play games with 'wise' sayings. The entire series was published as one story called 'Wise Man' in my book Brutal Pantomimes but originally I had no intention of writing a series. This often happens with me. I will write a tale with no thoughts of writing a sequel, but the sequel comes in due course, and then more sequels, and before long a new story-cycle has been created.

A wise man once said, “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned,” and he wasn’t only a wise man but a wise man who knew what he was talking about. It really is important to be aware of the difference.
There are hundreds, thousands, possibly millions, of wise men, even very wise men, in this world of ours, but the majority of them don’t know what they are talking about. This doesn’t make them any less wise, but it does make them wrong. Yes, you can be wise and wrong.
Being wrong often has repercussions, but those repercussions might take a long time to catch up with the person they are intended for. On the other hand, they frequently manifest themselves without delay, so don’t be too nonchalant if you are wrong and hope to get away with it.
As a wise man said, “If you go into the forest with a walking stick, don’t be surprised if one day a tree walks into your town carrying a human leg.” The wise man who said that was me. Yes it was.
I am also a wise man, one of the wise men who are right as well as wise. I nearly always know what I’m talking about; and on those rare occasions when I don’t know, I am aware that I don’t know.
Because I am a wise man, one of the best of all wise men, I’m able to act on the wisdom of other wise men in an effective and noble manner. Thus I once decided to do something remarkably wise.
Just to be wise to an ordinary degree wasn’t enough. Even to be very wise was insufficient. I wanted to be so wise that my wisdom would reach new levels and set standards of unsurpassable sagacity.
I decided, no less, to save the endangered souls of multitudes of people. I decided to do this without thought of any recompense. I decided to do it for the sake of being a good as well as a wise man.
By employing the word ‘people’ I am being disingenuous. It was only the souls of women that I planned to save. I would have attempted to save the souls of men too, but I simply didn’t know how. Just because I am wise doesn’t mean I’m a genius. I am as fallible as anyone else.
But how does one go about saving women’s souls?
Well, there’s a big clue in the saying of the wise man I quoted above, not the saying that I said, but the saying of the other wise man, the first wise man I mentioned in this document. A very big clue.
Some clues are so big that they stop us seeing them in total, in the same way that a mountain can’t be appreciated in full when we are too close to it; so these clues are baffling rather than enlightening. This is absolutely the case with what the wise man said about Hell and fury...
I mean that people are familiar with this saying and they often quote it to each other, nodding their heads in understanding and agreement; but they don’t actually understand it and therefore can’t really agree with it. The truth within this saying is too immense to absorb correctly.
But I was wise enough to be able to ponder on it for a long time, and from a moral distance, a distance great enough to show me the outline entire, and for my ponderings to be fruitful, insightful and unique. And that’s what I did; and it suddenly occurred to me that here was a sure method of protecting women from the eternal torments and despair of the fiery pit.
For it is logical that if Hell has no fury like a woman scorned, then there are no scorned women in Hell, otherwise Hell would have a fury comparable to a woman scorned, and not just comparable but identical, namely the fury of any or all of the scorned women massed down there.
So if I went about scorning women, I would be saving them from future damnation. I would be saving their divine souls. Imagine that! No more Hell for uncountable numbers of women who would surely end up there if it wasn’t for my utterly astounding and very wise generosity.
First, I had to find out what constituted the act of scorning. I consulted a number of books, including dictionaries and encyclopaedias, and learned that to scorn someone requires a measure of contempt for them; and to have contempt necessitates that one feels they are beneath you.
Contempt isn’t the same as hatred, for if you hate a person it means you fear them. When you feel contempt, there is an inherent aspect of superiority in your attitude. They can’t hurt you, only irritate you by the mere fact they dwell on the same planet as you, that you share reality.
We express our hate with schemes, tricks, violent actions; but contempt is expressed with words and expressions, perhaps even only the angle of a nose or chin, the arch of a single eyebrow, a slight sneer.
Accordingly, I mounted my bicycle and proceeded to pass women with a look of absolute derision on my face. I know they noticed this. If there was any doubt in my mind, I would turn and pedal back towards them, still carrying the same look. My nostrils were flared, my lips tight.
Thus did I scorn women, hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands of them, over a period of many long years, in winter and summer, day and night, in rain and shine. Eventually I would have been the salvation of millions, but our lives are fragile things and so are bicycles. I grew old.
My bicycle rusted, my joints stiffened. Yet I could retire with pride, for I had prevented uncountable numbers of females from going to Hell when they die. They still remain unaware of what I did for them; and consequently I have acquired a reputation as crank instead of saviour.
I am writing this document in order to put the record straight. I am a wise and good fellow. If you are a woman and reading this right now, remember that I may have saved you from a horrible afterlife. If you are a man, then you must save yourself, there’s little I can do for you. Sorry.

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