Roxette’s The Look – A Lyrical Takedown

Let me paint a picture for you… I say something pithy and am reminded of the song ‘The Look’ by Roxette.  The initial comment really doesn’t matter… but what does matter is that now I have this blasted song stuck in my head and I need to  hear it immediately.  Off to Youtube I go to balm this fiery need… but that’s not enough, is it?

Of course it isn’t.  I now am curious as to whether anyone has done a good cover of the song. It has such a fantastic hook that there is no way that a dozen people haven’t turned it into ska, punk, metal, polka, and throat-singing monk variations — and of course they have. (If you know where to find the throat-singing version, please comment below)

Fact is, I was in a ‘The Look’ rabbit hole.  One of many song pits I have fallen into over the years — and if you want to join in, here are a few covers I found to be better than the average:

Along the way, since I’m singing along with what I assume the words are, I open up the lyrics to feel like I’m not just mumbling through the fast parts as you do.  What I do catch on to very quickly is that this isn’t just a good song, but a very odd song. It is a strange mix of beautiful similes, questionable motivations, and utter inanity.  So, if you, like me, can’t help but over analyze things you like to the point of them not being enjoyable anymore, I give to you this.. a commentary on the lyrics of ‘The Look’

Starting at the top:
♫ One, two, three, four walking like a man ♫
 ♫ Hitting like a hammer ♫

First, she’s walking like a man and hitting like a hammer. I initially thought that maybe she was wearing heels, so there was a thunderous report of her foot hitting the ground, but that does seem to be at odds with ‘like a man’. I of course am not judging my masculine friends in heels, just considering the disparity. I am left to assume that her walk is the gait of someone who knows what they want, and in Roxette’s eyes, that’s manly.  It’s the best I got.

♫ She’s a juvenile scam ♫
♫ Never was a quitter ♫

These are the two lines I almost wanted to skip. They are problematic, but thankfully there are two ways to read them.  The first way is obviously she’s a young woman dressed to look older. The other is that she’s an older woman dressed to look as young as possible, and where I am well aware that it is likely the former, I’m going to put blinders on and assume its the latter because the song is too good for me to start looking at it like it’s a Polanski film.

What we do know, no matter what is, this gal ain’t no quitter. She’s walking with authority, and she’s going to get what she wants no matter the cost… go her.

♫ Tasty like a raindrop ♫
♫ She’s got the look ♫

At first, you may think ‘tasty like a raindrop’ doesn’t make sense…. and you would be right! Well, until you get later in the song when we learn just how parched Roxette really is. I assure you, they are a dry bunch.

♫ Heavenly bound ♫
♫ Cause heaven’s got a number ♫

These are the lines that may be the two hardest for me to even field a theory on. Either she is angelic looking, or she’s about to die and is waiting at the Pearly Gates which somehow has a waiting line system like your local deli.

♫ When she’s spinning me around ♫
♫ Kissing is a color ♫

There is only one translation of this – and that is with her manly walk, she has the grip of a quarterback and spins you like Jack and Rose in the lower decks until you can do nothing but vomit… whether or not you let go is a decision I’ll let you make for yourself, but the idea that the singer and this woman are spinning, locked in an embrace, mouths connected as a stream of yack escapes their mouth tube, creating a kalidoscopic Pollock painting around them, is simply too beautiful to ignore.

♫ Her loving is a wild dog ♫
♫ She’s got the look ♫

She then eats the vomit back up…

The chorus is fairly upfront with it’s repetition and I can’t really breakdown ‘nana na nana’ – but I would like to take one quick glance at:

♫ What in the world can make a brown-eyed girl turn blue ♫

Because do you know what turns a brown-eyed girl blue?  Spinning her around until neither of your stomach’s can take it… that’s what.

♫ Fire in the ice ♫ Naked to the t-bone ♫
♫ Is a lover’s disguise ♫ Banging on the head drum ♫
♫ Shaking like a mad bull ♫
♫ She’s got the look ♫

Fire in the ice is clearly a passion metaphor, but the rest of this… I’m starting to think that perhaps the singer isn’t singing about a woman at a concert and is, instead, sizing up a piece of veal. There is every chance in the world it is a woman dressed in a cow costume, so now he’s making playful puns at her outfit, but I can assure you from the last line, she is not a fan.

This also, as a note, would change the ‘hitting like a hammer’ from earlier to mean hooves…

♫ Swaying to the band ♫
♫ Moving like a hammer ♫

Back to the ‘at the concert’ possibility, this rhythmic, overly dressed, cow-costumed woman is enjoying the band both swaying and headbanging.  Simultaneously. Try it, I guarantee you’ll start kissing out a color.

♫ She’s a miracle man ♫

He’s got the look…

The only way to make this phrase actually work in any way is to add a comma between miracle and man. Otherwise, there is a chance she is selling snake oil to the local population of this small concert hall. A cow-costumed woman with no rhythm selling a tincture to stop you from all of your ills – of which clearly there are many given the Bellagio fountain of vomit that is being fountained around like those old octopus yard sprinklers you had when you were a kid.

..or you add the comma and ‘she’s a miracle, man’ and it’s fine.

♫ Loving is the ocean ♫
♫ Kissing is the wet sand ♫
♫ She’s got the look ♫

He’s got the look…

Finally, we come to this, which all jokes aside, is a beautiful little turn of phrase. The world is a drab and arid place until love overwhelms you and turns you into a saturated paste that is perfect for building castles. The place where love and the eternally thirsty meet is kissing, and what a kiss that would be. Have you ever kissed someone dehydrated?  Like not just a little ‘I could use a glass of water’ thirsty, but ‘white flecks of dead skin on their lips’ dehydrated?  I haven’t either.. nobody has.. that’s gross.  Get some chapstick.

So what is The Look?  Is it the naughty eye of a hopeful partner looking at you with curiousity, playfulness, and lust in the hopes you’ll return such an inviting gaze?  Is it the stern-faced look of a hammer obsessed cow-woman while she sells her bottles of cure-alls to a needy crowd?  Is it the sunken blackened eyes of a woman on the verge of passing out from a lack of moisture in her body and the only way to save her is to kiss her?

I don’t know, but I really do dig that ‘nana na nana’ part…

Did you enjoy this lyrical breakdown? Let me know in the comments and I’ll do some more!

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Nightmare Fuel – Oct 4th

For a full explanation, head to NightmareFuelProject.
tl;dr is using pictures for writing prompts all October.


[image source: unknown ‘Watery Grave’ by Jessica McCord. Thanks to NFP participant and writer Angel Wedge for providing sourcing!]

The Big Catch
by James Hatton – 10/05/20

“I got one, get the net.  Finally, you fucker…” It had been a bad day for fishing. Ike and his son Junior had been out in the swamp since daybreak, but there hadn’t been a single bite. In previous years this had been their favorite spot to spend the day, drink a little, sometimes smoke a little, and come home with a cooler full of bass.  Today though, it was less that they weren’t catching as it felt like there wasn’t anything there to catch. No bites. No nibbles. No tugs. Just lines in the water and the silence of nature. Ike was thrilled that, as they were just about ready to pack it in, he got something on the hook.

His rod bent at a vicious angle, “It’s a biggie.”

“Or you’re caught on the bottom,” said Junior, sliding in next to him with a net in hand.

“You shut the fuck up and get that net ready,” Ike had always said a bad day fishing was better than a good day doing anything else, but there was something about this trip that had just felt strange. Maybe it was that he and Junior had felt distant since Ike lost his job. Maybe it was that the air was so still he barely heard a bird tweeting or a leaf rustling. They used to talk about how the world was doing, but the world hadn’t been doing so well, so it wasn’t an enjoyable topic to bring up.

Ike pulled and finally felt some give, reeling as fast as he can. “This ain’t no branch… we got ourselves the real deal here.” This was the first moment he felt good about the whole trip… him versus his prey.  This thing was a fighter though. Inch by inch he pulled it in though, and just when he thought it was getting easier, there would be a surge of energy on the line and the fight would start up again.

“Get it ready…” the murky water around  where his line disappeared was starting to stir. In another few seconds they would see just real this deal was.

Ike pulled back hard and the line went loose.

“FUCK!” Ike yelled out.  Whatever it was had gotten away.

“Pop, it’s ok.. why don’t we just..” Junior started, but Ike’s neck pivoted to look at him in a way he hadn’t seen since he was a child. It was the look that said ‘say nothing more’ and Junior obliged with silence.

“Get me the worms.” Ike said, reeling in his line.  Junior kept his sigh as quiet as possible. His father was a stubborn and proud man. He had wanted to go an hour ago, but now that there was proof the fish were out there, he knew they weren’t leaving until there was one in the cooler.

Ike continued to reel until he saw something fly up out of the water, letting up a little splash as it flew into the air and dangled in front of his face, hanging from the hook. “…the hell is that…”

A yellow orb, dripping with.. mud? blood? was spinning violently at the end of Ike’s line.  Junior put down the can of worms and stepped up to get a closer look, watching as this sickening yellow sphere spun left, spun right, thin veins of red crawled across it like rivers on a map, and the dangling pink jungle of lines and tethers hung below it.

“Pop,” Junior said, feeling his stomach start to give up their lunch, “I think that’s an eye.”

“That thing’s twice as big as any eye I’ve ever see–” Ike was cut off by their boat jerking violently to one side sending both father and son tripping over the bench they had been sitting on and landing together in a heap against the wall.  As the boat fell back against the water, both men tried to get back to their feet, but again, the boat lurched and Ike slipped, falling over the side.

“POP!” Ike tried to grab his father’s hand, but missed by a large margin, almost over-extending himself and falling in after him.  The boat started to even out, and Junior was still standing there, staring at the water. He expected his father to emerge almost immediately, and he would grab him, but five seconds passed and there was nothing.  At ten seconds he was trying to figure out if he should jump in after him when something broke the surface.

Hundreds of bubbles. He stared, shocked frozen, as a line of air, his father’s air, escaped to the surface.  A dark spot began to grow on the surface as well, like the water being stained. Another bubble, the last one, broke amidst the darkness and the froth it brought with it was pink.

That woke Junior up. He stepped to the back of the boat and pulled the ripcord and the motor sprung to life.  He pulled the handle to drop the blades it into the water, thankful that they had never thrown out the anchor.  The boat tipped upward and the dread that was being tampered down by adrenaline surged in Junior again. Instead of the boat flipping, like he feared, the blades of the motor began pushing him forward.

As the boat made its way from where they had just been, Junior looked back in time to see something bob up from beneath the black stain that was now a dozen feet across. He couldn’t say for certain, but when he would tell the story over the next few years… to his wife… to his mother… to the police… he would swear that what he saw surface was bones. Bones picked clean of any ounce of flesh.

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Nightmare Fuel – Oct 3rd

For a full explanation, head to NightmareFuelProject.
tl;dr is using pictures for writing prompts all October.

[image source: René Lalique (1860-1945), Pocket watch, c. 1900.]

by James Hatton – 10/03/20

Thanatos sits on a park bench, a cool wind ruffling the bottoms of his robe. He crosses his legs and flips the page of his book. He had only recently discovered that he enjoyed science fiction. He had rebuked it as a passing fad somewhere in the early 1900’s thinking Jules Verne a bit of a hack, but now that the derivations of his work were fashionable, there really was some fantastic ideas he was enjoying.

He glanced at the sky, realizing the sun felt a little higher than he expected it to be and pulled his pocketwatch from a secret pocket. The weight of Death’s pocketwatch was heavy in his hand. No matter how many times he looked at it, he recognized the weight and heft of ages that lay within it.  Every soul had been timed by this small clock and it’s tiny gears and cogs. Every laugh and cry ended with the tick of its hands.

Looking at the watchface, he sighed, “What a dullard I can be… daylight savings time..” and pulled the knob at the top to readjust. “…fall … forward.. spring back?”

He twisted the knob forwards. When he looked up the world was a desolate husk. Where children were playing a few short seconds ago, now black skeletons were melting away on the nuclear wind that chilled the warm horizon. The ground was a blackened mass of dead folliage and the sky was pungent with sulfur.

Thanatos sighed, slapping his forehead, “Fall  back…” he rewound the knob and the world sprouted lush and alive again.

He put his pocketwatch back and his shoulders slumped, “It’s going to be a busy afternoon… I hope I can finish this chapter.”

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Nightmare Fuel 2020 – Oct 2nd

For a full explanation, head to NightmareFuelProject.
tl;dr is using pictures for writing prompts all October.


Trick or Treat
by James Hatton – 10/03/20

“Trick or treat!” This time it was a pirate, a princess, and one of those masked superheroes I can never remember the name of because it changes every year. Is it a Beetlezord? A Power Former… whichever it is, it’s one of those darling plastic masks with a rain poncho that you can get at the drug store.

I hand each one of them a single treat, and I have to wonder about the disappointment in their eyes. They asked for a trick or a treat and I provided them with precisely what they asked. The bucket of bought candy is full to the brim, so there may be the intention to give them more than just one…. or.. perhaps, maybe they were expecting a trick!

When I knocked on this door a little while ago and the old woman didn’t provide me with a treat, that’s obviously what she meant….

So, yes… that’s what I’ll do. The next child who gives me a sad look because I only give them one treat, I shall take it back and provide them with a trick.

What trick though?

Oh, yes, indeed, I shall give them the remains of the woman who lived here.  I truly wasn’t sure what I was going to do with all of that now that I am her.  If they truly wish for more than a single treat, they shall have a whole old woman!  What a delight!

Now to just wait for someone to knock on the door.

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Nightmare Fuel 2020 – Oct 1st

For a full explanation, head to NightmareFuelProject.
tl;dr is using pictures for writing prompts all October.

El Pombero, by Samuel Araya, via Instagram

Window Cleaning
by James Hatton, 10/01/2020

“Aiden!” Helen chastised from the living room, glass cleaner and rag hand in hand, losing another battle in the war against the entropic forces of a seven year old.

“What Mom?” the tiny terror yelled back from the kitchen table, his mouth gummed up with his peanut butter toast.

“I’ve asked you please not to touch the glass on the windows when you have sticky hands,” she pleaded in the thankless voice of a mother who had cleaned this window no less than twice this week. Small purple smudges were visible against the glass in the exact way a small boy might make if he pressed himself to the window to see something interesting and splayed his hands, sticky with grape jelly, right onto the glass. As if to create irrefutable evidence, she blew a wave of hot air over the window to reveal the shape of the small handprint.

“Sorry Mommy.” Helen thought how amusingly manipulative it was that when he didn’t know he did something wrong it had been Mom, but stricken with apologetic guilt, it became Mommy. She was half-tempted to make him clean it up himself, but that would only mean having him do it, having to check on it, and then having to do it again because he would still do it as well as a seven-year-old child does anything. There were even odds that afterwards, both the window and the spray bottle would still be smudged, but now with peanut butter.

She spritzed each window, wiping away his already fading handprint and running the rag from corner to corner. She could hear from the kitchen as the light of her life talking conversationally to himself through his snack. It was a habit he had picked up over the last few days, but it always sounded like he was just narrating his own life. “Washing the dishes, because it helps keep the kitchen clean.”

Working hard on this insistent thin streak, Helen continued to listen as he narrated putting his dish away, washed his hands, and decided to go into his playroom to watch a cartoon. She sighed, fearing that this was the result of them moving. The move was necessary though, and one day when he was old enough, she would tell him all the reasons they had to move to a new town.. away from his friends.. his school.. and his father.

“What did he do? Scratch the glass? Dammit!” She said to the air, fighting against the white line in the window that wouldn’t fade or let go of its grip on the glass.

Helen laughed out loud, realizing she was talking to herself, “I wonder where he picked it up from, huh?” She took a step back from the window, recognizing that even thinking about her son’s father had made her shoulders tense up into steel wire bound knots.

Taking a step back also made the white line on the glass turn to two. She took the step back up to the window and watched as the two became one. A step back again separated them into a line and its parallel twin… a line… and its thin semi-transparent reflection. Whatever she was trying to wipe away, was on the outside of the window, not the inside.

“Running outside for a second,” she announced, but got no response but the sound of Robin and Beast Boy yelling at each other on Teen Titans.

Helen stepped out onto the front porch of their home and listened to the peaceful quiet that surrounded them. She missed the city, but not as much as she loved this quiet. Birds instead of traffic, wind through branches instead of blowing through avenues… everything about it made her happy with her decision to go.

Stepping up to the the living room window, Helen eyed the offending streak. She stared at it, her head tilted, trying to figure out what it was. It was most certainly not a scratch, but it also was something in the same way that Aiden’s grape jelly fingers were something.. or rather, it was something more than a white line of bird shit or paint or something. From this side of the glass, she could see that the shape was bigger than that single line. A darkened pattern of oily residue suggested a larger shape, but nothing she could see completely.

On the exact same place she had on the inside of the window, she breathed a hot breath on the outside. The glass fogged up in the same way, revealing the same shape, but larger. 

Another handprint.. but larger than her son’s. Like the person on the outside and her son on the inside had been comparing hand sizes against the glass.

Helen put down the rag and glass cleaner and walked to the front door, turning the knob slowly and quietly.  She slipped inside, making as little noise as she could. The sound of cartoons hid any sound of her approach as she stood outside Aiden’s playroom and listened. 

“, silly, Mommy is outside, she can’t hear us at all.. but when can I tell her about you?”

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Good God PR

This is a short little thing I wrote, didn’t edit much.. just enjoy it for what it is. – Hatton

Image result for nike bia kratos zelos

Good God PR
James Hatton

Victoria looked at her hand. She could see the marble floor beneath as her fingers oscillated between solid and translucent. She coughed once, which lead to a second, followed by a complete fit. The pain in her gut was unbearable. She was a Goddess, how was this happening?

Kratos, one of her three siblings that sat on each of the sides of her bed, took her knee in his tree knotted hand and gave it a supportive shake, “You can fight this, my sister.”

Victoria could do nothing but nod weakly.

Bia, sitting at the foot of the bed, watched with a look of grim disgust. “We must do something, siblings. How can we be so powerful and yet so weak!”

Zelus looked down to the floor and spit, “It is them.. the mortals.. they are jealous of us.”

Victoria rolled her eyes, she had heard these sentiments of her siblings for the entirety of their lives. She opened her dry flaking lips and the other three hushed. “ is.. I think… a battle … I have lost.” She believed it too. Never before had she felt so close to defeat. Never before had belief in her been so low.

The silence that had been broken by Victoria’s coughing fit descended on them yet again. They each watched while they did what the gods and goddesses were best at.. planning and scheming.

While the others kept their own counsel, Bia’s face was a constant shifting painting of thought. On occasion she would begin to stir, muscles tightening, body almost hovering off the chair. The others would watch, awaiting some grand plan to spill out from her, only to see she found the flaw in her own plan as she slipped back into her seat, defeated.

This time though, she laughed. A loud laugh. A fierce laugh. A laugh that made the muses down the hall lose their train of thought. A laugh that dulled the blade Vulcan was forging below. If this wasn’t a sickness of belief, that laugh alone could have healed Victoria. “I’VE GOT IT!”

They all looked to her.


And all at once, they sunk back into their seat, dejection on their faces. “What? What is it! I just said I had a plan! Did you not hear me?!” Bia looked from face to face, wide-eyed.

Kratos responded first, “Bia, I love you, but this is always your plan. Force this. Make this work. Do this now. We cannot force their hands. Their free will makes it all but impossible.”

Bia wasn’t dissuaded. Even as her brother tried to break her spirit, her smile only grew larger. “Yes, my brother, but Victoria has something that the rest of us don’t have.” She paused, hoping that others would see what she was saying… none did. “She has items of effigy.” Again, Bia paused. Again, blank looks from everyone including Victoria. “When the warriors go to battle, they would light effigies, would they not?”

Zelus nodded, “Yes. It would invigor the soldiers.”

Bia smiled, “Yes!” She clenched her fist as if nothing else need be said.

Zelus continued on, “You burned your enemy’s effigy though.”

Bia kept nodding, goading Zelus to continue on. “And what would it do to the other side, eh? If the enemies burn your symbols… what do you do?”

Zelus’ eyes widened, “You… You believe more fiercely! You defend your God! You fight harder!”

Bia and Zelus laughed together. Dust from the columns above sprinkled down on Victoria’s bed.

Kratos looked to Victoria and they shared a confused shrug before looking back to the other two. “So what? Victoria has no such enemy. Her other name is spoken in terms of sport and of triumph. How do we, in her last fleeting moments, get people to burn her symbols so that others believe all the more?”

Now that Bia felt they all were where she was a few moments prior, she told them the plan. The more people destroyed, the more the enemies would care. The more they cared, the more belief would be pushed back into Victoria’s heart, healing her. When she had laid out everything, Bia looked to her sister. “May we do this on your behalf Victori–”

Bia was cut off by Zelus, who excitedly interjected, “I do believe given the circumstances, we should use your other name… Nike.”

To answer their question, Victoria lifted her heavy head. Even that gesture made her breathing dusty and ragged. She knew the end was near, so perhaps this was her one last chance. She loved her siblings and their drive. Even if she didn’t think it would work, she had to let them try.

“..just do it.”

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SomethingHatton #1 – The Magic Trick

Great, so now I have to write two posts!

In the future, I’ll likely just simulpost the same stuff, but for now, you get something different over here.

If you weren’t aware, I do a podcast over at (and now you can bounce back and forth between both posts forever. Well, my partner is taking a sabbatical, so I’m doing my own thing for a little while. If it takes off in its own lil way, I’ll keep doing it, and this will be its home. For now, it is at both places.

In this episode, I discuss E3 and read a short story I wrote.

Hope you enjoy – ok, here we go!

Full Episode

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I finally bit the bullet…

After two years of on again off again agent hunting. After writing a book that was actually easier than trying to get it published… I’ve decided to go out of my way to make it happen no matter what.

So as of today, Trio: An Origin Story is alive and kicking and available for Kindle here:

What can you expect when you buy it?

You can expect the story of three teenagers who gain superpowers and aren’t quite sure what to do with them. You can expect a love triangle that isn’t exactly what you think it is. You can expect a new adult novel that doesn’t so much turn the superhero genre on its head, as it sits it down and suggests other career options because it clearly isn’t very good at all that hero business.

Most of all, you can tell me what you think.

Thanks everyone, and hope to see you in the skies.

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Submechanophobia – First Draft – James Hatton

Will’s fear wasn’t the object itself, although it was a definite part of it. He peered through the haze of the sea as the submarine, long since given up on, just lay unmoving on the floor. From his high vantage point at sea level, it appeared no larger than a car key. What was upsetting Will was the knowledge that this vessel was touching him right now.

Millions of molecules were decomposing within the metal goliath and billions more had already been picked up and taken away by the current and were most definitely all around him and had been since he took his first step into the water. This foreign particulate was clinging to him, dodging and weaving through his gooseflesh raised arm hair. Even the wetness he felt where the snorkel sealed against his mouth was laden with bits of rusted metal from dormant gauges or eroded seat cushions that now looked more like modern art than a place a soldier once sat.

A chill so much deeper and more deadly than the temperature of the seawater anchored in Will’s stomach and gave way to something he didn’t understand. Much like the bolts and screws that failed to hold the sub together rolled long treks on the bottom of the ocean, Will’s panic beckoned him deeper into the darkness of his own panic.

It lead him to see the jagged corners of the machine’s mortal wound. Sickly orange-red rust-folded metal, shaped in obscene origami, acting as an entrance to the place where men had most certainly taken their final breaths. His joints ached sympathetically as he felt the vacuum. Beginning with a long since silenced klaxon that warned the ghosts of the shift in pressure. The rush of the water trading places with spheres of oxygen that climbed back to the same surface that so many would not reach. Taunting them by rising up faster than they could ever swim, life leaving them behind.

There, at the entrance to someone else’s hell, Will would be surrounded by the saturated dust of both the organic and inorganic dead. It would be impossible to escape the molecules of first aid kits, torepedoes, uniforms, and turbines all intermingling in the stew of silt and plant and fish… and him.

When Will finally reached the shore, a couple that had been bobbing on the surface near him began excitedly talking to each other about the sub they saw. All Will could see when he looked at them was the particles of the dead, drying out on their salty skin.

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The Ancients – Story #1

The Ancients.

The light went on in the center chamber to signal the Ancients to reconvine. Each of the eight transported from whatever it was they had previously been doing in a cloud of replication nanos to reappear at the table.

The table itself was a deep cherry red with a million imperfections caused by the beings that had been using it as their meeting place for the last millenia. Deep gouging scratches were in front of almost every seat from one of them getting heated over a decision. An entire area was blackened with its sheen dulled from an incident where one of the Ancients had been implanted with an explosive device by The Problem.

The center was a manipulatable holographic map that each one of the Ancients could control as they needed. The entirety of man’s knowledge was stored miles below in hidden concreted bunkers and with a thought, an Ancient could produce pictures, maps, and recorded moments to appear in front of them.

After the last Ancient appeared, the Speaker stood. Each knew why they were there. It was the only reason they were ever summoned anymore. The Problem.

“I state that it has been a week since we spoke last.” the Speaker said in the cold aloof manner that was its way. “Ideas?”

A few hundred years ago, this would have started a loud and raucous discussion about the hundreds of ways they felt they could fix the Problem. Each of the Ancients had their sphere of influence so each got their turn to try their hand at removing the Problem from their way. Now though, after hundreds of failed attempts, thousands of hours wasted, they were all a bit grumpy.

After a prolonged silence that had been growing more uncomfortable with each passing moment, the Thinker spoke up, “I propose that we have all given up, Speaker.”

The Fighter snorted, “I defy that idea, Thinker. If only we..”

The Builder cut them off, “You will make some suggestion that all we need are more swords or weapons. How many of yours have been lost, Fighter? Perhaps more than any of ours. Can’t you see that the Problem is not swayed by combat?”

The Fighter didn’t retort.

The Liar spoke next, “We could decieve him?”

The Burner added, “Scald him.”

The Runner chimed in, “Chase him.”

The Destroyer next, “We could cut the shit…”

Silence overtook the table swiftly. The Speaker, his place to call things to order, spoke carefully, “I speak carefully, Destroyer. You have…”

The Destroyer interrupted the Speaker, “Broken this bullshit tradition. This is stupid and you’re stupid. Our naming convention is stupid. Our annoying use of verbs is stupid. Do you know how sick I am of saying shit like ‘I break’ and ‘You have voided’ .. we’re the most powerful creatures in the universe and we’ve hobbled ourselves by an idiotic naming convention.”

The discomfort in the chamber was palpable. “I ponder if..” the Thinker tried.

“NOPE!” said the Destroyer.

“This idea does ignite…” the Burner tried.

“NUH UH… NO.” said the Destroyer.

There was a tone of frustration in the Speaker’s voice as he tried yet again, “Destroyer, I ask tha–”

“WRONG!” the Destroyer yelled over them. “The next one of you that uses a synonym of their name as the action verb of your first sentence is getting decked.”

Nobody spoke. Each felt that if they did, they would be cut off by the Destroyer. None of the Ancients liked that at all. For the last thousand years they had all worked in concert to try and stop the Problem, yet here they were fighting amongst themselves… the Thinker raised a hand.

Destroyer rolled his eyes, “Thinker… don’t make me ruin you.”

The Thinker, not wanting to be punched, tilted his head to implore the Destroyer let him talk.

The Destroyer rolled his eyes, “Fine, but end it quick.”

The Thinker smiled, “I believe, Destroyer, that you are mistaken.”

The Destroyer snorted, ‘WHAT?!’ I WILL CRUSH YO–”

It was the Thinker that interrupted this time. “I know, and it is because you are the Destroyer. You will Crush. Ruin. End. Break. You may have the gift of some colorful choices of words, but you are beholden to the same limits that we all are..”

The only thing the Ancients could hear was the frustrated Destroyer thinking and rolling over the conversation in his head. “But I can dismantle that id…. no, dismantle fits… Quell? No…. Waste?! NO…. WRECK CRUSH TRASH EXTIRPATE KIBOSH… DAMMIT!” By the end of that, the Destroyer was breathing hard like the whole thing took extreme amounts of energy out of him.

The Speaker cleared their throat, signaling a change of topic, “I say thank you to Thinker for that… now. Any ideas concerning the Problem?”

The rest of the afternoon was taken up by an idea from the Builder to construct a cave so complex that the Problem would get lost in it for aeons. The Destroyer didn’t speak up throughout.

(image source: modified Gregorians)

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