The next day finds our villain in the central plaza of Last Kale. For a day of spontaneous crime, he has packed a picnic basket of lethal devices: his silenced pistol, several fragmentary grenades, an rpg, some agent orange and agent green, a One Direction album, and a pressurized carrot cannon, just to name a few.
He watches people pass by him, and it’s hard to imagine any of them are happy as they push their way through their self-assigned myriad obstacles between themselves and contentment. They all strive for the money and comfort that he himself has obtained through more effective means, and if he’s not not happy with it, why would they be? Disney’s happily ever after has stabbed its way into each of their souls and feeds off their hopes.
As he pulls the pin from a smoke bomb, he realizes that happiness can never stem from what you have. It stems from what you do, and he’s finally doing what he wants to do. Shouts of alarm rise up all around him. Children cry. After waiting for the smoke to envelope him and much of the plaza, he removes an old school boombox from his picnic basket and hits the play button.
As the crowd in the smokey plaza hears the well-known words to What Makes You Beautiful, the panic dies, and they begin to believe that street performers have begun some sort of act. Mortimer expected moaning and gnashing of teeth, but these sinners enjoy the sound. In order to set the mood, he fires a few shots of his pistol into the smoke, and chaos returns.
But Mortimer feels apathetic. He throws a couple grenades and shoots a few carrots to see if they change anything, but they don’t. He feels less thrill with each scream, less euphoria with each explosion. They bore him, and for a moment he doesn’t understand why. “One can’t force spontaneity,” he says out loud. And is it spontaneity that he truly desires? He stalks out of the smoke toward home and another long sulk.
This is part 20 of Vile, a novel in progress. Maybe you’d like to see the beginning?