The Donkey, the Elephant, the Ghost of Einstein and a Hero

            An allegorical construction for modern day thought.


by Joshua Louis Warren, Esq.

based on characters created by Ken Gerber and Josh Warren



1)      Arrival and Appanage

2)      The long walk to 7-11

3)      Violence

4)      Recovery

5)      Corporations are Evil

An Epilogue and Introduction




Chapter 1: Arrival and Appanage


Once upon a time, there was a Hero.  He was an ordinary hero.  He had tremendous powers.  Unfortunately he wasn’t entirely sure what to do with them yet.  Undaunted he kept on with his life.  He went to school.  He did his homework.  And then when all his work was done, he would play Dungeons & Dragons with his friends.  It wasn’t much of a life.  But it was his life, and he liked it. 

Hero would meet his friends daily, and they always sat in the same seats.  To his left sat Donkey.  Donkey was a good friend albeit mildly bitter.  It wasn’t entirely Donkey’s fault, as Donkey used to have good job aboard a large Exxon oil tanker.  But then he got fucked by the merger with Mobil.  He blames the Arabs, but he has also decided that all corporate mergers are evil.  He is completely against them. 

On Hero’s right is Elephant.  Elephant was raised in a well funded city zoo.  He was well fed but poorly educated.  He thought there was a better life outside the zoo, and so he escaped and went to live in Thailand and India and other Far East places.  No one is really quite sure what happened to Elephant while he was gone, but he is a changed elephant.  He is very wary of what is behind him, and everything seems to frighten him.  He is very protective of his peanuts, but his memory seems to be rather poor (particularly for an elephant). 

Donkey and Elephant bicker constantly.  It seems every rule in Dungeons & Dragons has a variety of interpretations.  For example, though all the players had long ago agreed to focus their game-play on the 2nd edition of the rule book, there were still some lingering items from the 1st edition, and the properties of their game-play were very much in debate.  Furthermore, there were a number of bizarre inconsistencies in the official rulebook, and one was never quite sure of author’s actual intent. 

Donkey had tried on numerous occasions to reach the authors of the game and the publishers of the book but was consistently met with resistance from those he called the corporate comptrollers.  He blames new management after the merger of the original game maker with a larger media conglomerate.  After one particularly scathing exchange with a licensed Wizards of the Coast retailer in Akron, Ohio, Donkey received a care package containing a warlock tee-shirt, a trilogy of fantasy books and a couple of cast iron figurines.  Donkey described the package as a blatant attempt by corporate interests to buy off his anger and proceeded to use the books as toilet paper.  Elephant took to wearing the tee-shirt, but later, in a fit of uncontrolled elephant-fury, proclaimed that the image screen printed on the shirt was too frightening and hastily tore it to shreds.  As for the figurines, no one is really sure what happened to them.

Meanwhile, with no help from the game makers, Donkey has continued to contrive new and creative meanings for the rules of play.  Most of the time, Elephant was too busy watching his back to notice, but every now and again a huge spat would ensue.  On more than one occasion Hero has had to physically hold Elephant from destroying Donkey the way he did that tee-shirt.  Hero is never really quite sure why he protects Donkey.  Maybe it’s because deep down Hero doesn’t like corporate mergers either.  Or maybe it’s because as big an ass as Donkey is, Hero still wishes he could be as creative with the rules as Donkey.  Still in those moments when Elephant is snorting like a, well -- like an elephant and his tusks are just inches from Hero, Hero wonders if maybe he should just get out of the way and let nature take its course. 

That probably would have happened by now, if not for the fourth player in this daily role playing session: the Ghost of Einstein.  There is nothing dead Einstein likes more than a good game of Dungeons & Dragons with his friends: Donkey, Elephant and Hero.  Einstein really can’t get enough.  He loves to roll the dice.  And he loves to steal Elephant’s peanuts.  Donkey gets a kick out of that too, but Einstein doesn’t trust Donkey.  Donkey would have no qualms about sacrificing the physicist if it meant Donkey could get ahead.  Einstein trusts Hero though, and Hero knows it.  Hero is starting to trust Einstein in return, but he wishes Einstein would spend more time on the game and less time pondering art and love.  It seems every time Einstein is asked a question he answers it roughly the same way: What is the matter? It’s all a bunch of energy. 

 Einstein always sits directly across the table from Hero and occasionally attempts to send weird signals by moving his eyebrows.  This would definitely be against regulation if they were playing contract bridge, but so far no one has objected here.  This could be because Einstein is not particularly effective at signaling his intentions to Hero.  Twice now Einstein has attempted to diagram his signaling system for Hero.  Unfortunately Einstein keeps relying on arbitrary constants to convey his idea, and Hero can’t grasp the idea of anything staying the same that long.  Elephant claims to understand both positions; while he isn’t sure if the constants are actually constant, he does believe that he did used to know them and that therefore they must exist.  Donkey thinks it’s all a bunch of corporate propaganda and is beginning to suspect that Einstein is only in it for an endorsement contract. 

  Hero knows better.  Hero knows that Einstein loves Dungeons & Dragons.  He knows that Einstein could care less about corporate materialism.  Einstein just likes to watch the dice and Hero knows it.  Sometimes Hero wishes Einstein would just go to Atlantic City or Vegas.  But Einstein finds the crowds overwhelming.  Everyone always wants his autograph.  He is happy to oblige his fans and has signed some of the most obscure pieces of radioactive memorabilia as well as his far share of breasts and buttocks.  But Einstein is particularly offended, however, when after receiving his autograph the fan proceeds to tell him that he is not really the Ghost of Einstein and that he is instead a hired hotel personality.   Proving the contrary invariably involves Einstein demonstrating his famous thought experiment by riding on a beam of light, a practice greatly discouraged by lighting technicians.  This penchant for climbing on fancy lighting rigs coupled with his uncanny skill at the roulette table was all the excuse the gaming authority needed to ban him from the facilities. 

            Sinatra’s ghost offered to try to cozy things with the hotel management but Einstein knows what’s up and there was no way he was going to get himself owing Frankie any favors.  No, from then on Einstein stuck to Dungeons & Dragons, well, and the occasional craps game on the street; but mostly Dungeons & Dragons. 

Einstein had never taken the time to actually read the rule book, but he played remarkably well on sheer intuition.  Frankly, Hero hadn’t read the book very well either, but this was not for lack of trying.  Elephant definitely had, and sometimes his knowledge was absurdly accurate.  However, most of the time Elephant couldn’t remember where his right shoe was supposed to go and often tried with some difficulty to tie it while placing it over his ear.  It was any wonder that Elephant still remembered anything. So to trust him with knowledge of the game rules was to put oneself at grave risk of abuse by a very large and self-interested animal.

            In contrast, Donkey who had also read the rule book thoroughly knew every rule backwards and forwards.  He knew the rules better then he knew his own desires.  This did not prevent him from taking every opportunity to bend the rules in a vain attempt to achieve certain desires.  It seems the rules always favor his position.  Donkey’s favorite rule was “what’s done is done.”  He uses this to mean that anything decided in yesterday’s game session can’t be used against him in this game session without certain formalities.  This seems harmless enough, but it allows Donkey to constantly change his arguments and interpretations of the rules.  Donkey reasons that every rule should always be read in his favor.  It can be very annoying arguing with Donkey, because one is inclined to use his own arguments from last week against him this week.  But Donkey is relentless and refuses to acknowledge that last week’s debate even happened.  “What’s done is done,” he’ll say – the previous debate is unimportant – we have a current issue and the rule book says…whatever Donkey wants it to say.

            This drives Elephant bananas.  Elephant insists that once a rule is interpreted it be interpreted for all time.  He says that the rule book may not be perfect, but we can’t go changing the rules every time it suits us either.  Elephant says we need to come up with rules through argument and compromise, agree to them, write it down and be done with it.  “Write notes in the margin of the rule book,” he always says.  “We don’t want to have this argument again.”  Unfortunately, Elephant, as should be by now quite obvious, can’t remember anything.  He is so afraid that every noise is about to attack him that he can’t sit still, let alone concentrate on maintaining an orderly set of determined rules.  Most of the time Elephant is so trapped in his own head full of delusional plans for freedom from his nightmares that he has no awareness of the world around him.  Donkey’s ploys are most successful during these times.  

            But the interesting times are the times when Elephant is cognizant of his surroundings.  In these somewhat rare moments of lucidity, Elephant often roars with fierce anger.  “RULES,” he bellows. “Rules are what hold this game together!  Rules are what provide structure to this game.  Rules are what keep us alive! Rules are what keep us safe.  Donkey, you can’t just be changing the rules to suit your lazy ass just because you know them better then the rest of us.”   Donkey usually just laughs. 

            This is when Hero usually has to get involved.  It’s not that he wants to; it’s just that Elephant would really not have any problem with tearing Donkey a new asshole if he had the chance, and Hero doesn’t really want to clean up the mess that would create.  Also he has real concerns that, without Donkey, there would be no way they could play the game at all.  Elephant is rarely aware enough to actually control anything, and while in life Albert Einstein may have had some practical purposes, in his ghostly form, Einstein is relatively useless; except of course, when you want to get into the aesthetic beauty of the romantic fabric of our universe.  And so Hero has no choice but to act to protect Donkey’s interests.  Deep down he knows Elephant may be right but Donkey is a friend. Hero would miss Donkey’s interpretation. 

            And, it isn’t all that difficult for Hero to hold Elephant off.  After all, Hero is somewhat all powerful.  So once Hero has Elephant restrained, Donkey tends to mock him even more.  This whole scene would likely grow dramatically out of hand if it weren’t for the inevitable noise startling Elephant and sending him back into a dizzy of paranoid delusions that incapacitate him in any efforts against Donkey.  Some say Elephant was brutally and repeatedly raped by a gang of Tibetan guerillas after being lured in by what appeared to be a rather friendly turkey.  Others say it wasn’t Asia that drove Elephant mad.  They say he sought out and even enjoyed being anally raped by the guerillas.  They think it wasn’t until he came home from Asia and realized he would need to get a job that he went all paranoid schizophrenic. Whatever the truth, Elephant is one fucked up dude.  Einstein uses the opportunity to eat more of Elephant’s peanuts. 

            This was a relatively daily routine amongst the group.  Hero would arrive excited to play, Donkey would bitch about the latest corporate merger and the death of all of our freedoms, Einstein would ponder if we were ever really free in a world with love, Elephant would babble something incoherent about the use of anal suppositories, Donkey would start to manipulate the rules in his favor, Elephant would wake up and get mad, Hero would intercede, and Einstein would grab some peanuts.  Dungeons & Dragons games like these occur all over the world every day.  But then one day, it changed. 


Chapter 2: The long walk for peanuts 


Well it didn’t so much change as it ended.  The peanut supply that is.  That’s right, they ran out of peanuts.  Elephant was not happy.  Einstein looked worse.  Donkey, who had been craving nachos all day, immediately suggested that they go to 7-11 to procure additional peanuts.  Hero was wary about leaving the house with Elephant but Donkey assured Hero that Elephant would be perfectly fine and that he had been to 7-11 with Elephant numerous times without incident.  This was in fact a lie.  Donkey had only been to 7-11 with Elephant once before, and Elephant had nearly mauled the wife of a prominent preacher from the mouse community.  Apparently Donkey had been able to convince everyone at the scene that it was all just a misunderstanding; it had probably all been Donkey’s fault anyway.  So he figured he could talk his way out of it again should anything happen this time.  Besides, he really wanted nachos.

Einstein was eager to get more peanuts, but was concerned that it would be difficult to roll dice while walking to 7-11.  Hero solved the problem quickly by designing a box that allowed Einstein to roll dice while they walk.  This greatly pleased Einstein who quickly grabbed the contraption from Hero and pranced out the door while rolling dice and demanding that they all follow in pursuit of more peanuts.  No one can be quite sure what Elephant thought Einstein said, but whatever it was gave him quite the shock and he scurried for cover and cowered in the corner.  Donkey laughed as he followed Einstein out.  Hero then patiently reassured Elephant that no one was trying to anally rape him and that it was safe to join the group for an outing to 7-11.  Elephant did want more peanuts so the coaxing did not take as long as usual, and the pair had no trouble catching up to Donkey and Einstein.  Hero was not sure that this was a good thing.

            But as it turns out, Elephant is actually a lot more controlled outside than Hero would have expected.  It seems that Elephant was acutely aware that as he said “the enemy smells fear.”  This caused him to stiffen up and try to hold himself in a rather mock-confident way.  One might imagine that a stranger upon seeing Elephant for the first time while in this state might think he had some kind of joint stiffening disease or perhaps, serious issues with constipation.  However, it would likely take them just a few moments to realize that he was in fact scared shitless.  This momentary illusion was sufficient for Elephant, and he hoped that enough of the enemy wouldn’t notice his debilitating fears. 

Hero thought Elephant would be less of a target if he stopped making abrupt and startling turns just to check what might be behind him.  Elephant explained that Hero was just buying into a false sense of security.  “Just because you don’t have eyes in the back of your head doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try to see what’s behind you.  You never know what’s behind you.” Donkey agreed but he thought Elephant took the metaphor a bit too far sometimes.  Still when he thought no one was looking, Donkey would often turn to check his own behind.

            Einstein had at one time been a part of this nonsense discussion too but had long ago decided that what was behind him looked the same as what was in front and resigned himself to only looking in one direction.  For this reason, Einstein was no longer allowed to drive.  Sometimes, Hero found this amusing. However, when the limitation forced Hero to have to walk to 7-11 instead of being driven it was far less amusing.   Still he certainly wasn’t going to get into the car with either Donkey or Elephant at the wheel so it wasn’t entirely Einstein’s fault that they were walking.  Hero blamed himself; one day he would learn to drive so none of them would have to walk to 7-11 again.

            Hero’s planning was interrupted by a brewing argument between Elephant and Donkey.  While Hero was dreaming about learning to drive, Einstein rolled the dice and proclaimed that he had slain the evil dragon and that the dungeon was now his.  Well actually he claimed the dungeon “in the name of all that sings and has the song of music.”  But no one was entirely sure what he meant by that and besides Donkey was already recalculating Einstein’s math and claiming that the dragon was still alive and that it was Donkey’s turn to strike it next.  Donkey wanted the experience points for the killing stroke.  Elephant had been so obsessed with trying to look calm that he didn’t even know they had been fighting a dragon, but when he heard that Donkey was going to get killing stroke points, he woke up and wanted to know what he had missed.  Donkey explained the situation, and Elephant agreed that Einstein’s math had been wrong.  However, Elephant thought that it should be his turn to strike the dragon next:

            “After Einstein, it’s my turn.”

            “Well, Elephant I’m not really sure you’re right; I think I go now”

            “Don’t we always go clockwise?  In fact, isn’t the rule that we go clockwise? I’m pretty sure I remember that being a rule.”

            “Exactly Elephant, but we’ve moved from the table, and we are no longer sitting with you positioned on Einstein’s left. In fact you are now walking on Einstein’s right, and therefore clockwise from Einstein is me.”

            “Wait, Donkey, that doesn’t seem fair. What does the rule book say about changing player positions in the middle of the game?”

            “I don’t think it says anything about it.”

            “So why do you think you can just go and change your position in the middle of a game?”

            “Well, we did right?”

            “We did what?”

            “We changed positions?”

            “Well, yeah, it does appear we did.”

            “So then we can.  And we did.  And so clockwise from Einstein is me.  So I go next.”

            Hero thought he was going to have to intercede again.  But a loud noise behind Elephant threw the large mammal into another frenzy of fear, and he curled into a small ball behind Einstein.  At first Einstein thought it fun to be the poor abused animal’s protector and mocked himself as a gallant guardian fending off the phantom would be assailants.  But as the noise grew in intensity, it became obvious that something large and loud was approaching.  By the time the light was even visible it was nearly too late to jump from the street.  Moments later the light and sound had passed, but the force of its passing had hit Elephant in the buttocks, knocking him into everyone else and throwing our band of role players into the gutter. 

            Einstein was the first to speak. 

“Wow,” he said. 

            Hero popped up next and quickly made sure that Donkey and Elephant were alright.  Elephant was quick to say he told them so and warned everyone that all sorts of things can pop up behind you.  Einstein agreed and was beginning to rethink his choice to look only in one direction.  Donkey was pissed off, mostly at himself for walking in the road but also he thought someone else might hold some responsibility.  “Who did they think they were?” he wanted to know.  “How dare they?”

            Hero was confused.  Who did Donkey think had just done something to him?  Donkey did not pause to explain.  Instead he rambled on about corporate mismanagement, exportation of jobs, globalization of the sex trade, and Mexican jumping bean farmers in Guatemala.   It was some time later that Donkey finally revealed that he thought the loud burst of energy that had knocked them from the street was in fact a vehicle.  Einstein thought this was eminently reasonable considering they had been on a road but wondered what kind of vehicle could have been so lovely.  Hero then made the mistake of asking Einstein to explain how something that appeared so mysteriously and so much like a blast of energy could in fact be something as simple as a car.  This led to a long conversation about the big bang, love and super string theory that ultimately caused Einstein to cry a little. 

Elephant even got into the conversation for a bit.  He was very pleased to hear that Einstein still believed in God.  For some reason this made Elephant feel a little better and he almost forgot that at any moment a giant mutant guerilla could jump up behind him, stuff a sponge full of ether up his snout and do all sorts of weird and vile things to him.  At the time, Hero did not think this conversation was a mistake.  He enjoyed listening to Einstein talk about things he didn’t understand.  And really what is a mistake? But with the value of hindsight, it might have been more useful had Hero and the others spent more time paying attention to what Donkey was saying and a little less time on the big picture of Einstein’s world.  Maybe if they had thought about Donkey’s theory for a little while longer then they would have realized that the light and sound that had so callously knocked them from the street was in fact a laser weapon, and it was also going to 7-11.


Chapter 3: Violence


            Now might be a good time to fill the reader in about the war that’s going on in this society.  It is a war over ideas; a war over the fate of our children; a war to end all wars; a war that will never end.  No one is really sure how it began.  No one is even entirely sure what it’s about.  Ultimately like all wars it is about power; money; economics; supply and demand.  There are many lucrative textbook deals, but many more unemployed academics. At the end of the day someone gets to decide the curriculum, and Dr. Orange Jello certainly wasn’t going to allow Goethe to have control.

            Dr. Orange Jello had in fact built an army around preventing Goethe from gaining control.  This army was well-dressed, well-paid, and well-mannered.  Its members were intelligent, likeable, educated, eloquent and 100% pure evil.  Their goal was to seek out and rid the world of poets.  No poet was safe from the wrath of Dr. Orange Jello’s army.  The army systematically exterminated the poet.  Rumors began to spread that dreamers would be culled next. 

Dr. Orange Jello had so convinced the world of the uselessness of poetry that many poets voluntarily turned themselves in for rehabilitation.  Most real poets were however deemed irreversibly contaminated and unfit for rehabilitation, whereupon they were promptly given the choice of cyanide or deportation to Canada.  Most chose the cyanide. This was seen as the more honorable choice by both groups.  The poets hoped that in dying for their cause they would grow even more powerful in death.  Indeed a few of them became powerful deities.  But most of them just died a horrible seizing death upon the dissolution of the sodium cyanide in their digestive tract.  Dr. Orange Jello then touted the poet suicides as further evidence of the evils of poetry.

 There are few stories of the two remaining groups: the poets who were successfully rehabilitated and those that were shuttled north to Canada.  It is unknown exactly how many poets had been rehabilitated over the years.  The poets called these people sell-outs and many of them are among the most powerful of Dr. Orange Jello's inner-circle.  He uses them and their abilities.  He twists them and morphs them to his evil ends. 

After many years, a sizeable community of disgraced poets had developed in Canada.  And by maintaining communication with Goethe they have coordinated their efforts into something of an Undead Poets Society. Unfortunately most of the poets that became major deities upon death lost interest in the celestial and temporal planes as soon as they realized that they had the power to escape them.  Goethe stands alone as the only poet with any name recognition in the band of idealists still willing to fight.  And fight they do.  The war rages in the streets and this night our band of role players had stumbled into a tense battle emerging in the parking lot of the 7-11.

             As they approached, Einstein was still musing on the incredibly complex dynamic relationship of the inter-cosmic forces between a man and a woman when, this time, Donkey panicked and went into a crouch position.  Donkey’s strange protective behavior made Elephant flip out and he started running around screaming “We’re all going to die, we’re all going to die, cover your assholes everyone, we’re about to be fucked!”

            Hero wasn’t sure what was going on, but he knew Donkey wouldn’t just crouch and cover for no reason and whatever that reason was, it wouldn’t be good to have a screaming elephant rambling about and proceeded to see about quieting the beast.  Einstein went to the source:

            “Say there chap, what seems to be the matter?”


            “Yes. Yes.  But here? What seems to be the matter here boy?”

            “Merger.” Donkey snorted and dug himself further into his ground. 

            Frustrated and confused Einstein went to help Hero who was having considerable difficulty in getting the scared Elephant to shut up.  Hero was trying to be reasonable with the great beast and having very little success.  Einstein suggested a swift and brisk smack upside the head.  Hero was hesitant to hit his friend but as the suggestion did come from Einstein he thought perhaps it was best and whapped Elephant’s skull.  As usual Einstein was right, and Elephant calmed down but only long enough to again notice Donkey in his crouched position and resume his outrageous shrieking:

            “We’re all going to die.  Cover your asses.  We’re all going to die.”

            Hero was the first to suggest that they turn back.  He wasn’t sure what it was that Donkey was so afraid of, but Elephant had become uncontrollable.  Einstein seemed to agree that turning back was a wise idea but expressed mild displeasure in still not having more peanuts.  Reminded of the peanuts, Elephant quickly resumed composure and was eager to continue until he yet again saw Donkey in crouched position. 

This time however Hero was able to quickly contain Elephant’s excitement and got him to explain a little more of what was going on.  It seems Elephant had seen Donkey in this position before and was convinced that the last time it happened the wrath of God was unleashed on an unsuspecting city.  Elephant was not going anywhere so long as Donkey was crouched.  Hero and Einstein realized they had to talk to Donkey and figure out what was spooking him.  They knew it wouldn’t be an easy conversation.  Donkey doesn’t like to give out details.  But Hero had an idea:

            “Commander Donkey, ten-hut.” Hero shouted.

            And like a well trained mule, Donkey jumped up and to attention.  “Donkey, 1st class, reporting and ready, sir yes sir.”

            “Donkey why are you crouching?”

            “There’s an unholy merger happening over there. Sir yes sir.”

            “Do you still want nachos?”

            “Nachos…mmm nachos”

“Then c’mon Donkey you are freaking out Elephant.”

            And with that the group resumed their course to 7-11.  By the time they got to the parking lot most of the battle was long over.  Dr. Orange Jello’s forces had decimated the poet army, which for all of Goethe’s efforts, remained largely a force of disorganized Canadians and dead hacks.  Moreover, somehow Dr. Orange Jello’s forces had found a way to infiltrate the Undead Society.  It is hypothesized that rehabilitated poets posed as actual poets and then pretended to be unrehabilitatable so that they could then take the cyanide pill and convince Goethe to let them join the society.  Normally Goethe would not have been so easily fooled, but he’s been working on an incredibly important secret project lately and has been somewhat distracted.

            When our band of dice rollers arrived at the 7-11, Goethe was tied to a slushy machine and guarded by several of Orange Jello’s henchmen.  They reminded Einstein of Nazis.  Off on the side, the double agent poets were trying to convince those undead poets who hadn’t yet been killed that they should finally relent and convert to the way of Dr. Orange Jello.  The Doctor’s Nazis were everywhere. 

            Einstein was the first to walk in the store and was quickly distracted by the wide display of assorted candies.  Donkey went straight to the nachos.  Elephant began to freak out again, and so Hero smacked him again.  But Hero was a little excited by all the soldiers, hit Elephant a wee bit hard and knocked him unconscious.  At first Hero was concerned that he may have overacted but, after confirming that Elephant was still breathing, Hero thought it was probably better this way, threw the beast over his back and walked into the convenience store.

            Stashing Elephant comfortably by the newspapers near the door, Hero went to talk to Einstein who by this time had his hands full with boxes of all sorts of peanut candies.  Einstein particularly likes Goobers.  Einstein of course didn’t have any money, but he was confident Hero would cover him.  It was a similar confidence that made him so calm in a 7-11 full of Orange Jello’s thugs.  In general this confidence would be well placed.  Hero is pretty amazing, and if any one of the thugs tried to mess with Einstein, Hero would surely have had his back.  No doubt, Hero would also have paid for the candied peanuts.  Unfortunately, however, Hero is not Superman and is unable to always be there in the nick of time.  So when one of the undead poets tried to make a break for it and one of the rehabilitated poets shot him in the head, and the bullet, after passing through the poet’s skull, ricocheted off a vat of 7-11 chili and struck Einstein in the heart, well Hero wasn’t able to do anything to stop it.

            The Ghost of Einstein gasped.

            So did Hero.  He wasn’t sure if a ghost could even be injured by a bullet but everything was starting to feel very real.  Einstein grabbed his chest and fell to the floor. 

            Donkey screamed and in a fit of what can only be described as asinine fury, unleashed a whirlwind of thrashing like behavior.  In his outburst he knocked over the slushy machine and made it possible for Goethe to escape.  When the vat of chili went flying across the store, most of Orange Jello’s army dispersed.  Likely, they would be back, but in the meantime Einstein had the chance to impart some final words to Hero.  He said, “Call an ambulance you fuck, I’ve been shot.”

             Hero thought about it a moment and wondered if perhaps Einstein had been saying something else with his eyebrows.  Ultimately, Hero decided that they would all probably get in a lot of trouble if they called an ambulance and didn’t really want to involve the authorities in any of this.  Besides he thought, “Einstein’s already dead.” With that Einstein vanished. Although no one could deny hearing a strange echo that sounded an awful lot like “I love you,” that could have just been the refrigeration case.  It had been acting funny all week and Donkey had just kicked chili into its compressor exhaust. 

            Donkey started sniffing the refrigerator and proclaimed, “fella’s I think it’s time we get outta here, this place is going to blow.”

            Hero was extremely confused.  What had happened to Einstein?  Even if the refrigerators had been kicked to shit and covered in 7-11 chili, why should that pose a danger?  Why was Donkey running from the building?  Hero wasn’t sure he had time for any of these questions, so he grabbed Elephant and tossed him over his back again.  Hero wondered how Elephant could still be sleeping and if maybe he hadn’t hit him too hard.  He made sure to grab a large bag of peanuts to make it up to him.  As it turns out Donkey had also grabbed a large bag of peanuts for Elephant, but once he saw that Hero had it taken care of Donkey tossed his bag behind the dumpster.  Just then, the 7-11 exploded.


Chapter 4: Recovery


Neither the gunshot nor the fall of a slushy machine and a vat of chili nor the frenzy of Nazis nor the death of a friend had been sufficient to wake Elephant.  But the collapse of the local outlet of a well established international franchise of convenience stores quickly stirred him from his catatonic state.  Elephant was irate and wanted to know why Hero had knocked him out, what had happened while he was out, what was happening now, and why was Hero was still carrying him?

            Hero knew he would need to answer these questions but thought it best to continue to flee the situation.  Donkey was far ahead of them and well on his way back home.  Half-way Hero put Elephant down but only after a promise that he would continue walking home and that they would discuss it all later.  Elephant immediately broke his promise and insisted that Hero explain immediately why they were not waiting for Einstein.  Hero used the peanuts to change the subject and eventually all were safely back at their Dungeons & Dragons table – minus one. 

            Donkey explained the situation to Elephant.  At first Elephant wanted to phone the authorities.  But Donkey explained that this was only Elephant’s Boy Scout instincts playing tricks on him and that the Boy Scouts are in fact a misogynistic corporate entity with outdated policies on homosexuality and represented all that was wrong with corporate America.  Elephant said he understood, but it’s doubtful; he was far too busy guarding his peanuts from potential threats from behind. 

So, Donkey thought this would be a good opportunity to finally slay that dragon from earlier.  But when he suggested this to Hero, Hero just sulked in the corner.  Not only had Einstein vanished, but he had apparently taken the dice.  Donkey began looking for new dice but was delayed when he discovered a box that had belonged to Einstein.  He opened it thinking the old man might have stowed away some extra dice but was pleased to instead find a whole lot of bright green, fresh and sticky marihuana.  Donkey quickly and adeptly rolled and lit a rather substantial joint. 

             Donkey felt much better.  He thought it only right to share his new found calm with his remaining friends and proceeded to blow the smoke in their direction.  This was sufficient to get Elephant pretty high and sufficient motivation for Hero to get up and come across the room to get his share.  Hero, Donkey and Elephant then proceeded to get crazy stoned on Einstein’s weed.  For the first time in a long while, everything was calm.

             It seemed to stay calm for a very long time but no one can be certain quite how long it was.  The calm was broken when a package was mysteriously delivered for Einstein.  It’s hard to say what was mysterious about it except that Einstein rarely received packages.  Moreover this package seemed to appear as if from nowhere.  Donkey said it just showed up.  Elephant said it was always here.  Hero finally opened it. 

It was from the Secretary General of the Undead Poets Society.  It was a Purple Heart medallion.  There were a bunch of very official looking documents and affixed to them was a small handwritten note on a yellow sticky which read:


E –

   For your valiant service to the cause,


PS Send help.


Hero held up the medallion and was going to suggest something they could do with it.  No doubt, it would have been more honorable and far less clever than what Donkey would have suggested; also far less perverse.   But Hero was stopped mid-sentence when Einstein appeared and grabbed the Purple Heart medallion from Hero’s hand and thanked him for the thoughtful presentation.  Hero and Donkey were stunned.  They thought Einstein was dead.  As for Elephant, it appeared that he understood all along, but it’s not entirely clear that he was even paying attention.  Then Donkey realized that Einstein had been dead for as long as he had known him and quickly took a few more hits before ensuring that the joint was in Elephant’s hand when Einstein entered full view.  Einstein was not pleased that everybody had been smoking his weed without him, but satisfied himself with a few of Elephant’s peanuts and the knowledge that he had a really good source in the city.  Hero remained completely dumbfounded. 

            Einstein reminded Hero that he is a ghost.  He then reminded everyone that his sword has a +5 damage bonus and that because of that his math was actually right and he did in fact slay the dragon as he had so said earlier.  Hero was still confused but Einstein was rarely one to help alleviate confusion.  Instead he exclaimed:

            “No time to explain.  Goethe needs our help.  I took a bullet for him once, and I’d do it again.  Now let’s go!!!”

            Donkey was first to whine.  Elephant was quick to join.  Neither of them wanted to be anywhere near Goethe.  It’s just that they don’t understand him.  And they fear that which they don’t understand.  Well, Elephant fears everything. Hero wasn’t particularly gung-ho either.  He was happy to have Einstein back, but why was his friend suddenly so eager to fight in this war that had been going on for so long without them?  Wouldn’t he much prefer to have another peanut?

            But Einstein was steadfast in his argument.  He was convinced that Goethe needed their help and that without it the universe might forever be lost.  Hero had never heard Einstein speak so passionately about any occurrence that was actually visible.  It made him wonder if all of this might not be a grand abstraction.  Fortunately this thought was interrupted by a knock at the door. 

            Donkey panicked a little and scurried to hide the drugs and spray Lysol.  Elephant just panicked.  Hero answered the door.  Looking out he saw no one and was about to close the door when he heard a high pitched voice yell “you stupid oaf, down here!”

            Hero looked down and saw what appeared to be a convoy of field mice.  One mouse scampered up Hero’s leg and torso and perched itself on Hero’s shoulder.  It unrolled a scroll and began to read into Hero’s ear.  The mouse was far more audible at his new altitude, and Hero even thought the sound quite pleasant until Donkey made some remark about not being able to hear and the mouse began to yell into Hero’s ear. 

            The basic gist of the mouse message was that: “Wherefore, Elephant had disgraced their leader’s wife and Donkey had destroyed their sacred temple, the mouse community has decreed the execution of aforementioned parties.”  That they were serious was demonstrated in that as the mouse had been reading the other mice successfully tied up both Donkey and Elephant in magic mouse rope.  Einstein was amazed by what a bunch of mice can do when they worked together. 

            Hero wasn’t about to let the mice kill either of his friends, especially because he had worked so hard to protect them from killing each other thus far.  But he knew that the mouse yelling in his ear was just a messenger so rather than attempt to negotiate he just killed that one straight off.  This caught the other mice a little off guard and as they were not many in this first round the mice surrendered.  They had expected to buy themselves a wee bit more time and were not expecting such egregious use of force so soon. 

            Donkey stomped two or three of them, but because he was still tied down, he wasn’t much of a contender.  He was still far more useful than Elephant though, who just screamed and begged that the mice leave his ass alone.  Einstein grabbed three of them by their tails and demanded a truce.  Donkey said it was no use and that they would only listen to their leader.  So Einstein locked the remaining mice up and Hero picked the mouse that looked the fastest and told him to run back to his master and tell him what has happened here.  They all watched the mouse run out the door, down the street, and get eaten by the neighborhood cat.  Hero decided next to let three mice out with the message.  When the mouse leader finally arrived, he said he got Hero’s message and was appreciative that Hero had thought enough to send it twice.   

            In the meantime, Einstein had tied the tails of some of the remaining mice together and was admiring their struggle to pull in various directions.  Again he wondered if perhaps he ought to change his pattern of only looking in one direction at a time.  Nevertheless, he found the mice quite amusing and was hoping he could teach them to role dice.  He even offered them some peanuts.

            When the mouse leader arrived he was dressed the perfect image of a modern day small community preacher.  He arrived with his wife and several large guards who bore a surprising resemblance to rhinoceroses.  Hero thought it odd for the mouse to have rhinoceroses in his company but still threatened to kill them all if they wouldn’t release Elephant and Donkey from the magic mouse rope. 

The mouse preacher didn’t like Hero’s tone and proceeded to chant an incantation which turned Hero into a pig.  Hero thought it odd for a mouse to have magic power and wanted to comment on it.  The pig seemed to try to speak but was only heard to oink and snort. Einstein thought this was quite fascinating until he felt himself begin to change and found himself sitting on the table with an odd craving for flies.  It seemed the mouse preacher was a rather proficient wizard and had succeeded in turning Einstein into a toad.

Everything likely would have gone to shit at this point if not for Donkey; well and Elephant.  The mouse preacher was so busy taunting the pig and the frog that he neglected to pay any attention to his original purpose.  One would have thought he was one that was stoned.  But no, that was Donkey and Elephant who tied to their chairs had ample opportunity for discussion: 

“Elephant, do you remember when you lived in that Zoo?”

Elephant didn’t trust Donkey but nodded apprehensively. 

“Elephant do you remember when I helped you get out of that crazy Zoo?”

Elephant remembered, but he wasn’t sure what Donkey’s point was; most days he wished he was still in that Zoo. 

“Elephant, do you remember when you left for Asia?  Do you remember what I said to you?”

“Sure Donkey, you told me to learn the rules and I have done my best never to forget them.”

“Exactly Elephant. But why would I need you to remember the rules?  Don’t I remember them myself?  Surely we can agree that usually I know the rules better than anyone else.  But I told you to learn the rules, not to remember them.”

“Honestly, Donkey, I don’t know; but what does this have to do with anything?  Hero and Einstein are in serious trouble over there, and all you want to do is discuss the rules.  We are all going to be fucked.”

“Elephant, why did you study the rules?”

“To win.  To beat you Donkey.”

“Have you ever beaten me Elephant?”

“No Donkey.  I rarely win even when you’re not here.”

“Because you play by the rules and you just get fucked in the ass.”

“Please don’t make fun of what’s happened to me.”

“Happened to you? TO you? If I learned one thing from my time aboard Valdez it is that things do not happen to you Elephant.  Icebergs and reefs do not happen to you.  You make a mistake.  You misread a heading.  You don’t read the radar right.  You time something wrong. You make a mistake and sometimes that means the world gets covered in a thick black sludge that kills all the beautiful things.  But it didn’t happen to you.  It happened.  You were there.  It’s part of you.  And no matter how much you want to clean up your mistakes, some people never forget; and when corporate mergers require downsizing to compete with the Arabs, guess who the first to go is.  Elephant, I don’t know what happened to you in Asia but you’ve got to forget it.  Even if those guerillas fucked you silly, it didn’t just happen to you. ”

“Donkey why are you being an ass, why do you keep bringing up these horrible things that happened to me?  Donkey you don’t know the horror.  Donkey, in Asia … sometimes, things happen and they are not your fault.”

“Elephant, these things are horrible; life has abused you, but it’s time to let go Elephant.  It’s time to see that the rules are yours.  You don’t have to be abused all your life.”

“Donkey, we are sitting here tied to chairs with magical mouse rope and Hero has been turned into a pig, Einstein into a frog, and the mice are building a fire.  Not to mention this all started when they sentenced us to death for things you caused.  How are the rules mine?”

“Elephant what kind of ropes are we tied with?”

“Magical ones.”

“Yeah but what kind of magical rope?”


“Mouse rope?”


“Can mouse rope hold an Elephant?”

“I think it can Donkey.  If it’s magical.”

“Damn it, Elephant! Stop thinking!”

A Tibetan guerilla is behind you Elephant, break free from the mouse rope … it looks ornery … is that a turkey with them?”             

             The turkey comment was enough to put Elephant over the edge.  He freaked out.  It’s sad to see a large animal struggle.  Nevertheless, he could not break the ropes. But Donkey was relentless.  He thought this was the only way.  Either he would free Elephant or he would crush his psyche, but he thought this to be the only choice.

            “Elephant, my god they’re coming; Elephant, dozens, hundreds, Tibetan guerillas, Elephant. Oh no!  Elephant, Turkey has a basting device.  Elephant you must break free.”

            “Donkey.  No.  We’re going to die.  They are going to fuck us.  Donkey how can I break free?”

            “Elephant, THEY ARE MOUSE ROPES!!!”

            Elephant thought really hard about the ropes.  He thought really hard about the mouse army and the possibility of guerilla attack.  And finally he gave up. 

            “I give up Donkey, I don’t know why I can’t break these ropes, but I can’t.  I should be able to break free from mouse ropes, but I can’t.  There is no reason these mouse ropes should hold me and yet they do.  And my friends are going to die.  And I am going to be fucked in the ass again.”

In fact, it was quite likely that that the mouse community would have barbequed both the pig and the frog had Donkey not then seen the frog twitch his eyebrows. The pattern of the frog’s eyebrow movement reminded Donkey of a joke about nuns which he proceeded to tell Elephant.  He was about to comment that the Sisterhood was no more than a marketing device for novelty stores when Elephant paused momentarily from sobbing like a lost little girl just long enough to call Donkey a “Blaspheming Ass!”

This gave Donkey a wild idea.  He remembered there was an obscure rule about casting dark magic spells in houses of God.  He never really studied that section of the rule book though because after all God had long since died, and Donkey thought the issue relatively useless in advancing his own causes.  Fortunately he knew Elephant would know the rule.  The question was whether Donkey could convince Elephant to let it work. 

At first, Elephant was rather convinced that Donkey was just trying to improve his own game.  Donkey reminded him that they were both in fact tied to their chairs and that pretty soon the mouse community was going to kill them and eat their friends and that he needed Elephant to trust him a little.  Elephant wasn’t entirely sure how trust was relevant.

“Elephant just tell me the rules for casting dark magic in a house of God.”

“Donkey, I’m sure whatever you think it is, is probably right.”

“Well I just remember that dark magic isn’t supposed to work in a house of God.”

“That sounds right Donkey.”

“But isn’t this a house of God?”

“How so?”

“God is everywhere.”

“I thought you were an Atheist.  I swear you’ve said that many times before.”

“Elephant, what’s done is done, I don’t care what happened yesterday, right now this moment we have a problem and I am pretty sure that if God is everywhere then this is a house of God and therefore the preacher mouse’s dark magic shouldn’t work.”

“But it just worked so obviously you’re wrong.”

“Maybe there was a mistake.”

“Since when can there be mistakes? I thought you said that if something happened that proved it was possible?”

“What’s done is done. But it’s now and we can certainly try to fix mistakes.”

“So this is a house of God?”

“Maybe. I mean, I think so. I mean, yes.”

“I think we should consult the rule book.”

“You know it’s not in there.”

“Well then there really is no way to know.  But we should decide it right now and set the rule for from now on; jot a note in the margin even.”

“Fine, so are we agreed?  This is a house of God, no dark magic works here?”

“I don’t really care, that seems fine.”

And with that, the pig turned back into Hero and the frog turned back into Einstein.  Unfortunately the mouse army was at this point fully amassed and Hero and Einstein were in the throes of a wicked battle with a whole lot of mice. Donkey and Elephant were still tied down and despite struggling, could still not free themselves.

            Dejected Donkey quipped, “Well I guess it’s done then.  What good are Donkeys and Elephants when they are tied down by an army of mice?”  

            “Oh don’t be so hard on yourself Donkey. You are still valuable.  You have lots of good ideas.”

            “Ugh, ideas.  I’d give all my ideas for a pocket knife.”

            Elephant was gleeful, “I can give you a pocket knife Donkey.  I always carry one for protection.”

            And Elephant wasn’t kidding when he said pocket knife.  This blade was large, serrated, double-edge, quite capable of killing an opponent and quite likely to take the wielder’s arm off.   Why Elephant hadn’t until now thought to slip it out from his pocket was beyond Donkey; but Donkey rarely had time to stop and fathom how Elephant’s mind worked; he certainly wouldn’t try now.

            As a united team, Elephant, Donkey, Hero and the Ghost of Einstein still had great difficulty with the mouse army.  There were just too many of them.  Elephant fought gallantly to protect his friends.  Donkey too.  And eventually, after a great deal of fighting, Hero came face to face with the mouse preacher. 

            Deprived of his dark magic, isolated from the rest of his army, the mouse faced the Hero.  And there he bowed down.  And all the other mice followed.  Hero really didn’t see the point of any of this and was about to kill the mouse preacher when Einstein stopped him.  Einstein thought it might be interesting to see if this mouse could run a maze faster than the other mice and so set to work on an experiment. 

Hero thought maybe he should start to clean up the mess but Donkey told him to sit down.  He and Elephant had already set to work with a broom and dustpan and were promptly scooping up the mouse carcasses.  As Hero began to sit, there was already an argument brewing about how to properly wield a broom.  Still, Hero sat down.  He felt he had earned a brief respite. 


Chapter 5 – Corporations are Evil


            Some time passed and Einstein was preparing to give his dissertation on the economic behaviors and mating rituals of magical mice when it occurred to him that he had completely forgotten about Goethe.   He ran to find Hero who was at the time in the midst of a rather pleasant bath.  Einstein intruded:

            “Hero.  I totally forgot about Goethe.  We have to help Goethe.”

            Hero was a bit startled and thought perhaps the conversation could wait until after he’d dressed.  Einstein urged him to take haste and said they had waited too long and it might even already be too late.  Donkey and Elephant hearing the commotion joined the other pair in the bathroom; Hero was still in the tub. 

            Donkey wanted to know why they should care about the war between Goethe and Dr. Orange Jello.  He thought it far more useful for Hero to go fight Arabs.  He still blamed them for the merger that cost him his job.   He blamed himself more and wished he had been better at his job so that they hadn’t have fired him; but still, some part of him still wanted revenge.  Besides he thought it was totally in vogue to hate on Arabs and despite all his moral superiority Donkey liked to be in vogue. 

            Elephant was happy to hear that Hero would be fighting to protect the world but wondered if Hero’s duty wasn’t better fulfilled by staying local and continuing to protect him and Donkey.  Donkey said he didn’t need protection and Elephant snarled at him.  Donkey then said “boo,” and Elephant freaked.  Hero laughed, he thought how nice it was to have everyone together even if he was in a bath.  He didn’t want to let Einstein down but he was not eager to run off to another battle.  He thought he would parrot Donkey’s thoughts and ask Einstein why any of them should care about a war between undead poets and intellectual nazis. 

            Einstein laid it bare.  He explained how after he was shot in the 7-11 he decided to take the free ride to the realm of the dead; “Ya know, just to stop in and say hello to some old friends.”  While there he learned that Dr. Orange Jello was planning to oppress the world forever and that Goethe was in serious trouble. 

            Still, none of them really saw how they fit in.  Einstein continued and explained that without the poets, science would be useless.  Hero wasn’t sure he agreed but he was beginning to at least see Einstein’s connection.  What was science without art? But Hero wasn’t sure what he could do.  After all, he was just one man.  He told Einstein he would think about it and then requested that everyone please leave the bathroom.  They complied and Hero did his best to enjoy the remainder of his bath.

            When he emerged later, he found the group and told them that he wasn’t really in the mood to go to war.  Frankly he didn’t really see the point and there were other things he wanted to do with his life.  Einstein was upset but he understood.  Still he wanted to help Goethe so he found a box in the closet and filled it full of lots of canned goods and blankets and sent it off to The Great Poet c/o the Undead Poets Society, Canada.  He sincerely hoped it would help. 

            The next day Hero enrolled in Driver’s Ed.  It was something he had always wanted to learn and finally he was going to do it.  Bob, his Driver’s Ed teacher, was a really nice, seemingly wise, old dude.  He was completely and absolutely blind but he was nevertheless, a really nice old dude.  Hero convinced Bob to let Donkey, Elephant and the Ghost of Einstein sit in the backseat.  Hero liked Bob.  Einstein did too.  Donkey thought he was ok.  Elephant was a little scared of him; maybe more than a little.

            As they drove around the neighborhood, Hero thought about all the adventure that they had.  He wasn’t really sure what to make of it all.  It sure was a fantastic story but he couldn’t help feel like he had been a little cheated.  What exactly was the intent of all of this?  This was not a safe thought to be having while driving and Hero knew it.  Still he couldn’t help but wonder if there wasn’t something more; something grander.  He was beginning to wish he had listened to Einstein and taken up Goethe’s war; or maybe fought the Arabs.  At least then he’d have a purpose.

            Just then another one of those loud sounds went flying by a down a nearby street.  Elephant freaked.  Einstein wanted to follow it.  Donkey thought that was a bad idea.  Bob said the decision was Hero’s and reminded him to heed traffic laws.  Hero decided to follow it although keeping up with it was moderately difficult because Bob insisted on full three-second stops at all stop signs.  It soon became quite clear that the energy was racing towards Hero’s school whereupon arrival it hit a school bus which then exploded.

            When the group got there, Goethe’s army was putting up a rather impressive struggle against an overwhelming number of Dr. Orange Jello’s soldiers.  But it appeared that this time Goethe may have developed the upper hand.  He had finally finished his super secret project and it was proving rather successful against his enemy.  He developed the final inspiration when he received Einstein’s package.  At first the poet didn’t know what to make of the box full of canned peas, beets, and other assorted vegetables.  But when he turned the box upside down and a couple of cast iron Dungeons & Dragons figurines fell out, Goethe suddenly knew exactly what he had to do.  He was pretty confident that it wasn’t the original intent.  But he figured that was just the point. 

            And so later that day, Goethe killed Dr. Orange Jello.   Bob cheered.  Goethe thanked Einstein.  Hero continued to wonder if any of this meant anything, particularly after Goethe explained that he had killed Dr. Orange Jello many times before and that invariably the doctor would regenerate later or be reincarnated in some new form.   Hero took some small consolation in thinking that this would, at the very least, take some time.  But Goethe saddened Hero again when he explained that the rehabilitated poets would have little difficulty running the empire until the new Orange Jello solidified.

Goethe hoped that the role players would stay on to help continue the struggle for intellectual freedom.  Donkey just walked away.  Hero said he would continue to think about it but it was doubtful that he would ever give it real consideration.  Even Einstein was beginning to think the cause was somewhat pointless and thought perhaps he had been the victim of unidirectional looking again. Only Bob wanted to sign up but it turned out that the Undead Poets have a rule preventing Driver’s Ed teachers from becoming part of the Society; something about poets not liking brakes.

            On the way home, Hero drove them passed the old 7-11 location.  Einstein mused about wanting peanuts.  This made Elephant cry.  Donkey couldn’t take the whining and told Hero to stop the car.  Donkey got out, walked behind the dumpster and retrieved the bag of peanuts he had thrown there earlier.  This baffled everyone.  Elephant thought it was a miracle.  Einstein agreed that it was God’s work.  Hero was even starting to believe.  But Donkey said, “God is dead.”

            Elephant got furious, “What do you mean God is dead?  Hasn’t this already been decided, God is everywhere.” 

Donkey felt he had moved on from that position.  He was once again making arguments about the absurdity of life and the power of free will.  Elephant couldn’t stand it.  “RULES,” he bellowed, “Donkey there are rules!”  Donkey just laughed.  “What’s done is done” he said, “Today, I see past God.”

This might have provoked a rather serious argument, but as usual, a noise in the distance sent Elephant into a blind panic and he cowered in the corner of the car.  Einstein, however, was rather intrigued with the idea and wondered if seeing past God would require fluctuations in the speed of light and so quickly set to work on a set of equations that might explain the phenomenon.  This left Hero with only one remaining question, “What had happened to the dice?”


And inside a cage somewhere in the basement of what was at one time called a house of God, amongst a wide variety of Einstein’s scientific gadgets, measuring equipment and a small collection of snow-globes, a mouse’s eyes glowed red. 



THE END (?) or is this where we started.



Epilogue and Introduction: a read if you will


The story of Donkey, Elephant, the Ghost of Einstein and Hero arose from a random America online Instant Messenger conversation between two friends about the meaninglessness of it all.  Suddenly, the characters sprung to life and the story just emerged from them.  The story was supposed to be about the evils of corporate mergers.  At least, that was the story Donkey wanted to tell.  But he got caught up in a world full of nonsense and no one wanted to listen to him. 

Most of what he did manage to say was muffled by his surroundings and sometimes it was really difficult to hear the good-core that we all want Donkey to have.   Maybe the benefit of hindsight will bring an affirmation of Donkey’s wisdom.  Or maybe he’ll prove to be just another annoying ass.  He has been right so many times before.  Nevertheless, he remains an ass.

Hero is the most genuine character in the group.  Hero is a true friend.  The reader should take note that at no point in the allegory does Hero in any way abandon his friends.  Even in Chapter 4 when he sits down, it was implied that his tasks were complete. Throughout the story, Hero does what needs to be done.  For this reason, if no other, he is a hero. 

The heart of this dark comedy is the Ghost of Einstein.  Deep down we all need to believe in the Ghost of Einstein.  He has a child like quality; an ability to see beauty and novelty where most of us just see a bunch of complete nonsense.  We all should be inspired to do more of that – to search for meaning – even if it requires standing on a beam of light.  Though very few of us are Einsteins, it’s important to try.

The danger of course is that often Einstein gets caught up in war.  It’s not a war that he started or even one he really had anything to do with. Dr. Orange Jello and Goethe have been fighting a long time.  History is riddled with the story of their battles; each with their ups and downs.  There have been prolonged periods when one of them would look victorious or hold an extended dominion.  The balance of history often swings with blood and who knows how many 7-11 shootings have been inspired by sillier arguments. 

Deep down Orange Jello is not all that strong.  He gets most of his real authority from his irrelevant doctoral credentials.   His power comes from conformity.  His mold is strong because it is supported by so much other dank crap.  Oh, and he has a fancy laser gun that shoots crazy big bolts of light energy down the street allowing him to blow things up from far away.  No one is really sure how he got that. 

Incidentally, it is that ray gun that destroyed the 7-11 at the end of Chapter 3; not the chili.  7-11 chili does not cause refrigerators to explode.  It only does that to the large intestine.  Regardless, Orange Jello’s weapon has a near perfect hit rate and it was he who destroyed the 7-11.  The mouse preacher probably knew but his community wanted to lynch someone for destroying their temple and he thought that it would be easier to go after Donkey and Elephant than Orange Jello; besides Elephant had offended his wife.  The only recorded miss of Dr. Orange Jello’s laser was during the 7-11 battle when a blast veered off-course after it nudged the backside of Elephant while throwing the group from the road.  It should always be remembered that every encounter affects many things, particularly when dealing with energy.

Speaking of Elephant, what the hell is the matter with him? It’s sad really.  Elephant is a good kid.  He really is.  He has just been fucked in the ass so many times he doesn’t even know how to properly protect himself anymore.  He really thinks everybody is out to get him for no good reason.  This would be really crazy if he weren’t very often right.  No one is sure what exactly happened to him in Asia and Donkey would say whatever happened was Elephant’s own fault; that he brought it on himself.  That may be true. 

Moreover, the rest of the group might be seen as a somewhat destructive influence on Elephant’s life.  Why does he not leave now?  Is it just because he’s scared?  Does he have no where else to go?  Some think that if Hero wasn’t around to carry Elephant that he might stand up and be more of a man.  Elephant thanks God every day that Hero stays around.  The truth is, if Hero ever left, Elephant would likely kill himself.  He would secretly hope that Donkey would try to stop him.  But rather, Donkey would be proud that Elephant was finally doing something for himself. 

There is no question that Elephant believes in God.  He has given all of his freedom over to the rules.  Einstein would agree except to add that no one is free from the rules; although Donkey thinks he is.  Hero is confused; he thinks.  He wants to believe in something and definitely much prefers Einstein’s conception of God to Elephant’s.  But most of the time he is happier to agree to Donkey’s interpretation of things, particularly when it prevents him from being turned into pork chops as in Chapter 4.  Besides he really does kind of agree with Donkey, particularly about corporate mergers being evil.  

Hero wants to believe Elephant.  He wants to believe that consolidating power is more efficient.  It’s just hard for him to trust a paranoid Elephant. 

Fortunately, Einstein didn’t proselytize much.  If he did, it might really put a strain on he and Hero’s friendship.  It’s not that Hero doesn’t care; in fact he desperately wishes he knew the answer to all of this.  But he puts up with not knowing for the sake of the group; he really doesn’t want to fight about it.  Sure, he loves competition, but fighting’s not for him.  And for that, he is a hero. 

 Finally, as for Goethe.  Without Goethe, most of this would never have happened.  Very little in the way of back-story is provided on Goethe in this novella.  The reader is advised and encouraged to read up on the life and times of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832).  It will be of absolutely no relevance to this story but who better to lead a society of undead poets than the great poet statesman himself.  His romantic quest is not forgotten; at least not by all of us.  Although so far as the author is aware, Goethe has no particular connection to Canada.   

Goethe’s quest is hard.  It is hard to stay in control when you’re looking in all sorts of directions.  For example, there was supposed to be another moral to this story: those political parties are as dead as Einstein and maybe even as dead as the hero.  Donkey would have gotten around to that point if Elephant hadn’t kept cutting him off after God being dead.  It’s quite hard to list all the concepts that are dead and once you start allowing objections the activity easily lasts all day.  It’s hard for them to understand that when you live in language, everything is dead. 

And yet if any meaning, any spirit, any beauty was transmitted to the reader in the reading of this absurdity, then perhaps this language isn’t dead; perhaps words can still have meaning.  Maybe in reading this story the reader will come to feel something for Elephant or Donkey or Einstein or Hero; maybe even for Goethe or Orange Jello. If that’s possible in this world full of mixed metaphor and inconsistent meaning, well then maybe it might be worth rolling the dice.






Although, it might be better if maybe we could all agree on some basic rules first?

1)      Donkey, you have to stop being an ass.

2)      Elephant, you have to stop trying to kill Donkey when he is an ass.

3)      Einstein, just keep getting us high man. 

And 4) Hero – well dude, just don’t leave.


            Might that be enough? Could it be that simple?

Well, maybe we need another rule about never ever allowing mice to develop dark magic powers.  What exactly was that part of the story about?  And how did Goethe figure out how to finish his secret project and kill Dr. Orange Jello?  This story is in some ways designed to spark more questions than it answers.  One has to hope that someday, all will be explained; perhaps in the preface to the publication of some later edition. 


Until then, interpret as you will. 

And try to get some cast iron figurines for inspiration.


                                                                        -The Author

                                                                        (July, 2006)



Regardless of whether it’s all happening to you or if you are happening to it, it’s your energy that matters. 













The author disclaims all responsibility for any meaning conveyed by this work. The author had no intent.