A Learned Introduction
Spirits can’t lie. Still, as it goes in both life and the afterlife, honesty does not mean accuracy. That’s the trouble with telling the truth. In the living world, a great deal of truth telling is dedicated to giving air to erroneous beliefs, mindlessly echoing hidden agendas and giving credence to hallucinations in general. The same holds true at the Otherside. For instance, if you tell a Spirit that the Earth is flat, she might believe otherwise and will tell you so. In this regard, a Spirit is even more stubborn than a mortal when it comes to shedding ignorance. The dumb shit they believe in stays believed in, no matter how much compelling evidence you may present to the contrary.
Now, nothing in this learned introduction is meant to besmirch the multi-world view of this Feeble Fable’s protagonist, Pandora the Pantrydraft. But as they say in the stuffier sciences (occupied by useless dorks who refuse to acknowledge the validity of Supernaturalism), extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. This from womps who do not believe that the Earth is flat. Go figure.
Anyway, Pandora the Pantrydraft knows she is that Pandora. When she told me that I said, “Cool. Play me some monkey dance death polka.” But she said that she wasn’t that that Pandora, but was the other that Pandora–Or, according to mythology, the ancient Greek version of “Eve.” Pandora says that she was unfairly accused of opening a box which contained all the world’s misery, when it was really Pegasus who knocked it over. Pain, Greed, Politicalization, lime Jell-O, Gwneth Paltrow’s head–you just name it–all got out of the box. Even though Hope allegedly came out last, poor Pandora caught such Hades from the fiasco that not even a crafted apology, and a vow to enter box-tipping rehab, could smooth things over. So instead of entering the Elysian Fields at death, Pandora escaped bullying and retribution from her fellow shades by entering the “Spirit Relocation Program” in which she was assigned the Pantrydraft gig.
So she says. Yet I’m willing to do more for her than just shine on a hallucination she’d probably come down with in life and carried to the grave, and beyond. I’ll even officially throw my support behind Pandora’s self identification because she agrees that the world is flat. The only reservation I have is about “Hope.” Why not Equality? Why not True Love? Why weren’t those and all the other great lies in the box as well? Pandora tells me that she didn’t actually see anything remotely positive flee the upturned box. She also says that it was likely something Ovid added on because he needed a hopeful tag-ending to keep the peasants under control. This makes sense when you examine the as-if concept of Happily Ever After in Greek mythology. Their gods and mortals were shady characters. Shady characters keep Hope alive as a means of keeping you alive because you can dip your hand in a dead person’s pockets only once and expect to come away with anything of value.
Regardless, nowadays Pandora is a Pantrydraft Spirit, or, a “Positive Effluvium.” Scientifically speaking, Positive Effluviums, like the Pantrydraft, enhance good odors to a degree that gets the Spirit across to the living. For example, if there’s just one piece of bread, a cold heel, left in your kitchen, a Pantrydraft (as long as she approves of your attitude) can make that last slice give off the fantastic odor of a bakery. They also perform wonders in elderly herbs and limp spices.
However (trust me on this, there’s always a “however” when you interact with Spirits), if you have a Pantrydraft like Pandora around the house and you do something to piss her off or fail to adequately praise her efforts, she’s liable to sour herself from a Pantrydraft to the Negative Effluvium colloquially called the “Fecalskull.” Imagine standing on a shore of an ocean of boiling cat urine with a wind of old drunkard gas coming off it, and you get maybe a tenth of the misery that a Fecalskull can accomplish.
“I really hate to do that,” says Pandora. “I prefer mixing vanilla and cinnamon. Really. But that box thing has left me somewhat sensitive. It’s like I can locate the criticism in silence, you know?”
Our dear Chief Pen name, Ms. Allison (who has wisely given control of the Feeble Fables of the Fantasmagorical “franchise” to me), knows all about Pandora and her touchy nature. Pandora and a handful of other equally prickly Spirits reside with the “Great Authoress” at her humble abode. For some reason, however, Allison refuses to learn one of life’s fundamental metaphors (possibly coined by Wm. Shakespeare). It’s a great log o’ wisdom which is the fitting moral at the end of the following Feeble Fable of the Fantasmagorical.
Not Even Remotely Hopeful to be Yours–But Still Awsomenistic,
Miss Renfield Stoker-Belle, Supernaturalist of the Gods
Peeving Pandora the Pantrydraft: A Feeble Fable of the Fantasmagorical
Leila padded into the kitchen, turned on the coffee maker and then glared at it as though glaring at it would make it work faster. Slanting rays of cheery morning sunshine turned brownish blue because of the cigarette screwed into Leila’s mouth. And there were a bunch of those little gray birds out in the yard that go “Twit-twit-tuh-feep.” They had dark bands across their eyes like Ninja Turtles, and they were merrily building nests from which the next generation of those little birds who go “Twit-twit-tuh-feep” would emerge. Leila didn’t know what bird science called the little gray birds that go “Twit-twit-thu-feep.” She just knew they were out there. Not yet artificially elevated by a sufficient amount of the substances she is addicted to, Leila gave all of it The Finger and went on glaring at the coffee maker, steadily maintaining her foul attitude despite the Spirit-enhanced odor of freshly brewed java–even though she knew all about Pandora and her somewhat uneven personality.
The Pantrydraft saw this and took immediate offense. “Zuesdammit!” seethed Pandora. “I’ll give you something worthy of The Finger, you, you, daughter of Hera.” (It’s a little known fact that “Daughter of Hera” was the feminine profanity of choice during the era of Olympus.)
Pandora located an unmulched bit of pork stuck in the garbage disposal. It had been there for a good long while, to the point where it had developed an unwholesome sheen. Although it gave off putrescence, the bit was too small for a human nose to pick up on. Pandora, summoned the Dark Side of the Fecalskull, and expanded and enhanced the stench until there was nothing but it in Leila’s universe. A pusy green reek overwhelmed her. It was a slimy wind which liquified upon reaching Leila’s skin and began an oozy sink into her pores…
“I’m so sorry sorry sorry, Beautiful Pandora,” the Great Authoress said, falling to her knees. For some reason Leila is one of those weird people who have never vomited in life–although she wished she could do it when she was overwhelmed by the Dark Side of the Fecalskull.
“Mighty good joe,” Leila gasped like a swimmer caught in a rip tide. “You do awesome work, Pandora.” She then “tapped out” on the linoleum floor.
Appeased, Pandora exited the Dark Side of the Fecalskull. The pustulate atmosphere she had created vanished as though it never had been. The kitchen wafted fragrant with coffee.
One of the little gray birds that go “Twit-twit-tuh-feep” darted over to the window. “Be sure to shit all over everything while you’re out there, little bird,” Leila said with a politician’s spouse’s smile plastered to her face. “We just can’t get enough of those sweet, sweet smells of spring.”
Moral: In the Great Yardeth of Life, Dogshit Stinketh Not ‘til Thoust Steppeth in it.
ketrin1407 / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0) – Harry Bates – Pandora – Tate Britain Sep 2010 detail of right hand and box front