The Sugar Frosted Nutsack

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There was never
nothing.
But before the debut of the Gods, about fourteen billion years ago, things happened without any discernable context. There were no recognizable patterns. It was all incoherent. Isolated, disjointed events would take place, only to be engulfed by an opaque black void, their relative meaning, their
significance,
annulled by the eons of entropic silence that estranged one from the next. A terrarium containing three tiny teenage girls mouthing a lot of high-pitched gibberish (like Mothra’s fairies, except for their wasted pallors, acne, big tits, and T-shirts that read “I Don’t Do White Guys”) would inexplicably materialize, and then, just as inexplicably, disappear. And then millions and millions of years would pass, until, seemingly out of nowhere, there’d be, fleetingly…the smell of fresh rolls. Then several more billion years of inert monotony…and then…a houndstooth pattern EVERYWHERE for approximately 10
-37
seconds…​followed by, again, the fade to immutable blackness and another eternal interstice…and then, suddenly, what might be cicadas or the chafing sound of some obese jogger’s nylon track pants…and then the sepia-tinged photograph from a 1933
Encyclopedia Britannica
of a man with elephantiasis of the testicles…robots roasting freshly gutted fish at a river’s edge…the strobe-like fulgurations of ultraviolet emission nebulae…the unmistakable sound of a koto being plucked…and then a toilet flushing. And this last enigmatic event—the flushing of a toilet—was followed by the most inconceivably long hiatus of them all, a sepulchral interregnum of several trillion years. And, as time went on, it began to seem less and less likely that another event would ever occur. Finally, nothing was taking place but the place. There was a definite room tone—that hum, that hymn to pure ontology—but that was all. And in this interminable void, in this black hyperborean stillness, deep in the farthest flung recesses of empty space, at that vanishing point in the infinite distance where parallel lines ultimately converge…two headlights appeared. And there was the sound, barely audible, of something akin to the
Mister Softee
jingle. Now, of course, it wasn’t the
Mister Softee
truck whose headlights, like stars light-years in the distance, were barely visible. And it wasn’t the
Mister Softee
jingle per se. It was the beginning of something—a few recursive, foretokening measures of music that were curiously familiar, though unidentifiable, and addictively catchy—something akin to the beginning of “Surry with the Fringe on Top” or “Under My Thumb” or “Tears of a Clown” or “White Wedding.” And it repeated ad infinitum as those tiny twinkling headlights became imperceptibly larger and drew incrementally closer over the course of the million trillion years that it took for the Gods to finally arrive.

These drunken Gods had been driven by bus to a place they did not recognize. (It’s almost as if they’d been on some sort of “Spring Break,” as if they’d “gone wild.”) At first, they were like frozen aphids. They were so out of it, as if in a state of suspended animation. It took them several more million years just to come to, to sort of “thaw out.” The first God to emerge, momentarily, from the bus was called
El Brazo
(“The Arm”). Also known as
Das Unheimlichste des Unheimlichen
(“The Strangest of the Strange”), he was bare-chested and wore white/Columbia-blue polyester dazzle basketball shorts. He would soon be worshipped as the God of Virility, the God of Urology, the God of Pornography, etc. El Brazo leaned out of the bus and struck a contrapposto pose, his head turned away from the torso, an image endlessly reproduced in paintings, sculptures, temple carvings, coins, maritime flags, postage stamps, movie studio logos, souvenir snow globes, take-out coffee cups, playing cards, cigarette packs, condom wrappers, etc. His pomaded hair swept back into a frothy nape of curls like the wake of a speedboat, he reconnoitered the void with an impassive, take-it-or-leave-it gaze, then scowled dyspeptically, immediately turned around, and returned to the bus, where he sullenly ensconced himself, along with the rest of the Gods, for another 1.6 million years. It’s extraordinary that, among these sulking, hungover deities who chose to forever doze and fidget in a bus, there were several with enough joie de vivre to continue beatboxing that hypnotic riff for an eternity—that music that’s been so persistently likened to a dance mix of the
Mister Softee
jingle. Perhaps it was a fragment of their alma mater’s fight song. They did act, after all, like classmates, as if they’d grown up together in the same small town.

One of the first things the Gods did, once they sobered up and finally vacated that bus, was basically put things in order, make them comprehensible, provide context, institute recognizable patterns. (The Gods imposed coherence and meaning, one suspects, as an act of postbender penance.) And that spot in space where they’d fatefully decamped became consecrated forevermore as the celestial
downtown,
the capital of a very hip, but unforgiving, meritocracy. It was very much the Manhattan Project meets Warhol’s Factory. And there was that chilly vibe of militant exclusivity, that cordon sanitaire, that velvet rope which segregated the Gods from everyone and everything else. From the outset, it was clear that these Gods had very rigid opinions about who
could
and who
couldn’t
be part of their exclusive little clique. No socialites. No dilettantes. No one who was merely “famous for being famous.” Just Gods. But their affect was so labile that, depending on your angle, they’d appear completely different from one instant to the next. It was like those lenticular greeting cards. There they’d be, ostensibly a group of elegantly accoutered eighteenth-century aristocrats, straight out of Watteau’s rococo
Fête Galante
paintings, amorously cavorting in some sylvan glade with the lutes and the translucent parasols and the flying cupids…but if you shifted your vantage point ever so slightly, they’d look exactly like the members of some Japanese noise band smoking cigarettes backstage at All Tomorrow’s Parties at Kutsher’s Hotel in Monticello. One minute they’d have assumed the guise of a bunch of tan, well-heeled, ostentatiously casual CEOs chitchatting at the annual Allen & Company Sun Valley media conference…but then you’d tilt your head a bit, and they’d have metamorphosed into a little army of street urchins with matted hair and yellow eyes scavenging for food in garbage dumps, sucking on bags of glue. And because they were omniscient and so tight-knit, they could be very adolescent and pretentious in the way they flaunted their superiority. It wouldn’t be unusual for a God to use Ningdu Chinese, Etruscan, Ket (a moribund language spoken by just five hundred people in central Siberia), Mexican Mafia prison code, Klingon, dolphin echolocation clicks, ant pheromones, and honeybee dance steps—all in one sentence. It’s the kind of thing where you’d be like, was that
really
necessary?

Everything we are and know comes from the Gods. From their most phantasmagoric dreams and lurid hallucinations, we derive our mathematics and physics. Even their most offhanded mannerisms and nonchalant, lackadaisical gestures could determine the fundamental physical and temporal structures of our world. There was once a birthday party for the God of Money,
Doc Hickory,
who was also known as
El Mas Gordo
(“The Fattest One”). Exhausted from feasting, El Mas Gordo fell asleep on his stomach across his bed.
Lady Rukia
(the Goddess of Scrabble, Jellied Candies, and Harness Racing), who’d been lusting after El Mas Gordo the entire night, crept stealthily into his bedroom, rubbed a squeaking balloon across the bosom of her cashmere sweater, and then waved it back and forth over his hairy back. The way the static electricity reconfigured the hair on his back would become the template for the drift of continental landmasses on earth. Another great example would be, of course, the God
Rikidozen,
also known as
Santo Malandro
(“Holy Thug”). Rikidozen was once absently tapping a Sharpie on the lip of a coffee mug, and the unvarying cadence of that tap-tap-tap became the basis for the standard 124 beats-per-minute in house music. The Gods were the original (and ultimate) bricoleurs. They created almost everything from their own bodies. From their intestinal gas—their flatus—we get nitrous oxide, which we use today as a dental anesthetic and in our whipped cream aerosol cans (our “whippits”). From the silver-white secretions that crystallize in the corners of their eyes after a night’s sleep, we obtain lithium, which we use to make rechargeable batteries for our cellphones and laptops. Once the God named
Koji Mizokami
had a small teratoma—a tumor with hair and teeth—removed from one of his testicles. He took it home and fashioned it into the composer Béla Bartók. He went outside in order to fling him into the future. But he wasn’t sure into whose uterus (and into what epoch and milieu) he wanted to jettison the musical genius. Several Gods happened to be strolling by at that moment. They were the ones known as
The Pince-Nez 44s
or
Los Vatos Locos
(“The Crazy Guys”). Frequently, they had completely off-the-wall suggestions, but sometimes these actually turned out to be pretty decent ideas. “Why don’t you have him born to a family of racist Mormons?” one of them suggested. Mizokami looked down at the wriggling larval Bartók in the palm of his hand. “I’m not at all sure about that,” he said, in his languid drawl. And then someone else said, “Maybe it would be funnier if he were Joel Madden and Nicole Richie’s son? Or make him a Taliban baby.” (Eventually, of course, Mizokami-san decided to hurl Béla Bartók into the womb of a woman in Nagyszentmiklós, Austria-Hungary, in the 1880s.)

Generally, the proprietary realms of the Gods were organized and assigned in a very conscientious, collegial manner. There’d usually be some taxonomic category that would ensure a high degree of structural and/or functional relatedness among the various domains that fell under a particular God’s purview. But, occasionally, the link between jurisdictions was so tenuous and slapdash that it smacked of reckless endangerment or criminal negligence. For instance, the giantess
C46
,
the Goddess of Clear Thinking (i.e.,
lucidity
) was, for a brief period, also the Goddess of Clear Skin! It’s said that at the end of a long, grueling day,
Shanice
(the very cute, unfailingly effervescent Goddess who functioned as a sort of traffic manager at meetings) noticed that no one had claimed Clear Skin, and she was like, “C46, since you already do Clear Thinking, how about taking this one?” And everyone was so fried at that point that they all just shrugged and acquiesced. On the first Wednesday of the next month, though, everyone realized that Clear Skin should have obviously gone to the God of Dermatology,
José Fleischman
(who was sometimes called
The Jew from Peru
). And, without objection, C46 courteously relinquished the realm to The Jew from Peru (who was also known as
The
Valiant One
and
He Who Never Shrinks from Anything Pus-Filled
). The point here is that even these kinds of remedial decisions were almost always made by consensus. But sometimes there were disagreements over turf which would escalate into savage internecine conflicts among the Gods, intractable conflicts with ever-widening ramifications.

El Burbuja,
the God of Bubbles—a stubby, pockmarked, severely astigmatic deity—originally just ruled over the realm of inflated globules. At first, everyone assumed he’d be satisfied as a kind of geeky “party God” whose dominion would be limited to basically balloons and champagne. And no one paid much attention when he published an almost impenetrably technical paper in some obscure peer-​reviewed journal in which he claimed sovereignty over Anything Enveloping Something Else. He then named himself, in rapid succession, God of Ravioli, God of Kishkes, God of Piñatas, God of Enema Bags, God of Chanel Diamond Forever Bags, God of Balloon Angioplasty, and then God of Balloon Swallowers (the drug smugglers who swallow condoms full of drugs). This then enabled him to proclaim himself God of the Movie
Maria Full of Grace,
which gave him entrée not only into the movie industry but—by simply parsing words in that title—into the music business. He immediately became God of the Song “How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria” and then claimed the entire Rodgers and Hammerstein music catalogue as his own. This all happened, of course, millions of years before these songs were even written. A shrewd, uncannily prescient, and relentlessly enterprising businessman, El Burbuja quietly parlayed a series of discreet lateral “acquisitions”—kielbasa, snow globes, inflatable bounce houses, boba balls (the tapioca balls used in bubble tea), and soft gel encapsulation—into a vast empire of interlocking realms that included Asian magnesium smelting, automated slot machines, first-person shooter games, social networking websites, and iTunes—again, eons before any of these things existed. If ever there were a God destined to appear on the cover of
Cigar Aficionado
magazine, it would be El Burbuja. Probably the most stunning example of how El Burbuja tirelessly maneuvered under the radar to expand his empire is when he proclaimed himself God of Those Blue
New York Times
Bags People Use to Pick Up Their Dogs’ Shit. The other Gods’ initial reaction to this was, predictably, one of complete befuddlement. Who’d want
that?
But El Burbuja was playing many moves ahead of the others. He quickly assumed the mantle of God of Dogs, God of New York, and God of Shit. Again, this is before there was ever such a thing as “New York” or “dogs” or even “shit.” (The Gods’ excrement is called “loot drops.” It’s a slurry of coltan—the metallic ore used today in many cellphones and laptop computers.) No one seemed to even notice or particularly care when he took the next logical step and made himself God of Times, because all that really entailed was track and field records and multiplex showtimes (e.g., 11:50
AM
, 2:15
PM
, 4:45
PM
, 7:20
PM
, 9:45
PM
, 12:15
AM
). But then El Burbuja, on a late Friday afternoon before a long holiday weekend—and as he’d been planning to do all along—lopped the “s” off “Times” and became the God of Time. It was a characteristically ingenious, some might say cynical, even unscrupulous, ploy, but once everyone realized that what had appeared to be a proofreading correction was actually a coup of epic proportions, it was too late—they were presented with a fait accompli and had no other choice than to acquiesce. And that is how this unprepossessing, chubby God with the bad skin and the weak eyes parlayed jurisdiction over bags of warm crap into irrefutable control over one of the fundamental dimensions in the universe, thereby making himself one of the most formidable Gods in the whole fucking pantheon! But even though El Burbuja had clearly finagled for himself the vast Realm of Time, the other Gods continued to indulge the astigmatic “Mogul Magoo” (as he came to be called) basically because he was
so
homely and
such
an obsessive workaholic, and they just found his insatiable acquisitiveness sort of…
cute.
They’d say, “Oh, that’s just how little Mogul Magoo rolls” or “Oh, that’s just Mogul Magoo being Mogul Magoo.” (And they knew, of course, that he was destined to become the tutelary divinity of plutocrats and rich, pampered celebrities.) Granted, sometimes the other Gods were like, “Magoo, what the fuck? Relax.” But no one ever really felt like begrudging him the fruits of his monomaniacal labor. It was something relatively mundane that caused Magoo to run afoul of the irascible El Brazo, who sometimes referred to Magoo as
Fräulein Luftblase
(“Miss Bubble”)—a taunting homophobic slur. Without any fanfare, one day, Magoo had asserted himself as the God of the Breast Implant and God of the Nutsack. He dutifully submitted his boilerplate rationale: Anything Enveloping Something Else. Just as a bubble is a globule of water that contains air, the scrotum is a pouch of skin and muscle that contains the testicles, and the breast implant is an elastomer-coated sac containing a thick silicone gel. Ergo, it’s perfectly logical and reasonable to conclude that both spheres fall within my purview. This completely infuriated El Brazo, who, as the God of Urology and the God of Pornography, considered the nutsack and the breast implant his inviolable domains. The antipathy that developed between these two Gods (and, subsequently, between Magoo and the Goddess
La Felina
) would have significant consequences throughout the ages. El Brazo began to routinely, and very publically, threaten Magoo and his cohorts with liquidation in a sort of Night of the Long Knives. And Magoo began traveling around with a posse of “Pistoleras”—half a dozen divine, ax-wielding mercenary vixens who were total fitness freaks with rock-hard bodies. Each of them had a venomous black mamba snake growing out of the back of her head, which she’d pull through the size-adjustment cutout on the back of her baseball cap. And this is the origin of today’s fashion in which women gather their hair into a ponytail or a braid and allow it to hang through the hole in the backs of their caps.

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