Twelve giant heads are finally silent, they don’t fight no more or less but a sad truce is drawn between them. The fixed faces, sculpted from paper machae, once held ghastly visages of anger and rage, but now they are somber and sorrowed. Fat, sniveling lips frozen forever, sad eyes overturned and brows unfurled , and a pallor of speckled yellowed-white like vanilla ice cream. The circle of giant heads breaks into a line that follows to an office window and a steep ledge where their shoes will find little purchase. It is a portal, an exit, a release from accountability as they push each other through the awaiting empty space. None of them notice the woman who stands idly by in the corner watching them. A freshly made sign balancing up against her shoulder as she neatly puts the large, oversized book back on the table.
The new sign has the name “Distinct Poplar” scrawled in large black letters over the hasty scribblings of previous failures. Failed names that were already taken, failed names that were neither accurate nor forthcoming, failed names that weren't available in the large oversized book. “Distinct Poplar”, it isn’t a good name, not by any means, but it is logistically sound according to the rules found on heavily bound pages, and time is of the essence. Everyone in the audience knows the story by heart, and they call-out in support for the young woman.
The demolishers are closing in, their signature rattle-rumble plays off in the distance accompanied by the noises of destruction. Stone crumbles apart, metal squeals as it bends, wood moans and woes. A chorus of a deep baritones chime in from the orchestra pit to herald the arrival of the mighty and horrible machines. “BUP-BUP-BUP-BUP-BUP-BUP-BUP-BUP!” The men and women in tight black clothing and masks roll in huge demolishers to tower above the building tops. Horrible leviathans slink with serpentine backs curved and dozer heads with oversized jutting struts for teeth. Slipping from side to side each demolisher uses it’s mass to destroy a building chunk by chunk. Thrashing back and forth as gouts of steam escape from their joints to let loose it’s horrible howl.
A lone spotlight finds the slowly marching form of VeeJaye, step after step, her trembling hands hold the naming sign so that is raised above her head. Like a staff held vertically the sign presented and clear to see. Her first step out on to the street comes next, an act of courage in the face of certain danger. When her boot lands atop the street, a sound can be heard from above her, like a guttural scream of desperation. Something comes crashing down at the woman’s feet and it’s all she can do to keep the sign from falling from her trembling fingers. It is a giant head, cracked open like a jawbreaker and forcefully detached from it’s prop-body upon impact. A bright red ooze seeps slowly into a puddle. The first councilman has jumped, the first councilman has fallen, the first councilman is dead.
The Way The City Was Named (Part 6)
by. Matt Herzberg