Farewell Performance: A Tor.Com Original

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Mehendri Solon, a sort of outer space Dr. Frankenstein, he was sublimely villainous and held his own opposite Tom Baker in no uncertain terms. His beautiful voice, his utterly convincing insanity and, duplicitous determination still give me the creeps. He even turned up opposite Martin Landau in Space: Over the years, I had fun spotting him in the many, many genre shows he guest-starred in. Nick Abadzis is an internationally published cartoonist and writer.

Brought up in Britain, he lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. Receive notification by email when a new comment is added. You must be a registered user to subscribe to threads.

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All comments must meet the community standards outlined in Tor. Thank you for keeping the discussion, and our community, civil and respectful. Our Privacy Notice has been updated to explain how we use cookies, which you accept by continuing to use this website. His feet were bare. He wiggled his toes, as if waving with them to the audience.

He was old enough to be my grandmother. Finally, someone snorted in support. When he was a boy my age, he lived in a camp. He was rarely fed. His parents were as thin as sticks. Men in uniforms ordered them about and threatened them with work and rifles. This boy had a job. There was a small stage made of scrap wood, and a frame painted like a proscenium.

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With some scraps of cloth and burlap, he and a few of the other children were allowed to put on a puppet theater. It was a Punch and Judy show, he believed. He remembered only one routine. Jaskey again brought the light to the underside of his chin. His eyes were wide. The judge—another puppet of course, perhaps even an entire sock in order to present as regal a manner as possible—explained to Punch that he was to be hanged by the neck!

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He looked down at me, his young grandson, and asked me a question when he saw that I was not smiling and laughing. Jaskey sighed and let his arms fall limply at his sides again. I guess you had to be there.


The audience laughed, though an undercurrent of boos reverberated across the scene as well. A rock clunked against the hulk on which Jaskey stood. His face was narrow, too small for his flat head except for the nose, which was piggish. The click was loud. He turned the light back on.

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In his free hand he held a rock and dropped it against his makeshift stage. There were titters, chortles. Even he giggled along, his whole body quivering. There used to be so many of us—we split up our tasks.

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Some of us were doctors, others farmers. But could a lowly farmer amputate a limb?

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Dozens if he wished to! Half-wits on our way to total witlessness. Some of you may sneak in tomorrow…if there is a tomorrow. The heavens mock us! Jaskey raised his flashlight high. It was growing dimmer, the beam was thick with orange, but in the particulate-heavy fog it still shone like a pillar reaching skyward. Instead, they were only interested in making contact with an intelligent species. Such a family of beings is at a premium on Earth. Indeed, only one creature matched the description of wisdom sought out by the Outsiders who came to this world not so long ago.

Of all the things that creepeth and flyeth, there was a single animal worthy of the attention of these old, old gods. Some of them can juggle, you know.

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If only we had had less backbone ourselves. Perhaps we would have surrendered, rather than launching our nuclear missiles at ethereal beings from beyond the stars. The brave and glorious octopus, the oceans are his. We were, perhaps, the brain cells of Mother Earth. Intelligence, at least of the human sort, was an evolutionary wrong turn. We know that now, eh? It was a woman, not quite so deformed as the other members of the audience. However, this is all that I have to offer. She waved the paper, a leaf from an old broadsheet newspaper, its printed stories overrun with thick strokes of black ink, over her head.

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