Sunday, March 14, 2010

Cartocacoethes* - The Island of Siliconia

by baad lamb
“You love Henry, but you love his kingdom too. You look at him, and you see cities, acreage, coastline, taxes. All I see is Henry.” 
Alais Capet - to Eleanor of Aquitaine in The Lion in Winter 
I think I understand Eleanor’s mapular degeneration.

Equal to the pleasures of viewing the earth’s surface from afar  are those of viewing it up really close. It’s not the devil, or that other guy that’s in these details, but it may well be Dr. Seuess. Sure, Horton heard a Who, but what if he had eagle eyes instead of elephant ears? No doubt he’d have seen evidence of mini worlds everywhere. As do I...

An autumn leaf obeys its genetic code and pushes itself gently towards earth, its bright colors attracting the eye.

But a deeper look reveals the distinct diagram of a fantastical fallen city: Dense networks of once-ancient trails forming a Barri Gotic, whose dark narrow lanes eventually thicken into broad ceremonial boulevards.

These inscribed arterial lifelines point the way out of the crowded city center, and continually beckon photo-synthetic adventurers to unexplored worlds beyond their cellulose city walls.
Meet Evil and Alien after the jump...

One such adventurer heeded this call. His name was Evil Dapperdrip. Named "Evil", not for any personal qualities, but for the particular region of his city on whose sidewalk he was born.

Evil did his best to look fresh and chipper every morning, but  debauched nightly neighborhood  stampedes annoyingly left  his hair tussled and dapper attire twisted.

Finally the day came when he had had enough. Evil scraped himself up off this sidewalk, combed his hair, straightened his bow-tie and headed out.

Although he had no idea where he would end up, something inside seemed to propel him towards water, and he headed off to find it.

Meanwhile, on the far away spiral galaxy called Brassrail, in the region designated by the coordinates UWS...

...Alien Paintpour, a similarly sticky sidewalk creature, was longing for a different life.

It seems the notoriously aggressive neighborhood bully, Mac Laren, had run over him one time too many, and monsieur Paintpour just had to get away.

Although Alien looked hot-lava red, inside he was truly feeling a deep shade of turbulent ocean blue.

Ocean! He'd heard of the ocean, but had never been. He had to go find it.

So Alien set out to find the ocean, but having been stuck on UWS all his life he was not sure where it would be.

Many long days were spent trudging  through miles of monotonous Rubber-hutland, the bright sun and lack of water made Alien tire easily.

But eventually he heard the roaring and rushing sound of Barktree River, and guessed correctly there would have to be an ocean soon.

At almost exactly the same time, young Evil Dapperdrip arrived at the vast Barktree River system. Both specimens of sidewalk paint people were now getting their colors mixed up!

Floating down the river together, a special bond was formed. Alien told Evil of his Mac Laren perils back on UWS, and Evil made Alien laugh with stories of him constantly dodging the cookies that  Fratboys and Jerseygirls were fond of tossing to the sidewalk.
And then, as their shared laughter subsided, it came into view. Without noticing, the Barktree River had pushed them into the vast and peaceful Bluewall Ocean. Here, directly in front of them, was what might seem to some like just the tiniest remnant of cured silicone adhesive, left on a wall to gather years of dirt, long after the sign it once helped hold had been removed. But it was actually an exotic archipelago - the perfect private island, supporting gentle mountain peaks surrounded by soft white sandy beaches and a calm and sheltered lagoon - lovingly made for two runaway misfit sidewalk paint-boys to spend the rest of their colorful lives together. 

As the Echinaceaous sun rose purple above the island of Siliconia, its yellow-orange center painted a warm golden glow across the enameled bay. 

Our boys lay back on their beach together, and marveled at how beautiful the towers of the city they left behind looked from here. Finally, they were home.

*Cartocacoethes: a mania, uncontrollable urge, compulsion or itch to see maps everywhere.
And thanks to Professor John Krygier for identifying and naming my compulsion.


  1. Proof that apophenia can be fun. Your posts take us all over the map.

  2. this is beautiful Chris pics and writing are really well done .. says John the old barman from KOX in montreal

  3. Marc, Birdie and John, thank you all. You can see I enjoyed writing it, and i appreciate knowing others enjoyed it too.
    John, I haven't seen you in forever. Very disappointed to hear you left Lauderdale the day before I arrived. Looking forward to catching up soon.

  4. Love this story and your wild imagination and your capacity to see all things small and detailed encompassed in the whole! From a fellow map lover, I salute you!