Last Saturday evening, I joined a couple of teenagers, and a few others around my age for a get-together. There was pizza, there was KFC, and there was orange juice, and probably some people surrounding me and trying to talk to me. I don’t really remember. Was busy focusing on the food.
Then came the segment which they, rather affectionately, referred to as the “after-party”. It involved some games for the 20-plus of us, as well as a round of short sharing. One of the games played involved a bag of random items that included a pack of razors, a length of rope, a set of screwdrivers, a portable hard disk, and, strangely enough, a torn pizza coupon.
The idea was that the first person would put his/her hand into the bag, pull out the first item they see, and start a story using that item. The second person takes out another item, and continues the story with that item, so on, so forth.
It’s an opinion of mine that no matter how hard one tries to mask it, any form of self-expression eventually morphs into a self-portrait of the artist. Essentially, to understand a person’s art is to understand a person’s soul. So if I were to summarize the contents of the story that was weaved in the end, at the same time reading into the content of the collective souls of the 20-plus people present, it’d be this:
Sex. And murder.
(technically “suicide”, but “murder” sounds catchier)
There was also one mention of drugs, but that was quickly forgotten as the story spiralled further and further out of coherence in kinky references and episodes of self-harm, each person undoing the works of the one who went before them, until at the end of the story, the protagonist hasn’t even managed to leave the room he had started off in.
(and that is why while there do exist conspiracies in this world, we don’t really have much to fear from them: they’re all too busy tripping over one another to cause any serious trouble)
I think, like stories and songs, sex and murder has a special place in the human psyche. Think about it: no one needed any instructions to tell stories or sing songs. Neither did Adam and Eve need specific instructions to procreate, nor did Cain receive special insight on how to murder Abel. Maybe it’s why exploitation B-movies almost always end up in the sleazy bloodbath category.
It’s something that we instinctively understand. Mr. Nolan had to use cleverly-placed exposition in several places to tell us why a character falling into Limbo would be a really bad thing. Ms. Lee had to explain why “Going Turbo” means disaster for the denizens of video game world. Mr. Spielberg, on the other hand, never had to say, “See, this monster shark is eating people, and that’s bad, because when people get eaten, they die.”
(“people die if they are killed…”)
I need not explain the “sex” part of this, do I?
When it came to my turn (I was third-to-last), I took it upon my pride as a storyteller to give the insane plot some semblance of a coherent story, and had the protagonist’s friend (who apparently left her keys in his room) walk through the door, then questioning the strange sight that she saw. I passed this on to the next person.
Then the protagonist tied her up.
Then out of pity, he let her go.
Then the story ended.
I give up.