Pico Wilson sat in the middle of his corpse pile.
"What would you do with the powers of a god?"
The corpses remained silent. This was partially because they were uncertain of how to answer, but mostly because they were dead.
"Most people couldn't handle it. Some people would go out and solve world hunger, cure poverty, disease, inequality. Some would turn the world into their personal playground, wreaking havoc or destruction. Some people would just hide away, fearing what they might do if they lose control."
Pico jumped from the pile of bodies, landing like a cat on the wooden floorboards. He had picked a long-abandoned building as his new home; mice scuttled around the walls, water slowly leaked from rusty pipes.
"It's like this, right… if you make someone a god, if you give them power over reality and an undo key, absolve them of all responsibility or fear of retaliation? They stop caring. When you can solve any problem by clicking your fingers, then everything just stops being fun. Existence itself becomes joyless."
The corpses remained silent.
"Seventy percent, according to the books. That's how many gods kill themselves - sorry, 'Reality Benders'. That's how many deified, glorious beings decide to ragequit reality. It's scary, isn't it? Scary that beings like that think that the world we live in just isn't worth it. Seventy percent figure it's easier on them just to stop thinking. Forever. With numbers like that, how can ants like us compare? With people as great and powerful as that, how the fuck do I justify continuing my own existence? How does anyone?"
The corpses remained silent. Pico paced pensively.
"The answer's simple. To keep people sane, to keep them satiated, to keep them static, you need to give them problems. Problems that they care about, problems that they can't solve trivially. It's like, you take a maths professor, and give him a bunch of addition problems. He could do it all, sure, but he wouldn't. Because it's not fun. No, he'd move on to algebra, and so we give him the more advanced stuff, solving for x, and he gets bored of that, and so we pump it up a bit, we give him functions, and sets, and transfinites and transcendentals, and imaginary numbers and quaternions and all sorts of nonsense and utter fucking bullshit… but, once they understand it, they'll get bored. People always get bored, so you need to mix up the problems, you need to change, right, you need to change the solutions to old problems. You get it?"
The corpses remained silent.
"So they figure, it's all below them or whatever, and they off themselves, like whiny little kids. But you see, the big man in the sky, he didn't like this, right, and so he sent down… I dunno what you'd call him. The holiest of all men, I think, my personal messiah. So there was a stupid little doctor who was messing around, and the man up there, he takes a gander at what's going on, and the doctor looks up at the creator of all the fucking universe and he says 'Making Life'. And the doctor carries on, and he doesn't realise it, but the guy upstairs tweaks one of them a little bit, and he turns it into a man called Redd. Mister Redd, if you'd believe it. And Mister Redd comes down and teaches people the most important lesson, the only lesson worth teaching, right. The only problem that keeps changing, the only way you can deal, properly, with being a god, is being your own problem, is hating yourself, is being contrapositive to your own soul and going absolutely, unforgivably insane. Redd's like Jesus, right? And the man in the sky's the one who named him, it's a really clever little thing, because his name's kind of derivative of his own. Personally, I think it's a touch too obvious. Mister Redd, the Scarlet King incarnate."
The corpses remained silent.
"No gasping? No shocked faces? Tough crowd, you lot. That was quite a twist, you know? That's what the world's built on. Revelation on revelation without any real grit beneath. But I digress. So Mister Redd, right, he comes down and he's basically Jesus, but the real one. And he tries to teach people how to handle godhood, yeah? He tries to teach people, but they don't listen right. So Redd made sure me and my brother listened. Now, my brother, he's a huge fucking heretic, he wouldn't listen to the word, right. But I did, I listened and I listened good, and so here I am. Passing on the word, trying to get people to listen, and they never do. You're all stupid, too stupid to go mad. I could handle godhood, right? I could totally handle it, I think."
Pico spun around just as The Janitor appeared at his door.
"What do you think?"
The Janitor started to move towards him, raising its hand towards Pico's throat.
"I reclaim the title of The Snipper."
The Janitor stopped walking, lowering its arm. The Snipper frowned.
"Ah, that still got you. How sad. Why aren't you free?"
"I am free."
"No, you aren't. We've been over this, remember? We've been over this."
The Snipper walked over to The Janitor.
"So how does this shit work, hm? Utter subservience to anyone whose name begins with 'The'? Because if that's it, this is seriously ripe for abuse."
The Janitor remained silent.
"You're not free, see? You're not. Anyway, I was in the middle of something. Sit down until I finish ranting."
The Janitor crouched, then sat cross-legged on the floor. It looked up at the frowning madman in front of it, raspily breathing through its gas mask.
"Okay. Anyway. Something about… satiation, yes. See, all that people need to be happy is to never be happy. Seems fucking stupid, but so are people. So, say you've got a shitload of people, all of them being unfairly 'endowed', and I'm not talking about the size of their cock here, but their crazy powers. Seven of ten off themselves, so what are the other three to do? See, the big bad man had them all occupy each others' time, and my brother the heretic didn't really fancy that. So he went off and he had this big, elaborate, bullshit plan to kill him. Then I walk in and blow some brains out like Nobody's business."
The Janitor remained silent. Pico stalked around the sitting black figure, treading on its midnight trenchcoat.
"It was at that point that I realised, perhaps, I'd made a fatal error. I only wanted to free you, you beautiful thing, and the fact that this one man was the singular uniting force behind the three most powerful paramilitary organisations, our metaphorical three people left, completely slipped my fucking mind. Of course, I also did the thing with the slime… which you ended up stopping, unfortunately. It would have been so impressive; a nice self-cauteristing wound. Now everyone wants to kill me. Which, I think, is a bit of an overreaction."
Pico walked over and flopped, face-first, into his pile of dead bodies. He spoke again, words muffled and incomprehensible, while The Janitor sat and stared. The Snipper leapt out of his pile again, holding a decapitated head in his hands.
"You know what I despise most of all? Trying to get it to make sense. Nothing makes sense. No point in trying to understand any of it. Accept it and move on, you know? It doesn't matter if it's coherent or not."
The Janitor remained silent. The Snipper jumped over and sat down in front of it.
"Can I take your mask off?"
Pico pushed his hand into The Janitor's neck, running his hands down until he hit the base of the mask. It dutifully stayed immobile as Pico pulled the mask up, breaking the airtight seal, stretching the black rubber until the filter moved up and over its head. Just as the mask moved to expose a thin, pink-lipped mouth, The Janitor stood, kneeing Pico forcefully in the face; it turned and ran as Pico wiped blood from his freshly split lip.
"Right. You're just the mask. Masks on masks on masks… fucking hell."
He stood up again, reclining into his body pile. He flipped out a phone from his pocket, tapping its screen absent-mindedly.
"At this point, it's just… utterly devoid of impetus. Things are happening, but it's… there's nothing behind it. There's no depth; it's just all collapsed in on itself. There's too much going on. Time to make terrible decisions."
16 hartford street come beat the shit out of me or whatever
16 hartford street I'm all that's left
To: the fuckwad brigade
16 hartford street this is the snipper hello
shit's gonna hit the fan
"It's not even worth it any more. Just finish it."
He threw his phone at the opposite wall, breaking it into pieces. Pico snuggled among his bodies, drifting into dreamless sleep.