Once upon a time, when all was idyllic—except, of course, for the obligatory, unmitigated evil necessary to fuel a once-upon-a-time tale such as this—there was a yet-to-be-born boy whose yet-to-be-lived life will conveniently exemplify a yet-to-be-disclosed moral. I will tell you the story of that boy. But, first, the boy must be born. Spoiler Alert: The parents are in the process of making that boy. Like, right now. Let’s begin…
Neville and Ursula Appointment were two ne’er-do-wells doing “it.” Ursula had sloppy, soggy-looking skin that looked like doubled-over flapjacks, stacked and smothered in oily sweat. She was a behemoth. Neville had a southern accent; a slur so thick, anything he said sounded like, and probably was: Git dem der biscuits fer me rit now, uman. Also, Neville was a distant relative of Neville Chamberlain, appeaser extraordinaire. He was thin as a twig, tall as a tree, stupid as a stump, and as liable to get bulldozed–by his ginormous wife, of course–as a forest. Now, before you decide to
politically correct me, allow me to say that it is okay to be tactless and superficial when describing Neville and Ursula because, as it were, their insides mirrored their hideous outsides. Recall, fairytales are like that: You are encouraged to stereotype based on gender, ugliness, specie, and, most importantly, relation to the king because in fairytales, like in life, people are exactly what they look like. Anyway, in the amount of time that I have aimlessly went about describing the creatures that are our antagonists, our yet-to-be-born boy has reverse-hatched Ursula’s egg. Like all of us, he began his tale as a tail.
And so, Ursula was preggers. You couldn’t really tell because the baby-bump was lumped amidst all the other, preexisting bumps and lumps. Regardless, she was, as they say, infected with child (Stop it. Stop it. Read this before you judge me). Anyway, Neville and Ursula had a good nine months to wait. In all my characterization I may have neglected to mention that Neville and Ursula were not married (they wanted an excuse to call their forthcoming baby a bastard without giving society viable grounds to object) and that they were poor. Obscenely poor. Given their situation, Neville and Ursula sought out a Dark Arts practitioner to allay their monetary situation. They asked the magician to, and I quote: “Make their baby as good as gold. Literally.” Now, as with all dark magic, there was a catch. See, Neville and Ursula, the rapscallions, thought that their baby would be born as a giant chunk of baby-shaped gold. They were idiots, you see. As it were, that was not the case.
Exactly nine months after his conception, our hitherto yet-to-be-born protagonist was born. Much to the chagrin of his parents, the boy was not solid gold. Had there not been a doctor in the room to object and perhaps interfere with the new parents, Neville and Ursula might have pitched the child against the wall hoping to crack into the boy’s surely golden center. Lo, the doctor was there. However, were Neville and Ursula able to do so, they may have never seen what happened next…
The baby boy cried. Not remarkable, I admit. But, get this: He cried liquid gold. The doctor was stunned. The parents were elated. As with all fairytales, the government did not scoop the baby up to run a battery of tests on it so as to discover the origin of its alchemical eyes, rather the parents were allowed to take their newly-minted baby home. Not, of course, before naming him. Midas. Midas Appointment. Phonetically? My disappointment. What his parents lacked in intelligence and general decency, they made up for in cruel wit.
As you can imagine, when Midas was a tot, he cried all the damn time. And his parents grew richer and richer each time. But, as with all wicked people, their avarice could not be quelled by the natural order of things. They needed more, more, more. Now here is where this story gets real. Neville and Ursula began to abuse young Midas.
Perhaps they would buy the boy a giant ice cream cone, one that his uncoordinated baby paws could barely wield. Perhaps they would beat gravity to the punch, and smack the ice cream onto the ground. Perhaps they would admonish the boy for clumsily dropping the ice cream they bought with their hard-earned money. Perhaps, just perhaps, the young boy would shed a tear. Anything to get him to shed a tear. When he grew older, maybe Ursula got extensive liposuction and ridiculous amounts of plastic surgery. Maybe she dressed up as a high school girl, tricking the now teenage Midas into sharing Seven Minutes of (Oedipal) Heaven with her. Wouldn’t you cry? That is how it was for Midas: He grew up with unrelenting abuse, each abuse more extravagant and intricate than the last. And Midas cried. Boy, did he cry. And his parents grew exceedingly wealthy because of it.
As mentioned above, as Neville and Ursula gained more wealth they became more greedy. This, as you might expect, led to their downfall. Ursula, an amusement park enthusiast, decided to build a roller-coaster in the backyard. Zoning-laws could go to hell, as far as she was concerned. However, after a week of waiting for her giant coaster to be complete, Ursula was bored. She wanted her coaster and she wanted it now. The workers tried to warn Ursula as she seated herself in the roller-coaster car. They tried to stop her as she hit the button to start the ride. They tried to muffle their laughter as she reached the top of the hill and careened down to her explosive death. And so, Ursula was no more. And what of Neville? Well, he decided that water was too easily accessible to anyone, and that fact meant it was beneath him to associate with it. Therefore, he wanted to take baths in liquid gold, instead. And so, he wrung young Midas out of enough tears to fill his tub up. As Neville enjoyed the most expensive bath anyone has ever taken, he didn’t even notice the gold begin to solidify. His funeral was Star Wars themed, by default:
So Midas was free. Alone, but free. He was a young man at this point and the only life he knew was one of despair and pain. His evil parents inscribed in him a certain view of the world. Midas, a gentle and good boy by nature, had grown to believe that sadness and wealth were the only aspirations one could have. And so, Midas lived a life of self-sabotage. He inherited the family business, so to speak. He began to make himself cry. Sad, isn’t it? He thought so, so he cried some more! Sometimes Midas would pick up a streetwalker and pay her to beat him. No, not in that way. He would literally pay her to beat him up until he cried. Sometimes he would throw himself extravagant birthday parties and invite no one. He would sit alone with a beautiful cake, party hats, and enough snacks to feed an army. Wouldn’t you cry? Anyway, what I am trying to impart on you is this: Midas was pathetic. His inheritance was a warped-view of the world. Woe is he!
Then, one day, something happened. Midas was on his way to the Post Office to submit applications to some MFA programs–a surefire way to get rejected and, thus, depressed enough to cry–when he saw a young woman sitting on a street corner, smiling at the clouds. Perplexed, Midas asked her if she had recently bought the sky. She must have, he thought. The sky was obviously making her happy, and since only money and the results therefrom could make a person happy, she must have recently bought the sky. Turns out, she did not. Midas and his whole paradigm for looking at the world was shattered. In its place was a beautiful young woman named Bethany. She was poor, cute, and happy as could be.
Needless to say, Midas fell in love and yadda, yadda, yadda, he never cried anymore because Bethany made him happy and yadda, yadda, yadda, so they were both exquisitely poor, yet infinitely content. And so, Midas and his beautiful lover lived happily. They did not live happily ever after, because this is the real world. They lived a happy life until, one fateful morning, Midas found that Bethany, the woman that he loved, had passed away during the night. And so he cried for her. More than he had ever cried before.
She was buried in a casket he made of gold.
But, then, this happened…
…and so it was a happy ending after all!