(a Wabbit, a Ghost, a perpetually Smiling Mouse and a hulking, Yellow Stupidity)
A door creaked to an opening ahead of our swine subject. The wall that housed the door was free from this construct moments previous and, as an odd, ethereal light slowly burst through the door ajar, he came to the realisation that he had somehow escaped total deletion. He guessed the klaxon had meant the dawning of his destruction; the opening door signalled some hope for an opposing possibility – he would meet the Seasoned Immortals. Perhaps there was yet time for Petey to harness the secrets they offered. After all, he had dreamt of learning from them since his conception.
Everyone knew them. They were a kind of ACME parliament, but to take that analogy further than its ideas of a collective would be foolish. They governed nothing, and decided even less, but they held such huge, magnanimous status.
In the case of the Wabbit and the Smiling Mouse, it had seemed incomprehensible that they had ever not existed. Certainly in ACME’s reality, this was true – they were almost the founders of an entire existence. Outside of ACME, in Wallace’s world, they too held status – but of a much less powerful and far more iconic nature. There, they had existed for mere small moments relatively, and only on paper or broadcast. The Yellow Stupidity had joined them much later, but held the highest degree of popularity both in and out of ACME. The Ghost was a far more elusive being. Around at the opening notes of the animated symphony, crucified by intangible forces and resurrected by even less identifiable powers; he had become an almost divine, but largely forgotten Immortal.
There were others – The Seasoned Immortals represented a veritable well of characters. But those put on the highest pedestal were treated as gods, and these were:
With his fluffy pom-pom tail whisking air from his lightly pencilled buttocks, the Wabbit skulked first into the ACME building each morning. His feet had bounce as he made his way through the corridors and, looking at the long existence of this strange entity, there was no doubt they held all the luck associated with them. His cocky arrogance was difficult to ignore but, glossed over by beads of charm and rancour, no one looked at him with distaste. He was far from the first Seasoned Immortal, yet he was held with undoubtedly the highest regard in ACME’s world (outside, with each passing day, he faded more and more into obscurity). Copycats and rip-offs of The Wabbit made up a staggering population of ACME and, well aware of it, he only nibbled his iconic carrot with more pride each time his routine was moulded to that of another.
He never had any more work to do, any more originality, but he sat and soaked in the wonder of each new generation from a room at ACME’s main factory (imagined into being specifically for his purposes). Here he etched out his existence as some representation of another world’s, our world’s, memories and reverence of him. Unaware of it literally, but consuming through every pore ceaselessly, he soaked in the devotion of thousands, millions – riding a wave of incomparable animated fame.
“I don’t believe this. I get rid of those two evil maniacs who try to ruin my show, and I get two evil guests who try to ruin my show!”
“Fah! Just who came up with the stupid idea of giving Space Ghost a talk show in the first place?”
A good question – The Ghost was an idiot. He had existed in ACME’s golden age as a boorish and common character, held in high regard only by small smatterings of easily pleased child-folk. Back then he was truly a footnote; tired plots and jokes cycling over inherited backdrops. Like any others who failed to deliver (as Petey was originally considered guilty of), he faced grim cancellation at the whim of ACME’s creativity. He died, as we have learned, in his own world’s way. With no great wounds, no real pain and no greatly considered sorrow, he slipped into a quiet non-existence. This, he felt. In many years to come The Ghost would rise again, and so in this interval of imposed purgatory his being flittered back and forth between awareness and nothingness. The Ghost, even in all his hollow, written idiocy, writhed in an immaterial discomfort; somehow knowing of his prevalence, helplessly confused for his unattainable state of being.
Then, suddenly snapped back cold into a very real dimension, The Ghost again felt the rough reassurance of paper and outlines – cels and canvas and some new animation that housed him in circuits and programmes. While he returned fully formed, this rebirth was in every spiritual way a reincarnation. He had defeated Death and, despite screaming perplexed nothings into his ear rather than laughing in his face, The Ghost was back. This time he had status. By virtue of his feat he became an Immortal and, once his shadow of confusion was washed away by his achievements, an inherent inanity and arrogance again reared as he pomped around ACME with insufficient regard. As such, despite his new status, he never gained respect. Therefore he would remain the only Immortal worthy of moral distaste (although there was something altogether untrustworthy about The Smiling Mouse) – and distaste is exactly what he received.
As a matter of fact, The Ghost’s second life was a mere mockery and dubbing of his original. He never had the comprehension to realise that the new Immortal existence he held was the result of sheer lampoon, some underlying and unfair shade of fate that allowed his reappearance in ACME. It was an insulting notion that would give hope to less talented residents, whose cancellation was assured. Could they too cheat their demise with the same temerity and unawareness as The Ghost?
THE SMILING MOUSE
He rocked back and forth with the rhythms of madmen, his gloved hands held behind his spine in some secret gesture. Shrill, but honey-toned, he chortled away at some insane, hidden joviality. Rarely were others in on the joke, but they laughed and danced along with him in frightening synchronisation. This was true of the poor sods living life lifeless in some begotten reality, along with our own world’s pumping machines of rich biology, who paid witness to every moment of his eked-out life from behind glass screens and propelled from sheets of paper. He had some oblique, unfathomable appeal in his treacle tooth-clacks, some boyish charm that would carry him to Immortality and into the memories of the infinite.
Like the Wabbit, he too could sit back and enjoy an apathetic lack of new output. He would live out his legend on lunch-boxes and the crotches of underwear, smiling from towers of kingdoms built in his tribute. This reverence was in direct reference to his perceived pioneering of ACME’s art. No doubt his presence was felt widely and profoundly since he first whistled his way into port on his now lauded steamboat. Despite a dwindling in any real new routine, he could recline as a Seasoned Immortal; his work apparently having been considered done.
THE YELLOW STUPIDITY
In all aesthetic senses he was horrific; rounded, bloated spheres interlocking with a bumbling gait and podgy, rippling limbs. His years of decadence had piled upon him, each pretzel, each donut and each dipped chip marshalled down a rotting throat with lashings of frosted, crisp beer. It had left him a drooling gargoyle, splayed across cushions watching some meta-ACME on his own animated tube in utter repose; hammering his mind with thoughtless conjecture. Yet, despite this thoroughly painted picture of grim self-deprecation, of all the Immortals described thus far he held undoubtedly the highest degree of real heart, care and positive, nurturing emotions.
Is this then ironic? That he who has wasted his life upon a popular culture (albeit in The Yellow Stupidity’s case, a fictional one) can so love and hold such regard for his closest family and peers? The Yellow Stupidity did indeed embody these things, and he worked and cared for his family tirelessly.
Yes, he may have made hilarious, serious mistakes along the way, but had he not would he have retained his appeal in our world? As far as the Wabbit, The Ghost and The Smiling Mouse are considered, you would be hard-pressed to imagine any of the preening three putting another’s well-being above their own. It was in this respect that The Yellow Stupidity excelled. If it were not for his overwhelming onus on filial piety and encouraging relationship he would never have retained his place in our world’s heart, and it is this that would deny his place as an Immortal. Instead The Yellow Stupidity’s own heart, despite being clogged with the fats of hedonism, beat as one with many of our own. As such he stood tall, not only a Seasoned Immortal, but as the most human of them all.