ACME: An Introduction

This ten-part fiction is currently being serialised in our zine. You can order a copy of Issue #1: Birth, featuring this part, from our store or Patreon.



An Introduction
(welcome to the wonderful world of entertainment)

Petey stood perspiring, rubbing his porky and ill-defined pinkies together in angst, fearful but energized. Let’s proceed to paint this picture with all the full wonder and respect it commands, for the room in which Petey shook – not entirely out of disturbance, but more anticipation – was so unlike any enclosed space you have ever entered. The only thing known to the average human, like you or I, that could even approach the decoration, architecture or general ambience of that cavernous chamber is what hallucinogenic drug users may find in an un-enclosed clearing. The way the walls bent and contorted, as if seen through delicately fluctuating seawater, was deeply surreal and impossible by human standard. Yet, by ACME’s it would have been widely regarded as stuffy and formal. Indeed, The Company building had never taken the time to find more inspiration in its design. It even had repeating corridors; Petey had counted the amount of times he saw the same vase of flowers as he walked onward to his fate.

To us, every atom in the room would have screamed with vivid tone and brightly coloured palettes. That such madness could pack tightly into one room – while somehow retaining an open-ended air that floated well beyond the skewed, warped walls – is the main horror and allure that would strike you. Petey had known ACME’s strange dimension, an absurd and unconsidered reality, his entire life. Through his simple, yet emotive, eyes, he would observe our straight-edged townships and intricate mathematical patterns, found everywhere, with an equal distaste and confusion; a rival passionate interest and fascination.

“Well Pete fella-me-lad, I’m getting my hooves on old Misserly’s sweet smelling, terrific tasting and luscious looking cherry pie today. I guuu-arantee it!”

Petey, who appeared to human eyes as a twisted pig, was born as ordinarily in his reality as you (probably) were in yours. But, on our plane, ink’s warm wave would be his amniotic embrace; a pen as his midwife. Petey was the mere creative, cartoon product of a man’s imagination, and at that moment he could have no comprehension of his human-sourced conception.

So, inside his own dimension, this silly, animated swine of subject would burst into being through a Company trademark backdrop. Popping his little head through vivid hoops to the sound of jingle, that moment would forever stand martyred as Petey’s creation. Whilst the writer who first put the pig to paper was undoubtedly proud of his work, he paid no heed to his personification on and within Petey’s plane of being. He simply had no idea that, beyond his job and hobby, he also held responsibility as the metaphorically titled “Mother” to his drawn offspring. But, that would require divine knowledge of his figurative parenthood.

Parents were an existence in ACME no one fully understood, or paid any attention to. The Mother would burst into hazy being inside a cold and long chamber, fully-formed yet intangible. Shortly, the child (rarely bearing any real resemblance to its benefactor) found itself launched at the ceremonial macro-dartboard – from her tardisine womb – and the hard work would be accomplished. From there, many Fathers generally piled in to render assistance, each having some small, and usually detrimental, hand in the infant’s characterisation. The Fathers would pay large sums of money for this, in the hope that one day the Company may refurnish them with some glorious return. This was often denied, due to the ineptitude of the child’s skills, but it could be a sickeningly lucrative business. After, Mothers would be housed and mollycoddled as they slowly faded, occasionally birthing again in the heat of a creative moment (particularly prolific Mothers were rather rare).

As for Petey, his Mother would later give rise to a sister in Sally. She tried hard to accompany Petey on his maniacal travels, but her Father soon came to consider her presence a distracting annoyance. This led, unfortunately, to an early character-cancellation after a mere three episodes. Petey could never stand confronting the feelings of loss that the abortion brought about in him.

Many episodes later, after Sally had long perished with a smudge and sickly onomatopoeic wails in the famous Douglas Anvil™ Shower incident, he receded more and more into the dim-witted but heart-warming sidekick role – spending the rest of his days bouncing off less talented leading men’s quips, jibes and adventures. It wasn’t too long before his Father had him acting as the right-hand man to Georgie, a pastry-obsessed cow of all shticks. He found his new partner arrogant, demanding and, most annoyingly to Petey, lacking in subtlety. Against the little pig’s greater hopes, that was to be his show.

“Duh – that’s what you say every day, Georgie. And every day we…”

Once his life had run somewhat admirably into its fifth season, the Company decided it was time to consider Petey and his show for re-runs. To Petey this was not akin or similar to a feeling of death — it was death, albeit one with a shadow of Immortal afterlife. In every literal way (and meant without metaphor), all that faced Petey after resignation to re-runs was a flattened, dull and inevitable mortis; the same lines, the same expressions, with no new artistic interpretation allowed. A paltry etching of a once great, or at least notable, routine would spin endlessly from his taxidermied lips.

This was a death that many revered, through their unwavering dedication to ACME and all its insanity had achieved for them. In that eventuality, he would live as a ghost in the machine. Even if his old fans allowed themselves nostalgic chuckles, Petey could not recognise them. Perhaps an adventurous young viewer would stumble across his tired shows, finding a golden accident not meant for his generation. But, a long-cancelled character couldn’t take comfort and assurance from their continuing, though dwindling, appeal. However, as was often the case for characters like Petey, there laid in wait another possibility.

In that little pig’s world and perception, fame was assured; as assured as oxygen to any earthly citizen. Beyond fame, only few of ACME’s inhabitants could grow their popularity to a literally Immortal status. As a result, unless he was able to prove he had amassed the raw quality worthy of such Immortality, he faced the same horrific end as every other rejected character. Petey, stood in that moment awaiting decision, faced absolute and complete deletion from all corners of living memory.

“Fail… Yes, that has been one minor setback Petey, me old chum. But today, I have a plan!”

Part Two is now available as a feature of Issue #2: Breath, or online here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *