(let me take you by the hand)
The ACME Company was everything to everyone around it. As fundamental as water to our survival, there were utterly no revolutionaries against the peculiar establishment. After all, a human would not get particularly far if they eschewed fluids; so the same applied to Petey, Georgie and the rest of their charming ilk’s reliance on ACME.
ACME provided all inhabitants with their wishes. Popular orders included food (oversized hams and coloured mush were the most common), utilities, furniture and even weaponry (of which the honed Anvil™ design still dominated the market). The Company manufactured these, and diligently delivered them, using materials made available through prosperity.
Looking at concepts in such simple terms has a habit of rendering their more ludicrous details void. For us, greater prosperity and creativity brings success and contentment. It doesn’t matter that the equation requires factories, labour, documentation, bureaucracy, corruption, politics, arts and a continuing list of ins and outs that make it feasible and, indeed, fallible.
The only differences for ACME were the nature of the materials, where they would originate from and how. As a matter of fact, the metaphysical building blocks they used to create all of their numerous wares — and shape a society — gushed through the centre of the factory in a veinistic pipeline. It endlessly pumped its barely tangible ether, which rippled with the fluctuating satisfaction of the dimension’s residents. It was a symbiotic process not free from its torrential ebbs and flows, but ACME had always seemed to work regardless. And so, it was assumed, it would continue.
You must be careful, when pondering ACME, not to stumble over constructs we would take for granted in their necessity and prevalence. Petey would be unable to comprehend sleep, for instance. Occupations, monetary economy, happiness and misery are all small examples of the salt we’ve thrived on for time immemorial. Petey would not only ask what they are, but his biggest and most aching enquiry would be, “why should I care?”. We have not answered our elusive meaning of life, and neither (fortunately) had the cartoon denizens of ACME.
Petey was entertainment. Our reality, as anyone with a toe dipped into the quantum knows, is just the visage of a far more abstract plane where even physical location is schizophrenic — an indistinguishable cloud of waving possibilities, weaving complex tapestries around their generality so the conscious may have a playground.
Are we merely representations of a separate mind’s confusion? If such is the case, as I am beginning to suspect, Petey’s world magnificently and farcically played symbolic ambassador to this speculative mind’s humour and immaturity. As we shall see much later, it was not the first of its kind.
Those beholden to ACME were solely driven by their antics. Georgie never questioned why, day after day, he strove to steal the sweet, steaming cherry pie that old Mrs. Misserly cooled on her sill. He certainly never lost faith when he repeatedly met a humiliating, catch-phrase laden end, in which the approach of night was signalled by a sudden fade to black, and morning was announced with a rapturous theme tune. The blare of that brass fanfare was as natural to him as dawn’s light. Occasionally, Georgie found it equally as beautiful as we may regard a meandering sunrise.
Did Petey know he was written? He had a vague grip on the idea, but no more than you may fancy, on an existential evening, that your entire life has already had its stage directions meticulously planned. Did he ever feel that, as he fell into a rolling decline, a connected, Earthly soul joined his every move?
With Petey’s last giggles, his writer’s weathered fingers slowed on the keyboard (‘My legs aren’t what they used to be, Douglas’). He coughed blood and tar onto a carved desk and shovelled coffee to avoid penning another episode (‘I called him Sally… My memory’s slipping’). How could Petey understand that his final season was a complete whim? He was a golem — a puppet who lived on the bubbling madness of an oblivious power.