I thought that the concept of ultimate power in the form of a caring and loving being was not simply self-corrupting but inherently psychotic. There would be no base or reference for any morality, feelings, or self-awareness. If by some quirk of the universe a human was born with god like powers he would use them ultimately to separate himself from humanity, not with monumental battles with equally god-like adversaries but with the ordinariness and tedium of existence. Any adversaries would have to be self-created leading to psychotic breaks and a loss of moral introspection.
When Yeats in his poem, ‘The Second Coming,’ warned of ‘what rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouches towards Bethlehem to be born, I don’t think he thought merely of the rise of fascism or some other dictatorial ism but of the impending doom of humanity from transferring power from comfortable myths to man himself. There would be, in a sense, a mass psychosis unanswerable to any fallible human instincts.
My protagonist, Phillip, is an attempt to encapsulate the rise of a new God that that ultimately must break from humanity and itself. I have attempted to employ an ongoing stream of black humor, because Christianity is the penultimate source of the blackest humor. Just think of the Children’s Crusade, the Inquisition, Pat Robertson, etc. We revere our self-created idols but may replace them with ourselves which Phillip does with as much self-delusion as humanity in diverting internal knowledge to external ignorance.
About the Author
Robert Fredericks grew up an army brat, and as an adult has worked over the years as a special education teacher, family therapist, and is currently a correctional educator at a maximum security prison. He lives with his wife and daughter, both brilliant and an inspiration to him, and two dogs and four cats that provide clues to the absurdity of the universe.
What Rough Beast
All it takes is a word, a whisper, a thought.
Phillip Todd is a normal army brat and baby boomer with one small exception: a super human power to control all sentient beings. Like Superman he takes years to uncover and develop his powers, beginning at the tender age of three by coercing his neurotic mother and later advancing to psychic pranks on the Order of the Perpetually Disgruntled Nuns at his Catholic grade school. In public middle school he rids himself of a bullying juvenile delinquent with cruel zeal.
His formative adolescent years as an army dependent in post war Germany merely increases his autocratic demands for sensual experimentation and psychic domination. He uses and abuses anyone near; particularly Jill, the precociously ripe daughter of his father’s commanding Colonel and Wanda, his mother’s friend and frustrated wife of a feckless Lieutenant. When an overweening sexual dalliance with Jill is discovered by a vicious PFC Phillip tortures and nearly kills the man. When his father’s tour in Germany is winding down Phillip, both frightened and enthralled with his power, conceives an alter ego as a means of self analysis and revelation, Dr. Fear, a fictional confidant whom he plans on turning into a future comic book icon.
However, Phillip is suddenly tormented by waking nightmares and psychotic hallucinations and he takes extreme measures to rid himself of these by eliminating Wanda’s husband and lastly Jill and her family. However, on the return trip to the States hopeful that he has ended the psychotic breaks, he is confronted by another terrifying hallucination.