Once upon a time, before stories existed, there was an incident: Gogg forgot to put the cat out. The event would have faded from the living record, except that someone told someone about it. They, in turn, told someone else and soon everyone with an ear for meddling had heard some version of how Gogg forgot to put the cat out.
Gogg’s life became one of anguish, trapped in people’s opinions as the man who had bungled the simple act of putting the cat out because he was busy making love to a stranger.
He felt trapped in this often retold bygone event. One that didn’t even feel like it had really happened, as the details of the event had become embellished: his incompetence amplified in some versions, the size of his nose made ridiculous in others, and derogatory references to the size of his penis were supplemented in many versions.
Gogg began to feel confused about what had really happened, and even about himself–eventually fearing that things may have happened the way other people told it and not the way he felt. This created a sense of uncertainty about his memory and his sense of judgement.
After months of unease and disquiet, Gogg saw a way out. He would tell a story–a different one. A story that would render his nose as medium sized, that would describe his heroic exploits fighting the tiger from the woods nearby, and also portray his penis as a reasonably sized organ. It would be a story glorifying his prowess, while belittling those who had spread the previous tales about him.
Sitting in his cave, Gogg reflected on the details this story should contain, and the elements that would link it together. He sat until the light faded outside his cave, and then sat some more in the dark, his brain working out the structure and art of story-telling.
Meanwhile, the cat idly dozed beside Gogg in the cave, causing further rumors to circulate outside–interest in why, again, Gogg had failed to put the cat out.
The next day Gogg emerged from his cave to announce that he had something to tell everyone. The people gathered, assuming he was about to explain why the cat had once again spent the night inside, despite having no strangers visit for love-making.
Gogg addressed the gathered community. He announced, in brief, that he’d fought with the tiger from the forest, then demonstrated that his nose was smaller than the rock that was over by Mogg’s cave, and that his penis was bigger than his nose.
The crowd looked at him indifferently. In the silence that followed someone near the back dropped a spear, causing a small swell of laughter which alleviated people’s confusion.
Overall, Gogg had failed to capture people’s imaginations, and the group quickly resumed their every day concerns.
The hours of thinking in his cave had proved fruitless–the reverse, in fact–as they’d once again distracted him from putting the cat out. Thus Gogg’s attempt to manipulate public opinion had only drawn more attention to himself, and caused further speculation.
Thus rumors proliferated, eventually becoming narratives that were repeated around fires late into night: Stories of how Gogg The Small didn’t put the cat out because he’d insisted it sit on his lap, hoping to conceal his penis while he tried to impress a visitor; and how that visitor became so enthralled by the size of Gogg’s nose that they’d fallen into a trance and couldn’t leave; and then how the cat had tried to get up, but a tussle ensued so that Gogg got into a brawl with his own cat–until he knocked it out by hitting it over the head with his nose.
So it was, the world of stories had begun . . .
Soren James is a writer and visual artist who recreates himself on a daily basis from the materials at his disposal, continuing to do so in upbeat manner until one day he will sumptuously throw his drained materials aside and resume stillness without asking why. More of his work can be seen here: http://sorenjames.moonfruit.com/