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Chess board made of white and brown sugar with King

Filed Under , on February 2nd, 2019

Sweetness and Dark

By Seth Kabala

The street is dark. Cars line both sides, hugging the curbs. Streetlamps reflect off of glossy paint jobs and squeegeed windshields, creating alternative perspective art pieces from flipped aspect ratios of bent light. A breeze blows the evening fog up from the water. It lowers the ambient neighborhood temperature by 10 degrees. As it enters the street, the fog parts for vehicles, then closes when they’re lost from view, swallowing them as it envelops the neighborhood in its mindless advance.

The houses mostly echo the darkness, but through front bay windows, a few holdouts flash screens large enough to serve as portals to other dimensions. The families watch their shows, necks craned upward at awkward angles, like true believers holding their gazes toward the skies and waiting for the second coming. Their beliefs are true, but their god is a drone and won’t be performing any miracles.

Back outside, souls are absent, but beings are present. They flash from a skull-like face, rimmed with yellow hues, to an old, cartoonish face, backstopped by an epic, royal collar and a high forehead. An insane grin covers the faces. The mouths open in unison. The fires in the pseudo-reality voice box furnaces alight, and the beings say, “Have some candy!”

* * *

I served as Toastmaster (emcee) for a recent meeting at our downtown club. As per our club’s tradition, I mentioned that those in attendance would win a piece of candy if they used the Word of the Day. I’m getting better about being spontaneous in these meetings, playing off of the last thing that happened or was said, treating it as an improv yes, and then rolling with it, but I still miss key moments of humor gold that, later, I inevitably regret not acting upon.

One of those regrets was this: when referring to the Word of the Day, I thought it would have been awesome for me to channel King Candy from Wreck It Ralph. I would say, “If you use the Word of the Day during your speaking role, ‘Have some candy.’” Creepy funny? Yes, but funny is funny. Don’t like amateur impressions? I’ll stipulate that many more people think they’re good at voices than are actually good at voices (Hey, I’ve got a dream, too!), but that doesn’t mean you can’t find humor in even a feeble attempt at mimicry. I’m trying to crawl out of this feeble attempt category, but the ground is slippery and the angle is steep.

Think about that movie, that voice. What memories does this evoke in you? Are they happy, terrified, ambivalent, amused, disgusted, pleased? Emotional reactions can run the gamut, and that’s okay. What’s important, above the voice, above the characterization, above the silliness, is the ability to find the whimsical within the world.

Maybe you felt happiness when you watched Wreck It Ralph. You experienced several ups and downs over the course of the movie, as the makers designed, but overall, you felt happy—happy that Ralph got his medal, got to help Vanellope, and got to kill his nemesis with a novel use of Mentos and cola.

(Yes, King Candy does die. He was zapped in the giant fountain of erupting cola, and even though said fountain evaporated seconds after King Candy and the Cy-Bugs entered, no trace was seen of them, so, yeah, get used to the fact that Wreck It Ralph is yet another example of casual killing within an ostensibly kid-friendly movie. Family fun for everyone!)

If, however, your feelings were more gray, wait until dark. When the ebony curtain falls, look outside. Do you see King Candy? Do you hear the comic voice altimeter ascending? If you do, don’t be scared. He’s only there to bring you the sweet treat of laughter. To help you be in the improv moment.

What do you think he wants?

P.S. This is what happens when I write things late at night, half asleep, after drinking . Weird shit, man. Weird shit. Good? Meh. I’ll let you decide, dear reader. If this piece sucks, it sucks. I can deal with that. The awesome thing about writing is this: as long as you’re alive, the well is deep and rich. Draw from it daily, friends. Then give yourself a reward. Maybe some candy.

 

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Seth Kabala

About: Seth Kabala
Seth is an entrepreneur, writer, musician, family man, and juggler of balls--big ones. He lives with his wife and three children in Portland, OR.

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