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the sleep of reason

by Michael Swanwick

with illustrations by
Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes


67. [Plate 62]
Dein Kampf

This is your struggle: It's called life.

The way life works is like this: You're born into darkness and chaos, and you want to be good. But this happens and that happens and the next thing you know, you're standing butt-naked in a field at midnight worshiping Satanos Baphomet. But that was just circumstance! You've still got a shot at salvation.

This is your struggle: You want to do what's right. You want to get ahead, spiritually. But there's always some raggedy-ass bitch there ahead of you. Sucking up the karma. Mortifying herself in the service of humanity while you're still struggling to get out of bed and put your makeup on. By the time you manage to catch a ride to the slums, there's nothing worthwhile left.

Mother fucking Teresa! She was the worst. Hogging all the high-profile poor for herself. Just who the hell does she think she is? The fact that she's dead makes it even worse. You'll never catch up to her now.

This is your struggle: You'd walk over your grandmother for Jesus. You'd cap the Buddha dead in the face, if that's what it took. The love of Allah be upon the Prophet, but he'd better not get in your way. Hitler only thought he was ruthless!

Because if only one person in this room is going to achieve spiritual perfection then, goddammit, it's going to be you!


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This is the 67th of 80 stories by Michael Swanwick written to accompany Francisco Goya's Los Caprichos. For a listing of the most recently available stories, go to The Sleep of Reason.

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