Enter, the world’s most aesthetically confused man: he who sees fit to match traditional Chinese everyday wear with a mesh backed trucker hat; he who sees fit to braid his hair in a Manchurian que and tame his mustache into twirling handlebars.
The world’s most aesthetically confused man has a name, and his name was first devised by his mother, a blithe sylph born as a product of Ethiopian colonization, and approved by his father, a proud golden dragon hailing near the Ural Mountains that divided east from west. The world’s most aesthetically confused man was born to a name that encompassed every continent and crossed every sea. Though, however unfortunately, the world’s most aesthetically confused man was not born to a name that fit him. Rather, he should be known as Mr. Rainbow.
His own man, Mr. Rainbow lived everyday as he felt he should live it. In cotton and polyester, he learned about the ways of the world from a graying old salamander, a contemporary of his father. In denim and sweat, he toiled in the fields with hoe and okra, a work ethic instilled into him during his childhood by his mother. In mind and in body, he was a well man. He was not the wealthiest man; he was not the poorest man. He sat comfortably between the bourgeois and the proletariat.
Comfortable was the best word to describe Mr. Rainbow, really. Mr. Rainbow was comfortable in his changshan suit and trucker hat. He was comfortable with his handlebar mustache and his long que braid. He was not always quite so comfortable in his shaded Pu Yi spectacles, but his eyes had always been sensitive to sunlight. Eventually, they grew on him.
The predisposition of his eyes against the sun notwithstanding, Mr. Rainbow had only one true weakness to speak of. He loved the taste of whale. Whale meat didn’t come cheap. Most delicacies don’t, but Mr. Rainbow still loved the unique pungent flavor of one of nature’s most massive gifts to mankind. He would always save a bit of his earned stipend so that he could afford to buy just one slab of wet meat from the fisherman’s market.
One evening, after another day of grinding away the hours in the fields, Mr. Rainbow took to the streets, and he made his way toward the harbor. He had with him all the shiny dollars he had set aside these past two months in a small purse hanging from his belt. But Mr. Rainbow would not make it to the fisherman’s market that day; en route, he was approached by a creature of the night. The creature had the vague shape of a human, but it was much smaller. Perhaps gnome or nymph? He couldn’t tell, but he wanted to leave.
Mr. Rainbow stared at the horrid thing. It possessed a head, but no face: featureless, smooth, and white like marble. Its hands ended in five elongated fingers, and each finger had five joints of its own. It seemed to wear clothes, but the colors were so gaudy and fit so tight that Mr. Rainbow could not tell if they were just differently colored sections of skin. The creature could only be a Boogeyman.
Grabbing hold of Mr. Rainbow’s hand with its long fingers, the Boogeyman asked him, “Would you like a companion tonight?”
Mr. Rainbow’s brain lurched at the thought, but what would his parents think if he would let free a Boogeyman at night just to buy food he didn’t need? Feeling his pouch of dollars, Mr. Rainbow left behind the last of his selfish thoughts. He assured himself that his money would be better spent. With a heavy heart, Mr. Rainbow submitted, letting his Boogeyman lead the way.
The Boogeyman lead Mr. Rainbow to a hole in the dirt, reeking of conception’s sin. Slithering down into the hole first, the creature beckoned Mr. Rainbow to follow, and he did, though with hesitation. —
The hole sat atop a sprawling forum littered with nymphs, gnomes, and salamanders. A pungent odor assaulted Mr. Rainbow’s senses, and he could see now that his Boogeyman was just one of millions born in this pit where sylphs come to die. It nauseated him, but he would not shut his eyes. For the sake of his purse, he would watch everything.
Eventually, Mr. Rainbow’s Boogeyman led him to a door guarded by an ugly and unimposing gnome and his fire-breathing salamander enforcer. A toll was to be paid before they could go any further, so Mr. Rainbow reached into his purse and paid the gnome with a s hiny dollar.
The gnome smiled with satanic glee at the silver piece in his hand before vanishing into the darkness with his salamander disappearing just behind him, leaving Mr. Rainbow and his Boogeyman to their room. The monster grabbed him by the arm, motioning to the door, and Mr. Rainbow followed.
The inside of their room was red like blood. The walls sank into the floor, and the floor was the ceiling. It was soft, squishy, and almost plush. Just standing in the room, Mr. Rainbow’s feet sank into the floor, and the fluids the room bled stained the denim of his pants.
Mr. Rainbow looked for his Boogeyman. Did they really have to be in this horrible place? His Boogeyman had already begun stripping until its pale white body lay bare. Mr. Rainbow’s stomach turned, but at the same time, the sight made him just a bit curious. Cursing his curiosity, Mr. Rainbow pushed his Boogeyman down. It brought him here expecting this. This much was routine.
His heart weighing him down, Mr. Rainbow wet his thumb against his tongue, and he tried to wipe clean the facelessness of his Boogeyman. To his relief, the featureless white residue that masked his Boogeyman’s head broke away like paper to water, and underneath the cakey white mask was the face of a beautiful young girl.
He was relieved, yes, but at the same time enraged. Grabbing the girl’s hands, Mr. Rainbow bit her fingers at the joints, and ripped them off with his teeth. Fisting his purse, Mr. Rainbow pulled out a handful of silver coins from his stash and threw them into the floor; the room dissolved around them. They had returned to the surface. It was night time, and it was cold.
Taking three more shiny dollars from his purse, Mr. Rainbow stamped them into the girl’s chest. His coins became cotton, and the cotton became clothes for the girl. She was covered now. She would no longer shiver from the cold, but she still did not smile. Her face was uncovered, but her expression was no different than facelessness.
Mr. Rainbow only had one pretty dollar left in his pocket. He had been saving up for tonight, but one silver piece was not enough to buy any weight of whale. With his last shiny dollar in hand, Mr. Rainbow asked the girl to open her mouth, and the girl did. He placed the dollar in her mouth. Swallowing the dollar, the girl smiled, and Mr. Rainbow did also.
He knew that his money had been well spent.