The Diaries of a Sozzled Scribbler #28
as transcribed by Dmetri Kakmi
2 April 2021
How do you do, mein ubermensch?
I have this minute returned from Mars.
To meet Doctor Manhattan. Yes, the blue god himself from the Watchmen comics. Or ‘graphic novels’, as they say nowadays. Surely a ploy to make them sound smarter than they are.
You are surprised that someone as elevated as myself knows anything about the Watchmen. It’s quite simple. The other night I was relaxing with my thirty-eighth negroni when Zach Spider’s ghastly film came on television. It’s baloney, of course, a gaseous emission that stinks worse than a New York subway.
But in the midst of it all you have Mister Rorschach and Doctor Manhattan, and quite suddenly the entire dreary affair comes to life.
I lost interest in Mr Rorschach when I realised he is a redhead; they are the devil’s pawns and must be beaten with a stick. But Doctor Manhattan’s allure only grew, especially once he got rid of his clingy girlfriend, Silk Spectre II. What a slag, going around in a skimpy outfit that must require the merest suggestion of a landing strip down there.
But to get back to the question. Why is someone as cultured as myself interested in a superhero? The answer is simple.
Doctor Manhattan is my kinda guy, as they say in low-class beer halls.
Why? Because he is a stark naked misanthrope.
In his own words, ‘I just don’t give a shit about humanity.’
He doesn’t give a merde about clothes either.
Naked, hung like a horse and hates people. What’s not to like?
When he’s not drifting against a starry starry night, engaged in nihilistic philosophising, like the Silver Surfer, towards whom he bears a striking physical resemblance, he’s fighting crime in the buff. Talk about CMNM! (Look it up.)
Doctor Manhattan is so above human morality he dispensed with a costume and goes around buck naked, except when he occasionally wears those fancy now-you-see-me-now-you-don’t undies that would cause a stampede at a nightclub for effervescent men.
That’s what I call a role model!
And, if I can manage it, he is the perfect means to achieve my dastardly plans.
So here I am walking around Mars, searching for a naked dude. When, lo and behold, I spy just such a creature sitting on a rock, looking like Rodin’s The Thinker.
‘Hello, stranger,’ I say.
‘Goodaye,’ he says, sounding alarmingly Australian.
But something is amiss.
‘Excuse me,’ I continue, ‘are you by chance Doctor Manhattan?’
He answers in the affirmative.
‘Then why do you look like that?’ I say, pointing at his face.
‘Well,’ I say, not knowing how to proceed with such a sensitive topic. ‘You look…how can I put it delicately?’
‘Just say it,’ he growls.
For although the Doctor Manhattan in front of me is blue, he has the physiognomy of a black man. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. It’s just that he was white in the ‘graphic novel’ and in the film.
‘Oh, that,’ he says, waving a hand. ‘Just did that for the new TV series.’
‘You changed race for a TV show?’
‘Because it’s not cool to be white anymore.’
I can’t believe what I’m hearing. ‘Do you mean to tell me you can change your race at will?’
For a smart guy, his vocabulary is rather limited. ‘Can you become an Australian farmer from Coolgardie?’
‘Ugh,’ he cries, with a shudder. ‘That’s too horrible to contemplate. Go away little man. You’re interrupting my me time.’
‘But I want something.’
He sighs as if he’s heard it all before. ‘What?’
‘Move over,’ I tell him, ‘let me sit down so we can talk man to man.’
He scoots those resplendent buttocks over and I plonk myself beside him on the rock. It’s chilly on Mars so snuggle up to him for a bit of warmth.
‘Isn’t this nice and cosy?’ I say, but he just stares at me with those cold contemptuous eyes.
‘What do you want?’ His voice booms across the windswept desolation.
I point at the pinprick of light just visible in the vast cosmos. ‘I want you to destroy Earth.’
The blue/black Doctor turns his gaze towards the home planet we both despise.
‘I know you’ve grown distant from humanity,’ I go on, ‘and it’s not as if you particularly like Earth either…and I totally understand if you don’t want to destroy the entire planet all in one go.’ I pause, take a deep breath and go on. ‘If you want you can destroy China for starters. It’s full of Commies. No one will care if they go…’
Doctor Manhattan turns his head and stares at me with those uncanny white eyes. I start to shake in my Manolo Blahnik moon booties, but I can’t stop the verbal diarrhoea.
‘But eventually,’ I continue, ‘I would like you to wipe out the entire planet.’
I stop talking because Doctor Manhattan is shaking his head.
He keeps shaking that weird head.
‘You’re too late, mate,’ he says in a voice that would not be out of place in Coolgardie.
‘What do you mean?’
‘I changed for the TV show,’ he replies. ‘Not only am I black but I’ve also rediscovered my humanity.’
‘I see…’ I say, shifting away from him.
‘And,’ he continues in a sickeningly complacent voice, ‘I desire the love of a good woman.’
I leap to my feet, utterly disgusted. ‘Cease thy speech,’ I cry. ‘Oh, foul demon.’
But now it’s his turn to have verbal diarrhoea. ‘Not only that,’ he goes on, ‘but they kill me off at the end of the series and I transfer my powers to Sister Night.’
‘In the name of Isis, cease thy damnable prattle!’—I point at him and make my final damning pronouncement—‘You sire are a PC casualty!’
‘Oh, don’t say that…’ Doctor Manhattan wails.
‘You are a disgrace. And I for one will now turn my attentions on Mr Rorschach…’
‘I thought you hated redheads,’ Manhattan bemoans.
‘Mr Rorschach,’ I pronounce, ‘might be a redhead, but at least he is psychotic. Whereas you, sir, are a woke joke.’
With that I flew back to Earth, never to think about the good doctor.
À bientôt, mes amies.
The Sozzled Scribbler was born in the shadow of the Erechtheion in Athens, Greece, to an Egyptian street walker and a Greek bear wrestler. He is currently stateless and lives on gin and cigarettes.
Dmetri Kakmi is the author of Mother Land (shortlisted for the New South Wales Premier’s Literary Awards in Australia), and the editor of When We Were Young. His latest book is The Door and Other Uncanny Tales. He does not endorse the Sozzled Scribbler’s views.