a Giant Monster Trash a City
by Robert Hood
thing, this creature…" The Bio-Chemist glanced at the
other inhabitants of the room, giving a bird-like twitch
that shivered downward from his head and settled in
his finger tips-which in turn drummed against the tabletop.
"It just can't exist."
bunker seemed to quiver as he struck the hard-varnished
surface, but the vibration came from beyond the room
and made them all tremble.
"Our brief is to rationalise it as best we can," the
Convenor declared. "We must look at it and decide what
can be done."
you miss my point," the Bio-Chemist continued. He looked
towards the ceiling, as though he might see through
the hundreds of metres of reinforced concrete, steel
and rock that hid them from the outside world. "No one
gets it. The Monster can't exist. Discussing it is pointless.
The energy transfer requirements alone render it impossible.
Biologically-using the bio-logic with which I am trained
to deconstruct life-a lizard that massive would have
to eat, I don't know, a country the size of New Zealand
daily, just to get going in the morning. As far as we
can tell, it rarely eats at all! It's-"
yes." The Physicist nodded. "It would collapse under
its own weight. I agree. Impossible."
Geneticist laughed scornfully. "I've heard that some
claim it's a mutation. Ha! A typical misunderstanding
of the nature of genetic deviation. Nothing appears
from nothing, especially when it is as deviant as this
Monster. And never in a single generation."
Environmental Researcher gulped from one of the half-dozen
coffee mugs in front of her, then looked disgusted,
as though she'd chosen the one with last week's dregs.
"Indeed. Where the hell does it fit, environmentally
and in the processes of evolution? Where's its biological
niche? What are its native habitats? There's no chain
of developmental dependence, no interconnection-"
true!" The scruffy individual sitting in the corner,
whom none of them knew, ran his palm over his balding
scalp. "It likes trashing cities. It seems to connect
quite enthusiastically with the idea of killing people
or making them rush around pointlessly, screaming. Perhaps
there's some sort of symbiotic relationship between
this creature and the experience of destruction. Perhaps
it cannot tolerate human pretension-"
metaphysics. It's hardly a valid argument in a biological
or physical context." The Environmental Researcher frowned.
"Who are you anyway? What's your field?"
scruffy man shrugged, staring at the screen on the wall
before them. On its flat, digitally enhanced surface
a huge mutated lizard-looking like no lizard and, equally,
no dinosaur that has ever existed-raised a thick, rubbery
foot the size of Parliament House and booted a current-generation
assault tank into the harbour. "Like all of you," he
said, "I'm a voyeur."
experts scowled in unison.
for myself, I'm a realistic man," the Military Strategist
said suddenly. "I do not partake in self-deception.
I'm not going to be moved by the bleatings of the Gigantheistic
sects which insist this creature is a manifestation
of some divine principle. Yet I'm inclined to side with
those among you who see it as ridiculous that we should
even entertain the possibility of this creature existing.
The armed forces have hit it with everything from rifles
to nuclear missiles. We've unleashed more firepower
at it than was utilised during World Wars 1 and 2 combined.
Nothing living could withstand such attack. And the
result? It's not even scratched. Phaw! What nonsense!
It makes a travesty of military traditions."
Social Engineer, who obviously felt there was little
reason for her to be present at this strategic meeting,
cleared her throat nervously. "I'm sorry, but all I
can offer is a confirmation of the Major's attitude.
That creature walks through streets that have been carefully
designed to facilitate the flow of traffic and apparently
reduces them to rubble, without causing any lasting
damage to the City. Skyscrapers collapse like plywood
replicas. Then-a year or two later-it happens again.
What does that mean? How can it be? The whole thing
seems to be an elaborate, and poorly executed, facade."
deep rumble vibrated through the room, causing pens
and a few cups to scuttle off the table onto the floor.
above the bunker now," commented the scruffy man in
we were hit by an earthquake," the Geoscientist pointed
out. "All along I've been inclined to see public reaction
as a subconscious transferral of plate-tectonic paranoia
to the idea of the creature, making it a focal point
for the instability we feel as human beings toward the
not-so-solid world, the solidity of which is normally
taken for granted."
point." The Nuclear Physicist jumped to her feet and
slammed her fist down on a pile of reports. "Paranoia
makes fools of us all. Nuclear power has been the brunt
of witch-huntery for decades. Blaming atomic testing
for this, as many are doing, is par for the course."
pollution," offered a Waste Management Expert.
tall, painfully thin man with a skeletal face like an
exhibit in a Medical Museum stood langidly and made
a placating gesture. "We must not resort to the airing
of individual grievances. The truth of the matter is
that the emotions which fuel the creation of such a
simple scapegoat illusion as this Monster-a radical
incarnation of the fears that churn continually in the
national psyche-are widely felt and of a much more general
applicability. My own discipline, Psychology, is well
familiar with the processes of Divergent Reality Creation.
Nuclear power, earthquakes, pollution, yes. But beyond
all that is the fear of social breakdown of any kind
and, indeed, fear of death itself. Even fear of sexual
appetite. All this plays into the propagation of an
rumble. This one was accompanied by a distant roar-a
complex sound that made bones shiver.
a Historian," said the rotund woman who kept flicking
her pen from hand to hand in a distracting manner, "I
must point out that this is not the only time this has
happened. In different places and over many centuries,
communal insecurities and an improper grip on the semantics
of knowledge have resulted in the alleged manifestation
of gigantic creatures. Remember the Rhedosaur that was
supposed to have appeared in the streets of New York
a few decades back. I've also heard of a giant six-tentacled
octopus, a Roc-like bird, ants, scorpians and other
insects, and even a man blown to enormous proportions,
most of them allegedly created by-" she nodded acknowledgement
to the Nuclear Physicist, "-atomic testing. And Japan,
with its peculiar history of large-scale disaster, is
rife with tales of gigantic monsters like this. Do you
time the tremors were more violent and a rhythmic pounding,
like the thud of gargantuan feet, began to tremble through
the surrounding earth.
Everyone in the room glanced around, nervously, as though
it were their dismissive logic, and not the bunker,
which seemed under threat of collapse. Everyone except
the scruffy man in the corner, that is. He was writing
furiously, hunched over a large pad.
are you doing?" growled the Convenor. "Are you writing
down what is being said here?"
man glanced up. "I'm writing a story."
story about a monster, a large impossible monster that
causes a lot of monstrous destruction."
experts huffed as one. The Convenor spoke for them all.
"Why write of such nonsense. And why now when the problem
of rampant subjectivity is so apparent?"
scruffy man appeared to consider the question. Finally
he waggled his pen at them. "Because of everything you've
said, I guess. Because you are so determinedly resistant
to the possibility." He shrugged. "But mostly because
it amuses me."
was silence in the room-except for the monstrous pounding
from above. The mood was broken by a Social Engineer,
who stood and cleared his throat noisily. "Ignore this
man," he said. "Leave him to his own ridiculous and
irresponsible pastimes. As the guardians of our society,
what we need to do is recognise, fully and clearly,
the facts of this matter." He began to pace. The scruffy
man listened for a moment, and then continued writing.
are right, I believe," the Social Enginner continued,
"to dismiss this Monster from consideration. We mustn't
miss that point in our deliberations concerning the
current dilemma. We're intelligent, responsible people.
We know who we are and what the world is. This Monster
represents more than just an appalling waste of time
and resources. It is an affront to reason and good taste
and a threat to the evolutionary development of a society
based on reasonable achievement and a rational aesthetic.
How can we tolerate this violation of everything we
take seriously? Because it amuses us? It's not justifiable.
let's get this straight. Certain things are possible
in the World As We Know It, and certainly things aren't.
Some things just don't make sense in terms of the way
the physical world functions, even at a commonsense
level. According to the laws of physics, some things
will never happen, though they might happen when a breakthrough
in cosmological theory takes place and we understand
the world in a different way. Other things, however,
are just ludicrous.
such is the existence of gigantic creatures taller than
a skyscraper and almost totally invulnerable to artillery
fire. Such monstrous fauna defy physical logic. They
cannot ecologically exist. They could have no scientific
basis, coming from nowhere and going to nowhere, and
with them the whole intricate web of biological life
on the planet is made irrelevant. What comment can they
make on real life? What truth do they represent? Not
mine, and not, I suspect, any truth recognised by anyone
with a decent aesthetic sense."
scruffy man looked up with a smirk. "You underestimate
the value of more basic responses," he said. "Excitement,
awe, fear, wonder. A cathartic enthusiasm for destruction.
The irony of civilisation helpless. And that's not to
mention the metaphysical and symbolic value of this
monster. Perhaps you're all being narrow-minded, overly
literal and-let's face it-boring." He went back to writing
others all spoke at once, raising their voices in a
mass litany of indignation. Finally the Convenor's gavel
broke through the noise. But even after the group stopped
talking, he could barely be heard. The thud of the Monster
above them was insistent now.
the Convenor cried. "We must make a decision on how
to deal with this thing."
move," the Social Engineer declaimed, "that this monster
cannot and should not exist. I propose that it has little
significant meaning and no value. Like other fictional
nonsense of a similar ilk it should be reviled and ignored."
"All in favour?"
massed "Aye!" nearly drowned out the stomping from above.
The room shook as though something was being forced
through the rock surrounding it. The ceiling began to
split. Calmly the scruffy man wrote the final words
of his story.
the roof cracked apart and a huge, scaly foot smashed
through the rock and steel and concrete. As the room's
occupants screamed out their chorus of terror, the foot
pounded down upon them, crushing them amid a shower
of broken cement and twisted metal. When it withdrew,
all that was left was a mush of rubble and blood and
one person survived. Elated by his luck but shocked
and saddened by the terrible destruction, he closed
his notebook, slipped his pen into his pocket and began
the long climb through the shattered roof towards the