Odorless selves bloom into polymer formations. Plastic sticks shoot sterile nodes. Anti-seasonal Season’s Greetings scream out of sweaty closets stuffed full of forgotten double-knit polyester suits. Sideburn caterpillars slink into the fireplace glow of display screens. The same artificiality as last year fills the air with the cheer of a wig bouncing on a slippery pate. A polyethylene coating for the tongue helps cough up holiday hair balls.
Once there was a village of folk who poked one eye out soon after birth because they believed that two eyes bred dishonesty. The one-eyed people also believed that a person could only serve one role or have only one face, as they called it. Anyone caught with more than one face was executed on the spot in order to preserve their way of life. A child who showed the face of an adult too soon was given no mercy. Nor was a woman who also had the face of a man or a man the face of a woman.
And once there was a village of folk who believed in more than two eyes and actually grew another eye when they became adults. The rite of passage was called The Awakening and involved a journey in the woods where another eye would emerge out of their forehead. And it took them years to cope with all they could see because everything from the simplest thing that they took for granted as a child and the most familiar of people now looked entirely different, varied, and rich in appearances. Even the simplest person among them had a thousand faces. And the rich complexity of everything kept them in a state of wonder that provided them with a peaceful life.
The one-eyed people hated the people with three eyes because the awakened saw their one face as the mask that it was, suppressing their other faces in a way that damaged and hampered their consciousness. The one-eyed people could not accept this so they attacked their village. And the people with three eyes saw them as confused by their hunger for power and how they fought with themselves by making war with others. Ultimately, the people with three-eyes lost as they were too distracted by all the visions they saw and spent too much time on possible strategies.
The one-eyed people captured a few of the people with three eyes and killed the rest. Those who survived had to poke out two of their eyes in order to stay alive. But the survivors did not lose their more complicated vision because it had become a part of them in their mind. But they pretended as if they could not see anything but one face anymore and never spoke of their visions in order to stay alive.
One survivor asked the one-eyed people if eyes did not always deceive and if they should not poke out all eyes in order to see the truth. And the one-eyed people could not think of any argument against this for they hated eyes in general. And so they poked out their last eye and saw what the awakened survivors wanted them to see. They saw themselves not searching for the truth as they said but confusing it with their search for power. And they saw how they sacrificed the people with three eyes because they could not see themselves as fully as they lacked the courage to see within. They saw how they made problems for themselves but killed other villages to solve them.
The one-eyed people begged the awakened survivors to take over and show them the way. And they stopped poking the eyes out of children. And the survivors took them into the woods and performed the ritual that showed them how to grow their third eye.