Biographical Sketch of Hippolyta Apesbury at the Poison Pie Publishing House.

Hippolyta Apesbury

The life of Ms. Hippolyta Apesbury was an archetypal exercise of romantic tragicomedy in the classical tradition of existential anthropomorphism. Here we summarize events with an anticipatory obituary, penned by her confidante, Ms. Hebeloma Crustuliniforme, and offered to her without request or commission on December 12, 2011, many years in advance of her demise, while she was still a middle-aged woman of forty.

As with the greatest of her kind, she never accepted a compliment where a well-placed word of self-denigration would suffice. If you loved her, she would ignore you. After years of neglect, when your indignation became too great to conceal, she would attempt to placate you with a self-inflicted wound, "I know you deserve better; I'm a horrible person." Were you to be satisfied by these words? Did they suffocate the hot flame of betrayal with a moist towelette of shame? Or, rather did you stew in misery, alternately contemplating the residual indignation and a flicker of pity, swirled together with a healthy dollop of doubt at the sincerity behind her self-recriminations? Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps all of the above.

She has died! The Wicked Witch of the West is Dead, etc.! How does it feel to exist in a universe so recently devoid of her presence? Can you bear to experience another twilight in which the radiance of her glorious self fails to illuminate the western horizon as thoughts tumble to the close of day? Well, in truth, it feels much the same as before. Out here in the Frozen Zone, we are accustomed to shadow and chill. Our bodies move stiffly from the cold, motivated not by desire but by the sheer stubborn habit of obedience. We shift from task to task, like automata seeking no reward, neither physical nor existential nourishment. We are accustomed to being abandoned. In fact, it is no exaggeration to portray our entire lives as a sequence of poorly choreographed abandonments, each one leading farther down a spiral stairwell to the next hapless episode, ultimately arriving at a lightless, God-forsaken dungeon. How does it feel? It feels just as we expected for we never had any hope of finding her waiting for us in this black pit. Or, if we had once harbored such a fantasy, it was long ago forgotten. She is not here.

Then where, oh where, did she go? Did she float on a cloud to heaven? Hah! She did not hold the afterlife in such high esteem. Did she descend into the bowels of the inferno to suffer an eternity of damnation? No, I think not. Eternity reached out to her, but she swatted that needy paw away. She is gone and we know not where. She did not leave a forwarding address. Inasmuch as she regretted having ever shared her previous address with us, we are not surprised. I suspect her demented, fairy Godmother drove up in a pumpkin-shaped coach pulled by a team of sparkly giant anteaters and hauled her off to, as they say, the great unknown, shrouded in the anonymity that the passage of time guarantees. There she met Jesus conversing with Buddha on the physics of the astral planes and beat them both up. "That," she said, dusting her hands off, "is for leaving the world in such a shitty ass state." She had anger, anger in her heart, I am profoundly sorry to report. It followed her to the astral planes, like a stray puppy that would not let go of a stranger who did not want to care for it.

She was preceded in death by her older brother, poked to death by the sharp end of a burnt stick, a harassed expression copied onto the leaden death mask laid over his decomposing face. No one is implying she had anything to do with it. How could she have? They didn't live in the same state, in the same time zone, in the same universe where they could have kept in contact by various technological devices enabling telephonic communication across vast distances. So, she, above all others, was wholly innocent and above reproach in this regard as in most others.

She leaves behind a figurative trail of death and destruction. Her children wail at her final viewing! She is laid flat on a dais that resembles coincidentally the very one upon which Jabba the Hutt was cruelly strangled. "Mother!" her children cry. "Don't leave us! We love you! We require not only your worldly wisdom but also your very practical, convenient and affordable care-giving!"

Her spirit (apparently already returned from her tour of violence through the astral planes) rises up on the dais, a shimmering, glowering figure of might! She is larger than life and grows larger with each passing moment. She shakes her mighty fists in the air and the very breath is wrenched from the lungs of all those gathered before her. She bellows an inhuman groan of dissatisfaction or dyspepsia. Her fetid breath belches forth a noxious gray haze. Behold, the great demon has returned! Bow down or remain standing as you see fit. Neither pose will win you mercy. You shall all be crushed, crushed, crushed, then flattened like hot, corporeal asphalt paving a petroleum-based path to ignominious ruin.

She ignites like a thermonuclear bomb, taking all of the greater Phoenix metropolitan area with her, leaving an enormous char spot in the desert. So long, suckers! She is gone. What did she mean? I couldn't tell you. She was never well understood. And besides, I am only an idiot, commissioned years ahead of the fact, to pen this tribute from afar, where I had no chance to actually chronicle the critical events that shaped her and triggered this disappointing, cataclysmic finale.


Works by Hippolyta Apesbury from the Poison Pie Publishing House