Today I noticed that the building in which Curious George lives has at least ten stories, and is painted bright yellow.
The Man in the Yellow Hat (MYH) is not the only resident. There are perhaps dozens of other tenants, the existence of whom I had not considered before. They flit about offscreen, intangible as shadows, whispering, circling.
I have a new theory. Much like the Rugrats and the three Eddies, everyone in this building is already dead.
In the Hotel season of American Horror Story, the Hotel Cortez was built by a serial killer named James March. It is filled with the restless shades of his victims and the damned souls of his co-conspirators, plus some vampires and the prudish wife from Big Love. It is hell, or at least some aspect of it, and March is its Prince. Perhaps he is Belial, demon of foul desire, and thus the diversions offered in his hotel are nothing but kids playing video games, old people smoking weed, and Lady Gaga having threesomes that sometimes include Rudolph Valentino.
But I digress. There is another hell. For, you see, MYH is Mammon, the Golden One, Bringer of Wealth, Caecodemon of the Purse, and his building is a nexus of avarice. Those who reside there are forever punished for their selfishness.
It was all made clear to me when Curious George discovered recycling.
The Doorman (Charon) and his loyal dachshund Hundley (Cerberus), are taking out the trash. They mention to Curious George that trash must be separated as wheat from chaff, “real trash” from that which may be resurrected and used again. The Doorman says there is to be a contest among the buildings to see who can collect the most recycling, and the winner will receive a fabulous gilded MacGuffin.
George knows good and damn well what recycling is. He knows what trash is. He knows that empty containers and finished meals go in the trash, the old things, not the new. But desire for the gold overwhelms all, and George is determined to fill the bins for the Doorman.
He begins to steal.
MYH’s refrigerator is ransacked. Half-empty containers are melded together with little regard for taste or nourishment. The jar of olives is combined with peanut butter, so that the peanut butter jar may be recycled. Salt is poured in the cereal, and the salt shaker is recycled. From there, George moves throughout the building. All newspapers disappear. Paint buckets are emptied, their contents combined with the groceries of a dozen apartments, so that empty vessels may be placed in the dumpster to be measured, and others may be filled in the unholy union of bubble bath and orange juice, or Windex and hummus.
In short, Curious George befouls the sustenance of every apartment as expertly as a flight of Harpies.
Literally no one suspects George is the culprit. It is as if every day in hell is fresh, and all memory is wiped, so that each torment is without peer and Sisyphus himself cannot remember why the rock keeps rolling back. Curious George has gleefully tortured the inhabitants of this city for three seasons so far, and yet no one remembers.
Instead, they blame the Doorman and accuse him of taking the stuff in order to artificially inflate his recycling count and cheat his way to the MacGuffin. Had they access to a Wicker Man, the angry mob that forms around the Doorman would surely have burnt him alive.
And his little dog too.
But alas! MYH appears at the last moment and tells everyone that George did it. Is George burnt alive? Is he beaten or killed?
No, for who can stand against the power of Hell? Who dares injure the familiar of Mammon? The tortured souls melt away back to their cells. George dances triumphant, because MYH’s power is absolute in the realm of Mammon. We are left with Curious George and the Doorman inspecting their recycling trophy and laughing.
Laughing at what has been wrought.
-Professor Zac Showers