Psychopomp Magazine Winter 2015 - Page 35

Ken Poyner | 33

Ken Poyner

Untelling Progress

This time of year the streets are filled with the ventricular rush of Unicorn hunters. In their parties of ten or twelve they come lively back from two or three months of Unicorn hunting, the season dressed out and done, and their supplies and their wills exhausted; every bone-weary, crusted one of them ready to clothe themselves with the favors of civilization again, to have elated discourse with our less coarse citizenry again. Each arrives ready for their privation-idealized dose of comfort and ease, but on their own terms.

As bold as though they owned all the elephant feathers in the treasury, they will blow into an establishment and order crowd-sized portions of the best of everything. Keeping still warily sorted into their established hunting parties, they will space themselves in public areas with even geometries, the careful aggression of the season still at skin’s surface and ready to touch solder to the cleft of any style of effrontery.

Ordinary citizens stay mostly out of their way, dancing at the periphery of their needs. We seek a slightly more edgeless portion of their wealth. Ragged hunters fresh from the Unicorn grounds are more than just a sight: they pay ungodly, inflated prices for everything and have a pit of requirements so deep there is an echo when you look into it. They have spent months in the wild seeking the greater fortune available through Unicorn tethering, and they reek of the effort, they reek of the desire for quantity over quality, of wanting it now, of now being all that there is in any mirror; and we will accept the burden of broken wares and rough civility for the imagination of cleaning up with towering profits afterward.

These are not sportsmen to be trifled with. Mostly rich, mostly untamed, they come back from months without society, supplies that ran out early, the company only of a handful of the like-minded, raw nerves even in agreement, a quickness to anger and a finality to conflict. These are the people inlanders secretly wish they were. These are the people the timid imitate when they are alone with their spouses, or drunk enough to imagine they can dominate the pathetically more sober.