For Dinner: Sweet and Sour soup, Steak strips with green peppers intermixed with baby corn.
Mood: Beauty in the eye of the beholder? Perhaps...
Written in the Year of our Lord 3580, March 26nd,  Tuesday  night.
Location: The Fel arcology on the city Vagnar on the continent of Laufey, near the Ran ocean, on Loki.

     Glutheim took me to a work of art. Sort of. Kind of. Perhaps.

      "What is it? A painting?"



     "No. It's a work-of-art-in-action. "

     "Like a movie?"

     "In a sense. But this is live."

     "A play? I've already seen one play, and quite frankly I'm not eager to see another...."

     "No. No living participants."

     "A concert?"

     "That comes closest, perhaps, but it's a visual concert, shall we say. Dress will get pretty warm."

    So we were crammed into a concert hall. Interesting, there were transparent barriers between the audience and the stage, which were loaded with all sorts of materials.  I  was used to being stared at where I went, but I saw Derheim and Nirut and several other Lokiites I recognized....and their large entourage of bodyguards. It seemed to be a pretty widely-regarded artistic event.

    A person in protective clothing at mask, like someone working with dangerous materials came out. She made an oddly humanlike bow, and then set off a small acetylene torch. She lit one end of a large fuse, and then very quickly shut off the torch and got out of there, until she too was outside the protective glass.

    Then the flames flared up. Multicolored flames, consuming one object after another. Special powders of different elements were set up in different places, making the flames blaze in different colors. The larger structures on stage were taking longer to if flammable but just barely.

     I looked around. No one was panicked, everyone was rapt.  I have seen that look on people gazing on a beauty of the opposite sex, or a wonderful painting or sculpture. Then I realized what the attraction was. I remember a pyromaniac I once had in confession, how he would talk about the beauty of flames growing and leaping, of the wonderful spectacle the destruction made.

     So it was with them. I could see them getting into it.  They were fascinated by the flames, as much as any pyromaniac would be...but instead found an acceptable, safe outlet for it. They had made pyromania into an art form.

     I noticed cameras were capturing this. It woudl be a fleeting art form, so if you had to see it again, you would have to record it. Rather like a musical concert. But here the joy was not in creation...but in destruction. I muttered, "It figures."

     Even I...not afflicted with pyromania that I know of...admitted that the ways the colors danced in the flames made quite a beautiful effect. The crisping and destruction of the structures did give temporary beauty, as a burning piece of paper twists and makes its own strange beauty as it's being destroyed....

     After the performance,although all were visibly moved, there was no applause, no salute to the author.  Glutheim asked, "How did you like it?"

      "Interesting. Who pays the artist for the work?"

     "In her case, the Haki hierarchy, which sponsored this work of art.  Of course, once filmed, such works of art are marketable commodities."
     A world where pyromania is a legitimate artform.  I couldn't help it. I laughed, long and loud, startling Glutheim.

     Then a more sobering thought intruded. I thought about the Witch Burnings.  "Do you ever burn people--criminals or anything like that?"

     "Of course not."

    I was pleasantly surprised, thinking they might be less sadistic than I thought....then Glutheim followed it up with an observation that shattered that thought....
      "They struggle and flail around too much. It ruins the beauty of the moment."

      I sighed.



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