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LJI9 Week 22 - Deus ex Machina

This is my entry for this week of LJ Idol, Season 9. Please check out the entries of my fellow competitors and consider joining the therealljidol community. This week's topic was "Sweep the Leg."




Mortimer Goth shuffles off this mortal coil in style,
heralded by hula dancers, with an exotic drink from Grimmy.



Deus ex Machina
(for all Sims)

The Grim Reaper
lurks behind your left shoulder, ready to tap
you out of this realm. Who knows
when it will happen? You could be trimming
rose bushes, and suddenly,
he's handing you an after-
life Mai Tai while hula dancers
hip you to paradise. Or perhaps
you'll stand stunned by lightning
and simply combust. Ashes
to ashes. Or dust
to dust: befallen by roaches, spawned from
trash your ex sowed
on your lawn. So many
stupid ways to die: a satellite
falling from the sky, a pool date
gone awry. But let this be

our battle cry. No death
is meaningless. Even when
you burn the salmon, toddle tired
to a garden table to feed
your pregnant maw. No one
sees you going. Weak and alone,
you're spooked by a specter.
Scared to death.

Let's hope your maker
loves you. For if so, as rumors
go, you'll reap a reincarnation.
Brought back, yourself again. (If not,
a zombie life is better than none.)
Maybe, if the gods allow,
you'll simply exit briefly. Rewrite
your life from the point where you
were saved.




I've been playing the Sims 2 rather obsessively of late, ever since my gamer husband downloaded the free deluxe version of the game, a promotion to interest folks in Sims 4. This poem is inspired both by my experiences and from stories shared on message boards about Sim deaths, which often seem to take both the character and the player by surprise.


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Comments

( 67 comments — Leave a comment )
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kickthehobbit
Sep. 26th, 2014 04:25 am (UTC)
Ah, I really enjoyed this. :D
alycewilson
Sep. 26th, 2014 06:10 am (UTC)
Awesome! Thanks for letting me know.
halfshellvenus
Sep. 26th, 2014 05:58 am (UTC)
Perhaps the random gypsy woman will fortell your death, and you won't know what it means until it's too late... ;)

(My daughter played Sims for awhile, and narrating the action over her shoulder from a knowledge-free perspective was my specialty).
alycewilson
Sep. 26th, 2014 06:09 am (UTC)
I love that! :) It is so easy to get wrapped up in all the drama. I have another LJ, simalyce, which actually predates this one. I've started posting about the adventures of my Sims, but I'm pretty behind at the moment.

I never had the gypsy foretell a death, but she did help find the perfect husband for Cassandra Goth. They are so cute together. He is from Takemizu Village, the vacation land similar to Asia, and he taught the entire family how to bow and do Tai Chi. Cassandra and Nicholas meet each other in the hallway and bow, then giggle.
eternal_ot
Sep. 26th, 2014 06:46 am (UTC)
Though I know nothing about the game...I still enjoyed this poem..esp these lines..
"Let's hope your maker
loves you. For if so, as rumors
go, you'll reap a reincarnation."

A nice read..:)
alycewilson
Sep. 26th, 2014 07:14 am (UTC)
Great to hear! I was hoping that people wouldn't stop reading the minute they discovered it was about a game they might not have played. :) I was also trying to write it in a way that, without the dedication, it could be a sort of surreal look at real-life mortality.
favoritebean
Sep. 26th, 2014 06:53 am (UTC)
This makes me want to play TS2 again. Ahh, memories.
alycewilson
Sep. 26th, 2014 07:15 am (UTC)
It is more fun than I've had with a video game in a long time. Brings me right back to all the happy girlhood hours with my best friends playing Barbies.
roina_arwen
Sep. 26th, 2014 02:03 pm (UTC)
This put me in mind of one of my favorite TV series (see icon), Dead Like Me.
alycewilson
Sep. 26th, 2014 07:02 pm (UTC)
OMG I just Googled this show and it looks fabulous! It even stars Mandy Patinkin! How did I not already know about this show?
(no subject) - roina_arwen - Sep. 26th, 2014 08:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
ryl
Sep. 26th, 2014 03:08 pm (UTC)
There's a person on my friends list who's been playing a legacy Sims family for a few years now. She's usually pretty good at catching when her characters are almost out of life, but there have been a few times when the Grim Reaper snuck in through the back door and caught everyone off guard. I do like the hula girls that come with him.
alycewilson
Sep. 26th, 2014 08:05 pm (UTC)
Apparently, the hula girls only come with Grimmy when the Sim who dies is in a very good mood. The other times I lost Sims, I never saw the Grim Reaper, because it was a large family and I was playing someone else at the time.

Is your friend doing a legacy challenge? I've read about those: people challenge themselves to play 10 generations of a family with certain goals in mind.
(no subject) - ryl - Sep. 27th, 2014 12:38 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - alycewilson - Sep. 28th, 2014 12:22 am (UTC) - Expand
bleodswean
Sep. 26th, 2014 04:34 pm (UTC)
This is truly fantabulous!!! I cannot believe you managed to wrest art out of Sims. Well done! Well done!!!
alycewilson
Sep. 27th, 2014 08:34 pm (UTC)
Well, you can get art from nearly anything, if you're inspired. Good thing I followed my instincts and scrapped the overly inside-baseball essay in favor of this poem!
(no subject) - crisp_sobriety - Oct. 2nd, 2014 03:08 am (UTC) - Expand
tatdatcm
Sep. 26th, 2014 04:54 pm (UTC)
As a sims player, this has two meanings for me. One I identify with game play and the other as a "what if" view of death. I really enjoyed the pacing of the poem.
alycewilson
Sep. 27th, 2014 08:36 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I really was hoping that it could work on multiple levels, so I'm happy to see that it worked that way for you. Also, thanks for giving it a read!
eeyore_grrl
Sep. 26th, 2014 06:05 pm (UTC)
Now I want to play the Sims. I haven't in quite awhile.
Well done.
alycewilson
Sep. 27th, 2014 08:41 pm (UTC)
Then my job is done. :)
fodschwazzle
Sep. 27th, 2014 01:03 am (UTC)
I never played The Sims, but I watched my wife let her elderly sims die with morbid fascination. Something about the process, however it works, is almost gentle enough to be real--the same vibe that your poem gives me. A sort of Dia de los Muertos ebullience pervades the piece. I enjoyed it!
alycewilson
Sep. 27th, 2014 09:44 pm (UTC)
Thank you. I think the EA Games/Maxis (or Eaxis, as insiders sometimes refer to them) deliberately handled death that way because so many people DO get attached to their characters. But considering that so many players get wrapped up in the stories, it certainly provides for more drama!

I like that you found that feeling in my piece, because that was what I was going for. It was also, in the tiniest way, inspired by me telling my husband this weekend about the Carlos Castenada books where he learns, among other shamanistic principles, that Death lurks always over your left shoulder.
mamas_minion
Sep. 27th, 2014 02:50 am (UTC)
Enjoyable poem and fits very nicely with post.
alycewilson
Sep. 27th, 2014 09:49 pm (UTC)
Great to hear! Thanks.
waltzmatildah
Sep. 27th, 2014 02:59 am (UTC)
Oh, boy. This is sensational!! I know NOTHING about the Sims and didn't realise until I got to the end that it was about that, so I read it as a poem on LIFE IN GENERAL...

This works so well. Awesome.
alycewilson
Sep. 27th, 2014 09:51 pm (UTC)
That is terrific! I had thought about removing the dedication, so that more people would read it that way from the first. But I let the dedication stand in case anyone would benefit from knowing that right away. So I'm so glad that it worked for you, because I always intended it to be a metaphor for death IRL, so to speak. :)
karmasoup
Sep. 27th, 2014 07:20 am (UTC)
Cute shout out to geek culture in several spots here, always a plus, in my book, although, I'd have to disagree about a zombie life. "So many stupid ways to die..." dig it. Interestingly enough, my post was also inspired by weird deaths this week, and I had a weirdly enjoyable time looking up all kinds of unusual ways to go (does that make me creepy?).
alycewilson
Sep. 27th, 2014 10:07 pm (UTC)
Personally, I've never had a zombie Sim. I'm curious about them, but not enough to doom one of my current beloved characters to that fate.

I don't find the enjoyment of weird deaths odd at all. In fact, the "Strange Deaths" section of "The Fortean Times" is one of my enduring favorites.
theun4givables
Sep. 27th, 2014 01:44 pm (UTC)
Oh, The Sims. I suspect the only reason I've never played is because I know I would get sucked in. Badly.
alycewilson
Sep. 27th, 2014 10:23 pm (UTC)
Join us. :D (/evil laughter)
rayaso
Sep. 27th, 2014 04:03 pm (UTC)
Good poem, and I like the way you used the prompt. "A zombie life is better than none" was a great line, although from what I've seen on zombie TV shows, I'm not so sure about theat!
alycewilson
Sep. 27th, 2014 10:39 pm (UTC)
Yes, I don't wish that fate on any of my Sims! But it is a possible consequence of some of the in-game options for bring back a deceased Sim. Apparently, they shamble along, lose much of their personality, and think about brains a lot.
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