Ecce Mortis: The City Museum Complex: Hall of Hoaxes

Plantman took a brief but necessary vacation, or personal day — as if the rest of his days were property of Topiary Techniques — to visit the world-famous City Museum Complex.

The plaque outside The Hall of Hoaxes read, “Everything The City promised you, but never delivered. Everything The Nation promised you, but never delivered.”

Hyperbole, true, but what can one expect from The Hall of Hoaxes?

The Hall featured exhibit upon exhibit of hoaxes hoaxed upon Citizens of the previous century. Lot of money during those Main Street days when Citizens gladly paid to be bamboozled.  No exhibit for promises broken by friends, lovers, teachers, innocence lost, disappointing lives…only the palpable, the obvious. Two-headed boy floating in fluid and the shin-bone of an angel. Skull of an alien from outer space and a handwritten love letter from God. Disfigured fetuses in pickle jars; dinosaur eggs; cavemen in ice.

The Fossil Giant, nine feet tall, three feet wide, arms folded across his great expanse of chest, slept peacefully on a slab, his existence carved meticulously from stone, down to the detailed pores in his bone-white skin.

A sign before this granite Golem read, “Who can forget the Great Hoax of the Giant Unearthed?  This alleged precursor to the Citizens’ glory was an enormous but lucrative fake created from stone. Sexless; blatant neuter (so squeamish were the last century’s Citizens that few questioned the naked Giant’s missing package).

“The Giant was displayed again, after the hoax was revealed, earning thrice the loot as people queued to gaze upon the ‘false ancestor who gulled millions.’”

Plantman opened the Guide Booklet given to each visitor and read more about the Giant.

The Giant had been unearthed “somewhere out West.” The specimen pulled from the ground was petrified, but intact. Some suggested that before the Indians a great race roamed the land, the true inheritors of The Nation’s immense expanse of real estate. The perfidious Indians stole their land. The City con-man impresario, originator of the hoax, intimated that the original inhabitants of The Nation — not Indians — were a race of friendly White Super Giants. Nomadic hordes migrating from the North, later to be known as “Indians,” slaughtered these Giants and ate them, grinding their bones to foot powder and aphrodisiacs. Away, away the community and culture of these friendly Titans. Dead. Hence, whatever Citizens of The Nation later did to the Indians was well deserved.

“Many people parted with their money to gaze upon the face of this giant unearthed during the height of the Indian wars,” Plantman read from the booklet. “One day an honest archaeologist, posing as a typical rustic of The Nation — for scientists were not allowed anywhere near the Giant — exposed the giant for the Pygmy that it was: a life-like statue carved from stone.

“Headlines read ‘Giant Hoax,’ and much newsprint was devoted to the sham, which had already become famous world-wide,  generating literature and speculation of a master race of Giants (some people in The Nation believe the Giant legend to this day).

“Unexpectedly, even for cynics of The Nation, the Giant and its creator made even more money after the hoax was exposed.  People gladly paid to see the statue now billed as the ‘Greatest Hoax on Earth: The Trick Titan who fooled millions.’

“Even those who saw the Giant the first time parted with twice the money to review the piece of stone that had duped them and so mesmerized The Nation.”

Plantman pocketed the pamphlet and scrutinized the eunuch Giant, testament to Old Time Main Street decorum.

“Big Man. Big White Giant. No balls, no dick,” said an inebriated Citizen near the exhibit. “Must be why he’s the ‘last of his kind.'”

Plantman left the Hall of Hoaxes somewhat disappointed. He’d expected bigger, more immediate, contemporary hoaxes to be revealed. Perhaps the hoaxes of today are quieter, less visible, more discreet. Perhaps The Citizens of today are more subtly fooled.



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