‘I look like an accountant pretending to be a poet and a lumberjack at the same time.’

‘That’s the look now, sir.’

‘I don’t like it.’ The God of Cool didn’t like it.

‘You were asleep for some time, sir. We did our best,’ said one of his assistants.

‘Your best is plaid shirts and curly moustaches.’ He felt bad as soon as he said it. It wasn’t their fault, he shouldn’t have put them in that position in the first place. He didn’t apologise, though. Cool doesn’t apologise.

The assistants looked more confused than hurt. ‘You did plaid shirts in the nineties, sir.’

‘Plaid shirts in the nineties were about apathy. Apathy is cool. Kurt Cobain became a rock god and then shot himself because he still didn’t care. That was cool.’

‘These plaid shirts are worn ironically, sir,’ said an assistant with the polite confidence of someone desperately trying to save their job.

‘Irony isn’t cool! Rage is cool. Caring so much you don’t care is cool. Jamming a safety pin through your ear is cool. Drinking out of jars is not cool!’

‘But sir, they’re rejecting the societal norm of glasses.’

‘Then smash the glass and drink out of the bottle! Don’t specifically make jars with handles for easier drinking!’ Why couldn’t he have been the god of something easy, like gender roles? ‘I should have stopped after punk.’


He wilted into a chair. ‘I mean, it’s all been downhill since then, hasn’t it? Grunge was alright, but the Eighties? Disco? Whatever this is.’

‘They’re called hipsters, sir.’

The God of Cool smashed his glass and drank from the bottle. ‘I peaked, and I’ve been floundering since.’

‘Hipsters were our fault, sir,’ said an assistant.

‘I wouldn’t have come up with anything better. It’s my own fault, I was too successful.’


He gestured vaguely to his trophies. ‘Drugs, alcohol, sex, it all went mainstream. How do you rebel against a society that permits everything?’

An assistant smiled helpfully. ‘Cruelty to animals?’

‘What is wrong with you?’

‘Sorry, sir.’

The God of Cool finished the bottle and hurled it across the room. ‘Maybe I could do something with homosexuals.’

‘They’re allowed to get married now, sir. In America.’

‘Married? Me damn it!’

Another assistant stepped forward. ‘The Koreans are doing some very interesting things with hairspray, sir.’

He sat up hopefully. ‘The North Koreans?’

‘South, sir.’

He sat down dejectedly. ‘It’s pointless. Everything is pointless.’

‘That’s very cool of you to say, sir.’

The God of Cool said nothing for a long, introspective moment, and then he said ‘You think that was cool? Watch this!’

The shotgun tasted like metal until he pulled the trigger.


The grandson was sound asleep. The grandfather closed his book. ‘And that’s how normcore was born.’


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