The Master Puppeteer
February 19th, 2014
Bombadil Green was a puppeteer. He’d started as a young boy – He’d not even lost his first tooth before he had made his first puppet. It was crude, as you would expect from a juvenile, but when he took the marionette in his fingers and made the puppet dance, something lit ablaze in his eyes.
But his first puppet was simple and barely moved. Soon, Bombadil gave this puppet joints and an expression: A smile. Now, Bombadil could not only make the puppet wave as it danced underneath the strings of the marionette, but the puppet exuded the expression of joy.
Soon Bombadil found that this expression of joy was not enough – that although he could control the puppet, he could not make it do whatever he wanted. The puppet was trapped – caged into showing only this one emotion, so one day Bombadil took the puppet from his stage and laid him out on the table. He cut the strings from the marionette and let the limbs fall loose.
Bombadil cut into the puppet’s face, crafting an intricate, interlocking mechanism. He cut into the puppet’s legs, it’s feet, and it’s hands. He gave the puppet fingers and fingernails, toes and toenails. He crafted the puppet’s teeth.
Finally, the puppet was as real as he could be.
Finally, Bombadil had control.
He practiced for hours every day, making the puppet dance and spin and run and jump. He learned how to make the puppet wash dishes and climb mountains, play guitar and ride a bike. He learned how to make the puppet do sign language, and brush its teeth.
Bombadil obsessed over the puppet. He crafted every move of the puppet until he could calculate the smallest twitch of an eyebrow or curve of a smile. Even when he wasn’t puppeteering, he would imagine himself controlling the puppet. When he was at the grocery story, he imagined moving the strings, gently articulating the joints and handing the money to the cashier. When he was with his wife, he imagined moving the strings of the puppet to gently stroke his wife’s cheek. He would tighten the twine to tighten the lips of the puppet and kiss his wife as they lay next to each other in bed.
Soon, but slowly, everything that Bombadil did was an action that was to control the puppet. He couldn’t do anything without thinking of how he controlled the puppet.
Before he knew how lost he’d become, it was no longer he who controlled the puppet. He’d become the master puppeteer, but never once thought who was the one controlling him. A puppeteer had been crafted, but he never once thought who the puppet was.
He’d given everything to control the puppet, and in the end, it was the puppet that controlled him.
It was a master puppeteer.
And he was the master puppet.
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