The Examinatrix

a pencil sketch of Trogdor the dragon man. Detailed audio description in the video below.

Trogdor was a man, a dragon man. He burninated the countryside. And the peasants.

Trogdor had one impulse that laid claim to his body — burnination. Trogdor is a part of Strong Bad, namely his temper. He is totality. Totalitarian.

Like Trogdor the Burninator, who acts indiscriminately when in charge of his host, the Examinatrix (a part of me) is both beyond my control and acts indiscriminately. She examines the meaning, impact, and etiology of literally everything in her path. There is no action when she is present. In this way, she also burns everything to the ground. Like Trogdor, she is totality. Totalitarian.

Some gigs I find easy, some hard. Like everyone, I got niche skills. In a partnership, an economy develops. A silent trade of skills, whereby we do more of the easy stuff and less of the hard. No fiat is needed - our trust is vast, built first with limerance and stacked with bricks and mortar from a vast community mine (normative ores of mono-romantic commitment and capitalistic property sharing). I cooked, he tidied. Alone it is very deeply different. But there is no “alone”. Partnership is so fundamental to the human condition that we will form it, even if it must be with a part of ourself. And in scarce conditions, we’ll make the same dysfunctional bonds with that part that we are prone to make with humans when we are desperate. These abusogenic pods we are pandemically consigned to have fertilsed that soil.

I form a desperate partnership with the Examinatrix. She does not trade. There is no action. She will burn it all down if I let her. This is the realm where bootstrapping is real — inside my head. Can an inert body be shifted from within? By changing my relationship with the Examinatrix I am doing exactly that. I speak with her curiously, compassionately. “How old are you?” I ask her. She is 12. “How old do you think I am?” I ask her. She thinks I am 6. “I am 46”, I tell her. She sits down, releasing her tense grip on my torso, allowing my breath. “We are safe now”, I say.

I am a fission reactor. A brightly burning star. The “law” of inertia is old, born from Newtonian clunk and shove, before the energy of a star was crammed into the western canon. It does not apply to me.

I am sitting with my new friend. We gaze at the milky way together, letting it be, out there and in here at once, radiant.



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Emma Barnes

Emma Barnes


Autistic, trans, survivor, abolitionist @friedkrill on Twitstagram