Monday, April 26, 2010

An oldie I reworked.... And reworked again...

"I imagine that in another few million years, when the earth is inhabited by some other sentient earthling, and they are digging out the ancient wreckage of our civilization, they’ll name us ‘doom’." - Splatter Writings, 2010

Around Carl loomed a deep hall, so dark and impenetrable that he could not make out a single detail past a foot or so of floor illuminated by his pitifully insufficient candle. On no previous occasion could Carl recall anything looming around him. It was not his character to stand gaping face-to-face with foreboding abysses. Carl preferred to make himself slight and scamper around in well lit office space; being faithful only to those actions which, born of great industry and fine-tuned articulation, encourage constant productivity. He was near blind and wore powerful, dark rimmed glasses which so greatly magnified his eyes that they inevitably caused feelings of discomfort in whomever he happened to be conversing with (feelings made all the more acute due to the nearness which he would bring his face to theirs, as though he would not just see them, but smell them too). Those who knew him caught themselves occasionally confusing his soft and plump frame with that of some thick-shelled beetle. It was whispered that he never slept, and would shuffle through the commodious office supply closets long after all the lights had been shut off and everyone else gone home to their wives and beds. He had earned the reputation of being a man who never fails to finish the job. Once it happened that his co-workers found him asleep, jerking around unconsciously, on the newly cleaned sofa in the rec-room. They lifted him up, with very little deliberation, and carried him on their backs to the janitor‘s secret napping couch. Once or twice he had slept there all day. The room with this couch was buried far underground, near the boiler and hence dingy, hot, and humid. Condensation as thick as blood was constantly oozing down moldy walls toward the ever growing wetlands of sweet-smelling chemical secretions on the carpet. On their way down, these slime-trails would pick up and carry with them whatever bits of dried gecko or insect fecal matter happened to be blocking their path. In the top left corner of the room, facing the door, an air-duct led to loftier places.

It was during one of his late nights that Carl chanced to find himself in the massive dark hall. He must have passed it by thousands of times, without ever considering it. Maybe it was because he had finally finished his job for the night that he unthinkingly lingered there so long. He lifted his candle as high as his round, hunched body would allow, leaning unsteadily to one side as he did, but he was unable to chase away the shadow. Because it was useless, he blew it out, and swallowing deeply headed straight into the darkness. Not ten steps later he bumped into somebody. He was afraid; he knew that nobody but himself stayed around so late. Pensively he called out a hello. "Hello" echoed some discorporate voice. "Who are you?" asked Carl, "everybody I know went to bed long ago." "Oh, I don't ever sleep" said the voice. A match caught fire, accompanied by the characteristic sounds and smells of flaring sulphur and phosphorus, the light fell to a candle, which, lit, illuminated the face of an old man. He wore a long white beard, stained with crumbs and goop. He was leaning heavily on a matte gunmetal-gray metal desk, and he wore an old vest of decaying blue silk.

He spoke like a cheery old lunatic, toothless, foul smelling and everything: "I've worked here since long before you were born my boy! I’m sure, I'm sure...” He began to nod off, or so it seemed, only to continue as suddenly and as cheerily as his mere existence would suggest, “I have maaaaany responsibilities you see? They send my meals down to me, every one! I never leave my station. I'm that busy you see? That's probably why you've never seen me before now." "What is your title?" asked Carl, skeptical and businesslike, having wholly misinterpreted the implications of his situation. "I'm head of information acquisition and filing," the old man replied, mimicking Carl‘s tone sarcastically, "but I'm sorry to cut this short, I'm afraid I must ask for your authorization you see? I'm not even allowed to speak with you unless you bear a signature from the chief." "Excuse me," said Carl, "I came here entirely accidentally." "Well then,” replied the man, “you are definitely not going to get in to see the collections in that case,” and then, out of nowhere, “I am supremely important you see? It would probably help if you bowed to me." The way the old man said this made Carl feel very uncomfortable. "I guess I'll leave then." "No. Wait, it's been so long, I really want to show somebody my work. I'm not such a square that I cannot disobey a rule or two every once in a while you see? Besides, I'm very proud of my work," grinned the old man, "come on then." "Thank you," replied Carl, "I was really hoping to see it, I guess."

The old man led Carl around the desk, they had to squeeze because it was pushed up so close to a cold, rough, unpainted concrete wall. Behind the desk, the old man took out a key and unlocked an iron door. “This hall must be smaller than I thought,“ mused Carl. As the door swung open a blinding light from no definite source fell upon them revealing a terrible storeroom beyond. The ceiling was easily fifty or sixty feet high--"it must be pushed up right against the surface" thought Carl to himself--and the whole space was distractingly hygienic--like a hospital laboratory or gigantic server storehouse--and filled with row after row of many tiered shelves. The shelves were so cramped that one could only navigate through them sideways, sucking in the gut, and they were loaded with millions--possibly billions--of little white or pastel colored boxes, each equidistant from the next, and none bearing any distinguishing sign. "What's all this for?" asked Carl. "This is my work," replied the old man, "it's great, worthy of some bowing and scraping I'd say." He raised a comical eyebrow nearly to the top of his mostly bald head. "What's in all the boxes?" asked Carl, gulping the dry air. "Everything you see?" said the old man, "all the world's knowledge is stored here. Everything known to mankind and individuals alike." "Really?" asked Carl. "Yes really," said the man mockingly, "go ahead, test it." "OK, I haven't seen my wife in over a month--my work keeps me so occupied--and I was wondering if she hadn't cheated on me yet." "Ah, good question, let's find out!" shouted the old man in glee. Full of energy now he took out a small crumpled notebook and, flipping seven or eight pages, exclaimed, "here it is!" and rushed off like a dog chasing some unseen prey. Eventually he came to a small white box with no obvious label, Carl followed, trying to catch his breath. "It is really remarkably well organized," said the man as he lifted off the lid, and, tipping the box slightly, displayed its contents to Carl. "That's a miniature of my bedroom!" cried Carl. "Ha! I guess it is," returned the old man with a laugh. Carl watched in wonder as a figure entered. "That's my wife!" She was followed by another figure. "That's our neighbor, Bob!" And another figure. "That's Bob's wife!" And another figure. "That's Bob's gardener..." Carl watched as all four figures began undressing. First Bob helped Carl's wife out of her clothes, while the gardener helped Bob's wife out of hers. "Oh my God!" exclaimed Carl. Then all four climbed into bed with each other. "I've seen enough" said Carl, and the old man quickly returned the lid to the box. "Are you going to kill her?" he asked. "No, I'm actually not that surprised, and I'm even happy that she's found some way to keep herself busy. This gives me the opportunity to return to my work all the more diligently." "Good. Then you should get on your knees before me and humble yourself for this knowledge which I have given you, you SEE?" Carl did not know what to do, the old man seemed to grow taller and more ferocious; teeth, fangs, snouts, bunches of desperate tits tearing through his vest, trying to get on top of each other, his eyes like a demon‘s. Slowly Carl got on to his knees and clasped his hands in front of himself.

"Are you afraid?" asked the old man. "A little," replied Carl. The old man bent over and removed a big fucking sword from his new, malignant, gaping vagina. Carl tried to run, but the old man cut him down quickly and ,like a just fed mosquito and a windshield, blood exploded everywhere, instantly coating the boxes and shelves in their tiny corner of the massive storage facility with brightly illuminated, crimson fluid. After Carl was dead, the old man expertly carved his body up into thin slices, then sautéed with onions and white wine, and devoured bit by bit.

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