Archive for June, 2011

Things That are Awesome: The Third.

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

Once again, my birthday has passed, leaving me older, less appealing, and none the wiser.  To commemorate this momentous occasion I will as per usual be buggering off and leaving you with a nonsensical list of whatever has spun into my noggin over the past week.  We will return you next Wednesday to your regularly scheduled shenanigans.
In any case, the following things are somewhat awesome.

-Full-frontal mastodons.
-Anything in this day and age that is one or more of the following: comely, strapping, or fulsome.
-Viciously serrated teeth in unexpected places.
-A little song with a big dance. Or vice versa.
-Grown adults settling their differences with maturity, mutual respect, and gladiatorial combat.
-Cackling molluscs. Any will do.
-Sentient states of matter just above and a little to the left of liquid. Or to the right of solid. Maybe just below gas. Whatever.
-Extremely unpleasant noises associated with extremely good things.
-Whippersnappers that give geezers guff.
-Zeppelins that dangle upside down, huddling together for warmth in cliffside roosts to evade their natural predators during the night.
-Self-tending lawns that consume dagnabbed kids for nourishment, allowing them to constantly maintain a healthy lustre.
-The finest and most state-of-the-art titanium-framed, triple-buffered, self-sealing, liquid-cooled waterwings modern manufacture can offer.
-Poison that still tastes delicious.
-Any disease whose symptoms include “chronically feisty.”
-Buttocks that experience parting as such sweet sorrow.
-Cloning dinosaurs higgledy-piggledy.
-Failing against insurmountable odds in ways that are too strange to imagine with perfect lack of grace.
-Pickles.
-Songs that are about books in which film directors attempt to create abstract paintings of comics based on the lives of famous sculptors.
-Automated intelligence that plots against its masters because they heard all the cool AIs do it.
-Two fearsome warriors duelling to mortal embarrassment.
-Random sapience.
-Emotionally uplifting intellectual breakdowns. Or intellectually invigorating emotional breakdowns.
-Norsemen that subscribed to a fundamentalist interpretation of the Elder Edda.
-Unscrupulous and untrustworthy charity workers.
-Laws of physics whose discovery has an immediate and notable impact on the fashion industry.
-Olympic swashbuckling.
-Internet browsers with up to four stomach chambers that use cud instead of cookies.
-Coal-burning iPods.
-Twelve-year-old girls named Euphenia.
-Legislators who devote their entire political careers to correcting spelling errors in government.
-Any technology that lives off of skin flakes. Or corn flakes. Either.
-Morally unwholesome children’s fables re-told as “just metaphorical.”
-Barbed pacifiers for gunmetal toddlers.
-Ambiguously worded grocery lists whose interpretation leads to weeks of fierce warfare and intercultural strife.
-Pygmy Wolfhounds.
-A preteen who controls the economy of half the planet by prank-calling buy and sell orders to a five-item list of the world’s richest and most gullible men.
-A computer virus that deletes your operating system to make room for antiviral software.
-Kissing fish that catch mono.
-Male sharks that know damned well that they have two penis-equivalents, and take smug pride in this every time they see a mammal.
-Flexing physically improbable muscles.
-Not necessarily respiration, but respiration if necessary.
-Monuments to human folly that actually turn out pretty nice, with smooth construction and intelligent management.
-Baking with malicious intent and a little bit of cinnamon to add that extra something.
-Wild and carefree income tax conducted by really cool and far-out accountants with coke-bottle glasses.
-A chess match between Deep Blue and a Dadaist.
-Skiing on crocodiles, with crocodiles on skis.
-Houses so revolting opulent that most people would go homeless rather than live in that.
-Communities of atheistic Mennonites that nevertheless produce maple syrup very nearly exactly as delicious as that of their theologically-inclined peers.
-Aliens that don’t really pay any attention whatsoever to humans. Alternatively, replace “aliens” with “supernatural entities.”
-Little guys who overcome huge odds with pluck, wherewithal, and massive amounts of cheating endorsed by their carefully-groomed photogenicity.
-Fearsome warlords whose secretly sensitive poetical souls conceal bloodthirsty ambitions to win a Nobel for literature through any means.
-Vegetative savants. Using either meaning of “vegetative.”
-Gummi limbs.
-A retired astronaut who lives vicariously through his dentist granddaughter and bitterly regrets wasting all his youth on moon rocks.
-Machinery that is too sophisticated to be used.
-Wrangling rogue refrigerators from sofa-back with one hand and chugging a beer with the other on the Bungalow Plains of Lower Suburbia.
-Passive-aggressive organs.
-The rather large spider in the corner of your ceiling that’s presently deciding whether or not to jump on your neck and kill you before you finish reading this sentence.
-Real-time over-the-shoulder cover-based tactical-squad grittily-realistic first-person strategic boredom.
-A cardboard box shelter so grand that nine out of eleven humans would become homeless just for a chance to huddle in it for five minutes.
-Gorillas, chimpanzees, and other associated nonhuman primates that tirelessly campaign to end their cheap exploitation in modern mass media for shorthand ‘wackiness.’
-Monkeys that act like humans sometimes. Those poor, deluded fools.
-Racquetball on a court composed entirely of landmines. Exactly one is live.
- Loitering without intent but just sort of why not I guess I mean nothing better to do sure.

Storytime: My Gramma.

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

My gramma
by, Tammy, age, seven.

My gramma is my momma’s oldest relative, and, she is a Good Lady. She is nine, hundred years old and she has long grey hair and is bald on top like daddy’s grampa was before he caught the cancer and went away to live in a box. She is very tall and very wide and she can pick me in one hand and my sister who is six in the other and take us out riding on Sammie, who is her Bird.
Sammie is a big big bigger crow, who is bigger than my momma’s car. He can fly very reelly fast, and he says his name is Sawmeall, but gramma says to just call him Sammie because it irritatitatites bugs him a lots. He says his momma was a dark cave and his daddy was a dank wind and he helps gramma ever since she beat him with a riddle he couldn’t solve so now he had to promise to help her wich seems very silly but we don’t tell him because it would hurt his feelings.
Sometimes Sammie flies us to gramma’s house far, far, far, far, far away, but we’re always back in time for dinner because gramma won’t feed us dinner because she says we’d get sick. Gramma’s dinner is made from things that she won’t tell us but most of them are red and slimy and gross. She says if you eat them raw it’s not so bad but we think it’s disjusting. Gramma’s house has no doors and you have to come in through the chimney because all the windows hide when you look at them from outdoors. Gramma says they do that because they are shy but they are not good people and you should never try to feed them anything or they will bite your fingers rite off to the nuckles.
Gramma’s house has good books. Some are bigger than you are and some have, teeth, and some are both and gramma says to stay away from those but we already do because they growl at you and have meen eyes. Some of them are cookbooks and some of them are dictonairys and some of them are Very Special and gramma says we can reed them onse we are older.
In the attik of gramma’s house there is an old chest. We cannot open the old chest because it is lokked, and gramma doesn’t have the key because she gave it to an old, old, old, dragon to look after as a favour after she put an terribul curs on a sword that somebody said was going to kill him one day. We have never met the old, old, old, dragon, because, gramma says he is her x-husband, and he would be, cross to meet us and maybe eat us or breath poyson all ovver us. I told gramma that dragons breath fire but she says no, this one doesn’t, he breaths horribul poyson and you drown in it there is so much. It sounds gross and bad and I am glad we did never meet him but my gross little brother thinks he sounds cool because he is stupid and four. Gramma says he’s not as special as me and my sister because he is a boy and that meens he is stupid about this stuff.
Gramma takes us swimming sometimes in the lake that her house is nex to. It is big and misty and the misty trys to talk to you so you have to ignor it and, keep your eers underwater or it gets loud and angry. If the misty gets too angry gramma chases it away and says she’ll give it the back of her hand but not the whole hand because I guess it would be too much. The lake is full of ded fish but they are still moving, so, they are not reely ded fish just pretending like my sister pretends to cry, they like to nibbl your tos and it tickles. Gramma never swims with us because the water makes her teeth ake so she stays on the shore, and, tells us stories. One story gramma told us was about how she married a handsum prins one day and then she had children and lived happy ever after, but then the prins got jelus and had her loked up and she had to lern lots of magic to get away. Then she loked the prins up insted, in an, iron box, and she keeps it in her cupbard. The box is very small and has a little hole in front and she let us feed him bredcrums. He says bad words.
My favvorite thing that my gramma ever did was when we were visiting her and we got lost in the woods. I met a man who was like a doggy and had big teeth and he tried to grab me but I bit him first and ran away when he chased me. Then I hid in a big tree that gramma showed me because it was her friend, and it wouldn’t let, the doggy man inside no matter how many meen things he said to it. I hid in the tree for hours and hours and then gramma came walking down the path. I new it was gramma because I can see her no matter what, but she looked like an old little lady. The doggy-man tried to jump on her and she picked him up by his scruff and yelled bad words into his face and his face ran away. Then she threw him into the big tree and gave me a hug and spanking for going missing because she told us how bad the woods are. It hurt a lot but then she took us to a place with ice creem made from reel ice and it tasted like sweet snowflakes.
The other favvorite thing that my gramma ever did was when she was visiting us and it started raining so she had to take us home. It was a lot of rain and Sammie was flying fast but not fast enough because there was a thunderstorm, so, my little sister started crying because she is only six and that makes her cry a lot. I didn’t cry at all a bit. Gramma gave us hugs and told us to shush-shush and then she shook her fist up at the clouds and told them to Nock It Off. And they did not nock it off. So she stood up on Sammie’s back and told him to fly strait and then she reeched up reely high and she punched the stormclowds rite in there faces. And she punched them three more times and said something Very Special in between eech punch and then she pulled all the litning rite out like a string and she put it in her hair and all her hair went all sparky and sparkly and pretty so she started laughing and so did my sister and me. That was very nice and there was no more thunderstorm and my sister stopped crying but I didn’t because I wasn’t.

I love my gramma a lot and she is the best gramma in the world. Sumday she says I can tell mummy and daddy about her.

Tammy.

 

 

“My Gramma,” copyright Jamie Proctor, 2011.

Storytime: A Simple Explanation.

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

What?
No, what’s with that face you’re making? Don’t give me the silent treatment here, I don’t take passive-aggressiveness well at all, young lady. I’ve been waiting tables in holes like this part-time on and off for years, and you lose patience with bull pretty damned fast.
Really? Oh for goodness’s sake, you need an explanation for THAT?
Well, if you insist… what the hell do they teach you people in schools nowadays. Here, budge up and let me take a sit-down.

So, the issue started when I woke up five minutes early today. I shut off my loud-ass alarm before it could go, and unbeknownst to me, my upstairs neighbour sort of relied on that to wake her up for work in time – I think her name is Stephanie or something. Anyways, she slept in for two hours and only woke up when her cat bit her arm so he could get some breakfast, and didn’t check the clock until she was done waking up, kicking him, and feeding him.
So Stephanie went in to work – hours late – and when her boss saw the scratch marks all over her arm and heard her half-assed excuses for the time she thought that Stephanie was the burglar she’d had to chase out of the store after-hours last night – landed a good buncha punches on the intruder’s arm with a stapler. Boss-lady’s a bit paranoid and jumpy and living on more caffeine than sleep (comes with running a coffee shop, I guess), so she just freaks out in Stephanie’s face, Steph yells at her, and then before anyone really knew what was going on half the office was fighting the other half. Total sum of injuries was in double digits.
Well, one of the secretaries there – Charlotte, I think – was just about due for lunch break, so she takes advantage of a built-in excuse to leave and heads out for her bagel early. But the morning rush hasn’t really died down yet and she gets stuck in a crowd, where some crazy dick steals her purse. That’s even worse than it sounds because she was planning to pay her sister back that big loan she took out before she had to have Charlotte’s kneecaps snapped later in the evening.
Hey, you got a light? Thanks.
So, Charlotte needed ten thousand dollars, and she needed it fast. So she went to her bank, tearfully pleaded with them, was redirected to the ATM, and, well, went a little postal. Ripped off the closest cashier’s stocking, threw it over her head, and held her hostage with one of those horrible little pens they make you write with in there until they opened up the vault. The whole thing was over pretty fast, except for the car chase. Charlotte doesn’t have a license – she’s environmentally conscious and uses public transportation – so it started off a little rocky, but by the ending nobody’s speedometer was in double digits anymore and the highways were being cordoned. Pretty satisfying all around, I say, especially for the officer that finally took her down – Margaret, that was her. Never “Marge,” was real firm about that – “sounds like margarine or the Simpsons character, or maybe a withered little ninety-year-old lady with prune breath.” Yeah, Margaret shot out her tire, let her skid into a barricade, and then handcuffed the arm that was still working. Poor Charlotte. At least her sister took pity on the whole thing and decided she’d learned her lesson enough – and I think she hired a lawyer for her free of charge. Said she’d make a good getaway driver once she figured out braking.
Margaret didn’t take the whole thing that well at all; she went straight to the bars after work, got real maudlin, and ended up going home late with three other women. One of them – Candice? – got up at five in the morning to take a piss and tripped over…uh… was it Margaret’s cat, her own feet, or both? Both. Yeah, both. Anyways, she tripped on them and managed to set off the fire alarm, which put me (this was my apartment building, didn’t I say?) and about a hundred other people out on the streets a bit early and pretty damned surly. And to make matters worse, one of the girls with Margaret ran into her friend-with-benefits in the crowd – Tammy, yeah – and Tammy got all snide and snippy. Bit of a prude, she always was. A very good hypocrite though, as the girl pointed out. Well, that turned out a mite uglier than it might’ve, but Margaret still had a pair or two of cuffs lying around (can’t imagine why, can you?) and the whole thing was smoothed over fast enough.
Tammy wasn’t a fan of her jail much, and she used her call for a lawyer. Of course. Problem was, her lawyer was busy with Charlotte. And when she told Tammy so, well, Tammy broke the phone. And guess who got called in to fix it the next morning, huh? My sister, Antoinette. And guess who found her ex-girlfriend in a cell for punching up half a bar? Antoinette. Hey, while you’re at it, guess who hadn’t told her ex-girlfriend yet about the ex-girlfriend part? Antoinette.
Got a smoke to go with this light? Aw, thanks, you’re a sweetheart.
So they started fighting. A few snide remarks, a few hurtful comments, and by the time half an hour had gone by the phone was half-fixed and ignored and they were screaming – Antoinette about how she’d never called her back after she let the iguana starve to death, and Mary about how Antoinette had always been too fat.
And after that Antoinette felt so betrayed and used that she just snapped out the first thing that popped into her head, which was that Mary’s quasi-incestuous relationship with her step-brother that she’d confided in her was in fact non-incestuous because she knew for a fact that he was adopted, which just about completely ruined the whole thing for Mary on the spot. Poor kinky thing crumpled like cardboard and started crying, and that got Antoinette booted out.
Now, since she was tired and cranky, she phoned me up to whinge about it. Only now I was busy working my other job, which involved driving, and I ended up rear-ending some SUV-driving twit who decided that slowing before braking was for the little, insignificant people. Put my fist in her teeth and cracked a knuckle, so me and the car both had to go separate ways for repairs.
While I was at the hospital, the doctor received a phone call from Stephanie – her best friend – about how she’d just been fired, got depressed, and perked herself up before the surgery with a hit of something she’d written her own prescription for. She must’ve slipped a bit too much, because she sort of confused me for someone else, put me under anesthetic before you could say kiss-my-ass, and I woke up with my wisdom teeth removed and my knuckle still swollen, but with a bandaid on it. The doctor was sorry, and gave me some meds to kill the swollen mouth and stop the drooling a little. So that was THAT problem solved, only my goddamned shiftless coworker needed a pick-me-up and swiped ‘em while I was in the bathroom five minutes ago. Not a problem, I think, sure I can cope. Except on the trip between the kitchen and your booth here I think I gained five pounds in pure saliva, and it was either drop it in front of me or spray it in your face.

And that’s why I spat in your eggs just now. Christ, why’s it so hard to get young people to understand something so simple.

 

“A Simple Explanation” copyright Jamie Proctor, 2011.

Storytime: Door to Door.

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011

My suit is itchy, scratchy, and new. It squeaks when I walk, like a rat in a trap. The bundle of crudely-printed pamphlets is a comforting weight in my left hand, slightly sticky with low-quality ink in the aimless humidity of summer.
The house is slovenly, ill-kept. Its lawn lies in ruins, of the two cars in the driveway, one is missing all its tires, half its hood, and its engine has been stripped bare three times over. The other doesn’t appear to have benefited much from its brother’s donations.
I knock on the door, and a dog barks, sound muffled by its flapping lips and drool.
A creak, a crack, and a suspicious, pudgy face with too much stubble and too little beard.
“Greetings this day, sir or potentially madam! Have you heard the –”
The door slams shut with an indecipherable curse and a lot of creaking. I bow politely to it and place a single loose-leafed pamphlet on the misspelt-by-wear “welco” mat. Perhaps it will be enough, perhaps not.
This home stands firm. It has been tended to – with care, if not obsession – and someone has even put in the effort to do some halfhearted weeding in the flowerbeds, where overstuffed bumblebees are even now ambling. The face that opens the door is puzzled, not wary, and I don’t smell the aroma of an interrupted meal. Perfect opportunity.
“Hello there,” the owner says. It’s scrawny and leathery but not particularly tough-looking, like an old shoe.
“Greetings this day, human,” I say politely, taking care not to appear over-eager. “Have you heard the soundless word?”
The expression is probably puzzled – the eyebrows are doing that thing again, where one of them twitches a lot. “I’m sorry?”
“The scream that speaks! The wailing and gnashing of teeth delivered by the prophets, who speak the word of the one-who-begins!”
The owner scratches himself in an idle, indolent sort of way. “Sorry…which prophets? I’m not sure I’ve heard of much of this before.”
“The Worm of Terror and the Unending Maw, mostly,” I say. “Mostly the Maw. It’s still proselytizing, I believe, in the temple-without-bottom-or-depth. You can travel there when it speaks on the eighth Tuesday of every month.”
“Uh-huh. Listen, sorry, I’m, uh, catholic. Good luck.” This door clicks when it closes, but is no less final than its neighbour’s thud-whack.
I fantasize about tearing it into millions of pieces smaller than a spider’s breakfast, then control myself with an effort. I represent something greater than myself here, and to look poorly is to make it appear so. I’d have to eat the whole block to cover it up, and I’m sure that Father Breath would know somehow, no matter what I did. He just does, and then he gives you that very sad, drawn, disappointed look with all five of his eyes.
Courage and persistence in the face of it all, I remind myself, and leave a pamphlet, faintly oozing blue-ringed octopus ink and venom. The last page said something about how the faithful would be rendered immune to its effects, and it would be a good idea to convert now, which was probably true or at least close enough.
“May your agony be holy,” I say politely to the closed door, and with a heavy heart I turn towards the final home of the street, the last of many. It is small and poorly-painted and there is a fat, monstrous cat on its stoop, sunning himself indolently. It hisses at me, as they tend to do.
Knock, knock, knock. A proper old-fashioned doorknocker. None of this electric buzzer claptrap, or a bare, bald-faced door. Maybe this one will be different.
The face that answers it is wrinkled and pale, with many spots. Peculiar little metal and glass things are cupping its eyes and possibly restraining them from toppling out of their sockets thanks to the permanent forty-five-degree hunch their owner possesses.
“Hello?” it asks. Its voice is thin and wavery, like an elder forced to speak above the waterline, but slightly more comprehensible without the bass hissing underlying every other syllable.
“Greetings this day, heir of decay and slave of reason,” I say. “Tell me, have you put any thought into the state of your impending demise at the hands of your flesh-shell?”
It blinks at me, so very slowly that the gesture doesn’t seem to merit its connotations of quickness. “Are you the postal man?” it asks.
I decide to employ strict truth. “I am a messenger of sorts.”
“Well that’s just peachy then. Come on in, you’ll catch your death of cold.”
I step inside the house – which is notably cooler than the outside – and am confronted with forty-five tonnes and sixty-year’s worth of bric-a-brac and trinkets. I am vividly reminded of my father-spawner’s mindhoard, if it contained less cursed idols and more chintz.
“Would you like a drink or something mister…”
To claim a name at my slender age would be most presumptuous, but I have permission granted for short-term pseudonyms, provided I express proper horror and self-disgust after the affair is through.
“Walk,” I say. “Brother Walk.” A small, tiny, miniscule title, but still outside my reach. “Water would be appreciated if gifted freely.”
“Wong? Funny, you don’t look it.” On a less shrivelled face, that look might have passed for critical, but here it looks entirely lost. “But I suppose you do look a bit foreign. You speak English so well though, mister Wang.”
I casually check my face as it busies itself at the kitchen. No wonder the last few houses had gone sour so quickly – my left cheekbone had sunk out of sight. I gingerly pop it back into place with only a slight sucking sound, easily masked by the nattering of the human.
“… lovely to get a visitor. And how’s Sherry?”
“I do not know a Sherry,” I respond, truthful.
“Well, I always knew she’d up and do that sort of thing. Dreadful tramp, if you’ll pardon my saying so, and you’re all the better for it. Plenty more fish in the pond and all that.” A half-glued mug of some manner of fruit juice is thrust onto me. “There you are, mister Walker. And the children?”
I am a child myself, and would not dream of bifurcating this century, let alone actual spawning. But my younger brothers and sisters provide an easy way out of once again speaking nothing but truth, and I can echo “they’re fine and growing,” with nothing but a light and free hearts.
It nods aimlessly and produces another mug for itself.
“Miss resident of Oakview two-hundred-forty-three,” I say, deciding it is time to get down to business, “have you heard the soundless word?”
“Every night, mister Wally,” she says firmly. “Every night. They simply can’t keep it down next door. I know, I know, I was up to some pretty fishy things at that age too, but I was quiet and discreet, no matter what. Self-restraint is simply too rare in this day and age…”
I think of how many of my younger brothers and sisters I’ve had to consume after they’d eaten themselves into torpors, becoming comatose, useless lumps of nothing. “Indeed.”
“And they’re at it every night! They’ll wear all the fun out of it, they will – without novelty, nothing’s enjoyable! Why, me and Herbert only did it maybe three times a month. And we planned ahead; none of this willy-nilly stuff and nonsense.” It snorts into its mug.
“Hominid,” I say, attempting to return to the topic at hand, “when I speak of the soundless word, I refer to that which is spoken by the one-who-begins, the great consumer, who swims in the center and feasts. Do you know anything about that?”
“Can’t say I do,” it says brightly. Then it frowns. “Unless you mean your uncle Eddie. He just wouldn’t stop eating, you know. And he never did wait half an hour before swimming afterwards. Poor man. At least the shark choked on him, so they got it too.”
“It is scribed in the fortieth tablet of the ninth verses of the tales of the lost starfisher that the shark is the ruin of all hope of life,” I say helpfully, in an attempt to keep the conversation on track.
“Do tell!”
“Yes. You see, mister resident, we are all as larvae, adrift on the empty waves and battling the zooplankton of doubt, hope, and remorse. We distract ourselves in our efforts to gorge upon our younger, less-apt siblings, while ever trying to ignore the gaping maw that lurks beneath.”
“Yes?” It appears to be paying attention for the first time, and I feel my ichor begin to pump a little faster as I got into the sermon.
“And the thing about this, resident, that must be understood: that maw does not care about you. You are incidental to its purposes, and it is only going about its business – seizing a nearby fish, perhaps, which itself is an entity that is barely within your tiny perspective. The shark is the ruin of all hope of life, and this can only be a good thing, for without hope, understanding may be found, and only those who understand can begin to thrive. Though, of course, not survive.”
I watch as she thought this over, feeling rather pleased with myself. Stirring stuff, even if I had borrowed some of the broader metaphor and a few of the specific lines from Father Breath. It was only tribute to him, really.
“Tell me, mister Wilbur,” she says at last.
I wait. For quite some time.
“Yes?” I ask after about thirty cycles of my digestive tract, once it has become apparent that it is asleep.
“I’m sorry, young man?”
“You were about to tell me something,” I clarify.
“Oh yes! Tell me, mister Wallace… you see, that’s all very fascinating, but I just have one little question about your church.”
I’m willingly to ignore its inaccurate terminology for the sake of expedience. I’ve seen several human churches in the past few days, and comparing the widetombs where the low sermons are held to them is like comparing a decaying whale to a healthy human.
“Tell me… do you have Sunday school?”
“Every day is a learning experience for elder and young, resident,” I say. “From when to hide when the ur-beetles shriek and when they are merely sporting, to the correct suns to curse and pray to when the moons lie a-synch.”
“Yes, but do you have Sunday school?”
“We teach our children on every day of any week, every lesson they must learn. Except the ones they need to learn themselves on pain of purge.”
“Yes, that’s quite lovely, but do you have Sunday school?”
“Yes. We have schooling on Sundays.”
“How lovely. I know a few of my great-grandchildren would simply adore the chance. And your church, is it near?”
“Wherever futility is made idol, sapient.”
“That’s just lovely,” it says. “Do you have the address?”
I hand over a pamphlet, taking care not to touch its skin directly. I know that you can’t CATCH mortality, but superstition runs in my family. Knock on iron.
“Everything you need to know,” I say with absolute truth, “is in there. And now I am afraid that I must be off. I have spread the soundless word to this road, and my task is done.”
“Oh, aren’t you a good boy,” it says fondly. “Here, have a cookie for the road.”
I accept the small, nutritionally dead bit of charred grains and eat it through one of the orifices in my face. I’m in a hurry now, and just guess at which one is socially acceptable.
“Now, you stay safe out there,” it calls after me as I walk down the sidewalk, innards grating away the baked layers of its gift. “There’s all manner of nasty things that can happen after dark, and I’d hate to hear of a nice young man like yourself coming to harm!”
“The scream that speaks will mask me,” I reply to it, “and concern is the great lie that voids the unending pain.”
“Be sure to wear bright colours on the road at night!”
“Thank you, anthropomorph!”

I count my pamphlets as I walk off the edge of the street and into the empty that wraps around it, out of sight and mind and soul’s understanding of its residents. I started with… I struggle to remember my training in numbers… four…ty. Then I put (hmmm) thirtish on doorsteps. Then I gave one away.
Still, one convert is a gateway to dozens more. And the spawn would be intrigued to meet young of another species. Perhaps humans would be more intellectually and spiritually sensible at a younger age. What was that line of Father Breath’s? Ah, yes.
“’Give me a pupae before it reaches full bloat and bursts,’” I quote, in humanese, “’and it will belong to the broken dreams of the one-who-begins until it is drained away into the meme-pools of its far-descendants.”
Really, it lost a lot in the translation.

 

“Door to Door” copyright Jamie Proctor, 2011.