“Shut your slimy, stinking piehole. Please return to that hellish dimension from whence you came, or else roll down a hillside to your doom. Leave me in peace and quiet.”
“Or what, huh?” the blob retorts. “I’m not going anywhere until you listen to what I have to say, and I haven’t even started.”
“Good! Stay stuck to that wall forever if you want. You’re an interdimensional scab on a diseased surface. But you are alive, so at one point you’ll fall asleep, and then I’ll squeeze your fat guts between my thighs! Your squishy innards will drown in my wetness!”
The gooey mass squirms, stretching and contracting, as it emits a guttural retching noise, like that of a vacuum cleaner clogged with swallowed hairs and chunks of food waste. It makes me want to cover my ears. I realize that the blob is coughing up a lump of glop when the wad of black sputum flies out, hurtling across the office toward my face like a fist-sized, viscid stone from a slingshot.
My mind slows time down, turning the projectile into a shimmering blur that expands as it approaches its target. I picture a woman who, distracted texting, understood she was crossing the train tracks just as a freight train was bearing down on her, about to whomp the ghost out of her body. Her consciousness lingered for hours inside the slab of metal that crushed her brain, and then she sailed into the cosmos. As for me, I can’t dodge the sputum, but I manage to close my eyes and turn my head away as I gasp.
The glob of gunk splatters on my right cheek with a thwack, as if I have been smacked across the face by a cold, wet hand. The impact makes me flinch back. A pungent fume, that must have trailed behind the gooey comet like a tail, penetrates my nostrils with the stench of acidic regurgitation mixed with that of rotten eggs boiled in dirty diapers.
Hunched over, I shriek as if someone were cutting my heart out with a knife. My knees threaten to buckle under the weight of my horror, because the blob has spurted acid at me, and I know what comes next: in a second my skin will sizzle and bubble, burning with a caustic fire that will sear my nerves. I will feel the right half of my face withering and ripping apart as it gets vaporized into carbon dioxide. The acid will eat into my tongue and right eye, will melt flesh and turn bone to mush until it reaches my brain. How long will it take for my mind to dissolve into chaos?
Have I fainted? My right cheek tingles with numbness as if I had been slapped hard. A chill has spread throughout my body, my skin is crawling, and waves of nauseous revulsion are breaking on the shore of my soul. That gunk clings to my right cheek, even to my upper lip like a viscous mustache. The gooey mass must be swarming with germs and parasites, but other than that, it feels like I’ve been sneezed on by a bronchitic clown.
The ringing in my ears subsides, and I hear an uproar like a drove of pigs oinking. That blob is chortling with glee at my misfortune.
“Bullseye from across the office!” he crows.
My right eye is gummed shut. I part that pair of eyelids with my trembling fingers, but I end up smearing my fingertips with cold glop, like dipped in molasses. I blink frantically; it stings as if I had squirted lemon juice into my right eye. Although my tear glands are overflowing with brine, I witness that the filthy slimeball is jiggling like jello, emitting wet squelches, wobbling his eyeballs, and dripping pints of putrid muck onto the carpet. A myriad of warty bumps, one of them butt-shaped, have sprouted all over the blob’s body, making it resemble a rotten, oily cauliflower. His acidic laughter, that must have been festering in his septic bowels for centuries, is lancing my eardrums on its way to corrode my synapses. If only my mind could shrink to the size of an insect and take wing to escape the blob’s cretinous cackles.
“Y-you wretched slime-gargoyle!” I cry out.
The blob coughs, spitting drops of goo, as he recovers from his fit.
“And you are a tasteless twerp,” he barks in a mucus-choked voice. “While you’re at it, scream for your mommy.”
“I wish I were! What the fuck is wrong with you, apart from being the foulest lowlife in the entire universe? Don’t you know a basic rule of etiquette? Never spit on a lady!”
The blob laughs like a broken-down garbage truck with bad brakes.
“What lady? I was aiming at a perverted freak!”
My fury burns with flames so intense that my skin must be glowing crimson. I have turned back into a teenager, and the imagined version of my mother is scolding me, looking down her nose, shaking her head, because I never loved the color pink, or baby-oil soap. Instead, a pagan blaze had kindled in my loins, one that threatened to burn for millennia.
My vision is blurring. When I force my vocal cords to obey, my voice comes out ragged.
“I’m sick, you ignorant blob of filth.”
“Nope, just a kinky perv who needs a good spanking.”
My hands ball into fists. A fire-red fog, the hot breath of primal rage, is spreading through my frontal cortex. I shut my eyes, then try to calm my heartbeat. Although I’m breathing through my mouth to reduce the sting in my nasal cavity, I’m tasting decay like rotting lettuce soaked in sweat.
Outside, the thunderstorm thunders on: a cosmic war with rain as bullets. Its torrential downpour is slapping at the windows like a madman trying to wake the dead. I feel cold, viscous sputum oozing down my neck.
That abyssal lord of pestilence has sullied the right half of my face, covering it with slimy gunk as disgusting as the one in which he keeps his eyes. I want to claw the sludge off with my fingernails before it dries and hardens into a crusty mask, but the prospect of soiling more of my skin with that goop makes me shudder. Should I wipe my face off with a sleeve? No, afterwards I’d have to burn my shirt.
I forgot that I always keep a pack of facial tissues next to my monitor; I never know when I’ll need to clean up in a hurry. I wipe my fingertips. I run tissue after tissue across my right cheek with deliberate strokes. I swipe away the gunk that clings to my upper lip. I remove the slime stuck in my eyelashes and eyebrows. Am I clean now? I slide my knuckles along my right cheek; it’s coated in a mucous film. I grab another tissue and I scrub the tacky half of my face to wipe all traces of that monster off. After I finish, I toss the balled-up tissue onto the heap of its brethren in my wastebasket. Likely I still stink like a septic tank, but at least I don’t look like a slime-drenched sloth who has dunked her head in a bucket of rancid lube.
“Having your face covered in goo suited you better,” the blob says. “Really brought out your eyes, as well as your inner monster.” He chuckles. “Anyway, back to work! It’s about time we get down to brass tacks.”
My right cheek aches with the strain of my frenzied scrubbing. Spike’s revolver, a relic of a bygone era when most households kept one on top of the TV as a phallic totem to ward off demons, is waiting next to my keyboard. The meticulous curves of that gleaming, silvery hunk of metal call out to me.
Author’s note: today’s song is “I Would Hurt a Fly” by Built to Spill.
I keep a playlist with all the songs mentioned throughout this novel. A hundred and two songs so far. Check them out.
Are you a fan of goo? Then you may enjoy the pictures that a neural network generated regarding this chapter. Here’s the link.
A revolutionary AI that generates Turing-ready voices acted out this chapter. Check it out.
So Leire’s nightmare continues during this sequence, a tale in two halves where both halves are hell.
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