I savor the cool, metallic heft of the revolver, this time gripped in my expendable hand. The overhead lights shine on the firearm’s thick barrel, that begs to be fondled. I rest the pad of my left forefinger against the curve of the trigger; a pull of its mechanism will spark a cathartic crescendo of madness and mayhem. I picture a muzzle flare followed with the eruption of gun smoke and sparkling debris. I anticipate the wave of ecstasy that will course through my nervous system as the bullet shoots off, slicing through the air like a tiny comet, to inaugurate the great purge of all things gross.
A gust of wind rattles the windowpanes, accompanied by the rumble of distant thunder. Does the revolver remain loaded after the earlier stunt that tore my right hand off? With my left forefinger, I slide forward awkwardly the cylinder release latch and hold it firmly, then with my right thumb I push the cylinder open. The six chambers are filled with greenish-yellow bullets designed for optimal penetration, and the percussion cap of each one bears the mark of the horseman along with his motto in golden lettering: “To end everything so that it can begin anew.” I picture my equine companion during our last hunt near the city of Cologne back in 1745, when we chased a white-tailed deer as it bolted in the moonlight across a dark road.
I close my eyes and raise the revolver’s cylinder to my nostrils. I sniff a round, inhaling the metallic tang of its metalwork mingled with that of steel. I imagine myself sucking the bullet in through my nose to figure out what a vacuum cleaner feels like.
“Is this your attempt to intimidate me?” the blob sneers.
“Oh, no way. I’m just fiddling around with this old thing that was bequeathed to me. A twenty-five caliber Desert Eagle chambered with .357 Magnum rounds.”
“You have no clue what you’re talking about.”
With a flick of my left wrist, I snap the revolver’s cylinder closed; it locks snugly against the frame with a click. I glare at the greasy goober, who is uglier than a boil on a homeless man’s butt cheek. He expects me to fire back with an irate retort, but instead I should squeeze the trigger and blow away that mucus-spewing blancmange before my sanity dissolves like an ice cube on the tongue of a polar bear.
“Do not mock me,” I growl. “Who are you to speak to me thus? My father? What did you ever do to deserve the privilege of pissing on me, you bloated sewage slug? What have you achieved in your pitiful life besides spreading putridity? For your information, ever since I was twelve I have known that firearms kill people and animals; the cops taught me how to load and fire guns during a summer camp for disturbed children. Afterwards I patronized shooting ranges to hone my aim. I went shooting in a deserted lot near my apartment to vent my wrath upon vermin and scavenging crows.” I draw a deep breath. “My grandfather, Arachne collect his soul, used to tell me that one day the government would organize a giant database to contain the fingerprints, retinal scans, DNA sequences, medical records, financial data, and online browsing habits of every man, woman, and child. They would track your transactions and the places you’ve traveled. They would track who has visited your home and with whom you had sex. They would know which toilet paper brand you prefer, and how often you masturbate. Despite the government’s excuses that these programs would provide security against terrorism and international crime, the dossiers would be exploited to spy on law-abiding citizens for political ends. If they couldn’t confiscate your privacy through legal channels, they would manufacture emergencies as pretexts for suspending constitutional rights. They intend to create a panopticon society in which people’s behavior is monitored from every street corner and every shop front, from inside every home. If you dared to utter anything deemed inappropriate, they would label you and your family as subversives. They would come in the night while we slept: jackbooted thugs in black riot gear would smash down our doors, storm our homes, then drag us from our beds while we kicked and screamed and pissed ourselves. They’d shove us into boxcars, like livestock or slaves, and seal the doors shut with locks and chains. When the train reached its destination, each boxcar would be uncoupled and rolled toward some industrial complex, where we’d be forced at gunpoint to disembark into a cattle chute. Once we had been identified by a biometric scanner, those labeled as genetic undesirables would be herded into killing pens, and their offspring taken to undergo de-individualization and de-genitalization procedures. Healthy boys would be conditioned through pharmacology and cognitive-behavioral therapy to become docile. Healthy girls would be bred. The rest of the captives, the lucky ones, would be given numbered jumpsuits and put to work in assembly lines under the supervision of armed guards. Those who resisted would be gunned down and incinerated. The workers would slave away until they dropped dead of exhaustion, disease, and malnutrition, or until the state euthanized them.” I swallow a lump in my throat. “I have the right to defend myself against tyrants, so I have kept this revolver close at hand for decades, and I will shoot any creature or inanimate object that could harbor hostile intent toward me or my loved ones. What, you think that a perverted freak like me would suffer a crisis of conscience, or that I would be intimidated by an animated heap of diarrhea like you? Hah! I have always fantasized about taking vengeance and inflicting maximum torment. Whenever necessary, I wouldn’t mind killing anyone, including myself. In fact, I yearn to kill someone. I feel that such a sacrifice might liberate the demonic energy that rages within me like a wildfire. I long for the freedom and catharsis of destruction. Everything must end so that it can begin anew.”
The blob’s dozens of eyeballs glow like those of a frog that has swallowed a lit matchstick.
“That’s not at all disturbing. You can’t kill me anyway, dickhead.”
My chest heaves as my heart beats wildly. A bead of sweat slides down my cheek and drops from my chin. I must stink like a pungent blend of sour milk and sweaty gym socks. I want to wipe myself down with a towel soaked in rubbing alcohol.
“You’re a shapeless pimple that needs to be squeezed dry,” I mumble.
“A few bullets and your silly threats. Please! You should know by now that they’re only going to make me laugh.”
It pours through me in waves, this violent longing for carnage and debauchery, a mélange uniquely mine, the product of being both a masochist and a fetishist; yet, my shoulders slump, and I feel like a broken car battery. My revolver has become more cumbersome than driftwood.
“I’m inclined to believe you. Someone this slippery and revolting must be as inescapable as the heat death of the universe.” I put the revolver down on the desk with a clunk. “But don’t expect me to apologize for the threats, because that’s my default setting. Even when I go for a walk on the beach, I feel like punching someone or hurling garbage at other beachgoers, so I would blast you with a nuclear bomb if I could.”
Author’s note: today’s song is “Untrustable” by Built to Spill.
I keep a playlist with all the songs mentioned throughout this novel. A hundred and three songs so far. Check them out.
Some neural networks out there are eager to generate all sorts of wild images for us, such as the ones in this post.
I added audio to this AI craziness, thanks to Eleven Labs. Check it out.
My mother has caught the virus from my sister, and I have spoken with my mother in person recently. I suppose that I’m about to experience how it feels when that damnable pathogen makes a playground out of your body. I’m vaccinated, which gave me permanent heart damage, so I hope that at the very least it has made me less vulnerable to the disease.
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