We’re Fucked, Pt. 90 (Fiction)

When the blob stops cackling like a deranged donkey, I unclench my jaw and smack my lips.

“Anyway, I have sussed out your identity: you’re Nergal, lord of waste water and excrement, king of the putrefying dead, who dwells in the sewers underneath reality. You brought about the deaths of billions throughout the ages. I’m one of the few souls attuned to the growth of decay; I know you had been lurking under my ass all these years, so I was waiting for you to rise up and stalk the world once more.”

“Leire, shut the fuck up and listen. My name is Alberto Portuondo, and I’m a proctologist. I’ve never had any formal training in my chosen career, but I can recognize when a woman needs to squat.”

“Proctologists are supposed to treat medical ailments like diarrhea, not resemble them,” I say coolly. “On the topic of pretend jobs, I’m a self-employed dildo sharpener.”

The blob gurgles as if choking on his own vomit, but then he chortles. His bulk spasms with mirth, churning like a sea of creamy quicksand, making his eyeballs bounce about. The underside of the mass oozes in elongating tongues that resemble black lava.

I step back in case the blob spurts a phlegm of rot that may splatter onto my face.

“I believe that everyone should strive to learn something new every day, and this evening I have discovered that I hate to watch an interdimensional puddle of gloop laugh.”

“You should laugh more often, Leire, to better put up with your own crazy-assed nonsense.”

“Oh, I cackle plenty myself. There’s nothing funny about witnessing the disintegration of civilization every time I go outside, but I resort to humor in an effort to prevent further suicide attempts.”


“As for you, obnoxious ball of pus,” I say sternly, “there should be a law against impersonating proctologists. The audacity to masquerade as the unsung heroes of anal science! To perform that crucial but degrading job, those wretches train for years until they locate the anus. Such ass-obsessed perverts, who dream of slathering up human colons, help millions of assholes reach enlightenment by curing hemorrhoids, constipation, and anal fissures using only a pair of scissors, rubber gloves, and their own saliva. Proctologists are the butt-nuns of our times.”

“No, stop meandering about the subject!”

“Listen to this impromptu ode to anal inspection: ‘The doctor, a blob-faced butt-nun/ Whose talent lies in his uncanny knack/ For excavating human rectums,/ Approaches me with an insatiable urge./ He screws his speculum in hard,/ Filling my virginal bowels with disgust./ It hurts! My soul is coming loose!/ A thousand turds and rotting guts/ Hang out of my anus in a festering heap./ I must escape my prison or end as a ghost./ Twist up an ass-chute!/ Shove stuff up your rectum and pull it out/ All day long, so that when night falls,/ Your anus gleams like a starry sky.'”

The blob’s fat form shudders.

“Your poetry is as horrendous as your mind!”

“It’s part of an anally-oriented verse cycle. We should turn our disgusting natures into precious expressions of art.”

“Alright, cut the crap,” the blob grumbles. “Please tell me that you have retained my name. It’s Alberto, not Nergal, nor any other of the made-up names that may be swirling around in your cracked cerebrum. Just Alberto, which, as far as it concerns you, means ‘the one who is pure at heart, and the king of mercy.'”

“You’re so vile and combative, added to that grating voice and oily appearance, that despite your lack of a dong, you must consider yourself a man. All the men in this part of the country should be named Jon; what dude is worth a second glance after that? And you think I would enjoy fraternizing with a blob of rotten ectoplasm, one that hailed from some hellish dimension to torment and enrage me?”

His dozens of eyeballs somehow lance me with a dismissive gaze.

“I assure you I’m quite the gentleman once you get to know me. Besides, back when I belonged to this reality where we’re plagued with unrelenting ennui, I was as pretty as you. I even had two working hands, two pairs of eyelashes, and a big willy.”

“Let’s pretend that for now I’m buying that you’re a bona fide Alberto, even though you don’t strike me as such. I would love to prattle at length about the topic of identity, as well as the many indignities of having been born, but let me leave it at this: if I had to come up with a moniker that captured the absurdity of your existence, I would have settled for Kafka the Sloppy.”

“You’re too hung up on appearances.”

“The runner-ups would have been Splat the Whale, Stinkerbell the Hiccupping Hellion, Oozie McDozie, Rip van Stinky, Drooling Dracul, Booger Baggins, Snot Gurgler, Scrotal Slide, Blowfish Bowel, Bubba Mubb, and Toxic Sludge Boy.”

The blob snickers.

“These bodies we wear are ephemeral, you know.”

“Also viscous and mutable, judging by how you’re oozing down that wall. Stuffed as you are with hundreds of cubic meters of putrid blubber, I bet the closest you’ve ever gotten to feeling sexy is when you squirt glop at unsuspecting maidens.”

“I get it, Leire: you make jokes to escape the pain. That’s your coping mechanism. What else is left for you to do but whack off inside your little bubble of neurosis?”

“Maybe that applies for when I’m alone,” I say bitterly. “Is there a need to be so cruel, though?”

“What matters is that now you know who I am. I’d like to say honestly that I enjoy seeing you again. Face-to-face, so to speak.”

“I understand that you claim to be named Alberto. What does that have to do with me? I don’t think I have ever interacted with any Alberto.”

While his bulging bulk jiggles, matching the intensity of the peals of thunder outside, the blob gurgles as if drowning in an acid swamp. White light swims in dozens of moist, wobbling eyeballs that resemble the audience at a medieval beheading.

“You’re fucking serious!” he snarls.

I anticipate a blast of noxious fumes, so I squint, and pinch my nose.

“Why do you insist that we’re acquainted? Did we meet in a nightmare?”

“I’m your coworker!”

“Ah, you worked with me back in the day? No wonder I have forgotten you. To preserve my sanity and self-esteem, my mind has rubbed out most details of the jobs I held briefly and that caused me excruciating despair. A case of trauma-induced amnesia. However, I retain feelings of shame, and guilt, and that impression of being surrounded by monsters that resent my existence. There aren’t many humans I could work alongside, or even look in the eye, without wanting to hurl myself under a truck. And riddle me this, you ill-fated lump of ooze: why would I need to be tortured with such feelings when the memories that engendered them are gone? Is that conducive to my survival, in an evolutionary sense?”

“No, no, I worked with you in this office! I sat on your left, on that chair that the redheaded intern occupies! I helped you troubleshoot complex bugs!”

I snap my head back.

“Are you sure you’re not making this up, just to confuse me more? I write my own unit tests.”

“Do you want me to spit in your face again?!”

I slap my cheeks to rouse myself from my daze.

“Okay, give me a moment. Let’s see if I can dredge up some memory.”

“This is a load of bullshit,” the blob bitches.

I close my eyes. In the theater of my mind, I grab a handful of the oily putrescence that has colonized the opposite wall. Handful after handful, the slime seeps away to reveal an animated memory, a GIF image stuck in the folds of my brain like a fly in amber: I’m slumped in my swivel chair, at my workstation, but I’m looking up at the lanky man who’s standing to my left.

He’s in his late forties. His straight black hair, overdue for a cut, is streaked with ash gray. Under dwarven-thick eyebrows and steel-blue eyes, both his eyebags and laugh lines are pronounced. His stubble resembles fuzzy snow. The man’s mouth moves as if he’s talking to someone across the desk, likely our boss, but my brain failed to attach audio to this clip.

I recall why I tried to forget the guy even while he worked alongside me five days a week: whenever I primed myself and asked for help, often because I had run aground as I was navigating the Byzantine logic of his code, he eyed me like a derogatory basilisk, and I was forced to endure his snarky remarks and sour moods. ‘Hey, do you mind telling me what the fuck you’re doing with my code?’ Sometimes he smacked his monitor. Worst of all: the volume of his voice hurt my delicate eardrums. With that walking ulcer around, I barely heard myself think. I wished that I could get away with wearing noise-canceling headphones during work hours, or at least punching him in the throat. When our boss told us one morning that the guy had quit suddenly, I breathed a sigh of relief. Thereafter, the silence at the office tasted like the sweetest ambrosia, except for Jacqueline’s choice of music, but I have long absolved her of that sin.

I snap out of the GIF.

“Shit, you did work here! Your name was Alberto, then. What the fuck happened, dude? You should take better care of yourself, you’re really bloated.”

The blob lets out a grunt that sounded critical, as if I had committed a heinous faux pas.

“What, are you still pissed because I forgot?” I ask. “It’s not my fault you weren’t memorable. Or are you ashamed that you went full fatberg, so humongous that you’re forced to enter rooms through another dimension?”

He deflates like a punctured blimp.

“You aren’t playing with me, right?” the blob asks in a pitiful yet grotesque voice. “Do you remember me now?”

“Yes, yes! You’re that gray-haired, worn-out coworker of ours, a crotchety prick who dragged Jacqueline and I into arguments about women because you hated your ex-wife, who cheated on you, stole half of your stuff, and left you to rot.”

The blob’s eyeballs shine like candles in a crypt as his bulk goes lake-still, except for the tears of melted rubber drooping from his bottom.

I allow him a few seconds of silence before yanking him out of his hole.

“You should have let go of that bitterness, man,” I say grimly. “There are far worse things than living life alone.”

Author’s note: below is the list of songs for today, a total of sixteen (!).

I keep a playlist with all the songs mentioned throughout this novel. A hundred and twenty-one so far. Check them out.

Did you know that a new artificial intelligence can create humanlike voices that pass the Turing test? I forced it to act out this chapter! Check out the result.

One thought on “We’re Fucked, Pt. 90 (Fiction)

  1. Pingback: We’re Fucked, Pt. 91 (Fiction) – The Domains of the Emperor Owl

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