“Let’s both steer clear of the subject of sex,” Alberto the blob says, “and focus on what brought me here.”
“I guess I can try.”
“Even though for someone as morally bankrupt as yourself, every topic of conversation leads inexorably to your depraved proclivities.”
“Yes, it’s like pulling yourself off the edge of a cliff when every fiber of your being urges you to leap headfirst into the void. But I did offer you my cooperation. So, why would a vile creature such as yourself crawl out of some cesspool to take refuge in this dimension? Go ahead and spill a viscous and revolting tale.”
“I came to pay you a visit partly because you invited me,” the blob says smugly. “Some time ago, as you sat in your car, you yelled that the fucker with the car messages should just pop up and talk to you face to face. I believe you also called me a pussy. Even though I, magnanimous fellow that I am, wanted to spare you the sight of this oozing guise, our troubles have continued to worsen, so here I am.”
I rub my forehead. The outburst to which Mr. Blobby over there alluded sounds like something I might have croaked while fuming.
“I used to be an ordinary car owner, wasn’t I…? Wh-what was that about a message?”
The blob’s bulk lurches, making the snot-like ropes of goo that dangle from his bottom jiggle, or drop to enlarge gloppy puddles on the carpet.
“You have forgotten that too?!”
“Forgive me, Arachne, for my blundering lack of awareness. That happened a long time ago! My brain had weeks to edit it out. Besides, I care very little about my life.”
“Do you recall that you abandoned your car, a Renault Laguna, with the keys inside, on the parking lot of a coffee shop in the outskirts of Irún?”
“That does ring a bell. Why do you bring it up? Are you planning to steal it?”
The blob groans.
“I’m beyond expecting you to act like a decent human being, but still: some hoodlum could have broken into your car and discovered that he could rotate buildings by turning the steering wheel.”
“Stated as if you weren’t responsible for fucking up my car. Wouldn’t your actions and mine overlap in a Venn diagram?”
“What the fuck does that mean?”
“Venn diagrams are a bunch of circles which overlap to represent sets that share elements. I suggested that we were similarly negligent in handling the Renault. And who cares anyway! These days I roll around Donostia in mommy’s sweet ride. I sit in the passenger seat too, so my intrusive thoughts about veering into oncoming traffic don’t matter. Let my shitty old chariot rust to the ground, or become a homeless shelter. Who knows, maybe that car exploded soon after my departure.”
“It didn’t explode. I cleaned up after you.”
“When I realized that you had abandoned your car, I killed it. No need to thank me.”
“Yes, I couldn’t figure out how to repair the car, so I decided to destroy it down to its gears and circuits. The city likely towed it away. That car of yours must have ended up crushed to a cube in some junkyard, if they still do that kind of thing. Your shitty Renault ceased to be a problem.”
“You should have fucking torched the car with me inside,” I blurt out grimly.
“What’s with that sudden urge for self-destruction?”
I rub my eyelids and take a deep breath. I want to lie down and shut off my senses until I find a way to suppress my reckless impulses.
“I apologize, my subconscious spoke through me,” I say in a tired tone. “I’ve dealt with some rough experiences of late. Anyway, what kind of message did you intend to convey by tampering with my now defunct Renault Laguna?”
“That wasn’t the message. Initially we tried to reach you by… Well, our first communication effort failed. Then I intruded upon this dimension long enough to write a couple of words across the dashboard of your car. That message should have awoken in you a sense of urgency, the need to pay more attention to your surroundings, and once we figured out how to present ourselves physically without making you go bonkers, we’d explain what was going on. Unfortunately, any cross-dimensional interaction can result in chaos. To plaster that message inside your car, I had to mess with its properties. The damn process was like controlling a thousand-stringed puppet while preventing those strings from twisting around each other. A painstaking business. As you know, back when I had hands, I worked as a programmer, but my skills barely extend to that precision job of interfacing with another dimension, so I ended up imbuing your vehicle with an assortment of undesirable traits.”
“I suppose that can be forgiven since you, an asshole and an amoeba, are just an amateur.”
The blob sighs like a beached whale.
“This is what we have to endure to deliver some bad news to a sentient creature as irresponsible as yourself. The universe is becoming increasingly precarious; I risked ripping a tear through the fabric of reality to send you a message that you might dismiss in five minutes. And you know what? Your misbehaving brain took in those words for a moment before you discarded them into the cosmic wastebasket. Now look at the mess we’re in! Let that be a lesson on how to properly act when you receive a warning from another dimension.”
I hunch over and hold my temples. A sudden headache is forcing me to squint, which blurs the Hadean sight of the tar-black, eyeball-studded monster that spans the opposite wall.
“That sounded like a load of dangerous shit that you shouldn’t have done,” I grumble.
“Dangerous actions are unavoidable if one wants to convey vital information through your thick skull. What’s wrong with you, anyway?”
The darkness in my brain keeps swelling. The office swirls. I grit my teeth. It feels as if some buried, throbbing trauma were trying to push my eyes from inside and, once they popped out, reveal itself.
“I-I received a few calls, that afternoon when you fucked with my car.”
“You remember that, huh?”
“The display of my phone showed symbols like corrupted text,” I continue in a hollow tone. “I was driving on the highway, and I didn’t want to answer, but s-somehow the caller reached my ears. Then I passed out, didn’t I? I remember falling into a star-speckled abyss. I should have crashed my car into a truck.”
“You did pass out. At first we tried to reach you by phone, but we could only fake an incoming call; couldn’t even send a text message. And while linking the audio to your eardrums, I may have… bumped your brain a little. Once I realized that you had gone beddy-bye, I took the reins of your car and drove it like a RC toy until I parked it in the outskirts of your former city. I had fun, not going to lie. I miss playing racing games. I owned the Thrustmaster set of controllers, with the gear shifter and the pedals. However, along the way to Irún, I had expected the police to come after us; you were slumped in the driver’s seat as if dead, hands off the steering wheel.”
As the blob wobbles to the rhythm of his chuckles, and the light reflections warp into psychedelic shapes on his gooey surface, a chill crawls up my spine. My headache is ebbing in pulsating waves of pain. I scowl at the amorphous abomination that nearly killed me.
The blob chokes on a chuckle.
“Nothing wrong with fucking mommies, wouldn’t you say?” he retorts, annoyed. “Don’t go apeshit. I did my best to preserve your sorry ass, and a better job at handling your shitty vehicle than someone who feels compelled to drive into oncoming traffic.”
“I’m so glad you had a good time at my expense. I could have suffered a brain hemorrhage.”
“Hey, I’m sure I didn’t break in there anything that wasn’t broken before. You were already used to rambling nonsense, weren’t you? At most, I modulated your frequency.”
My stomach has contracted to a cramped lump. I clench my fists.
“That was the evening when I started seeing shadows out of the corner of my eyes,” I say in a guttural voice. “Soon enough, monsters. Next morning, as I was washing my face in the bathroom at work, I received the visit of a sentient, castrated horse. My life has been hell since you fucked with my gray matter.”
The blob remains silent for an extra beat of gloomy gravity.
“I don’t know about shadows nor monsters, but Spike showing up was unrelated. He volunteered for the mission of trying to snap you out of your stupidity.”
I lower my gaze to the goo-stained carpet.
“I’m not saying he was a bad horse. He just wasn’t qualified as a therapist.”
The blob sighs.
“A shame neither of us succeeded at convincing you of anything. I bear some responsibility for Spike’s demise, but, let’s be honest, it’s mostly your fault.”
Author’s note: today’s song is “Planet Telex” by Radiohead.
I keep a playlist with all the songs mentioned throughout the novel. A hundred and thirty-seven songs so far. Check it out.
You love AI voices, don’t you? Who doesn’t? Check out the audiochapter I produced for this part.
Leire and Alberto the blob were arguing about events contained in chapter one and chapter eight of this seemingly endless novel. I was reluctant to link chapter one; I expect to rewrite most of the first few chapters once I finish the novel, and I have to fix some continuity errors from back then.
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