I’m drifting back toward lucidity. I avoid meeting my gaze in the rain-slicked windowpane as I blink away the residual stardust. My brain registers again the noxious reek that’s invading my nostrils, that must have coated my clothes and hair and skin: mouldering corpses mixed with sewage festering in a latrine pit. The lump in my throat subsides enough for me to speak, though my voice is shaky and broken.
“Perhaps the nurses that assisted in my birth made a mistake. They didn’t prepare the umbilical cord right before cutting me away from my mother.”
“I can barely hear you,” the blob complains impatiently. “Unless you’re mumbling to yourself, speak towards your audience.”
I grit my teeth. After I wipe a couple of tears with the back of my hand, I swivel around in Jacqueline’s chair.
The wall-wide bulk of jellified, tar-black flesh looms at the opposite end of the office, looking like it crawled out of a swamp. The skewed reflections of the fluorescent light fixtures seem tattooed on the blob’s dozens of polished eyeballs.
I take a deep breath, and feel the stench of decay fill my lungs.
“I was thinking of everything that has gone wrong with me.”
“Don’t you do that often enough?”
“Most of the time; my brain makes sure of that. Close to my birth, still a drooling infant, I devolved into a trash heap of toxic waste, a vessel for desire and obsession, driven by uncontrollable impulses. When I could walk and talk and go to the toilet by myself, I became an unkempt houseplant withering in a corner. Anxiety consumed my insides like bowel cancer, and I wondered from where all my shit-ridden thoughts were emanating. As my tits developed, I had been living for years in a glass prison. A void within me, a gaping abyss that had never known warmth, swallowed everything good about life, leaving in its place a desolate, desecrated ruin. I had no clue how I was going to survive in this society. Should I have joined a war to fight for some obscure tribe or king? That would have been easier than attempting to endure broken-hearted in a world full of savages. I knew that no matter how much time passed, nothing would improve my life, and every night, when I lay down to sleep, I dreaded the incoming sequence of nightmares that would entrap me naked in a maze of tunnels infested with well-hung monsters, who salivated as they pawed at their genitals.”
A wave of nausea sweeps through me as if I were puking up my guts in slo-mo. I hunch over, resting my elbow on my knee. I wipe away the slime seeping from my forehead. I’m boiling with the self-loathing that gurgles in my stomach, and my mouth has become a well of vitriol ready to spill out with each ragged breath.
“The shrinks kept me blabbing to pocket my money,” I continue in a choked voice, “so I started my own therapy through masturbation. If I couldn’t love another human being, at least I would become a machine of self-diddling. I have spent hours upon hours of my spare time, and of any time I could steal from work, rubbing my clit or shoving into my depths rubbery contraptions that I found in alleyways or dumpsters, soaking my bedsheets and the chair cushions in a flood of warm secretions, because those few seconds of bliss numbed my heartache, and gifted me a break from the onslaught of intrusive thoughts and flashbacks with which my brain terrorizes me. I burn with an unquenchable thirst for sexual debauchery and depravity, no matter how perverse. Sex is my religion, masturbation is my ritual, and I’m the high priestess of this cult. My record is fifteen orgasms in one day, although I suspect that some adventurous women out there would ridicule my achievement. Anyway, at times I suspected that alien parasites had hijacked my cerebrum, brainstem and cerebellum to feed off the dopamine secreted during my bouts of auto-arousal. I wished I were strong enough to claw my face open so I could unspool the parasites and liberate my mind. After all, as soon as the itch in my vagina subsided, my depression grew again. I was regularly kidnapped away to flashbacks in which my kid self cowered in a corner, hugging her knees, sobbing, while monsters crept closer. Their hooves clopped on the floorboards. I felt the heat radiating off their hideous flesh. When I blinked back to reality, I found myself as a miserable aging woman detached from anything and anyone, a walking reservoir of self-hate that over the years had bubbled up into a tide of tar eager to consume the world. Most days, instead of facing more anguish, I would have rather entered the cosmic urinal through self-deconstruction, if you get my drift. Hell, I should have spontaneously combusted from self-loathing alone. We’re all going to disappear anyway, right? If not by our own hands, then by a pandemic, a nuclear war, a zombie apocalypse, supervolcanoes erupting, meteors plummeting out of the heavens… So we may as well hurry up and plunge into oblivion, let the abyss squeeze us dry of life’s little droplets until everything turns to dust. Many nights, as I lay face up, I gave my heart permission to shut down in my sleep, to spare me the torment. How could I make plans or care for my hereafter when I resented that I was born? But one day, a woman’s voice called to me from behind the mist on the horizon: ‘It doesn’t matter how old you are, how fucked up your life may be. I will take away your loneliness. I will save you from drowning.’ One organism had dared to reach out and touch my begrimed soul. Jacqueline,” I say, my voice cracking as I speak mommy’s holy name. “She ran through me like a full-bodied orgasm from all the ends of the universe. However, even mommy with her boundless love can’t glue together a broken vase that’s missing half of its pieces, so apart from those times when I find solace in Jacqueline’s ample bosom, I remain a wreck, an insufferable mess with no sense of direction, dignity, or decorum. I crave being ravaged; I yearn for little else than to be devoured, bones and all, by someone I could adore.”
The office falls silent, save for the rhythmic drumming of rain against the windowpanes. Using the back of my shirtsleeve, I wipe away a few tears trailing down my cheeks and a glob of snot clinging to my upper lip. The blob’s psychotropic gas keeps assaulting me. I thought he was allowing my words to sink into his slimy bulk, but when he speaks, his voice oozes with contempt.
“Is that all?”
I open my mouth, eager to deliver the coup de grâce, but I end up sputtering inarticulate mumbles instead.
“I… suppose so. It seems I have run dry of words.” I rub my throat. “I’ve gotten hoarse, too.”
“Get over yourself, you neurotic coward, you irresponsible cretin, you mental cripple who spends company money staring at horse penises!”
“I-I was only curious about how long they get.”
“I need a serious shower after listening to you moan like an aborted foal.”
I cross my arms.
“You do need a shower, although you’ll end up as a pile of eyeballs blocking the drain. Maybe you’re just a revolting monster incapable of understanding human suffering.”
“You’re too much of an asshole for me to feel sorry. My life was also riddled with setbacks and calamities, but look at me now!”
“You should have used ‘and,’ not ‘but.'”
A guttural chuckle reverberates from deep within the blob, sending ripples of tar-black slime across its mass.
“You think I haven’t caught up to your shtick?”
I suppress a shiver.
“Don’t know what you’re talking about, bro.”
“You navigate the world by arousing pity in the idiots that fall for your act. That’s what worked with Jacqueline, wasn’t it? That’s what gets you laid and keeps you from killing yourself.”
A flash of rage ignites inside me. I leap from the chair, then I jab my trembling finger at the blob as I offer him the most feral look I can muster.
“Hey, don’t involve mommy in this fight, you globulous gasbag!”
The blob snorts.
“You’re mad because the snot-slicked lump of gunk is right. Until that big-breasted floozy arrived in your life and turned you into her sex puppet, you were wasting away as a resentful sack of depression.”
“It’s none of your business how I wasted my life!”
The myriad of glistening eyeballs glare back at me as I grit my teeth and my eyebrows twitch.
“Alright,” the blob says, his voice laced with scorn, “we’re done with this farce of a therapy session. I won’t let you keep ignoring our problems any longer.”
Author’s note: today’s songs are “The View” by Modest Mouse, “Liar” by Built to Spill, “Birds Encouraged Him” by Jason Lytle, and “Carry the Zero” by Built to Spill.
I keep a playlist with all the songs mentioned throughout this novel. A hundred and fifty songs so far. Check them out.
Wouldn’t you love to listen to Leire whine, thanks to sophisticated AI voices? Check out the audiochapter.
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