A bolt of lightning slashes the darkness, throwing the office into harsh relief. Alberto the blob, a viscous and putrid mural of shuddering goo, glistens wetly under the harsh light, and his myriad of eyeballs reflect my own dreadful image back at me.
“I wish I were riding your current high,” I say, “burning with self-righteousness, able to discharge your pent-up anger against someone else. I’d prefer, though, if you had chosen a target who did something worthy of your ire: an actual asshole.”
“You think that people can only get angry at what you do? Is that why you keep busy playing with yourself while ignoring your responsibilities, including your job and your basic needs? Your inaction can ruin lives.”
My stomach knots tighter.
“Don’t try to make me responsible for others,” I plead. “I can’t even take care of myself.”
The blob ripples like a sea of black slime and eyeballs.
“Unfortunately, the responsibility only falls on you, a weirdo who would rather be miserable than improve. You’re the one who can listen to what needs to be done, the sole person suited to stop a cosmic shitstorm. Isn’t it fitting, though? We need an aberration to beat another.”
I hunch over, and as I rub my eyelids, I seek a mental refuge from this deluge of insanity. I see her face, the glowing visage of Jacqueline, my all-encompassing muse, a pearl beyond price. Her ivory-white skin is framed by a raven-black cascade of lustrous hair. Her cobalt-blues are locked into my eyes without disgust. The rosy, wet cavity of her mouth tempts me like a fountain of potable water in a scorching day. Please come and save me from myself.
“Wh-why do I have to be the one?” I complain weakly. “Jacqueline also worked with you, for much longer, and she isn’t as eager to forget human beings as I am. She would try to understand you and help you cope. Hell, she even believes me when I open up about the otherworldly stalkers by whom I’m routinely harassed, although she’s never suffered the misfortune of gazing upon your abominable forms.”
“Sure, your girlfriend slash mommy would have done a bang-up job, if only for reminding me of the most carnal pleasures of my former world.” The blob snickers. “But nope, we are stuck with a self-defeating sack of shit, a pathetic wreck with more anxiety attacks than brain cells, who can barely accomplish the most basic of tasks, who’s never had the guts to start living, who can’t see farther than her own disgusting orifices. The perfect package for a universe on its last leg!”
I gulp down bitter acid, then take a lungful of stinging toxins.
“Again, why me?”
“Because your mind was open and ready for a trip through the cosmic craphole, Leire. What, you want me to make it simpler? You’re a walking heap of psychological garbage. In the old days, you’d have been locked up in an asylum. I had the inkling that you wouldn’t go crazier even when contacted by sentient abominations, but you still surprised me by taking the visits in stride, as if some people just happened to be accosted by teleporting horses.”
I grind my teeth.
“I’ve done nothing but rage against you fuckers.”
The blob’s legion of eyeballs catch the erratic flicker of lightning, shimmering like tiny stars caught in a sea of filth.
“Hey, cheer up, girlie! In these enlightened times, you can become the champion of interdimensional gods, which is what I’ve fancied myself to be since I escaped your realm of rot and decay.”
“If people actually worshipped you,” I grumble, “I would understand if they also persecuted anybody who depicted your image.”
The blob chokes on a chuckle, glugging noisily. My gaze wanders from my former coworker’s grotesque bulk to the black screen of my computer. Leire the Demented Seer, the Chosen Paladin of Interdimensional Gods. Sounds better than being a struggling office worker that has to curb her intrusive thoughts about shoving random penis-shaped objects into her orifices.
“Enough bullshit,” the blob barks out. “You’re going to wake up right now. You’re going to open your eyes and start taking life seriously. Time has been running out for everyone since you disregarded my warning back in your defunct car.”
I cross my arms over my chest.
“You creeps have done an atrocious job of convincing me that these supposed warnings were urgent. Perhaps you left your brains behind in some other dimension, where you should have stayed for all I care. Besides, I can’t shake the feeling that you’re lying about a cosmic threat, that you just want to fuck with me.”
The wall-wide mucus-and-eyeball-ridden monstrosity stirs like an organic tide.
“Look here, you clit-loving lunatic,” the blob snaps back in a wet gurgle. He coughs up a glob of tar onto the carpet. “An impossible message flashing across your Renault Laguna’s dashboard would have disturbed any other human being into lucidity.”
“Didn’t we discuss that already? No, we ended up arguing about my car’s supernatural powers. What did you write across the dashboard, then? ‘A horse with a dick for a head will fuck you before you die’? Such a warning might have sent me running to the psych ward.”
Gooey innards ripple and slosh in the gelatinous bulk.
“‘We’re fucked,’ damn you!”
“What was that?”
“The message I wrote on your dashboard, which you ignored as if it were junk mail, was ‘We’re fucked’!”
“That’s all the fuck you wrote?”
“How much clearer could I be?” he snarls. “It means that you’re fucked, that I’m fucked, that the universe is fucked!”
A knot expands in my throat, and I lower my gaze to the puddles of black goo seeping into the carpet. The slanted rain is drumming on the windows. Thunder crackles. The absurdity of it all bubbles up inside me, shoots up my esophagus, and bursts out into laughter that ricochets off the office walls. Mine is a despairing laughter tinged with madness, the sole human sound amidst the rainstorm and the blob’s otherworldly gurgles.
“Do you recall that message, then?” Alberto asks impatiently.
I raise my gaze to meet the wall-wide mass of putrid slime. His countless eyeballs are scrutinizing me like a cop eyeing a perp.
“Nope,” I say in a strained voice, “you may as well have made it up.”
The blob heaves as if I had punched his gut.
“Again with your self-imposed amnesia?!”
“Doesn’t matter. I get your point: we’re fucked.” I slide my palm down my face as the back of my eyeballs grows hotter. “That’s what you wretched snot-fondler sent as a message of utmost urgency? As eloquent as a dead rat’s turd. Of course we’re fucked, you oversized cum-sack! That much I understood since I crawled out of the womb broken, since my parents failed to behave towards each other like human beings, let alone raise a functional, healthy child. Billions of people born to struggle daily in this cesspool only to be rewarded with decrepitude and death. How many are loved along the way?” Tears well up, hot and stinging, but I press on. “I don’t need some interdimensional pus-clown to remind me of the achingly obvious fact that we’re all fucked. We never stood a fucking chance.”
Author’s note: today’s songs are “Karma Police” by Radiohead, “Game of Pricks” by Guided by Voices, “The Plan” by Built to Spill, and “Miss Misery” by Elliott Smith.
I keep a playlist with all the songs mentioned throughout this novel. A hundred and fifty-four songs so far. Check them out.
Were you looking forward to the audiochapter for this entry? Well, I was. Check it out.
It took me ages to work through this chapter. I’ve been distracted programming, and my mood has been let’s say quite low. Anyway, GPT-4’s API has been broken for days, who knows why, so I’ll likely write more prose than code in the coming days.
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