We’re Fucked, Pt. 98 (Fiction)

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.

We’re Fucked, Pt. 97 (Fiction)

I must have been thirteen when I was startled awake by my father barging into my bedroom. His brown hair, disheveled and matted with sweat, as well as his beard, sported patches the color of dusty cobwebs. He stopped mid-stride. His gleaming eyes widened in their sunken pits, his wrinkly face scrunched up. His cheeks flushed crimson as he glared at my crotch.

I remembered: an explosion of ecstasy and relief had knocked me unconscious. My inner thighs were coated in dried juice, and my folds still felt puffy from the punishment I had meted upon them with the sticky dildo I was holding.

I sat up with a jolt, horrified that my father was getting an eyeful of my pussy. As I stuttered an apology and scrambled to cover myself, the old man let out a strangled grunt, lunged and struck me square in the face. The whiplash cracked my vertebrae and blanched my vision. An overwhelming pain swelled behind my shattered nose as if I had inhaled icy seawater. I was yanked off the bed onto the wooden floor, where my father delivered blow after blow as if I were a piñata. Darkness was pouring in like oily tar. I must have missed my father’s footsteps leaving the room; I was writhing, sobbing and bleeding when he dropped a damp washcloth on my face.

“Quit whining, little pervert,” he said. “You’re lucky I caught you first.”

In one of the first memories that my defective brain bothered to save, I was sprawled out face down across my mother’s lap as she spanked my bare bottom. She’d smack me so hard that the shock traveled along my spine, and the stinging skin of my ass cheeks broke into droplets of blood that dribbled down my thighs. I squealed, I pleaded for forgiveness. My tears seeped into the fibers of the living room carpet. I begged to know what I had done wrong to deserve this pain, but my mother repeated, “This is the only way to get back on track for a better life.” After her wrath subsided, while she caught her breath and my ass burned bright red, she would squeeze me against her chest. Her cheap perfume cloyed my nostrils. Her fingers trailed along the sensitive skin of my back to knead my buttocks. She whispered, “I know you’ll make me proud someday, my baby starfish.” I wanted to ask when would that day come, when would I be worthy of a loving embrace.

Ages of this world have come and gone. Try infinite loneliness. I remember floating inside the amniotic sac, inside the womb, as an embryo. Tiny hands grasped at the umbilical cord. Warmth encompassed me in a soft embrace, a protective fluid that buffered me from the horrors outside, that flowed down my nostrils and caressed my tongue with its velvety texture. The baby starfish swam inside its mother’s tummy, and when it heard music, it waved its tube feet. I was waiting for something, or someone. Perhaps it remains within me, that insatiable longing.

I have been shot, stabbed, strangled, drowned, electrocuted, exsanguinated, eviscerated, crushed by boulders, frozen solid, blown apart, thrown off a roof, run over by a truck, trampled, hanged, crucified, burned at the stake, boiled in oil, decapitated by guillotine, impaled on a pike, poisoned with cyanide, flayed alive, torn to shreds, eaten and excreted. Yet, I still operate a flesh-and-bone mecha from the command center housed within my skull. A couple of years ago this body passed the vertex of its parabola from growth to decay, and began the accelerating descent that one day, turned into an arthritic hag, a withered husk covered in sores and boils, will land me in a grave, to linger as bones with flesh clinging to them while I join the cosmic reservoir of carbon and silicon and phosphorus and hydrogen in the great big mess known as Earth.

My unsteady legs want to drop me like dead weight. Those intrusive daydreams had blocked off the stream of colors and sounds and crazy that reality dishes out, in which I’ve spent a lifetime wading neck-deep, but I feel it rushing back in through my pores, flooding me. I hunch over and hide my face. Some tectonic shift has shaken my mindscape, plunging the plate of my sanity into the ocean, locking it a thousand kilometers below sea level, down into the pitch-black, icy trenches of despair. My brain craves to squander what remains of its energy running in an idle loop, turning over and over on itself.

“What the fuck is wrong with you now?” the blob spits out.

My chest tightens. No, I can’t bear to look up at that rotten blancmange sprinkled with eyeballs. If I’m doomed to receive the visits of sentient monsters from some interdimensional abyss, why couldn’t I have met a half-woman, half-octopus who used her tentacles to draw intricate artwork on the seabed? Or a man with the wings of a bat, who spent his nights soaring through the sky, seeking out those in need of an angelic guide. Or a half-woman, half-serpent who became a healer, milking her knowledge of venom and antidotes to save lives. At least a witch with a vagina of glittering gold. Instead, a black-humored goo-pile, like the foul sludge from my mother’s bowels, got its shit together and came stumbling through a dimensional rift to annoy me.

I’d love to tell my former co-worker to piss off, but my voice would push against the lump in my throat. An insurgent faction within my mind is attempting a coup d’état to usurp control over my nervous system. I turn away from the contaminated wall, then I stagger past the wastebasket where my vomit must have cooled. With my trembling hands, I pull Jacqueline’s chair and I slump onto it, making the chair squeak and skitter closer to the window.

As cold pellets of water splash against the glass, the office lights are contouring in white those raindrops that streak down in zigzag over the black canvas of this night. Amidst the pitter-patter of rain, the wind howls and thunder grumbles. Toss thy dildo at the reflection in that cracked mirror.

The outside world awaits me in a superposition. In how many of those probabilities has everything already come to an end?

I close my eyes. I take measured breaths of fetid air to steady my racing heart. The cacophony of noise and colors fades into the background, and my mind starts painting on the void. A cabin, its cedar boards grown mossy and bowed with age, its shingles weather-beaten by decades of harsh winds and rainstorms, its wooden shutters hanging crooked on their rusty hinges, stands on a plot of land by Crystal Lake, surrounded with snow-laden fir trees. I’m sitting next to my father on a bed covered in blood and hair and bits of bone. As usual, the old man is naked. He’s combing the hairs of his forearm with his fingernails.

I clench my eyes tighter. In the vast, dark, cold ocean of my mind, an intricate tapestry blooms as it unravels, stretching to infinity. Galaxies shine like jewels, glued to trillions of purplish-pink, bioluminescent threads woven in a cosmic web.

I’m an infinitesimal starfish suspended on a silken thread over an abyss. My lips have been sewn shut with tiny sutures by my surgeon goddess. As Her glowing, blood-red gaze penetrates my consciousness, I expand through the vortex of Her web.

A silver-white flash dazzles me. I’m melting. My cells burst and ooze with viscous juices, and my atoms break down into electrons, protons and neutrons, until only my ghost remains. A phantom, a specter in the void, a lost soul drifting through the endless expanse of space alone.

Author’s note: today’s songs are “Oh Sister” by Neutral Milk Hotel, “Made-up Dreams” by Built to Spill, “How Does it Feel” by Roy Harper, “Always This Way” by Laura Marling, “Fallin’ Rain” by Link Wray, and “It’s Happening Again” by Agnes Obel.

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

You would love to hear Leire narrating this troublesome chapter, wouldn’t you? Maybe you would not, but regardless, here’s the link to the audiochapter.

We’re Fucked, Pt. 96 (Fiction)

I’m thrust back to that October night in my former home, a madhouse of lurking shadows. Spellbound, I’m staring at the shabby, demon-spawned horse that stood on his hind legs in front of my busted living room window. His mangy coat, crisscrossed by scars, reeked of rot. His brain and nervous system must have been atrophied, maybe vestigial. He had headbutted the windowpane, so his forelock was matted with blood that flowed down his forehead, between his bulging eyes, which were black as midnight oceans, and along the long slope of his face. Through his puffing, the gaping holes of his nostrils blew drops and strings of blood, splattering the shards of glass strewn on the floor. A foul green pus oozed from the jagged wound where his missing genitals ought to be. The horse opened his jaws wide, exposing dagger-sharp teeth, and let out a mournful bray.

Alberto the blob shakes, making his dozens of eyeballs swing and jostle in their gooey sockets.

“Poor Spike, he was unprepared to handle a lunatic like you, and too eager to help if that meant protecting his pals. I never knew him as well as the professor did, but he always struck me as a good guy, the kind of pushover that could irritate you with the lengths he went to accommodate others. He didn’t deserve any of this shit, and now he’s lost to wander madly for eternity.”

My mind is going numb. I avert my gaze from the malevolent glop and his dozens of eyeballs, which are focused, laserlike, on my hunched self. I fear that if the blob blames me again for that horse’s mental collapse, I may break down in tears.

“Wh-why a horse?”

“Why not?” the blob croaks, his voice a cacophony of mucus and slime. “If you are forced to slough off your human form, you may as well become a horse. I’d rather be a majestic animal capable of trampling people to death.”

“That’s a horsey way to put it. Nobody would give a damn if you stepped on your own excrement, and horses care more about their hooves than their souls.”

The blob snickers.

“Do you hold a grudge against equines?”

“Not at all, even though a stallion once pinned my mother to the ground with his steaming member while the rest of the herd feasted on her entrails. Horses may lack empathy and compassion, but they know how to survive in this fucked-up world. They are also a key component in the food chain. However, do I hold a grudge against deformed and putrid horses? I should have despised them on principle, but Spike held a special place in my heart. Anyway, you know what I meant: why a horse instead of a giraffe, or a caribou?”

“The professor suggested that it depended on the person’s self-image. What we truly feel or believe about ourselves, beyond conscious recognition, becomes flesh. Our current forms incorporate elements of decay and suffering because we are always aware that our efforts will be curtailed by death, as much as we’d love to forget it, or deceive ourselves.”

I rub my chin and squint.

“Spike didn’t have a dick. What does that mean?”

“It means he couldn’t get himself off.” He chuckles. “Was it so important to you for his horse form to be capable of ejaculating?”

I fold my arms, annoyed at the blob’s frivolous answer.

“I’d say so, yes. Whenever I caught a glimpse of that jagged scar down south, a chill ran down my spine. Besides, nobody should deny any mammal their primary pleasure.”

The blob sweeps his dozens of gazes around the office. When he focuses back on me, an elongating rope of goo breaks from his underside and plops into a puddle.

“Spike showed up deformed and dickless. What did that illuminate about his self-esteem?”

“I see. An unlovable workhorse that wasn’t even built properly to fulfill his role as a slave to the system. So he was a horse for horses’ sake and a horse for his own sake.”

The blob snorts.

“A sad example of human potential, for sure. The guy even avoided using his real name; he referred to himself by some ancient IRC handle. Is that a symptom of profound self-loathing?”

“Perhaps that’s how horses communicate nowadays.”

“Or he believed that he wasn’t worthy of an authentic name.”

“That is plausible. His low self-esteem manifested as a tenebrous desire to lose himself in the abyss of a nameless existence, to exist unnoticed as inconsequential flotsam. Anyway, what is IRC?”

“Have I become obsolete? It’s short for Internet Relay Chat. Late nineties, early two thousands way of communicating for nerds and horny teens.”

“That’s why Spike referred to himself as IRC?”

“No, that’s why he called himself Spike!” His dozens of eyeballs joggle around as they glitter menacingly. “Whatever. Back to the point: these horrid forms are creative incarnations of our self-image. That’s the professor’s working hypothesis. Some days I’m inclined to believe that the universe is playing a joke on us, maybe to highlight the absurdity of our lives. I used to come to such conclusions even when I could rely on skin to contain my oozing insides.”

“Sure, I hate to see your phlegm-like innards leaking out, but of course you’d rather believe that the universe has conspired to torment us all the while.” I gesture towards the slimy infestation, the many-eyed, squishy bag of rotting guts at which I’ve been staring unflinchingly. “Your bizarre form doesn’t speak wonders about you.”

“I suppose not, but do you choose what reality you accept based on how it suits your vanity?”

“I rarely accept reality. And don’t change the subject! This isn’t about the universe, buddy. This is about you, a lonely and disturbed man-slime.”

The blob glugs as it wobbles from side to side, slopping gunk onto the ruined carpet, expelling a gust of putrescent gas that reminds me of rotten cabbage and anus breath.

“Well, my self-image did falter regularly. Even now I feel my gut digesting what remains of that self-esteem. It’s getting all sludgy inside me.”

“I bet.”

“In my youth, I went to see a psychiatrist for my problems. What about you, huh?” he asks in a piqued tone. “Were you ever analyzed, diagnosed and treated by a proverbial horse doctor? ‘Hey, why the long face?'” He laughs insanely. “Because if you want to talk about disturbed minds, you need a shrink far more than I do. Who knows, you may come to shed layers of your own repulsive form.”

“Thanks for the unsolicited advice, but my mental dysfunction can only be cured by a bullet.” I sigh. “It seems that the three of us, collections of fluids and biochemistry that occupy a certain volume in the space-time continuum, are overgrown clusters of germs with a low opinion of ourselves, damaged creatures in need of a hand and a quickie, who grew up as half-person, half-slime in this fucked-up society of one-size-fits-all humanoids. We should have been born to shine as noble steeds.”

I recall a night when I wandered into an old tavern. In a dimly lit, dusty corner, a deformed horse was twisting his elongated neck and torso to accommodate his position atop a worn wooden stool. He was munching on fried chips. The hazy light of a dying bulb highlighted the scars that crisscrossed his once majestic coat. Other patrons were stealing glances at the equine as they traded whispers and hushed theories about the life he must have led before being confined to this hole in the wall, where no self-respecting animal deserved to dwell.

I approached the bar. Despite the horse’s atrophied forelegs, his stench and his dribbling mouth, he possessed a quiet dignity. Melancholy flickered in his bulging black eyes. I recognized a fellow weary soul that sought solace in the embrace of a cold beer, or in my case, a mug of warm milk.

I sat on the stool next to his, and we drank together until the sun awakened from its coma. The horse gazed at the reflections in the dwindling amber liquid of his glass while we talked about life’s inanity, about how little we enjoyed our time as half-people in this world where only whole persons mattered. I have retained a single sentence that the horse uttered from his slobbering muzzle: “Your dreams are wishes you lack the courage to express.”

After I shuffled out of the tavern, a pain ached deep in my chest, as if someone were stabbing my heart with a needle. I miss that broken-down ungulate, my friend, more than words can describe.

Spike suffered like me, like any being that ever existed and will ever exist. Back when he stalked me, I believed that he wanted me to become an accomplice and abettor to his villainous deeds. I had become terribly vigilant of every hurt from which I needed to protect myself; after all, what had my parents achieved except teach me to distrust others? Wary of every bump on the sidewalk and every scrap of litter, of every stranger that crossed my path and every corner I turned, I was afraid to leave my apartment. I pictured savage beasts leaping out of the darkness to strike with claws sharpened by broken bottles. We see in the world a reflection of ourselves.

I kept to myself whenever possible, I hid whenever necessary, and I prevented others from getting too close. I welcomed them believing I was insane, as long as they left me alone. I refused to face in the mirror those tears and scars, and that black ink from the inscriptions of self-hatred. My mind was my only refuge against the all-consuming abyss, the sole weapon against a loneliness that threatened to drown me.

Spike was a vulnerable soul who carried his broken heart around like a primed grenade. He neglected to feed himself, he let his hooves grow long and scratchy as he wasted away, and he killed himself because I’m an unbridled machine of ruination that I can barely steer, destined to hound more and more victims to insanity or suicide.

Can’t I bring everything back like I’ve always done?

A white coat shimmers under a sunny sky, a silky tail lashes around, hooves tread on the sands of time. Show me a beautiful horse. Let that beast look me in the eye and share his name. Tell me he’s proud of what I’ve made out of him.

Author’s note: today’s songs are “A Horse With No Name” by America, “Caribou” by Pixies, “Australia” by The Shins, and “Kim’s Caravan” by Courtney Barnett.

I keep a playlist with all the songs I’ve mentioned throughout this novel. A hundred and forty songs so far. Check them out. I didn’t add “Caribou” because it was already there, but I made a reference to the song.

Are you following the audiochapters I have made for this whole sequence so far? No? Anyway, here’s the latest one.

We’re Fucked, Pt. 95 (Fiction)

“Let’s both steer clear of the subject of sex,” Alberto the blob says, “and focus on what brought me here.”

I sigh.

“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.”

“Killed it?”

“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.

“You motherfucker.”

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.

We’re Fucked, Pt. 94 (Fiction)

“I may as well come clean and admit that when we used to work together,” says the viscous mass of slime, “before I realized the gravity of your depravity, I had a crush on you.”

I snap my head back and grimace. Oil-black, putrescent gunk glides, like a slow lava flow, down the seashell-white curve of the eyeball I’m focusing on to address this horrid blob and his weighty burden of eyes. I picture an alligator-sized tongue lashing out of the wall-wide expanse of goo to lick that sclera clean.

“As in you masturbated to me?” I ask in disbelief.

The sticky mire shifts like a vortex of spaghetti on a plate.

“Well, yes. A harmless habit, as long as nobody discovers the evidence.”

“As in you hoped that someday you’d witness my pussy dripping with your ejaculate? As in you craved to thrust your scummy cock down my throat so that I’d gag on your noisome seed? As in you wished I had a unibrow so that it would inspire strange and forbidden fantasies?”

The blob emits a spluttering gurgle.

“Why would I want to involve a unibrow?”

“Are unibrows not beautiful in their own way?”

“When you say beautiful, you mean repulsive to anyone with eyes.”

I shake my head.

“You’re an obscene creature, and your soiled mind is beyond redemption. What’s next, a taste for zoophilia, necrophilia or coprophilia?”

“Listen, even though you have the face of a woman on the brink of a nervous breakdown…”

“And you the ass of a man in need of a shower!”

“Yes, we’re both grotesque monsters. As I was saying, I thought you were cute, you seemed to be on the quirky side of crazy, and I’d often fantasize about your tits. You can’t compete with Jacqueline’s juggernauts, but your knockers contrast nicely with your skinny frame.”

I look down at the twin bulges in my shirt. Although I adore breasts so much that my brain may be made of breast, I’m used to concealing mine under loose hoodies. Other women with my assets, the only parts of me that I appreciate, would parade them around for the world to ogle and degrade.

My outrage has deflated. I purse my lips and nod.

“Your carnal proclivities are cultured. I must commend you, sickened ooze, for admitting that you’ve fallen prey to your libido’s prurient compulsions.”

The blob chuckles, which sends ripples through his flabby bulk.

“We are both fans of the kind of rack that turns even hard-boiled assholes into slobbering zombies.”

“That said, amorphous blobs of gloop that want to fuck are bad news. I would never have sex with you, even if I worked myself into a frothing sexual frenzy, even if you became the last gelatinous creature on Earth. I still feel bile burning in my throat due to your stench of stagnant sewage. What woman would get aroused by a slimy blob with toxic halitosis and the purity of a mound of excreta? Those are automatic deal breakers. However, I admire your self-esteem; few people could get familiar with the unholy abomination in the mirror and come to harbor the demented illusion that anyone would want to mount them.”

“This conversation is driving me insane,” the blob grunts, sputtering gelatinous globs on the carpet. “I guess I have to remind you that I used to inhabit a warm-blooded human body; you may have forgotten that already. Besides, your nerdiness was more awkward and unappealing than mine.”

“Now, a tentacled crotch? That I could work with. Blasphemous tentacles twist around my arms and legs, squeezing my flesh. They lift me off the floor as they spread me open. Two other appendages slip their tips under the waistband of my trousers and panties, and tug them down. I struggle while a fibrous, slimy tentacle squiggles against my labia. Others probe my mouth and asshole. The squirming invaders snake inside, stretching me wide. At first, the agony makes me bite down on a mouthful of lubricated muscle that has slipped past my tonsils. The fleshy shafts are rooting around in my esophagus, my rectum and my cervix, coiling into throbbing knots deep within me. Waves of mind-crushing bliss course through my body as the violating tentacles shoot streams of goo, filling me up.” I shiver, then press my thighs together. “Damn, I’m getting hot. Arachne knows I have diddled myself to nastier stuff than tentacle rape.”

The viscous, oozing muck, which was once a man, heaves with a squelching noise.

“Would you stop rambling on, you lunatic? I wish I hadn’t heard any of that!”

“You’re the one who brought up that you wanted to defile me.”

“There was no defilement involved. But I made a terrible mistake admitting it, especially now that my current nature has kept me away from any intimacy.”

“I can picture how such an infatuation forms in a man’s mind. You stand on the train, heading to work, when the girl you were expecting steps aboard and sits nearby. You keep stealing glances of her cute face and creamy ankles. The curve of her thigh calls out for your fingertips. As you catch her floral fragrance, your heart hammers. An electric thrill races through your veins. Your erection strains against your pants with the thought of her moist lips wrapping around your cock and bathing it in warm saliva. You built the mental image of who you need this girl to be: someone who would listen to you, understand you and love you. She’s been glancing at you, you’re sure of it, even though you’re ugly and slimy as pond scum, your life’s a train wreck, and most people who know you are relieved that you won’t reproduce and contaminate the gene pool. This girl is waiting for you to make your move, so you can finally leave a more lasting legacy than shit stains on a bathroom wall. One day you dare to get off at her station. Your heart beats wildly as you follow the girl, that swaying skirt of hers that barely covers her sweet derrière, eager to approach her in a darkened alley and confess your grotesque love. By the time you realize how wrong you were all along, you have ended up blind and with a dildo stuffed up your ass. Moral of the story: don’t make others responsible for your delusions. As for me, I used to dream of frolicking in a cosmic web strewn with the desiccated husks of untold species, where I’d suck on succulent spider tits. Anyway, who would want to have sex with a stinky, hairy dude when luscious, big-breasted women exist?”

The blob burbles like boiling tar.

“I wish I had known that you’re a clit licker,” he says, sounding pained.

“Hey, I happen to be a woman in love with another woman. No need to herd people into categories.”

Author’s note: the songs for today are “Gronlandic Edit” by Of Montreal, “Another One Goes By” by The Walkmen, “Let the Cool Goddess Rust Away” by Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, “Isn’t It a Pity” by Galaxie 500, “Pink Triangle” by Weezer, and “Kids” by PUP (also this live version).

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

Do you enjoy Eleven Labs’ artificial voices as much as I do? I doubt it, but here’s the audiochapter I produced for this one.

We’re Fucked, Pt. 93 (Fiction)

The heat drains from my cheeks, although my heart keeps pounding in my throat, and my nipples remain puffy and sensitive.

“I won’t apologize for my arousal. I’m a woman, I need my breasts licked from time to time. Lately I have decreased my stress, as well as the anxiety and frustration of living, by indulging in plenty of orgasms, and my regal mommy has been more than obliging.”

“Even in my diminished state,” the blob begins, “I understand the biological urge to procreate by any means necessary. So does Jacqueline. She’s a live wire, that one. Anyway, I’m glad someone’s relationship is working out, although you have the emotional capacity of an iguana.”

“You know, I could choose to get pissed off about that remark, but I’m a mature girl; I can admit my shortcomings. Yes, some accident of birth, in combination with growing up among aliens who lacked an understanding of love, has crippled my ability to connect with human beings. My neglectful upbringing also burdened me with a chronic sense of helplessness and desperation. I had accepted that some people are doomed to spend their lives alone because of what they’re born into. But one morning, as I was sobbing in the bathroom, Jacqueline came in and wrapped me in her arms, breaking down the megalithic wall of anger and frustration around my heart, sheltering me from my icy despair. Ever since, mommy has taught me how to feel like a human being again.”

The black bulk of goo shudders.

“Your words might have worked on me if they hadn’t involved your kink.”

“I put up with being conscious for a main reason: to anticipate the next time that Jacqueline will allow me to see the universe from a better perspective, that of me lying prone between her spread, thick thighs while she reclines on a heap of puffy toss pillows of faux fur. A four-strand platinum necklace graces her collarbones and glints in the ring lights of the cameras. Her fleshy breasts drift to the sides of her chest in creamy white mounds. As saliva dribbles from the corners of my mouth, I dig my fingers into mommy’s thighs and I latch on to her dripping wet pussy with my mouth like a leech to a wound. My tongue slides along her hot, velvet-soft labia. I inhale the intoxicating fragrance of her arousal while I gulp greedily on her feminine nectar in a feast of tender, pink flesh. I caress her pearl-like clitoris with flicks of my tongue. My lips pucker around the engorged nub to suckle it as mommy’s juices dribble down my chin. Jacqueline lets out little sighs. She runs her fingers through my hair while purring that I’m a good girl, which makes me forget how old and broken I am. My hands slide upwards over her toned abdomen until I reach her bountiful orbs of flesh. I squeeze them, pinching between my fingers those nipples of hers, turgid like swollen with milk, as she gasps and arches her back. I keep kneading her plump, pillowy boobs, and devouring her clit. The soft curls of her pubes are tickling the inside of my nostrils. I yearn to make mommy moan and squirm with pleasure, I yearn to propel her in a crescendo of rapture. A shudder rolls through Jacqueline, who whimpers and writhes against my tongue. Her quivering, silken thighs flex around my head as if to crush it, sealing my ears in a vice-like grip. After she digs her heels into my spine, she clamps a hand on my nape to thrust my face deeper into her muff. Her pussy spasms against my lips, so I flick my tongue furiously on her throbbing nub like a ravenous kitten, to milk every ounce of mommy’s pleasure. I picture her face flushing crimson, her eyes glistening with unshed tears, as she cums savagely, anointing me by squirting her sticky nectar against the underside of my tongue like a warm shower in a tropical sun. Some of her essence spills out of my mouth down my chin and neck, but I guzzle the rest until its spout sputters empty. After I’ve licked her clean, I laze against her thick thighs, panting and bloated, my face coated in womanly cream. Oh mommy, drown me in amniotic fluid! I adore you more than anyone else in the cosmos could.”

“You sure can ramble about pussy,” the blob says with a hint of snark. “You first met Jacqueline after she changed.”

“Changed? Are you suggesting that her twin monuments of human flesh were artificially enlarged? To be fair, I was doubtful at first, so I looked for the scars of plastic surgery. No scar tissue anywhere around the rosy globes of her breasts!”

“I know, real likely down to the DNA. This universe turned out to be disturbingly more intriguing than I imagined. Now here’s a question: would you have become obsessed with a plain-looking Jacqueline?”

“Why, did that ex-wife of yours, who ruined your life as well as your ability to trust the opposite sex, look like a purulent troll?”

“I wouldn’t go that far,” says the black and viscous bulk of goo, “despite her rotten nature.”

“Then I’ll answer your insolent question with another one: who knows how much worse our loved ones could look until we ceased to love them? Speaking of nature’s devious tricks, blame it for instilling the concept of beauty in our brains, a hardwired biological bias for the eye-catching that can override logic and reason, to entrap us into multiplying endlessly regardless of what’s right for the ecosystem, or what’s left of our sanity. What better example than the beautiful butterfly? Their iridescent coloration hides a fragile existence: they live to perpetuate their genetic material as winged sperm depositories. For a tiny female butterfly, mating is akin to getting gangbanged.”

“That’s enough philosophizing,” the blob interjects.

“Those gaudy colors that we love are all too soon reduced to dust.”

“Anyway, you’ve got it easy with Jacqueline. She turned out to be a better gal than I thought, far better than you deserve.”

The hairs on my nape rise, and I shrug to contain a shiver. This gelatinous mound of blackness, that must be rotting from within as it examines me through dozens of eyeballs, has triggered my dread: I may sense my regal girlfriend distancing herself from me as if my babbling were a contagious disease.

“I know that. I’m terrified that one day she will discover my true nature, my sick soul. She’ll be disgusted by my snaky hair, by the sweat that stains my armpits, by my rancid flesh, and by the dung that oozes out of my anus.”

The viscous goo chuckles, which gives way to a gargling noise.

“It’s way too late to stop the rot, buddy. You should just enjoy the fruits of your loathsome union.”

“I’m a barren planet orbiting a sun, and astrometry suggests that the difference in our masses will end up flinging us apart.”

“So you do understand that if someone you love were to betray and leave you, it could wreck you forever.”

“Did I say anything to the contrary? If Jacqueline cheated on me and abandoned me, I would use Spike’s revolver to blast my head off. You only became an unholy abomination.”

Author’s note: today’s songs are “We Lived Alone” by Connie Converse, “She’s a Rainbow” by The Rolling Stones, and “Dystopian Dream Girl” by Built to Spill.

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

Are you into the craze of AI-generated voices being forced to act out questionable scenes? Check out the audiochapter I produced for this unhinged conversation.

Do you enjoy AI-generated images, particularly those that involve naked ladies? No? Here’s the link anyway.

We’re Fucked, Pt. 92 (Fiction)

An electronic harp glissando startles me. My phone is vibrating on the desk, next to my revolver. I grab the phone and light up its touchscreen.

“Oh shit, mommy has written to me!” I utter in a merry voice as a smile spreads across my face. Then I remember that dozens of eyeballs are observing me from the occupied wall, where the blob hangs like a festoon of sludge. My smile curdles. “I-I mean, my actual mother sent me a text message from hell.”

The blob snorts.

“I know you’re dating Jacqueline, you doofus.”

I shudder.

“Thank you for cutting that thread of deceit. I made myself feel ill.”

I read the message contained in a canary-yellow speech bubble.

Are you okay, baby girl? I can’t believe this thunderstorm! It must be setting records for the number of lightning strikes.

She’s worried about my well-being! My heart swells with gratitude and warmth, then melts into the depths of my belly.

I had tuned out the noise of rain pounding on glass, a primordial drumbeat, as the torrential downpour lashes against the windows, sending cold drops streaming down the panes. Thunder is bellowing like a dragon. Engulfed in water, this office building, along with the rest of Donostia, has become a boat adrift amidst gale-driven spume in a tempest-tossed ocean.

I picture Jacqueline stepping out in her fuzzy slippers onto her privileged balcony up in the hills. She has donned a chiffon-and-satin kimono robe, black like the lustrous locks cascading down her shoulders, and embroidered with golden fleurs-de-lis. Her wrists are sheathed in bangles adorned with pink coral and turquoise gemstones. As she crosses her arms to counter the cold, the sleek collar of her robe slides over those magisterial breasts, that are bolstered by a heavy-duty bra whose taut front straps threaten to snap from their anchorages and allow the mommy mammaries, sprinkled with errant droplets of rainwater, to bounce under gravity’s sway.

Goosebumps ripple along my arms. Damn it, I need to press my wet lips against Jacqueline’s silky boob-flesh and feel it yield beneath my ravenous licks. Then I’d latch my mouth on to her breastplate-stiff nipples.

Anyway, the rain rages down in sheets, and a gust plays with Jacqueline’s tresses, while my queen surveys her domain: a sodden dreamscape. Flashing rivers and tributaries of white electricity carve paths across the gloomy sky, probing for prey to blast apart below, in soaked passageways of citrine-yellow glow.

I’m typing a reply to Jacqueline’s message when the wall-spanning lump of gunk, who resembles a sewage spill, interrupts me.

“Would you mind leaving the phone alone while we’re talking? We were getting down to the meat of the matter.”

“Yes, I do mind, you gelatinous blimp!” I hold up the phone towards him. “Are you kidding me? This is Jacqueline!”

My throat itches, and a coughing fit assaults me. My mouth is parched as if I had chewed down on sandpaper. I must have become dehydrated from vomiting and sweating and shouting.

“So disrespectful,” the blob complains in a voice like the gurgling of a clogged pipe.

I clear my throat.

“Imagine that the police have caught on to my countless crimes and they’re chasing me through the streets. Then I receive a message from Jacqueline. She doesn’t know whether I’m alive or dead, or how many people I’ve stabbed along the way. Would you stop running to text her back? I would, because she’s the most important person in the universe. Even if texting her became my last act before I got blasted in the face with a shotgun at point-blank range. So quit bitching and let me assuage the worries of my beloved.”

The blob blows squelchy bubbles like a supersized snuffling pig.

I send my reply:

I’m fine, as fine as I can be in this nightmarish dimension and away from your loving embrace. I miss you so much, mommy. I wish I were kneeling at your feet and serving you with my mouth, my tongue, and whatever other body parts you’d prefer.

My tongue, a wrung-out piece of leather, flutters around my dry lips, attempting to moisten them. Water. Water can refresh every fiber of one’s being.

A bottle of mineral, tear-colored water has been standing for days near a filled notebook and some printouts of code. The bottle’s water level has sunk below halfway. When I put down my phone on the cluttered desk, I notice the desiccated carcass of a fly that’s lying supine. It must have asphyxiated from the stench. The bristling legs, bent at obtuse angles, resemble burnt-black chenille stems. On the ventral plate of its exoskeleton, I glimpse the hint of a nipple.

I picture myself biting off the fly’s membranous wings, which would crumble and sprinkle my taste buds with grit and bits of chitin. I look away in disgust, then take a deep breath. With my forefinger’s nail, I tap the insect’s corpse in case it revives. Nope, dead as dead. I pinch the fly by a wing and drop it in the mantle of vomit that has covered the heaped garbage in my wastebasket. The desecrated corpse gets swallowed up by sludge.

The water bottle beckons with its glistening liquid, clear as melted quartz. I grasp the bottle and unscrew its cap. I take a sip; the water, trapped in a cycle of despair, has turned tepid, stagnant. It tastes slightly chemical. I swill a mouthful around my oral cavity to rinse the residual taste of rot. After I swallow that water, I quaff the remainder of the bottle’s contents, that cascade down my gullet. Refreshed, I exhale in relief.

The squelchy blubber starts spewing verbal sewage from his vantage point.

“Speaking of thirst, you have some nerve for lambasting me, murderously so, because I keep tabs on your sorry ass from another dimension. Weren’t you stealing glances at Jacqueline up until you two started doing the nasty? Whenever she chose to exhibit that bouncy, motorboat-worthy rack of hers in a business setting, you turned into a slobbering creep-fuck. If you could have gotten away with it, you’d have gaped like a fish hooked on a line. Both of your coworkers would have noticed, but they were busy focusing on Visual Studio Code and Excel, respectively.”

“Oh, so you even spied on us during office hours, you dickweed?”

“Mind you, I’m not disparaging your taste in women; Jacqueline became prime office bait.”

“Thanks a bunch, asshole. You had the good sense to clarify that point. My revolver remains loaded, you know, and I might decide to drill holes in the blighted, blubbering face of your existence.”

“You are one twisted cunt.”

“For now let’s pretend that whoever I ogle at concerns you: I merely admired a natural wonder, mommy as a whole as well as the various parts that comprise her body, from her succulent lips and shapely ass to her jiggly jugs. I needed such dopamine kicks to mitigate my suicidal despair. And if I could have gotten away with it, I would have nibbled on Jacqueline’s nipples in front of our piggish boss like the starving feral monkey I am. Full-on nip-snarf, chomp chomp!”

“You’re closer to a rabid raccoon.”

A harp glissando alerts me that Jacqueline has graced my phone with a fresh message. What took her so long, though? Was she diddling herself?

I hold the water bottle aloft and upside down. The last few drops run down its curved interior until they drip on my outstretched tongue. I put the bottle down on the desk and pick up my phone.

“Anyway,” I continue for the blob’s benefit, “I was forced to steal glances of mommy because I dreaded looking deep into those cobalt-blues of hers, and experiencing existential vertigo akin to gazing down from the top of Mount Everest into the depths of an abyss.”

“Or the view through a microscope of a sperm cell’s nucleus.”

I sigh.

“Whatever. My point is that my legs could have started to wobble. I could have broken into sobs, or lost control of my bowels like a bum with diarrhea. If our secretary realized that she made me squirt and as a consequence she mocked me, I would have stabbed my eyes out with scissors. Jacqueline is a woman, while I’m an amalgamation of spiders that somehow retains a human form. For this disaster you can blame a certain goddess with webs between her thighs, from whose loins we spawned and into whose copious arms we’ll return once we’re done with this earthly farce, where we become entangled in the nets that we weave for each other.”

“I should stop listening to your babbling.”

I pull up Jacqueline’s message.

What have I done to deserve such a devoted sweetheart, always so eager to pleasure mommy? I wish we were cuddling at home like kittens in a basket. Please let me know if you need me to rescue you from that office-hell. I’d hate for a lightning bolt to strike your pretty head; you would be of little use to me as a ghost.

Her voice as I remember it, along with her sweet talk, pours into me like kaleidoscopic honey. I glance bitterly at the conquered wall, where an oil-soaked bulk of jellylike matter flutters as he stares back with his multitude of gleaming eyes. I want Jacqueline to come get me before I shoot myself in the skull. I want her to save me from the blob, from this office, from my mother’s dead eyes, from the apocalyptic horror show into which the cosmos vomited itself. Mommy and I would return to her cozy den. Inside, she would feed me kelp and raw clams, and afterwards we’d cuddle naked and warm under her downy comforter. She would press her snuggly, succulent tits against my face. Her heartbeat would echo in my head. I would breathe in her heady aroma as I fell into a languid trance, ready to sleep and never wake up. From a basement dungeon, in the flickering light of a lantern, I would watch a procession of gowned women emerge from violet clouds on wings of moonlight. Gone would be the stories and the pain and everything else to endure.

After I blink away the honey-haze, I start typing a reply to Jacqueline’s message, but the blob breaks my flow by complaining.

“Sure, keep chatting with your girlfriend while ignoring me. Is that how you treat someone who sneaked into this reality to help you?”

“What, so you can attempt to capture me in a web of words that drip with putrefaction? You needy puddle of pus! How much of my time have you stolen already? I stuck around after hours to catch up on work!”

“There’s more to life than one’s job, Leire.”

I clench my jaw through typing the rest of my response to Jacqueline.

I will return home as soon as I’m done with a last inescapable matter. The wet air, along with the bus ride, shall calm down my frenzied mind, so you can stay home taking care of our antediluvian marvel.

I’m tapping my foot while three animated dots reveal that my beloved is writing her reply.

Alright. We both miss you lots, baby. I have a big surprise for you tonight.

Spark-like tingles burst in my crotch. My heart rate rises as I tap letters on the phone screen.

“Enough, damn it!” the blob snaps. “XOXO and goodbye!”

My eyelids twitch.

“Get thee gone, wretched gloop! Go stalk an empty hallway!”

I send a text:

Does your surprise involve sex?

Oui, mon cher. Plenty of hot sweaty sex. But that alone wouldn’t be much of a surprise, so I’ve got a special one. Now put down that phone and get back to work. I’ll be waiting for you, sweetie.

As a parting gift, she attaches a round, yellow emoji that winks and blows a kiss.

A wave of heat suffuses my body. My mouth is flooding with saliva. My breasts grow tender, my nipples erect. As if possessed, my right hand drifts toward my pussy to rub it through my trousers and panties, but I halt the move halfway through even though I want my middle finger to circle around my moistened cleft, while the rest of my digits probe and knead in rhythmic massages. I yearn to scratch this primal itch, but if whenever I molest myself in the future, I suffer searing flashbacks of that many-eyed abomination, I may slit my wrists.

The blob clears his concealed throat.

“I get the feeling that I should be glad I can’t read your messages. In my opinion, your sexual urges overpower your judgement.”

I put the phone down on the desk, then I straighten my back and inhale slowly to steady my heartbeat.

“You should know by now that I’m solely motivated by carnal cravings and sordid perversions.”

Author’s note: the three songs for today are “My Dream Girl Don’t Exist” by Neutral Milk Hotel, “Pictures” by Galaxie 500, and “Don’t Let Our Youth Go to Waste” by Galaxie 500.

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

Did you know that one particular AI service can produce humanlike voices? I forced them to act out this chapter! Check out the result.

Would you enjoy seeing AI-generated pictures of Leire’s lovely mommy? Here’s the link.

This has been the longest chapter since chapter 83. Just two years ago, I could churn out five thousand words-long chapters in a day, and now it takes me several days to produce two thousand words. Either my standards have grown or I have become dumber.

We’re Fucked, Pt. 91 (Fiction)

Alberto, Alberto. Why did my brain tether to that name, from even before I met this oozy slimeball, the urge to fracture my knuckles against a skull, along with the need to scurry to a dark corner and rock back and forth while groaning?

And what’s this attached file of sensorial records? A moment when my breath was coming out ragged, warmth had suffused my groin, and my pussy tingled for me to scrub out at least a patch of the crust of despair, like radioactive grime, that was smothering my mind. I unbuckled my belt, then pulled down my pants and panties. How am I supposed to know which session of self-love I’m recalling?

As I licked my lips, a solid object of rounded, waxy plastic, harder than a dildo, was gliding through the valley of my gooey folds. The monochrome landscape of my brain lit up in a vibrant pineapple yellow.

Lip balm? Why was I masturbating with a tube of lip balm? Ah, because it belonged to Jacqueline.

That evening, seated on my chair in this office, I discovered the discomfort of rubbing my little girlhood next to Spike, that horse-headed golem, while ropy threads of drool spilled from his chin. He stank like he’d been farting spoiled milk. Despite my horsey comrade’s urging me to spare him the ordeal of watching me masturbate, I dug deeper between my thighs as the orgasmic pressure inside me welled up, until that dammed river rushed to release itself in a cataclysmic flood that drowned the world into nothingness.

My head buzzed with dopamine. As I caught my breath, slumped in my chair and covered in sweat, I found myself staring at a paper-thick screen that was hovering in front of me like a solid hologram. Its video feed featured me as if recorded from behind, at a downwards angle, by a surveillance camera. Someone out there, someone other than Jacqueline, had captured me on video with my bare thighs wide apart while I stroked my clitoris and moaned. I wanted to vomit.

My cheeks burn with shame as my heartbeat thunders. How did I come to lay blame at someone named Alberto? I have forgotten the details, but that name and the notion that some voyeur spied on me are twisted together in my mind like a tangle of inbred DNA.

I shake my fist at the night-black blob.

“You miserable sack of sewage! I’m going to smash you open and pour bleach into your festering guts!”

“What the hell is up with your moods, you volatile nutjob?”

“If there were any justice in this universe, and there isn’t, those who ruin a lady’s post-orgasmic afterglow would be executed!”

“Are you speaking in generalities? Before I made my entrance, you weren’t diddling your kitty. I know that much.”

“I swear, what is this fuckery that my life has sunk into?” I clench my teeth and shake my head. “Let’s get one thing straight, shit-brain: I won’t forgive, nor will I ever forget, how your gang of interdimensional stalkers have wrecked my routine, even though all I ever asked was to be left in peace. Do you have any idea how annoying it gets to be harassed by deformed, googly-eyed monstrosities that nobody else can see?”

“You think this is fun for me? I’m risking my existence by spending time in this dimension choked with decay and suffering.”

“If you knew how much I despise you and everything you stand for… I warn you, my great-great-great-great-grandfathers hunted saber-toothed tigers and woolly rhinoceroses. Giant sloths as well, regretfully. My forebears slaughtered those noble, forever-lost beasts and tore off their skins to warm themselves.”

“So did mine. You and I share an evolutionary line.”

I level my index finger at the intruder.

“What excuse helped you sleep at night? Do you believe that privacy is a bourgeois concept? Fuck your surveillance state!”

The blob’s gooey mass fidgets, squishing about, while his dozens of glistening eyeballs roll around as if to locate an answer written on the unspoilt walls. After he lets out an ‘oh’ of realization, his many pupils focus on my face with laserlike precision. My skin crawls.

“That’s why you’re freaking out.” The blob chuckles. “I thought you were coming undone! To be fair, you are overdue.”

“So you admit it!”

“What is this supposedly foul deed to which you believe I am confessing?” the blob asks in a sly tone.

“That you recorded me!”

“Someone recorded you while you were walking back home after finishing your shift? On the train? Wasting away in your apartment while dreaming of a different life?”

My nostrils flare, my eyelids twitch. I wish the blob had an asshole so that I could ram a fist up it.

“I was working overtime, right here!”

“Why would it bother you so much if someone secretly videotaped you while you wrote code? Could the way you press the keyboard keys offend somebody?”

“You know I was masturbating, you vile coagulate of pus, you abomination that feeds on human refuse!”

The blob bobs like a jellyfish, letting out a few giggles.

“That’s right, you were rubbing your clit to completion in the office. Why not take care of business in the bathroom? I’ve jerked off there myself.”

My blood is boiling.

“I’m going to bury you under an avalanche of lava!”

“Hey, a bit of friction is part of a woman’s natural cycle. That’s why nature gave us erectile tissue, right? Because we deserve some pleasure. Go ahead and rub it and feel more at home in this universe! But you’ve gotta do it behind locked doors or no one will respect you.”

“Once you stop oozing goo, you might be in a position to offer constructive suggestions. For your information, I’m pretty sure I had locked the office from the inside, but that’s beside the point with an interdimensional voyeur on the loose, isn’t it? I won’t apologize for doing my duty to liberate myself from the oppression of my inner demons. Anyway, is that why you recorded my sacred ceremony, to blackmail me?”

“I was looking out for you, Leire!”

“How the hell was that supposed to help me, you lumpy gob of mucoid secretions?”

“I manipulated reality to present that screen as a warning: someone else was and had been spying on you and your orgasms. I thought that such a revelation would awaken in you the urge to pay more attention to your deteriorating surroundings, but I keep on underestimating your imbecilic apathy. In short, you should be grateful.”

“Shut up! You claim innocence, then?”

The blob groans.

“Get some antiseptic for your ears. I’m the one who showed you that screen so you’d realize what was happening, you big galoot. Why would I want a record of the silly faces you make while you’re diddling yourself?”

I’m getting dizzy. I cross my arms as my brain struggles to digest this fresh information.

“S-so you have watched me as I played with myself?”

“I’m sorry to report that I’ve watched you do unspeakable things to yourself many times. Believe me, I avoid peeking into this realm, as well as into your life, to preserve my sanity. Yet, I have to check up on you. I peered into neutral territory only to find you slumped in your office chair, rubbing away frantically.”

“My humiliation is complete!”

“I hope that when your ass finally gets fired, someone burns that goddamn chair; I know that you would allow the next programmer to occupy the seat that has absorbed the emissions of your near-daily self-pleasuring.”

“That’s right. Some people tag walls with graffiti; others paint landscapes, write novels or compose music. I bless upholstery with my sticky fluids. We all have our own little ways of changing the world.”

“You are a true scumbag.”

“Wait, what the fuck do you mean by having to check up on me?” I furrow my brows in rage. “That’s like stealing someone’s wallet and then blaming the victim because they didn’t offer it to you first! Why would you spy on me anyway?”

“The ‘why,’ my dear degenerate, is why I’m here.”

As the blob prolongs a silence laden with germs and decaying matter, my heart slows down. This Alberto the blob is just a fucking creep with a jumbled brain, one pus-filled annoyance, more of a disease than a person, but he refrains from running away in fear, maybe partly because he’s stuck to a wall, even though he understands the extent of my depravity. Should I rage against any sentient mass that tolerates the filthy practices that plague my life? Should I run my tongue across his blobbish substance?

I sigh.

“Alright, I guess that as dozens of eyeballs floating in a wall-wide pool of demonic cum, you have transcended mere voyeurism.”

Author’s note: today’s song is “Paper Thin Walls” by Modest Mouse.

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

The infamous Lip Balm Incident happened ages ago, back in chapter 18. What the hell has happened in the meantime?

Do you want to hear a state-of-the-art audio AI act out this masturbation-centric chapter? Check it out!

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 seventeen (!).

I keep a playlist with all the songs mentioned throughout this novel. A hundred and twenty-two 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.

We’re Fucked, Pt. 89 (Fiction)

“So what’s your game, you gloppy bag of pus who gets off on tormenting innocent people? Why are you making me waste precious time with your toxic oratory? You haven’t eaten me yet; although you’re clearly unhinged, you must have some sort of agenda. Am I facing the squid-god Proteus?”

“I’m no squid. And as you should have figured out by now, we know each other.”

I snap my head back. I picture myself taking a shortcut at midnight through a grimy alley, that stinks of dog shit, urine, cigarette smoke, stale booze, and dime-store perfume. A rat scampers along a clogged storm drain. Some vermin is scrabbling in a trash can. Shards of broken glass glitter like slivers of moonstone. I’m stepping on yellowed papers and food wrappers when an orange-sized, black glob of snot drops in front of me and splatters on the piss-glazed cobblestones. The sticky substance has stained my shoes. I peer upward. Dozens of bulging eyeballs are observing me, glued to a gargantuan garland of slimy tar suspended between the graffitied brick walls, like a forgotten ornament for some holiday that honors a god of putrefaction and deformity.

My skin crawls. I want to shriek.

“I’m afraid that you must have mistaken me with someone else, you festering, foul-breathed abomination. It would explain why you thought that I wanted to be eaten. Perhaps a brain malfunction?”

“Oh, but you are. Didn’t you hear me call you by name? I think I did it twice.”

“Look, if you had checked the yearbooks in your high school’s library, you would have realized that I was in middle school when blob-people made their debut.”

The blob gurgles like a busted-up washing machine.

“Pay attention!”

“Alright, asshole. I’ll listen to the sound waves you’re generating with some mercifully hidden sphincter, if it means you’ll leave me alone. Go ahead, try your best.”

“Leire. That’s your name.”

I raise my hand to wipe the clammy sweat from my forehead.

“I’m struggling to remain sane despite your nauseating stench, but let me tell you: someone gave that name to me without my consent.”

“Is this a matter of freedom again? Or do you just hate sharing your name with thousands of other women in this province alone?”

I resent the cum monster’s derisive tone. Should I expect decency from someone who spat at my face, though?

I glare at one of the blob’s glistening, moist eyeballs, that’s drooping in the black goo like snot dribbling from a nostril. I want to gouge that eye out, then unhinge my jaw wide enough to cram the orb in my mouth. The eye would slime my lips and ooze onto my tongue. Maybe it tastes like rancid curry. I would sink my teeth into its fibrous sclera as if into a jawbreaker, and the released vitreous humor would shoot through my nose. I would keep chewing on that eyeball, and sucking up its viscous fluid, even as my jaws ached and my cheeks bulged like a puffer fish’s. Such gluttonous cravings overwhelm me in moments of revulsion; one time I was about to lick a tied-up condom left on a park bench, before I snapped out of my daze. But who am I kidding? If I were ever able to fit melon-sized stuff in my mouth, I would have already died of joy, and asphyxiation, while deepthroating one of mommy’s mammoth mammaries.

“What’s with your creepy grin?” the blob gurgles.

“Nevermind. My point was that people are assigned names so they can be addressed by others, so those other humans know to whom they’re referring when gossiping about you. Besides, how often have I wanted people to bother me? Before Jacqueline blessed my existence, my interests were always solitary. Therefore, the best name for me would have been none, and those knuckleheads who insisted on trying to address me would be forced to rely on expressions like, ‘Hey, you!’ Imagine the silly conversations they would be engaged in with each other as they criticized my personal habits, mocked my weaknesses, and debated the color of my undergarments, but doubted if they were talking about the same person! What an unhygienic lot! And over time, my lack of a name would become so awkward that I would be erased from the social memory of everyone around me, which would free me to spend my time contemplating the absurdity of my cosmic joke of a life. But yes, why choose the name Leire, with which thousands of females across the province are burdened? To whatever extent a name becomes the verbal attempt at manifesting one’s destiny, weren’t my parents setting me up for mediocrity by giving me a commonplace moniker instead of, say, Flower-Duster, or Unsliced Saliva’s Fondness for Fishbones? Once your essence has been tainted at birth with such a clichéd alias as Leire, does it ever regain the power of flight? Why pursue a dream when you’re doomed to become a mundane drone? To be fair, though, I’m warming up to the name Eide. A creative forest fae came up with it, maybe because she understood I had a penchant for being an untamed bohemian. Oh, I forgot: during a recent nightmare I was also christened as Gummo, but that rabbit bastard meant it as an insult. Besides, who would go by the name that an anthropomorphic bunny, or a fucking hamster for that matter, bestowed upon them? No, beyond that: who would want to associate with a cacodemon who came all over the pancakes they cooked for breakfast?”

The blob shifts about restlessly, squelching like a filled fleshlight.

“Astonishing ramblings by a half-wit!”

This interdimensional tapioca pudding, if such a slimeball is worthy of the name pudding, can undervalue me as much as he pleases; I’m a helium balloon soaring above the mountains. Explaining myself at length exhilarates me.

“I’m serious. To regain the joy of the naked, unsullied state, we must venture down a path that leads to our names’ total evaporation.”

“You moron, even if your parents hadn’t named you, other people would refer to you by your relationship with others, as in, ‘This guy over here is my son, that bitch is my ex-wife.’ And eventually they would stick nicknames on you, the sort that your parents would have avoided for their beloved progeny. I can think of half a dozen such epithets. The Wretch, for example, or The Thirsty One, or even that old standby, The Cunt.”

I guffaw to release the frustration and unease swirling inside my ribcage.

“Very funny, pus bag. Those who would push an unflattering identity on me will be dismembered, their pieces strewn along mommy’s balcony to be gnawed upon by crows and other feathered scavengers.”

As the blob oozes angrily, he glowers like a shit-faced T-rex in a sauna.

“How the fuck would someone without a name get by in modern society?! Unless you live in a cabin in the woods and subsist entirely on nuts and berries, you’d have to provide proper ID to open a bank account or apply for a job. And don’t you think that the government would intervene if they had trouble collecting taxes from you?”

“I know, right? They would seize on my lack of a name as probable cause of terrorism. Those depraved cretins! Why do we let the state encroach upon our personal affairs? How far we have fallen since our fabled Paleolithic ancestors, whom I’m sure were freewheeling hedonists of great renown, roaming free in search of the perfect nipple. They never needed ID; they would simply paint a smudge of mud onto their foreheads and mumble into the trees, ‘Here I am, a boob for you,’ and any gal nearby would come crawling across the woods with her hair matted in clumps and her tongue out like a begging puppy. What a life of luxury they were blessed with by mommy Earth! Damn it, when was I asked if I wanted to partake in modern society?!”

The blob rolls his dozens of eyeballs so far back that they sink into the squirming goo, spin, then spring to the surface again. As films of black slime slide off the eyeballs, the sewage-colored irises dart about erratically like startled from a dream. When they focus on me, the wall-wide gelatinous bulk sags with a deflating groan that could be interpreted as a sigh, but that may have been a fart.

“I can’t believe I have fallen so low as to entertain your lunacy,” the blob moans. “It seems I have nothing better to do than listen to your absurd babble about names and nipples.”

“You’re just pissed because a big black squid’s arguments don’t stand for shit. Nobody else has ever complained about my eloquent sophistry. Why do you hate the truth? Is the mere existence of logic and evidence so unbearable to your warped little soul?”

“I might just be anti-nonsense.”

I take a deep breath.

“I’ve spent decades searching for some sense in this absurd existence, so I expect the same consideration and intellectual openness from others. At least don’t spit at me! But I see that, for you, I must simplify reality down to its rudimentary forms.”

“Please do. This has gone on long enough.”

“I’m indeed one of those unfortunate humans whose identity has been diminished to the name Leire. I’m also a thirty-year-old programmer without friends.”

“How very pleasant to meet you, Miss D-D-Dumb-Dumb-Dumb.”

“You bloated, pustulating turd!”

That bizarre bastard bursts into laughter, cackle after cackle. As the ghastly racket resounds, the mound of sludge shakes and ripples like the belly of an obese man who has gorged himself on a vatful of lard, and with each gargle and snort, the squelchy mass threatens to eject several gallons of its rotten innards into space.

Author’s note: today’s songs are “Never Ending Math Equation” by Modest Mouse, and “Peacebone” by Animal Collective.

I keep a playlist with all the songs I’ve mentioned throughout this novel. A hundred and five songs so far. Check them out.

Do ya know that some artificial intelligences can create images out of whatever prompt you send them? Well, do ya, punk? It just happens that I sent one of those AIs lots of sentences from this chapter. Check out the results.

Did you know that some neural networks can produce human-like voices? I exploited the best of those cutting-edge services to generate an audiochapter for this entry. Here’s the link.

This chapter was the most fun to write in quite a while, and the audiochapter that I produced from it turned out fantastic.