David Oblivion met Mr. Hamm on the Street of Dreams in Angel City. Hamm was an ambassador from Hell. Nothing could change the present. The outcome was inevitable.
Marty Mekum could hear the dream resonating in his brain like a land-mine about to explode. He told himself, there is no such place as Hell. The characters in his mind were as flimsy as used tissue.
Marty consistently asked questions trying to justify his life. His hands were frozen, stiff with age. He could no longer paint the images that populated his mind. His days working as an artist were over.
Marty left his lover in the past. They stood on a precipice overlooking the Arizona Desert. It was a tumultuous period in their lives. The world seemed to be drowning in a golden-shower of crass abuse and excess. The only way to live was to escape.
Protest marches and benefit concerts became routine. Demonstrations were another form of escape… bolstering a false sense of security. Drug overdoses became commonplace. The lovers lived in a haze of chemical enhancement… on the precipice — suddenly, Marty jumped, leaving his partner & lover behind.
“How are you, Marty?” The cyborg-appliance asked.
“How’s the weather?” Marty replied.
“Same as always… gray.”
Marty Mekum was from the future, but no one believed him. He wanted to save the world, but no one listened. By the time he recorded this story, he was very old. He came of age in the future by giving birth to himself. The Home cared for Marty. The Home was a network of prosthetic extensions that fed, manipulated, and recorded Marty’s existence to use as a merchandising incentive. People had inherent (but limited) monetary value. When inherent value was used up everything could be recycled and reused. All accounts were itemized and reviewed on Twitter. Capital gains and losses were tweeted daily.
Angina Splint was an account executive in the Golden Tower. She didn’t know Marty. She wasn’t concerned with other people’s problems or predicaments. Angina lived for the bottom-line. She loved her job. Perks were numerous. Gold Cadillacs abounded. Designer drugs sweetened the pot. Zombies moved into the cubicle across the hall, but Angina wasn’t bothered. Her office suite was large enough to flatten any zombie invasion.
Angina’s mom lived at the Home a few doors down from Marty Mekum. There was a cost incentive to visit mom once a year. Values were exchanged and increased. It was a mutually beneficial arrangement. Mom was always changing, trying to increase her value. She was a programmer from the last century so she knew her business. Mom’s brain was mush, puree — it didn’t matter as long as she could offer some amusing entertainment. She had to adapt. Capital gain was the name of the game. She often mimicked Hitler and harassed the “Juden.” Mom was a member of the Baby Generation. Baby clones ruled the world. The unborn were silent no longer.
Angina loved visiting mom — the money kept pouring in. Mom wore a blue hat and began to tick like a time-bomb — pure entertainment. Angina gushed.
The prosthetic appliances at the Home were plugging holes with stoppers trying to halt the flow of effluvium from the newest, Last War. Marty Mekum would have none of it. He began to rant, “the mad man in the tower is becoming more powerful each day writing new edicts, shaping the world into his own chthonic image. I hear the death rattle throttle.”
Angina caught the drift of Mekum’s riff. She was briefly mesmerized, cauterized by words she never heard. Meanings were resplendent.
Dr. Zosomo came to the rescue with an enema plunger to eradicate the excess verbiage.
Marty bespoke, “this is a drift into dark-matter. There are Nine Levels.”
No one understood. Angina and mom were determined to continue espousing the words of the baby prophet. It was a disaster: Matricide with suicidal tendencies.
“No one is free,” Marty sneezed, “we are all Him subject to the same corruption.”
The aliens took notes, gleefully observing the debacle. Too late it was revealed: He was controlled by dark servitors from beyond the veil. Dorian Gray lisped in brilliant decay.
A poet scrawled new codes on a bathroom wall.
The email scandal caused the election to slip and slide leading to the inauguration of Balbek, the new leader. Balbek was a celebrity. Some said he was a business man. Others said he was a comedian.
Jeff Sumak sat enraptured before the screens in a Virtual Chatter-Cafe. The screens told the glorious story of Balbek. Orlow Fabricatum, the reporter from “Future Lies” took notes. The reporter interjected remarks that dripped like acid from the proboscis of a fly, “Balbek is a virtual conceit, not a real person at all.” Jeff was dismayed. He had faith in the new leader.
Everything depended on the wall-of-secrecy meant to keep out invaders. Balbek claimed the nation was crumbling due to alien invasions. He vowed to correct past mistakes and make everything great again. Jeff dissolved inside himself recalling past mistakes.
Jeff was an angry man. He was recently laid off from his lucrative management position and forced to work part time. His girlfriend left him for another man. His condo needed repairs he couldn’t afford. It was all the fault of big government: there were too many bureaucrats with their fingers in the pie. Government was a thief – stealing from people like him to pay for healthcare, welfare, roads, and schools. It was all a boondoggle as far as Jeff was concerned. Newly elected Vern Balbek promised salvation from the problems facing the nation. Jeff was encouraged by this new patriot, a business man with a plan for real change.
The first major change had nothing to do with Jeff’s primary concerns, but it aimed at improving the nation: babies were given voting rights. The new laws were designed to support the family and ban all abortion. Balbek stated, “New life is God given and must be protected at all cost – even at the expense of the expendable mother.” Jeff was very happy about the new laws promoting the status of men over women.
Jeff realized he always deserved more respect. Other People needed to follow his suggestions. Women should be more attentive and subordinate. Jeff loved to bang women (that was his only pleasure in life) so why shouldn’t they be more accommodating? Balbek made it happen. Balbek was on television bragging about his affairs with women. He said women were drawn to his magnetic charm. He could do whatever he wanted. Women submitted willingly because he was a celebrity — a celebrity with balls.
Jeff worshiped Balbek and the changes he promoted. Balbek gave a weekly sermon on national TV. It became the highest grossing program in the nation. Balbek opened Step-up camps for orphans and “poor” children so they could learn proper etiquette and good working habits. Step-up led to Helping Hands to put the children and the nation’s unemployed back to work … in factories and mines … in kitchens and bathrooms. The economy boomed, stimulated by low-cost labor. Jeff joined the Orange Guard. He was paid well to enforce laws that protected corporate entities from unruly masses and worker dissent. He was respected and well armed – he didn’t have to press too hard for women to grant him sexual favors.
The stock market soared when Balbek declared, “Peace in the East.” The peace was enforced by newly conscripted troops made up of youth from Step-up camps. Members of the Orange Guard were ordered to keep the new troops in line. Jeff Sumak became an officer commanding a forsaken outpost in a mud hole on the side of a mountain. His life took a turn for the worse. His troops were ill equipped. Jeff’s requests for better weapons and basic necessities were never answered. He saw teenagers ripped apart by artillery and bombs. Jeff complained to higher ups about the deplorable conditions. After several months sending emails, he received an answer – he was taken to headquarters. Jeff was put in a room, in solitary confinement and abandoned. He was no longer of any use to Balbek. In his cell, Jeff began to suspect that Balbek was an invader, an alien sent to dismantle order and sanity – sent as an advance guard before the main invasion.
Balbek frowned. He peered through a one-way glass to inspect Jeff Sumak. The man was obviously disassembling. Jeff had been under Dr. Balbek’s care for more than a year. There was no improvement. Balbek knew Jeff had a personality disorder. He suspected his patient harbored multiple personalities. Jeff often called himself Balbek, the boss who changed the world.
Jeff stared at a reflection of himself. He no longer believed he was a powerful dictator or an alien invader … now, Jeff believed he was a psychiatrist – Dr. Balbek. The real Jeff Sumak lost himself; or perhaps, he never existed.
“Of course, I’m entitled,” Svetleena Finkel shouted, “it’s my 107th birthday!” She was standing on the balustrade overlooking the Moon-Yard, an authentic reproduction of the first interstellar outpost built on the moon. She looked postal covered in a neon radiation shield and waving a light-saber. She was talking to the notorious journalist, Orlow Fabricatum, and she gushed with privilege and enthusiasm, “I’ve seen it all and done it all. I’ve had many lifetimes during this one life … and I was here for the end of the world.”
“I had no idea,” Orlow simpered as he sipped from a bowl of rancid blood, “tell me more.”
“It began in the 1930’s right before the rise of Hitler. I was quite naive. It was before my first transformation. I was a pretty boy named Sven and there was no work in Berlin. You see, I was an orphan. I never knew my real parents. I ended up as a hustler, turning tricks and stealing wallets.”
“I’m not surprised,” Orlow confessed, “it was a bad time.”
“Indeed,” Svetleena chortled, “but not nearly as bad as what followed: the Nazis, Hitler, and the invasion of the Meat Puppets.”
The post Post-World happened many years after Sven became Svetleena. She experienced many transformations through the magic-science of age-reversal and mutant genetics. Once she was commodified as an extraterrestrial! For a short period she was actually a Meat Puppet, but that was a cover-identity when she worked as a spy.
“I’m the lynch-pin, you know,” she explained to Orlow while they consumed great quantities of nitrous Oxide and infused alcohol, “I made it happen … the end of the world.”
“I suspected as much, my dear; but I didn’t want to spoil your surprise.”
“You are a sweetie. If you weren’t the proverbial fly on the wall, I’d marry you.”
“Oh, Svetleena, you know marriage is no longer fashionable. Even so, these days, anything is possible. We could marry, but I’d only be after your money.”
“You devil! At least you are honest.”
During the period of Global Disruption, when Hitler rose from the dead, Svetleena/Sven met Boris Riesling and fell in love. Boris was a sensitive teenager trapped in an old man’s body. He had a hero-complex that appealed to Sven who was still working as a hustler.
Svetleena continued, “no one knew the new Nazis were really Meat Puppets from beyond the Rim. Our love was beautiful and lasting until Boris was arrested for deviancy and imprisoned. I never knew why I was not charged, perhaps because I had salient information about several powerful individuals.”
Sven became a spy in order to defeat the Meat Puppets. It led to the first transformation. In order to fool the enemy, Sven had to become the enemy.
One transformation led to another. The Meat Puppets were disguising themselves as human, trying to acquire human characteristics, having sex with human females. Sven became Svetleena in order to seduce and conquer the Alien Race. Her hybrid beauty drew them out like a magnet. Meat Puppets in high places were exposed, but being Aliens, they were sore losers with the impulse to destroy what they could not have.
The strain from stress-producing encounters and intrigue became too much for everyone involved in the drama of world domination and retribution. The invading Meat Puppets never took into account the terrifying tedium of traffic jams. Television kept interfering with interplanetary communication. Advertising on digital devices scrambled the invader’s brains. The plans to camouflage themselves as human failed when the Meat Puppets became too human. Seduced by TV commercials they became consumers driven to acquire goods and services they didn’t understood resulting in confusion and erratic behavior. The disruption put an end to everything.
The post Post-World was reconstituted in Dr. Boris Riesling’s laboratory. Everything is now in post production.
“I am Svetleena Finkel and I’m 107 years old. We are all Meat Puppets!”
He couldn’t find a vein. He kept jabbing the spike into liquid flesh. Although his body hurt, he couldn’t feel the prick of the needle or see the telltale trickle of blood. He was no longer hungry but his body was starving. Three days before he stole a rat from a crazed kid — it was his last meal. He couldn’t feel the dirt on his body, the fat lice and raw infections. Numb and naked, saliva foamed over his lips like a mad dog.
He lay on the floor of a warehouse and peered through a hole in the wall, watching the city. It shone like an iridescent wound. The sky bled through poisonous clouds. People crawled from their steel nests atop skyscrapers and climbed down to the streets. Some people dove from high pinnacles and crashed into the cement. The gathering crowd cheered. It was a celebration. They were wearing costumes, synthetic humps and enormous sex organs. Some celebrants were painted with blood. The Dragon Queen led a procession. She wore a display case from Tiffany’s. The Halloween Ghoul hissed at the crowd. A group of priests beat themselves with sticks and straps. The slapping rhythm provided the primal music for the gathering. Screams blended and rose like a choir of demons. He saw the hungry mob turn into a rampaging beast.
Suddenly lights flashed and the sky appeared to split. He witnessed enormous, mechanical locusts descend and hover above the crowd; vibrating with metal wings, turbines and computers. They were covered with rotting flesh harvested from corpses. They glowed with holy fire. They spoke with a voice that reverberated like thunder, “We are the Creators, the Masters — you are the Dead. We invented you. We constructed you electron by electron. You are simple machines programmed to cultivate and care for the Earth. You – are a failed experiment, machines that have gone insane. In error you developed an Ego. There is no Ego, no individuality. There is no identity, no life. You are machines! You have become a blight on Earth, an abomination in the Universe. You are Dead! As the Creators we must intervene. We must render you harmless. We must take control!”
In the end, he was alone. He heard the thunder subside and was filled with a sense of peace. He was secure within the black hole of space where there was no fear or pain. He felt nothing. He was a simple machine, a lighthouse in space keeping track of the debris that circled the Earth. The planet below was once again thriving. There were no more signs that “humans” ever existed.
Archival Information: He was a teenager when he impaled himself on a cross trying to emulate Jesus. He didn’t die, but there was a fair amount of blood. He loved a girl named Anna Beth, but she wanted more than he could give. He was impotent. Jesus never answered his prayers so he tried to crucify himself. His name was Edmund Grey.
Start Message: “I am known as First Person, Present Tense and I have a story to tell. I can speak freely now that I’m no longer encumbered by a physical body. I may skip around (due to technical difficulties) but if you are patient the story will unfold and dramatically effect your life. I used to be Edmund Grey… no doubt you’ve heard that name.”
We interrupt this broadcast with the rebroadcast of Orson Wells 1939 radio drama, “War of the Worlds.” Please stand by… Aliens have landed…
“What if it wasn’t fiction. What if it was all true and just covered up with propaganda and special effects to look like dramatic entertainment. What if everything you think you know is a lie. Of course you could continue living and acting for the rest of your life but it would be based on false premises and totally meaningless. That’s exactly what happened to me, Edmund Grey: a life built on false premises.
“I’m the man who wanted to save the world. My company, Systems Inc. was given billions by the Environmental Protection Agency. There was a war going on: a war on Climate Change. Governments finally agreed the planet was heating up due to the overuse of fossil fuels and dirty manufacturing techniques. I counted on solutions developed by our top scientists to ameliorate the problems. I was a fool. There are no simple solutions and war is never an answer. The company built giant shades to float above the earth to modify the sun’s heat and block harmful rays. The shades were constructed with self-replicating nanites. The tiny machines went haywire due to ultraviolet exposure — they began to replicate unconditionally until the Earth was enclosed by an impenetrable shell.
“No doubt you’ve concluded I’m deranged. Nothing so dramatic as I’ve described has happened in your world. Your life continues as it always has. You may have heard my name in a news story about a wealthy entrepreneur who disappeared without a trace. You are convinced climate change was never a serious threat.
“They did something to me: put my consciousness into a machine and pressed play. I’m here to set the record straight: your whole life has always been based on lies. You don’t know who you are or where you came from. You merely theorize and play make believe. Just as you have forgotten the Aliens, you’ve forgotten everything else. I can tell you now: it ended a long time ago for you as an individual and as a species. You’ve been dead for millennia (an illusion deluded by lies).”
Kane Anderson was having drinks at the Excalibur with Silvanna Fey his divine, new paramour. The place was decked out with silver, celestial screens that reflected scenes of heavenly divinity. The food and drinks were fabulous and Silvanna couldn’t stop giggling due to erupting champagne bubbles. “You are the best,” Kane lathered the words with phony sincerity. His twin brother, Abel, sat across the room by himself and sulked. He was dressed in a dark cloak and he hovered over his drink like a hunchback. They were not identical twins. Whereas Kane sparkled with the purity of a statue by Michelangelo, Abel mirrored the deformities portrayed by Hieronymus Bosch. Abel, however, was a genius; while Kane was supercilious and dim witted. Enmity grew between the brothers. In the end, no matter what you may have heard, it was Abel who slew Kane. This story was shared on the Cyber-net where true confessions spar with outrageous lies in a battle for veracity. A panel of experts are virtually present to judge each contestant’s story. A new contestant is chosen every hour on the hour around the clock. The Cyber-net never shuts down. Everyone is encouraged to submit Photos and videos as evidence of the truth. Winners receive incredible discounts on amazing luxury items. losers are consigned to the dead file (where names and avatars are lost forever). The panel of experts consists of Miss M, a super computer; Reginald Downly, a professor of some sort; Grey Mook, a computer virus; Anthony Zen, a virtual monk; and Boondeer Saville, a character actress of some renown. Names, of course have been changed to protect privacy rights. The experts are replaced periodically to insure consistent ambiguity. “Deception” is the name of the game. The intent is to fool the experts with an elaborate falsehood or an improbable truth. To add spice to the proceedings, Big Babies (Japanese Robots) are on hand to cudgel contestants into submission. It’s virtual, but it feels real with the sensory-implants required when renting a new smart phone.
“My name is Morton Slope and I’m part of a conspiracy. The irony is: I used to be a comedy writer for television. Ironic cause not much is funny anymore. My life fell apart when I discovered my best friend was having an affair with my wife. That’s where the irony began because we were also having an affair. He was the love of my life — we were soul mates, or so I thought. He confessed… said he wanted to break up… that he met someone new. I discovered his new love was my wife when I returned early from a comedy retreat and caught them in bed.” At this point in the confession a giant robot kitty (with pink spots) starts to jump around like a teenager on amphetamines — getting the party rolling and encouraging the contestant to go for broke. “I guess you want to hear that I killed them both out of revenge. Sorry to disappoint — there was no killing. I just got totally plastered — went on a month long binge — got fired and ended up in a homeless shelter — that’s where I sobered up and learned about the conspiracy. The shelter was run by non-denominational monks. They encouraged me to search for answers concerning my purpose on Earth. They offered books and classes in philosophy and science.” Big Kitty is bored and hits Morton with a rubber baton. The head on the robot-clown starts to spin and shoot sparks. “Hey — stop that. OK, OK — I’ll reveal the big secret, the conspiracy. It’s simple … the monks are aliens from another dimension and I am their new recruit. Yep, me and the aliens are going to rewrite the script, stomp on everything. Take it down piece by piece and leave nothing but the rotting corpse of human greed and betrayal. That’s it, that’s my confession.”
The judges are taciturn. The robot dolls are not amused. Morton failed to convince the jury. The decision is unanimous, “Big lie. Take him to the dead files. Erase him from the Cyber-net.”
Morton Slope sits in a dingy cell, no longer connected, completely cut off from virtual reality. He is hunched over a large book. The book contains many secrets, lists, and formulas. Morton is erasing everything in the book. Every word and symbol corresponds to something in the world. Morton is erasing the world. People won’t notice for a long time, but slowly things will begin to disappear until there is nothing left.
Billy was trapped on Level 4. He didn’t know about the Centipedes. He was fighting a rampaging killing machine known as SAM (symbiotic arthropodal metastasis ). The machine was constructed from living organisms and it had one mission: absorb all life. Billy wore a suit of artificial skin that protected his true identity. Billy’s teammates were all dead. He had one remaining weapon: the Heart Of Fire. It could only be used once – the weapon would reset the parameters of reality, but the result was always unknown: things could improve or get worse. Dr. Sam was swimming in the Elegaic Sea – he was the interface in the game platform. He was also a serial killer, part of SAM. He swam like a prehistoric shark, a creature with armored skin and two heads. He consumed everything in his path leaving a wake of desolation. He cozied up to Billy with an offer of peaceful coexistence in the Online Multiplayer Gaming World. It was a snark, shark attack. Billy was caught off guard, but he managed to flip the switch and reset reality – everything was about to change for better or worse.
Dalia stared like an insect with multi-faceted eyes. She was in the pit with Gordon and the Centipedes. Gordon’s Master was enormous, fully engorged and erect. It had a bloated, red thorax. Gordon was naked, on all fours like a dog. He was also erect, excited by the scent emanating from the horde of giant insects. Dalia felt excitement coursing through her body like a hit from a stun gun. The scene was hypnotic and she feared she was losing her grasp on reality. The pit was a mud hole with walls made from fecal matter. the floor was a shallow swamp with red insects, larvae, swimming in the scum. Gordon was coaxed to caress the Centipedes thorax and lick the insect’s abdomen. Dalia was compelled to push and prod Gordon into more extreme acts of perversion. Fluids were exchanged. Sexual organs were manipulated. The chittering of giant Centipedes filled the pit like a million exploding clocks. The nights were replete with inter-species orgies. Just before dawn the humans returned home and the normal work day proceeded as if nothing changed. After work, people watched TV and ate frozen dinners. Children were encouraged to do homework. To protect the illusion of sanity, people had to blot out the perversions of the night.
The Centipedes came to the planet for practical reasons – to mine new resources to sustain a growing population. The Earth provided resources along with an indigenous population to do the labor of mining and manufacturing. Something went seriously awry during the campaign of planetary domination. The scent of human meat sizzled the brains of the Aliens. Centipedes, driven by instinctual impulses, devolved. Thousands of Centipedes snapped resulting in ritualistic behavior that predated any technological advancements. The once advanced Centipedes became addicted to sex with their human slaves. The two species became more enmeshed with one another. Human and Centipede: cohabiting – interbreeding – consuming one another.
Billy flipped the switch and everything changed. He was part of the change and could not discern what happened. An outside observer like Dr. Sam could easily see the changes. He smiled, a shark’s smirk. Humans had several extra appendages and bloated abdomens. The scent of sex permeated the hovels where people lived and rutted in the mud. The world was denuded, laid to waste. Cannibalism was rampant. There was only one remaining city in the world – Red City.