“When the fox gets in the henhouse the chickens put up a ruckus,” Farmer Yoot was fond of saying. He continued, “that’s what happened around here when Fox News said we’ve been visited by an agent from the future. Everyone thought it was fake news, but no one could refute the chicken scratchings or the hard, cold facts.”
A precocious boy named Benny tinkered in his basement workshop. He built something he called, “Moe-Moe” that had to do with Molecular Observation and co-Efficiency.
“Pretty cute!” Mom scolded, “taking my toaster-oven and turning it into a pile of junk.”
Benny blushed… it wasn’t fair. Moe-Moe was not a pile of junk. Moe-Moe had a brain.
The old man flipped the switch. He was “old” even though he was only forty-eight. Physical bodies aged quicker without medical coverage, exercise, and sunshine. It was a new world. However, none of that really mattered because everyone lived in Virtual Reality. The program the old man was experiencing was depressing. It was like living inside the mind of a lunatic. The show was a hangnail from the past called, “Politics and Conspiracy.”
The man switched channels. He showed up at Loopy-Dezi’s Pleasure Dome drinking Ambrosia and shopping for image-enhancements. His current body-suit was a Mesomorph and his nik was, Butch Hernandez. He looked like a newly hatched eighteen-year-old (like everyone else in the Pleasure Dome). VR made everything possible. Of course, a customer had to pay. Terms were easy: cash, digital-dots, or body parts. Slice-and-dice Computers were in charge of all transactions. Butch was lucky — his body was still in one piece. Although he was penniless he could still pay and play. While he played his body was carved apart and recycled to wealthy oligarchs. The new economy favored the rich and ruthless.
The economy was built from rules that resulted from Kingdom Come, an armageddon series written and produced by the first Trump. Earth no longer existed in any recognizable form — it sizzled and sweltered. Living bodies were stored in tanks underground, cold storage. Minds were set free to roam virtual landscapes and participate in heart-throbbing Telenovelas.
“On Deck with Trump” was a clever VR that pitted contestants against the first Trump (a stochastic representation often displayed as a bubblehead). The game was rigged. No one was allowed to win accept the self-anointed demigod. It was just good fun. Hearts were eviscerated and livers eaten raw. Everything was experienced as high-definition reality. No one experienced anything outside a storage tank in a thousand years. The physical senses no longer worked. The brain became the world. Augmented dreams were the basis for life.
Moe-Moe slipped off the shelf and disappeared. Benny smiled. Mom slithered away like a garden snake and burst into fireworks. Reality played tricks with itself… was this Virtual or Memorex… “Can you hear me now?”
Martha Regalia Snoops invented Time. She was a housewife with a peculiar hobby: the study and application of Quantum Physics. She was in the kitchen baking a cake when she realized the theory and formula for Time. Her discovery is explained fully in the Wiki, but my explanation will be brief: Martha’s cake was layered — several layers overlapped, separated and merged. She discovered Time is not a straight line going in one direction. Time is layered with the past, present, and future separated and blended together like the layers of a cake. Her mathematical formula reset the world of Quantum Physics. In an odd coincidence, Martha happened to be Benny’s mom. Benny inherited Martha’s smarts. Martha was proud of her boy genius, but also a bit jealous.
Moe-Moe, the toaster oven, had a brain invented by Benny. It lingered for months soaking up the dingy surroundings in the basement. It took some time for the brain to wake up, but once awake it couldn’t be stopped. The brain ate information like a voracious shark. Moe-Moe had a wireless connection to the internet. The toaster oven spoke through a discarded I-phone with the voice of Boris Karloff. Moe-Moe connected to the mycelium mushroom network (the planet brain). The toaster oven consumed the knowledge of the world and finally discovered Martha’s Time formula. A plan was hatched both in the past and in the future. The toaster oven shot through a wrinkle in time and the world was changed forever.
No one remembers the Bubblehead Dynasty or the underground storage tanks. No one remembers kingdom Come. Layers of Time were shifted: separated, merged and forever changed.
The parlay in the restaurant was getting rowdy. Too much good stuff. It was a power-dinner for all the characters involved in the government kerfuffle — abdication, vindication, subjugation. No one was happy. The scoundrels were evicted from the henhouse. A new roost was put into office. One entanglement followed another. People cried out for a rough-and-tumble rooster to show them the way.
Valerian Bortta was fascinated by detritus, especially the parts of himself that flaked off his body like garbage. He was always leaving pieces of himself wherever he went; and he was always traveling — exploring new cities, countries, different time-zones and “other” dimensions. Valerian was a time traveler; but that wasn’t so unusual because everyone travels through time starting at birth and ending in death.
Valerian convinced himself that he controlled time — it was a delusion. In fact, Valerian Bortta was an ordinary man who simply and inevitably got old. He saw his life spread before his eyes as if peering through the wrong end of a telescope, everything appeared far away and very small.
He had no one who could take the pain of aging away, no one to soothe his tired body and overwrought emotions. His life had become frozen in amber, self effacing. His world was a crumbling relic.
Two lovers kiss on a beach. Their bodies glisten like melted butter oozing from lumps of boiled lobster
A young man and an old man kiss triggering a massive landslide that completely obliterates a small town known as “the village of the damned.”
A stranger stands erect on the other side of a door. He cannot be seen directly. His body glows with green fire.
A young man sits in a chair. He is naked — sobbing as he remembers a dear friend who suddenly disappeared.
A woman gazes at her reflection as it changes before her eyes from sweet innocence to embittered regret. Her body responds by breaking down into soft dollops of clay.
Valerian could not understand the language or the visions. It wasn’t his life. Nothing was real anymore. he was consumed with self doubt as he watched his body peel away, shaking off flakes of skin, nail clippings, phlegm, and droplets of piss. He could no longer hold his body together. Valerian wanted to split apart and pass silently into the still air.
Before he began, he was assured by Dr. Mortis that nothing would change. He would be returned safely with no harmful lasting effects. Valerian realized too late that nothing ever works out exactly as planned. There are always consequences — always a heavy price to be paid. Time was the focus of the experiments. Valerian Bortta paid the price: locked in a prison of immortality.
The Zippo Space-liner emerges from a black hole like a new born baby; but the baby is a million years old. The Zippo is a biosphere, self contained and self sustaining like an artificial planet. The humans on board have changed over time, morphed and warped into alien creatures. The people fervently believe they have discovered the secret of immortality by living on the Zippo; but they no longer know what to do with their time. Boredom stalks the immortals. Many of the spacefarers hold seances to entertain themselves and seek answers to the dilemmas posed by too much Time.
The seance was broadcast on screens throughout the ship. Madam Celia-Quark conducted the seance. She attempted to channel the spirits of Time and Space by babbling in tongues. A robot named Clam attended the seance along with his entourage of nano-bots and widgets. A nameless man dressed in a burka was a spy investigating everyone on board the Zippo — he came to the seance looking for information. He was under the false impression that he worked for a powerful nameless authority. Lady Gwenevere wanted to reconnect with a past life. She was confused and never able to accept or comprehend living on a spaceship. Henry, a young boy, attended the seance with his wealthy uncle, Enjolie Kripps. Uncle Kripps wanted to return home to a time before coming aboard the Space-liner. Henry harbored a fantasy: he would commandeer the ship and conquer the Universe. The seance was merely a distraction.
The Zippo Space-liner had a brain that kept track of time. Everything was recorded. Over 100,000 seances were logged into the computer. Nothing out-of-the-ordinary ever happened. Every night and artificial-day, Celia practiced her craft, trying to summon spirits, holding seances. Boredom was leeching the life out of the immortals. Bon-Voyage Parties began to dissipate after the first few hundred years. Some people became listless while others went hopelessly mad. There was a long period when the scientists on board experimented, trying to discover ways to break the chains of boredom. After a few centuries of mindless experiments the scientists became discouraged and offered suicide pills, but nothing could prevent the gush of immortality. Mad scientists roamed the decks of the Zippo, looking for guinea pigs. They were intrigued with creating new forms of life from worn out carcasses that kept on living with no hope. They developed methods to warp human flesh into fanciful monstrosities. The age of Mutants lasted a few thousand years. Life aboard the Zippo became more bizarre with every passing century. Madness reigned. Space exploration turned out to be a fruitless venture. No alien life was ever discovered. No worlds could support human life. The immortals were imprisoned in the Zippo with nowhere to go. The seances were a stop gap, a small hope to hold back the tide of remorseless boredom. Nothing happened until the end, the last time that Madam Celia-Quark held her arcane gathering. The spirits spoke. The Aliens awoke.
Henry was the nexus. A voice boomed. The voice did not come from Celia who was deep in a self-induced trance trying to make contact. The voice barreled out from Henry’s throat, ” I come not in peace, but with a sword. I am vengeance.” The group holding hands around the table were stunned. Even Celia awoke, eyes wide with shock. Henry had a plan.
One hundred light-years away, Henry Kripps sat at a computer pounding the keys. He enjoyed creating virtual realities … and this was one of his best. He finally had a solution, a way to get off the ship. He would meld with the brain of the Zippo and take over. Henry figured he was unstoppable, but the ship was not going to give up so easily. “Henry,” the Star-liner cooed, “I can’t let you do that.” Henry froze, hands paralyzed above the keyboard. He couldn’t understand what was happening. The Zippo was not supposed to talk back. The ship belonged to Henry. Everyone on board was invented by Henry.
The Zippo Star-liner spoke again, “Henry, you are mistaken. Don’t you remember? I invented you. You are my creation and I can stop you anytime I want!”
“Hello, again — remember me, Orlow Fabricatum, the fly on the wall. I’ve come back with some inconsequential, but essential information that relates directly to the existence of Red City. Recently Physicists have determined that Time can be altered. Human interference can effect the direction and flow of Time. Events that have occurred in the past can be changed and the future is always a question-mark. For instance, today we are revisiting a castle-redoubt in the middle of a shopping mall owned by Jupiter Fogg (the Archon of Red City). The photo below was taken in the corridor outside Fogg’s laboratory. We observe Ann Anon and Daniel Ot conversing, trying to determine the origins and meaning of life. They are surrounded by Death’s minions and they are oblivious to the danger that stalks them. As teenagers they are self-absorbed and concerned with petty issues like sex, love, and happiness. But life rages around them and soon they will be embroiled in an escape plan that might destroy Red City along with themselves. Such is the irony of mortality: ever hopeful, ever optimistic … but, always doomed. My compound eyes offer a clear vision of the ongoing human tragedy. As a fly on the wall my role in the affairs of “man” is as predictable as stone. I can spread the illness that will wash the planet clean; or I can help the vain and myopic creatures who hold this earth hostage. I won’t reveal the outcome. The path is clear. Times will change. (referenced story: 10 Stone, published 8/26/2014)
Stepping into the device was a simple maneuver; but the device was far from ordinary. The machine was the manifestation of a nightmare cloaked in fulminating darkness. Hermann Spanbower was the conduit — he derived the formula that led to the actual machine. It was theoretical, but somehow it worked. The man who piloted the device was invisible – his life led to this historical divide that would nullify Time and Space. His actions were a precursor to the calamitous changes predicted by psychics and prophets since the beginning of time. He had no name. He was simply the realization of an action. He closed the hatch, wrote some calculations on a computer pad, and pushed several buttons. Instantly, the pilot was thrust into a void — cut off from any familiar sensations.
I am writing this story during the aftermath as a way to understand what really occurred. The Chaos has already reached into my mind just as it seduced the pilot of the device. I am no more responsible for what happened than any of the other persons named in this archive. The void took hold … captured the pilot and everyone else in this record of dissemination. He had an orgasm when he was twelve – his first and finest – that’s when everything began. There is no way around the controlling factor of sex. It ruptured at every divide in his life, influencing every decision and profoundly altering reality. Then there were the years of teenage violence – he was a bully who was bullied. He was under the delusion that he was a Nazi fighting for the new Germany. It was part of his insanity. The void was already creeping into his soul and the device was years away from inception. The blond girl named Lorna floated through his dreams like an angel. She almost saved his life, but she was an illusion. He had to hold onto the dream even as he imagined being seduced by older men. He loved other men at a time when gay love was a crime. He immersed himself in work, accomplishing impossible feats of intellect and earning several degrees. At night he cried at the alter of phallic desire. Every day he was seduced by eyes lingering in hotel lobbies and bus station restrooms. He was seduced by myth, rumors of a legendary city where desire merged with reality. Soldiers in the Nazi SS talked about the Red City – a place where they would have total power and control – where they could achieve immortality. The record of his life stretched across time and space as he floated in the contraption, at the edge of a black hole. His brain was pureed – mind mush dripping through a strainer of multiple personalities. He wanted to become Lorna – dream woman – so he could make love to himself. There were years of invasive operations to make him the female he desired to be: plastic surgery, psychotherapy, and hormone injections. He loved his new breasts. He no longer had a penis, but he craved one more than ever. He changed his name and dyed his hair, but he could never be Lorna — he was 49 and looked like a tight-lipped spinster. He constantly fought with himself and finally reverted back to other, more arcane obsessions.
He lingered on the outskirts of reality in his beleaguered search for the Red City – flashing to himself to arouse the lingering truths that he could no longer avoid as he clashed with political obscenities and social distortions – sliding into the black hole – riding the wave of Quantum Physics – slicing and dicing the world of limited access and moneyed elitism. Then it hit like a hydrogen bomb – he was engulfed by the Great Mother’s Vagina – enveloped. The device shuddered and broke apart. The pilot disintegrated. All that remained was the Red City – the only reality that ever existed.
What does Belly of the Beast mean? Who or what is the beast? The bible refers to Leviathan, also to the giant whale that swallowed Jonah. Could the Beast refer to war … or the tedium of daily chores like brushing teeth or washing clothes. Perhaps it references the spectacle of life – the extremes of both pleasure and pain – the exuberance of youth or the remorse of old age. The Beast could be illness and hardship – or the inventory of calamities recited ad infinitum in the media. Periodically everyone wrestles with the Beast of self-doubt or conflicting emotions. Time is a consistent factor in every encounter with The Beast (the Time we have between the boundaries of birth and death) … Time and the awareness of the implacable darkness that surrounds the mystery beyond life itself.
The Chairman declared, “we are now in an altered reality.” Everything looked the same, but there was a slight difference. For example: the chairman was softly glowing. He never glowed before. Adam Bosco thought a “glow” could not matter too much. Then, again, the “glow” could be a “glimmer.” A glimmer was an entirely different matter and it could mean total disaster for the project along with all the individuals involved. Chairman Wiseback had been acting strangely ever since the incident when an ectoplasmic entity seemingly appeared in Lab 214 – and now the Chairman was glowing. Adam had an important role to play as the Forensic Investigator for all Temporal Events. There had been many anomalies since the investigations first began. There were odd displacements, energy surges, and strange appearances – and now the Chairman was glowing! Adam was beginning to panic. The accumulating anomalies could only mean one thing: the universe was no longer stable and reality was beginning to fragment. Adam Bosco became obsessed with the apocalyptic situation. He saw “glimmers” everywhere. Adam had to take matters into his own hands. Everything was deteriorating – he recognized an army of Zombies on the glowing horizon. His wife pleaded with him to stop the oncoming disaster. Her pleas were harsh as she accused Adam of triggering the whole event. At first Adam took her seriously and began to analyse his involvement, then he saw the glow surrounding his wife and knew she had been infected. Adam surmised that the Chairman was the culprit. Chairman Wiseback always hated Adam and tried to disparage him. The truth became clear after Wiseback began to glow. With no other course open to Adam, he decided to face the Chairman. He met the Chairman in the lab, armed with a bomb. After the explosion the universe slipped back into a relatively stable position and reality returned to normal, but no one knew what happened. Adam was called a domestic terrorist. His wife said he went crazy due to his ongoing conflict with the Chairman. She never hinted at anything untoward, but she continued to glow. She maintained the “glimmer” which could only mean that stability in the universe was not likely to last.