Tedium at the Edge

 

Kill your TV

37, day twenty five.

I didn’t want to write today, and it’s Sunday so I didn’t have to. So here is a story that I wrote awhile ago. It’s a bit harsher than m usual stuff, but I like it.

It’s 8:47. The second hands on the clock are ticking down once every ten minutes, near as I can tell. There must be something wrong with the clock. The others are all doing the same thing. The alarm clock, the black cat clock, the…Jesus Christ. Eight clocks. I can see eight clocks from where I’m sitting on the couch. Why the hell do I have eight clocks in my living room? It’s not like they’re set on different time zones, or something like that. Although…no. It might be 8:48 on Saturday night, all of my friends might be out of town, but I can at least thank God that I’m not bored enough to start setting all of my clocks to different time zones. I hope I never get that bored. But it’s been about an hour in the last three minutes; if time keeps dragging its ass like this, I just might.

I sigh. There must be something to do. I pick up the phone receiver. Who to call? I stare at the holes in the ear piece. There are thirteen holes. I can see into them, but I don’t know how far they go. The center of the earth, maybe? That would explain a few things. I shake my head. This is getting me nowhere. And it’s taking the scenic route. There must be someone to call. Don’t I have a lot of friends? How can they all be busy? Isn’t it more likely a meteor will strike the earth? I glance out the window. Nothing. Was I really expecting a meteor?

I look back at the phone. There has to be someone. Arlen. Dammit, why didn’t I think of that earlier? He’s supposed to be at a Shiny Cereal Bars concert, but someone at work was bummed that their bass player came down with the hantavirus, or scarlet fever, or, I don’t know, fucking lycanthropy, or some other rare-ass disease. I wouldn’t put it past Arlen to show up at the Blue Dome anyway, standing outside for two hours waiting for someone to take his ticket. Even if he isn’t, he’s probably in a bathroom stall somewhere hooking up with his bulimic girl friend. Still, maybe I’ll get lucky. I dial his number.

It rings six times, before a voice answers. “Hello?” It sounds nervous.

“Arlen?”

“Tyler, is that you?”

“Yeah, it’s me. I heard your concert got canceled. What’re you up to?”

“Tyler, this is bad.”

I groaned. “What’s wrong?”

“That…thing…”

“Slow down, Arlen. Now what in God’s name is going on?”

He took a very deep breath. “That thing in my basement,” he stammered.

“The one that was making all the screeching noises?”

He swallowed. “Yeah. Well, we followed it.”

“Who’s we?” I asked.

“Me and those FBI agents I told you about.”

“Jesus Arlen, they came to your house?”

“Yes! Dammit, Tyler, this is bad! Don’t yell at me!”

“Fine, fine, don’t freak out. Go on.”

“It burrowed a hole through my basement. We followed it. We’re following it now.”

“You’re with them?”

“Yes! Dammit, stop interrupting!”

“Sorry.”

He continued. “It made this weird hole, it smells awful down here. There’s some kind of black slime on the wall. We’ve been going down for more than an hour. It’s…oh my god.”

“What?”

“It’s…a cavern. Oh my god! There’s…there’s more than one! There are hundreds of them. Jesus Christ Tyler, they’re spawning! Hundreds, maybe thousands, huge slimy black..tentacles! They’re on the walls, they’re everywhere! Oh my god, that one’s coming towards us, it’s ripping open. It has a mouth, Tyler! It’s talking, on my god, it’s talking! My head, my brain! It’s…”

The phone cut out. Jesus Christ. Can’t that bastard stay out of trouble for fifteen minutes? It hasn’t been two weeks since I bailed him for kicking a traffic cop in the balls after nineteen shots of tequila. At three o’clock in the afternoon. I had to cancel a doctor’s appointment, too, and they require twenty-four hours notice for a refund. Well fuck that. He can clean up his own mess this time. If he gets into serious trouble, he’ll call me back, and of course I’ll bail his ass out. Again. If I ever decide to cash in on all the favors that guy owes me, he’ll have to give me a kidney.

I put the phone back and stand up. Well, Arlen’s out. I walk into the kitchen. Maybe I’ll just drink myself into a stupor and watch TV. I need to be in a stupor to watch TV these days; it’s all such crap. I open the fridge. It smells pretty bad in there. It’s also empty. There’s a box of baking soda, one piece of celery, an open and certainly flat can of coke, a container that’s probably been there since the nineties, one beer, and, for some reason, a DVD box set of old Doctor Who episodes. I take out the beer. It’s a light beer. I haven’t bought light beer since, what, Christmas? That makes this beer eight months old, and officially ready for the natural history museum. Maybe if I drink it I’ll smack my head on the toilet seat from vomiting and wake up tomorrow morning. I’d like to say I don’t seriously consider it. I throw the whole bottle in the trash.

Maybe the container has something resembling food in it. I grab it and open it up. I regret it immediately. Odds are, it was once food. Only food goes this bad. Now it’s green and purple, and almost iridescent. It almost gives off its own light, like it’s full of undersea fluorescent algae. The surface of the whatever it is begins to bubble slightly. It oozes and shifts. A tiny crack forms in it, and opens up. Something crusty and bloodshot stares up at me. It’s an eyeball. The pupil is green. The ooze surrounding it makes a sickening squelch as the eyeball blinks.

I dump the contents of the container down the garbage disposal and throw in the slice of lemon. I flip the switch. Now my kitchen smells vaguely lemony. It’s a slight improvement. My appetite is totally fucked, which is probably a good thing because there’s no goddamned food in the house anyway. If there was enough liquor to get drunk I’d probably eat that baking soda. Wouldn’t be the first time. I walk back into the living room and plop myself back down on the couch. I’m so bored it’s draining away my energy.

Alright, television. I don’t like you and you don’t like me. But I’m about to slit my wrists if I don’t get some stimulation. So do your worst. I pick up the remote, and turn it on. Static. Fucking static. I haven’t seen static since cable television took over, round about the time the last plesiosaur died. I change the channel. Still static. The static freezes. The gray bits expand, until the whole screen is gray. The center of the image wavers. A face appears. I can’t tell if it’s a male or a female. Its skin is waxy yellow, its eyes are solid red. It looks like it needs a nap and a hiatus on additional margaritas. The brittle lips of the mouth tear open, like they were crusted shut from decades of disuse. It speaks, in a deep, echoing voice.

“Tyler Szandor Melos. The tinge of darkness spreads across the sky. The frozen stars in the blackest regions thaw and begin to burn. Soon the Spire will begin to splinter, and the very ground beneath the universe will begin to fracture into the shards of oblivion from which it was spawned. Only you can stop the…” Click.

I fucking hate when TV starts to get all preachy, like it knows who I am and what I want. “You’re a discriminating gardener, and you hate when dandelions encroach upon your well-trimmed lawn.” No, in fact, that’s never fucking happened to me. Even if I get a lawn I’ll never buy your product you preachy marketing asshole. Save yourself the trouble of trying to hide what a jerk you are and just become a televangelist.

Oh well. I sigh again. It doesn’t look like TV is going to save my ass. That was a pretty slim goddamned hope anyway. I stretch out on the couch. It would be comfortable if I wasn’t in such a pissy mood. Instead I feel like the couch fibers are trying to suck me down, into the boring ass land of coin from the eighties and stale potato chips within its confines. I stare at the ceiling. It’s in bad shape. I should call my land lady and tell her to come fix the problem. Yeah, right. Like she’s even around at, I glance at the clock, 9:19. 9:19! I’ve only been sitting here for thirty-three minutes? It feels like long enough for the sun to have exploded. I glance out the window. Did I really expect to see the sun, giant and red, filling the sky?

Suddenly there’s a soft knock on my door. A kind of rapping. I groan. Somehow the odds that it’s someone here to dissolve my crushing boredom seem very slim. Plus, the couch isn’t going to let me up without a fight. The rapping comes again. Ugh. I get up. I open the door, and no one’s there. Of course no one’s goddamned there. Here’s a tip: if you hear a knock on your door, and the word “rapping” crosses your mind even once, don’t bother answering it. It’s just a waste of energy.

I walk back to the couch. No. I’m not going to sit down. If I sit down, I won’t get back up. I pick up the phone again and  through the list in my head. Harry’s in Chicago, doing whatever the hell he does there. John’s visiting home in London. Amy’s out of town, Anita’s out of town. Everyone’s either busy or fucking out of town. Jaime’s probably around. Ugh. Don’t get me wrong, I like hanging out with Jaime, in groups of people. By himself he’s a little bit way too much to take. Still, I am pretty damned desperate, and he at least usually has some good shit.

I dial the number. A silky voice answers. “Greetings, Tyler.”

“Hey Jaime, what’s up?”

“You should not call me, on this night of all nights.”

“What the fuck is that supposed to mean? What are you on?”

“I fear I cannot speak for long. I have proven myself worthy and loyal to my mistress, and she rewards such things.”

I should hang up now. He says he can’t talk, but I’ve never known Jaime to not be able to talk.

“The moon is full,” he continues dramatically. “Three young virgins have been assembled, and we walk towards the Hall of Blackness to meet the Night Queen. I have enjoyed the days we have spent together, but I fear the days will soon be but a memory for me. I say that I fear, but soon I shall fear nothing. For if the Night Queen is pleased with my offering, she will grant me her kiss, and that will bestow upon my lowly being…”

I slam down the phone. Fucking drama queen. I have nothing against gay guys, but do you have to always been the biggest fucking peacock on the walk? If you’re out with other friends and I’m not invited, just tell me. I can handle it. I’m not a twelve-year-old girl who’s going to cry if she learns her girlfriends went to the mall without her.

Okay, that’s it. That’s fucking it. I’m tired of all this crap. I walk over to the coat hook and grab my black leather trench coat. What the hell am I doing? I’ll just go out. Maybe there’s a club I can get into. I’ve got to be able to find something. I’m not the kind of guy who just waits for opportunities to fall in my lap; I go out and find them. It’s got to be better than staying here. All of this unspeakable horror shit bores the hell out of me.

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