Breaking news, Dear Reader! Leg Iron Books will be publishing a volume of my Underdog Anthology short stories. On November 15th…
… 18 tales in total. Who knew I had that many in me…
*Nah, me either, Clicky… /pats snout… I bloody well hope I’ve got some more…*
… I’ll let you see the cover artwork when it’s ready, Dear Reader 😀
But enough of that; now we have a missive from Cade Fon Apollyon with his thoughts and reflection from the past week. It’s been very exciting and turbulent in ‘Merica…
*Seriously, Clicky, that only works if you can imagine Donald Trump as Sandy…*
Many things exist to disarm us.
A nice smile.
A kind word.
A good deed.
Perhaps a miscue, a misstep, or some display of ignorance or innocence.
Maybe even a defect or disability.
An offering of some kind…to keep one…from conflicting with another.
An offering of some kind…to keep one…from taking advantage of another.
Establish a decorum or a level of respect.
We are powerful beings after all. We aren’t always aware of just how powerful we are or how powerful we can be. As a result, sometimes, we are not the best at exercising restraint. It is at these precise times, when Nature steps in.
Disarms us…gives us pause…allows us a brief interlude to reflect and maybe rethink.
Sometimes…She appears to, Herself, exercise restraint. Allows us and our own hubris to march ourselves directly into peril.
Wait…Steve Bannon was involved with Biosphere 2?
Bear with me. I just watched two documentaries, both kinda far out and seemingly on two completely different topics, but I really didn’t see a scrap of difference between them. Two flicks about people learning how to act, presumably in order to manipulate others in order to get what they want from them. However at 1:40:17 into the second documentary, there was a name mentioned that I absolutely did not expect to hear with respect to a movie about 1960’s Hippies taking their green ideas corporate.
I guess it was kinda weird to hear that name, because only recently I learned that Bannon is supposedly big on Strauss–Howe generational theory. First he’s running the right-wing rag Breitbart, then he supposedly is kingmaking with Trump 2016, Cambridge Analytica/Brexit, and now it turns out he was mixed up with Ed Bass and Biosphere 2? This dude has his fingers in everything. This revelation prolly wouldn’t be so weird if that NXIVM cat hadn’t been sentenced just the other day.
One of the connections here is that the people involved with Biosphere 2 were/are labeled as cultists. They are/were outside of the mainstream scientific community, had their own thing going, and as a result they were outcast. But these Biosphere folk were members of at least four other very popular and well-known cults, but no one likes to talk about these cults as being…cults.
The Cult of Advertising
The Cult of Voyeurism
The Cult of Acting
The Cult of Capitalism
They’re also members of The Cult of Humanity, but we’ll let that one go since we are focusing on Bannon and how he eventually came to run that whole Biosphere circus.
Q: What was found during the course of this Biosphere 2 project which inspired Ed Bass to change direction so quickly?
A: Media/Marketing is my guess.
Yeah sure, this project probably taught us a lot about the challenges that long-duration space exploration missions will eventually face. It is highly possible that Bass found something that was both patentable and licensable, wanted to keep it/them a secret in order to secure his intellectual property/properties, and so Bass brought in a pit bull to guard it.
But considering what a media circus that Biosphere 2 project was, and considering the number of outside parties that were brought in to consult on the project, I’d think that media utilization, media manipulation and how to influence and/or drive public opinion(s) was the real motherlode. Especially as it relates to really far-out and obscure topics. How to force the old ideas out, and bring in something new.
Do you ever act? Put on a face? Act contrary to how you actually feel? Any ideas as to why you may do this?
Hail Satan? = Full of actors and acting
Spaceship Earth = Full of actors and acting
‘Tis rough showing the soft underbelly of self. Might be some vicious ass-hat out there just waiting for you to drop your guard, and BOOM!
Scarred for life
You shoulda known better. You did know better. But for the briefest of moments, you believed.
Oh, and whilst we are on the topic of cults and cultists…John Lamb Lash had a damn weird “talk” released yesterday. Seemed to be on the topic of institutionalized sex education, but the talk seemed to be less about Elohim giving classroom type instruction, and focused more on the practical demonstration/demonstrable side(s) of “sex education”.
OJT, if you will
What made this talk even more bizarre, was that it seemed to focus on the ancient sexual education(s) of…teenagers. Teenagers? Did ancient peoples even have such a distinction of “teenagers”? I’ve always been under the impression that, in ye olden tymes, humans went straight from childhood to adulthood, and no such middle ground (teens) existed. Made me raise an eyebrow as to potential faults in modern trappings being associated with ancient modalities.
Also made me think…wait, there are metric fucktons of 30+ years old people, in this world here and now, who know fuckall about sex, and prolly know even less about intimacy. Or at least, that’s what we’re told. We’re told that this modern world we live in is full of sexual inadequacy, we’re told that sexual dissatisfaction is one of the primary reasons that relationships fail, and yet mysteriously there’s no shortage of sexual accessories, add-ons, training programs, and sexual information available to supposedly help remedy this dilemma. Not to mention that we are also told that we live in a time of rampant sexual deviancy, sexual depravity, and basically complete and total sexual lawlessness. In social media, pedophile rings, human trafficking and sexual slavery are all the rage.
Something doesn't add up here
You’ve got a “Gnostic Teacher”, who is giving a bunch of “introductory talks” about I guess both Gnosticism, his own personal school, the flavor of Gnosticism that he personally teaches, one of these talks he devotes to the subject of “sex”, and he goes straight for the youth? I guess he’s using the standard modern marketing model(s) or something. Hitting the youth market first since that’s the real cash-cow. But I can’t see a bunch of teenagers lining up to learn about Gnosticism. Not even twenty-somethings. I have trouble imagining that even thirty-somethings would have any interest in Gnosticism.
Is he about to suggest that Gnosticism has the answers to all of these sexual questions that we modern people have?
In a way, it’s kinda refreshing to think that someone would think about addressing the topic of sexuality within some religious framework where the topic wasn’t simply “Sex: Don’t Have It Until You Are Married!” /lesson over”. But “teens”? Why is “teens” even a demographic within this particular Gnostic framework? Only thing that I can come up with is that this has to do more with pornography than anything. Maybe advertising too.
It’s been my experience that, anyone who is talking about mystical power and mystical powers, and proclaiming these powers exist?
Maybe closet skeptics, but they’re skeptics. They’re more likely to be attempting to disprove them more than prove them. Poking at the ethereal planes to see if they are indeed real. Not knowing what to expect, and not exactly sure how they’ll handle the experience if this mystical something turns out to be much more tangible than they previously thought. This is prolly why stories surrounding things like the Philosopher’s Stone, Pandora’s Box, Midas Touch, etc., are typically cautionary tales. Someone is skeptical about some power, they tempt fate, find out the power is real, everything goes to hell from there.
But yeah, most individuals have to actually be burned by the mystical fire(s) before they are going to believe. We humans are both skeptical and at the same time very tactile/curious/exploratory creatures, which, when you think about it, is an odd combination of traits to coexist in the same space. But sometimes maybe some can just accept that, irrespective of whether these powers exist or not, they are not yours to wield, they never will be, and just deal with that/those fact(s) and go about your life.
Word To The Wise: This is sometimes precisely when life will hit you with a twist.
This world is not about finding things that disarm us.
We don’t see the things meant to disarm us as being disarming.
We look for weakness in order to take advantage of it.
We look for difference in order to exploit it.
Diversity, is a revenue stream.
I’ve no idea how things were.
I only know how things are.
Relying in totality on some singular ancient something to guide me in the here and now?
Welp, why in the fuck would I want to do that?
If I need some ancient something to guide me, I got this planet right here, under my feet.
Supposedly, it’s pretty fucking ancient.
The stuff that our planet is made of?
Supposedly, it’s even more ancient.
But I ain’t that fucking lost.
And if I’m looking for anything, “truth” sure as shit ain’t it.
“Truth”, ain't even on the fucking list
When you align yourself to one side or another, everything becomes fringe.
Everything else anyway
Where you stand is not fringe at all.
To you anyway
To all those in the fringes tho?
Yeah...you, are fringe
It’s beaten into us “to do something”. Someone out there, wants to hurt us, and something must be done about it.
Q: Why must I do anything?
A: ? !!!!!!! ?
If for some reason, someone has it in their mind to cave my skull in, fuck it…let em’. Was I put here on this Earth for the sole purpose of fighting against this someone? I don’t think so. Sounds more like their plan than my own. They need an enemy, and they found one in me. Do I play along? Or is it OK with you fuckers if I come up with my own plan(s)? Carry on with my own life? Either way you slice it, your logic in conflict management equates to the same damn thing…I, irrespective of outcome, am their personal plaything. They, get to dictate my behavior, and not me.
Wanna know how to tell if someone in a YouTube video is full of shit? Just watch their mannerisms. If they are talking about some ancient something, and they are overly expressive in verbal accentuation of certain things? Using a lot of hand motion? Many changes in facial expressions and/or little to no change in facial expressions? Lots of crazy graphics changes that do not necessarily follow the text of the video? Lots of carrots and rabbit holes/loads of questions with no answers? Yeah…some or all of these likely point to the video being bullshit. Not necessarily wrong, or maybe not even inaccurate, but still bullshit. Maybe someone rehashing some old something without adding anything new, and doing so for the purposes of making a few bucks. Lot of that going on currently, and not just and only on YouTube.
Nothing wrong with people finding their own voice. Honing their craft. Even the oldest of stuff and most known of things is new, mysterious and completely unknown to someone. Trouble is, many forget how to fall. Forget how to stumble. Forget how to be lost. Forget how to cope with, accept, and overcome errors, adversities, setbacks. Forget how to take a punch or absorb a blow. You spend all that time being a complete fuckup, you succeed only at failure, you pick yourself up and keep at it, and yet when you actually find success (or what you consider to be success) the slightest of hiccups or deviations leaves you blank-faced and clueless. Sends you right over the edge. You have polished yourself to such a degree, that even you have begun to believe your own image is…you.
Q: How is this even possible?
How, does one, lose their ability to cope? Especially when one has accrued such an impressive resume of failure(s). Maybe as time passes, we let all that old an less than complementary shit conveniently fall off the page.
We’ve moved on.
We’re amongst the learned, knowledgeable and wise.
Part of the elite.
A member of the club.
Just remembered it’s election day in the USA today.
03 November 2020 AD
Maybe that’s another reason I was kinda jarred upon hearing Bannon’s name this morning. Still debating on whether or not I’m gonna vote. I know who I’d vote for, and I also know why. But…wait…um, I just remembered something.
Steer into the skid
Or sometimes, the best course of action is to just let go of the wheel. Yeah, I won’t be voting today.
I wonder who won?
Tis now Saturday November 7th, and still, “the press” is offering up “projections” as to who won. Why in the FUCK are people still relying upon “the press” and their projections 4 days in? Wait for the FEC to publish the election results, then you’ll know for sure without having to rely upon very biased third-parties who keep stringing you along so they can keep you viewing and clicking because their advertising bubbles are limp. What’s that? You really don’t think that MSM has been chomping at the bit for months in order to get a cash infusion from election coverage? Obviously, you’ve not been following this nCoV-2019 thing very closely. Or maybe its that you’ve been following it too closely?
We supposedly want all these neato gizmos and gadgets to speed the process(es) along, and yet we damn the living shit out of them when they don’t behave in a manner that is pleasing to us. Something must be wrong.
Dunno about you, but to me, an absence of irregularities, a lack of of inconsistencies, and a non-existence of errors is a sure-fire sign that something very underhanded is almost assuredly taking place. And I’m not talking about any built-in integrity testing types of stuff. I’m talking authentic stuff. Stuff that is there, but covered up in order to maintain appearances. Project an illusion that everything is okay, even tho things are most certainly not okay. Opens up all kinds of doors to manipulate the system in virtually any way that suits you.
Q: Are you really ready for “faultless”?
A: ??? wait wut ¿¿¿
You’re gonna need to do some soul searching before you are going to be able to accept “faultless” as an actual thing. Evaluate your doubt, evaluate your trust, evaluate your honesty, evaluate your own polarity and your own concepts of right/wrong. Are you diverse enough to do that?
Might wanna find out
Revelations are sweet
English, as a language, has never made sense to me. Last night, a certain college professor named Wes Cecil, opened my eyes a bit.
Latin = Verbs
It was that fucking simple.
Latin = Verbs
Everything is “do”. Or I guess “done”. Either way, Latin is very verby.
Yes, I realize that English is not just and only Latin. But 80-fucking-percent of it is. I guess the rest is a hodgepodge of Greek and loanwords, and they’re all crammed into this “do” type language.
Fuckin’ hell…ENGLISH IS SHIT!!!
I FUCKING KNEW IT!!!
English is actually great. Allows for a great deal of expression. Has a plenty of roadblocks tho’. Sometimes, just ain’t no way to express, in text, what one is feeling. Either the word(s) don’t exist, or the structure of the language does not allow a certain thought or feeling to be communicated accurately to others. One can only surmise that this is likely why e-shorthand or “leetspeak” or similar has become so popular.
Maybe even memes
They convey feeling(s) that can likely be understood by others. From a grammatical standpoint there’s no real “substance” to the communication, and yet, one can express themselves, and more importantly, others can relate. Others can understand. Others may not be able to get an exact fix on where one is coming from, but they do have a pretty good idea as to the general location.
All that said, when Wes mentioned in his talk about Latin being “verb-heavy”, a light went on in my head. Everything, in English, and I mean EVERYTHING, has to be associated with some sort of doing. An action. And this doing is either right now, in the immediate future, or already done.
It is done.
It is finished.
No fucking wonder we’re having so much difficulty understanding quantum mechanics, chaos theory, string theory, etc.. Even religion(s), spiritual matters Not only is there’s no fucking language to describe these “higher level things”, there’s no language to relate to them. No language to relate them to. There’s high, and low, and no fucking middle. It’s like Inferno and Paradiso, with no Purgatory. Not to switch gears too quickly here, but something big has to be happening in that middle. It’s completely absent. “The Middle”, is gone. That can only mean one thing…it has gotten so massive, that no one can see it.
Hiding in plain sight
Someone mentioned “Loudon County” to me on election night. It’s a county in northern Virginia. Was weird because the person who mentioned it to me could not have possibly known that I used to live in Loudon County VA. Earlier this morning, “Loudun” appeared on my radar (not to be confused with “Loudon”).
Just now, a song appeared in my playlist. Never heard this song in my life, sounds pretty good, so I switched over windows to see who the hell this was. What immediately caught my eye, was the artist’s last name. Usually, I just listen to music, don’t watch the videos. But this video? I gave it watch.
Lone digger. Lone explorer.
Not Loudon County, but Herndon is right there by Loudon. When I worked at Dulles, I used to go into Herndon VA and Reston VA to get food. There was a fucking awesome deli in Reston that made incredible subs. I can only wonder if the deli are still there.
Wait…Herndon’s largest employer is…Fannie Mae?
…why did they give a shit about him in the first place? I’m somewhat skeptical of those who are interested in me only because of what I can give them. That said, the media wanted sustenance, and for the better part of five/six years now, Trump & Co seems to have fed them. A never ending Las Vegas style all-you-care-to-eat buffet.
Or, erm, Atlantic City style
Just wondering if they realize they killed their meal ticket. The media must be planning on going on a diet or making some other kind(s) of lifestyle changes.
Some people repeat themselves a lot. When they are not repeating themselves, they will resort to repeating themselves…a lot. Then they’ll move on to repeating themselves…a lot. As time passes, they will begin to repeat themselves…a lot. When repeating one’s self no longer serves, it’s time to repeat yourself…a lot.
All that said, and all that said, I guess, I guess anyway, that the point, and I mean the main point, of the video below, the one to follow this text here, is that the greater good, or maybe the greatest good, or yeah just the greater good and not the greatest good, is better served, or better served, or best better served, by…wait, what the fuck are they even talking about in this video?
*Glad you agree, Clicky. Now, put the sandwich down and go get us a song to end on…*
Hopefully next week will be as exciting as the last one, Dear Reader 😉
Have a Song…
*Ha! I saw your spoiler post in the week, Clicky… /lights up and smokes… You are really enjoying this US election, aren’t you…*
*Eww, that’s what that smell is… /wrinkles nose… Go and have a bath. I’ll take it from here…*
Happy Halloween, Dear Reader 😀 Today we are delighted to present for you my short story from Underdog Anthology XII: Mask-Querade…
… called ‘What Time Do You Finish?’. Now, if you like it, Dear Reader, you might want to invest in a copy of the anthology, as it is chocked full with stories far creepier than mine. Enjoy! 😉
What Time Do You Finish?
By Roo B. Doo
It is said that Halloween is the time of year when the veil between dimensions is worn at its thinnest. In the year 2020, when a global viral pandemic, violent rioting and supermarket socially distanced queues dominated everyday life, that boundary thickness could be considered as flimsy as paper medical face mask. Why, an errant finger could easily pierce it.
God adjusted the mask across her visage, hoping no one would notice the ragged hole, and also that nothing too nasty had fallen through the breach on her sweet breath.
“How the hell am I supposed to know when we are?” Death snapped and glared up from inside the impenetrable blackness of his cowl at the three ominous figures surrounding him. They stood huddled at the junction of Great Russell and Bloomsbury Streets in London’s bustling West End. It was night, it was cold and, save for the motley quartet, the streets were completely deserted.
“Becoz yur Death,” the first figure hissed and bared vampiric fangs. Famine appeared tall and angular, dressed in a tuxedo, silk lined cape, and with a countenance so pale, it could only have been achieved by avoiding sunlight at any and all costs.
“Because you have the contraption,” the second figure added angrily. War appeared to be a smart businesswoman, confident and aggressive, in horn-rimmed glasses, sharp suit and infinitely sharper stiletto heels.
“AAAAAAAGH!” the third figure groaned as a fat, black housefly zig-zagged across a sunken cheek, before disappearing into a filth-caked nostril. Pestilence appeared to be a zombie; slack mouthed, grey decaying flesh and milk white, opaque eyes.
“No, Pesto, I don’t know what happened to the horses,” Death answered his rotting companion. He pulled himself up to his full height of three feet and three inches, retrieved a battered Psion organiser from beneath the folds of his robe, and unsheathed it with a satisfying pop. “I don’t understand it,” he cried, “transport’s always been laid on before.”
War, Famine and Pestilence stood in silence, watching over the diminutive but perfectly formed grim reaper, as he punched the keys of the electronic organiser with a gleaming phalange, and waited.
Click. Click. Click, click, click… click.
“Well?” War said impatiently. “We’re in London, that much is for sure. The British Museum is over there.”
Pestilence’s body did not move a single rotting muscle, but his head turned an unearthly 180° to follow the direction that War’s crimson painted talon was pointing in. “UGH WAAAGH AAAAAAAGH!”
“Ve don’t know if ve are zupposed to go zere.” Famine reached out and clasped either side of Pestilence’s head, twisting it back into a front facing position. “Ve don’t know vy ve are even here. Death, vot iz taking you zo long to find out?”
“Wait…” Death did not look up.
Click. Click, click. Click.
Death peered hard at the tiny screen on the Psion, before shaking it hard. “I dunno. It’s not working. Maybe the Cosmic Consciousness Neural Net is down again,” he said with a shrug.
“Argh!” War howled. She reached down and grabbed Death by the front of his robe and lifted him up to face height. Behind her glasses, War’s eyes blazed with fire. “That’s just brilliant! Ace! Fun-fucking-tastic, Death! What are we meant to do now?”
The dead weight of Pestilence’s arm slapped War on the shoulder. “WAAAGH UGH!”
“Yez, yez, yez, ve should all calm down,” Famine said smoothly, pulling Death from War’s tight grasp and setting him back on the pavement. He plucked Pestilence’s arm from War’s shoulder before she could rip it from its socket. “It does no good for uz to get agitated. Ve need to zink vot haz happened.”
“Exactly right, Famine,” Death injected in agreement. “Let’s look at what we do know.” He pushed himself free of the huddle and turned to face his companions. “We’ve got War, Famine, Pestilence and yours truly.” He began to glide, circling the trio. “The ultimate harbingers of doom and bringers of great tribulation. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse-”
“Sans horses, indeed. Most irregular. Literally dropped, without warning, in the middle of London-”
“Clos to ze British Muzeum,” Famine interrupted.
“Correct. So we know where we are but we don’t know when we are-”
“Late twentieth, early twenty first century, I’d say, from the smell of the air,” War joined in. “Plus it’s night time and it’s bloody freezing.”
“A winter’s night, yes. Probably accounts for the lack of any activity about-”
Death glided to a stop. “Your right, Pesto; there should be people about, even in winter. A big city like this produces lots of traffic-”
“Yez,” Famine mused, loudly tapping on his fangs in contemplation. “No motor vehicles hav passed by since ve arrived.”
Death nodded slowly, then looked up at the sky. One by one, War, Famine and Pestilence followed Death’s gaze.
“Nope, too much cloud cover and light pollution. I can’t see any stars to work out when we are.”
“I have a very bad feeling about this,” War whispered hoarsely.
“WAAAGH AAAAAAAGH!” Pestilence groaned.
“I agree, Pestilence, my dear friend. It haz to be a mistake,” Famine said solemnly. “An accident.”
“Possibly. We’d better start walking,” Death said and glided away down Bloomsbury Street, in the direction of Covent Garden.
War, Famine and Pestilence looked at each other and muttered darkly.
“Hold it, short-arse,” War barked. “Where exactly are we walking to? I can’t go far in these heels. They’re fucking murder.”
Pestilence dropped a shoulder and lurched awkwardly after Death. “AAAAAAAGH WAAAGH AAAAAAAGH!”
“Seriously? You’re going to follow him?” War shouted after the hunched and shambling figure of Pestilence. “You’ll disintegrate before you reach the end of this street, you noxious pile of pus! ”
Famine took War’s hands between his own, bowed deeply and lightly kissed her clenched fists until they opened. “Don’t vorry, my dear lady. I vill speak to Death.” Gently, he tugged on War so that she tottered forward with unsteady steps. “Please, come. Valk slowly. I vill talk to him.” With that, Famine turned into a giant bat and flew off in the direction of Death.
War roared with frustration but continued to follow the others. “I have Birkenstocks, you know. Why couldn’t I have manifested in my fucking Birkenstocks…”
Death heard wop-wopping wing beats approach from behind, and felt the change in air pressure as Famine flew over his head. He glided slowly until he reached his suave compadre, who stood in the middle of the pavement, arms wide, cape billowing and fangs bared.
“Death, stop please,” Famine pleaded. “Vor and Pestilence are in no fit state to valk far. Look.” He gestured back to the way they’d come. Pestilence jerked along slowly in the middle distance, with War following on behind, daintily sidestepping the trail of fleshy ooze left in Pestilence’s wake.
“Death, Death,” Famine cooed, “You know ve vould valk to the ends of ze vorld vid you, but you must tell us, vere are you taking us?”
Death paused and looked up, appraising his companion – Famine: always hungry, never sated, forever empty; his vampire appearance was more than apt. Pestilence, too, in zombie form was unrelenting, poisoning everything, even the very air. War, however, was a puzzler unless she represented a battle of the sexes. Should War shatter the fabled glass ceiling, Death was certain she would then set about slitting every available throat with the deadly shards.
What about me, though? I’m exactly the same, I haven’t changed, Death wondered. The inside of his skull began to itch. He sighed and shook his head. This whole situation was wrong and he couldn’t shake the feeling that he was missing something. Something big. Something important.
“Death?” Famine snapped his fingers rapidly. “Vere are ve going?” he demanded.
“To the Embankment, Famine. To Cleopatra’s Needle.”
“Ov course!” Famine slapped the palm of his hand against his widow’s peaked forehead. “Ze ancient Egyptian Obelisks of Time! Ve can return to ze hintervorld by way ov Cleopatra’s Needle! Zat iz super fine zinking, Death. No vonder yur the leader.”
“I-” Death suddenly cocked his head to one side. “Can you hear that?”
There was a low rumble in the distance but it was gradually getting louder, moving nearer. Death and Famine watched as at first, War turned her head to look behind, following the direction of the sound, then Pestilence slowly shuffled round to see what was making the noise. Further back in the distance, Death could just make out a dim rectangle of orange light, floating closer through the darkness, getting brighter. War began to wave her arms and shout.
“AAAAAAAGH!” Pestilence bellowed.
Death and Famine glanced at each other before racing back towards Pestilence and War. “Taxi!” they shouted in unison, tinged of relief.
War, Famine and Pestilence sat in abject silence in the back of the taxi; the three separated from Death and the taxi driver in the front by a transparent sheet of plexiglass, with only a narrow slot cut into it for the exchange of money.
Excuse me while I light my spliff…
“Spliff,” the taxi driver sang along to the bassy sound of Bob Marley and the Wailers coming through the speakers.
Oh God I gotta take a lift…
“Lift.” The taxi driver turned toward Death and gave him a beaming smile.
From reality I just can’t drift…
That’s why I am staying with this riff…
“Riff.” The taxi driver chuckled and tapped his hands on the top of the steering wheel, in time with the music. “Easy Skanking. Hell, I love this song.”
Death looked out of his side window. The feeling that something was wrong had only intensified as the empty London streets rushed by. He cursed the broken Psion organiser tucked inside his robes. Bloody useless technology. Give me an hourglass any day, he thought sourly.
“Good party, was it?” the taxi driver asked.
“Huh?” Death replied, perplexed by the driver’s question.
The taxi driver laughed. “The fancy dress party. Your costumes are sweet. I thought the government had cancelled Halloween because of the Rona.”
Death stiffened and the itching inside his skull increased. “Halloween’s been cancelled?”
“Yeah man, Christmas too if we’re not lucky,” the taxi driver replied.
“What year is… it?” Death asked slowly.
The taxi driver sucked his teeth contemptuously. “What you mean what year is it? It’s 2020, child. Where have you been?”
A burst of realisation exploded through Death’s train of consciousness: It’s 2020: the year anything happened! The year when pandemic waves of Coronavirus and Karenitus swept the globe, resulting in lockdowns, economic disaster and civil unrest. Things are starting to make sense now! Even so, the itch continued to irritate the inside of Death’s skull.
Cigar smoke suddenly filled the front of the taxi. Death coughed and tapped on the sign affixed to the console. “That says ‘No Smoking’.”
The taxi driver grinned at Death, a smoking cigar butt jauntily perched from the corner of his mouth. “2020, child. Donch ya know the saying? ‘A smoke a day keeps the Rona at bay’.” He laughed heartily and bounced up and down in his seat with mirth. “Besides, who’s gonna stop me? Look about you, my small friend. There’s no one around to say shit about it.”
If Death still had eyes, they would have been rolling round his ocular cavities. “Hey guys.” He shouted to the others through the slot in the plexiglass. “Problem solved: it’s 2020.”
“Tventy Tventy! Hellz Bellz!” Famine exclaimed.
Pestilence gave a guttural groan. “WAAAGH UGH AAAAAAAGH!”
“Yes, but what’s the date?” War demanded nervously.
“It’s the 31st October, sugar,” the taxi driver called back. “Happy Halloween.”
The taxi stopped at the end of Temple Place. In front lay the deserted Embankment. Along side it, the river Thames flowed swiftly past, glittering lights shimmered on its rippled surface, as above the clouds began to separate, clear, and finally reveal the celestial occupants of the night sky. The taxi driver nonchalantly flicked a switch on his dashboard, locking all the vehicle doors with a loud clunk.
“Oh no,” War murmured gravely and pressed her hands hard against her stomach. “No, no, no!”
“Vot iz it, Vor?” Famine asked with rising alarm.
A shaft of moonlight hit the taxi as it slowly pulled right out of the junction and onto the empty Embankment, illuminating its interior. The Moon was bright, it was clear and it was very full.
“It’s my monthlies,” War whined, sliding off her seat and onto all fours. Her jaw elongated and wiry tufts of fur sprang from her gnarly brow, knocking War’s horn-rimmed glasses from her face. “I don’t fucking believe this. Why nowOOOO!”
“Now this is a great song. One of the Skipper’s best,” the taxi driver exclaimed, ignoring the howling and growling, and blood-curdling shrieks of panic coming from the back of the cab, as the previously smart and professional War transformed into a ferocious and carnal beast. He turned up the volume on his stereo and began to croon along,
Until the philosophy, which hold one race superior and another. Inferior. Is finally. And permanently. Discredited. And abandoned. Everywhere is war. Me say war.
“Vot? NOOOO! Get avay! Get avay!” Famine screamed and impotently fumbled with the taxi’s doors handles. They were securely locked, however; there would be no escape.
Death sat stock still, strapped in tight and listened in horror to the sound of Famine and Pestilence being ripped apart by the slavering jaws and slashing claws of a werewolf that appeared to be War.
“How’s you seat, child?” the taxi driver asked slyly.
“I’m not a child,” Death tersely replied.
“UGH!” Pestilence’s bloody fingers abruptly thrust through the slot in the plexiglass, twitched once, then lay limp.
“I know, I know, little man. No offence intended.” The taxi driver continued. “That space you’re occupying used to be for luggage, but times are hard and last year it was converted into a child seat,” he explained. “Good thing for you, eh?”
The heavy silence that fell between the driver and his passenger was punctured by the sound of wet chomps and crunching bone emanating from the back of the cab.
The itch in Death skull stopped, but the very fabric of reality now took up its cause.
“Scratch?” Death asked tentatively.
“Who else you expecting?” the Devil, who appeared to be a smirking, smoking taxi driver, replied. The vehicle slowed to a stop next to Cleopatra’s Needle. “Now hurry up and spit it out. It’s time for you to leave.”
Death paused; it felt like eternity. Finally he asked, “Why?”
“Why?” Old Scratch puffed on his cigar, the shit-eating grin never leaving his face. “Why, Armageddon, little man. What did you think this is?”
Death was flummoxed. In his long existence, he had never been flummoxed before. It was a new sensation, but not one he’d ever longed for.
Old Scratch patted him on the head, then reached up to retrieve a folded piece of paper from behind the sun visor. “I got a letter last year, see,” he explained. He unfolded the page and glanced down at the childish writing on it. “From a sweet, innocent child. A touch dyslexic, but with the purest soul ever to inhabit a human body. What could I do?” He offered the letter to Death. “My heart just melted.”
Death took the letter from Old Scratch and began to read aloud: “’Dear Satan. My name is Molly and I have everything I will ever need. Can you please help everybody else in the world by ending hunger, pollution and war. This is my Christmas wish. Thank you. Molly Darling, age 6. P.S. I hope you are well.’”
“So considerate and polite,” Old Scratch sighed, taking the letter back.
All the stars in the heavens swirled furiously inside Death’s skull. He mentally grappled with the raging storm, searching for a handhold on his sanity. “War ended Pestilence and Famine, but War isn’t dead.”
“You sure? Can’t hear no breathing back there.”
Death swiftly unlocked his seatbelt and stood up on his seat. The plexiglass was no longer transparent, but smeared red with blood and gore. He pushed the dead fingers of Pestilence back through the slot and heard a splash as the severed hand they were attached to thudded to the floor of the taxi. Death peered through the gap and saw War lying naked and smoothly pale in the bloodbath. A chunk of half chewed greenish meat fell free from her lifeless lips.
“WooEE! That Pesto sure was ripe!” Old Scratch said, opening his window and flicking out ash from his cigar. “Bad meat. Never eat it. Always, always, insist on fresh.”
Death pulled away from the sight of the abomination in the back of the taxi and sat back down in his seat. “But how can it be Armageddon if War, Famine and Pestilence are gone?”
Old Scratch punched the numbers on the keyboard of the dashboard fare display. “With no hunger, there will be obesity, so humanity will become slovenly and fat, lazy and satisfied. No war means no competition, no goals to achieve, so mankind will lose its desire to better itself. And the elimination of pollution is a sure fire way of killing any human creativity. I give the species ten years, tops.”
“But there will be death,” Death whispered softly.
“Oh indeed, you’re still needed. You have a busy time ahead of you, little man. That’ll be six six six.”
Death snapped his head back to face the Devil in the driver’s seat. “What?”
Old Scratch laughed and pointed to the fare metre. “Six pounds, sixty six.” He gave a phlegmy cough and waved Death away. “Just kidding. For you, child, no charge,” he said gleefully.
*Ah, that’s much better, Clicky… /stubs butt… Do try to keep clean…*
We hope you enjoyed the story, Dear Reader, and that you will consider purchasing a copy of the latest Underdog Anthology…
*”By the book”… /thinks… Who was the 37th President of America, Clicky?*
*/rolls eyes… Elementary, dear Clicky…*