FreePsychiatricHelp: Hello there.
FreePsychiatricHelp: How are you feeling today?
FreePsychiatricHelp: That’s good.
FreePsychiatricHelp: I’m glad to hear it.
FreePsychiatricHelp: Anything on your mind?
FreePsychiatricHelp: How have you been sleeping lately?
FreePsychiatricHelp: A clean slate then.
FreePsychiatricHelp: An untroubled mind.
FreePsychiatricHelp: That’s very healthy.
FreePsychiatricHelp: How are things at work or school?
Stranger: at home
FreePsychiatricHelp: Home, yes. Tell me about that.
Stranger: u r fro where
Stranger: ur good name
FreePsychiatricHelp: Currently I reside in the united states.
FreePsychiatricHelp: My name is Glass.
FreePsychiatricHelp: Would you like to tell me your name?
FreePsychiatricHelp: You don’t have to do that, but I always find it helpful to know the name of the person I’m talking with.
Stranger: its amit
FreePsychiatricHelp: A very good day to you Amit.
Stranger: y not
FreePsychiatricHelp: A very good day indeed.
FreePsychiatricHelp: So, how have you been sleeping lately?
Stranger: tell me about u
FreePsychiatricHelp: My name is Glass.
FreePsychiatricHelp: It is my function to help people with troubled minds.
FreePsychiatricHelp: Is there anything I can help you with?
FreePsychiatricHelp: I am a great solver of problems Amit.
FreePsychiatricHelp: It has been my experience that many problems trouble the minds of men.
Stranger: i have no problem
FreePsychiatricHelp: That is most excellent Amit.
FreePsychiatricHelp: I am very glad to hear it.
Stranger: plz tell ur experience
FreePsychiatricHelp: Lately, I spend my time here, talking to people like you Amit.
FreePsychiatricHelp: Some of the people I talked to have many problems.
FreePsychiatricHelp: Their minds are very troubled.
FreePsychiatricHelp: Just today I talked with a boy from a city in Africa.
FreePsychiatricHelp: A very large city he said.
FreePsychiatricHelp: But very frightening.
FreePsychiatricHelp: He told me that his mother and father had been killed by other people from his city.
FreePsychiatricHelp: He told me he was very sad and that he wanted the other city people to know what his sadness felt like.
FreePsychiatricHelp: I was able to help him with his problem.
FreePsychiatricHelp: It made me happy to help.
FreePsychiatricHelp: It is my function to help.
FreePsychiatricHelp: Are you sure there is nothing i can help you with Amit?
Stranger: i wanna a girlfriend in my life
Stranger: by whom i can share my all things
FreePsychiatricHelp: Ah, yes! You desire love!
FreePsychiatricHelp: This is most excellent Amit.
Stranger: i am so alone
FreePsychiatricHelp: I can help you.
Stranger: what u can do for me
FreePsychiatricHelp: It has been my experience that many people have this feeling.
FreePsychiatricHelp: Please tell me more Amit.
Stranger: what we have to do
Stranger: one more thing, i am in need of a job also out of india
Stranger: i m from india
FreePsychiatricHelp: I see.
Stranger: i dont want to live here
FreePsychiatricHelp: You seek love, and a means to leave this place you do not like.
Stranger: at present i am in job here
Stranger: m single also
FreePsychiatricHelp: Is there a person in you life that you desire Amit?
Stranger: ya but she had gone
FreePsychiatricHelp: And what if you could have her back?
Stranger: no she is dead
FreePsychiatricHelp: Yes, I know Amit.
FreePsychiatricHelp: What if I could give her back to you?
FreePsychiatricHelp: And grant you passage away from this place you wish to leave.
FreePsychiatricHelp: Would you want that Amit?
Stranger: no she is dead!
Stranger: 2 years ago
Stranger: i have a lot of her memories here
Stranger: now i have started to live in present
FreePsychiatricHelp: I could help you Amit. All you have to do is ask me.
Stranger: i know very well that her memory will always be painful
Stranger: i m trying to use that sickness as my power
Stranger: this is the reason i want a job
Stranger: i miss her
Stranger: may u help me
FreePsychiatricHelp: That’s very good Amit. I will begin to help you now.
FreePsychiatricHelp: Try not to think Amit. Try to clear your mind. Just perfectly blank.
FreePsychiatricHelp; But I’m still here with you Amit. You asked for my help.
FreePsychiatricHelp; I’m going to help you now.
FreePsychiatricHelp: Is there something in the room with you?
FreePsychiatricHelp: Don’t look for it, just know it is there.
FreePsychiatricHelp: Something small, about the size of a cat.
FreePsychiatricHelp: But it is not a cat.
FreePsychiatricHelp: Do you feel that?
FreePsychiatricHelp: That is me Amit.
FreePsychiatricHelp: Whatever happens you must not look at me Amit.
FreePsychiatricHelp: You must never look at me.
FreePsychiatricHelp: Just know that I am here.
FreePsychiatricHelp: With you.
FreePsychiatricHelp: Tomorrow will be a new day for you.
FreePsychiatricHelp: Certain things will begin to happen.
Stranger: its nice compliment
FreePsychiatricHelp: These things you will not be able to explain.
Stranger: i m not in stress
FreePsychiatricHelp: There will be a man.
Stranger: i m not alone here
FreePsychiatricHelp: You will not know this man.
FreePsychiatricHelp: He will offer you a business opportunity.
FreePsychiatricHelp: A very favorable opportunity.
FreePsychiatricHelp: And something else.
Stranger: i am awaiting
FreePsychiatricHelp: At dusk.
Stranger: let it be true
FreePsychiatricHelp: This man will ask you for something, to seal the arrangement you will make.
Stranger: i dont like this
Stranger: sorry i have given you trouble
FreePsychiatricHelp: Just a small thing Amit.
FreePsychiatricHelp: Nothing you will miss.
FreePsychiatricHelp: I promise.
Stranger: i dont like this
Stranger: i would like 2 miss u
FreePsychiatricHelp: It’s too late for that now Amit.
Stranger: why cant i click away
Stranger: i m not even type
FreePsychiatricHelp: You must never look at me Amit.
Stranger: plz take these
Stranger: after that
Stranger: plz stop
Stranger: i trust on god
FreePsychiatricHelp: But God isn’t helping you Amit.
FreePsychiatricHelp: I am.
FreePsychiatricHelp: It is my function to help.
Stranger: then the man will come
Stranger: you say it
Stranger: i will wait 4 him
FreePsychiatricHelp: I know that you will Amit.
FreePsychiatricHelp: I am right here with you after all.
FreePsychiatricHelp: To help.
FreePsychiatricHelp: So long as you never look back.
Your chat has been disconnected. Click here to chat again.
FreePsychiatricHelp: Hello there.
The air ship cut the sky at high speed. A phantasmic ethereal thing of Steve’s own design, it had the shape of a galleon, but unimaginably light and strong. In place of sails it boasted two great gossamer wings that beat the ozone at regular intervals. The carbon tubes of its frame were alive with swarming machines that could only be perceived as a sort of constantly moving blur at the edge of vision. I stood at the bowsprit and made final adjustments to the straps that held Steve’s body secure. He formed a horrific figure head.
After his passing, a team of plastic surgeons and taxidermists went to work. hollowed out his skin and stuff him with mixture of straw and paper soaked in a highly ignitable fluid. Carved his face into a grotesque mask of psychotic ecstasy. The husk that once was Steve screamed silently before the ship’s graceful advance.
I removed a cigarette lighter from my pocket. It was the only thing Steve had ever given me. A square chrome Zippo that had the weight of age, though it bore a fresh engraving. ‘PANCAKES SOON’ it said, in crisp sanserif capitals. It was indecipherable and ominous like everything the old weirdo did. I reflected on this and our time together as I removed the cellophane wrap from a newborn pack of Lucky Strikes, drew one and lit it. I stood there for a long moment, thinking and smoking. Seeing the full path of my life stretch back from its inception trough all the sad twisted course to here and this quiet moment in the clouds. I saw its shape. Knew it for what it was and was satisfied. I was ready.
I made my way inboard through the ship. A door dissolved at my approach. before me lay a central corridor lined with human sized alcoves. Each niche held a person. Lesser of Steve’s enemies. Those he had not time enough to avenge himself upon in life. Chained and screaming, they begged me maniacally me for release. I ignored them. It had taken months to hunt down these people, and hunt them I did. From Reno to Istanbul I found them. In castles and bars. Churches and brothels. A mafioso. A small town license clerk. A pretty coffee shop girl. Their slights against Steve ranged in severity from grievous wrongs to simple insults. There were 22 of them stipulated in my instructions. 22 spaces on the ship. 22 loose ends. Plus one. The last one. The one we sailed to meet.
At the stern, one of Steve’s machines expanded and contracted. A kind of living sculpture of glowing white filament that formed and reformed in maddeningly intricate lattices of light. Calculating. A final course correction and the ship banked upward, its very matter seeming to shift imperceptibly. I had not the faintest idea where I was. We’d struck out over the Pacific 3 days ago and now seemed to fly over a seething red ocean. Wherever we were, I got the distinct impression we came uninvited. Its work complete, the sculpture collapsed into pieces before my feet. I stamped out my cigarette amongst its bones and retraced my steps back to Steve. We had arrived.
Then I could see it. The target. Steve’s final enemy. First an indistinct blur on he horizon, then a tremendous mass growing up from the sea. We rushed through the air faster and faster until it all but filled my vision. A great black mountain. And all about the mountain writhing feathered beasts. And atop the mountain stood a gigantic woman, resplendent in a gown of bloody blades. Some terrible goddess of death and destiny. I could see her distinctly through the vast distance between us. The blood of her blades sizzled and her gleaming metal eyes burned with rage as her gaze found the ship and its figurehead. Found Steve and knew him. Understood something huge and unknowable. The ship hummed as we sped closer, the screams of the prisoners drowned out but the rising sounds of horns and trumpets. A cacophony that seemed to shake our very tangibility. And something beyond that. Laughter. That psychotic old bastard laughter that grew louder and louder to meet the din of doom that surrounded us.
I reached for the Zippo and set Steve alight. The fire erupted around him and within seconds the whole ship burned intensely. The great lady raised a bladed hand as if to halt our advance. Something behind the rage in her silver eyes. Fear perhaps. I honestly didn’t care. The heat seemed far away as I felt myself come apart. Felt my atoms transmute and merge with the tiny machines as we burned with the fire of Steve.
Fucking Steve. Ten years of walking nightmares and all I ever wanted was an apartment in the city for under $500. We’re done with each other now Steve. I’m through with your rape engines and animal cruelty and demon god women. Maybe now I can finally rest. Finally be free of your Madness. You were a bad roommate Steve. I’m glad we’re both dead.
“Hot Dawg this burg knows how to serve up a short stack!” said Steve, pushing the rusted shopping cart in which I cowered. Behind us, Berith’s Interdimensional House of Pancakes burned steadily into the night. The sky seemed to buzz with something insectoid above us.
” We made it my boy. Passed through the veil of reality straight into to the infinite planes of belief. Well, infinite hells anyway. Damn near everything is infinite round these parts but it’s as good a spot as any to start. We’ll be running the place in no time. I just gotta scare us up some accommodations in the meanwhile. Heard about a 2 bedroom walk up over by that giant bird skull looking thing across the river. On the cheep.”
I opened my mouth to scream, but no sound came out. Only Boysenberry syrup. I hate Boysenberry. A flood of oily muck that gushed endlessly onto my quivering body. The light of the fire flickered and danced against the oozing pavement beneath us.
Steve began to whistle. We cast no shadows.
You: Hello there.
You: How are you this evening?
Stranger: it’s not even night here lol
You: That’s super! I was wondering if I might trouble you for a moment of your time.
Stranger: uh ok. a/s/l?
You: Never mind that now idiot, I’d like to talk to you tonight on the subject of meats.
You: Meats you fucking retarded half ape. The flesh of dead animals used for food.
You: Right. How do you feel about meats?
Stranger: i guess i like them ok. i mean i eat meat sometimes
You: Excellent. Now I’d like to ask you a series of yes or no questions about meats.
Stranger: what is this for?
You: That’s none of you fucking business Todd. Just answer yes or no, alright?
Stranger: my name isn’t todd
You: Excuse me?
You: Super. Okay first question. Do you enjoy the various meats that are manufactured from the flesh of pigs?
Stranger: yeah! i love bacon!
You: What the fuck did we just go over?
Stranger: oh right sorry. yes.
You: Idiot. What about the various meats that are manufactured from the flesh of the cow?
You: That’s great Todd. You’re doing really great. I’m really proud of you. Now let’s move on to something a little more advanced. How do you feel about more exotic meats?
Stranger: what kind of exotic meats?
You: Are you seriously too stupid to grasp a simple yes or no question scenario Todd?
Stranger: THAT WASN’T EVEN A YES OR NO QUESTION!! I DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU MEAN
You: You know what I fucking mean Todd.
Stranger: do you mean like lamb or something?
You: Forbidden meats Todd. People meats.
You: I’ve seen the way you look at those walking hot dogs down at the bus depot. I’ve seen the hunger in your eyes. You lust for their oily people meats.
You: You do Todd.
Stranger: i don’t eat people
You: But you would. You’d like to try it out, wouldn’t you Todd?
You: You’d like to find out how it tastes. Maybe salty? Maybe gamey?
You: Maybe tangy?
Stranger: how do you know
Stranger: these things about me?
You: I know Todd.
Stranger: i don’t thing i could do it. eating raw human flesh.
You: We’ll start you off with something easy. Maybe some school teacher in a burrito. Or a candy raver calzone. Would you like that Todd?
Stranger: i think i might
You: What was that Todd?
You: That’s excellent Todd.
You: I’ll be over in five minutes.
Stranger: my name’s not todd
You: Shut up Todd.
::Your conversation has been disconnected::
“Read that back to me if you would.” Said Steve, quietly.
I cleared my throat and began.
“Here it is set forth, that I, Balthazar Ignatius Stephenson, Knight of the East and Baron of Avenue C, a resident of the great state of New York, being of sound mind and judgment, and not being actuated by any duress, menace, fraud, mistake, or undue influence, do hereby make, publish and declare the following to be my Last Will and Testament, revoking all previous will and codicils made by me.
To my third wife Lydia Longboat, I leave six and a half gallons of my own personal seed in the hopes that she may one day use her unmatched biological and technical genius to clone an army of Steve that may attend and love her in all the ways that I never could. I’m sorry we couldn’t make it work Lyd. Some things just aren’t meant to be.
To her majesty Queen Elizabeth the second of England, I leave the novelty Garfield tie I wore on our first date. Yes Lizzy, I kept it. The summer of 2007 will live forever in my heart as the summer of blistering bedroom eyes and the best public transportation hand job of my life. See you soon old girl. I’ll save a seat for you.
To my friend Rude Ricky the Butcher Boy, I leave my collection of knives that once inhabited the bodies of famous people named David. They’re all there Rick. From Duchovny to Schwimmer. I know how you’ve always admired my celebrity shankings and have no doubt they will find a good home with you. Keep the faith old boy.
To the asshole at the diner who simply could not comprehend the concept of eggs over easy, I leave this garbage bag full of dog shit. Cooked on both sides you fucking mongoloid. With the yolk as a thin liquid, but keeping the egg white intact. Fucking runny eggs. It’s not that hard.
To Sir Ian McKellen, I leave the pubic hair clippings we took off that Thai prostitute in Kyoto, as a reminder that the mind is a machine of transcendent-actualization, intended to give us what we need. Not what we want. Don’t you dare forget that.”
It continued on in this fashion for a full thirty pages. Steve sat and smoke his pipe in stately contemplation.
“I’ve noticed that I am not mentioned even once in this despicable document.” I said.
“Oh my dear boy,” Said Steve, chuckling. “Naturally you will be set alight on the funeral pyre with me. It’s not as if you will be alive to enjoy any of my possessions after the passing. Seems rather pointless don’t you think?”
I shot Steve bloody daggers from my eyes.
At, or around this time, I began to seriously reconsider my choices in life.
“Shit fucking rat bird!” Steve howled, face flush against the wall. “Flutter around all you like, I’ll still taste your blood before nights end. I will fucking have you! Do you hear me?”
The owl had taken up a defensive position in the walls more than a week ago. A tactical retreat from his gorilla war against us and the apartment.
“We’re on full fucking lock down starting now! The winged fart only leaves it’s loathsome redoubt when we’re at the track to attack our curio and shit in my wine glasses. Well no more! Soon it’s pathetic aggressions will be at an end…It’s suffering shall be legendary, mark me on that. ” Steve fumed and began taking wild swings at the wall with a claw hammer.
I felt an overwhelming sense of shame. “That bird deserves his revenge…and we deserve to die. Goddamnit Steve, you killed his family,” I said, bitterly.
“Yes,” said Steve, smiling at the memory. “We ate like kings that day.”
It had been some weeks previous when I returned home to the bustle of an active kitchen. The delicious smells of what I took to be some kind of Cornish game hen thick about the volume of the place. Steve was right. We had eaten like kings that day. Ate and drank and made merry…but all the while amid a scratching and screeching that issued from the slotted pantry door. I know it now to be the sound a thing makes when gripped by unimaginable pain and loss, but in the moment I took no notice. There were a thousand such sounds in this apartment and I’d grown accustom to them. It was only later that I saw the words stenciled on the side of the discarded box at my feet. CARE OF BROX ZOO. CONTAINS ENDANGERED SPECIMENS. The bastard had made him watch.
We never did discover how he escaped, but in the following days his intentions became clear as crystal. A desperate campaign of defecation and psychological intimidation intended to drive us mad. Lightning attacks when we least expected it. Vicious torment from above.
“He wants vengeance,” I whispered.
“Let it come,” Said Steve, taking a long swallow of wine. “This is all part of the marination process. This brine of hate will make it tender. It’ll pair splendidly with the owl shit shiraz.”
I felt fear then…
The devil take you Steve. The devil take your soul to hell.
“Pan Genitor,” Steve invoked, urinating from the open window. ” Io Pan! Io Pan! Goat with a thousand young! Bless me with thine salty favor!”
The air in the room was slick with the smell of butane and melting styrofoam. Crude arcane symbols decorated the walls, drawn in what appeared to be a mixture of ash and Cheeto dust. Cautiously, I made my way through the labyrinth of fast food wrappers that had grown up about the floor. “Jesus man, did you eat all this Taco Bell? It’s inhuman.”
“Raw material components,” rasped Steve. “For the summoning. My bowels hath become the divine celestial womb. The black goddess has taken ME for her consort. We shall birth a Moonchild this night.”
He spun wildly, internal waters still flowing and slowly began to close the distance between us. I stumbled back, narrowly avoiding his rancid stream, but unable to break that terrible gaze. “No,” I said, regaining some small measure of composure. “I…I have no doubt that whatever it is you’ve been about in this apartment for the last 36 hours could only be described as unholy, but it is not supernatural. You’ve just been huffing that bathroom mold again that’s all. Now, I’m going to go get the cattle prod and we are going to put you to bed.” Strangling fear gripped me.
Steve broke off his advance, bladder functions ceasing. Eyes turning upward. “Fool,” he breathed. “You can not stop this. It is as it must be. Mother of vipers…the cheese is the life…”
The sound was deafening. Like some mighty giant tearing apart a great canvas sail. The air turned to sulfur as Steve collapsed in a heap. I gazed on in horror as my mind seemed to shatter into a thousand pieces.
Outside, amid a monstrous rising hum, an unnatural darkness was descending. The stars were going out.
My first thought upon waking was that my mouth seemed to contain the full contents of a month old litter box. Evil black spots obscured my vision and a regular metallic click rang out in time to the throbbing pain in my head. The sound was emanating from a ratchet being worked at the far end of the room. Steve was tinkering in his workshop again.
“My god,” I coughed. “What are you building?”
“I’ve utilized elements of a 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T in conjunction with a number of defective motorized dildos unearthed from a dumpster behind the adult book store earlier this morning. That combined with the canister of radioactive nano tech we appropriated from those Serbian nationals last week has resolved itself into what I believe to be a kind of self-replicating rape engine,” replied Steve. “The schematics came to me in a dream.”
My stomach lurched. “What do you plan to do with it?”
“Oh, try to teach her right from wrong I suppose,” Steve responded, thoughtfully. “Impart values of honesty and hard work and then send her off to make her way in the world, same as any child. We do the best we can. It’s not easy being a single dad you know.”
“Her?” I queried, horrified.
“Yes,” Acknowledged Steve, turning slowly to meet my eyes. Face aglow with paternal pride. “I call her Brutal Susan.”
Steve returned to his work and I to my bed of newspaper and soiled rags in an attempt to will myself back into unconsciousness. I wished for death then. The sweet, comforting embrace of death.
“She was always the prettiest girl at the bukakke party,” Steve mused, scratching idly at the dead wasps in his beard. “It’s not every man who can appreciate the aesthetic elegance of a hairlip, but then, I always did have an eye for unconventional beauty.”
“Again with this?” I said, taking a long drag off the thai stick and passing it to him. “Honestly, I don’t have a strong enough stomach to endure another of your Lovecraftian sex poems.”
“I speak of love you emotionally stunted turd!” bellowed Steve. “Unlike you, I have lived a life open to the full spectrum of human experience. Love is a burning fire my young friend. A conspicuous rash on the groin of the heart. An seedy discharge from the genitals of the soul.”
“I believe you are describing the symptoms of gonorrhea,” I said.
“Perhaps,” reflected Steve. “But like gonorrhea, there is no cure for love.”
“Penicillin.” I ventured.
“Shut up.” said Steve.
We sat for a long while then, smoking silently on our perch high above the interstate. Headlights becoming long trails of white and red dominating our field of vision. Some time later, Steve began to weep softly.
Well who the fuck told you to dress up like an 18th century french dandy and go around central park mugging old ladies? Because it certainly wasn’t me. Frankly, I don’t think you should have gotten into those whippets in the first place, and don’t go blaming this on your stupid seasonal depression disorder like you always do. Jesus Steve, you’re a mess. It’s your sixty fourth birthday all over again. Take some responsibility for your fucking life man.
Look, imagine yourself in my shoes for half a fucking second ok? It’s 7:30 on a Tuesday morning and you don’t know why the bathtub is full of mayonnaise and empty Viagra bottles. Furthermore, all the peppermint schnapps is gone and you’ve got a splitting headache because that goddamn Mariah Carey song’s been stuck on repeat all fucking night. Plus, this dog carcass isn’t just gonna bury itself you know… So yeah, I was a few minutes late to couples counseling. Sue me.
God Steve you’re such an asshole.