Plugs

Enter CAIPHO, with GAMALFIEL [the cat].

CAIPHO:
Gamalfiel, tell me, what shall I do?
Two days gone by, and I’ve not made reply
to that last message of Erasmus’.
I doubt not but he wonders why I stay,
and why my answer cometh not.

[She sets down GAMALFIEL upon the bed.  GAMALFIEL goes to the pillow
and makes as if to sleep.]

Great good you are to me, you lazy thing!
Sleep then.  And I’ll kindle the terminal,
and see if there is fresh word from Camille,
some new report to help me understand
what I had best to do.
                                      Gamalfiel,
you don’t know how I envy you your rest!
My nights have been broken with misery
since Wednesday.  Oh, if only love
were not such agony!  If only trust
could be made sure!  If only I could know
that Erasmus is true.  But no; I’ve lacked
all surety since Camille made report
that he was texting Andrea while I
was at Grandma’s in Margate.
                                                  Well, let us see
if there’s fresh news tonight.  Come, come — turn on!

[Divers noises and the COMPUTER grows light.]

Ah, here’s word from Camille.  What does she say?

[She reads.]

Alas!  More further proofs — if I had need –
of his deceitfulness.  Oh, who would be
a woman?  Who would have a tender heart,
and see it broken by man’s perfidy?
Especially a young girl, and a heart,
so tender, and so pretty, as mine is
and as I am.  Gamalfiel, it’s hard!

[The COMPUTER shaking, as if in a wind.]

What’s this? Erasmus wants to chat with me?
Who would have thought that he would be online!
I will not speak with him, I’ll tell him no,
I’ll set him to “Ignore.”

[LIGHTS as of a storm.  ERASMUS appears standing on the floor rug, in
green light, as a HOLOGRAM.  Gamalfiel, wakened, looks on.]

CAIPHO:
Erasmus!  But how come you here? I tried –

ERASMUS:
I overrode your chat-room block.  You know
I have your password.

CAIPHO:
‘Tis true — I forgot.

ERASMUS:
What’s all this nonsense, Caipho?  Am I blocked
from chatting with you? I, your boyfriend!  Why?
And why no answer to my messages?

CAIPHO:
Hear him complain, as if ‘twere he’d been wronged!
And why not chat with Andrea, if you
need company?

ERASMUS:
Andrea?  What mean you?

CAIPHO:
I mean only that I’ve heard from Camille
what you were up to while I was away.
I should have known before I gave my heart
to thee!  Alas, poor Caipho!

ERASMUS:
This is naught.
You know Camille has never liked me.

CAIPHO:
Go!
I won’t hear my friend slandered to my face
by a poor gormless craven who’ll deny
the truth he stands accused with!

ERASMUS:
Aye, I’ll go!
I won’t stay here and be abused by you;
I see I have no chance against Camille.
Answer my email if you like, Caipho,
but till you’re reasonable, rave alone!

[He disappears.  The green light vanishes.]

CAIPHO:
And he is gone.
Oh, who would be a girl?  Gamalfiel,
my heart is breaking!  Let me spend my tears
on your soft fuzzy chest!

[She throws herself upon the bed and embraces GAMALFIEL.  GAMALFIEL meows.]

‘Tis true, my friend, but that kind word you say
cannot ease my regret.  Alack the day!
My heart governs my head: I love him still,
despite the wise persuasions of Camille.

~

[O]n the contrary, everything in it is both head and tail, alternately and reciprocally….  We can cut wherever we please…. Chop it into numerous pieces and you will see that each one can get along alone. — Charles Baudelaire, “To Arsene Houssaye”

It was that great modernist monk of the late fourteenth century, Baudelard, who first codified the principle of spontaneous generation.  He had stowed away a porcelain saucer of skunk meat high in a cupboard where no animal–including the human kind–could reach it.  In truth, he had set it aside like manna, afraid that one day the countryside would be barren of meat if he and his fellow monks kept hunting as they had been all that blustery fall.

When Baudelard removed the meat from the cupboard a week later on the occasion of dusting, he rediscovered the meat writhing with worms and quilled his findings in his thirty-pound volume of observations.

Yet Baudelard was no one-trick pony of a natural philosopher who folds his hands to rest on laurels.  He understood that this principle had to be developed to its fullest extent, for “To understand nature,” as he was so fond of informing his fellow monks spraying a mouthful of his sibilant noon meal: day-old bread, goat cheese and wine, “was to understand the mind of God.”  So Baudelard cut worms at varying lengths to see if life might sprout again.

And, lo, they did grow full and wriggling blood-red with both head and tail intact, whichever was the original of which.  The confusion brought him to recall a minor poet friend of his, the Englishman Geoffrey Chaucer.  He had started a series of semi-bawdy, semi-humorous tales of wanderers mocking the Old English tales of heroes, using the vulgar, common English tongue.  Chaucer and Baudelard both saw the stories–pale imitations of Boccaccio–as best fit for lining refuse bins.

To test just how far the principle of spontaneous generation went, they took his original manuscript, mulched it, stirred in earthworms, water, and ink, and let the rotting mass germinate for several months.  Chaucer was probably over-eager and exhumed the manuscript prematurely.  The Canterbury tales were still unfinished and a bit raw, but Chaucer corrected the earthworms’ grammatical errors and found ways to punch up the bawdiness.

The triumphant success of Baudelard’s literary experiment, logically lead him to human beings as his next test subject.  The rest, as you know, is history–eternal glory springs from temporary gore.  Even now, a century later, Baudelard’s achievements remain the high-water mark of natural philosophy and letters.

The Black Goat of the Woods, Shub-Niggurath, pranced obscenely through the red-litten clearing, its worshippers copulating frenziedly beneath its myriad udders. Soon, they would seize their obsidian knives and begin to slash at one another in an ecstacy of sanguinary lust. Shub-Niggurath would feast, but would take the best bits home for its Thousand Young. Especially its favorite, Shubbie the 422nd.

The Vermilion Gopher of the Plains, Aug’-Durlett, popped menacingly from one of its myriad holes. A nitid effluent of its malevolence poured forth, blotting out the sun. Traffic on I-70 came to a halt, and there was much rending of metal and spilling of entrails. Aug’-Durlett’s 230 Wives and 1973 Young would eat well tonight in yellow-litten Yah-Squireel.

Hamstur the Unspeakable, Tawny Gerbil of Doom, raced disturbingly upon the shrieking Wheel of Abomination. The slumber of sensitive souls was disrupted across the globe by a myriad ear-piercing squeaks, and even the mighty wizard Fak-bel Knaplung vainly pressed its withered hands to its shockingly hairy organs of audition.

The Ebon Cricket of the Sinister Bamboo Palace, Shrikk the Inaudible, played upon its shockingly malformed limbs a paean of charnel desecration and soul-destroying horror. Dogs throughout east Asia howled in anguish, annoying the just and unjust alike. Yabu Dabi-Tzhoo, Lord of Kay-Na’ein, lept through a foul depiction in stained glass of the Vivisection of the Myriad, and vanished from mortal ken, leaving behind an appalling stench.

Myriads flooded the streets as the Sigil of Unpleasantness, alluded to in the Pleistocene Upchuktic Manuscript, fulminated and was not consumed in the sky above Lichtenstein. Interminable was the wailing and many were the unattractive facial expressions manifested on the green-litten visages of the unhappy Lichtensteiners, for they could feel the fat profits from the tourist trade sublimating from their wallets, retail establishments, and entertainment facilities in the abhorrent effulgence discharged by the Lime-Green Sign.

Much was the inadvertent discharge of bodily fluids and other organic substances as the myriad Calamari of Chaos floated to the surface of the Pacific Ocean, broadcasting their unhallowed and vile thoughts to all within line-of-sight and, after nightfall, those reachable by reflection from the Heaviside layer.

As the human race, insignificant pustule on the acne-scarred backside of Planet Dirt, wailed, moaned, and perished, the Great Old Ones, including Retrievotep, He Who Inexorably Returns, and Nemah-Toad, She Who Burrows Within, began to feed.

And short-lived but heartfelt was the lamentation engendered therefrom.

End

With the last gleam of the wolf’s eye[14] will fall the night[1].

[1] Robert of Tours speaks of this fragment being borne from the tomb of king Vraghur II of the Cirroghs, born in the 714th year before Our Lord, whose armor was carved into the likeness of a wolf[7], a prophecy of the fall of the Cirroghs at the proud king’s passing.[2] (Jacques Etablant, 1310)

[2] Though the fragment be Cirroghic[3], no death of kings did it fortell but the death of us all, in the Plague[4] God hath wrought upon us, the weak and the strong alike. So show the French their putrid ignorance. (John of Hampdenmontfordshire, 1351)

[3] Be it Cirroghic? And who the Cirroghs, pray?[5] Though long extolled as paragons of ferocity, the learned man in modern days misdoubts that ever such men walked the earth.[6] (Albert Burlowe, 1605)

[4] Good John, were thou but mistaken of the nature of the thing, yet thou art mistaken only of the year! Thus God doth visit on us finally the last and worst plague, and we perish like (illegible) (author unknown, London, 1666)

[5] The Cirroghs were a race of bean farmers residing in the valley of Dziban, though they were not known to write with the Old Dazibanic script in which the table is inscribed. Yet they did exist! (Caleb Blackford, 1884)

[6] Oh? Then why is it that Vraghur II’s breastplate recently surfaced during excavations in Dziban?[8] (Blackford, 1884)

[7] But there was no wolf on it, so we doubt this tablet to have referred to Vraghur II[9]. (Blackford, 1884)

[8] Never mind. The breastplate, it appears, was a hoax. (Blackford, 1886)

[9] An excellent conclusion, as the Cirroghs were slaughtered to the last man[10] in the reign of Vraghur I. (Wolfgang Krunt, 1928)

[10] A 1952 excavation reveals evidence of surviving Cirroghs in Albania, however.[11] (Dr. Janice Pitui, 1973)

[11] Which doesn’t prove[12] it’s Cirroghic. (Dr. Walter Mordartur, 1974)

[12] Nothing in science is proven[13], as the occasional buffoon may forget (Pitui, 1974)

[13] But we talked about it a lot and decided it probably wasn’t Cirroghic anyway (Dr. Janice Pitui-Mordartur, 1976)

[14] A mistranslation; recently reviewed and retranslated as “With the last gleam of the sunset, will fall the night.” Appears to be an ancient snippet of amateur poetry. (Andre Hampden Etablant, 2017)

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