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by Bob Freville
“I don’t believe in the Great Man theory of science or history. There are no great men, just men standing on the shoulders of other men and what they have done.“Jacque Fresco
The ammonia stink of his dwellings, the scorched floors and stained walls, were nowhere near as stifling as the things which roamed his brain. They intruded upon his sanity every night, making their scraping noises loud and shrill, pounding their fists against their chests and telling him he was not a man, telling him he was less than nothing.
He had already suspected this to be the case. Thirty-odd years of toiling in retail, stocking shelves and waiting tables, taking shit and eating it, had made him soft. The drugs and junk food kept him that way. And the softest part of all seemed to be his brain, crumpled and mollified as it was by the invasions of these malevolent dream people with their rapiers drawn clear across his cerebellum.
Got to where he no longer needed to shut his eyes to hear them. He’d be on line, snatching himself a pack of smokes or an artificial vagina and they’d announce themselves with the laceration of his consciousness. Scrape! Scrape! Scrape! He imagined that they were shearing his mind, slicing clean through any distant good memory he had once had, leaving only the agony and regret in their wake.
He’d never thought much of himself to begin with, nor did he regard the rest of his race with anything that could pass for envy. From time to time, he may have found himself taken with a toy some more wealthy man could possess, something he couldn’t afford in his lifetime, but by and large, he felt the whole thing to be a gruesome gag. All these narcissistic social networking sites, all these pictures of babies born against their will, without their say-so, and all the doubtlessly dreadful moments said ankle biters were destined to endure.
The voices laughed when he’d lament privately about such corporeal gripes, he could feel them grin when he’d grumble about God and kids and ex-girlfriends and overpopulation.
“You’re fit for death,” he’d hear them saying.
For he could not see them, not in vital form, only in the faintest, most opaque sense. They were amorphous, they were fluid, as if formed from his very life blood, that viscous shit that constituted every man.
Except he wasn’t a man, if he went on the evidence of their proclamations. He was less than nothing. Less than nothing. Negative zero. Just like his bank account. Shit.
This notion eventually wormed its way into his frontal lobe and soon it pervaded his every waking moment. He lost his job because he told his boss he was unqualified to perform his basic routine tasks. He was evicted from his studio apartment because he no longer earned any money, being the nothing that he was. “You’re not a man, you can’t even bring home the bacon!”
And that is when he found himself here, beneath the star-free firmaments, in a boarded-up barbeque joint that had caught fire once upon a sketchy circumstance. Here he found himself in a psychosphere that mirrored his mind—scorched earth, sooty air and befouled floors, living and breathing his own excrement and his own excremental thoughts.
The scraping was louder and more insistent now. Soon it blew his ear drums out in its mad desperation to free itself from his consciousness and take on a tangible consciousness of its own. His Eustachian tubes oozed with onyx ichor, gray matter trickling down his gaunt neck, and he cried out, “Leave me alone!” But the thoughts would not acquiesce, they only scoffed. “Pussy.”
He balled his hands and pressed them to his temples which throbbed violently, but this offered no succor. So he pressed them over his ears as hard as he could bear. His entire cranium could be heard rumbling as a result. This was it. No half a man is going to stop them!
His face quaked, his eyes bulged, his teeth splintered from the force of his skull jack-hammering back and forth and then FWOOOSH!!!!!!! Out they came, showering the wall with a torrent of viscera, violently announcing their arrival into our reality.
When the puce moment passed and the florid flow of crimson ran dry, out of the mist they marched, cachinnating, great phlegmatic guffaws in his face.
He was on the ground now, nearer to death than he’d ever been and strangely relieved in the way only a nancy boy could be by the allure of demise. What a man. As the light drained from his orbs, he caught his first crude glimpse of their actual form.
There were two of them, both sharing his very own facial features, only somehow their chins were stronger, their cheekbones more prominent and their bodies chiseled as if carved from Adonis’s rib. They wore black combat boots and wore their hair in bandanas, cigars clamped between big alabaster chompers. And the last thing he noted before entering the benighted vortex was their crotches.
Where his unimpressive manhood would have hung, shriveled and insubstantial, the two doppelgangers from the depths of his imagination stood tall with razor dicks, massive straight razors as big as any strap-on and twice as awesome in their gleaming majesty.
It was then that he knew what they were here for, why they had grown inside his mind and festered there, waiting for their opportunity to escape into his world. He was positive they were here to quell the problem of procreation.
Bob Freville is a part-time tool salesman and full-time writer from Long Island, New York. He has written for Creem Magazine, Bust Down The Door & Eat All The Chickens, LongIslandPress.com and others. He is currently at work on several novellas and at least one gnome farm. He begs your pardon, but he never promised you a rose garden.