Why Bother?

This is the part of the book where the author intends to tell you all about what is to come, about how this collection of short stories or whatever stems from an introspective review of mankind as well as a whole bunch of other hokum which really amounts to him attempting to come up with some sort of excuse to not have to write any long form narrative because he’s gotten too lazy.

Too bad, huh?  I mean, I’m sure you really wouldn’t have expected him ending it with a dedication to his family for all the support they have given him as he has worked and toiled long hours to perfect this majestic art.

Because, you know, it’s so incredibly original, right?

Not that there’s much original to be found anymore.

As an all-seeing and all-knowing being, I have quite literally seen everything.

Everything

The good.  The bad.  The utterly disturbing.

Everything.

What’s left to see when you’ve witnessed the precise definition of everything?

What is possibly left for the imagination?

My job may seem simple, to narrate a well-crafted story to entertain and amuse you, but when every story ever told boils down to a mere handful of different types of conflict, everything feels as though it has been done before.

Heck, even my name is unoriginal.  The Narrator:  One who narrates.

Really?

How is it that we, the beings who feed the imaginations of the universe, have such an unimaginative moniker as Narrator.

It wasn’t always this way.  At one time we were so much more.  The Greeks called us The Muses.  They knew how to respect our powers.

Not that I can blame you.  We do so little today.  At the heights of Greece’s power, we were unstoppable.  Ever heard of the Greek tragedy?  I didn’t come up with it, but it was one of us who did.

Today, the best we come up with is finding new ways to make monsters sexy.

Who wants monsters to be sexy?

The other narrators say I’m simply caught in a rut.

A deep rut, if you ask me.  I’ve even found myself attempting to tell stories about psychopathic pandas finding violent love with Bill Pullman in the wilds of New Zealand, but they weren’t nearly as surprising as you would expect.  Spoiler alert: They were actually homosexual sloths dreaming about what it would be like to own argyle socks.  The homosexuality, of course, wasn’t integral to the story, just something which happened to be true.  The argyle socks, on the other hand, ended up being far more important to the story than even I could have expected.  But even then, they still were entirely predictable.

This is my job.  My cosmic duty.  I am here to tell stories.  To entertain and inform.  An eternity of relating the same seven basic plots.

I have no other options.

As an eternal being, I can’t off myself.  The closest thing we have to death is to lose the ear of the people.  That may not seem so bad, but consider it as an never-ending moment being held in that feeling you get when you’re in the self-checkout line at Target when all the machines are in use.

You don’t look at the other patrons because you don’t wish to appear pushy, but can’t help noticing the lady in front of you has been attempting to scan that single banana for what feels like an hour already and the red shirt who is supposed to be helping her is busy trying to replace the receipt paper in another machine and you are struggling to fight the urge to push the old lady out of the way,  so you can pay the two dollars and ninety-nine cents plus tax for your niece’s birthday card and get back home so you can finally watch the latest episode of The Good Place before falling asleep with your phone in your hand.

An eternity of moderate impatient annoyance fueled by an impossibly hot rage.  It might not seem so bad for the first thousand years or so, but that stuff really builds up on a guy, or, you know, an eternal omniscient non-gendered being.

And so, I’m forever sentenced to this fate of hoping I can come up with something new to say.  Or at least a new way to say it.  Or, at the very least, something to do to while away the rest of eternity.

Read on.  Maybe I’ll have more to say about that Target thing.  I haven’t decided yet.

Oh, and the intro left off by telling you about the inspiration for the first story.  It wasn’t very inspiring…

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The Room

A woman is thrown roughly to the floor in a dark room.  The room is warm and filled with sounds, not only of the screams from the woman as she slowly becomes aware that she is alone.  The other sounds are muffled, as though coming from a separate room, but loud.

Once her eyes adjust to the darkness, she becomes aware of a faint red glow illuminating everything.  The light is just bright enough to allow her to inspect her surroundings. 

She is in a theater.  In the center of the room is one single red chair.  The rest of the room is empty, outside of the red curtain covering the wall in front of the chair.

There are no doors, no windows, nothing outside of walls, chair, and curtain.

Even the light appears to have no source, almost as though it is seeping through the walls somehow.

Within the muffled sounds, she can make out the sound of a woman screaming as if in intense pain.  She breathes heavily between the screams, exhaustion apparent in her labored breaths.  The woman sounds as though she has been suffering this same torture for hours already.

Our woman, we’ll call her Jane, fears this same torture is in store for her next. Yet, she can’t think of any reason why she should be tortured.  She can’t even remember anything prior to entering this room.  Her name is gone, her life is gone, and most disturbingly, how she wound up inside this room is gone.

The room around her appears to grow smaller.  Each scream from the woman causes Jane to feel more and more crowded by the dark red walls of the room around her.

She runs from corner to corner, inspecting every inch of the theater, praying she somehow missed the exit.  She becomes frantic as the woman’s screams increase in frequency.

She looks toward the curtains as they open.

The light emanating from the screen behind them is blinding, forcing Jane to squint.  A blurred image appears.  The screams of the woman have now stopped and loud sounds of joy fill the room.  Joy, and relief. 

A baby cries.

Jane walks up to the screen, noting how the blurred image slowly takes shape into colored blobs.  She watches in question, wondering whether she is viewing a birth from the baby’s perspective, or if this is some sort of Rorshach test showing her some innate want for a child of her own.

Jane pokes at the corners of the screen, hoping to find some way around it into some back corridor which might allow her escape, only to find that the screen is simply an image projected upon a white wall.

She falls to the floor.  Terror fills her mind as she becomes aware of her predicament.

And confusion regarding how she ever wound up here in the first place.