Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Journal of (Indecipherable)

I have decided to begin a weekly serial at  Once a week you can read a new chapter in a short story called "The Journal of (Undecipherable)"  When this story wraps up, I will start another weekly serial.  But for the next few weeks at least, I invite you to enjoy this narrative, starting with "Entry One:  The Room"

Read "Entry One:  The Room" after the jump!

"The Journal of (Indecipherable)"

Entry One:

I’ve always had trouble with beginnings. Endings too, for that matter. I don’t particularly feel comfortable with either concept—when I’m writing, in my relationships, or when I’m just living my life. At least with endings, I have sort of resolved this issue. When things end for me, they end like that Monty Python sketch where the actors can’t come up with a punch line, so they just end the sketch. That’s how I work. I do something until I hit a wall, and then I just sort of stop doing it. The stories of my life might not have a satisfying ending, but they at least end. 

Perhaps, that’s what happened to me. I was created by some supreme being,  let’s just call him God, for the sake of clarity. Jehova, Yahewa, Ala, The Flying Spaghetti Monster...they all mean the same thing, right? SomeTHING beyond our comprehension set something else into motion at some point somewhere that has led to life as we know it today. Whether that Something is still present or not is up for debate, and wether or not that Something left us books filled with instructions is anybody’s guess. But if you looked at what we know about the universe compared to what we don’t know as a pie chart, the sliver that represents what we know would be barely visible.  So if you’ll indulge me, I’ll put aside semantic bullshit, like what to call our creator, what his or her nature is, and wether or not he cares if two dudes get married and serve pork at their wedding, and just go with what I know. Our creator is a supreme being that I shall call God.

Now, if God is anything like me, he created me after a lot of procrastinating. But it can’t be argued that I was finally created, because I exist, so it must have happened. And for about twenty-six years I led a relatively stable and uneventful life. But I’m thinking that either life itself, or at least my life, is destined to come to an end shortly because I have recently found myself trapped. Not metaphorically trapped. I mean I woke up one morning and I literally found myself in a locked room with nothing but a bed, some books, a television, a few dvd’s, a supply of pens, and of course this journal. I get fed through a panel on the wall that I can only assume is a dumb waiter. It opens for thirty seconds, seven times a day; once in the morning to deliver fresh clothes, and so I can deposit my clothes from the previous day; three times with food in it; and three times so I can put my dirty dishes in it. The panel is only big enough to fit one tray of food, and as soon as the thirty seconds is up, it slides closed leaving no seam whatsoever between it and the wall. I haven’t tried ignoring the panel for fear of being cut off from my only access to food, and all things considered, it’s pretty delicious food. (I should take this opportunity to point out that we’re getting into semantics again. When I say the panel opens seven times a “day,” I am once again just using the words I know to describe a situation I can’t possibly comprehend. In reality, the room has no clock, so of course I have no way of actually determining when a day has passed. All I have to rely on is my internal clock, which has never been particularly good. That being said, to retain a sense of normalcy I compare the frequency of the panel opening and other repetitive events to what the passage of time felt like when I could keep track of it accurately, and have devised my own calendar. Not that I keep track of what “month” it’s supposed to be or anything, but I can more or less tell you how many “weeks” have gone by.  Though, I don’t doubt that if I ever get out of here, I’ll discover that my estimation of time is either ahead of or behind the actual flow of time by quite a bit.)

The only remotely human interactions I ever have are Mr. Troll’s “weekly” speeches.    The wall with the sliding panel in it also functions as a video screen. Once a week, it begins to hum, starts to glow, and then displays swirling colors that come together to form a computerized approximation of a human face. It isn’t a very good approximation, either. It’s a pink, puffy, pock marked face of an ageless, bald man with unnaturally wrinkly skin and a walrus mustache. Mr. Troll’s weekly appearances consist of derisive comments aimed at me, taunts, and warnings about the total destruction that lies outside of “The Facility.”

The room has no door, so there does not appear to be any means of escape. But because there are no windows either, I can’t even be sure there is anything outside of the room to escape to. According to Mr. Troll there isn’t, but he can hardly be considered a reliable source of information. By his report, the world outside The Facility is a dangerous wasteland. My survival is owed completely to someone, or something he refers to as The Facilitator, who I know absolutely nothing about.

Presumably, The Facilitator is some sort of functioning intelligence with a working knowledge of a human’s basic needs.  I don’t know if the idea of my mysterious caretaker being another human is better or worse than the idea of it being some rogue supercomputer that has wiped out all intelligent life other than me on the planet. See, if  The Facilitator is a human, that means I am not alone, and there is some sort of hope of rescue. It also means that there is another human who is capable of subjecting his fellow man to whatever this is. If The Facilitator is a supercomputer, however, it means I am cut off from my fellow man, and therefore I may be beyond salvation. But, I have discovered, there is an otherwise unattainable calm in having no hope for salvation.

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