It was a typical Tuesday afternoon with nothing out of the ordinary. Bob opened the door to his mother’s house. Tired from work he quickly walked inside, dropping his satchel on the floor next to the heating vent, which he swore on more than one occasion had yelled some odd racial slur. It had been a long day at the post office, what with the shooters and all. And to think, after the police were done, he was going to have to clean up the mess.
“Bob, is that you?”
Slightly annoyed, he untied his scarf and hung it on a wooden peg beside the door. “Yes mom, it’s always me. Who else would it be?”
His mom emerged from the kitchen, clad in a polka dotted sundress as usual, despite the blistering cold. Today’s color being green. “Jesus.”
Bob turned to the window. Her comment annoyed him. She just couldn’t be serious with him, neither could Mrs. Johnson, who was crossing the street. He must have missed her when he drove up. But the same wasn’t true of the next driver who, without noticing, committed the latest vehicular manslaughter. “Looks like Mrs. Johnson took an Escalade to the chest.”
“Oh dear, I knew she was gonna get hit.” Leaning over the couch, she drew back the curtains in order to get a better look. Of course, it wasn’t a very pleasant view with Mrs. Johnson’s innards decorating the street. “She’s really been slowing down these days. I told her to wait for somebody to drive her home. But no, ‘It’s right across the street,’ she said.”
As Bob joined his mom to look at the gruesome demise of Mrs. Johnson, another SUV turned onto the street. The driver was oblivious to the fact that there was even a stop sign at the intersection. As usual, she had a cell phone in hand, probably talking to some Latin dance instructor while her husband was away on ‘business.’ The slight bump didn’t even appear to phase her, not that it would. Cell phones seemed to preclude one from noticing big blinking lights, much less a corpse laying in the road.
“You know Bob, somebody really ought to do something about all these crazy drivers.”
“Should I get the shotgun ma?”
“Na, that’s only in case the Canadians invade. I got the howitzer to take care of those idiot drivers.”
Bob turned to look at his mother, eyeing her carefully, his mouth just a little parted. “You bought a howitzer?”
His mom dropped the curtains and let her weight go back onto her feet. “Yep, got a good deal too. Forty-five dollars on EBay.”
Bob got off the couch, shaking his head in disapproval. His mom was always up to something queer. It wasn’t that it bothered him, it was just that it didn’t make any sense. For example, what good was the sweater made of sporks that she knitted for Sparky, the family dog that died seven years ago after a freak incident with the blender? But, at least, she could cook, though, on occasion, her meats seemed to come from some not so “socially acceptable” sources. After all, there always seemed to be plenty of meat to go around after somebody was run over in the streets. And he never could recall an ambulance picking up a corpse.
Getting off the couch, he nearly tripped over the family cat, who had figured out how to raid the refrigerator and procure shredded cheese, and was now making a mess of it all on the living room floor. Successfully evading the mess Bob made his way to the coat rack, but before he could even manage to get his arms out of the sleeves, his mother’s hands had a firm grasp on his collar.
“Here honey, let me help you. You’ve had a stressful enough day already.”
“No mom,” he said, removing her hands while trying his hardest not to break them, lest he have to spend time with her in the hospital. “It’s fine. Just go into the kitchen and finish up, and I’ll tell you over dinner.”
Bob set the fork down on the plate that was undoubtedly another acquisition from the flea market of hell. He swore that the detailing bore an uncanny resemblance to a pentagram, providing that one assumed the artist was drunk. Swallowing the last bit of meat that tasted a bit bizarre, Bob turned to his mother.
“I was in the back room and all of a sudden I heard these loud noises. I was pretty sure it was gunfire as it sounded the same as the last two times this month. So anyways, I head up front just to make sure, and there’s John, standing out in the middle of the lobby surrounded by bleeding corpses, with a shotgun pointed at the clerk.” A point which Bob wonderfully exampled with his hands and a butter knife. “I just sit there near the corner not getting involved, after all, I learned my lesson the last time. Meanwhile, he’s just sitting there yelling and screaming at her…”
Bob continued on, drifting off onto a rather indecent description of the clerk, which he illustrated rather well with some unpleasant hand gestures, most definitely not the kind acceptable at the dinner table. However, a well-thrown spoon to the right cheek brought him back on topic. “…Meanwhile in walks Stan. He’s coming in thinking he is going to shoot the place up. But he sees all the bodies and John standing there and gets all pissed off.”
Bob stood, rather weary of not being able to use his full range of motion to accentuate his story. “John doesn’t see Stan coming up on him. So then Stan pulls out his pistol like this…” Holding a spoon and paring knife at a weird angle, Bob demonstrated Stan’s grip to the uninterested eyes of his mother. Showing Stan’s queer way of doing it, holding the gun by the clip and beating with the top side of the barrel, almost like a cop with a nightstick. “…and wallops John with it. John falls to the floor and Stan jumps on him and continues to beat him with the pistol.” Setting the down the spoon and knife, Bob went round the table and resumed his demonstration in the art of holding a shotgun, this time without the aid of the butter knife. “But, John managed to get his shotgun and blew Stan’s head off. John was bleeding quite a lot. The clerk was going to go save him, but I made sure to stop her lest she break a nail.”
Now on the last leg of his story, Bob abandoned full body story telling and took his seat. “That sort of thing is a paramedic’s job.” He picked up the fork, grabbing a small bite of meat and putting it in his mouth. It wasn’t pork steak as his mom proclaimed, but it was tasty and he washed it down with a sip of water. “Anyways, I’m going to head over to Joe’s tonight and play some D&D.”
“Honey, remember, Joe is at the dance with his other friends to fantasize about all the girls they don’t have a chance with.”
He swallowed the last bite and grabbed the napkin from his lap. “Well then, I’ll be up in my room. Let me know when it’s seven.”
Chapter I: It Ain’t Iowa
Bob turned the key and once more, the beat up Ford roared to life. It was going to be a late night. Not only did he have to clean the school, but he had to wait for the dance to end and then clean up after it as well. And why did he have to do this? Just so some arrogant teens could hump each other in the butt for a few hours and call it dancing. But at least he got overtime pay, which was unusual considering how much the district was strapped for cash because of all the money they had to shell out for the teachers.
The radio was playing a rather unpleasant song that definitely violated some clause in the Geneva Convention about psychological warfare. It was a sort of mix between rap and classical. Bob hadn’t even made it out of the driveway and already was sick of it. But, flipping through the stations, he couldn’t find anything much better. After all, that good ole’ time religion was hard to find, especially since the advent of punk rock and new age ass-humping antics. Finally, to his pleasant surprise, he stumbled upon Father Coffer who was giving his latest campaign speech for his bid on the papacy.
That’s right you are all going to hell! Each and every one of you will wither in pits of eternal fire! That’s right, you are going to hell! Repent! Be Saved!
Bob managed a smile as he put the car in reverse and backed out of the driveway. He was always interested in what Father Coffer had to say. Despite never meeting him personally, Bob found his sermons very soothing and made it a habit to purchase them as soon as they became available on DVD. He even had a rather risqué poster of Father Coffer posing with a group of supermodels tacked to his wall which he prayed to every night before going to bed. And to be honest, Bob didn’t buy it for the supermodels like most.
Now surely you could not possibly be going to hell, after all you’ve followed the church. How could you be going to hell? It’s simple. You’re going to hell because I, a disciple of God have proclaimed it! You have been lied to by the church! Your ignorance will not protect you from the flesh-eating creatures that will rip at your ever-replenishing skin! But woe not! There is hope! With your action, I, Father Coffer can save your soul from eternal damnation.
Save yourself! With your support, I will purify the church of its evil ways! I will save you! Donate to my cause. Break open your wallets and be saved! Be children of God and donate to my campaign for the papacy.
And as your pope, I promise that each and every one of your souls will be saved. Saved from the ailing torture from the demons of hell! But, you must pay your tithe! For it is very important to the future of the church that it have a well-funded and highly trained military. So secure your soul, donate to the campaign so that we can institute the Church Militant Fund Tithe. Donating is what Jesus would do, and mind you, Jesus got into heaven.
So call today. 1-800-Coffer-For-Pope. Repeat. 1-800-Coffer-For-Pope. Or visit online http://www.cofferforpope.com
A small bump agitated Bob, drawing his attention from the radio and back to the road. Something had gone under the left side tires and it was big enough to be noticeable despite his focusing on the Father Coffer. It wasn’t quite big enough to be a human -he prided himself on having never run over one- but you couldn’t be sure in this neighborhood. Still, he stopped. Not knowing what he hit, Bob leaned over to the glove compartment and got out the flashlight buried under Aunt Misoury’s stash of crystal meth.
The light caught a glint of red as Bob slowly traced backwards, causing his heart to skip a few beats –playing a lovely rendition of Beethoven’s ninth symphony- before he finally stopped on the defiled pile of goo that had caused the agitating bump. Mrs. Johnson’s army of newts had met their match, two-year-old Firestones that luckily for Bob didn’t explode on impact. Though, he still couldn’t find what had caused the nearly blood red streak, which upon closer investigation trailed farther back from the massacred newts. And he should have figured as much –with the luck of the Johnsons today- that her garden gnome had found its way into the slaughter.
Its head was separated from the rest of its body. The eyes were scratched out of their sockets and the nose was missing. The left ear was resting against what appeared to be a mouth. Its legs were completely missing, accounting for the large red streak. As for the body, had it been human it could have sent even the drunkest of army surgeons vomiting. The hands could be made out. Though, as for which hands they were, that couldn’t be discerned. The rest was just bits of concrete with chips of colored gnome-coat to make it interesting.
Bob was about to go look for more of the gnome when the realization struck. He had killed Mrs. Johnson’s garden gnome. And it was at the minimum gnome-slaughter to the second degree, which if found guilty could land him for at least three years.
He turned around, scanning the area for any witnesses that could testify against him. He was almost done when he scanned the area with his flashlight catching a glimpse of red on the sidewalk. It looked like a sort of distorted fire hydrant, but it was too short. Shining the like directly on it he discovered that before him, finger aloft, was another gnome with a rather angry expression. And right beside it was another, and another, all angry, all giving the finger. Quickly he shut off the flashlight, turned to run –oblivious to the fact that he could no longer see- and smacked into the rear bumper.
Bob reached for his head. It was like a hangover and a PCP withdrawal combined with a concussion for flavor. And for some reason he swore that he was in Kansas, probably a side effect of the concussion.
Then something else struck him as odd. His car was gone! The remaining gnomes must have stolen it. Those dirty gnomes, he knew they were no good. But he’d get them. He had a howitzer and he knew where they lived.
Standing up abruptly –a mistake- Bob found himself back on the ground holding his head and sobbing like a small child. He half expected to be hurt, or at least have a scratch. But, he wasn’t on asphalt anymore; it was grass. They must have gotten him, those dirty crooked gnome cops. Now they were going to throw the book at him. Though, it was a rather tiny book, so more likely it would just get annoying rather than do any damage.
“What the fuck?” Bob cringed, it was bad enough that his head was about to explode, but it really wasn’t necessary to yell. Though, it was a little loud for a gnome. “Are you fucking stupid?”
Bob was about to answer, when a shaky voice answered for him. “Forgiveness… Please sir.”
“Next time make sure you look at your watch.” Figuring they weren’t talking to him Bob began a search for his gum; if MacGyver could do it, he could too. “We can’t just bring them here whenever the hell we please. Well we could… But we’re not going to!”
“But sirs, you said seven-thirties.”
“Is it seven-thirty?”
“Damn it!” Bob cringed, checking his pockets frantically for gum. It was obvious they were talking about him, but why did they have to yell? “Well I guess I’ll have to attend to this problem then.”
“I go and fixa dinna sirs.”
“Yes, goes. Oh, and make sure you fry an extra goat.”
On his hands and knees, Bob started his get away. The gnomes were out for blood; it wasn’t his fault the gnome got slaughtered. Damn, where was his gum?
“Um, you can crawl if you want. But, the path’s this way.”
Bob wasn’t about to let the gnomes catch him and the tall grass was sure to provide ample cover for a getaway. Or at least that was his plan until he slammed his head into the grass, fully expecting it to part easily. It was like a solid wall. He couldn’t even get a hold of the grass with his hands.
“Oh yeah, that’s right.” The gnome behind him paused, seemingly collecting his thoughts. “That’s the edge of the universe.”
“What the…” Bob turned his head, expecting a more thorough answer from the gnome. “Fuck,” he said trailing off his voice, a bit stunned by the eight foot tall creature that resembled a rabbit with fangs. Its white fur was raggedy and reminded Bob of the werewolves from the books his mother used to read him before he turned twenty.
“So much for studies.” Looking disgusted the were-rabbit turned around revealing the large confederate flag attached to its back.
“Studies?” Bob was more than a bit confused; and he still wasn’t sure if the were-rabbit was going to eat him for dinner or lecture him on astrophysics. Either way, it was probably just a dream.
The were-rabbit began pacing about, rambling on. Just as Bob guessed, a lecture. “You weren’t supposed to respond with fright. All the studies showed that humans love rabbits. I don’t know why anyone would like a rabbit. They’re only the single most dangerous animals in the universe, what with their sharp pointy teeth an all. And even though the penguins won’t admit to it, rabbits have them outclassed. Never the less, you’ve failed to respond according to protocol and that is well… A problem.”
In his state of panic, bewilderment, and just plain confusion, the ultimate question of the universe, one that everybody has to ask, came to mind. “Where the hell am I,” Bob asked, wondering if he’d even get a straight answer?
“Well I guess you could be a statistical anomaly or perhaps bringing you here changed,” the were-rabbit paused, taking a deep breath. It figured he wouldn’t get a straight answer, that would have been too much. “Oh my, I forgot my manners. I’m Charles and that was my assistant Dupree earlier. It really is a pleasure to see you here.”
It brought a look of amusement to Bob’s face. Not only did he not have a clue where he was, but he was confronted by a eight foot tall were-rabbit that had the most obvious fake British accent he’d ever heard. “Charmed I’m sure. Now where the hell is this?”
Charles looked at him a bit weird, scratching behind his ear as if the question didn’t register in his brain. “Oh my, yes, well.” He stalled. “We call it East Jesus.”
“What,” Bob asked questioningly? He wasn’t that great at geography –One of the big contributing factors to his degree in the custodial arts. - but he was sure that East Jesus was not a real place.
“East Jesus, you know. North of South Satan, east of West Muhammad.”
Now Bob knew he must be crazy. He didn’t recall eating any shrooms, but his mom could have spiked supper with them. She was after all well known for adding things she shouldn’t. One always had to keep a watchful eye on her cooking, lest they end up eating bad shrooms or worse, potatoes. On a more comforting note, the affect would wear off soon and he could get back to his plans. That is, providing he didn’t get run over first.
Charles cocked his head a little, seemingly puzzled by Bob’s lack of response. The were-rabbit seemed to think that Bob didn’t understand, which wasn’t true, he understood he just didn’t believe it. And judging so, Charles decided he should try the method that all great human communicators used. He straightened up and spoke very loudly and slowly clearly annunciating every word over a period of half a minute. “East Jesus, south of North Buddha.”
Bob judged his options. Being silent wasn’t making this creature go away, and his rather bad attempt to communicate was getting annoying. He most certainly didn’t want to hear another explanation of where he was. Accepting it seemed to be the best option, after all, he could have been somewhere worse, like New Jersey.
“So.” Bob spoke up. “Are we just going to stand here?”
“Oh heavens no,” Charles replied, mockingly, causing Bob to figure he was being taken for stupid. “We’ve got places to go, people to see, things to learn. Well you do at least,” said Charles as he made a gesture indicating again that he thought Bob was stupid. “I already know them. So mainly I’ve got things to teach you.”
“Well then, let’s get going,” Bob said, getting a bit annoyed at being inferred to as stupid. He had his masters in the custodial arts and not just anybody can do that.
Turning round Charles beckoned Bob to follow. He did so, reluctantly. Not that it had much of a point, it was either follow Charles or face the gnomes. And out of the two, he guessed, the gnomes were probably a better option.
Chapter II: Start Windows
At first Bob thought it could be something else, as he had some serious doubts as to anything being as appeared. But the closer they got, the more he began to believe it was, as it appeared, and ordinary window. It wasn’t even floating in midair as his first introspection had perceived. Rather it was built into a rather thin wall that didn’t span much wider than the small window itself. It was almost as if the builders forgot to build the rest of the house, after all, the grove was cleared out, and level.
And given that he had a more pressing problem at the moment, Bob neglected the obvious question about there just being a window in favor of something that should be generally noted by anybody in a foreign place, lest there be an emergency and no appropriate person to ask. “Where’s the bathroom?” He asked, half-expecting Charles to have no idea what he was talking about.
“It’s over there,” Charles said as he pointed to a large oak tree. “Right by the tree.”
The tree itself seemed rather misplaced to Bob. And he had, since coming here begun to question the motives of everything. The tree itself was well inside the circular cut of the grove, which lent to the question of why. But the more pressing issue delegated that he not worry about such things as multi-universal sub-existence, which ultimately would be more important to his needing to pee than he thought. And because of his ignorance of such sub-existence or universal layering he opened his mouth to ask a question that Charles perceived as well, rather dumb; the sarcasm of it failing to register within his vast knowledge of sub-existent universes. “So I get warped all the way from the middle of a street into East Jesus through some miracle of science that I have no clue about and yet, with all this vast knowledge you’ve acquired, indoor plumbing is too hard a concept?”
“Well if you would just step inside through that window there you would realize that indoor plumbing is rather obsolete as we can now process fecal matter into delightfully tasty fruitcake,” Charles said, opening up the window.
Bob was going to debate that the possibility of a fruitcake being tasty in the first place was nonexistent, but the fact that the open window revealed an entire living room kind of made him stop speaking, which didn’t bother Charles too much either.
“See, to the left,” Charles said, rather impatient as he stood holding up the window waiting for Bob to enter, which seeing as Bob had to go so bad, one would have figured he’d do so quickly. But he hadn’t, and this annoyed Charles.
Having finished his business Bob was presented with a fresh fruitcake, which he proceeded to flush down the toilet, only to be given a new fruitcake. And seeing that his efforts had been in vain, he grabbed the matches that for no reason were sitting on a shelf and lit the fruitcake ablaze.
And at this point it should be noted the fruitcakes are the one and only material in the universe that burns without giving off heat, light or losing mass of its own. Trying to account for the energy being given off, Scientist spent years researching various phenomenons to explain where this energy came from, concluding that the energy emanated by a burning fruitcake was actually that of an alter-dimensional matter transfer. This meaning that energy isn’t created, or destroyed; it is essentially just stolen from other universes. However, they noted that matter transference tends to piss off those advanced societies in these alter-universes, so it’s best to not light fruitcakes on fire. And coincidently all of the scientist working on the project had since been slain after making this conclusion.
Upon return to the living room, Bob noticed that Charles had gone off somewhere. Instead of opening the other doors to look he decided to scan the rather large bookshelf in the corner. Fully expecting an array of authors he’d never heard about Bob was a bit shocked –though relieved in a way- that it was lined with volumes of Poe, who they regarded as a great humorist, and the entire Hitchhiker’s Trilogy, which was considered a serious factual work despite being highly inaccurate. The inaccuracy of course resulting from a mathematical error in assuming that two plus two equaled four instead of the five it rightly should answer. Researchers note this as the main reason why denizens of the sub-existent universe Kan-De-Bar had yet to develop sub light warp drives. Well that and the strange obsession the denizens have with new fangled bathroom technology.
The sudden impulse of knowledge startled Bob more than the books, and this time there was no comforting factor about it. Looking back at it, he had started to gain mystical knowledge of everything ever since he came to East Jesus, or so Charles called it, though Bob had a sudden urge to distrust him. Deep in thought about the newfound knowledge, or as deep in thought as an American can get when pondering something that requires the intellectual level of a mouse, Bob didn’t notice Charles entering the room until he was scared shitless by an eight foot tall were-rabbit staring at him cockeyed.
“Did I disturb you?” Charles asked. He didn’t understand why Bob would be so startled by learning everything like that. It was an experimental idea the scientists added late in development. And, as far as Charles could tell, it had worked rather successfully. To that ends he made a mental note to let the scientists know of their success when he got back.
“Disturb me!” Bob was rather red in the face, “You nearly killed me!”
“Killed you!” Charles yelled, not that he felt the need to. It was just that Bob seemed to like to communicate in loud and noisy ways. “Your heart beat barely elevated!”
“And you know that how?” Bob knew he was right to distrust this were-rabbit for more reasons than the fact that he was a giant talking rabbit.
“Simple, I just have to think about it.”
So, Bob thought about it. Not very long or very hard though, as that sort of thinking can be very dangerous. But it made sense he guessed. If all you had to do was think about something and instantly you would know everything about it, it would save a lot of time. Plus, you wouldn't have to memorize irrelevant information, which seemed to have been a staple of his younger years. In theory it was a good idea, but when you broke it down into thinking about the government, it was better off not knowing.
“Anyways, dinner's ready.”
“What are we having?”
“Oh, why we're having cute, fuzzy animal stew.”
Bob was caught with his guard down, surprised by what they were having even though he knew he should have expected something weird. Though, he really was expecting something a bit more eccentric like rack of chocolate chip muffins stuffed with bat.
Chapter III: Unfit for Vegetable Consumption
Charles and Dupree stood staring at the computer screen watching as Bob woke up. It was the crucial moment to see if the experiment had worked. Though Dupree didn’t really get why he still had to act like an incompetent lackey now that Bob was gone, but Charles had demanded that it was a necessity to success.
Bob was coming through now, rubbing his head. Opening his mouth it seemed like he was about to make a bold statement, which had both Dupree and Charles on edge, and then the SUV hit him, slamming him into the bumper once more. The two were shocked, stunned, all their work was for not without him making his statement. It was obvious by the way his body was laying askew that he was dead and they had no hope of finding out if he retained what he had learned or even believed it was real. The two looked up from the screen, they’d never find out if it worked. However, since he was an American it was most likely that his statement would have been along the lines of, “What the fuck?”
Then the shell came down –unnoticed by the duo as it was unimportant, but recorded anyways- hitting the SUV as it was backing up. Luckily the driver was on her cell phone, so she was too distracted to die properly, even amidst the fireball that was lighting up the sky.
Able to act like the scientist he was, the resulting fireworks vaguely caught Dupree’s attention; it seemed that mother’s howitzer had done its job. And mother couldn’t have been happier. The way she was dancing about Dupree could have sworn she’d just scored the winning touchdown in the super bowl. And not with a lack of words Dupree turned to Charles, readily imparting his held back insight into the whole project. “Well, that was a pointless waste of time.”
And, in the end, this all went to proving inevitably that, Tuesdays suck.