Steeping

Mobius Strip II (Red Ants) (1963) - Maurits Cornelis Escher (1898 - 1972)Another day of flicking through websites, obsessive FOMO, dunking teabags until the caffein leaves a permanent buzzing ring around the frontal cortex, daring the clock to start running backwards or the alarm clock ring to disrupt the lucid dream and restart the morning, a horrifying thought, a Sisyphusian nightmare with arms and legs wrapped up in permeable bags dipped in boiling water and served to the pleasure of the gods on Mount Olympus.

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Client, The

Client, The. That’s the way he always wrote it down. The form required a first and last name, but it took too long to explain why he didn’t have a name, so when he signed into the social services intake website, he put Client, The for a name. After all, that’s what they thought of him. He was a client, and certainly no one ever mistook him for someone else, so Client, The worked for what they wanted. Everything was always about what they wanted. He knew you had to play the system to get what he wanted, and that involved giving them what they wanted first. No sense arguing, like the need for a first and last name, it just had to be done. The pronunciation of his name caused him to laugh, but only inwardly. No sense making them uncomfortable or embarrassed when they said Clint Thea, or Kli-ent, Thie with a soft th sound instead of the more aggressive form of the th sound. Once the new clerk, there was always a new clerk at the intake desk, called him Clee ant T-he as though accent marks had inserted themselves at random intervals. He always responded to anything they called him and as long as they called him he got what he wanted. If they got what they wanted too, well, win-win for everyone.

Four

You’ve heard many things, from aliens to math, but I’m here to tell you the truth, a truth they won’t tell you. This event, these stones from the heavens, are retribution for our sins. The end times have come, at a time we didn’t predict, in a way we couldn’t prevent. Mankind, with the emphasis on man for it is his shortcomings that are the root of most evil perpetrated on others, is finally coming to an accounting and I can assure you that none will escape judgement, least of all myself. It is the expectation of entitlement that has brought the destruction of the world on our heads, where the only sure entitlement we have is the promise of our inevitable return to the dust from which we have come.

Three

Sticks and stones may break my bones…

Turns out the stones break more than bones. When the meteorites started to fall, obliterating any civilized collective above some capricious population level, so many were simply vaporized. That or crushed under the weight of all the debris from the buildings or ejecta from the impacts. Rumors spread almost faster than the destruction that erased 90% of all people on Earth. Aliens, end times, simple randomness, and the one that turned those of us who survived against each other: we did it to ourselves. No nation survived, so no one believed any one country could have formulated or carried out the atrocity. No alliance of nations could have done so without some word escaping. And besides, all of those possible nations and alliances had disappeared in a span of about twenty-four hours, a single day, one rotation. Instead, we turned to rooting out any anarchist or terrorist who might have survived. Even the hint of recrimination was enough to bring out the mob, however reduced in numbers, to carry out judgement. We lost half of our remaining species before we’d completely spent ourselves.