Another damned thick book! Always scribble, scribble, scribble! Eh, Mr. Gibbon?
Prince William Henry, Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh
I got a package from Amazon that was gift wrapped and had a note attached to it. The note read: “I can tell from reading your work that you are running out of words. So give these a try.” It was signed: “Your friend Francois R.”
I don’t know anyone named Francois. So I naturally assumed that it was from a reader of my stuff whose disposition to it was less than positive. I opened the package which was about twice the size of a shoebox. Inside were a very large number of very small variously shaped boxes. I took out 10. The number remaining did not seem diminished. The was a single small paper that said: “Just add water and listen.”
I tried to open one of the small containers. It did not seem to have a lid. I had a blue rubber bulb in a kitchen drawer, the kind that will suck up or squirt out water. I put some water in it and then dribbled a few drops on the box.
I didn’t know what to expect and stared at the wet object for what seemed like a long time, but which probably was only about 10 seconds. The there was a hissing sound which upset me followed by a pop which made me jump at least a foot and a half vertically. When I came back to the floor, I heard a hollow voice say “S E S Q U I P E D A L I A N.” Then the word flew around my house like a manic canary. Eventually, it flew up the chimney and was gone like a good dream.
I took another cube from the box. It was white with red polka dots. The first one had been gunmetal gray. As soon as the first drop of water touched its surface, the object sprouted legs and did a quadrillion on my kitchen countertop. Then an ultra high voice proclaimed “wiggle, wiggle” in rhythm with its dancing. I was entranced, but became unentranced after 5 minutes of wiggling. Every time I tried to catch it, it wiggled away. “Wiggle, wiggle” soon became “wiggle wiggle.” I tried my fish tank net – no luck. It evaded a fly swatter, flypaper, a polo mallet, a Google search, unconditional surrender, and a declaration of mutual respect. Eventually, it danced into my utility closet, which by happenstance was open. I quickly closed the door. As far as I know it’s still performing in my now permanently sealed closet.
Before I added water to the next little box, I put a net over it to prevent a recurrence of that of the locked up wiggler. The precaution proved unnecessary as the ensnared carton did not move a micron. It was shaped like two isosceles triangles joined at their bases. Instead of dancing, it howled loudly. It sounded like the Doppler effect made by the siren of a passing ambulance. But close attention made realize it was saying “Doppelgänger” with the change in its pitch resembling the Doppler effect. After a dozen “Doppelgängers” the Siamese triangle gradually faded away leaving no trace but a faint echo.
The next little box had big pouty red lips on its top. After just one drop of water the lips said, “Kiss me.” I did and the lips sang sang Besame Mucho. The voice sounded like Dean Martin. “Kiss me again.” I did. This time Por una Cabeza in what sounded like its composer’s voice. “An ultimate kiss,” demanded the box. I planted a big fat one on the lips. My reward was Franco Corelli singing Di quella pira. “My lips are now sealed.” And they were.
I was completely under the control of my boxed words. I watered another; it had a skull and crossbones on it. “Doom, death, destruction, destiny, damned, ruination, kismet, end, finish, terminus, condemned, anathema.” Terrified, I threw the box in the garbage disposal.
Then under the control of a super terrestrial force, all the boxes both on the counter top and in the carton took flight and orbited my kitchen in independent ellipses. Their colors and markings were a blur. But they began to speak without an aqueous stimulus, sometimes one at a time and other times in ensemble. The few that I remember are below.
“Dies Irae.” Spoken, not sung or chanted.
The Devils Chorus.”
“Pandemonium.” Sung by all 23,290 of the moving words, which then collapsed in a gelatinous glob on my trembling floor.
In the beginning was the word. At the end there was a glob. I canceled my Amazon account, closed all the windows, drew the shades, destroyed my internet modem, locked all the doors, and vowed never to see the sun, moon, or stars again.
Editor’s note: The above text was found on my doorstep. I don’t know who wrote it.