Nov. 15, 2009
Posted: Nov. 19, 2009
Chapter 11: Party(permalink)
So, I'm expecting, what?, 10-some people to show up tonight, you know whatever folks actually manage to get out of the house on a Tuesday night. There's still this drive, you know?, this hope that everyone who said they'd show up does, and maybe they tell some fri-
There is a crowd outside of Stan's murder house. They are crushing the weed jungle he has been cultivating for so long (since the beginning of time? Since the beginning of evil?). Not, like, ten people, and not even the twenty-five-ish that I managed to bring in. I'm counting infinite over here (of course, I might be counting some people more than once), or at least, dozens.
I have to park, like, two blocks away and walk to his house. I overhear the following comments from others heading in the same direction: "Well, I heard he's only got seven arms, but like eighteen legs." "Did you pack your razor? I'm not gonna kiss you if you're all scruffy." "Of all the places in the world, why are they coming here?" "No, nobody's got eighteen legs. That's stupid. You must have misheard eight." "So, how are they bringing down Fox News again?" "I'm not going to shave in space, Carrie!" "Why not? Think about it. They go to New York, they'll probably land on some buildings. They go to Kansas, nobody'll even notice. No, man, this is the right blend of urban and rural." "Where did you get that labrador anyway?" "Well, then don't expect any smoochie-times for the next six months, mustard-cake. Not 'til we get to Horsehead." "My cousin has eighteen legs. Are you saying that she's a nobody?!" "I love you, Billy Bob. You were amazing in 'Sling Blade.'" "I heard they've got a virus to wipe out every television on the planet." "I'm just sayin', nothing has ever stood in the way of technology before. Why is resurrection different?" "I still don't get Infinite Recurrence. That shit is crazy!" "Well, I think that a bit of scruff makes me look like a pirate!" "I've never met your cousin, but yes." "Why do you always have to make things about you?!" "I'm just sayin', 'f there's a fire, I'm bookin' it cow style." "Hey, wait, Billy Bob Thornton isn't Chinese!" "Does their virus infect humans?" "I will eat your brain with a fork!"
... and, that's about when I reach the really big crowd at the house, which... I mean, I'm a pretty small girl, but there's no way I'm squeezing in through there. That crowd would be safe as a space suit.
Sen's voice yells, "ROSE!"
I turn to my left, and there she is. She's wearing a ninja turtle's costume.
I yell, "Sen! What the Hell?"
Sen yells, "I think we were too successful!"
I yell, "Where are Gully and Stan? Inside?"
Sen yells, "Dunno, I just got here!"
Gully's voice yells, "Sven!!" (or something like that)
We turn and see Gully approaching. His clothes are torn, and his face is covered in grime.
Sen yells, "Holy shit, Gully! What happened?"
Gully yells, "I'm on a flea!"
Sen yells, "Are you okay?!"
Gully yells, "I'm a mime!"
Sen yells, "Wait, where's Stan, then?"
Gully yells, "Don't you mean a sit-in?!"
Sen yells, "Ugh!" She turns to me and yells, "Is it reasonable to assume that Stan is alone with a lot of guests?"
Gully yells, "I need a festoon!"
I yell, "Yes."
Sen yells, "Is it reasonable to assume that Stan will be unhappy with this outcome?"
Gully yells, "Breast boom!"
I yell, "Yes."
She yells, "And that he will lash out and potentially long-lasting ways?"
Gully yells, "LESS SPOONS!"
I yell, "Yes."
She yells, "How can we get inside?"
Gully yells, "RESTROOM!!!" and lunges past us.
Sen follows, and I follow after her. Gully, in front of us, is clawing at the crowd, using his arms and hands as kinds of machetes to but through the jungle of guests. Sen and I squeeze past the small openings he makes just before they close again behind us. One false move could mean separation for good here. It could mean being swallowed up forever. Waking up in someone else's house, in someone else's clothes, with someone else's friends and job and body ("Holy crap! I have a penis?!"), in a completely different world with no way to return to Sen, Gully, and Stan, or even Barbara and John. It's like the Dead Marshes, or a weird self-modifying maze, but like ten times worse. I bet there are people lying down in this crowd, hands outstretched, trying to catch the unsuspecting and take their place in society.
From up front, there's a continuous flow of pissiness. "Hey, watch it!" "Who do you think you are?" "Wait your turn, ass hole!" "Hey, careful, man, there's a beverage here!" "RESTROOM!!!!"
And, so, we make it to the door, and then through the door. And, the entire house is packed. There are people everywhere, people in bee costumes, someone in what looks like a dress made out of coconuts, Barney the Purple Dinosaur and Barney Rubble (arguing), a cluster of three old ladies who hate television looking antsily at each other, an anteater, The Police (band), the police (hot cops), a cluster of people in "I hate bee" t-shirts eyeing the people in bee costumes, a girl who looks vaguely familiar holding a fire extinguisher as if it were a crossbow, Johnny Falafel trying to be heard over the commotion, and, of course, Billy Bob Thornton frickin' everywhere. Plus, tons of people who in regular tanktops and jeans, or t-shirts and slacks, the occasional formal dress.
There's an open area around the TV, and a scraping sound emanating from it, like fingernails on a chalkboard, but fainter, so, while Gully continues to claw his way toward the restroom, Sen veers off toward the TV, and I follow. Of course, without Gully's help, movement becomes much slower, but the people in the house lack the desperation to see what is inside the house that so marked the atmosphere and clustering of the outside world, so there are tiny trails that Sen widens by a slight suggestion of the arms, allowing us to slowly slither our way forwards.
As we approach the opening, it becomes evident that Stan is somehow involved in whatever strange devilish act is playing out around the TV. We hear his voice hissing, "Back! Back, you knaves!"
When we reach the opening, this is what we see: Stern Stan is standing in front of his TV, facing Darlene(?) and the rocking chair lady, the latter of whom is holding up a coat hanger and occasionally taking swipes at Stan (or maybe the TV), which Stan seems to be trying to block, but usually get deflected onto the TV, hence the scraping sounds.
Stan's eyes are wide and deep, like I have never seen them before, like he has a soul in there. His pupils dart in our direction and then back to rocking chair lady. He yells, "Sen! What have I done?!"
Half the crowd around Stan is watching, many muttering things to each other and gesticulating radically. The other half doesn't even bother watching and is just muttering and gesticulating. An old lady from the crowd throws her walker, and it clatters to Stan's feet. He jumps up and out of its way well after it stops a foot away from him. He yells, "SEN!!"
Sen rushes into the semi-circle, forcing herself between Stan and the ladies, only to have the ladies wobble around her to be facing Stan again.
Sen says, "Okay, what the Hell is going on here?!"
Darlene(?) yells, "Heathen! Zombie!"
Rocking chair woman yells, "Slughorn! Bumblebreath!"
Sen says, "What... what did Stan do to you?"
Darlene(?) points her shaking hand at the television. She says, "He forced that thing upon us, as though we were harlots of this terrible age!"
Rocking chair woman yells, "I am going blind!"
From next to me, I hear someone say, "I mean, some scientists in Alberta are already creating zombie rats. I mean, just left and right. Zombie rat. Zombie rat. Zombie rat." And, from behind me, I hear someone yelling, "If my friend Fred were here, we'd knock you back where you belong, you... you... mudbeast!"
Back in the semi-circle, Stan is saying, "turned on the TV, like I always do!"
Darlene(?) yells, "An admission!"
Sen says, "Listen! I think..."
Her voice is overpowered by this from next to me: "No I am not Canadian! They're just less arbitrarily restrictive on science up there."
And then this from behind me, "Hey, Barn, old buddy. This guy giving you trouble?"
Sen yells, "No, LISTEN! I think..."
From behind me, "Yeah, this dinosaur's being mightily un-neighborly..."
Sen is saying, "... just leave the TV off for tonight..."
Rocking chair lady yells, "It must burned! It must be burned down!"
From somewhere else behind me, "Did someone say burned? Is there a fire?!"
And from the original place, "Well, Barn, I think we'll have to show him how neighborly we can be!"
And from next to me, "You're not listening! I'm-"
But, the rest is drowned out as someone yells, "FIRE!!!"
And, suddenly the air feels a lot heavier and colder and wetter all at once, especially my back, and as I'm about to turn around to see what could be going on, something knocks into me from the same direction, and the process of turning and getting hit, knocks me to the ground onto my back with an OOF, which is fortunate, because there's a giant purple dinosaur's in the process of falling on top of me, so I spin out of its way, and only get caught in the shoulder by some soft padding and the much larger weight behind it. The dinosaur leaps up, bird-like, and rushes out of view again, which is weird because I can usually see more than a few feet ahead of me, but what I hear is, "Oh, I do not make believe you just did that! Bop? BJ? Riff? Let's give these nice folks a great big" and then there's a loud crash, oddly from the other side of me, and the haze around me is accompanied by smoke. I start to stand up, but I'm knocked down again, this time from the other side, by an old lady butt, accompanied by Stan yelling, "You'll regret that, you old crow!" and Sen yelling, "Everybody! Calm do..." but the rest is drowned out by once again, "Oh my God, the FIRE!!!" and then the room becomes even more hazy, and people are starting to crowd awfully close to me with what look like pretty sharp shoes, so I again try to stand up, and this time just barely avoid getting knocked down by Barney Rubble coming tumbling down the area between the wall and the couch like a bowling ball.
Finally, in more of a kneeling position now, I can see a lot more of what's going on. Stan is caught between Darlene(?) and the rocking chair lady, looking back and forth between each of them as they edge closer and closer to him like lions debating on how best to chase, slaughter, and devour their prey. At Stan's feet is the smoking backside of his big-screen.
Sen is nowhere to be seen. Gully is... I don't even know.
On the other side, Fred Flinstone is grappling with Baby Bop and BJ, and Riff is sneaking up behind him, while Wilma is sneaking up behind him, and Barney the dinosaur is charging in my direction toward Barney Rubble. Betty, not to be outdone, is rushing headlong to intersect the dinosaur's path.
And, in the hallway, there are the shadows of at least six people holding fire extinguishers, looking like super heroes made invisible by the smog of the corrupt and nearly dead city they are trying to save.
Around me, everyone looks pretty ready to lose it. As a pack, they turn in the direction of Stan and the ladies, then in the direction of Wilma, Fred, and the rest, then at the fire extinguishers, and finally, they just look down and shake and hold-
Betty rams into Barney, knocking him into the couch. Hey yells, "RAWWRR!"
One of the fire extinguishers yells, "Someone's attackin' that nice young lady!"
Another one yells, "We gotta save her!"
In the mean time, Barney the dinosaur has collapsed over the couch and run into Darlene(?), who has, in turn, wobbled and run into Stan, who has in his turn, wobbled and run into rocking chair lady, and all four of them have collapsed in kind of a dominoic heap.
And, in the mean time, Fred has been knocked to the ground and Baby Bop is straggling him with her bow. Riff is climbing onto the kitchen table, above Fred's prone body, but Wilma has grabbed one of his legs.
Wilma yells, "Looks like I got me a dinosaur for dinner!"
Ben (I think) rushes by me toward the kitchen table, yelling, "That crazy lady's got her!"
Someone else rushing by yells, "Oh, God! They're gonna eat her!"
Barney Rubble dashes just behind them and is soon joined by Betty.
Stan is able to get up before either of the other ladies, and he's got this glint in his eye, standing over them.
He swings his foot back.
From next to me, someone cries, "I don't wanna die..."
Ben pulls Wilma back, carrying Riff with her. Riff yells out like a smoke detector going off. And, Wilma yells, "Help!"
Stan starts to swing his foot forward again, but Sen swings from out of nowhere and tackles him back to the ground.
Fred jumps up, knocking Baby Bop off of him. He yells, "WILLLLLLMAAAAAA!!!!" and lunges at Ben.
From next to me, the person says, "I wanna rule the zombies..."
Barney the dinosaur has gotten up. He leaps up and over the couch, looks at the brawl in the living room and kitchen and starts running toward the few remaining fire extinguishers, who are standing ever vigilant.
Betty and Barney rush at Ben.
Barney is sideswiped by another of the fire extinguishers, but Betty manages to clutch Ben by the arm, so that he's looking at her when Fred runs straight into him with his head, knocking them both atop and over one of the kitchen chairs.
From next to me, the person says, "I don't wanna be a zombie..."
There's a pause. Fred and Ben are both lying on the ground, moaning. Baby Bop, BJ, and Riff are in a corner, looking everywhere around them. And, Betty, Wilma, and Barney, are all wrestling the fire extinguishers, but without real conviction.
It's the pause that allows us to first hear the police sirens.
Oh, God. Not again.Nov. 16, 2009 →