Day 273: Open your kitchen cabinet. Write a scene incorporating the first three things you see.

pasta-spaghetti-noodle-pasta-nests-47306.jpeg

Popcorn, pasta and pecans.

When my wife said she wanted to be experimental in the kitchen, I was initially wary. “But darling, what’s wrong with what you cook now?” I asked, hoping against hope that sense would return from whatever holiday it had taken and return with few, if any, souvenirs.

“It’s just so… Boring.” She replied. I shudder at the memory of those words as I stare down at the mush of beige before me. “Heston has some wonderful ideas.”

I could kill Heston Bloody Blumenthal. Filling my wife’s head with ideas about popping candy pig’s heads and bacon and egg ice cream. While Heston may be able to do that, my wife’s idea of it is to get a tub of Ben and Jerry’s Cookie Dough, put the whole thing onto a plate and stick some crispy fried strips of bacon in like wafers.

It’s not good, I’ll tell you that.

But that was just the start of a long and twisted journey that has led to today.

Popcorn, pasta and pecans.

For a start, popcorn doesn’t belong with pasta. Not in the slightest. Especially, this is absolutely imperative, when it hasn’t been popped. Unpopped popcorn kernels are simply landmines in the desert of pasta. Then you add in the pecans and it’s touch and go whether you’ve got crunchy pecan or death by popcorn kernel.

Now, if she’d ground the pecans, mixed with a cheesy white sauce, perhaps that could have worked. But even then…

I was looking forward to my bolognese.

The Idiot in Tin Foil

Advertisements

Illness and other things

In the Army Cadets, there was an instructor once. He had a habit of, while instructing, making long lists to encompass everything he was saying. He’d say the first few items, then it would be “And on top of that…” and he’d continue.

“And on top of that.”

That’s how I’m feeling at the moment.

On Friday night, I was working a late shift when I was struck by a horrible cold. My nose starting streaming, my head started pounding, etc etc.

On top of that, I find myself still working late into the night, not getting home until about four in the morning.

On top of that, I am in a writing competition this week, given eight days to write an original short story of no more than 2500 words around a central subject and given a pivotal character that must be included.

On top of that, I’ve then had to work further late shifts with my head and nose trying to explode.

On top of that, the bicycle I use to get to work has apparently given up the ghost, with the rear tyre choosing to deflate halfway home and having to walk the rest of the way.

On top of that, it was 3 below freezing.

On top of that, I got woken up early.

Now, I know this appears to be a growing list of excuses, which it is, but I just wanted to let people know that there’s a reason my posting hasn’t been quite as prolific. Normal service resumes soon!

The Idiot in Tin Foil

Day 272: The secret that, if revealed, would upset everything.

hand-ring-sleeve-rosa-42321.jpeg

Deep in the Caverns of Alanor, far below the city, lie the Gauntlets of Prospero. The legends say that those who wield the Gauntlets shall also wield the power of Prospero himself, a great and terrible king from aeons past. Many have sought out this power, but none have returned. The legends talk of worth, of purity and of power regarding the true heir to Prospero’s legacy, yet even great heroes such as Blunir Caracatoom, Phileon the Merciless, Prontalimus, all perished in the course of their quest.

Jennifer Wellsbury, seventeen years old and currently studying for her A-levels in biology, chemistry and politics, has none of the usual qualifications of those searching for the Gauntlets. She is a regional fencing champion, it’s true, but never performed well at nationals. Her past deeds include the rout of the mouse that was living under the kitchen cupboard and the return of her mother’s lost glasses. She is not native to this land, nor does she own any maps.

Yet here she is. She has avoided the rolling boulder traps, the spike gates, the poison darts, the trapdoors, the sand pits, the spike pits, the attack birds, the attack lion, the explosion traps and even the Guardian Beast. So now we join her, unlikely as it was, outside the Nexus. The home of the Gauntlets.

###

“Maybe this one is a way out,” she says to the empty air, rolling her eyes as she realises that she’s talking to empty air, “or it could be another trap.”She picked the note from her pocket, staring at the five words printed in bold typeface.

Get the Gauntlets. Get Home.

She pushed open the door to reveal a hall carved out of glistening stone, torches burning brightly in holders. Pillars stretch up as far as the eye can see to a domed roof. A single ray of sunlight burns through like a laser beam, illuminating a pedestal at the centre of the room.

She cast her head from left to right, checking for any and all of the traps she’s seen on this insane misadventure. Ever since she woke up on a bed of leaves in a dark forest with a note taped to her arm, something has been trying to kill her. And she thought it was bad when she’d woken up on Alfie’s sofa last week.

She crept forward, looking out for strangely coloured flagstones that could be triggers, anything out fo the ordinary. She knew that binge-watching the Indiana Jones trilogy every weekend (Crystal Skull doesn’t count) would come in handy, she’d always said it. She made her way up the three steps, three careful steps. She took a deep breath and peered at the item on the top.

“What? This is a pair of long, silk gloves? What the hell is this?” She picked them up, looking at the intricate patterns winding their way up the sleeves.

“Put them down! Put them back!” A voice, deep and rumbling, came from behind her. She whirled around to see an elderly man, short and pot bellied, waddling across the floor. “Nobody must touch the Gauntlets of Prospero!”

“Umm, okay crazy dude. I’ll pop these back down here…” She placed them delicately on the pedestal, only to be shoved rudely out of the way.

“That is not how the Gauntlets were laid out! Were you never told? You must always put things back how you found them!” The deep voice appeared to have been a trick of the cavern, as next to her now the man’s voice was squeaky and insistent, burrowing through her ears painfully.

“So, those are the Gauntlets?”

“Of course. The Gauntlets of Prospero!”

“Do you have to shout everything you say?”

“No! I am simply amazed that you are here! Nobody has ever made it this far. They didn’t survive the rolling boulder traps, the spike gates, the poison darts, the trapdoors, the sand pits, the spike pits, the attack birds, the attack lion, the explosion traps and even the Guardian Beast. Is Kevin alright, by the way?” The man spoke as if he were firing a machine gun, loud and staccato. It was as if he had a time limit on his speech and would be shot if he went over.

“Kevin?”

“The Guardian Beast.”

“Yeah. I tickled him under the chin and he fell asleep.” She smiled as she thought about the Beast.

“Gragh! Nobody must know! You must leave. Quickly, quickly! The secrets of Prospero must remain forever hidden.”

“What, that Prospero was a lady?”

“Yes!” The old man paused, wondering if that was the right thing to say. “Well, yes. But also no. This is a complex world. A woman’s place is in the home, not on the throne. Yet Prospero founded our great nation and she was a woman! Scared the bajeesus out of me when we embalmed her.”

Jennifer sighed and pinched the bridge of her nose. This was going to be a long day.

The Idiot in Tin Foil

Day 271: You’re having lunch with a friend. Your friend gets a call in the middle of the meal. Write just your friend’s part of the conversation.

food-coffee-lunch-burrito.jpg

Mexican Monday’s are the best. Joan and I head out, get burritos and a couple of pints and just chill out for a few hours, setting the world to rights. Can’t beat it.

“So, Phillip, Phillondo, Phill… Anderer. Who’s the newest conquest?” She asks me this around a mouthful of burrito, barbecue sauce running down her left cheek. “Everybody knows you’ve been getting some. So, who’s the lucky chick?”

“Nobody you know. It’ll stay that way until I’m sure this one’s going to be a thing. That she can handle you.”

“I’m not that bad!”

“Remember Carly?” I certainly did. We’d seen each other a couple of times, hit it off, then Jerry Budeski had a party. I figured it would be safe to invite Carly to come with me, she could meet my friends and then we could get away. Well, that’s not how it happened at all.

We got through the front door and Joan had come bounding over. She’d sunk a few by this point, but even so. She shook Carly’s hand like a mad thing, then grabbed me by the arm and dragged me to play beer pong. I didn’t see Carly for the rest of the night, then by the time I found her again she’d decided we were done.

“Which is why I should meet her! She clearly won’t be any good for you if she can’t handle me. Oh, crap.” She plucked her phone off the table, where it had just started buzzing insistently. “I’ve got to take this.”

“Fine, but you know the rules. Rest of the drinks are on you.”

“Fineeee.” She stuck her tongue out at me, then went to stand outside the window. It was open, letting her words flow back in on the cool breeze. “Hello?”

I paused, wondering if I should make myself scarce. I mean, she’d gone outside so that I wouldn’t listen in. I figured I could just nip to the toilet, wait there for a couple of minutes then come back out. That was the plan, at least, until I heard my name amongst the murmurs. “Claude doesn’t know anything.”

I almost fell of my chair to be perfectly honest. “What the…”

“No, he should stay out of it. I don’t even know why you want me to bring him in. He’s just a normal guy.”

Rude. I’m something special, I’d like to point that out.

“I’m serious. I’m not going to do this. If you want him that bad, send somebody else. But no amateurs like Carly this time.” She hung up the phone then marched back inside. I could tell she was worked up, but she was wearing her brave face.

If Joan’s got her brave face on, sit the fuck down and strap in. Once you’ve done that, pray that you’re not the reason.

“Right, I’ve got to head. Work emergency. Is it my turn to pay or…?” She fluttered her eyelashes at me, so I just nodded. I figured I’d process whatever had just happened when I got to the flat.

A shame really, that I didn’t make it back to my flat for a long time.

The Idiot in Tin Foil

Day 270: You realise you have inadvertently become a stalker

pexels-photo-198030.jpeg

I’m not a stalker. Not really. I just like to know about people.

Are you honestly telling me that you don’t? You don’t meet someone and want to know everything about them, every little detail because they fascinate you so much? I mean, you can get the boring stuff when you first meet them. Their eyes are blue. Their hair is blonde. They live with their parents, seeing as Mum phones while she was on the train and she responded that she didn’t know what time she was going to be home for dinner.

That’s the easy part. But surely nobody is satisfied with that kind of thing. So, yeah. I got off a couple of stops early. She called up her friend while she was walking back, Tracy (who lives in Dagenham, easy enough to find after the girl had said her full name in astonishment, probably referring to the party Tracy Brackwell had attended the night before. It’s implied she went home with a stranger, known only as Ali G on his Facebook page.)

So after this, the object of my attention is still walking home. Tracy has clearly had a good night and through her profile I’ve found my affection’s name. Elise. Elise Warner, who has the sense to make her profile private at least. Always an attractive aspect of a woman, someone who knows their privacy settings.

So, I kept following her. I found out where she lived after a couple of days. Her parents names after a week. She’s got a brother in Australia and a sister in law that she gets on better with in Cardiff following their messy divorce. She works at Clifford’s Home for Dogs and has a poodle called Scruff. I’d praise her for originality, but I can only use so many sarcasm circuits at once.

But I’m not a stalker. I just wanted to know about her. The way I see it, that’s the easiest way for me to make a move. It means I won’t slip up!

Shame she ended up dead really. She was on her way home from work, I was following her when she heard a noise. She turned around, saw me, clearly thought I was going to attack her so she bolted. I ran to try and explain, she rounded a corner, I lost sight of her for ten seconds, maybe twelve.

I came round the corner and promptly threw up. It wasn’t my fault she was just… Scared. Somebody killed her.

But it wasn’t me.

The Idiot in Tin Foil

Day 269: Write a story from the point of view of a homeless man or woman who falls asleep on the bus and accidentally ends up “on the other side of the tracks”, in a quiet neighborhood late at night.

pexels-photo-187117.jpeg

Daniel Harker is coming to the end of his shift. It’s late at night and his back’s playing up again. He hates the late shift and only took it so that Jerry could go to his daughter’s play. He shifts in his seat, clicking and cracking his bones.

He pulls into the depot, out in Deerport. He’s supposed to do proper checks at the end of every evening, checking for litter and drunks passed out on the seats. But after the mess with all of the traffic lights in town getting stuck on red, he just wants to get back. He checks his mirror and all of the seats seem empty. He checks his watch, the hands waving at him as he sees the wrong side of two in the morning. “Fuck this.” He says, then gets off the bus, leaving the doors open as is company policy. It allows the buses to air, or some nonsense. That’s where his part in this story ends.

An hour later, Frankie wakes with a start. “I’ll goddamn kill you!” He shouts into the empty air, wild eyes raging as he swings a fist. Frankie, whose last name has been lost for years in a sea of booze, eventually stops his swearing and fighting with nobody. He stops for a second, eyes squinting and his head lolling from side to side. “Where in fuck am I? It’s so bloody dark.”

He makes his way down the aisle of the bus, feeling his way through the cracked leather and discarded cans. He finds his way to the open door and promptly falls through. He doesn’t even make a pretense of walking, he simply makes the move from vertical to horizontal solely with gravity’s assistance. He manages to spit out the first part of an expletive before he starts eating tarmac.

He starts crawling, making his way towards a light source across the way that he can see. It’s got the familiar sodium glow of a street light, but Frankie’s head is buzzing. There’s something missing but he just can’t place it at the moment.

He stumbles through an opening, wide enough for a couple of buses to enter the depot at the same time. He holds up a hand against the light and looks up and down the quaint, idyllic street. Picket fences, check. The occasional doghouse, check. The pieces come together in a horrifying rush.

“Oh shit,” he says, “I’m in Suburbia.”

The Idiot in Tin Foil

Day 268: You can keep only one memory from your entire life. What will it be?

pexels-photo-96127.jpeg

I knelt before the Splendour and awaited my judgement.

“You know that those who come before me must pay a price, do you not?” It asked me, a voice like church bells ringing next to my ear.

“Aye, that I do.” I replied, my eyes firmly focused on the floor. I could feel the heat radiating from this being, this raw power that if I looked would strip me away and leave nothing behind but an husk, an empty shell that once was me. “I’ll pay it, but you must keep them safe.”

“Upon whom would you confer the honour of my protection? Nina, perhaps?” Nina’s face, red hair framing a multitude of freckles on her alabaster skin, appeared before my screwed shut eyes. She stared into me, through me, past me with that piercing stare of hers, a feeble pretense at the Splendour’s power, her lips moving to repeat the moment I had seen in my dreams so many times over, her admission and her promised departure. “Or perhaps your father?”

This time, it was my father’s hands that swam through the darkness. Strong hands, with wide knuckles. Hands made for working, as he had every day until his mind had escaped him and left him confused. They reached out towards me, old scars peppering the surface of the veined skin, before turning the palms upwards to reveal the deep crevasses, so ingrained with dirt, begging for my help, before vanishing into the darkness.

“Yes. But there’s more.”

“Really? You would do such a thing? For your mother?”

Long red painted nails flashed through the darkness and caught a memory on the cheek, leaving three blood red lines raised on the skin. “Your sister?”

A hand lets go of mine and a shadowy figure walks into a distant sunset. “Is there anybody I’ve missed?”

I say nothing, feeling my emotions surge within me like a tidal wave, my fear, my anger, my hatred all fighting for control of my weary body. My lips were trying to move, trying to force out words saying that I’d changed my mind, that I wouldn’t go through with it. Then a calm rang out, like a bell echoing through a still night. I found my control again.

“So tell me. Who would you have me save?” I heard a whisper as the Splendour knelt beside me. “I who am known by many names. What would you ask of me who has been at the forefront of civilisation since mankind realised that fire burns and water is wet, that the sun brings light and predators are bad? Me, who has received all of their prayers and wishes? Ra, Zeus, Odin, God… It doesn’t matter what name I had. Sometimes I was a multitude, sometimes I was alone.” His breath brushed past my ear, an intimacy I had been unprepared for. “They always ask and they always refuse when they find out the cost. So, what is it, Henry Miles? Son of a blacksmith, general waste of space? What would you have me do?”

“Leave.” I replied. “Leave and never return. Spare them all.” I was struggling with the words again, thick like treacle as they oozed from my brain. “Let us make our own mistakes.”

The Splendour sighed and stood up, its robes rustling. I eased an eye open, taking care to keep my stare on the cold, hard ground. “The cost is high. I will take everything that is you. All of your memories, every experience. Your highest points, your lowest points, I will leave nothing behind. You will never have existed. There will be no songs, no stories about Henry Miles, the Saviour. There will be naught of you that exists, has ever existed or will ever exist. You will…” It paused, as if struggling for words. “Poof. There will be nothing.”

“I know,” I said beneath my breath, “But it’s a price worth paying.”

“For everyone? What about the evil people? The truly evil, those that would hurt another, squander wealth and opportunity while others died in a slum?”

“Everyone deserves their chance.” I took a deep breath, steeling myself for what was about to happen. “I will do it. I will sacrifice to save.”

I felt a hand on my shoulder, then beneath my chin. My eyes followed the flow of the robes to the burning pits of gold that were set into the Splendour’s face. “Child, you are the bravest who has ever found me. You will be remembered by none but me, but I will leave you with one thing. One memory to accompany you through oblivion. Choose quickly, for you don’t have much time.”

I didn’t need any time. I talked for a few moments and the Splendour stroked its chin thoughtfully, before it agreed. My eyes remained locked on the burning gold and I felt my soul, my spirit diminishing in the light. I was being reduced to nothing.

 

I was awoken by a knocking at my door. My eyes took their time to adjust to the harsh sunlight streaming through the windows. My father has just walked in and pulled me from my bed, placing me over his shoulder as I yell in delight, before he carries me downstairs to where my mother and my sister are waiting. “Happy birthday, Henry!” They say, smiling wide as they gesture towards the table. Before me is a spread fit for a king that must have taken months to save for. I pull my family into a hug, but before we can begin to eat a bell sounds. I throw the front door open wide to find Nina looking at me, shy but piercing eyes peering out of a freckled face. I take her hand and pull her inside.

 

I was awoken by a knocking at my door…

The Idiot in Tin Foil

Day 267: Your most transcendent ice cream experience.

food-ice-cream.jpg

From the moment that cold dessert hit my lips, I knew that my life would never be the same. Have you ever had that? The one moment that you just know is going to change your life forever? For me, it was the day in The Iceman Cometh, the greatest ice cream shop in town.

Mr Dowling always smiled at me as I pressed my face against the glass, watching my breath fog it up before handing me a cone with the most perfect swirl of raspberry ripple ice cream that you had ever seen perched atop it. Then he’d take that squeezy bottle of strawberry sauce and go to town with it, I’m talking practically drowning the thing in strawberry sauce. You needed a napkin when he served you one of these bad boys.

Anyway, that was what it took. I looked around one day and saw how happy that ice cream made people. How all it took was a personally made dessert to bring a smile to people’s lives.

“So that’s why I’m an ice cream man. Sure, it doesn’t pay great and you don’t get many job opportunities in the winter, but it’s all good fun.”

“That’s all well and good, Mister Woodrow, but we want to know why you attacked the ladies in Cooper’s park on Thursday. ”

“Oooohhh, right… Sorry, must have got sidetracked. Where was I?”

“You’d parked your truck…”

The Idiot in Tin Foil

Day 266: You have just swallowed your pride and done something you didn’t want to do. Your friend wants to know why. The two of you are driving around an almost-full parking garage looking for a space for the friend’s oversize pickup truck. Write the scene.

pexels-photo-71169.jpeg

“Look, just drop me anywhere. I can walk the rest of the way.” I said to Jay, tired of circling the grey underground world of parked cars and litter. “It’s really nothing for me to get back from here.”

“Allan, shut it. You’re gonna stay in this truck until we find a space that isn’t taken up by another fucking BMW!” He yelled out the window at the double parked, electric blue Beemer, “Then we’re gonna work out exactly what the fuck just happened. I thought you were never going back?”

I chewed on my lip as I thought about my response. I hadn’t even told Jay the full story yet and he was pissed at me. “Well, I wasn’t going to. You know he sent me that text a… There’s a car pulling out. Jay!” He yanked the wheel to the side so that we swerved around the Micra that was pulling out. Jay, being the cautious and pleasant driver that he is stuck an arm out and extended a middle finger as he rounded the bend to the ramp for the third time. “Look, can’t we just wait until tomorrow? I’m really not in the mood right now.”

“Got one!” He yelled in triumph, either having not heard or deliberately ignored me. “Do you want to talk, then get food or get food first?”

“I was just gonna go home, mate.”

“Food it is. Come on.” We jumped out of his stupid, red truck. He’d found it for a grand near Worcester and had spent almost as much just trying to keep the thing running. I slammed my door in with a groan. “Hey! Be careful. You know the window pops out if you don’t treat her gently.”

He’d always had a habit of naming his cars after ex-girlfriends. Almost poetic, as he tended to crash them all. The truck, he’d decided, was “Shauna, you know, after the big girl I spent the week with in Marbella?” I had no idea what he was talking about, but I just nodded so he’d stop.

We fought our way through the crowds of Saturday shoppers, all clamouring for the bargains with the January sales having started up. “Why did we come here?” I asked him as a family of four walked straight through the middle of us. “Surely you could have, excuse me,” I just avoided the lady who stopped in front of me, “Picked somewhere quieter?”

“Yeah, but this was the nearest place with a Burger King.” We were silent until we’d ordered food and got to the table in the corner.

“Look, I don’t even know where to start.”

“Try the reason you went down there in the first place?”

“Keira phoned me. Told me she wanted to see me. So I went down to her place and she was out of it. Apparently she’d called everyone she knew and I was the only one who went. She looked like she was on her way out, Jay. I had to do something.”

“So…”

“So, I went to a place where somebody could help me. Where I knew somebody who could help me. Keira means that much.”

“You went to…”

“Yeah. I went to see Dad.”

The Idiot in Tin Foil

Day 265: Alfred Hitchcock said mystery is not knowing what will happen to a bunch of guys playing poker; suspense is when only you know there’s a bomb underneath the poker table. Write about a banal event, but start by introducing something that will change everything and only the reader knows is coming.

hand-the-hand-welcome-gesture-52716.png

The sleeper moves beneath the surface, slowly but surely limbering up its joints and focusing its lidless eyes on the place it knows its target to be. The source of all of its troubles. It can feel the rush as the other sleeping spirits stir, the pilot fish to its presence, spinning in freedom. With a thought, it sends them onwards to its destination. 

“Bedlam, Ms Harker.” Mr Waits, a fat man in a pinstripe suit held his bowler hat awkwardly, turning it and flipping it as if it had to keep moving or it would explode. “Welcome to Bedlam. Now, if you’ll follow me, I’ll give you the tour.”

Janet Harker took a step forward to follow, then paused. This was the first turning point. Did she cling to a remnant of her old life, or did she make the break completely? The choice was finally up to her, not an order sent from higher up the chain of command. “Sorry, Mr Waits, but it’s Captain. Captain Harker.”

“Of course, Captain. I apologise for my momentary slip. Shall we proceed?” Waits placed the bowler hat atop his balding head, then began a march down the hallway. They emerged, after the customary small talk, into a cavernous chamber housing an eighteen foot statue of Knoxwood, “Now, this is the main atrium or as we like to call it, the Heart. Now, from the Heart you can access any of our main facilities. Either through the Eyes and Ears, our telecommunications centre in the east corner over there,” he said, gesturing towards one of the largest banks of screens Harker had ever seen. It was decked out like a mission control centre, with people swarming between desks like ants across the ground, shouting into headsets. “From there, we can access all of our facilities remotely. For actual travel, we have the Arteries. You have a question, Miss… Sorry, Captain?”

“You really take this body metaphor all the way, don’t you?” Harker asked, still boggling at the gleaming statue. Knoxwood cut an imposing figure, holding aloft the Sword of Mercy and the Staff of Vengeance. She couldn’t help but feel that it shouldn’t be here.

“But of course. Why would you not? There’s the Legs, our transport division, the Brain, for research and development, Mouth for broadcasting.” As Waits went through the list, he pointed towards the gateways for each one. “Arteries, as I mentioned, is our internal travel. Then of course,” he said with a smile, “We come to the Arms. Private contracting for military operations throughout the world.”

The sleeper howls silently, thrashing against the chains that keep it in place. It can sense a weakness in the links, the smallest fracture that will be its jailer’s undoing. It strains and pulls and eventually, the sleeper shifts. A grin passes across its mouth, impossibly full of teeth as a soundless howl races through the earth. The pilot fish howl in return, transferring just one thought. One goal. 

“Bedlam, as you can imagine, can be quite confusing to the newcomer.” Waits had removed his bowler as they stepped into his office, hanging it up on a hatstand by the door. “After the events of HESSIAN, I would understand if you were to take a step back from the military world.”

Harker’s eyes narrowed. “HESSIAN was supposed to be above Top Secret. How do you…?”

Waits just chuckled. “Captain, what we don’t know about anything would be barely enough to fill the first page of that notebook in your pocket. But that’s what we offer here. Knowledge. Plus the capabilities to use that knowledge. We have everything you could want.”

“I want Castor.”

“I thought you might say that. He’s currently waiting in Bloodstream. That’s our…”

“I’m assuming that’s your medical division.”

“You’re as quick as they say, Captain. Yes, the Sergeant has been with us for a few weeks undergoing retrofit prostheses. The border campaign certainly took its toll on him.”

“That’s enough now, Mr Waits.” Harker leaned against the polished mahogany, very deliberately not sitting in the offered chair. “When would I start?”

Waits took a calendar from the wall and flicked through a few pages. “Well, we don’t appear to have any disasters scheduled for at least six months, so if you’d like to join us… Today?”

“What about all my things?”

“They’re already here. We set you up with a room in Epithelium.”

“Living in the skin. Wonderful. How did you know I’d take the job?”

“Miss Harker, if we didn’t believe with 99.999… I could go on for a while there. But if I were more than a shade from certain that you’d accept the position, you’d never have received the offer. Now, would you care to meet your strike team?”

The sleeper was no more. In its place was a creature that remembered once being a man. It, no longer able to believe in itself as a he, breathed deep and focused on its vengeance. It remember one thing for certain. The cause of all of its troubles. The Brain. But not just that. It was going to tear down the whole thing.  

Bedlam would fall. 

The Idiot in Tin Foil