A Treasure Trove of Madness

3 Nov
One point four megs of awesome

One point four megs of awesome

I was cleaning out some junk and odds and ends today, when I came across a stack of old CDs and 3.5 floppy disks. For the most part, these were easy to throw away – you know, stuff like AOL mailers, or drivers for printers that we don’t even own. But some of those 3.5 floppies had very compelling labels on them. Important dates, from 15 years ago on them, or words like ‘Journal’ and ‘S3kr1t Th1ng5!’ Damn. I couldn’t just toss those away. As any writer knows, this kind of stuff could be GOLD, baby.

Fortunately, the PC tower in my living room is old enough to have a 3.5 reader. I plopped myself down with a stack of these square diskettes and got to work. First disk was damaged. Second disk was not formatted. Third disk made a hideous scratching sound. But the next disk had weird, weird stuff on it. It was formatted all wrong, and even with notepad it wouldn’t read correctly. But there were words there. And what I read was from so long ago that it was almost unfamiliar. It was a success! I felt as though I had reached into the past and saved some of my oldest writing from the clutches of complete obsolescence. Damn, I feel lucky.

I am still working through the files. So many pictures, so many words. I am at turns horrified and fascinated. And because I care about you, I will share. At least, I’ll share some of it. Here. Without edit, is an untitled piece of mine from 1999 (at least, I think – it could be 1997!). Enjoy!

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With salamander-like movements, Jack worked his way up the narrow, cobbled street. Even at midnight, the city baked with a stifling heat – transforming shadows to mirages. Pools of humid darkness poured into the gutters ahead of Jack. People milled about, even in this ungodly hour. Jack pulled his trench-coat tighter and tried to avoid the small clusters of people.

Inside his coat, where his right arm should have been, something moved – a squishy, reptilian movement.

“Oh god, oh god”, Jack breathed.

His left arm grabbed his right, as he stopped and stood up straight, eyes closed. “This isn’t happening, this isn’t happening,” ran through his mind like a mantra. The squishy motions stopped abruptly. He opened his eyes.

“Hey man, whatchoo got?” Jack glanced to his left.

A kid – fifteen, sixteen – was swaggering towards him; baseball cap on backwards, cigarette stuck in his teeth and a look of bored violence of his face. Jack tipped his head away, his fedora hiding his face, and coughed.

“Whatchoo got? Inda coat, man?” the teen gestured with his smoke.

“Um.. look, son. I – I…” Jack stammered, his mind racing.

“Too damn hot for coat like dat.” The teen leered at him. “Maybe I take it off your hands, man.”

Jack stepped back then spasmed. “Look, it’s not safe”, he snapped, “get away.”

But he sensed it was too late. The thing where his arm should have been wiggled in gelatinous sort of way. He could feel cool rivulets of ooze seep down his leg. “G-g-get away!”

The youth looked at him confused, his mouth open as if to speak, then his eyes widened with horror.

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And that’s IT. There isn’t any more. What was with the tentacle under his coat, man? What did that youth see that made his eyes go wide with horror? Was it a giant tentacle arm? I don’t even know. I do remember a picture that a good friend drew about that time. It was of a man in a trench coat, limping along a sidewalk, trying to conceal the mass of worms that were where his arm should be. It was a good piece and it inspired this, obviously.

Back when I wrote this, I was just toying with writing. Most of my creative energy was wasted, but I remember struggling to find my voice, or a way to tell my stories. Reading this now, there are a couple of choice bits in there that make me happy. “… a look of bored violence on his face.” “… cold rivulets of ooze…” I was just playing with words, checking out how they fit together.

I’m very glad I found this stuff. I’ll post more, if it doesn’t embarrass me to death.

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2 Responses to “A Treasure Trove of Madness”

  1. Gwendolyn Nehs November 5, 2014 at 4:45 pm #

    What? That’s it? I want more!

    • societyformisinvention November 5, 2014 at 5:18 pm #

      Me too! It’s like a bizarre transmission from the past. I’ll mull it over and see what develops.

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