by joshua weiss, 11-14-96


To be brutally honest,
there's really not much to it.
The flick of a wrist.
The flick of a switch.
And the bright red eyes of the modem
and close
and open.
Es beginnt.


I awake in the early morning.
The Baal greets me with a sunny
"Good morning, Josh!
The date is October 31, 2024
5:41 am"
The last thing I need right now is a stupid kid in some third rate
costume yelling
"Trick or Treat!"
at the top of his lungs.
No respect at all.
It used to mean something... ... Didn't it?
Before the books were burned...


"How many messages today, Simon?" I ask the Baal forlornly...
Surprise, surprise.
No messages for poor, deprived Josh.
All these billions of people
and not a single one can take time.
No matter.
I step outside.
It's something no one does very often,
but I like to, on occasion.
It's nice and peaceful.
Kind of like a warm blue ocean
only with huge twisted cast-iron sculptures blocking the view.
(I'm sure the view would be marvelous
I think I read something about the view once)
I walk along the path.
It's kind of awkward not seeing anyone.
Just a little while ago the World Congress decided
that there was no room for all the homeless people.
That we needed the streets but we couldn't afford to shelter them.
I don't understand why we couldn't have shipped them to our Mars colonies.
I don't understand why we had to arrange a cull.
It doesn't seem right...
And suddenly the icy hand of October chills me
and I realize I have no coat.
I hurry back home
through the bare streets
we needed so badly
But could never find a use for.


"Why did I name you Simon?"
"I believe you retained a childish memory and wished to be reminded of it."
"Oh. What memory?"
"I do not recall. But I believe it was in reference to flies."
"Oh. What are flies?"
It seems as though I should remember, but I can't.
"Extinct species of animal... The last was exterminated approximately ten years ago."
"Oh. What are ..."
"May I remind you that your sacrifice is two hours late?"
"Oh. Okay, I'll get to it right away."


And on that day, Josh and Simon danced the fatal dance again.
Every week, on the sabbath Thursday,
Josh fetched a chicken from his basement.
He had caught them himself.
Caught them
all for Simon
all for Big Brother.
And when Josh entered the dark, candle-lit room
for the umpteenth time,
and when he set the bowl out,
the knife out,
for the umpeenth time,
he knew what he would do this night.


Josh looked down at his forearm,
and found it covered with little slits.
(Without human blood,
the chicken's vitae is useless)
But tonight is a special night.
Tonight the computer
the modem
sitting on its altar like Zeus on Olympus...
Josh took the blade,
and instead of the chicken's breast,
he went for the throat.
The crimson dropped into the bowl.
And instead of his forearm,
he went for his wrists.
The crimson dropped into the bowl.
With his last ounce of strength
he raised the bowl to Simon,
and died.
And none of the magic remained.
None of the wonder.
Nothing but a sacrifice.
"Josh, what have you done?"


To be brutally honest,
there's really not much to it.
The flick of a wrist.
The spilling of blood.
And the once bright eyes of a man
and open
and close.
Es stirbt.

[About the Author]

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