In The House of Bread

By  | February 11, 2015 | 0 Comments | Filed under: Fiction

“Ideas tend to be spontaneous; inculcated by their own caprice; as pervasive and invasive as the mystique of a lemur mating ritual; or a volatile quickening when the sun goes down. Sometimes they come as easy as the plunge of leaves off of a Birch tree; on a cool autumn breeze. Sometimes they come through much mortification; and ascetic artifice; whether in the town square; or in the parlour of your own private iniquities. Those tempestuous; eureka flares; for a flicking moment; raising the skirts; to peer across the grid; at those rarest of peep-shows; where you can glean the entire subtext of the Passion Play. Which can often be demoralizing when they pass you by; or you cannot keep the cranium fire lit; and no matter how often you fan the ashes; you can never raise a bonfire. I wonder; after all your vain attempts and futile labouring; while pining for that wayward Archimedean point; do you ever ask yourself; whether that idea should have ever occurred? Is genius; actually some form of a pernicious mutation, an aberration, an extraterrestrial; or a misfit?”

Those words rang true for Siam Bedlam; though he had no pretension to any stamp of genius; he could identify with the idea; of being a defective jigsaw puzzle piece. He was not sure where he had come across the monologue; was it something filtered by the void? Gagged but not silenced. He self-consciously ran a slender hand through his sandy hair. In one gulp; he took down his entire glass of a triple shot of Scotch and Soda. When he put the crystal tumbler back down on the Formica counter; he remembered the rest of the monologue; “Sometimes evil can come from a good idea; if misapplied. Hence the expression; the road to hell is paved with good intentions. But no good may come from a bad idea; a bad idea can only facilitate; evil actions”.

He had been contemplating that aphorism since he began the program. Siam had been randomly selected; from the flagged answers on the questionnaires; and on account of the rarity of his condition;(though according to the tabloid news reels; the number of cases are rapidly rising); to be a candidate for the Beta – testing of the cutting-edge nostrum; courtesy of the Moguls of Parthenos Pharmaceuticals; an elixir know as Bdellium Blue. Siam suffered from the long –term affects of Neo-Malthusian Pyrexia; since he had moved into the Bethlehem Domicile Complex. Neo-Malthusian Pyrexia; or N.M.P. for short; or in colloquial form; No More People; is a rare psychological condition; of unknown genesis; that afflicts normally placid; and well adjusted individuals with an extreme, irrational fear and hostility; to the point of near psychosis; towards any other human being within close proximity. Another feature of this malady; is the fact that the afflicted profess a love for humanity in private. Symptoms may include anxiety, nausea, vertigo, migraine headaches, the cold burn, panic attacks and spontaneous vomiting. Inevitably; if gone unchecked; the end result is Felo de se; where one makes a felon of oneself; by severing their own mortal coil.

The aberration was aptly named after Thomas Robert Malthus (1766 – 1834 CE); The English Cleric, Scholar, reactionary, aristocratic ideologue; and an enthusiastic, early proponent of population control. He believed that population growth would soon outstrip the food supply; and he saw it as a divine mission to remedy the situation. In Book IV; Chapter V of his Magnum opus; An Essay on the Principle of Population; Malthus proposed such punitive means to alleviate the problem; as he perceived it; by advocating; “In our towns we should make the streets narrower; crowd more people into houses; and court the return of the plague”. Malthus was a garden-variety elitist; who tried to palm off specious logic as philosophy; and wanton genocide as philanthropy and conservationism; within the narrow parameters of self interest.

Siam got up off of the plush, fuchsia, twirling high chair; and made his way across the 300 sq ft., Symbiotic Boudoir/Occupational Cubicle, Smart Home. It was a premium piece of twenty first century real estate. The floor and all three walls of this walk-in closet; were upholstered with champagne coloured, Frieze carpeting; that allowed him to move across the room without leaving a resonant trace. He found the right position in the leather and chrome; winged back chair and turned on the overhead, quartz; computer screen. An image of a celestial; blue angel; who was bearing three, golden sheaves of wheat; with the words Bethlehem Domicile Complex; writ in bold, crimson calligraphy; emblazoned against a white background; emerged as the Commons Screen Saver. It was the sigil and the public face; that masked the derivative paradigm; and self perpetuating mandate; of this facsimile of every publicly traded enterprise; since the Corporation’s inception. After a noon sabbatical and a stiff drink for fortification; Siam was ready to get back to the administrative duties; of sexing up the statics; of the daily census that was inflicted upon the denizens of the warrens of Bethlehem; via the E-Mic Intranet; on how they would rate the accommodations of this community. Siam sat amidst the hotspot; serving the million residents of the 68, 000 square meters of Gross area. It was a thankless job; the results were jaundiced; and not what the Superintendents; in the upper echelons; of middle management want to be cognizant of; so he had to do some creative modifications.

At the denouement of his rounds of Cry-VD conferencing for this shift of the Circadian Cycle; Siam was in the process of xeroxing the data to the Corporations Chapter House in Xi’an Cathay; by channeling on the Nimbus Network. Now came the moment of consternation; looming like a spectre across the days; though it hasn’t been as harrowing of late; where he would have to leave the apartment; walk six feet across the hall to access the Plebe terminal. It was a proxy server; for the parochial task of cataloguing his doctored dossier’s. One anomaly of NMP; is the fact that the victim can discourse with the pixilated model of any person without distress; it is only in their vicinity where he is harried. Before embarking on that odyssey; he would require a panacea; the daily dosage of two 25 mg. cerulean tablets of Bdellium Blue. If Siam were obliged to rate Bdellium Blue as a palliative; he would rate it somewhere in the red. One thing was for certain; he deemed it a bankrupt placebo.

There was no panic onrush of perspective realignment; there were no effects at all. The fact the maelstrom of his distress has diminished exponentially; was on no account of Siam’s medication. Upon first arrival at this hive attuned hotel; his plight was unbearable and incrementally getting worse. Siam doubted he would have endured for long; if the situation had persisted. At first there was at least a dozen or so denizens lingering in the corridor; no matter the time of day. But not long after the Corporation sent an Alienist to check up on him; when the attacks starting preventing him from fulfilling his occupational obligations; the population of this habitat began to decline; at first singularly or in pairs; then whittled down to a half dozen; until it was only the infrequent vagrant. It has been a week since he had the remote company of another Homo sapien. His only angst now; is whether today is the day he makes contact; or if the people are coming back. But something else has been gnawing at him; a subtle certainty. It could be compared to watching someone fall completely under the sway of an offhand notion. The Backyard Angels are coming for him.

The Backyard Angels is the appellation that Siam gave to the apparitions who whisper to him during his REM sleep. Two days ago he saw those words were spelled out for him with day-glow, paint across his neighbors door. As the days rotate; Siam is finding it perceptibly harder to banish the ideation; that he had expired somewhere down the line; and he was either in purgatory; or some hall of judgement from a hieroglyphic age. At first he considered it a singular anomaly; the vestigial stirring of a dormant imagination; but as the sibilations continued; in proportion; did the certainty that he was being subpoenaed by incorporeal beings from celestial realms.

Siam chased the pills with a Scotch and soda; before boldly taking that first step into passageway. From a few feet across the halogen lit hall; he saw those oracular words; spelled in day-go; across the surface of the tin, plated adjacent door; ‘The Backyard Angels; Are Here to Play’. He felt a slight flicker; like a mosquito against ones eyelash. He remembered a mantra; an old flame had once invocated.

“Thank you; good bye”. It was the first time Siam understood what it meant. It was a feeling one gets while experiencing a cloud burst of synergy. He turned; to gasp at the inevitable. Siam could not deny; what his eyes would attest. From somewhere out there in the Elemental Chaos; beyond the scale models of all possible conception; a pair of blue angels had manifested themselves; here before him; in the labyrinth of Bethlehem. They wore azure smocks s and veils; covering lithe, feminine physiques. With a fixed glare; he traced the sigils; etched on the left breast of their pale blue garb; of a seraph holding three golden sheaves of wheat. Siam prostrated himself on the ground before them; whilst cursing the fact; that he had been right all along. The Back Yard Angels are here; as auditors for the holding company.

“You see Dr.Tavistock; this is the caveat of unexpected externalities”; said the angel at Siam’s right shoulder; looking yonder at the dozen or so inmates; shuffling their feet in the passageway; overlooking the ethereal heralds; and oblivious to one another. They moved with a fluid motion; and walked as if they were moving in a dream.

“Yes; you are quite right Dr. Monro”. The angel on the left; cast her companion a hard stare; with a gleam in her grey, crystalline eyes. “I admit this display of ecclesiastical paroxysm; is an unforeseen consequence; a contingency the apothecary, digital models never reckoned with. Fortunately he seems to be the only one who is displaying this latent side- effect; since we began administering daily dosages of Bdellium Blue to the entire population of the New Bethlehem Asylum”. It was the angel’s on the rights turn; to give her companion a harsh regard; with jaded eyes.

“Side effects are a legalist turn of phrase; there are only effects in the realms of psychiatry. I am afraid this is just the beginning; this religious fervor may be only the first symptom for something far worse; an inhuman condition”.

“You do not approve of this methodology?”

“You mean create and cultivate the condition; in order to patent the cure. No I do not share your enthusiasm. I believe in letting nature take its course and that tampering with this byzantine array; could lead to catastrophic consequences. It is a bad idea; an arrogant expression of the elite, neurotic; and erroneous proclivity; at seeking to control all aspects of nature”.

“I whole heartily disagree. The population surge is a scourge that has reached its terminal phase. Vision is what is required to overcome this epidemic and those unflinching enough to execute that vision; with ruthless efficiency”. Siam looked up to see; the two angels staring at one another; for a long, long time.

The End.

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