Judson Michael Agla

THE DAY THE WORDS DIED

The city was hot like a burnt out cast iron frying pan. My sweat was dripping all over everything; I was cranky, homicidal with rage, and completely confused about my place in the world. All in all, a normal start to the day.

I had some projects lurking in my mind that I wanted to work out, so I flipped open my laptop to find that all the symbols on the keyboard had vanished; all the buttons were blank; I tried pressing them, but nothing happened. I have to say, I was really fucking creeped out. 

Stunned, frozen and drooling, I sat in awe with a subtle reactionary atrophy. I shook off my amazement and wondered if this bizarre phenomenon wasn’t just contained to my computer. Beside me was my journal; one that I’ve been keeping for about five months, more of a workbook/sketch pad, used to quickly get down ideas before they left my mind. Yesterday it was almost full up; today it was completely blank, the pages were all ruffled and creased like they’d been used, only nothing was on them, not a pen or pencil mark, just blank white pages. 

I’ve suffered through mental illness all my life, but it’s never evinced this kind of fuckery before. I went over to check my meds; sometimes I get confused and take the wrong ones. The meds were there but the stickers were all blank; this was turning into something I didn’t think I could fucking handle. I went to my books; they were all blank, covers and all; my cleaning supplies, blank, no words anywhere; my rulers, my calculator, no numbers. I went frantically through my boxes of old letters and tax returns; no words anywhere, Jesus-Fuck, what the hell was happening? I picked up the phone hoping to get some answers, or at least someone with the same questions I had, but again, no numbers, no numbers recorded, FUCK! 

I sat down, smoked a joint, and tried to gather myself and put this, whatever it was, into some sort of perspective. The television, nothing but static, the radio was the same; even the labels on my underwear were blank; this wasn’t going to put itself into any goddamn perspective at all, this was demonic voodoo fuckery in its truest form.

The next step would have to be clarification; was the rest of the world experiencing this clusterfuck as well? Or had I finally lost whatever was left of my mind? I hadn’t been out in weeks; clinically, it was agoraphobia, but actually, it was my distaste for people of all sizes and shapes; generally, I just hated people.

I was on the seventh floor; the top floor, kind of a ghetto penthouse with leaky everything; I had a great view of the courtyard and the neighborhood, I saw no one at all, no one standing on their balconies as I was, no one on the streets, no sounds of cars or screaming maniacs, which was a normal in this section of the city, but not one goddamn fucking soul. 

As terrified as I was, I’d have to get outside and check out the scene from ground level. I didn’t have much in the way of survival gear, but I loaded up what I could. I strapped on every knife I could find, loaded a bag full of cherry coke and leftover pizza from three days ago; I took my one flashlight and a twenty pack of batteries, which was useless really; it was daytime and the flashlight only took one battery at a time, but I was new at this sort of apocalyptic kind of thing and it was better to have and not need, as the saying goes.

I tied a collapsible chair around my shoulder in case I had to sit down and roll a joint; I brought all of my grass, whatever I had for cigarettes, and anything that made fire: lighters, lighter fluid, flints and wicks and matches. I definitely didn’t feel ready but I knew I was never going to, so off I went out my fucking front door.

I didn’t lock up in case I lost my keys along the way, but I did notice that there was no apartment number on the door either, so I left a cherry coke as a marker. Walking towards the elevator I saw that all of the doors were void of any numbers; I tried knocking on a few of them but nobody was answering; this was all just fucked right up.

I made it to the elevator, which had also been robbed of its up and down symbols; however, despite the clusterfuck at hand, I was able to discern that the bottom button meant down, so, I pressed it, and the elevator opened. Inside the elevator was another story; I’d forgotten which button was designated to what floor, so I just pressed my best guess. The doors closed and I felt the mechanical movements; I was on the top floor, so I surmised that I must be going down, but the doors opened onto a floor that wasn’t the lobby, FUCK! 

I pressed the buttons several times and ended up on identical floors; they all were blank of evidence of where the fuck I was; I decided that whatever floor showed up next, I’d get off and start raising hell, banging the fuck out of every door I found. The doors opened once again to some non-designated floor, and I went completely ape-shit, screaming, bouncing off this door and that door, like a wild fucking animal, until I turned a corner, and looked down the hall at a cherry coke tin sitting in front of a door, FUCK! 

I stumbled with my proverbial tail between my legs back to my place; I was fucking exhausted, pissed off and completely dumbfounded; I grabbed the cherry coke and went inside. I plopped down at my desk chair and proceeded to spark up a smoke, but, to my surprise, there was already one burning in the ash tray. Even stranger than that, there was one other thing I didn’t notice when entering.

A goddamn fucking monkey sitting on my fucking bed; the fucker was wearing a tailored suit and fucking about with some sort of mechanical device; it was like a sextant, a compass, about ten scrabble sets, a gyroscope and a bunch of containers of weird liquid got together and gave birth to a very complicated “what the fuck”. He didn’t pay very much attention to my presence, just an occasional glance, checking me out. I really didn’t want to disturb him; he seemed deep in concentration, and I wasn’t all that sure that he was even real.

After a few cigarettes and cherry cokes, the monkey seemed to have adjusted the machine to where he wanted it and turned, seemingly to address me in conversation. He apologized for his silence, as he had to concentrate on the dimensional position of the machine. I tossed him a cherry coke; he explained that the machine had to be in the exact spot it was, in order to function properly in unison with all the other machines placed in other geographical positions. And with that, he excused his uninvited presence and thanked me for the coke.

“What in all living fuck is going on?” This was what I conceived to be the most universally accepted question I could ask. The monkey described that certain places on Earth went through an unexpected multidimensional shift, causing a fracture in time and space; these machines, when all of them are aligned, will connect using sonic waves and hopefully put things back in order. After the explanation my next question was going to be “What in all living fuck is going on?”, but given its repetitive nature, and my conclusion being that I wasn’t going to understand a fucking thing he said, I decided to hold back and just let the fucking monkey do his shit; I offered up another cherry coke.

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