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Old 10-20-2002, 06:47 PM   #1
Arif-ul Haq
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Arthur Is Dead

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Old 10-21-2002, 01:31 AM   #2
MtBikerMike
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Parallel lives (of a sort)

"A hangover indeed," thought Arthur dimly, through the congealed stew that was his consciousness.

Arthur tripped as he came back round the bed, nearly landing in the unspeakable mess. After buttoning himself into the shirt from last night's blurry evening (a powder blue tuxedo shirt, he noted for no particular reason), Arthur headed to the local bagel shop. Whereupon, having primed his starter with caffeine and stoked his engines with starch, Arthur confronted the full horror of what he had witnessed:

Himself - dismembered and disemboweled. It was rather Kafka-esque, Arthur realized; almost like the evening he tried to make love to his wife, only to realize that she was a hat. He had been drunk then, too. Or that time he had created a machine to transport himself across the room, only to discover -- all too late -- that a fly had come along for the ride. (And what a ride it had been.) Or when he traveled 1,000,000 years into the future, to meet an evil race called the moor-

Drunk each and every time. Arthur discovered he was shaking. Damn DTs. Think, think! Back to the matter at hand: Arthur had to dispose of his body, and fast. He doubted very much that the thought police would find anything literary about his predicament; these doppelganger-mutiliations had become an all-too-common event in this day and age.
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Old 10-22-2002, 03:11 PM   #3
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Arthur went to the kitchen and began rummagin through drawers. Each drawer clanked loudly as he pulled it out, sifted through its contenet, and slammed it back shut. It made his head throb. He felt as if he might throw up. He clanked the drawers harder. He might feel better if he threw up.

String, tape, old cartoons cliped out messily (the one about the rubber Jesus statue was particularly funny and he stopped to read it and laughed out loud - the pulse in his head quickly reminded him that this was no time for humor.) Why did he have an omlette pan? He only ate soft boiled. He kept searching. Finally he came up with it.

The blade was about 8 inches long, quite sturdy, and serrated. The handle was made of black plastic and embossed with the words "Canton, Ohio." He held it up for a moment and forgot his head. Rusty. Slightly chipped. Hadn't been sharpened for years, perhaps. It would do.

He turned and headed for the fridge, grabbed a beer and cracked it. He quickly took a long pull. Then another. As he finished the can, Arthur grabbed another and cracked it with one hand, keeping the knife dangling limply by his side.

"****in' A. Let's do this." he muttered as he pushed open the kitchen door and stepped back into the living space of his little run down efficiency. Yep. It was no dream. The body was still there. But not for long.
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Old 10-22-2002, 07:50 PM   #4
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He stood motionless for a moment, trying to size the situation.

The smell was incredible, not piercing, but rich. It seemed ridiculous to Arthur that the neighbors have not yet called the super complaining of the stench, that the cats were not clawing at the fire escape window. Thick with blood and the ripe stench of entrails, the scent wrapped tight around his hangover, squeezing around his headache until it flushed deep into his explosive stomach. Arthur turned into the hallway and heaved, producing nothing.

As Arthur crept towards his body he focused tight on the glossy gaze that watched his every move. He stared deep into his own eyes for the first time, fixed upon the details of his face, finally seeing himself from angles never before possible while poised precariously in front of, underneath or on top of a mirror.

He dropped the knife and weaved in between and about his various parts in awestruck self-study, time and again comparing his findings with his own physique finding no discrepancies. Unaware of the absurdity, of the danger, or the stench, Arthur was transfixed.

The sound of footsteps at the door caused Arthur to freeze and attend to reality. The soft rustle of paper and swift swing of the mail-flap allowed Arthur to breathe easily. But reality had again presented itself. Back to the matter at hand.

He realized, now, that his body was no longer wearing last night’s garb. It was piled in the corner under the window and they were relatively blood-free. In fact, Arthur then noticed that there was very little blood amidst the display of his body parts. Suspicious. And each limb had been removed meticulously. A painstaking process it must have been.

He stood back. Doubt had circled his mind earlier, but Arthur was sure of it now. No amount of alcohol had made him the murderer, or the surgeon.
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Old 10-23-2002, 08:33 PM   #5
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Old 10-24-2002, 11:14 AM   #6
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Arthur realized that there was more wrong with this day than the body itself. He had, for example, apparently teleported from the bagel shop into his kitchen. Perhaps more disturbing was that when he first saw the body it had been an "unspeakable mess," and now "there was very little blood amidst the display of body parts." Because he was a waiter at a coffee house and not a theoretical physicist, Arthur was unable to realize that these seemingly disparate events were conclusive evidence of a tear in the very fabric of time and space.

Instead, Arthur continued to wander about his room, old "Ginsu" (Arthur's nickname for the serrated plastic-handled knive) still in hand.

Arthur's perambulations eventually brought him close to the suspiciously-clean clothes in the corner. With a start, Arthur realized that the clothes were not his after all, but were, in fact, the makings of a clown costume. (Arthur acknowledged the fact that he owned a clown costume himself; his, however, was built for getting out of a Volkswagon beetle with 12 other clowns, while the outfit in front of him was of the classic juggling-while-unicycling school).

With another start, Arthur remembered that last night he had conversed casually with a clown during the Coffee Pot party. In hindsight he considered this rather curious, since the Coffee Pot did not, to the best of his knowledge, employ a clown. Perhaps it had been a playful co-worker? Impossible to know, as the clown's regalia had been complete, including makeup.

Arthur decided that it was finally time to vomit. He rushed to the bathroom, did his business, rested with his cheek against the cool porcelain of the fixture, and stood to clean himself up. With yet another start, Arthur noticed something on his bathroom counter that had not been there yesterday: A bright red clown nose. Upon closer examination Arthur noticed also that there were dried water droplets in the sink itself, leaving behind only a gritty white residue.

Clues were emerging, but Arthur remained unable to form a coherent thought beyond disposing of the body. But how ?

With still another start (Arthur was tiring of starting), Arthur remembered the end of Fargo. Perfect! All he needed was a woodchipper and a frozen lake. This was harder than it might seem, as Arthur lived in Manhattan and it was August. (Arthur did not wonder how a lowly coffee server could afford an apartment in mid-town Manhattan. He had seen the kids on "Friends" do it, and had therefore concluded it was possible.)

Nearing the end of his mental resources (and recognizing that the readers' patience was now being tried), Arthur improvised. With a final start (one that nearly killed him), Arthur realized that his gargage disposal was a servicable substitute for the woodchipper. Indeed, in some ways it was better, as washing the waste into New York's sewers was far better than leaving the bloody mess that the Fargo guy had left just before that cop woman chased him across the lake and gunned him down.

Only one question left.... size. Arthur's gaze wondered down the length of his arm and came to rest on Ginsu. It would take hours, possibly days, but it could be done.

Arthur set to work.
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Old 10-25-2002, 02:53 PM   #7
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Arthur approached the body. It had transformed yet again while he was lost in whistful thoughts of Cohen brothers feature films, chiefly Barton fink -- the part where John Goodman first meets John Turturo -- you know...all the tension and the bad wallpaper and all. Arthur managed to refocus on the body. Apparently it had lept about a week or so ahead in time and was purple, bloated and swollen. The smell of decay danced about the room like some strange ugly ballerina who had grown to resemble a surly, drunken, unwashed Jacko Pastorias...but at the end of his career, not really during the Weather Report heyday or even when he was working with Pat Metheny...but in an olfactory kind of way. Y'know?

Arthur inhaled the smell like a hungry cocker spaniel and was rewarded with a round of dry heaves that would make even a bunch of red shirt freshman football fraternity pledges look up from the old porcelan God and pause in awe-filled and awful reflection of the enormous power of both clear and brown liquors. "That's nasty. " he exclaimed when he had finally regained control of himself and wiped a strand of bile away from his quivering, glistening, unshaven chin.

He lifted up his shirtneck so that it covered his nose and mouth and sized the job up through red and watering eyes. He took old Ginsu by the throat and started in on the gruesome task. At first it went slow and he had to stop several times to wait out violent fits of dry heaves. He sawed a finger off and had a tough time getting through the bone. He was too close to the knuckle. But after some time he grew more used to the stench. "This must be how those guys that work in the sewers do it." he though. Soon he was cheerfully attending to his work. Fingers came off like the cheap hemp summer dress of a 14 year old Mexican whore. And in the same respect he regarded them tenderly. Were they not his dead, bloated, dismembered, bloated fingers? Were they not the same genetic material from which his life had sprung, like one of those prehistoric fish-with-legs things that first dared to leave the ocean and walk on land? He paused and sighed wistfully as he sawed off arms, ears, dissected spine, tissue, nerve, genetalia, internal organs. He held his heart lovingly in his hands for a moment and then threw it into a pile with the rest of him.

The work went faster than he thought it would. How could the neighbors not smell the horrible, putrid stench of decay that, even now that he had grown used to it, made his head light and produced flashing blue, red, yellow and green lights before his weary, hungover eyes?

When the body was finally fully dismembered he gathered the pile up into hefty bags and dragged them into the kitchen. One by one he began stuffing each part down the disposal which hummed and gurgled and choked like a 300 pound aging female nightclub jazz standards singer after a fifth of sloe gin and a joint. Like the vivisection the work went slow at first but picked up to a steady churn after only a short while.

Arthur looked to the window and noticed that it was dark again. Night already? He had hardly notice the passage of the day and had not been hungry. The smell was the ultimate appetite supressant, one that did not cause lack of sleep, anxiety, jitters or the shakes. Tommy LaSorta would be green with envy and illness if he only knew. But no one must know! This was Arthur's secret task. His shame. Like when he was six and his mother had caught him playing with his little Mr. Mushroomhead. She had torn every page out of her copy of the initial findings of Masters & Johnsons and with every page applied a deft papercut to his genital region. And the thing with papercuts is that as innocent as they are they really hurt quite a lot. Disproportionately one might say. Just like little Arthur's heart did that day and every day after. Because mommy had said that he was a filthy little man. And that if she ever saw him touch it again that it would the Illiad next time and that no one really wanted to make Homer dirty like Arthur was dirty but she would do it if she had to because it was her duty as a mother to teach Arthur right from wrong. If Arthur shut his eyes he could still hear that stern, red faced, leather-skinned little Austrian immagrant woman say, "Eets because I luff you, mine klinke kindergeblachenfarbungderfenchelatnternkopfenschis sevolwagen*" But she said it with love.

And then it was done. The last finger was down the drain and Arthur sighed with relief and collapsed in a heap on the floor. And wasn't it about time? After all...not only was the sun just beginning to creep in through the edges of the drawn blinds but also because this particular scene has gone on quite long enough. Wasn't it time for Arthur to try to make some sense of this? Wasn't it time to hop in the old story arc elevator and say, "3rd Floor: Women's Undergarments, Electronics, Lap Steel Guitars, and the Candy Shoppe?" Wasn't it time that Arthur get out into the world -- one filled with well-developed charachters who were not at all just types but really dynamic, personable and deep individuals who seemed like you knew them better than that guy at the deli who serves you burnt coffee for fifty cents every morning? Wasn't it time for some plot development.

"Yes." Arthur murmured. "Yes, I believe it's time." And with that he fell asleep on the cold, cheap, yellowing ceramic kitchen floor. Amongst the cracked tiles, the flaking grout and the ruin that Arthur had come to call his life he twitched like a (as aforementioned) cocker spaniel might while dreaming of chasing squirrells on a sunny day.

But it was not of squirrells and sunsine that Arthur dreamt...


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Old 10-29-2002, 11:18 PM   #8
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