|Current mood:|| creative|
“I live a normal life. That’s all there is. I live a normal life.”
I wake up, I say these words to myself, and I hope they’re true. In some ways, very superficial ways, they are. I live in a middle class house with two stories in a pretty neighborhood, my dad works and my mom does part time work at an art studio, and I have two older brothers, one year apart.
That’s where it all breaks down.
This started like any other ‘normal’ day. I woke up to some weight loss commercials on the radio, which I had set to a heavy gothic station, as nothing else has the capacity to wake me up in the morning. While wondering what weight loss products had to do with gothic bands, I managed to drag my ass out of bed, and take a shower. After that, I stumbled back to my room, avoiding my oldest brother’s ‘secret’ webcams as I did. After getting dressed in my usual attire, skater pants and a black hoodie, I headed downstairs.
Dinner was already set when I got down to the table. Normal people would ask why Dinner is set at 7am in the morning, but in our family, my mom works dinner hours at the art studio, so she just likes to make sure dinner is out, extensively plastic wrapped and put on heat plates.
“Emily, good morning!” I heard as I grabbed a pop tart from the shelf. I turned around to face her, and let out a groan. I always feel it’s important to let parental figures know that you’re exhausted before school starts, as a sign that maybe they should bring it up in PTA meetings.
“Nice day today. I hear they’ll have me modeling outside today.” Mom said. I let out a feeble tired noise, and took another bite out of the pop tart. Sweet cardboardy carbohydrates filled my bloodstream, and I felt a bit more consciousness filter in through the fog of my brain.
“Go get your father and your brothers up.” My mom said, continuing to putter around. I let my eyes open very slightly, and saw her vague figure wandering around, making the dinner preparations complete. She was very pretty for her age, and I had gotten used to the fact that she was a nude model for the art school. These days, all I was worried about was her forgetting her panties at the art school and making me come with her to get them. I especially hate it when people there tell me I look like her, and it’s probably the reason I wear all this baggy goth stuff, so they won’t know my figure. Pricks. Hell, I’m flat chested as it is, you insensitive clods.
I went upstairs, and knocked on all three doors leading to my room. Getting no response, I opened the first door, my eldest brother, Percy’s, room.
Let me tell you about Percy. At age 11, he found a porn magazine somewhere. At age 13 he found the internet. At age 14 he discovered porn on the internet. Ever since then, he has strengthened the connection between porn and the internet, and lately his big thing has been that freaky anime porn shit. He’s also committed any number of online crimes, and I regularly find his webcams posted around the house, some directly aimed at my room. He’s a pervert, but he’s also a pretty good brother, as he’s always looked out for me, when he’s not stuck in front of his computer trying to film me changing to sell on the web. Pervert.
Percy was sprawled out on his futon, with some asian chick dressed in a schoolgirls outfit as his computer desktop, while some hardcore techno music blasted in the background. How he slept to that, I didn’t know, but I walked over and smacked him with a pillow.
“Hmmmhghh…” He said, wiping a hand through his semi long hair. He slipped his glasses on, and gave me a look.
“What is it Emily?” He groaned.
“Mom says get up. Oh, and get those webcams away from my room, for the last time.” I said, storming out. I figure if I get mad at him enough times he’ll take them down. Or just hide them better, but that’s not the point.
I went to the next door, Alan’s. Alan is the middle child, and a psychic, or whatever. Yeah. Go figure. Also a pothead. He’s really intelligent, but he wastes it all reading books on how to bend the mind or chaos theory, usually while half stoned. I hammered on the door, and I heard a light voice.
“Hey… Come in…” A light voice said, and I smelled the light stench of incense coming under the door. I forced the door open, and there he was, floating.
Now, most people tend to spaz out a bit when they see someone floating in mid air, along with random books and all the other objects that littered his room, but I’ve gotten used to it. Alan does all sorts of crazy shit… He can tell the future, see ghosts, float, and talks all the time about the worlds underneath this one. Half of it is just the wacky tobacy going to his brain, but there might be something to it, as that’s the only feasible explanation for some of the stuff that happens around him.
“I’m flickering.” He said, smiling and holding his hand out. Sure enough, he was flickering, and he gradually let himself to the ground, and closed a book on Wicca that he had apparently been cross referencing with a book on fractals, and then hiding a notebook full of advanced calculus equations under his bed.
“Yeah, mom says it’s time to get up.” I said, smiling lightly. I like Alan, I really do, but sometimes he’s just a bit hard to talk to, as usually he’s a bit distracted. Hell, I’d be if I saw what he did all the time.
“I know.” He said, wiping his eyes, and trying to hide the fact that they were really quite bloodshot and dilated.
“Okay, see ya.” I said, walking out and closing the door lightly behind me.
Third door. My parents room. I opened the door, and sure enough dad was calmly sleeping, as usual, and that thing on his head still pulsating. What thing? Well, my dad works for some secret government agency, and since he has a PhD in Molecular Biology, I figure it’s something to do with germ warfare, or something. He’s not allowed to talk about it, although the green pulsating thing that has popped up in the middle of his bald spot seems to speak for itself.
“Dad. Time to get up.” I said.
“Ughh… Emily… Okay…” he said, then waved me out of the room. Closing the door behind me, I sighed again.
“I live a normal life,” I said to myself.
You know, in some ways I am normal. I hang with the skater kids at my high school, although they all think I’m a nerd because I have a vagina but I play counterstrike. Still, guys dig that, and most chicks are too stupid to realize that guys go crazy for a gamer girl. Even so, I’m still getting over a pretty bad break up, and right now I’m staying single for the time being… As the cause for the break up was him mutating into a zombie and trying to eat my brains, but that’s not the point.
Yeah, I’m a pretty normal person. That’s for sure.
I went back to my room to grab my backpack, and when I got downstairs the whole family was downstairs. Percy was sprawled out on the couch with his laptop, probably working on his term paper or whatever he did in that stupid college he went to. Mom was still working on the finishing touches of dinner, then admiring her new hairdo in the mirror. My dad and Alan were surprisingly well dressed, and I ventured to ask myself why.
“Why are you dressed up?” I asked, grabbing a mountain dew out of the fridge. Yep, breakfast of champions here.
“Well, Alan and I are going to bring your child to work day,” my dad said, smiling.
“Don’t they just look darling?” My mom said, still admiring herself. I caught a reflection of myself in the mirror and I looked as I always do. Pale, black hair, and a sort of gaunt look that most high schoolers have.
“Umm… Why is dad taking Alan to work?” I asked.
“It’s bring your child to work day!” My dad said, grinning while the green thing pulsated on his head.
“But isn’t your work classified?” I ventured, taking a sip from my soda.
“Yes?” My dad said, while Alan stared at his hand. It was still flickering, but after he shook it a few times it became simply transparent. I just sighed, and I heard Percy sigh as well. Walking over to the couch, I sat on it beside him, for a second wondering if he had placed some new webcam.
“I’m as confused about it as you are, but you should just worry about things that pertain to you. It’s the safest thing to do now.” He said, hammering away some bullshit for what looked like an Asian history class on his laptop.
“Yeah, you’re right.” I said, sitting back on him.
“Of course I am.” He said.
“Did you take down those webcams?” I ventured.
“Go to school.” He said, returning to his work.
One of the only nice normal things I get in my day is the walk to the bus stop. Since I live in a middle class neighborhood, it’s pretty simple. There are fat cats going to work, skinny people mowing the lawn, the Mormons wandering from house to house, and soccer moms taking their kids to school. Arriving at the bus stop, it only took a few minutes for the bus to reach the curb. I got on, and sat in my usual spot, next to Sarah. We cling to each other on the bus simply because we need to look like we have someone to talk to, but trust me, aside from that there is nothing that connects us. After the usual small talk, I began to go into my morning, and she went into her latest outfit. It’s usually about now that I turn my .mp3 player on, turning it off around say… lunch.
The rest of the bus trip and my school day was a blur, sped on by some new mix that Percy burned for me. It had a bunch of weird underground techno bands, but some of them were halfway decent. Still, something happened as I was halfway trying not to pay attention in Mr. Kushman’s history class, the last class of the day.
Now, to say Mr. Kushman is a big man would be an understatement. It would also be a kind way to say he’s a lardass. He teaches us history, and finds fascinating ways to tie it into the foods of that the time. Still, he’s nicer than most teachers, so we let it go, and just enjoy the fact that bringing donuts to class will give you extra credit. He was talking about how the invention of silverware revolutionized food in the renaissance, or something like that while snacking on a bag of Doritos when a loud explosion rocked our classroom, causing pieces of asbestos to fall precariously from the ceiling.
Now, we’re sort of used to weird stuff like explosions happening, as we’re pretty close to a classified base, so we all waited for the alarm to go off. Two minutes later it hadn’t gone off, which either meant nothing had happened, or the office staff had been killed, but in either scenario, class went on. Hell, the prospect of the office staff being dead exited Mr. Kushman enough to let us out 10 minutes early.
I had decided to walk home, as the bus I normally take home goes halfway around town, way into the ghetto, the jewish district, and the trekkie block, which creates a very interesting in-bus population, and some very intense dramatics. Today, however, I just wanted to get home quickly, so walking was the way to go.
Walking. What a pleasant activity. I was enjoying the pleasant walk until I noticed a huge pillar of some sort of blue-green fluid, spreading across the sky, which had turned a light shade of maroon. Following it casually, I noted that it flowed from the classified base, so I decided that it was okay. That, and it seemed to emit a definite aura of apathy. I could smell it in the air, the apathy. It smells kind of like weed, mixed with potpourri, and a touch of caramel. Don’t ask me how I know what apathy smells like, but I guess I figured it out after hanging out with Alan too much. In any scenario, the apathy was effecting me as it was everybody, so nobody seemed to care about the giant billowing blue pillars spreading across the sky.
I got home, witnessing a few car crashes, then the resulting apathy, and exchange in admissions that they didn’t care and that it wasn’t a big deal. Hell, they didn’t need to get anywhere anyway. And hey, a drink sounds good right now. But frankly, it’s no big deal. I would have found this all damn funny, but I didn’t care enough.
I finally reached home, after an hour that I spent staring out into space, not really caring. Upon reaching home, I found my dad and Alan sitting there. The green thing on dad’s head had gotten slightly bigger, but he had a downright uncaring look on his face. Alan was flickering like crazy, and had gone mostly transparent, although I didn’t make that big a deal out of it. There had been times where he had vanished for days, then come back with a severe headache and a horrified look stuck on his face. Still, I decided to ask my dad what was going on.
“Well…” He began, “Alan and I had gotten in past the security gate, and I was showing him the symbiotic lifeform work we had been doing and…”
“Dad… That’s classified. I don’t want to hear it…” I said in a sudden burst of caring.
“Oh, it’s alright, I don’t care about that stuff anymore…” He said, smiling stupidly. The green thing on his head pulsatedly happily, and Alan smiled at me with his usual stoned look.
“Anyway, it was those guys in the teleportation labs… I guess Alan somehow wandered off and got past security…” My dad began, looking sort of tired.
“It’s sort of cool what you can do when you convince people you don’t exist…” Alan muttered.
“Anyway, somehow he went into another reality, and it caused some reaction, and now there are portals spilling stuff into this world. It’s sort of cool…” My dad said.
“Yeah, I accidentally went to one of the worlds below ours, and they apparently used me as a sort of anchor to locate and stabilize a portal, and now it’s pouring out. It was a dimension of apathy… But I don’t care enough to shut it down…” Alan said, shrugging.
“Yeah, I’m going to stay here and watch tv.” My dad said, his eyes half closed.
“Sounds fine to me.” I said, feeling quite relaxed myself.
I was on my way up to my room to go sit and take a nice little nap when I passed by Percy’s room, which is practically coated in posters and computer equipment. From inside it I could hear a long line of swearing, so I apathetically opened the door a bit.
Inside was Percy, swearing at his computer, which had given him the blue screen of death. Not really caring, I decided to slip in, and…
Suddenly it all hit me. I cared. I was mad at Windows. I was mad at people for making Windows. I was mad at people for being people. I was mad at this apathy. I was mad at everything.
And yet at the same time I was filled with a passion for life, a passion for my dear brother, and a passion for all his computers.
Percy and I had a very interesting… interaction, ranging from… Well, I won’t talk about what happened between us, but it was weirder than most of the stuff that had happened today, and the angry techno music he had on was really egging it on. Anyway, after we calmed down and he put his shirt back on, we sat down and promised that this never leave the room.
“Umm… Wow… Anyway… So…” I said, looking around his room. All over the place were posters from various sci fi movies, animes, pornos, animated pornos, and whatever else he could get his hands on. Feeling a bit unnerved, I just looked at him, and he looked at me.
“So… Why are people so apathetic? I was on IRC and everquest, and nobody seemed to care about anything. Hell, I brought up the RIAA and the SCO, and people didn’t say anything! I looted fourteen guys kills, and none of them stopped me! And why then… Were we the only ones who really felt emotions?” He asked, looking back at his computer screen.
“Well, when did you get in here?” I asked.
“Few minutes before you did, and once I got in here I just became… Well, you know…” He stammered, looking at the ground.
“Yeah… Maybe… Maybe you just have so much computer stuff, or it’s something about the posters…” I ventured.
“Let’s see.” He said.
So, thus began a trial and error session of one of us stepping outside the door carrying a computer, then a little hat made of motherboards, then a case, then a hat made out of a porn poster, then twinkies crammed into our mouths, and then an entire suit made of porn… But each time, the one staying inside the room would have to make a desperate grab to get the other back into the room before they went to take a nap on the couch.
We were about to give up when it struck Percy.
“What if… A hat made of motherboards and porn…” He said, rubbing his sparse goatee.
“Percy… I know you’re my older brother and all, and that you’re in college and I’m not, but shut up.” I said, rolling my eyes. Going from determined to apathetic over and over again seems to have a slight annoying sensation that trails along with it.*
“Well, this is slightly better than the Twinkie idea.” He said, and duct taped a motherboard to his porn hat. Saying a quick hail Mary to his picture of some anime nuns in lingerie lounging around a crucifix, he took a step outside.
“Well…” I said, making a grab for him. Suddenly, he jumped out of the way, and began laughing.
“It worked! Quick! Make one for yourself, and Alan…” He said, giggling in a way that reminded me of a mad scientist and a little anime schoolgirl at the same time.
Five minutes later, Alan, Percy, and I were standing around wearing porn circuit caps. Percy and I were pretty determined to stop this chaos, or lack thereof, but Alan seemed his normal self, not caring and probably stoned, and presently he was causing strange ghostly shapes to appear around the kitchen.
“Hey, Alan, let’s go and stop this. Percy, get the car ready.” I said. Percy nodded, and I was able to get Alan up for long enough to get him to walk to the car. The ride to dad’s work was pretty uneventful, as Alan knew the way and the guards at the gate didn’t really care.
“So Alan, what do we do now?” Percy asked as we pulled into the parking lot of the complex. It was a large gray building with a single entrance, and quite a few shipping bays.
“Go through the door, and I figure the best place to access the apathy dimension and stop the portals would be to go straight to the teleportation labs.” Alan said inside our head, sighing and phasing out of reality for a few seconds, then returning with the same bored look on his face.
“Okay, you lead the way, and I’ll let you have some of these,” I said, pulling out my bag of emergency Cheetos**. He looked at them hungrily, and then got out of the car.
Entering the complex was easy enough. We simply asked one of the security guards the way to the teleportation labs, and he directed us all the way there when we gave him a Cheeto. After about 20 minutes of walking through endless corridors, we reached it.
Percy opened the door to reveal a large lab with a huge battery like platform in the center. At least a dozen scientists were sitting around, chatting apathetically, saying things like “you know what, all the sudden… I just don’t care about particle theory…” “Yeah, I know… I don’t care either… And I think I want to give up my work on chaos theory…” “I’m going to get fired this Friday, but big deal…” and “I could really use some Cheetos right about now…”
My entrance to the lab gathered little attention, although the Cheetos warranted some attention from the more apathetic looking scientists. Still, Alan, who had probably sobered up by now, had somehow become fully proficient in the operation of the portal machine and was explaining it to Percy. I listened in, careful not to let any of the scientists get the Cheetos.
“Okay, we are all going to have to jump into the portal, but I’ll stay at it, keeping it stable. Once you’re there, you should find some man made object that is stabilizing it, and unlodge it… Now, don’t spaz out too much, this is all just cool… Just let your mind open.” Alan said, and I noted the weed on his breath, only slightly stronger than the smell of the weedy stench of the apathy soaked atmosphere. He pressed a complex series of buttons, and the machine started. After some flashy lights went off, the battery in the center began glowing, and a huge billowing blue pillar began to flicker into existence. The air suddenly became a lot more uncaring.
“Okay, we just opened another portal. Now we just have to get on the platform.” Alan said.
“Good job.” I said, giving him a Cheeto. He devoured it, and we all walked onto the platform.
“Emily.” Percy said, just before we stepped on.
“Percy.” I said.
“Good luck.” He said, grimacing.
“Eh, how bad can it be? I mean, it’s probably just like the normal stuff we deal with in day to day life, on acid or something.” I said, grinning.
We stepped onto the platform, and into the reality underneath ours, the reality of apathy… And so much more.
To explain what I saw would probably take several full length novels to describe, so I’ll just say it was seriously fucked up. I saw the essence of apathy, I saw my mind unraveling, and I saw Percy turn into a sort of cow/robot thing. Percy claims he saw me turn into a zeppelin and began destroying France, and Alan claims he wasn’t phased at all, although he was kind of hungry for Cheetos.
In any scenario, we floated there for a while, mostly screaming things to the effect of “OH MY GOD MY SANITY” When Alan finally showed some initiative and looked around. It took him a while, as this dimension had at least 12 sub dimensions, and time could go in four directions, but he found it.
Car keys. Someone had lost their car keys in a dimensional portal, and that had somehow caused it to anchor itself into our reality. If I weren’t going insane at the time, I would have been seriously pissed, and muttering something to the extent of “I’d bet Gordon Freeman never had to put up with this type of bullshit…”
“Okay guys, you’d better get out. I left a part of myself by the portal, so just follow the… essence.” Alan said, looking down at his arm. It was neatly ripped off, but black strands were attaching it to the other end of his arm, which was holding open a blue pillar, or a portal, or something. In any scenario, he handed me the keys, and Percy was the first one to go. In a flash of blue light he was gone.
“Alan! What about you! You going to be okay? Once we take these keys out, will the portal close or anything?” I said. Actually, I screamed and babbled incoherently, but that’s probably what he heard, as he gave this really quite dramatic and poetic tangent about how he would be fine sacrificing himself for the greater good of humanity, or something like that. I think I was too fixated on the fact that I could see my legs turning into fez caps to really care. Anyway, he pushed me out, just before snarfing a handfull of my Cheetos.
I landed on solid ground in the lab, to see Percy, covered in a greenish goop. I too was covered, and suddenly there was another explosion noise.
The pillar was gone, and the scientists were slowly getting back to their feet, then beginning to argue and hug each other at the same time, and we realized that it might be wiser to run before they called security, who we figured was still sobering up as well. After we got outside, the sky was back to its normal color, and the pillars were gone. Percy carefully removed his porn-circuit hat, and then smiled.
“It’s fine… except for this green goop…” He said, looking at the green stuff covering the two of us.
“Yeah, this is my favorite hoodie too.” I groaned, and we walked back home.
I can’t say I really missed Alan, as two days later he phased into existence right outside my window in the middle of the night. He broke his leg from the fall, and couldn’t stop talking about tulips and salmon, but he eventually sobered up and learned how to recreate his leg to his liking, and now has a sort of weird orange foot. That hoodie of mine was washable, and the green goop didn’t leave any stains, which I’m very grateful for. Percy took the webcams down, but only because a girl with more substantial boobs moved in down the street, and my Mom and Dad are still the same, except dad’s parasite thing has now caused his hair to turn blue.
It all works out sometimes.
I just try to say I live a normal life. Maybe someday I will, but hey, in the long run I think this is just slightly more interesting.
*This was later explained by my brother, Alan, when he explained that the annoyance dimension and the apathy dimension were only two layers apart, separated only by the macaroni dimension.
**Cheetos. Stoner’s Kryptonite. Or at least Alan’s Kryptonite.
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