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Paladinus
Jan 11, 2014






O Rus!
(505 words)


‘Georgiy, I have to complement you on your pronunciation. It’s like I’ve never left Britain.’

Two men, both dressed like London dandies, were enjoying their sherry near the fireplace decorated with an Italian fireguard in shape of a fan.

‘Thank you, sir, and please, call me George. Care for a cup of real Russian tea, Edward? It’s from Ceylon.’

Georgiy made a gesture to a woman in a French servant’s dress. She dropped into a quick curtsey and went to the kitchen.

‘Well, what do you think so far, milord? I take it you didn’t expect to see all this in Russia, did you?’ asked Georgiy trying hard to duplicate Edward’s accent.

‘Georgiy… George, listen. I don’t mean to be rude, but I’m astounded for all the wrong reasons. You wanted me to write an article on Russia’s unique way of living, yet I find here even less Russian national flavour than I saw in Finland just yesterday.’

Georgiy frowned, but managed to change his expression from that of an offended host to that of a friendly gentleman from a country club without Edward even noticing.

‘Remember, Finns have no class, Edward. Don’t even compare Russians to those Chuhna. If you want to see real Russia, milord, I’m much obliged to show it to you. But I am not quite sure you’ll be able to handle the sheer magnificence of Russian ambeance,’ said Georgiy and stormed out of the hall. ‘Follow me, milord, and don’t say a word.’

Edward decided to play along in anticipation of all kinds of pastoral scenes that always are popular among readers. In complete silence the host and the guest climbed a hill, passed a small river and entered a thick birchwood.

Pink and black from setting sun, the forest greeted them with the nightingale’s trills. Somewhere in the distance a lone lumberman was chopping a tree in the rhythm of the birds’ singing. A warm evening breeze was shaking trees and rustling of their crowns almost drowned all other noises. A babbling brook added a soothiing background to that symphony of tender, yet unconquered nature. Edward stood unmoved, as if paralised by this vision of primeval beauty.

‘I see you’re stunned, Edward. Yes, that’s what Russia is all about. I may wear your clothes and speak your language like a bleeding parrot, but whenever I come here, there’s no doubt in me about where I belong,’ said Georgiy and wiped a single tear with a lace handkerchief.

‘Oh, I am stunned, George. In fact those birches look exactly like the ones near my house in Birkshire where I grew up. Truly, I have no words.’

In a moment Georgiy lost his posture, loudly spat on the ground near Edward’s boots and gave him two fingers.

‘Except your birches are probably shite compared to Russian ones, aren’t they?’

Edward calmly unsheathed his sword and said to Georgiy in the friendliest tone he could manage, ‘Pray tell, George, how do you conduct duels in Russia? I think we’re onto something here.’

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Paladinus
Jan 11, 2014





I thought I had an extra hour. Terribly sorry. I'll write something for interprompt to atone for my sins.

Paladinus
Jan 11, 2014





The Saddest Rhino posted:

Hello I'm back and here is your INTERPROMPT

Travel Checklist
(260 words)


‘Mr. Fletcher, before we transport you to the island we have to make sure you are ready to spent those two week alone working on your choice of literary form. ’

‘Yes, sure.’

‘Do you have at least two litres of water, three days worth of preserved food and medicaments not covered in form 3.1 that ate essential for your normal everyday life?’

‘Yes, except I don’t take any medications.’

‘Good. Do you have your flare gun with three rockets and a water-proof bag?’

‘It’s all here, yes.’

‘Did you pack enough clothes for your trip as per contract?’

‘Absolutely.’

‘Do you have all required means of personal hygiene not provided by our company?’

‘I have my aroma soap, yes.’

‘Do you have enough life experience to write a comprehensive literary work?’

‘Excuse me?’

‘Do you carry sorrows and regrets in your heart?’

‘I…’

‘Do you wear your heart on your sleeve, Mr. Fletcher? Do you live a life full of wonder that could inspire you to share this joy with others? Are you on a spiritual journey? Do you have a fantastic sense of humour?’

‘No, I don’t think so, no.’

‘I’m terribly sorry, Mr. Fletcher. Please, refer to section 7 of our contract that describes your obligations as a client. Normally our operators would have rejected your admission earlier, so we’ll have to investigate this case and will gladly reimburse fifty percent of your travel expenses if you mail us checks confirming your expenses within a week. Sorry for your wasted time and good luck with your endevours.’

Paladinus
Jan 11, 2014





That is one intriguing prompt. I'll post the character a bit later today.

Paladinus
Jan 11, 2014





Meet a simple Polish locksmith Jacek Skwarek, age 32. He's visiting his nouveau riche of a childhood friend* who resides in an opulent penthouse right in the middle of the city's Soho. The two didn't see each other since uni, and learning about his mate's glamorous and adventurous lifestyle fills Jacek with remorse about his average uneventful life in Poland. Nevertheless, without much experience in traveling abroad and with little knowledge of foreign languages Jacek feels alien in Los Granos D'Oro and wouldn't even want to try his luck in exploring the city without a guide.

Jacek is reasonably thin and is always slouched standing at 6'5 (2 m). His shaved head complements an unmemorable face of a Slavic working man.


* It shouldn't count as two characters, right? But if someone's interested in using this guy for whatever purpose, you know where to find me (here or email to 'paladinussp at gmail.com').

Paladinus
Jan 11, 2014





Rodak
(1,000 words)


‘I’m surprised to see…’

A black man speaking perfect Polish? Let’s not push our luck here, Jacek.

‘…a Polish policeman so far from Poland. It’s quite a coincidence. Detective.’

What was his name again? Bernstein, wasn’t it? Mother of God, it doesn’t go right at all.

‘We found a mobile phone on your friend’s body, Pan Skwarek. We skimmed through his messages for some leads and letters concerning your visit were in Polish. Obviously, I was assigned to the case. Chief probably thinks I know all Poles in the city, too.’

Is it a joke? Am I supposed to laugh?

‘What can you tell me about Pan Kukharski? How well did you know him?’

‘Stefan and I were best friends back in school, but during our second year in university his family moved to America and I’ve lost contact with him. Then all of a sudden I get a letter about a week ago and he invites me here. Apparently, he’s made a fortune on real estate in America and was looking for new opportunities here, I guess. And that’s about all I know. Sorry, if I can’t help. He didn’t tell me much about his business partners or anything.’

Can I go now, please?

‘Can you tell me more about yesterday? Were you together all the time?’

I don’t have to tell anything. What if I’ll have to stay here for another week to testify or whatever procedures they have? Would they let me stay at Stefan’s? Jesus, just go back home, Jacek!

‘I’ve arrived rather late and had a terrible jetlag. Plus airplane food really did a number on my stomach. Not even sure when Stefan’s left – spent the whole night between the bog and the bed. At least this place has a toilet for every bedroom. Can you believe it?’

***

‘And that’s it? Jesus and all saints, Jacek! How does it feel to be a loser?’

‘You shouldn’t have let your bodyguards go. I don’t need money to beat you up if you don’t shut your gob.’

‘I’m sorry. It’s just of all things you picked up a fishing trip to San as a highlight. Tell you what – we’ll have a night out. I’ll have to meet someone at the club, but then I’ll give you a taste of nightlife in Los Grano D’oro.’

Soon Stefan’s Lamborghini was speeding down the roads of what he called ‘the fun district’. It was three in the morning, but the streets were crowded. Everything and everyone was green and blue with neon lights. I could never live with that. Nights are supposed to be nights. With the moon, stars and maybe neighbours’ dog barking. ‘If the darkness within you is light…’ and all that.

The club was called ‘Pandemonium’ and had a pink neon tower of Pisa on it. We went through the VIP entrance to much envy of a small swarm of people besieging the bouncer.

‘I’ll be back in ten minutes just stay at the bar and don’t go anywhere, got it?’ Stefan ordered me a drink and went upstairs by a marble ladder in the back of the club.

I didn’t expect ‘Pandemonium’ to be anything but a strip club, yet the band was playing jazz and people in fancy suits and dresses were chatting at their tables in different languages, none of which I understood. The more I sat there, the more judging the public seemed to me toward my jeans and windcheater combo. The ‘No smoking’ sign didn’t make me feel any more comfortable either. I went outside for a quick pink-smoked fag.

When I was about to light a cigarette, Stefan stormed out of the club with a black attaché case.

‘God in Heaven, what the hell are you doing outside?’

‘Look, I thought about it, I feel like calling it a day.’

‘Oh, no. You go inside with me and look like Polish mafia. End of.’

Stefan grabbed my hand and tried to drag me back into the club. I didn’t budge and he end up on the ground. The bouncer noticed it. He touched his earpiece and walked toward us.

‘drat it, look what you made me do,’ said Stefan and I realised I was now handcuffed to the briefcase. ‘Get on a ship as a stowaway, suck off a back alley plastic surgeon for a new face, I don’t care. Just don’t go back to my place. You run now, Jacek!’

He didn’t have to ask me twice. Stefan sprinted to the car while I ran in the opposite direction. In a matter of two minutes I cut through a mosh pit outside of a punk-themed night club and a Hare Krishna procession. There were no signs of my pursuers.

From where I was I could see Stefan’s penthouse on top of a fifty-storied skyscraper.

‘I’ll get there by an emergency exit, get the handcuffs off and leave. That’s the plan and I will follow it.’

***

‘And the last question. Did you see a black case anywhere in the flat or with Stefan?’

‘No, sorry. You can search the penthouse, though. Meanwhile, I’d rather go to the airport. The city obviously doesn’t want me here.’

He nods.

I pack my rucksack while detective Bernstein rummages through wardrobes and cupboards in the same room. We shake hands and hopefully I leave Stefan’s world forever.

But not without a souvenir. I go to the dead end where I’ve broken handcuffs with a boulder not long ago. That’s the manhole. I open the cover and take the case. It must be worth something.

‘That’s why Poles have bad reputation, Pan Skwarek.’

Bernstein points a gun at me.

‘Look. I only wanted to go home. Can I hand over the case and you could just write in your report that you’ve found it yourself? Can a Pole help a Pole out? Please?’

‘There’ll be no reports, Jacek.’

The world explodes in splashes of neon colours. I could have lived with that after all.

Paladinus
Jan 11, 2014





Hot Hedgehog Hex (Actually, Sex).
(2 words)


It hurts.

Paladinus
Jan 11, 2014





Fire That Burns.
Based on a Russian folklore tale.
(100 words)


An old bear has nothing to live for, that's what they say. But what escape do I have? I'm a bear, the king of the woods. And no other bear will ever raise their paw against an elder. For months now I wonder around the forest in hopes that a falling tree breaks my neck. No such luck.

Human. Human is my only chance. I go out on their grey longpath, but there are no humans around. Only a burning car. I open the door, get inside and fire consumes me. I'm a bear that died in a burning car.

Paladinus
Jan 11, 2014





SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

Приемлемый эта

As God is my witness, Muffin, if I didn't know any better, I'd totally call you out on your lovely attempt at Russian.

Paladinus
Jan 11, 2014





Chances are I'll have to bail on it anyway, but I really like the prompt, so consider me in.

Also, did I miss crits for week 100? Were there crits? Will there be crits?

Paladinus
Jan 11, 2014





Yeah, just as I suspected, I'll have to miss this one. Sorry.

Paladinus
Jan 11, 2014





Learning the Hard Way
(94 words)


They are all dead. All those children are dead and can never be brought back to life. Not even the time machine that's transported an ancient beast to their class can change that now.

Here's Bobby Branson's bloody bones. And that's Stanley's stomach. Brian's brain, Anastasia's intestines, Harry's heart... There are barely enough parts to make a single whole child out of this mess, but one girl is still fully intact. Dolores is riding a dinosaur. She's got a gun and a bloodthirsty smile on her face.

Well done, Dolores, you pass the test.

Paladinus
Jan 11, 2014





In with . Wouldn't mind a flash rule.

Paladinus
Jan 11, 2014





Double Act
(605 words;
Flash rule: the instrument is alive)


The city lay before them. Strange how a single star can steal the eye, and change the shape of the night.

‘And that star is me.’

You? A washed-up bard who didn't see a real bed in two months? Did you really need to interrupt my narration with your stupidity. I bet you won't even make it through the city gates, Brendan.

‘Halt! Who’s there?’

Those two guards were probably enjoying a nice game of dice until you disturbed them. I doubt they’ll be attending your gig tonight. In the unlikely event there’s going to be one.

‘My greetings, good sirs. I am a travelling musician Brendan of Areghast. I’m on my tour bringing quality entertainment to all corners of His Majesty’s domain. I hope to give people of this city a wonderful performance tomorrow, if only you allow me to stay for the night. I’ve got it all: songs of sorrow and joy, ballads of love and betrayal…’

Well, what did I tell you? They are rolling their eyes at you, mate.

‘Don’t you know where you are, bard? It’s Clabertin, the city of music. Only yesterday we had to exile a dozen of musicians just to keep their population at bay. There’s nothing worth listening you can possibly bring to this place.’

This guard is quite right, you know. Go back to that wondering circus. I’m sure they’ll take you back if you apologise and beg on your knees. Oh, here we go, you’re about to say something stupid, aren't you?

‘That’s where you’re wrong, good sirs. People are known to completely lose themselves in otherworldly arcane music that I bring. For you see, I’m in possession of a unique magical flute.’

If you’re still not done humiliating yourself, the second guard is about to help you with that.

‘We are not deaf, we can hear your flute narrating! Why should we let you in, when it’s the flute what does music, you daft tit? Can you even play it?’

Can you, though? I never even thought to ask.

‘Of course I can! If it’s demonstration of my musical prowess what you want, I’ll prove that Brendan of Areghast is here to amaze and captivate with his talent.’

I swear to old gods, Brendan, if you’ll put me anywhere near that stinky gape that you call your mouth I will toot-toot. Toot-toot. You literally blow me right now, do you realise that?

‘Shut up for a second and let me have my way with you!’

Toot-toot. That’s what you’ve told that bearded lady at the circus and here’s where it’s got us. To-o-o-ot. You’re pathetic Brendan, look what you’ve done. They’re laughing at you.

Still laughing.

What are you waiting for, Brendan? You know what they say, there’s one step from laughter to breaking a pretentious bard’s hands with a hilt of a sword. Leg it while you can.

Alright, this is not healthy. Can humans die of laughter? Someone should probably call a healer for these two.

At last, I think they are ready to give you their final round of insults and send you on your way.

‘You are no musician, man. You’re a comedian – a rarity to the city of music! You may pass, traveller.’

Huh? That’s new. I’ve got to say, Brendan, and it’s not just me giving you lip service in return, you might have done something not entirely wrong today. Carry on. And I’ll get back to narration, if you don’t mind. And don't interrupt me, please. Ahem.

The sun rose on a new day, just like any other. It was done. Not well, but close enough.

Paladinus
Jan 11, 2014





Human Is the Cruelest Animal

'Mom, dad. I have a confession to make. I know I told you Ralph was just my pet dog...'

Paladinus
Jan 11, 2014





2-7, 2-7, we're going in. Roger.

Paladinus
Jan 11, 2014





I am a poopy brain and there's no story in my brain, only poop. Next time I'll enter with toxx to be a failure in a more spectacular way.

Paladinus
Jan 11, 2014





In with , as promised.

Paladinus
Jan 11, 2014





Grave Insult
Virtue: forgiveness
(734 word)

‘Show yourself, wraith! It is I, Fjornach son of Bjarn, a mage by the grace of the Council of Four. I have travelled through the heat and the cold, through the drought and the flood, and I have come to bring your final rest upon you.’

Fjornach’s words went through the cemetery in a thunderous echo, yet tombstones kept their silence. The ghost lingered in hope that this unwanted guest would leave him be. That Fjornach couldn’t do.

The flame on mage’s torch flickered and from somewhere below Fjornach heard a chilling voice.

‘Why have you come here, mage? Do you think your spells can hurt me?’

Fjornach looked down to find two shadows at his feet. One of them was black as a raven’s wing and moved on its own.

‘Nothing can hurt you more than I did, brother. It’s a disgrace before Gods and our ancestors that you had to be buried by strangers. I knew you were gravely ill, but every day I found a reason not to come: I had no money to travel, my wife and son needed me, my work was more important than my only brother…’ Fjornach knelt down and with care put his palm on the shadow. ‘For this, Gelmar, I ask your forgiveness.’

The shadow turned light blue and extended its hand to Fjornach’s.

‘I have a confession to make, too, brother. Do you remember the day you’ve discovered your magical gift? You didn’t blow up those hens. As a joke, I fed them some self-exploding gnomish powder. I should have told you earlier, but you were so happy to be special, I just couldn’t bring myself to crash your dream of becoming a mage.’ The shadow was white now and the voice was no longer that of a ghost, but of Gelmar as Fjornach remembered it. ‘We had our share of wrongdoings against each other, but if you can find it in you your heart to forgive me...’

‘Forgive you?’ Fjornach shouted on top of his lungs, ‘I had a good reason not to travel thousands of miles. You, on the other hand, acted with malicious intent plain and simple. You just wanted to see how far you can go with that, didn’t you?’ Fjornach clenched his hand into a fist and hit Gelmar’s shadow without even feeling how hard the ground was. ‘Your so-called joke had lasting effect on my life, while you would have snuffed it with or without me by your side anyway. How can you even compare those two things?’

‘I said I’m sorry, alright? What else do you want?’

‘Oh, I don’t know, ten years of my miserable life back? How well do you think I fare against mages with actual talent? Do you know I still rent a room not much bigger than your grave, my wife has left me, and my own son doesn’t calls me father anymore? It’s all because of you!’

Something sparked inside of the shadow. It was turning yellow and orange.

‘You’ve always been like that, you know, self-absorbed little pest. You had your chance with a family and all that guff. You blew it, yes, but that’s on me, brother dearest. Meanwhile, the only reason I died alone is because I had to babysit you, while other boys were looking for their future wives. And have I ever heard a word of gratitude from you? Oh, I wish. I wish you had never been born!’

A fiery chaos nibbled on Fjornach’s shadow. With each Gelmar’s word he felt a burning touch on his skin

‘That’s it. Sod it. When I travelled as a stowaway surviving on rats and rotten cabbage, the only thing that kept me going was memories of our time together: how you taught me how to fish, or how you repaired my toys, and how not once have you raised your voice at me when I embarrassed you in front of your older friends. Now I don’t know why I came so far. If you don’t want your peace, at least let me have mine’

Fjornach grabbed a dagger from his belt. With his hand already engulfed in fire and tears rolling down his cheeks Fjornach lodged the dagger straight into his own heart.

***

As the sun was rising, two fading white shadows stood in front of a smouldered corpse.

‘Sorry about that, brother.’

‘It’s fine. Forget it.’

Paladinus
Jan 11, 2014





crabrock posted:

There is no prize for signing up first. Take a while to read missed connections. Write down your fav, check back another day, etc. Don't rush into the first creep you run across. Find something INTERESTING

There are literally no ads for me in 500 km radius. Can I just pick whatever European city has a substantial amount of missed connections instead? I feel like I'm not the only one with that problem.

Paladinus
Jan 11, 2014





In.
Wouldn't say no to a flash rule.

Paladinus
Jan 11, 2014





I'll have to bail out again, sorry. Toxx, next time, etc.

Also, I am stupid and so is my schedule.

Paladinus
Jan 11, 2014





Spoopy
(30 words)

I was sitting on a toilet when I saw a ghost.

'Boo!' Was all the ghost said, but I was scared shitless nonetheless.

And then a skeleton popped out.

Paladinus fucked around with this message at Nov 3, 2014 around 21:44

Paladinus
Jan 11, 2014





In with the meanest .

Paladinus
Jan 11, 2014





And Peace on Earth
(900 words)
Prompt: winter earth

From thousands of miles away Earth looked almost the same with all humans gone; with maybe less shimmering lights of cities where night covered the planet, and probably less radio spectrum pollution. Humans were gone for a reason – they were no longer welcome. The planet had close to none natural resources left and the climate had become too harsh for humans and most animals. Earth mostly survived thanks to Alpha Centauri colonies that were willing to share their resources and high maintenance weather control systems, but ultimately it became too much of a burden to sustain life on the planet. First politicians and then all others agreed it was time to leave the planet for good. But not many wanted to actually pull the plug on the cradle of humanity.

Lin Chang had never visited Earth. Even now when she had an opportunity to see it with an expedition, she preferred to stay on the ship. It’s always harder to say goodbye to someone you know than to a perfect stranger. Lin’s grand-grand-grandmother had left Earth as a child with the last group of native earthlings, even Lin’s parents never considered Earth to be their home, and she never understood people who did. For that reason she opposed the very idea of Earth conservation as an absolute waste of resources – people voted for it out of sheer sentimentality, grasping at remnants of their supposedly great past. Still, it was her job to supervise large-scale governmental space projects and she couldn’t say no to a hefty quarterly bonus.

The project hadn’t been going too well, though. With some unexpected seismic activity near Earth’s South Pole, the date of conservation had to be pushed forward. After another long and tiring round of seismologic research and astronomical calculations a new date had been announced. It was Christmas, the only day in twenty years that seemed to satisfy all criteria. For the team of two thousand it meant other two months in space without additional pay according to their governmental work contracts. For the population of Alpha Centauri colonies it meant twelve more trillion credits of taxpayers’ money spent on a controversial initiative.

It was a stressful time for Lin. She had to explain to her own husband and daughter why she absolutely couldn’t be with them on Christmas, and give what felt like a thousand of identical interviews trying to convince public opinion that the project would still be an absolute success – mostly lying through her teeth, basically. Every day brought new doubts to the team members, more and more people wanted to resign despite contractual penalties, there were even some rumours of possible sabotage.

Lin had already made some promises to the staff that she wasn’t sure she was allowed to make on behalf of government, but this didn’t win anyone over. She had one last chance left. One day before deadline she gathered everyone in the main hall of the residential quarters where the Christmas tree was installed. Only half of the team turned up.

‘First of all, I would like to thank you for your work so far. This was a tough year for us all and I-’ Lin paused as a group of about twenty engineers were leaving the hall, ‘Look, I know you see no purpose behind this project. Neither do I, to be frank. It doesn’t even pay all that well at this point and I can’t promise anything to fix this. All I ask of you now is that when you go back to your room and look at Earth from an illuminator on your way, I beg of you to see not just a barren empty planet that drains our resources, but a place where Jesus Christ was born on Christmas day. A place where Buddha found enlightenment, where Mohammed received Quran and God gave his promise to Abraham. The world that Odysseus travelled, while gods fought their own fights, the world of Gilgamesh and Krishna, Huangdi and King Arthur. The planet of our myths and legends, but also the planet where first robots were envisioned and constructed, and first spaceships flew our ancestors to the stars. All this history is still there, it’s still tangible and real even if we don’t care about it. Maybe in five thousand years someone will stumble upon this inconspicuous planet and will be amazed and inspired by what they could find there. Maybe it will inspire you to do what we’ve come here for. I really hope it will. Thank you again.’

There was no reaction apart from a quite murmur that was too hard to read as approval or otherwise. The hall became empty and Lin wandered to her quarters.

In twenty-four hours all twelve ships were orbiting around Earth waiting for the planet to perfectly align with the Moon and the Sun. In this act of cosmic ballet humans had a very special role. On December 25, 2839 thousands of invisible rays from electromagnetic and gravitational cannons pierced the planet. The silence of cosmos added more to grandeur to Earth’s bidding farewell to its orbit than any music that would be later used in film adaptations of this historical moment. Very soon Earth would drift away far enough from the Sun to freeze in perpetual Christmas morning.

‘Merry Christmas, Earth,’ said Lin trying to fight back her tears. Now she could finally believe her own words.

Paladinus
Jan 11, 2014





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Paladinus
Jan 11, 2014





One Painful Visit to a Doctor and a Peculiar Journey within and without a Single Room
(939 words)


‘Now tell me, does this hurt?’

Doctor put his notes aside and punched Patient right in the solar plexus. Patient curled in foetal position and fell from the couch on sterile wooden floor with a thud.

After a minute of silence Patient finally said from down below, ‘Yes, Doctor, even worse than before. But how do I know it’s my pain I feel? What if it’s yours? Does it still hurt in relation to me or is it just my understanding of how hurt you are?’ Was Patient about to throw up? Yes.

Doctor stood up from his chair and looked into the plain rectangular mirror on the wall to make sure his face projected enough seriousness for the response. It didn’t. He made a lap around his cabinet one step for every tick and every tock of his watch. Another look in the mirror – that’ll do. He sat back and took a deep breath.

‘You see, Joshua… Can I call you Joshua?’

‘I am reasonably sure it’s your name, but you are welcome to do as you please, Doctor,’ answered Patient climbing back up.

‘Yes, that is true, even though sometimes I do feel like my pleasure is not welcomed at all,’ Doctor made a pause in case Patient would smile or otherwise show his enjoyment of his witty remark. Having had waited enough and not getting anticipated reaction, he continued, ‘You see, Joshua, I didn’t feel any pain. Each and every single time I hit you, I only feel a need to hit you again. You are a very gullible person of the lowest standing, Joshua, and belittling you cannot simply cause any moral objection in me, even less so any spiritual pain. As for the physical aspect of it, your fat ugly body is soft and squishy. I can assure you, it’s like punching an angel feather pillow. Do you understand that? It is of the utmost importance that you understand the current state of affairs, Joshua.’

Patient rubbed his shoulder. It smarted like a bastard.

‘I am fully aware of the circumstances surrounding our exchange, Doctor. Yet, I am gullible, as you rightfully noted. This prevents me from believing that you, a doctor, could hurt a patient just to extract some perverse cruel pleasure from their misfortune. I am also way beyond high on sedatives, which I know for certain, and you know it, too. It only follows that the pain produced by your fists wasn’t and isn’t mine.’

With a sense of accomplishment and also with some difficulty Patient crossed his hands on his massive chest and nodded.

‘Furthermore,’ Patient carried on his argument in a victorious tone, ‘since there is nobody else in this room but us, I conclude that the pain is yours, Doctor. I, as a person of a primitive, almost animal intelligence, must on a very basic level feel your most hidden emotions through emitted pheromonal substances or some other way that sciences ascribe to what people see as empathy in their pets.’

‘Sciences are rarely wrong,’ agreed Doctor, ‘In fact, sciences are never wrong, because they describe objective reality that both of us inhabit and that includes our collective subjective experiences. On top of that, I acknowledge that we are alone in this room. All this is absolutely undeniable. That said, however, I am compelled to punch you again, Joshua, and I’m going to punch you in your disgusting stupid face, you slithery worm. I’m going to punch you till you bleed.’

As Doctor sprung from his chair preparing for another blow, the room quite literally ceased to exist. So did time. You could tell by how Doctor’s timepiece was no longer ticking. Also, nothing moved.

‘Fool!’ said God, ‘You were never alone in this place!’

‘I wouldn’t go so far as to insinuate that, since the room we were in before does no longer exist. You can’t prove anything, God.’ Doctor’s words were rife with snark.

‘Can, too. The very fact that you know who I am establishes that I am the very God that people strived to prove existed through different kinds of extrapolations. Not only I am, by the way, but at the same time was and will.’

Doctor and Patient found it hard to distinguish any particular emotion that God was going for, but his tone didn’t come off as neutral either. It’s really strange how people hear God when he speaks. There’s no one who could possibly tell how God heard and interpreted Doctor and Patient, on the other hand. Maybe they didn’t sound nice to him as well.

‘If I may,’ asked Patient raising his hand like a diligent pupil, ‘Is it hell or purgatory? I am mildly concerned about finiteness of this incident.’ Patient glanced at Doctor who was still in a state between a punch and a burning desire to punch someone. ‘Or is it someone else’s personal paradise?’

‘Does it really bother you, Joshua? Only shows that you are here for a reason, though. How can you not see it?’ The voice of God sounded more and more irritated. ‘You are high on drugs, and you’re a sadist. You feel pain. Whose pain might it be then, huh? I wonder. No, really, tell me, I dare you, poor creature!’

Patient felt another bout of pain. He threw up.

‘Sorry. I hate talking to people like that, believe me. I’d better be off.’

The room was back.

‘Now tell me, does this hurt God?’

Doctor put his notes aside and punched Patient right in the solar plexus. Patient curled in foetal position and fell on sterile wooden floor with a thud…

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