Day 38
Between the Roads

/absurdist comedy/

My father once told me, “When you hit rock bottom, Bullet, there is no place to go but UP.”

It’s been a difficult time, but I was determined to continue living to the fullest, despite all the pain and horrors of the past hours. That’s why I felt proud to stand upright after hanging upside down from the tree. All sorts of thoughts invaded my mind, but each time I came back to one; perhaps the most important: where’s my Sobekneferu? Would I ever find her? Is she dreaming of me as I dream of her? And what is love? 

I read somewhere that love, any kind of love, has its stages. It begins with adoration, then turns to longing, and changes slowly to attachment, and finally to a union. You can’t even imagine how often I dreamed of it on cold lonely nights in my small studio in Rsa. My mother, instead, always told me that love (any kind and at any stage) was a trap, and that’s why she ended up with my spineless, uninspiring, and, always satisfied with so little, father ⁠— she was deceived, lured into that perfect idyllic union. I played along; an advocate of the “love is a trap” doctrine. In reality, I was non compos mentis, and the only sanity was my hope of finding Sobekneferu ⁠— the joy, the stream of life, that would push my disastrous sexual experiences upward. 

Mr. Harmless

 I sighed, turned to the left, and started to walk when I heard a soft splash of water. I hid behind the trees, waiting until the beauty turned her face to the shore. It was The Sherriff. She shone in a strange dim light ⁠— sole perfection! Her skin looks too damn good for a woman who’s been dead for almost a month, I said to myself. Her breasts showed zero signs of decomposition, too. At first, I got angry, then ⁠— frightened, and after a couple of seconds ⁠— frustrated. Did it stop me from walking out of my hiding spot when I saw her in the morning light swimming in that lake? No. Hardly. I crawled to the shore (much faster than you’d expect from a damaged man like me). I knew it was the step UP in my arduous journey – the moment of establishing contact with the other world (where I was the real human, made of bones and flesh, and she was something else ⁠— the beast and fiend). 

The Sherriff

 Because of the increased speed and the sand in my eyes, I bumped into the stone and… what do you think? Yes! I dropped into the same pool of blood from Madame Jack, which I had escaped just minutes ago. I got up and slammed my fist in anger on a nearby tree. The pain sobered my senses. I made a brave decision to leave Gunung Kinabalu for good and get back to Rsa ⁠— to heal, lick my wounds, and speak with my mother. But destiny, as always, made another decision. 

According to the Second Assistant, Ms. Break de Roof, she found me in an absolute “cuckoo state,” I was so scared and shaken that she decided to knock me down again. Then she hung me in the same spot (and explained she needed more time to think about what to do with me and to determine if I really was Mr. Harmless or some freak from Beluga Clan). She told me later that I spoke of the dead Sherriff while unconscious: I even swore I saw the Sherriff swimming in the lake while she rode a snake and carried a torch, one in each of her six hands. 

 I was so paranoid that even wonderful Ms. Break de Roof appeared with three heads: the first ⁠— human and pretty; the second belonged to Madam Jack; and the third ⁠to the Egyptian ape-headed Thoth. Or, probably, I had psychic abilities and could finally see her true nature?

When I calmed down a little, Ms. Break de Roof informed me of the latest changes in the Kingdom: revolution, the division of the territory into two parts, the escape of Ms. Vegas, the disappearance of box #9, and the change of the local king and queen. Martha and Mr. Bip SoBeIt ruled a large part of the kingdom now ⁠— the so-called Prudent Village; Alexander Raphael got the minor part of the clinic and the territory around it.
I was too tired to listen, so I clung to her feet and folded my trembling hands, repeating: “I want to go home; please, take me home.” Her next move was like an apocalypse – fast and demolishing (I didn’t need much at that stage). Ms. Break de Roof chuckled and showed me the puffy side of her untrimmed temple. I admit, it touched my heart: I slathered my majestic sword, awaiting a massive ear-splitting attack from the charming assistant. 

Ms. Break de Roof

 Our joyful dance was captured by the eye of two passing guards: Medusa and Jellywobble. They tied us up and delivered us to the Palace. There, my ex-wife, new Martha, dressed in a long gown made of the dead banteng and a crown full of gold needles, announced: “It’s my duty as Queen of The Prudent Village to caution you, Mr. Harmless. Our new laws forbid sexual encounters outside of the house.”
“Our new laws treat stealing bacteriophages as a severe crime, too. If you tell me privately where you hid box #9, I’ll let you live, Mr. Harmless.”
“Good heavens! Martha, it’s me… your ex-husband, Bullet. What’s the⁠—?”
“My name is Martha Antoinette Louise Diamantis SoBeIt! And by the law of the Prudent Village, you should⁠—” My ex-wife yelled. 

ex-wife, Martha – the Queen

 “Okay, okay, Martha Antoinette Louise Diamantis SoBeIt, whatever… I don’t have it. Put it in capital letters if you wish! To steal is not my style at all. And you know me, I am an honest man.”
“You have the time to find it.” She paused. “Until 4 o’clock this afternoon.”
“What time is it now?” I asked impatiently.
“3.58. The time is ticking… What are you waiting for? Go!” 

I saw a tall, bearded man in a long white robe at the other end of the room. He began to sing a prayer in a high-pitched voice. I tried to hide under the dining table, behind curtains, and in the bathtub, but nothing helped – the clock struck 3.59.
I dived through the iron door, rushed along the wet corridor, and ran into the room, which, as it turned out, was the Royal Kitchen. An almost invisible silhouette leaned over a huge saucepan and stirred something with a wooden spoon. On the table, by a saucepan, stood box #9. A sigh of relief left my chest… And then the clock struck 4.00. 


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