PRABOB, this X-Day -1
Dr. Zinn <firstname.lastname@example.org>
P.S. I suppose you will forgive me if you do not
appear in the story.
by Dr. Hieronymous Zinn
(after the short story by Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
The day before yesterday, Simon Aardvarkovitch blurted out:
'Are you ever going to be sober, Hieronymous Leopold, for
A strange thing to ask. I don't take offence easily, I'm a
timid man, but all the same, here I've been made out to be
mad. You know how I hate to be insulted.
An artist painted a portrait of me, the peculiarities of my
appearance: 'You're a literary man, for all that," he said.
I let him do it, and he exhibited the picture in
alt.binaries.slack, as if anyone would see it these days. And
I read the caption: 'Go and look at this face, so unhealthy,
so close to insanity, is this a SubGenius? I bet HE NEVER
Well, all right, but really, how can people be so blunt in
print? On what is left of the Usenet everything must be
noble, full of ideals, PROCON, but this!...
It might at least have been expressed indirectly, that's
what style is for. But no, he didn't want to say it
indirectly. Nowadays humour and good style are disappearing
and abuse and wretched flaming are accepted in place of wit.
I'm not offended: I'm not enough of a literary man to go out
of my mind, as hard as I try. I wrote a story--it was not
printed. I wrote an article--it was rejected. I took a lot
of these articles round all the magazines, and they were
rejected everywhere: there was no "slack" in them, they said.
'What sort of "slack" do you want, then?' I asked
sarcastically; 'purple', 'mauve', or 'baby-poo green
They preferred pink, I think, not knowing "slack" from a
hole in the head. I gather they think it is fashionable.
I am certainly glad for alt.slack and the SubSite mirror
site, or not even the few survivors of the terror would ever
read my crap. Certainly not in the PinkMedia.
They really don't understand, do they? To make money I do
mostly translations from stolen Russian manuscripts for an
unnamed private entity. I write advertisements for spammers,
too: 'A rare opportunity! 10,000+ teenage beaver pictures
(18+ only)!...' I get a lot of money for stuffing envelopes.
I was commissioned by a publisher to compile 'How to Give Her
an Orgasm Every Time.' I have published about six of these
useful little booklets in my life. I would rather shove large
blades of grass up my nose.
I should like to make a collection of the witty sayings of
Voltaire, but in that neither I, nor most likely anyone I
know has ever read, or would even dream of reading Voltaire,
must less pay money to do so, I think that this is a furtive
and silly notion.
What people want nowadays is a cudgel, not Voltaire! We want
to kick in one another's teeth, while driving recklessly and
having our wing-wang squeezed and not spilling our drink.
And this is the essence of what is left of alt.slack.
As for madness, a lot of people have been written down as
mad in the last year, but how many of them have woven pubic
hair throw rugs on their bathroom floor? OR a six-foot-high
paper mache penis with a picture of Desi Arnez stenciled on
it? Mad is as mad does.
I remember a Spanish witticism at the time the French built
their first mad-house, several hundred years ago: 'They have
shut up all their fools in a special building, in order to
make us believe they are wise themselves.' What an
appropriate analogy for the virtual mad-house that is Usenet!
All of those individuals who the state thinks should not be
reproducing are culled by giving them a computer with
unlimited access at $20 a month!
But something strange is happening to me. My character is
changing and my head aches. I am beginning to see and hear
some very odd things. Not exactly voices, but as if somebody
close to me was going ' "Bob"-A.O.K., "Bob"-A.O.K., "Bob"-
What "Bob"-A.O.K. is that? I must find something to
distract me. Hearing voices is trite even in the movies.
Going out in search of distraction, I came across a funeral.
An individual I had known only from his writings, nominally
"ICEKNIFE," was being laid to rest in this cemetery--one of
the few reserved for the exclusive use of SubGenii in this
region. I will confess that the smell about the place was
staggering. There were several mourners, a lot of pretended
mourning, and a lot of open cheerfulness.
Granted that most, if not all of the remains had been
smuggled here from other cemeteries where the families or the
authorities had intended they be laid to rest; at great cost,
I am sure. But then I was confronted by a paradox: why the
expense--to steal those bodies--and then to unceremoniously
dump them in a stinking mass grave?
But then, with another waft of the foul wind came the
answer--that here, in these ornate and attractive crypts and
mausoleums, some with inlaid wooden floors, no less, were
those SubGenii who had paid their $30 to the Church; yet also
here, their brothers and sisters who had failed to spend that
meager stipend to insure their salvation, though still
SubGenii even in death, were consigned to a cesspit to decay.
I glanced cautiously at the dead faces staring forth from
the pit, fearing my own impressionability (for I will confess
that my own $30 payment is overdue.) There were mild
expressions and also unpleasant ones. I don't like the faces
of the dead; they make you dream of debts awaiting payment,
and the fate of the procrastinator.
After the funeral I went out for a walk around the cemetery;
the day was cloudy but dry. I walked about among the graves,
urinating on several. With a device, I entered uninvited into
one of the finer of the crypts, expecting that at the end of
the day, when all others had left, to be able to loot it at my
leisure. My selection was advised, for the crypt had been
built to honor the one-and-only Reverend Ivan Stang, whose
wealth, in life, I supposed to have been immense.
Here I let my thoughts stray--to that horrific final year of
the Church of the SubGenius on earth--how ghastly! An irony,
I know, that months still remain before the much vaunted "X-
day" comes to pass--yet how many of them remain alive?
I suppose I must have sat there a long time, perhaps too
long; or rather, I even lay down, on a long stone which formed
the lid of the shell surrounding Stang's sarcophagus. I
helped myself to the scant offerings of moonshine whiskey and
cold cheeseburgers left at the door by some pious pilgrim.
And how did I happen to begin hearing different voices? I
paid no attention at first, but treated it with contempt. But
the conversation continued. I listened: the sounds were
muffled, as though issuing from mouths covered with pillows
(another irony, I supposed, briefly pondering on the fate of
Reverend Stang himself.) Yet in spite of that I roused
myself, sat up and began to listen attentively.
'In Re: X-day. I disagree with Tarla. I, for one, could
watch re-runs of the destruction of earth in great detail.
Couldn't we ask Gwar to hold off on their live concert for a
'In Re: X-day. It's not really a problem. As I keep
saying, time gets weird in space. HE told me so Himself. So
you can have your winking lizard sauce and eat your bat sperm
antidote pudding too!'
What arrogant talk, though! It was odd and unexpected. One
voice was so weighty, judicious and hateful, the other seemed
softly honeyed and calm; I should not have believed it if I
had not heard it myself. But who was speaking?
'In Re: LOSERS. Meeeoooowww!' came quite a different
voice, from a really new grave about a dozen yards away from
Reverend Stangs' position--a vulgar masculine voice modified
by a touch of sanctimoniousness.
'In Re: LOSERS. Drop dead Hal. Meowers got dumped at sea,
remember?', a fastidious, haughty and irritated voice that I
opined perhaps belonged to aramchek broke in. 'It's torture
to me to be next to that guy. Couldn't he be transferred to
the alt.discordia cemetery?'
'In Re: LOSERS. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but
whips and chains excite me! I wasn't stuck here of my own
accord. The mystery of death! Condemned prisoners are
supposed to be cremated, but I got stolen away from the CON by
the SG grave-stealing team.'
'In Re: LOSERS. We've nowhere to go now. We've all come
to our end, and before "Bob's" judgement-seat we are equal in
our sins, with equal chance to get aboard the Xist ships.'
Well, they'd done me a favour; they had consoled me, I must
say! If things have gone on so far here, and they still
expect to be picked up by the Xists? But what goings-on!
Shouldn't they be using an IRC or a straight chat-room format
instead of acting like they are still on Usenet? I mean, half
of the time, I couldn't even tell who was responding to the
messages. I went on listening, however, although it was with
unbounded indignation. I mean, what good is a first-class
seat, if you are square in-between two decomposing corpses?
I found myself trying to remember the sig lines of the dear
'In Re: Death. 'No, I wish I could live a bit longer!
No...you know, I...I wish I could live a bit longer,' said a
new voice suddenly from somewhere between Reverend Stang and a
voice I guessed to be that of Dr. Dynasoar.
'In Re: Death. 'Listen, Reverend Stang, our friend is on
again about the same old thing. For a week he doesn't post a
thing, then he whines about how BORING alt.slack.death has
(I started. This was new! I momentarily wondered whether
such a newsgroup existed before coming to my senses.)
'In Re: alt.slack.death 'Yes, Stang, DO TELL US AGAIN
about how you were molested on the slab by the Yeti babe
morticians' assistant--for the hundredth time :)'
'In Re: alt.slack.death SHUT UP!'
'In Re: alt.slack.death 'Wait a while and the new ones
will begin posting. bbombere.'
'In Re: Death. 'Are there any young ones down here? Don't
be bashful. I know they dumped a whole bunch of you
yesterday. But otherwise, I think that everybody within
twenty-five yards all round has been here since that big X-day
'In Re: What the fuck, over? This is Reverend Nickie! I
was being taken to the hospital to have a chip put in my brain
when something hit the helicopter and the whole thing
exploded. Where am I? What's going on? I...I...I'm so
'HOWDY This is modemac. You are dead and are going to
hell! The Southern Baptists were right! We are all DAMNED!
'In Re: HOWDY MegaLiz, you are one sadistic fuck. You
know that? Relax, Nickie, this is NENSLO. One: yes, you are
dead. Two: modemac isn't here yet, the CON hasn't caught up
with him--yet. Three: just chill for a few more months and
the Xists will be here. Four: if you notice a burning
sensation "down there" it's because Lou Duchez is in charge of
prepping the bodies.'
'In Re: HOWDY Was not. This is Lou. I'm dead too.
'In Re: What the fuck, over? This is Reverend Nickie
again! This can't be real. You're right, it's about as sore
as it can be! This isn't some really nasty CON trick, is it?'
'In Re: What the fuck, over? Ooooh! Ooooh! You're right
next to me! If I was alive I would just dig right over there
'In Re: SHUT THE FUCK UP!'
This is intolerable! However, I must go on listening and
not jump to conclusions. This snivelling new arrival--I
remember her in her pine box a short time earlier--with a
great big grin on her face, an utterly revolting expression.
I figured that it was just sloppiness on the part of whoever
had prepared the body, not a rigor mortis reaction to uh,
that. But what next?
Next came such a hullabaloo that my memory couldn't retain
it all, for a great many woke up all together: "posts"
concerning bad movies, strange music, X-day again, and jumbled
inquiries about current events from the recent arrivals. I
confess I learnt a good deal that was new myself, so that I
marvelled at the channels by which administrative news may
sometimes reach one in these final days. Then Ferdinande half
awoke, but for a long time muttered such complete nonsense
about graphical upgrades that our friends didn't badger him
(Oh, "Bob", did I use "that" word?), but left him to have his
sleep out. I confess that I was surprised too, to discover
that one young girl, of about eighteen, who giggled all the
time...with a vile and sadistic giggle, was teasing Pastor
Craig about the sexiness of his voice on the day when he was
gunned down at the microphone.
I then heard a startling confession:
'In Re: I wanted to send my $30. I wanted to be a
reverend, even spare changing to get the money. But I come
from a family of flunky pinks. I was just a wastrel belonging
to the pseudo-middle-class. My father is some sort of a
corporate wonk, who jerked my internet connection for
downloading SubGenius "cult" stuff, and ordering Scatalog
merchandise with his credit card. Oh, I have all sorts of
original ideas, Reverend Stang, and would have made a fine
reverend, but I really, really wanted to get my tongue
pierced. I would have sent the money, the next time I had
some, but I got a bad tongue infection and died. I guess they
took me here 'cause I had on a "Bob" t-shirt. Am I going to
get to go on the Xist ship? Bobbbie.'
The community uproar was so great that I could only
ascertain that the general feeling was negative, most often
just the single screamed word, "Bobbie!" Was his fate to be
determined by a democratic vote? A revolting idea! But a
voice in the din harkened forth:
'In Re: I wanted to send my $30. This is JESUS. Your
girlfriend sent in money for both of you, INSTEAD of getting
her other nipple pierced. You MUST have some slack for her to
have done this, so I would guess that your chances are about
one in ten.'
'In Re: I wanted to send my $30. Oh, that is so cool! I
really AM a slacker, you know, I even bought a pair of Nikes
so I can catch the comet! Hey! What's going on?'
I dashed to the door of the crypt just in time to see
gravediggers disintering what I somehow knew to be the young
man's body from the pit. I was astounded--how did they know?
I watched in fascination as they carried the corpse to a
waiting garbage truck, then unceremoniously pitch it inside.
The truck's compressor caused it to squirt like a grapefruit
as the truck was driving away.
So...that is the fate of the "Bobbie," I thought.
I returned to the lid of the sarcophagus to listen further.
'In Re: Radio show. Oh, Pastor Craig! I am just five
paces away from you, and I've only been here for four days.
He-he-he...' came a cracked girlish voice, with a sound in it
like the stab of a needle. 'He-he-he.'
'In Re: Radio show. And you're a nice lit-tle blonde with
big tits?' babbled Craig, jerking out the syllables.
'In Re: Radio show. He-he-he.'
'In Re: Radio show. I...for a long time...' panted Pastor
Craig, 'I have enjoyed dreaming of a nice little blonde...
about eighteen years old...and in those circumstances...'
'In Re: Radio show. Oh, monstrous! You deve!' exclaimed
'In Re: Radio show. I can see we have some excellent
material for discussion here. We'll soon have things arranged
for the better on board the ship. The main thing is to spend
the rest of the time pleasantly--there are only a few more
months left.' It was Reverend Stang speaking.
'In Re: Death. NENSLO is our home-grown philosopher,
scientist, and overall expert on details. He explains it all
by the simplest of facts, namely, that up above, we were
mistaken in supposing that in death there was death. But the
CON was mistaken in the same way. They thought that by
killing us off, the Xists would be forced to deal with them,
or perhaps that they would somehow appease the elder gods.
But the body revives again, as it were, here, the remains of
life are concentrated, but only in the mind. It's that--I
don't know how to express it--life continues by inertia, as it
were, at least until X-day. It's all concentrated, or so he
thinks, somewhere in the consciousness, and it continues for
our remaining time on this world. As far as "posting," that
is only for those who were computer literate in life. The
others just blurt out a few words now and then, usually quite
meaningless, like that one fellow who just occasionally shouts
out, "Bob--A.O.K!"--but that means that even though he didn't
hang out with us on Usenet, he still went to the devivals, and
is assuring us that he is still a SubGenius.'
'In Re: Death. That's enough, I'm sure the rest is all
rubbish. The main thing is that the ships will be here soon
to pick us up. I propose that everybody should spend this
short time as agreeably as possible and that for this purpose
we should arrange everything on a new basis. Ladies and
gentlemen! I suggest we should get rid of all sense of
'In Re: Death. Oh yes, let's not be ashamed of anything!'
cried a great many voices, among them, strangely enough, some
completely new ones, which means they belonged to people who
had meanwhile reawakened. Ferdinande, now fully awake,
thundered out his agreement with special eagerness. The
eighteen year old girl sounded like she was having a climax.
'In Re: Death. I hear that they are planning a telepathic
link with the other SubGenii cemeteries, and maybe we can get
the non-computer types to kick in with some more ideas.'
'In Re: Death. That's all I want, because it's the most
important thing. It's not possible to live on earth anymore
without the CON lying, because life there and the CON lie have
become synonymous; well, here we'll tell the truth for a
change. Damn it, they can't kill us any worse than we are
already. I'll be the first to tell about myself. The great
thing is that nobody can stop us!'
'In Re: Death. I don't want to hear it. I already know
that you are a turd.'
And at this point I sneezed. It happened unexpectedly and
unintentionally, but the effect was startling: everyone
became silent, the whole thing vanished like a dream. The
last word I heard--I believe it was Reverend Stang yelling--
was "SECURITY!", then two huge hairy men burst through the
door of the crypt and manhandled me out of the cemetery. I
don't think my presence had made them ashamed, more likely
angry. I waited outside of the fence for about five minutes,
but there wasn't another word, not a sound. I can't suppose
they were afraid of being reported to the police, for what
could the CON do? I can't help coming to the conclusion that
they must have some secret unknown to mortals, that they are
careful to conceal from every mortal.
'Well,' I thought, 'I'll come to call on you again, my
dears,' and with that I went home with the resolve to send
my $30 as soon as I can mail it in--overnight express.
Imagine, debauchery in such a place intertwined with
planning and scheming for an imminent escape! The debauching
of the last vestiges of morality, of decency--not sparing even
these last few moments of humanness and integration with the
I shall visit other SubGenii cemeteries, I shall listen to
all of their sordid secrets, but I shall also go back to visit
this one. They promised to relate their tales of perversion
and rudeness--that should be entertaining. I shall go, I
shall certainly go; it's a matter of my lack of conscience!
But when or if the CON catches up with me, imagine their
surprise to find one among their midst who has been lurking
all of this time!
> Well versed in the efficacy of medicinal leeches,
> Dr. Fernwilder began detailed though controversial
> experiments, with less than volunteer subjects, in his
> garden grub-sinusitis theory.
-Dr. Zinn, from the novel
From: email@example.com (Rev. Random the Other)
Subject: Re: "Bob"-A.O.K. (please read)
Date: Mon, 07 Jul 1997 19:38:34 GMT
Organization: MindSpring Enterprises
X-Server-Date: 7 Jul 1997 19:37:04 GMT
X-Newsreader: Forte Free Agent 1.1/32.230
Xref: plnews alt.slack:75157
On Sat, 05 Jul 1997 17:24:44 -0700, "Dr. Hieronymous Zinn"
>THIS STORY IS DEDICATED TO THE DENIZENS OF
>AND THOUGH IT IS 'HUMOR,' I FEEL THAT IT MAY HOLD
>A STATEMENT OF IMPORTANCE FOR EACH AND EVERY
>PLEASE SAVE IT TO A FILE, SO THAT YOU MAY READ IT
>AT YOUR LEISURE.
>AFTER DOING SO, PLEASE RESPOND TO THIS POSTING
>with your thoughts.
>PRABOB, this X-Day -1
Why are you DOING this to me, Zinn? Why, Why, WHY?
Now it's Dostoyevsky. Are you trying to IMPROVE ME here?
You STILL got me quoting:
Now the New Year reviving old Desires
The thoughtful Soul to Solitude retires
When the brown nose of Haysus
Inhales Bad Parathion and he then expires
And now I have this Parasitic Meme:
>But the body revives again, as it were, here, the remains of
>life are concentrated, but only in the mind. It's that--I
>don't know how to express it--life continues by inertia, as it
>were, at least until X-day.
I have this image of hordes of dead SubGenii existing through
inertia alone, rising up and shambling towards Dallas. All the
while decomposing, terrifying the Humes with a putrifying
vengence, laughing as bits slough off...
The thought of one last party! And then, Salvation!!!!!
And as this wave of pungent Yeti nearly reaches the city,
a Darkness falls. The corpses collapse into unmoving heaps,
their decaying brains filled with the certainty of Final
Expiration. So close, and after such hopeless odds, after
such a magnificent reprisal. A howl of anguish rises from
the stinking heaps, feeding the Elder Gods; souls rise and
are consumed, the Harvest begins.
And "Bob", smiling, holding out a contract.
(and another meme where an intercepted Xist Xmission
reveals negotiations, demanding IMPROVEMENTS be made
to the crop, and "Bob" gleefully detailing the "Heironymous
Treatment." But that's another story...)
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Rev. Ivan Stang)
In article <33BEE5CC.6A70@asu.campus.mci.net>, "Dr. Hieronymous Zinn"
AN ABSOLUTELY AMAZING CONCEPT AND BEST X-DAY SHORT STORY EVER!!! Scared the
LIVING DEAD SHIT outta me, that's for sure.
During the X-Day Drill, we "organizers" were "camped" in a sort of
plumbingless, lightless house trailer. The walls were very thin, so thin
that in the wee hours, the voices heard whispering from room to room were
hideously reminiscent of the voices in this story. Creepy as all git out,
and would have been like Purgatory except that pretty soon we would all
just fall asleep. Between that thin-walled house trailer in the Drill dawn
and your story, I feel I can guess what it would be like to be entombed
with SubGenius Preachers Dr. Legume, Susie the Floozie, Jesus, Papa Joe
Mama, and our various sigs and Others. It's sort of like being stuck in a
bus or a Super 8 motel room with the same weirdos for hundreds and hundreds
of hours... FOREVER.
P.S. Dr. Zinn, the hot sauces you sent are all three OUT OF THIS WORLD!!
We've already put quite a dent in the Venganza and you'd be surprised how
much of the Sepukku and War Crimes I've consumed. (The others here won't
touch those two.)
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