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Old April 3, 2018, 08:24 PM   #6 (permalink)
Hoskuld Coal-beard
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Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Port Alyxandrya
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Hoskuld Coal-beard is a benevolent AdventurerHoskuld Coal-beard is a benevolent Adventurer
Since somebody asked...

One of my writings from one of my own prompts:

Little Tommy Ligotti is complaining about his parents asking him to clean his room.
This is what I have so far:


I have found myself, in all the years of my life-few though they admittedly are- confronted, or rather *beset*, by the most preposterous of demands. These preposterous demands seem calculated less to extract some sort of advantage from me to benefit any other known party than to insult me for the perverse amusement of some inchoate, unpersonified interest. The treasures levied, the offices exacted, the observances required by these preposterous demands seem less like offerings to placate named deities, and more like senseless, nihilistic renunciations, as if the faith desired proved itself in the very uselessness of the sacrifices, rather than in the details of their content. And the pointlessness of these demands, along with the undefined nature and dubious existence of their beneficiaries, are only the most conspicuous features of their preposterous makeup. There are others I could name, and indeed, those features are the only things connected with the source of these preposterous demands that I *could* name.

These bizarre exactions are numerous, for as I said I am *beset* by them. But there is one in particular that stands out in its outrageousness, its enormity lending it a degree of monstrous individuality among the otherwise deranged and disordered horde of ridiculous stipulations that afflict my existence. I am referring, of course, to the preposterous demand that I clean my room.

It might seem that the fact that this demand stems from a cleary-defined and identified set of agents, namely my parents, would undermine any suggestion that they emanate from some howling void of inanity, but this is not the case. On the contrary, the very fact that the void has taken the guise of something as vulgar and banal as mom and dad to clothe its preposterous demands merely calls that much more attention to its horrific emptiness. The nameless demander could not show its own face, perhaps does not even have a face to show, yet it appropriates the guise of my parents, throwing its voice like some demonic ventriloquist into an imposture of their mundane familial authority. The effect is as if Satan himself has possessed a person, only to have that person write down a perfectly normal-looking shopping list of items nobody really wants.

My parents do not in any way that I can tell benefit from my room’s being clean. They never use it, never show it to guests; indeed, the only time they set foot in it at all is to recite the inevitable preposterous demand. Complying with that demand, arranging my congeries of puppets into some pretense of order, removing extraneous items of clothing from the floor, making my bed, and so forth, does not seem to provoke any sort of satisfaction in the agents speaking the demand, nor in the howling void throwing its voice into them. Defiance and non-compliance seems to provoke little more than the slightest of annoyance and the pettiest of punishments, along with the simple repetition of the demand. “How many times have I asked you to clean your room?” my mother often asks me. And the tone of befuddlement suggests to me that she genuinely does not know. The void speaking through her apparently does not keep count.
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