THE NIGHTLY CHILL
By Steve Arviso
The Legend of Dead Ed, Part 1.
FIGHT THE DAWN!
As the sunlit sanity of the waking world burns the night to ash,embrace the unbound madness of your wildest dreams,
laugh into the endless abyss of your darkest fantasies,
and rage against the coming dawn.
The Nightly Chill is the unstable experience of the mind and madness of Steve Arviso (@AmoralCrackpot). Mon-Fri. Ish.
- BETWEEN THE CRACKS
- SEMANTIC SATURATION
- THE LEGEND OF DEAD ED, PART 1
- TRACK OF THE NIGHT
- ELSEWHERE: HIK’KAPPU
I think part of me writes this because I want to feel productive, like I’m not simply spinning my wheels as I wait for nothing else to happen. Another part does it out of some fear that if I stop, I’ve given up on years of work and pain. And yet another part does it out of some fear that if I stop, I might do something foolish in response to all my fears and anxiety.
But there’s a part of me that also writes this in the hope that maybe, just maybe, someone else might need the small distraction tonight. That’s the part I like most. I’m not sure how much truth there is to it, but I like it.
BETWEEN THE CRACKS
It’s been nearly 15 years since you left. Last month, I investigated the refrigerator myself. There was milk to spare. I’m starting to suspect you didn’t go to the store.
THE LEGEND OF DEAD ED, PART 1
Sometimes you just know a job isn’t going to go right the second you accept it. But you need the money, so of course you take it. But the whole time you know, deep-down, that whether it’s in a few hours or a few paychecks, this ain’t gonna last.
My dog, Fred, passed away a couple of months ago, and her last visit to the vet came with a hefty price tag. And my wife’s car needed way too many repairs recently. So, I did what any desperate soul in need of a sudden influx of cash would do in a case like this: I got me a part-time gig at the first place that would hire me. (I can’t tell you exactly where this all happened, but the guy with his name on the building really loves his arts and crafts.)
Anyway. I put in a job application on the weekend, and I get a call and an interview by Monday. I go in looking the way I probably smelled, the nice lady interviewing me gives no indication that she’s about to ask me to leave, and then she allows me to carry on for about thirty minutes as to why a struggling writer would ever be in need of something even remotely resembling a steady paycheck. And while I’m unsure whether it was my impressive, yet wholly unrelated resume, my desperate need for minimum wage, or my preferred choice of pre-interview marijuana that did the trick, this woman–who I assume was some sort of manager, though to this day I still don’t know for sure–graciously offered me the chance to move and stack boxes off a truck in the dead of night in exchange for money.
So I go to orientation on a Thursday, which is really just several hours spent alone in a room on a computer, watching a bunch of PowerPoint slides turned into videos. And while I’m sure the weed was doing it’s fair share in altering my perception of time, the fact that these unskippable slides were recorded in a single take by someone who clearly stumbled out of an opium den didn’t make things go by any faster. Words were slurred. Syllables stretched until they snapped. Heavy breathing and awkward pauses. And it all sounded as if it were produced with a couple of walkie-talkies and someone’s phone.
(There’s probably something worth noting here about a major company having worse production values for its mandatory training videos than some kid’s YouTube channel, but it all made sense come the end.)
Fortunately, not one thing said by the strung-out corporate drone recording their lines into an old conference phone actually mattered once I showed up for my first shift at 5 o’clock the next morning.
Of course nothing really matters when you step out of your car, into the brisk, early-morning air of a dark parking lot, and find yourself faced with collapsing mountains of unorganized boxes (still being ejected from the back of a truck, by the way) and just as many unorganized minions waddling about and cackling amongst each other.
Now. I was originally asked to come in at one o’clock that morning to help unload this very same truck. After I straight-up laughed at this request, they had me come in at five. So, imagine my lack of surprise as I stood there in that dark parking lot, shortly before five, and saw twenty people still emptying and sorting it all out.
But before I could turn my ass around and drive back home, someone finally acknowledged my existence. And after I was asked to falsify my written time-sheet so that I could start twenty minutes early (unpaid and off-the-clock–a big “no-no” according to those shitty videos, of course), I clumsily climbed and crawled up and into the back of a sixteen wheeler (because who needs a ladder or proper steps?), and met a man simply and plainly referred to as, “Ed.”
Ed was a tall, lanky fellow. Bald, big glasses. Somewhere between the ages of twenty and forty-two. He said little, and felt less. I watched him grab a large box marked “fragile,” and watched as he absently threw it on the portable conveyor belt with little care as to whether or not it actually made it off the truck. There was no life in Ed’s eyes, only the task at hand and his animated corpse performing it. Pick up the box, throw the box. Pick up the box, throw the box.
Ed and I were the only ones on that truck. And I had three hours, fifty-five minutes left to go.
TRACK OF THE NIGHT
Tarzan Boy (1985) by Baltimora
Commonly found in the chest cavity of mammals, the numerous needle-like appendages of a fully-matured Hik’kappu not only serve as sensory organs, but also to stimulate what was once believed to be an involuntary contraction of the diaphragm.
Some researchers believe this serves little-to-no purpose, while others claim this is an effort by the Hik’kappu to coax its host into performing a rudimentary mating call.
However, the manner in which the Hik’kappu enters the chest cavity of a given host remains the biggest mystery of all.
— Dr. Howard Fine, on the “Hik’kappu”
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YOU ARE NOT ALONE
THE NIGHTLY CHILL