THE NIGHTLY CHILL
By Steve Arviso
The Legend of Dead Ed, Part 2
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
- FIGHT THE DAWN
- THE LEGEND OF DEAD ED, PART 2
- TRACK OF THE NIGHT
- ELSEWHERE: CHRONOPILLER
I never thought I’d live to see thirty. The past few years have been very confusing.
BETWEEN THE CRACKS
Dear Ms. Internet Lady,
I saw your photo on the internet, and thought it worth both our time to offer an unsolicited comment on your physical appearance with a brief, yet witty, “You’re beautiful.” Perhaps with a flourish, like a heart-eyed emoji or a single rose. Please forward any and all perfume-scented correspondence to “Mother.” If she insists on reading my mail before I can, then I don’t see why my name should be on the envelope.
If for some reason you feel my comments may have crossed some previously undisclosed line, please do remember that any discomfort is not only unintended, but merely your silly, wholly delusional perspective.
FIGHT THE DAWN
THE LEGEND OF DEAD ED, PART 2
You never really anticipate the day you might lose a finger in the back of a truck at five o’clock in the morning, but sometimes life knows just when to put a little spin on whatever it’s throwing at you next.
I spent my fair share of time in retail and other corporatized work environments. I understand well how working for low wages, day after day, with little-to-no respect from those you work for can push you to some dark, painful places. The manager of a hotel I worked at laughed when, moments after clocking in, I received a phone call informing me that my grandfather, the man who helped raise me, had passed away. She laughed, and then said I was on my own, because I had to stay for my shift and she wasn’t going to cover it (or find anyone to cover it). And then, she left me alone to wallow in sorrow for eight hours.
I also know what it’s like to find yourself drifting towards oncoming traffic because a couple of corporate assholes put the screws to you until suicide felt like a perfectly fine solution to all of your woes. And all because the execs liked you and your work more than them and theirs.
So, I get it. There was probably a once happy worker eager to earn his wage and go about his life when not confined to the back of a truck at five o’clock in the morning. But much like the truck, that employee found themselves being emptied one mishandled, abused box at a time. A part of them being ripped from its quite resting place, then sent flying, willy-nilly, into the moist, chilled air of that dark parking lot. Day after day, and year after year. Until one day, some dude in need of some extra cash climbs into that truck, looks into the eyes of the man standing across from him, and discovers that Ed is dead. Yeah, his body is still moving. He’s still throwing boxes, and they roll and fall and clatter and crash out of that truck until someone thinks to pick them up out of the gutter water. But Ed’s dead, and nobody seems to care.
When I tried to cautiously send boxes down the portable conveyor belt, Dead Ed mumbled something to himself about going faster, to not worry if the boxes fall wherever. Didn’t matter what that corporate stiff, the one poppin’ pills like Skittles, said in those videos. Didn’t matter that half these boxes were marked fragile and had glass in them. This shit needed to get off this truck, which needed to be emptied and out of here an hour ago.
And so, we threw boxes–upward, outward, forward. As long as it landed on that conveyor belt and rolled down to those idle, disorganized employees below, nothing else mattered.
For example: at one point, Dead Ed chucked a box the size of a small bed onto the conveyor only for that segment of the conveyor to fly up at our faces, narrowly missing us, and then back down in place where it nearly took off our hands. But as I scrambled to fix this very necessary piece of equipment–if for no other reason than I didn’t want to be in this truck any longer than I had to–Dead Ed groaned and continued chucking boxes wherever. When I pointed out that the conveyor segment is actually broken–that the bolts and latches that ensured these various segments actually clicked together and stayed that way were bent, folded, smashed, and broken–Dead Ed groaned, “Yeah. S’broken,” and then threw another box.
And of course, this wasn’t the only time this same collection of scrap metal nearly took off a limb. Because after we finally finished with that truck, we had to put the damn conveyor away.
And where do you store a long series of very-loosely connected conveyor segments that are absolutely integral to the entire process of receiving and stocking new merchandise every single week? Outside by the dumpster, of course.
And how do you move a portable tetanus factory? With two bare-handed men pushing this giant python made of jagged, collapsible metal shard into pallet after pallet of precariously stacked and dripping wet garbage, through the gutters, and into the unsecured dumpster area. Of course.
At one point, this beast bit my finger. And as I grabbed at my nicked and bleeding finger, Dead Ed groaned at me about not pushing fast enough. Didn’t matter that he had been responsible for nearly knocking over at least three separate pallets just now. Didn’t matter that he got us stuck in the damned gutters to begin with. Didn’t matter that I was bleeding and had no clue the last time I’d had a tetanus booster. Whatever happened to me, the merchandise this place was supposed to be selling, and even the all-important equipment needed to get it off the truck were of little importance to Dead Ed. He was already dead. What does a dead man care about other than when he can finally go on his lunch break?
Meanwhile, I still had a little less than three hours left to go.
TRACK OF THE NIGHT
Tarzan Boy (1985) by Baltimora
The chronopiller is a ridiculous looking, but wholly frightening creature with the ability to directly interact with the very fabric of time and space.
A single, undisturbed chronopiller has been known to devour upwards of several weeks of isolated space-time, leaving victims unaware that an entire summer has literally (and not simply metaphorically) passed in a blink of an eye.
But as frightening as such an event may be, it pales in comparison to the wholesale rewriting of our timeline whenever a chronopillar survives long enough to emerge from its singularity cocoon as a fully-grown quantumfly.
— Dr. Howard Fine, on the “Chronopiller”
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YOU ARE NOT ALONE
THE NIGHTLY CHILL