Floozman in Space
by Bertrand Cayzac
In a space station in Earth orbit, Janatone Waldenpond, a refugee from Europa, is trying to return to Earth. She meets a long-lost cousin, Fred Looseman. Meanwhile, Jenny Appleseed, the president of the Cosmitix Corporation, holds a conference to plan interstellar expeditions.
Chapter 20: The Great Zombie
The company goes down to Black Diamond Bay. They go down and down, towards the giant palm trees that wave as if possessed. Then they walk between lianas and then, at last, on the beach.
After having vanished for several hours, the immediate web comes back. Its omnipresent mesh spawns a vertigo of spires and comets in the deepening night.
Fred Looseman points at the stars with his finger. The crowd is making fun of him and playing practical jokes. Kids pour alcohol into the tubes of the spacesuit. Firecrackers crackle on the edge of the mutant jungle.
Drums begin to pound in the abandoned Goofy Club. The palm trees seem to have grown up to the sky, and the amplitude of their oscillations boggles the mind. The Queen has taken a seat on a throne of shells flanked by torches. On her right, an immense crocodile mouth made of automobile hoods receives offerings. Its teeth, painted white, shine in the night, and the restless sea foam responds to them.
Janatone and Claire are standing to one side, beside the antique wharf. Janatone watches the sea and the swarms of stars as if to read a conjunction. Claire fishes for wild oysters at the base of the pillars. She seems to be talking to them but may just be humming.
The men make a circle around the throne, tinkling ankle bells and bracelets. They summon the Great Zombie with serpent-like movements. The Queen beckons to Fred. Her hand is black, ivory-like, infinitely precise. Her hand is spiritual, imperious.
Fred walks toward her with a grotesque gait, weighed down by his muddy apparel. The men step aside to make way for him. Silence settles on the scene.
No one knows how the python appeared upon the young Queen’s shoulders, but it is definitely there, gnarled like a wooden yoke. It moves, rolling and sliding nimbly down her hips, her thigh, around her ankle. It disappears into the shadows. Then it returns, coiling around the space suit that has escaped the void of space, and it grips Fred in a tight, protruding spire.
The reptile’s mouth freezes above the glass globe that encloses the exploded flesh of Fred’s face, resembling a Pharaoh’s insignia. With impassible eyes, the beast gazes fixedly at the young woman while she washes the cracked glass with water from a black calabash, talking to Fred all the while, as one might soothe a little child.
At last, she puts her palm atop the helmet, while the snake tightens its coils. Then, slowly, as if reluctantly, the flesh wobbles imperceptibly inside and starts whirling, as if in a blender. The paste swirls slowly at first, then faster and faster. Bloody streaks melt into a joyous moss. The serpent’s skull vibrates.
Everyone senses that an event is taking shape in the worlds.
The Queen trembles, and her eyes roll back in her head. A strength crackles in her loins. At last, her body stiffens, and then she collapses; the blender stops whirling. Fred remains still, teetering a little on his legs.
Everyone thinks that the ritual has not worked.
Meanwhile, a heavy antigravity motorbike has landed silently outside the circle. It is one of these space bikes seen only in the asteroids exploited by Cosmitics. The driver takes off her helmet: it’s Winaretta.
The Queen gets up, pouting. She pushes back her hair and makes a weary gesture. The intimidated dancers let the motorbike come closer.
Winaretta comes down form her mobile to greet her friend.
“Bad timing, sister,” says the Queen.
“Naw, I think the time is right.”
“But what are you doing here? Weren’t you on Europa?”
“I swiped a techno from Cosmitics: it’s called the WARP. It is time, sister: we are gonna be free again!”
“But nothing is happening...”
“I think it is.”
At the same moment, the web creates a roiling effect in the sky, revealing a golden brown cloud. A flying carpet emerges from it. It looks like only a leaf in the distance, but it transports a very odd group : the old consultant’s avatar, Walt the uterus under the guise of Walt Whitman, Vita the she-donkey, and the S-Quick door.
Then a voice resounds, loud like great waters, audible everywhere. It’s the voice of the web itself: “Bring the Messiah into the world!” it orders the Queen. “Bring him through!”
The young Queen raises her head. She listens, she hands out her hands, cupping her palms to collect invisible manna. “The SUPER CERTIFICATE!” she cries at last, and everyone knows by her voice that she is shaken.
Nobody can see it yet but they all know it’s here. They feel a sacred terror, a fire of bright and flesh-pink ice takes hold of their souls.
Winaretta and the Queen exchange mysterious looks. Winaretta confirms with ferocity what the Queen only half-understands. But we must be careful: understanding what she only half-understands is an act of an infinite understanding.
“Yes, sister,” Winaretta cries to her. “You go this way, and we... everywhere!”
“But we are going nowhere! All bounds shall be unbounded. Small wills will exchange their currency against the SUPER CERTIFICATE, and great wills will have to follow. You know that; you are a sorceress, too!”
“Yes. And a mother, like you. Go and do your job, we’ll meet again.”
“We shall not part. We shall be in eternity.” Lightning bolts punctuate the Queen’s words.
“Nono, not even that. As for me, I’m getting out of the pit.” Winaretta suddenly turns around, because a clamor has resounded: the python clutching the living dead has just moved. It unties himself from him and rises very straight, sticking out its vivid, bifid tongue. It stares at the Queen.
“Yes, the dead one has a lot of Mana,” she says. Then without another word, she goes and takes Fred’s inert hand. A blinding nova transpierces her bones, leaving a mauve signature.
When the couple can be seen again, the living dead has sent his helmet rolling under the swings. Everyone sees his handsome face. He is Fred Looseman and yet he is not Fred Looseman. His jaw is firmer, his brow broader and more serene. His eyes are laughing.
The Queen helps him out of the suit. Out of it comes the naked body of Floozman. He stands up and, at that very moment, his virtual double arises in the immediate web. It’s an immense shadow that has come to protect him with its cosmic mantle, a shadow of nebulous hair spangled with stars and with a penis as large as a bell clapper.
His voice is the roaring of the storm. “I come to redeem the world,” he says. “Starting with this old friend.” Shazam! Rhône Poulenc! He beckons to the serpent.
The serpent opens its wide mouth and gulps down the spacesuit in a single bite. The serpent’s swollen belly glows fiery red for a fraction of a second; then it resumes its shape and color. As if this meal has awakened a fierce hunger, it rises and swoops down on its own tail, which the serpent endeavors to swallow.
“My friends,” says Floozman, “it’s the end of the world! I come to redeem everything. Yes, I do have the SUPER CERTIFICATE, a coin for everyone, no more, no less. From now on, there will be no more, no less! Those who have ears, let them hear!”
“Ears? What’s that?” the S-Quick door asks the carpet as they enter the virtual parking lot of the bar.
“As for me,” a customer groans, “if I had enough to redeem everything, I’d know what to do with it, you can be sure of that!”
“You’re full of crap,” responds a regular at the bar, leaning at the end of the counter, by the peanuts dispenser. “You’re gobbling up all this supernatural stuff because you were born in this rotten zone. You’ve received no education. Sorry to remind you, but the bond-holders have taken it all: the schools, the hospital, the jobs. Soon, if you do nothing, the sanitation work will begin. Too bad for you. The survivors might be entitled to science if they are not sent to the human authenticity farms.”
The lady tending bar intevenes. “No politics, Gérard, please,” she asks.
“You don’t understand...”
* * *
To be continued...
Copyright © 2015 by Bertrand Cayzac
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