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Pluralized
November 22nd, 2018, 04:00 AM
Haven't written much lately, so felt good to blow some dust off the keyboard! Any comments welcome. If you want to read anything I've written in the past, click the 'me again' tag at the bottom and there's more than you want, guaranteed.

E.D. (Existential Dissolution)
by R. Plurpenstein, Esq. III BMF
2018-Nov 21

With the rush of preparation behind them, Alco and Banalie spent the next couple of days just lounging around their apartment, not really talking to each other at all. Which is exactly what Alco had been hoping for. This was a time of delicious reflection and quiet mindfulness, but its expiration date had drawn nigh.

“It’s finally Time,” he said. Neither of them had smoked in several days, and Banalie was on day five without a shower. She wiped away snotty tears.

He stood up and walked to the window. “I don’t want to face this day,” he said.

“Me neither.” She coughed for maybe thirty seconds or a minute, barking like a seal. Even the echoes off the bare walls sounded like disease.

The doorbell rang. Her eyes found his. Alco walked softly to the peephole, sidestepping piles of filthy clothing and food boxes. A group of four young men in suits stood there awkwardly, one picking his nose. The bell rang again, and Alco realized he was holding his breath. He sighed and gripped the doorknob.

“Hi, Mr. Marquez, it's your lucky day!” said First Suit, smirking. He wheeled an apparatus out from behind the others, and Alco stood aside as he entered the small apartment.

First Suit and the others had shuffled in and were standing around the device. Alco scratched his arm and stared at the floor. “I have been wondering what it would look like.”

First Suit turned to the long-necked guy next to him and muttered something about a gasket race. Longneck then crouched down to investigate a drip of fluid coming from the bottom somewhere. Alco watched as he slipped a gleaming yellow-gold wrench from a pocket in his jacket and cranked down a bolt whose head was not hexagonal, but rather elliptical.

The device stood about half a man’s height, and was as big around as Alco’s middle. It whirred and puffed vapor and a top section rotated back and forth like a head on a swivel. The device had aircraft precision about it, all silver and black, tight lines and no discernible joints. He wondered where the blades were, or if there were blades at all.

“Mind if I use your restroom?” one of the suits asked, then hoofed off in the direction of Alco’s finger. Longneck and First Suit had unfolded a mat on the wooden floor, then rolled the machine into its center.

The suits, four of them now, stood at the corners of the gray mat, not quite smiling at Alco.

“What if I decide I don’t want to go through with this?” Alco said.

First Suit looked over at Longneck, Standard Suit, and Piddle-hoof, and then back at Alco. “I suppose you’d lose your chances at connecting with her on the other side. And there’s the matter of our non-refundable fee.”

Alco smiled sadly. “Ah yes, the fee.” He went to the dresser and pulled out a bag, tossed it to Longneck. “It’s all there. Check it out.”

Banalie ran to the bathroom, her sobs reverberating down the hallway.

“Listen, Mr. Marquez,” Standard Suit was saying, “we really don’t want to rush you, but we have other clients to see today.”

Alco sighed, hands on cheeks. “I get it. Just give me a minute.”

Standard Suit nodded.

“Hey,” he said, softly tapping the door, which creaked inward. “I think I might be changing my mind.”

She said nothing, didn’t move. Didn’t breathe.

He gently placed a towel over her bare shoulders and gathered himself.

The four suits surrounded him as he emerged from the hallway.

“Make it quick, that’s all I ask.”

The machine whirred to life, pulsating with impish glee.

Phil Istine
November 22nd, 2018, 08:28 AM
Haven't written much lately, so felt good to blow some dust off the keyboard! Any comments welcome. If you want to read anything I've written in the past, click the 'me again' tag at the bottom and there's more than you want, guaranteed.

E.D. (Existential Dissolution)
by R. Plurpenstein, Esq. III BMF
2018-Nov 21

With the rush of preparation behind them, Alco and Banalie spent the next couple of days just lounging around their apartment, not really talking to each other at all. Which is exactly what Alco had been hoping for. This was a time of delicious reflection and quiet mindfulness, but its expiration date had drawn nigh.

“It’s finally Time,” he said. Neither of them had smoked in several days, and Banalie was on day five without a shower. She wiped away snotty tears.

He stood up and walked to the window. “I don’t want to face this day,” he said.

“Me neither.” She coughed for maybe thirty seconds or a minute, barking like a seal. Even the echoes off the bare walls sounded like disease.

The doorbell rang. Her eyes found his. Alco walked softly to the peephole, sidestepping piles of filthy clothing and food boxes. A group of four young men in suits stood there awkwardly, one picking his nose. The bell rang again, and Alco realized he was holding his breath. He sighed and gripped the doorknob.

“Hi, Mr. Marquez, it's your lucky day!” said First Suit, smirking. He wheeled an apparatus out from behind the others, and Alco stood aside as he entered the small apartment.

First Suit and the others had shuffled in and were standing around the device. Alco scratched his arm and stared at the floor. “I have been wondering what it would look like.”

First Suit turned to the long-necked guy next to him and muttered something about a gasket race. Longneck then crouched down to investigate a drip of fluid coming from the bottom somewhere. Alco watched as he slipped a gleaming yellow-gold wrench from a pocket in his jacket and cranked down a bolt whose head was not hexagonal, but rather elliptical.

The device stood about half a man’s height, and was as big around as Alco’s middle. It whirred and puffed vapor and a top section rotated back and forth like a head on a swivel. The device had aircraft precision about it, all silver and black, tight lines and no discernible joints. He wondered where the blades were, or if there were blades at all.

“Mind if I use your restroom?” one of the suits asked, then hoofed off in the direction of Alco’s finger. Longneck and First Suit had unfolded a mat on the wooden floor, then rolled the machine into its center.

The suits, four of them now, stood at the corners of the gray mat, not quite smiling at Alco.

“What if I decide I don’t want to go through with this?” Alco said.

First Suit looked over at Longneck, Standard Suit, and Piddle-hoof, and then back at Alco. “I suppose you’d lose your chances at connecting with her on the other side. And there’s the matter of our non-refundable fee.”

Alco smiled sadly. “Ah yes, the fee.” He went to the dresser and pulled out a bag, tossed it to Longneck. “It’s all there. Check it out.”

Banalie ran to the bathroom, her sobs reverberating down the hallway.

“Listen, Mr. Marquez,” Standard Suit was saying, “we really don’t want to rush you, but we have other clients to see today.”

Alco sighed, hands on cheeks. “I get it. Just give me a minute.”

Standard Suit nodded.

“Hey,” he said, softly tapping the door, which creaked inward. “I think I might be changing my mind.”

She said nothing, didn’t move. Didn’t breathe.

He gently placed a towel over her bare shoulders and gathered himself.

The four suits surrounded him as he emerged from the hallway.

“Make it quick, that’s all I ask.”

The machine whirred to life, pulsating with impish glee.

I'm intrigued as to what happens next, and that has to be a good thing. It poses questions to which I need answers, so would like to read more, but the beauty of this piece is that it can also stand alone.
I feel that the word count can be reduced slightly and this might actually strengthen the piece in places. Also, there seems to be some fluctuation between tenses, sometimes drifting into pluperfect, which you may feel a need to address.
It was intriguing to read. Thank you for posting it.

Ralph Rotten
November 22nd, 2018, 02:06 PM
It was a very good piece of work. You painted the scene well, characters were well defined (I assume their intros were done prior to this scene).

Only 2 points I'd make, otherwise it was G2G:
1) You had a superfluous paragraph where you talked about tightening the screw. Unless it plays into the story later, I'd delete the paragraph. It made the scene stall right there.
2) Benalie runs to the bathroom, and Alco follows her. I felt like you needed something to let me know that Alco had moved over to the door. I had to read it twice because last I'd heard Alco was standing closer to the front door than the bathroom door.

Was this part of a larger work?

Jakov
November 30th, 2018, 12:09 PM
It's great and I like the way it talks about him dying in a special way to see someone he loves without mentioning death at all (at least I hope this is true; if I understood everything correctly). I'm not sure if this is a prologue or not, but I like it as one. Ralph Rotten is right about the screw. Other than that, it's really good, it'll probably go in a direction of fantasy, but through it you could pose much bigger real questions of life after death, the death of our loved ones...

Fatclub
December 7th, 2018, 04:23 PM
I don't really understand any of this. "...spent the next couple of days..." What's happened and when? The next couple of days after what exactly? "With the rush of preparation behind them..." this doesn't lead to anything or explain anything. "...delicious reflection.. " is meaningless to me - I'm not a mind-reader. I want a focus-point, a sense of place. What are "snotty tears"? "It's finally Time," You don't need the capital T. How is someone coughing likened to "barking like a seal"? Coughing for "...maybe thirty seconds or a minute," is a hell of a long time to be coughing.
Looking at the other comments makes me feel that mentally I'm not with it at the mo'.