posted on Jun, 29 2004 @ 05:49 PM
This is part of a larger work, The Fake Autobiography Of Tara Amadeo -- a sort of Robert Anton Wilson "Cosmic Trigger" hodge-podge of sci-fi,
alien-abduction memoirs, and quasi-scientific theory. I guess it relates to the Turquoise section because it's about, utimately, electricity.
The Amazing Indestructable Woman: A Bad 1950's Sci-Fi Narrative
by Cassandra Clay
I’m going to relate a sci-fi story starring our own favorite mousy-haired pencil-pusher, Helen Szaedy. Helen has just been sent home on medical leave
after a rather devastating panic attack. She feels like a total failure as a human being. She was fighting those bizarre sensations in her chest and
on the top of her head for weeks now. And let’s not even get into the “sparklies”–little nips of electric shock on her fingertips–and those rather
uncomfortable occasions when her feet “buzz” or a limb seemingly vibrates with energy. It is all stress. They said. And why not stress? She hates
her job; it makes her feel incompetent and worthless. She doesn’t feel as if she fits in. She’s just turned thirty and feels as if she has nothing
to show for it but a smattering of trite dust-jacket copy and probably enough radiation emitted from the Xerox machine to make her sterile.
Simply put: Helen Szaedy feels that she is wasting her life. But the pay is good.
What a shi**y couple of days it’s been! Dammit! Dammit! Dammit!
Everyone thinks she’s crazy. Not that they didn’t think she was crazy before–she was always one step out of sync with the others, though she tried.
She tried. She tried to understand their culture. She made it a point to view episodes of Friends, Sex In The City, and Survivor. She tried to
catch herself before committing such faux pas as mentioning the words “spirit,” “soul,” and “energy.” Because of course only crazy people would even
have such terms pop into their minds. Sane people drank large quantities of alcohol after work and make jokes about lesbos and fa**ots (only if there
wasn’t any lesbos or fa**ots present, of course–that’s the PC-way). And why wasn’t Helen married, anyway? Why was she always reading books? And
writing? Just what sort of sinister plot was she cooking up?
Backtrack to a conversation with her boss, one week ago:
Helen: “It’s just that I feel that whatever I bring to the table to this company, will always be trumped by Ms. So-and-So, who even though she’s kind
of flirty and stuff is what the company really wants in order to attract their clients. I think the flirtation and sex-appeal is a factor.”
Boss: “Look–don’t tell anybody this but–Ms. So-and-So is a slut. Everybody knows it. Nobody respects her here. Everyone respects you. You’ve got
But Ms. So-and-So had the plum assignments, and Helen continued to irradiate her ovaries with endless piles of Xeroxes.
Of course, Helen had her own little talents. She was nice. She was nice and helpful to everybody. She was very organized. And she could
occasionally see into the future. She knew when the company was going to merge, and the big layoffs begin. She saw her own quitting. She saw a
couple of people pass on and that was very difficult for her. She saw resignations and new hirings and firings.
In a word–she was the possessor of extraordinary talents that she kept secret as she went about her dowdy everyday banal existence, Xeroxing and
stapling and filing away her very life. The extreme irony of where she was working at, in relation to her situation, was never lost on Helen–in fact,
it was a constant reminder, one of the bigger Cosmic Jokes that helped reassure her in darker, more atheistic hours that yes Virginia, there really is
a God (and that he was probably an unsettling amalgamation of Jerry Lewis and Terry Gilliam).
Anyway, Helen had her Xanax, had her medical leave, and–nope, no alcohol I’m afraid dear, won’t go with your Xanax.
“God, I hope the electricity on my spine doesn’t come back,” Helen thought. That was just too scary. “I don’t even know how I will even leave the
house anymore, what if the attack comes again, unexpectedly, while in transit?” She was so fu**ed. She began to make a mental tally of how many cans
of the really shi**y chili she purchased by accident and had since put away for emergency in case of another blackout or perhaps nuclear war. Yep, she
could last it out for a while, under the covers, her fluffy white cat occasionally planting a pink smooth paw on Helen’s cartaroid artery just to
check if she was still alive.
Helen shook out two of the little football-shaped tablets onto her pale clammy palm and drank them down. Then she prepared for sleep.
(It’s...funny how we make such big deals about things...Helen thought...mountains out of molehills...out of...little...anthills...)
Finally some relief. Purists be damned–sometimes you need a little relief!
(In another year it won’t matter...in another year we say our goodbyes as the buildings change and I have enough to drift somewhere else...in a car,
maybe a jeep?)
(I am in an underground cavern of some sort...like a basement, but rockier and more unfinished...a grid...checkerboard, switchboard....wires...a cool
water drips into a pan all the way to one side of my vision...there are some people to the other side of my eyes, so much on the edge of my sight I
don’t see them clearly...they look agitated at me...I start pulling out some of the wires...like simple, like switchboard wires...cool water in the
pan...the people, they are motioning to me to get out of there, they are grabbing my shoulder and leading me away...)
(S**t! Between waking-and-sleep, the familiar paralysis, but with a twist–I’m awake and an electric shock is going through my entire body and I can’t
move. I’m shaking, chattering with electricity and I hear the most tremendous buzzing. Lasts for maybe a minute at the most?)
(I hate that. I hate not being able to move like that. What the hell was that?)
(I have to get up and make some coffee. And pee. Probably doing the pee thing first.)
Helen flexed her arms and legs a bit before getting off the bed, just to make sure it was all working (wasn’t completely convinced about her brain,
but then again she never was really). Then she slid her feet into scruffy-looking oatmeal-colored plush slippers and padded to the hallway leading to
the bathroom. She flipped the light-switch. Nothing. Sh*t, now she had to replace the light-bulb, and this was like the highest ceiling in the
apartment, she’d probably break her neck.
Helen padded groggily into the bathroom and flipped on the switch. Nothing.
Another f**ing blackout, goddammit. F**k!
Helen called out to her roommate:
“The lights don’t work!”
“What did you say?”
“THE LIGHTS DON’T WORK!!!!!”
Helen popped another Xanax. Disasters, which in her mind included everything from 911 to the water being temporarily shut off for repairs, always sent
the heart racing. When the big blackout happened last year, she had to be helped down 6 flights of stairs immediately to get oxygen because she was
hyperventilating–though once outside, in the air, among the throng of the disoriented, she regained a certain peace and almost a curious detachment
bordering on the alien.
(Sh*t. She was already getting used to the Xanax and it wasn’t having enough of an effect. Helen eyed a bottle of skanky reserve wine tucked away
among the aging phonebooks.)
Her roommate said it was probably the fusebox. He fiddled with the orange turnip-shaped fuses, came to the conclusion: “It’s probably the fusebox.
I’m going to buy more fuses.”
But it was not the fusebox. It was the whole building. The power to the whole building was shot to hell.
Helen congratulated herself on being prepared for such emergencies...it was like a brand-new Helen who thought ahead, as opposed to an old moldery
Helen who was caught unawares. She had several flashlights planted throughout the house for such an event. Coffee-cans filled with half-used AA
batteries and bottled water and cans of yucky chili. Candles? Yes, Helen had plenty of candles.
The cable was knocked out too. Now in a Xanaxy haze she flipped through the snowy crackle of the local stations, the sound quality almost decent but
the images ghostlike. She shakily smiled to herself in recognition as she heard a woman on Montel that she had seen like 13 years ago on Oprah or
Donahue. This woman had her flight hijacked, was shot in the back of the head, and thrown out onto a cold rainy tarmac for 5 hours. She survived with
some minor brain-damage and rather extensive sight difficulties. She also said that she had an out-of-body experience and felt like she connected
with God and that she had to spread the word that death wasn’t final.
Helen remembered one phrase that woman used, the words sticking in her mind for all those years...
“I didn’t really feel much pain...it felt like there was a cork....stuck in my head.”
It wasn’t until late into the night that the electric company’s trucks came in. They entered the ground through some sort of hole that was already
there or had been drilled for the purpose. All night men descended and ascended. Helen watched them from behind the rusted bars of the windowguard,
in curious detachment.
(That woman...13 years...and she still has that bullet in her head...)
(How could she survive?)
(Need to fill bottles of water for the next one...)
(Xanax...it's not working anymore...)
(The Xanax isn't working.)
The light comes on and a faint communal cheer can be heard reverberating from the building.
Helen rubs the back of her head...feels a strange protrusion.
"I need a new vocation," she says to herself, and then realizes that it was there all along.
[edit on 29-6-2004 by Cassie Clay]