|The Story||The Authors|
|Aben fiddled with the radio dial and suddenly -- from only the Prophet knew where -- there it came again, just as he'd heard it the day before: that cursed American rap music, with its pagan beats designed for the devil's own purpose of driving the women into a state of sexual frenzy -- as Aben's father had warned him had happened before -- tearing off not merely their veils but their very garments as well, racing madly through the streets like pariah dogs and leaping upon any man unfortunate enough to fall into their path! It was unthinkable. Aben shuddered inside... May the Lord preserve us... May the Lord smite down the perpetrators of this horrid music, the very same music played in all the red-hot chambers of the nine hundred and forty-six hells... He had heard rumors that they operated an illegal transmittor, like common pirates, from a ship floating somewhere out in the Gulf of Hafik... Other cabbies had insinuated that they were actually operating from within the government, blasphemers of the first order! Well, Aben harbored no doubts that they would be caught in due time -- and then what a spectacle that would present for the faithful gathered in the public square -- flayed alive, slowly divested of fingers, toes, hands and feet, then strung up in the sun by their private parts and roasted over slow fires of phosporous while the slinking street-dogs howled and salivated... For this was the fate you brought upon yourself for disobeying the word of God... And he shuddered again inside, but this time at the memory of something far more specific, and close to home, and painful to recall. His bowels clenched sourly. He snapped off the radio with a foul oath best in which the singer's parentage was discovered to consist of the unsavory midnight union between a jackal stricken with testicular elephantiasis and a toothless Druse hag of seventy-three...|
And Joan woke up from her dream. She was sweating, and looked at her watch,
which included the date and time. She found she had been sleeping for a week!
She tried to sit up, but she couldn't. She suddenly realized she was in a
hospital, with a handsome doctor (his name tag said BOB) standing over her.
"I'm going to take out your appendix, okay?" Bob grinned at her. Joan nodded weakly. The doctor gave a shot which tasted like purple melon...wait! This was a dream, too!
My name's not Joan! It's Amelia! I woke up and panted. I got out of bed and joined my husband, Dave, in the kitchen. He was...
|...Such were the blasphemous lyrics of the offending rap song. And the problem was, Aben could no longer get them out of his head. They spun there all day as he scoured the city in his beat-up gypsy cab, the driving beat of the song's end looping back into its beginning and the whole thing starting all over again. It was beginning to drive him a little batty. Surely the devil had a hand in this funny business, and only the devil knew where it would end!|
|So He drove out in the country and went fishing. The song of the fish helped him relax and he masturbated vigorously for two hours.|
|Later, Aben attributed this to the heat... yes, the heat and the sun... a kind of dementia, sunstroke, heat exhaustion... the same force which had travellers imagine oases out in the desert where there was only parched sand... otherwise he should never have sinned with himself as he had... in the middle of the day, no less... touching himself like, like, like -- like a filthy goat in rut! Oh, the shame of it! And he might have been caught, no less. Why hadn't he thought? He knew all too well the punishment afforded those who let the voices of the flesh get the better of them... And yet, as he went over and over it in his mind, with a horror bordering on fascination not altogether out of the ordinary for as infrequent a masturbator as he was, Aben couldn't quite shake the feeling that he memory was playing impish tricks on him, leading him round in circles by the end of his nose... Because there was something, wasn't there... Something, something (it became like a litany in him), the thing that had set him off in the first place, made him lose control. But what? He got that cold, queasy, ill-at-ease feeling again. His eyes watered and the shrimp he'd eaten for lunch reassembled themselves and came alive in the pit of his stomach, disturbing memory and causing desire to break out in all manner of rashes with their ticklish arthropod limbs and antennae. He jerked his cab over to the curb, leapt out, and vomited profusely into the dusty gutter.|