Article: 178953 of talk.bizarre From: firstname.lastname@example.org (David Vacca) Newsgroups: talk.bizarre Subject: The Beauty of Simple Things Date: 1 Dec 1994 21:08:22 -0600 Organization: UTexas Mail-to-News Gateway Lines: 58 Sender: email@example.com Message-ID: <Pine.3.89.9412012110.A28301-0100000@gwis2> Status: O It's a very nice afternoon, just after lunch, when the office workers have gone back to work but not actually started working yet. Sunlight filters through the spreading elms lining a picturesque residential street. Though all of the residents of this street have jobs- high paying ones, which is how they can afford to live in a part of a city that looks as if it were miles from town- many of them also work at home, brave new pioneers who telecommute to work on the Infobahn and speak in cliches. Those people who are home are e-mailing each other about what a pretty day it is, like a picture, really, and the townhouse. On this street is a charming red brick townhouse. Actually, there are several such townhouses, all pretty without any real distinction and priced extortionately, but this one is somewhat different. The lawn has not been mowed in almost a month, and the neighbors are edgy. Property values, they worry, may go down. It is unlike the resident of this townhouse, such a charming and handsome young man, a patent lawyer, to behave so antisocially. He has not set foot outside since he stopped mowing the lawn, and the only signs of life have been the twice- or thrice-daily deliveries of pizza. E-mail goes unread, voice mail goes unheard. His phone is always busy, it must be off the hook. His beeper number has been disconnected. The neighbors wish he would mow his lawn, get back to work, and maybe share a few words with them about how beautiful today is. Meanwhile, inside the house, the patent lawyer is excited. He has not shaved in a month. He is overweight and blotchy after a month of pizza. He has not thrown the boxes out, and they are littered all over the floor. The smell is unpleasant, partly from the pizza boxes and partly from himself, since he hasn't bathed in a month and been dilatory at best about toothbrushing. Especially for the past week. He sits crosslegged, in his bathrobe, in the den. The computer is on, churning out column after column of numbers. The walls are covered with National Geographic posters of the night skies. He is giggling, giddy with anticipation. He looks at the prism that used to decorate his den window, and smiles. The prism is catching the light from the window, and suffuses his face with a striped glow. The prism is also floating in midair in front of his face. Under his breath, he speaks a few words in a strange tongue. The light brightens, and the prism begins to spin. The air begins to take on a strange glow, white with flecks of rainbow. He sighs contentedly, and the light continues to grow. It becomes apparent that the prism is producing more light than is striking it. The room becomes womb-warm, and a sense of happiness and well-being overcomes the lawyer. Light, simultaneously white and colored, fills his vision. His heart racing, he calls more power to the prism, and more. The light grows more and more beautiful. It is the most beautiful thing he has ever seen in his life. In ecstasy, he calls forth more and more light, and stares into the immensity of beauty. After three days without even a pizza delivery, the neighbors call the police. When the police enter, they find a corpse, with holes burned through his eyes and head. --- David Vacca, Shadowboxing the Apocalypse.