Howdy folks. Elton here.
In the words of Bigfoot: “I not dead” [sic].
I was minding my own business down in the press room, trying to get this issue printed up after weeks and weeks of delays from those dopes upstairs. The editors–an incompetent bunch if I ever saw one–left Magnes to run the place while they all went gallivanting off into the sunset. And if the editors don’t know how to lick a stamp, then Magnes doesn’t even know what a stamp is. Which is funny, since he gets the mail more or less every week. And then wastes your time answering questions no one asked and clutters up your MyFace page and Twatter feeds with his inanity.
Anywhom, I was running the presses–because the magazine’s finally ready to go–when I heard this obscene ringing in my ear like a drill bit whirring into bone. My vision went black and I saw in my mind a red telephone on a rain-battered Ikea table (those Swedes can make anything, can’t they?). The receiver jumped with each ring and with each ring the drill bored deeper into my skull. On the third ring the black went white and the telephone vanished and when I could see again I saw the flesh melting off my own skull in the garbage-filled office of the Portland Review, an office that shuddered with each breath it drew.
What sorcery was this? I touch my face. My skin was still there, but it was my skull, unmistakeably bubbling in the corner, the rest of my body evidently incinerated into a pile of ash at my chin. But I was here. Was that body a creation of the Review or the occupiers or Magnes himself? And what of poor Patty, the tortured assistant to whom I never screwed up the courage to reveal my love? She was even more unrecognizable, reduced to rubble in the fray, just a scrap of her hair to reveal the body’s identity. Scraps of the occupiers decorated the walls and Magnes was locked in conflict with himself and the sentient office. The red telephone was there.
“Don’t answer it!” I yelled.
Magnes reached out his hand and I jumped for the wall and the phone line. Magnes’s hand shot back. His eyes were wild with terror and confusion. I pulled the cord from the wall and creaked my way upright. There was a full minute of silence save the sounds of the Portland Review’s labored breathing.
The phone rang.
The cord was still in my hand.
The phone rang again.
The drill worked deeper into my brain and I fell to my knees.
The phone rang again.
Magnes reached out his hand.
_ _ _
Until next time,
Elton Deacon: Portland Review Master Printer, President Local 442: IBLPOHHIWT, PhD