I love my raincoat. I ordered it years ago, from a catalogue, and it suited me so perfectly that I’ve since bought no other. The sleeves are the perfect length for me, the hood ample, the material impervious even after all these years. Today, as I used my cane to rifle through my possessions, I found it hanging in the front of my closet, right where I’d put it last night. Safe. I wear it whenever I go outside, no matter the weather, though, of course, it’s not safe to go outside anymore.
Once when I was on my way home from work, before I had got my wonderful coat, it started to rain. By the time I made it to my porch, I was drenched. I cried for hours because my new suit was ruined. What good was it now? It didn’t look like me anymore. The downpour had battered the material to soggy rags—it would never be the same.
I hate the rain. Just when you think it’s gone, there it is again, spattering off the sidewalk in scattered spray as it impacts. Droplets hiss serpentine in the trees, and forked tongues of runoff kiss the bark with their venom. Rain is a viper slithering out of dark clouds, crowning itself serpent-king of the earth.
I was born with a shriveled leg; the joints do not operate, so I have to pitch forward on my good leg in order to move, holding myself up against the ground by my cane. My body constantly lurches from side to side as I move. A lurch and a stop, a lurch and a stop. To make matters worse, I lost my right eye shortly before I stopped going outside, and, as a result, my depth perception suffers.
I spend most of my days here, at home, in my raincoat, occasionally glancing out the windows. It’s not safe to go out anymore.
Sporadic incontinence has begun to take hold of my body, but I’ve adapted. In every room of my house I have a bucket for the purposes of housing my waste. At the end of each day, I empty the contents of used buckets into more proper storage. Often I am unable, however, to reach a bucket in time, but the cleanup is usually easy and quick, even enjoyable. I have been meticulously cataloguing, since the beginning, the time and place of each instance of incontinence, and taking note of the frequency with which I fill each bucket.
I have, of course, taken into account the extra waste deposited in the foyer, due to the experiment. He’s chained to a concrete pillar, but given a bit of maneuvering room, so he can access the bucket if need be. Naturally, I have implanted into his body several electrical nodes, through which I can punish him should he get out of hand. When I first took him on, I gouged out his eye with my cane, so he would see as I do. The socket is empty now, save the remnants of the optic nerve dangling inside. With my first subject, I had not thought to do this, my unwitting undoing. In the end—a Raskolnikov—petulance-prone, bitter and cynical, he tore out his own eyes and grew used to blindness, the scoundrel! My experiment failed with him, due to my own mistake, an unnoticed variable.
Now, though, I have taken all into account. My experiment will not fail. The subject is a flawless match. Every day, prodding him with the point of my cane, I rotate the test subject into one of four rooms for an hour apiece.
In the first, painted white, I allow the subject to effectively rule over the room. He does as he pleases while there; in the corner of the room is a little dollhouse, which he can set up or break down however he sees fit. This room tests his ability to control himself and others after the previous day of experiments and night of fetters. Often I observe him conquering and dominating the dollhouse, and I take note that his situation obviously does not quell his conquering spirit, nor hamper his ability to control his subjects.
After an hour, I prod him into the second room, which is painted red. Here I bind him to a metal chair, and apply a powerful glue, which I later can wash off without damage to the subject, to his eyelids, holding them open. In this room he is given a series of electric shocks and shown violent images, which I project on the wall in front of him. Here the subject endures a high-intensity war simulation; I hope these stimuli will help to predict human behavior in an actual combat or adrenaline-high situation.
When the second room’s hour has passed, I bring the subject to a third room, this painted black. Typically we enter at three o’clock, and, as the subject has not yet eaten, he has become quite ravenous. In this room, behind a thick glass casing, I keep a variety of foods, all neatly arranged, and pump their scent into the subject’s side of the room. He stays in this room, for the purposes of maximizing the effect, for five hours. I have a camera installed so that I may do as I please during this time without fear of leaving undocumented activity.
Lydia visited me today as I waited for the subject to finish his time in room three. We had sexual intercourse. The female achieved orgasm after five minutes and forty-seven seconds; I did not reach climax. After seven minutes, my partner grew uninterested, I flaccid. I disposed of my condom contraceptive appropriately, and saw her off. It’s not safe to go out anymore.
By the time I had finished my dinner and taken a brief nap, the five hours were spent, and I could take the subject from room three. I fed him what was sufficient (I cannot allow him to surfeit himself, a variable I do not wish to add), and proceeded with him to the fourth room.
The fourth room is empty. There is no furniture—nothing—just one circling wall, a floor, and a ceiling, all colored a sickly, pale off-white. The door of this room has no handle on the inside, and, as such, cannot be opened from within. I vary the time in which I leave the subject in this room, so that he does not know how long he will remain. There are times, even, when I leave him overnight. The room is soundproof, to complete his isolation here.
Before entering the fourth room, the subject is stripped naked, save, of course, his shackles, which remain locked for safety. This room is the only one in which I cannot observe the subject’s behavior. Rather I am interested in his reactions upon reentering reality from the void.
Reentering reality. Prepare for the worst. school bullies and mom made me a sandwich but I didn’t like peanut butter and car accidents and son you need to come with me, but I didn’t want to come with him, but he was big but I didn’t want to go but he was bigger than me and I had to go and mom is in a better that’s what dad said but then dad talked to me later and he did that thing mom had said not to tears in my eyes and a sharp pain back to school in the fall leaves growing crimson and languid and skittering across the ground skittering to high school and skittering to college and skittering back and forth from person to place did I ever even know anyone at any of them?
So now I’m here; I’m tired of skittering, and I’ve finally found a way out of it. Where will you be when the world ices over and your body stiffens? Just a few short years until the subject leads me to the answers. Through him I will make myself into a Cyclops, not crippled but invincible. I cannot fail—I will not fail; the experiment is flawless. Soon I will don my raincoat and go back outside. Back into the sun.
Or, thank God for my coat, the rain.
I want the bomb
I want the P-funk!
My band is better than yours...
I want the P-funk!
My band is better than yours...