CuiousPages - fiction and nonfiction
CuriousPages - fiction and nonfiction
Each weekday morning, Samuel Pam walked to Notting Hill Gate underground station, rode the tube to Westminster then walked a further twelve minutes to his office. He avoided people in public, so when he stepped onto the train and noticed an empty end-seat, he sat there. These were favourable because only one person could sit beside you, reducing the possibility of conversation.
A man in his twenties took the seat beside Samuel, who gave him the once-over and decided he seemed harmless enough. The train pulled away and Samuel took out his paperback. The standing-room was taken and he was aware of bodies in front of him swaying like the walls of a human maze which confined him, unable to escape until the walls themselves disembarked. The man beside him leant closer and whispered:
“Do you satisfy your girlfriend in bed?”
Samuel watched his book and turned to the next page.
The man whispered, “Leave the small size behind. No girl likes a small…”
Samuel looked along the carriage in the opposite direction, and through the maze he saw the mad Spanish-looking woman making her way towards him.
The man beside him whispered: “Bring her to new heights of ecstasy with just one more inch.”
The maze swayed before him and Samuel felt as though immobilized in a nightmare.
The Spanish-looking woman had pursued him since he left his flat that morning. He was late and was about to leave but felt hungry. He placed two slices of bread in his toaster and as he pushed down the “start” lever, his doorbell sounded. He rushed to the door and saw a courier standing there who said, “I have a large package for you,” raising his eyebrows on the word “large”.
Samuel looked down at the package and told him, “It doesn’t look all that large to me.”
The man handed him a form and Samuel was about to sign it when he noticed the declaration he was signing: “Yes, I want to say goodbye to my locker-room embarrassment.” He looked up at the man who turned over the package and pointed to the wording on the reverse:
This patented work-out for your “best friend” will put inches where it really matters.
The courier said, “Just sign here,” and pushed Samuel’s hand down onto the form.
Samuel resisted, shouting, “There’s nothing wrong with my… ‘best friend’!” but the man held his hand and tried moving it over the form. Samuel broke free, pulled his front door shut and pushed past the man on his way into the street. He carried his hunger and irritation to the end of the street and as he turned the corner, he noticed the Spanish-looking woman rushing after him. She lived somewhere nearby and always seemed to be pestering people in the street. She shouted to him, “You plunge it in and leave in a hurry.”
Forty-two years ago in a town called Perception, a spree of twenty-three murders were allegedly committed by Able Carver. During that summer, of 1944, the town was rampant with speculative tongue-wagging while, day by day, the trial of Carver progressed. At the point when the community’s tongues were at their most athletic, an opinion poll was published in The Perception Daily Chronicle. It reported that twenty percent of the people questioned had a sneaky feeling (and when asked to quantify the degree of their sneaky feeling, they said it was an extremely strong sneaky feeling) that urban stress was the sole cause of mass murder. Five people were questioned and the margin of error in the poll’s results was absolutely gigantic. Nevertheless, as a result of this poll, the Urban Stress Faculty was set up in the town’s university, and Marjory Cogitation was appointed its professor. Her task was to study stress in the community.
Her first breakthrough occurred while conducting experiments on six residents. Stressful states were clinically induced in the group, and vital signs monitored. Nothing unexpected was recorded. But then she accidentally administered an overdose of an hallucinatory drug and the group experienced fatally stressful hallucinations, emitting the most horrendous screams imaginable, followed by a rapid succession of alarmingly violent convulsions, and every member of the group then—mercifully—passed on into death and the immediate onset of rigor mortis. The professor noted that this produced an unusually high level of bowel activity in the laboratory mascot, Percy the goldfish.
After two years of further research, Professor Cogitation published her full findings in a scholarly (and impressively thick) paper. Here’s the concluding section:
Two factors are involved in the production of stress—the Comprehension Factor and the Grumble Factor.
A fall in one factor always leads to a rise in the other. Grumbles are therefore created in a person by a sudden lowering of his Comprehension Factor.
Once created, a Grumble cannot usually be destroyed—a person may only lower his own Grumble Factor by passing on the Grumble to somebody else. The recipient then experiences a rapid drop in his level of Comprehension Factor in order to accommodate his increased Grumble Factor.
Because of this, the level of Grumble Factor in the community (the collective Grumbliness of the population) can only usually increase. But there is one known method of reducing it:
When a Grumble is expressed near to a goldfish, it passes from the person to the fish, undergoes a chemical change within the fish’s gut, induces bowel activity, is then passed out of the fish and decomposes, slowly emitting Comprehension Factor back into the atmosphere.
I conclude that the large-scale deployment of goldfish in any community would reduce the level of Grumble Factor, and thus the urban stress. And since urban stress (as shown by The Perception Daily Chronicle’s opinion poll of two years ago) is the sole cause of mass murder, then it is predicted that this scheme would dramatically reduce the instances of murder in that community. QED.


Fiction and nonfiction by Fletcher Kovich and also classic writers.


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