The Encounter (Part II)

November 24, 2008

Two nights prior, Stephen lay in bed unable to sleep.  He spent so much of his days sleeping that he often had trouble sleeping at night.  Now his head and back ached from the excessive slumber.  He threw the covers off himself and painfully rolled out of bed, thinking that maybe going for a walk would help.  He carefully picked his way across the dark room, groping blindly with his toes for the many piles of clutter strewn about the floor.  He stumbled out into the living room where the moon beamed through the window, lighting up the shadowy mountain of dirty clothes.  Upon reaching the pile, he pulled the most recent additions from the top and slipped them on.  He donned his coat, started to pull open the front door and then paused.  Slowly backing away from the door, he turned and scanned the room, his eyes ultimately returning to the mountain on the couch.  Then with surprising energy he dug through the mountain until reaching a worn out pair of jeans at the bottom.  He reached inside the pocket and pulled out a smooth black case that glinted in the moonlight.  Slipping the case into his coat pocket he returned to the door and strode out into the cold winter night.

Though the moon was out, it was clear that the weather was deteriorating.  A gusty wind blew in from the north and small wispy clouds whipped past the moon.  Upon reaching the street, Stephen set off down the sidewalk, the cold wind quickening his step.  The road was lined with old brick houses with small but neatly kept yards. At the end of the block Stephen crossed the street to head into a wooded park.  Given the time of night, and the weather, no one else was around.  The walkway through the park was lined by rows of giant oak trees.  They towered over Stephen like rows of sentinels peering down disapprovingly at the disgrace that passed below.  Given Stephen’s recent slothfulness, he quickly tired of his brisk walking pace and gradually began to slow.  He had also now generated enough warmth that the cold wasn’t quite as unbearable.  The path approached a pond with a small wooden dock that stood out into the water.  As he walked out onto the dock it creaked and groaned as if Stephen had woken it from a peaceful slumber.  At the end of the dock he sat and dangled his legs over the water.  It was still early in the winter and the pond had not yet frozen over.  The wind died down slightly and Stephen starred off into the depths of the water – beyond the depths of the water.

By now the moon was completely enshrouded in clouds and a steady snowfall had replaced the wind.  Thousands of dense flakes dropped into the pond instantly melting at the surface like hopeless kamikazes.  A dusting of snow had covered Stephen’s coat and hat – leaving him as a white figure against the dark water.  Had Stephen then simply returned to his house and gone back to bed I might not be telling you this story.  However, at this point, something unusual happened.  Stephen’s trance was broken by a sudden creaking and groaning as the dock was once again woken from its slumber.  He turned to see a figure in a dark suit standing behind him.


Turning Over a New Leaf

November 17, 2008

It wasn’t until after-the-fact that I realized the apparent genius that lay dormant in dark recesses of my mind.  I had not the faintest idea that Stephen’s story parallels our own.  The state of our blog is in utter disarray, and something must be done.  Matt, I think you know what to do.  You have been officially challenged.

James, the younger brother

The Metamorphosis (Part I)

November 17, 2008

Over the past weeks, it had become common knowledge that something was wrong with Stephen.  Since beginning his job at the engineering firm last March, he had only arrived on time to work a handful of times.  Stephen’s lifestyle was the prototype of disorder, disfunctionality, and utter disarray.  On any given day in Stephen’s apartment, there would be a growing pile of dirty laundry piled up on his living-room couch, and another on the kitchen table, shrinking proportionately.  He never bothered to hang his clothes up, put them away, or iron them.  Although in terms of personal hygiene, Stephen’s manner of life was comparably commendable–that is, he showered and brushed his teeth daily–his bathroom was in a style of even greater anarchy, if that is imaginable.  A stench, far too familiar to Stephen personally, rose from his toilet vengefully, while soap scum and filth lied his tub like a group of conspirators, huddling to exchange their venemous plots of chaos.  The kitchen was a grade better, on account of the daily inevitability of eating, but upon a closer examination of his grocery receipts, which lay scattered in the corner by the overflowing trash-can, anyone of even the mildest sense would realize that the kind of food Stephen most typically consumed was hardly fit for the human body.  Altogether, Stephen lived as if he had never had a mother.

The first sign of a fresh wind of change blowing into Stephen’s life was three weeks ago, to the day.  Marcus, Stephen’s boss, came into the office holding his hot cup of Starbuck’s coffee in one hand, and his laptop case in the other.  Coming through the door, he mechanically reached out to turn on the lights.  When his hand reached the switch, he realized that the lights were already on.  “I’m going to have to have a word with Phillip, the new janitor.  He must have forgotten to turn the lights off,” Marcus thought to himself.  Marcus was walking down the prematurely-lit hallway to his office, when he passed Stephen’s small cubicle, and to his surprise, a well-kempt, nicely-dressed man sat in Stephen’s chair, typing away at his computer.  “Who are you, and what are you doing in this office?” Marcus inquired.  The figure swivelled around as he straightened his tie and looked up into Marcus’ puzzled face.  “I just thought I would come in a little early today, boss, to try and get these reports in order for the big meeting next week,” articulated Stephen.   Marcus almost dropped his coffee when he realized that the man sitting in front of him was no stranger, but that certain misfit and protagonist of this story, who was surely going to be “laid off” when he went up for review next month.  To use the old familiar phrase, he hardly recognized him, but in this case, Marcus really could hardly make and concrete connection between the Stephen he knew and despised, and the collected, business-man in front of him now.

Although Marcus was utterly shocked at the morning’s singularity (which was on its way to becoming a plurality), having grown to be disgusted by the disheveled appearance and disgusting habits of his underling over the past months, and justifiably so,  the greater shock lay in the fact that back at Stephen’s apartment, his dress shirts comfortably lined his closet next to his freshly pressed black pants.  The bathroom glistened with freshness, the carpet bore the striations caused by the comb of the vacuum cleaner, and the refrigerator was filled with food that was palatable, healthy and unexpired.  Marcus had never visited Stephen at his home, nor would he ever have dreamed of doing so, but if he had, reality would have been in such incongruity with his perception of reality, that the shock would have more than just caused him to drop his coffee.  I will now try to explain the cause of this rather queer metamorphosis.