Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Bug Man outtakes (sleeplessness scene completed)

Continued from here.

“You need,” the bug said, “to take action.”

“Such as?” Richard said.

“You could kill somebody.”

Richard groaned like he’d been punched in the stomach. “Oh God. I really am dangerous, and not just to myself.”

“I’m not urging,” the bug said. “I’m just saying consider it. There are other options. Rearrange your patterns. Quit your job and move to some dead end desert spot like Tucson. At the very least, tell people what you think. Or hang around with different friends. Take a risk, that’s all. It doesn’t matter what. The point is, Rich,” the bug suddenly surged with movement, legs kicking wildly, the things that might be wings almost unfolding,” the point is a kind of metamorphosis.”

“The point seems to be that my subconscious is taking me down with stupid literary allusions.”

“I’m using your language, Rich. Dumb puns are how you think.”

“So you’re saying I should turn into a bug and move to Tucson.”

“It’s an option.”

“And I should take this idea up because you’re precisely the bug my mind has created in order to solve my problems?”

“Not quite. You haven’t created me. I already existed. But you certainly need me. It’s difficult to explain.”


“Okay. But it’s not going to make things easier. I don’t need you, Rich, you need me. There are lots of us. We’ve invaded.”

“Who’s invaded? What have they invaded?”

“We’ve invaded your world. All of us. We’re everywhere, only you haven’t learned to see us yet. I mean, you have, but most other people, no.”

“Who do you mean by we? Other bugs like yourself?”

“Bugs are everywhere,” the bug said.

“What are you talking about?” Richard said. “A bug invasion is taking over the world?”

“No,” the bug said. “I knew this wouldn’t be easy. If it was a human invasion, humans would take over. That’s how humans do things. But that’s not how I do them. I’m not human.”

“What do you do then?”

“I co-exist, Rich. Isn’t that the whole point of this conversation? I’ve been co-existing with you ever since we started talking. That’s the metamorphosis. The old Rich just existed and was losing out fast. The new Rich will have to co-exist. It’s the only way. It’s up to you of course. It’s not my nature to force you.”

“So,” Richard said. “Either I’ve had a psychotic break and think I’m talking to a bug, or else I’m talking to a bug that really exists. Or, sorry, a bug that co-exists, and in this case with me. In other words I’m talking to a bug who knows at least as much about me as I do and probably more. And I suppose it’s up to me to decide what to believe?”

“That’s right. As I said, it’s not my nature to make you do anything. I can’t even make you able to do it. All I can provide is input. So you can get stubborn and middle class and insist that you need a hospital and hardcore medication. Or else you can admit that you’ve suddenly found yourself in a universe that’s entirely transformed.”

Richard leaned forward, put his elbows on his knees. The sour sogginess of an evening of beer still sat heavily on his stomach, and his throat was dry. “What’s going to happen to me?”

“I wish I could tell you,” the bug said. “I can’t see the future any more than you can. I’m not a fortune teller. Still, I can say this much. If you need me, I’ll be around. It’s essential to my motivation.”

“That’s, uh, kind of you,” Richard said.

“My pleasure,” said the bug.

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