Tommy Gunn in 'THE ATHEISM JAB'...

Oli STAVROGIN
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Tommy Gunn in 'THE ATHEISM JAB'...

Hey Atheists, theists and other people of isms...

I have a story to tell. It's quite long, about 5,000 words, and it's about a guy called Tommy Gunn (Yes, named after the real star of Rocky 5...I'm not sure why, maybe cos i always saw that film as a theist(Rocky) Vs an Atheist (Tommy Gunn) made by a theist for an audience of theists. Discuss) who runs with an (actively) active group of atheists who use liquids and needles to inject a whole load of atheism into theists. But something's not quite right with Mr. Gunn...as u will see...

Basically, I want your feedback, good and bad...esp. the bottles and what you would put in them, or perhaps your own ideas on how the whole deprogramming process should be done. Also, i'm not sure about Mr. Puncher...

Anyway, here it is...enjoy, skim, endure, burn, whatever...

The Atheism Jab

 

  

       His left arm spasmed, followed quickly by his chest. The rest of his body lay still and supported the jolts until, finally, they had passed. The man, a Mr. Alan Wong, was still asleep on his bed. He had been this way for the last two days and he would be this way for another eight hours at least. His bed hadn’t been changed in two weeks. The sheets he lay on now were beginning to stain from the sweat brought on by his convulsions. They were starting to smell. The room around him was also in need of cleaning; the floor was gathering dust, the paint was stripping itself off the walls, the desk in the corner still had all the coins Mr. Wong had claimed over the past year of his life. It needed attention, but it wouldn’t get it, not from him.

       His left arm reached up again, reaching high for the ceiling. The fingers grasped for nothing and the wrist flipped around as though it were trying to break itself. Then the chest-…

       Sitting in a chair watching was another man. His name was Thomas Yu. Other group members called him a different name…‘Tommy Gunn’, they said, because he was unofficially the most militant of all of them. He had been there for the last two days, and twenty-three other days before that. It wasn’t his house but he happened to be living there. He rested his arms on his thighs and waited for Mr. Wong to stop his little dance. This guy is taking longer than the others, he said to himself. He had been saying things to himself for a long time instead of thinking them. There was no-one around to hear. They were in a small house in a half-evacuated little village, twenty minutes from Tai Po, forty minutes from Mong Kok in the heart of Kowloon, and fifty minutes from the nearest church-base. No-one knew that he was there. Not even the theists.

       He looked at Mr. Wong’s eyes and saw them suddenly open and zoom right over to him. You know it’s me don’t you…you know I’m doing this. Spoken out loud again. But wait…what’s that? Do you hear-…? No, nothing. No-one’s stopping me. No intervention from above…not that He exists above…not that He exists at all. It’s all on you pal; only you can stop me. You are it. So wake up Mr. Wong. Wake up…

Mr. Wong closed his eyes again and fell back into darkness.

       Tommy got up out of the chair that he had been sitting in for seven hours straight and prepped the next needle. This one will be a little bit stronger, and a lot more vivid, he told his patient. Let’s try some characters instead of words shall we? He took a small bottle of green liquid off the desk and poured some into the needle. Green gave information. The higher the dose, the more lucid the visions would be. A small dose would give words and speech…a full shot would bring very real looking atheist figures into his mind. A quick push to check the mechanism and, without distracting the holder, some green stuff squirted out, flew hopefully at a target for a few brief seconds before dropping harmlessly onto the floor by the bed. Tommy looked at the green creature try to dissolve itself into the floor, and breathed laughter. A collusive look at the comatose Wong… “If your floor were alive, it’d probably be atheist by now. Not you though, Mr. Wong…stubborn little prick that you are”. He pulled the point of the needle down to the flip side of the elbow and pushed it in hard. It went in to the hilt. Tommy Gunn released the green juice out of the plastic and didn’t stop until it was all in. He pulled the needle back out, put it back on the desk without wiping it, and then stood back so the arm wouldn’t hit him when the convulsions began again. This time it would work. A stronger dosage, real characters, a harder loyalty breaking down the old one. I’ll run you all the way up to forty days if I have to pal, spoke Tommy. When I’m done with you, you’ll think the same way I do. Your Christ will be the devil, your God will be a mass-murderer, and the devil will still be the devil. But it won’t matter pal…you’ll think of them the same way you think of the Brother’s Grimm. A fairytale, with dark, dark characters. If not, then…

He thought of Sam, his brother…

If not, then…

       He went back to his chair and picked up the book. ‘Exorcising God: Why you think He exists’, by the late, great Tony Puncher. That was a man and a half. Better than two men, in fact. The originator of our great movement. That book alone had been responsible for the deconversion of at least five million delusionals, along with the liquids of course. It had helped him and his family too when they had first come off the juice. Those first few chapters…exposing the impossibility of God’s morality…how had he ever believed it? He remembered after he came back to logic, he had gone to the library and watched old debates showing Puncher in his prime, taking on the best of the theists and destroying them all. There was one…the famous morality debate, the first one to go out live in Hong Kong on TVB. That one had been his finest. His opponent, the Reverend George Petty (Ha! That hack Petty, Tommy remembered, how did I ever revere such a deluded prick!), had tried to corner him with the bible, but Tony, leaning back right to the edge of his chair, with its two front legs up in the air like a kid playing around in primary school, had dismissed him… “God is Love”, Petty had claimed. “An abstract is an abstract?” Tony had replied, “That isn’t really an argument.” The Reverend had launched back, “morality is part of God.” with his body perched to the side as if ready to run if Puncher’s rebuke was harmful enough. “God is morality; it is his will. He didn’t decide it, it is him.” Puncher had put all four chair legs back on the ground to answer… ‘Tell me, Reverend, how something can have any idea of what morality is, when they’re alone. You say God is unlike us, but he is moral, yet isn’t morality specific to humanity. Couldn’t he only have decided what morals were after creation? Wouldn’t he have to envisage immoral acts in order to judge against them? Wouldn’t he? Unless, he’s not alone up there…oh yes, wait…the angels. They’re there with him aren’t they? And what are they? Lucifer, what is He? And His fall… how could he fall? Isn’t he part of God, isn’t he already in paradise? Why revolt then? And a revolt, indeed, when was this revolt decided upon? How did he prepare for such a coup d’etat in this timeless void…I mean, Paradise? Wouldn’t that imply time? Doesn’t God exist outside of time?”

       Question and question without response…and that coward Petty was the one Tommy has sided with at the time. An act of delusion, he had told himself as he had watched the tapes after his awakening. “Puncher is the truth teller, not Petty,” he spat at the unconscious Mr. Wong. Then another scene came back to him from the debate; the final nail in Petty’s cross. Puncher putting his chair back on all four legs and standing up as if a pulpit had sprung up in front of him, and his opponent, his enemy, the liar Petty, cowering behind his desk:

       “…You, Reverend, claim God is Love; I reject that completely. I do more than that, I laugh at it. If God is love without, at least, the potential for hate, then doesn’t that word love become a little empty? Doesn’t it mean God just is? It is after all a common axiom that one cannot have love without hate. Which, if true, makes a lot of what God has done arbitrary. If He only has one side, that of absolute good as you often tell us Mr. Petty, then surely he cannot be accused of picking sides. And we know He has never made a decision, as that would imply an existence in temporality; therefore his actions have been random, or even sociopathic. Look at the slaughters in the Old Testament if you don’t believe me. Exterminations of entire cultures, with actual, physical slaughter. And what of the opposite action? The salvation of entire cultures? Has that happened Mr. Petty? Outside of your fairytale, no, it has not. Therefore, Reverend, (this was the best bit, the part Tommy had savored) Your God is a sociopath, and he is an angry sociopath at that. And I dismiss him completely. If He is real, I dismiss him. And I’ll dismiss him to His non-face.” After that the reverend had simply asserted once more, ‘God is Love…one day we will understand him better. As for you, I can only pray for you. That’s all…”

       Tommy had watched that debate at least twenty times. It made him laugh that he once would’ve sided with the Reverend. He cast his gaze back on Mr. Wong. “I would’ve gladly spat in Puncher’s face back then, just like you would now,” he said calmly. “I didn’t know how right he was then. But now I know. I know the truth. And so will you…”

       He opened to the third chapter, the one concerning the ontological proof, and started reading out loud. Inside the oneiric landscape of Mr. Wong, leading figures of atheism started to create themselves out of nothing, readying themselves to explain everything…

       Two days later, Tommy Gunn was down in Mr. Wong’s living room putting a bible into the big, black bag. The bag was for anything considered by their group as regressive or prohibitive to their patient’s development. Anything from his past way of thinking had to go in there. Each member, after putting the patient into the deep sleep, had to scour the apartment for anything religious, biblical, supernatural, mystical…anything containing dogma or rhetoric. The most common things were books on the shelf, crosses on the wall, bibles hidden within drawers. The bible that was in his hand now had been a lucky find. He had been administering another shot of red liquid (this one embedded loyalty to the atheist cause and was usually applied after a week of green shots - after insertion, Tommy would read atheist names to the patient and all the theists who had attacked them, forcing the patient to mentally defend the former. The only side effect of this one was that it was extremely painful.) to Mr. Wong a few hours earlier, when he had noticed a lump in the pillow beneath his head. It had been lying there all that time…twenty-three days, right next to the patients head, and he hadn’t noticed it. If he hadn’t been atheisized himself four years ago, then he would’ve suspected divine interference, but he had undergone the treatment and he no longer looked for that kind of thing, not anymore. He dropped the bible into the bag and kicked it. Of all the books to last this long…

       Back in the room upstairs, Mr. Wong opened one of his eyes. He wasn’t fully awake, but he had a notion that-…some idea that someone was-…where was he? He looked around and was satisfied that it was still his room. And he was alone. Still, there was a feeling-…something wasn’t right. He wasn’t sure what it was but-…his head felt comfortable. The pillow is softer than usual, he thought. His next thought was to thank someone for the softness of his pillow but he couldn’t think of anyone to address. There is someone though…who do I usually thank? He pushed the back of his head further into the pillow. There must be a reason why this pillow is softer than usual, he thought. Someone made it this way, there was a cause…but who? There’s no-one here. He raised his head higher, off the pillow, and checked the room again. This time he saw the desk and the needles resting on it. Three small bottles of red, green, and blue; all without labels, and the green one almost empty. What the he-…he stopped himself. Was this really his room? Was someone else there? He waited five minutes for someone to appear, but no-one came. Was this-…the bottles were real…they are real…what is that liquid? He knew that it had been put inside his body….by whom? It had to be someone…but-…there was no-one here but him. Fear and panic finally hit him and forced him into escape. He tried to lift his legs off the bed but they wouldn’t move. Then his arms…they moved an inch off the sheets then shot back down. They were dead too. Oh shi-…there was something-…what was going on here?...he felt a greater rush of fear run all around his body, a huge fix of energy that was to be used to aid his escape, but he was unable to utilize it; he was stuck to the bed. His eyes closed again, beyond his will. The fear stayed inside and went back to his brain where he thought…

       …he thought a thousand things at once…there had to be something that would help him…Evolution; a natural process, a selection that made him-…a universe without a creator…what creator? What did it look like? How was it outside out of time? What would that look like? What was he thinking? He couldn’t stop it, any of it…his place in this world…live your life until it ends…a man, it was Mr. Puncher again, talking to a crowd… “Morality is relative, it cannot, CANNOT (he shouted!), be programmed into you by a God-head”…what was that? He had shouted at him…sonofa-…but it was alright, he seemed to like Mr. Puncher…there was something reassuring about him…that Mr. Puncher, he was a good guy…if anyone talked bad about him, he would-…wait, what was-…who was this Mr. Puncher?...he tried to lift his hand to his temple to rub it and make these thoughts slow down but he was still pinned to the bed. More thoughts came…but not thoughts, it was a vision now…a face in the sky…and a man on the ground, with a beard and white robes…he knew that man…the face in the sky spoke: “ I am you and you are me, and if you ask any more questions then-…” The man, the one he knew, nodded and then turned to a crowd and spoke to them, but it was inaudible…the crowd was nodding and listening…and the face in the sky was watching them all, monitoring them…then the crowd was gone, and there was a city…a huge walled city, and he could see right down into it, as if he were a bird…there were people down there, some of them in a group…he somehow magnified it, possibly by swooping down, and he saw that the people in the city were strong and had swords and spears and were killing other people, defenseless people…he looked away, horrified…but then he looked elsewhere in the city and he saw more people…they were talking, and laughing, and there was a mother with a child in her arms, and a group of men watching, smiling at the baby who seemed happy…this was a better part of the city, he thought…and then the face in the sky came…Mr. Wong looked left and saw his arm(his arm was flapping like a wing!) and past that he saw the face…it was looking over the whole city, and it was puzzled…then the face changed, turned into a giant stone and fell towards the city. He watched as it dropped and at first it looked like it would flatten the whole earth, but as it fell it slowly shrank, until it covered only the city, which was further away from him now, and then it hit, and the entire city was gone. He swooped down again and circled the stone…it grew back into a face and then into a man and floated back down to the ground, leaving the wreck of the city behind it, along with the killers and the mother and her child, and then the newly born man spoke to some men who had appeared holding stones and chalk, and as he spoke they wrote with their chalk…the man faded into nothing and the whole landscape changed into grass and fields, and then he was back in his room…what was happening here-…he knew who he had seen, but it was different…he had never seen it like that before…the mother, her child…what was that story?...something told him to reach under the pillow, and that’s what he did…his hand had come back to life and he could move it…slowly, slowly….almost there…and then it disappeared, buried under the pillow up to his wrist, and there had to be something there for him…but-…he couldn’t-…there was nothing there. He reached further in until he hit the wall and-…a noise from somewhere in the room…there is someone in here, he said. “Who’s there?” he tried to shout… “Tell me…what are you doing?”...he spun his head round in four jerked movements and took in the rest of the room…there was someone…a whole body, and arms, coming towards him, with-…it was sharp…a needle…and red juice getting larger…he tried to pull his hand back out from the pillow, but it wouldn’t move quickly enough…it edged out, too slow…the needle was on his arm…this was it…the final push and he wouldn’t wake up again…this was his only chance…he waited for the fear to paralyze him, but it wasn’t fear that came this time, it was pain…pain drilling into his bones and veins and deeper…

      Tommy Gunn kept the needle in until Mr. Wong’s eyes were shut tight. He was still breathing heavily, thinking of what his boss would say if he found out about this. Using the red too quickly. How had it even happened? They never woke up, not like this, never. This guy wasn’t anything different. All the background checks had been conclusive; he was a regular. Just another Wong. Why was he waking? And his hand…it had been under the pillow…why there? Did he remember? That shouldn’t have happened…he wasn’t supposed to remember, not yet.

       Mr. Wong stared in a still state of terror at the eyes of Tommy Gunn. They stayed locked together until the former let go and fell back into his coma. The needle came out and the left arm flew into the air, narrowly avoiding Tommy who had dodged back at the last second. He turned quickly and picked up the blue bottle. It had no label but he knew exactly what it did. He had already used some of it the day before, on Mr. Wong. Only a little, only enough to make him question his beliefs, along with a quick reading of the Old Testament account of the Canaanite massacre. Now he would use some more. He took the cap off the bottle. Time to say goodbye to the God of love you resistant little prick, he said to the catatonic Mr. Wong. He filled the needle with the blue juice and stuck it in the right arm. A full plastic cylinder vanished into the skin. Tommy Gunn pulled the needle out and threw it casually back down onto the desk. Then he sat down in the chair next to the bed and waited.

       There was a knock at the door downstairs.

       It was four in the morning and Tommy was asleep on the couch in the living room. He woke on the third bout of knocking and looked around the room. Thirty days ago, before Tommy Gunn had entered Mr. Wong’s apartment and put him to sleep, the walls had been decorated with two crosses and a tapestry of the virgin birth. The shelves had been stacked with two bibles; one in Cantonese, one in English. Alongside those had been a multitude of apologist texts, ranging from a denouncement of the Dead Sea scrolls to a complete refutation of evolution and the idea of natural selection. Now the entire room was different. The walls were empty apart from one poster depicting the branches of evolution, and the shelves had been cleared, cleaned and refilled with a mix of atheist and naturalist literature. All of this had been achieved without the assistance or knowledge of the apartment’s owner, the unfortunate Mr. Wong.

The fourth knock got Tommy off the couch and over to the door.

He opened it, knowing who it was.

       His boss was a tall man, and although no-one had ever asked his age, most presumed he was around fifty. His hair had gone white at the side, and he had lost some on top, a fact that he was modest about (he had joked once that the despair of atheism had taken his looks), and compensated for by making the rest of his body function at a quicker pace. That was why he was the boss; no other member could match his enthusiasm for the cause.

       He walked into the living room in two long determined strides, as if it were his own. Tommy shut the door and waited for him to speak. He had to wait a while as the boss checked on the substitute interior. After a few seconds of inspection, he turned back to Tommy.

       “The table is too bare. Move some of the books off the shelves and leave them open there…” he pointed at the huge space covering the table.

       “I was going to…”

       “Going to isn’t good enough. As soon as you think of it, do it. If everything is not perfect, then there will be no deconversion”. He said this part coldly.

       “It’s no problem. There aren’t any theist books left. I trashed them all.”

       “Don’t talk back.” Another cold look. “You’ll do as you’re told.”

Tommy wanted to protest but there was no point. There was no-one to support him.

The boss sat down on the couch, leaving his hands palm down on the cushion beneath so he could spring right back up again.

       “If you deviate from the system then there’ll be mistakes. If this patient wakes up and doesn’t read our literature then it’s over. Four weeks and then all we’ve given him will start to fade. It’ll be like waking up from a dream again and he’ll be back in delusion.”

       “I know this. I know the system. I’m not new to this…” Tommy said it calmly, and showed the boss that he wasn’t looking for a fight by sitting down next to him.

       “Confirmation is never a bad thing. The system, by its very nature, leads to complacency. If you think you know your role, then you’ll become lazy and look for shortcuts…anything but complete implementation of the procedure could lead to failure. Which would mean a waste of our time and resources. You understand?”

Tommy nodded.

       The Boss gestured to the shelves and Tommy got up. He looked at the selection of texts and picked a few out to put down on the table.

       “Books on the shelf are no good. They go unnoticed for months and years, let alone weeks. We need this man to be reading as soon as he comes down from his room. Otherwise its twenty-six…twenty-seven days wasted.”

Tommy put the last book down on the table.

       “Twenty-nine.”

       “Twenty-nine. Shit…another clinger. Why is this one taking so long?”

       “I’m not sure. I’ve started giving him higher doses than usual…just to speed it up a little”. Tommy’s hands started to get wet.

       “Higher doses? How high?”

       “Not dangerously high. Just a little more than-…”

       “Have you deviated from the order?”

       “No, I-…”

       “Green, red, then blue last?”

       “Yeah, I’ve done it the same way as always.”

       “Then why is it taking so long?”

       “I don’t know…” Tommy wiped both hands on the back of the couch then rubbed his head as if in confusion. The sweat came back almost instantly.

The Boss ignored Tommy and thought it through.

       “There was a-…” Tommy thought about telling him about the bible he found under the pillow, but decided it wouldn’t reflect well on his own performance.

       “There was a what?”

       “Nothing.  It’s…he did wake up a couple of nights back. I…I gave him a blue shot to put him back under…I’m sorry.”

The Boss scrutinized Tommy’s face, making him turn away.

       “How much?” he asked sternly.

       “I don’t think it did much harm.”

The Boss sat forward, angered.

       “It can always do harm, Thomas. If it’s done out of order. You know that very well.”

       “I only gave him a little. It won’t harm him.”

       “But if the dosage is high…we want him on our side, not mad.”

       The Boss stopped realizing his mistake. He put his hand out and touched Tommy on the leg.

       “I’m sorry; I didn’t mean anything by that.”

       Tommy knew he was referring to Sam, but he didn’t want to talk about that, not while he was on the job. He blocked Sam’s face out and carried on with the conversation.

       “The dosage wasn’t high. I made-…”

       “Ok Thomas. It’s ok. Just remember, we want him to distrust, not to fear. Fear leads back to delusion…” He removed his hand and resumed his previous position.

       “I know, but it’s fine, really-…”

       “We can’t lose him now, not after twenty-nine days. We’d be humiliated. The theists would find out…we can’t put a spring in their step again, Thomas. I won’t allow it.”

       Tommy stayed silent this time. He had injected a high amount into Mr. Wong the first time but just that once…and he’d been fine. No reactions to the bible stories, nothing too extreme, just a few tears. That wasn’t even a reaction, not really.

       “Now, where is the patient? Upstairs?”

       “Yeah, I’ll show you.”

Tommy started to rise but the Boss pushed him gently back down.

       “No, you stay here. I’ll handle the next shot.”

Tommy was surprised. The Boss never usually stayed to do the shot himself. He watched sometimes, but never administered it.

       “Are you gonna read to him as well, Sir?”

       “Yes, why not. I’ve got a story in my head that might help us along.”

       He walked in more long strides to the stairs, inspecting the kitchen briefly as he passed it. Then up the stairs and out of sight.

       Tommy thought it through. He wouldn’t know he had given him a high dose…there was no evidence. The bottle was still half full, and there were always some spillages on the job…arms would spasm and fly out…liquid would be lost to the floor or wall…it couldn’t be helped. And the patient himself had been fine the last couple of nights…no disturbances, no sudden wake-ups…not since that one time three nights ago. There wasn’t anything he could’ve done about that.

       He sat back on the sofa and waited for the Boss to come back down. He thought about turning on the TV and watching some late night Canto-TV shit, but he didn’t want the noise to disturb the two of them upstairs. He drifted…He saw his Mum and his Dad…he pictured himself walking outside again…walking down a familiar street…his eyes closed. In the dark, a room appeared, and a nurse. And a bed with a man tucked up within it. He walked up to it and sat down and tried to talk to the man but he was the only one talking. He didn’t even know what he was saying…he just knew he wasn’t getting any reply. The man turned onto his side and faced him, without acknowledgment. It was Sammy.

       After the Boss had left, Tommy went back up to the room and looked down on the patient, who was sleeping peacefully. What had the boss read to him? He looked for the text near the bed, but there was nothing there; he had taken it with him when he had left. He looked at the bottles on the table and saw that the red liquid was at a lower level. Then he looked at the blue. It was still relatively full. The needle was on the side next to it, waiting to be used again. “Sammy, this is what they did to you, isn’t it?” he said quietly. He picked it up and turned it blue quickly. Then over to the patient. “It won’t do any real harm,” he said louder this time. “Just a little pain for what you did.” He lifted up the arm and gave him a full shot.

       Two nights later, Tommy was reading to Mr. Wong, when his mobile rang. The patient couldn’t hear it of course but the sudden sound made Tommy jump all the same. He picked it up and whispered, “What?”

       It was his Mum. She was worried about him. Both his parents knew about his work with the group. They had all been deconverted together, in the same house. After waking, he had been the quickest to adjust, which is why he was recruited. His Mum had been the slowest, but she had come around eventually. His brother though-…

       “I’m working Mum…I’ll call you back later.”

       “You’re still there? But Thomas it’s been so long…forty days…what’s happening there? Are you alright?”

       “It’s been thirty days Mum. And I’m fine.”

       “Then why is it taking so long?”

       “Ah, you know how it is…another stubborn theist won’t give it up. It doesn’t matter, it’s fine.”

       “Why can’t they just think straight? Them and their silly God…”

       “Yeah I know…”

A second of silence.

       “I’m still worried about you, Thomas. If those theists find out where you are…”

       “They won’t. We cover our tracks…don’t worry Mum.”

       “But I do.”

       “I know”.

       Mr. Wong’s body came to life and rolled onto its side. His eyes stayed closed.

       “Look Mum, I’ve really gotta go…the patient’s almost ready to come out.”

She ignored him and carried on talking…

       “I went to see Sam today. He wasn’t looking so good…”

Thomas went silent. He couldn’t think about his brother, not now.

       “…I think they’re giving him the wrong shots. Some of those nurses, they don’t look like nurses. They could be working for them…”

       “It’s a secular clinic, they can’t get in there.”

       “They can. They’re sneaky. If they know where Sam is they might try and get him again.”

       “I won’t let that happen Mum, I promise you…”

       “What can you promise, huh? You’re always working…”

       “Mum…”

       “When was the last time you visited him?”

       “What-…I still visit him…”

Tommy was lying. He hadn’t visited his brother in nine months. His Mum wouldn’t know this unless she asked the nurses directly, and he had sworn them to secrecy. They wouldn’t tell. And Sam…Sammy couldn’t tell. Mum would never admit it but he was gone. The theists had taken his mind when they had tried to turn him back. Goddamn bastards, fucking cocksuck-…they had used too much blue. They had used more than he ever had, and he gets reprimanded for it. It wasn’t just. Those theists…they were the monsters…his brother had been free…almost free…just a few doubts and fears left and that’s when they had got him. With their myth and fairytales…with their smiling faces…he hadn’t been there when they had done it, but he could picture it. Those smiling theists, with their promise of peace and calm…and the blue pouring out of the needle into his brother’s innocent vein…

       His Mum spoke again…

       “Don’t forget about him Thomas. He’s not gone yet.”

       “I know…”

       “He will get better. As long as those theists don’t find him.”

       “I’ll never let them get him again.”

       Those smiling cocksuckers with their smiling Jesus and their Impossible, bastard God. Sitting round Sam, surrounding him, telling him those disgusting stories…

       Mr. Wong came to life again and rolled onto his other side.

       “Goodbye Mum”

       “Call back lat-…”

He hung up before she finished.

       Those smiling bastards…that smiling Mr. Wong. He was one of them. Right now, he was one of them, and he was fighting against him…he was fighting so he could stay a theist, stay within his delusion and when he was better he would go back to his group and there’d be another Sam, and Mr. Wong would take him too and use the blue on him…or he would go to the clinic and get Sam again…it wasn’t impossible…he had lied to his Mum about that too. Secular clinics were easy to break into…and Sam was in no condition to resist them. Mentally he was nowhere… “Oh Sammy, you dumb bastard,” he muttered to the room, “How did you let them get you? How could you doubt when you knew everything, you stupid sonofa-…”

       Mr. Wong moved his head again. He was close to waking up. Tommy had to finish the story before he opened his eyes again. Perhaps another shot of blue to help him hate…

       He got the needle and filled it up. The liquid should’ve stopped halfway, but he couldn’t let go of the trigger. The blue bottle, almost empty now, returned to the table. “A little extra,” he told himself, “He deserves a little extra.” He brought it over to Mr. Wong’s arm and let the tip of the metal rest against the skin, ready to go. He stopped and looked at the full cylinder. He couldn’t do it. They needed this one on their side. The boss had told him that himself. And…perhaps they suspected about the last one. That’s why the boss had come and done one himself. They knew what he was doing…

       He kept the needle straight. One push and Mr. Wong would be lost…

       They needed this one. He couldn’t do it again.

       He looked at Mr. Wong’s face and thought about how similar it was to any other face. Eyes, nose, mouth, ears…it was all there. All that was wrong was the brain. And that’s how he had been just four years ago. Back then…if the boss had decided to fill him with blue then he wouldn’t be here now. He had been rescued, and it was his job to rescue others. He was in charge of rescuing Mr. Wong. It was his job. It wasn’t Wong’s fault that he couldn’t think straight. He was a theist because he had been converted. Therefore he deserved deconversion like anyone else. He deserved it.

       The needle lifted off the skin. Tommy took his finger away from the release.

       But this one was different…he was fighting. They all fought against it, the green, red and blue, but Mr. Wong was different still. He had been fighting for thirty-one days. He was a purer theist than any of them. He was closer to the delusion than any of them. He could never be truly turned. It would always be in him, and someday it would find a way out and when that happened he’d use it as vindication against the group. He’d tell everyone, in the street, on a podium, on a stage, in front of hundreds, thousands… “They tried to turn me but I fought back. I showed them my mind was His and only His and I conquered it, with the love and strength given to me by my Lord, the savior”…all that shit would come pouring out of his mouth and then…Mr. Wong. He would become a great enemy of the group. And he’d find out it had been Tommy who had done this to him. He’d go after Sam…

       His eyes rested on Mr. Wong. His fingers grabbed for his hair and clenched it up in a tight fist.

       “You would, wouldn’t you?” he said, interrogating his silent captive, “You’d go after Sammy again.” He waited for an answer that couldn’t possibly come. He released his grip on the hair and looked resolutely at the needle in his other hand.

       “I know you would.” He said softly, for only Mr. Wong to hear.

       Tommy Gunn looked back at the body laid out in front of him and thrust the needle back down into Mr. Wong’s arm and emptied the whole cylinder. When it was done he reached again for the blue bottle and took all that was left. Into the needle and into the arm.

       Mr. Wong didn’t react at first; his face was serene and his body relaxed. When the second dose had gone in, Tommy put the needle back down on the desk, and sat back down in his chair. It wouldn’t take long now, he thought.

      A few moments later, it began. He watched as his patient’s arm flew into the air once more. This time it went right to the wall and lashed out at it continuously, trying to break through the plaster. Then the rest of the body lurched upwards, convulsing, trying to throw itself off the bed. There were sounds…primal, distinctive, animal noises…like a creature being mauled. It filled the room and its walls completely. Tommy sat with his arms folded, only a meter away from the dying man, a passive observer. He didn’t worry about the noise waking anyone up. There was no one living within two houses of them and even if they did hear something and come over it didn’t matter. It was over anyway. In ten minutes or so, Mr. Wong would be gone, defeated.

There is no social truth in General Zod

www.yearzerowriters.wordpress.com


BMcD
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As an atheist, I would

As an atheist, I would fight that sort of activity with every fiber of my being, down to my last breath. The very idea of forcing someone to believe or not believe what you want them to... that strikes me as deeply, deeply disturbed, and fundamentally immoral.  The ends do not justifty the means.

"You've got to remember that these are just simple farmers. These are people of the land. The common clay of the new West. You know... morons." - The Waco Kid


Oli STAVROGIN
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oh good, a

oh good, a reaction...

Thanks for reading it. I guess you can interpret it in different ways...as what could happen if both sides become too militant, or a stretched out metaphor of what's going on now ie, the lack of understanding and communication of both sides...

Now, obviously I don't want you to suit up and start sticking needles in anyone, but I would like some feedback. I'm glad it made you feel something, but do you think the different liquids make sense or should they have different effects? Does the Puncher section pull you too far out of the story or is it ok as it is?

Any comments would be helpful. Thanks.

There is no social truth in General Zod

www.yearzerowriters.wordpress.com


Gupter (not verified)
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I saw this story in a book...

This was in a book I found in Hong Kong recently. It's pretty much the same I think...

Is this writer famous??