The Final Appointment
by Henrick Glutonlumps
forum: The Final Appointment
speculative fiction for the internet generation.

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The Final Appointment


        "So the story is about an alternate reality, you say? Set thirty seven years ago in the year 2006? What an amazing year that was—sounds damned intriguing. So much has changed since then… Since the unthinkable happened. So your theory behind this story that you want to now share with the world is that it was just a few poor decisions by a small number of morons in an influential position that created the whole damned thing to happen? Changing life as we once knew it on this planet forever? Well, let me close the black shutters, that intense bright white sun is killing me. I swear it gets hotter and hotter each day outside. It reached 130 degrees yesterday alone… And they say it is only get worse much, much worse… I am so dreading the summer this year. So please sit down in the white chair over there and share with me your story."

        Trevor Steed, looking far older than his seventy-six years, bowed slightly to the heavy-set man dressed in black silk pajamas sat across the white room, blinked a few times in rapid succession, agitatedly adjusted his bow tie and began to recite his tale…

        "It all began, as indeed all things begin, with an idea. This particular idea struck, as ideas so often strike, as Phil House, the successful multi-zillionaire publishing mogul, sat on his heated platinum toilet in his platinum bathroom, in his platinum office on the forty-second floor of Platinum-Notion towers.

        "You see, as you know, he had made a Rockerfellowesque sized fortune by taking control of the complete publishing market in the entire English speaking world, as well as a good chunk of the French and German markets—and indeed was in addition making great advancements in conquering the Vulcan market… In this once fine and proud country of ours, before the collapse, there was not a single novel, comic, newspaper or pamphlet printed without his company's approval. And naturally everything had to agree with his extreme and discriminatory viewpoints, which were clearly laid down in a one-thosand and forty-two page manual that every employee of Platinum Thought needed to memorize word for word… Not only forwards, but backwards, and occasionally, if the fancy struck him, even sidewards. As you are excruciatingly aware, Phil House's most famous trademark was to tell it, whatever it was in that particular case, in simple black and white… Don't blur the facts with a multi-colored, hibbery- jibbery, mumbo jumbo confounding array of ineffectual words and overlong run on sentences when a more efficient, simplistic, minimalist choice will suffice to make your point is what he was rather fond of saying—of course he never fully appreciated the implied irony of that motto, and no-one dared to point it out or disagree with him. Disagreeing with the all-powerful Phil was punishable by a rather nasty death sentence involving five paperclips, a q-tip and a pair of rusty pliers, as outlined in bold on the top of page seventeen of the Platinum-Notion manual.

        "So, if you recall, that is when it happened. No-one really noticed at first, but Phil's insistence that everything should be in black and white somehow was having a cosmic affect on dear old planet Earth. Colors began ever so progressively to fade. Even in parts of the world where English, French and German were not fluently spoken, his influence was that great. It was subtle at first; the colors just became a modest shade duller, but then it evolved in tiny increments and every day the colors muted more and more. Of course as it was happening so incredibly gradually that no-one noticed… But I did.

        "The whole process took over three and a half years… Then one day we awoke to a world that was in absolute black and white… With various shades of grey, and quite naturally platinum. Trees were now grey, as were the once dazzlingly colored flowers, hummingbirds, sunsets, rainbows and even grass. The confounding influence was so strong that even the sun now appeared a burning white color… and seemed to burn even hotter than it did before.

        "As new generations were born and raised into this new world, they had no idea of what color even was… How do you explain what green is when you have nothing to show it? Or magenta, or yellow, or pink or even orange… Oh, how sad it was… But no-one would do a thing about it… Meanwhile, Phil House became even wealthier and even more powerful…. Now, all these years later, we are the last generation to even have the vaguest memory of what color is… And even I, I must confess, am beginning to forget.

        "Well, the story I propose we write is about what would have happened if the world had stood up against Platinum-Notion… You, Sir Harry Daggerwood, along with the likes of that underrated English writer D.S. Griffin, had once earnestly considered competing against the almighty Phil. I remember a day when you too dreamed of being a publishing mogul, all those years ago. Tell me that you remember? I fondly recall that you, Sir Harry, once had a dream, a magnificent bright and vividly colorful dream… A dream of spreading the Daggerwood gospel to the masses. You often divulged excitedly of your remarkable majestic plans, hopes and aspirations. You too were going to be a publisher… A publisher to represent the mainstream. The vast, yet underappreciated. Yet, we cowardly surrendered, didn't we? We were lily-livered and were easily shot down with a barrage of effectively honed derogative criticisms. Our confidence at writing was kicked in the delicate privates by a few savage, spiteful, devastating reviews, bringing us weeping to our knees. We foolishly allowed that flawless dream to crumble and ultimately wither away.

        "Well, today I came across an old Platinum typewriter, a gift ironically enough given to me by Phil himself… all those years ago. Furthermore I uncovered several reams of paper that I had somehow managed to conceal away. I propose that you and I tell of how the world once was… and how it could have been. I propose to tell, in contraband manuscripts, typed on that old typewriter, and copied from my ancient printing press, I have hidden in my garden shed. I want to tell an alternative history of what could have happened. In fact what should have ensued if we held onto our beliefs."


        Three weeks later:

        Trevor Steed sat there in his gray garden shed and read aloud the words he was now typing. He used a copy of the Platinum-Notion manual on his seat, to allow him enough height to allow him to type comfortably. The cold hard manual felt uncomfortable against his flabby, pimply bottom, and he fidgeted awkwardly in search of a more comfortable position.

        It was then, at that magical moment, he closed his eyes and envisioned a rose bud that he had once seen as a young man. All those years ago. A tiny miracle happened. That image of the rose bud filled his imagination. It was faded and blurred at first. Yet, he clung to that image, and concentrated… More and more. The image began to brighten, until finally there it was… Held clearly in his mind's eye… And all at once that bud began to open and then morphed into the most beautiful red rose he had ever seen. As he held that glorious image he desperately and passionately continued to write… As he tapped out his memory of how the world once was he was totally unaware that, because of his words, another miracle was taking place somewhere in a garden, several thousand miles in Yorkshire, England. A small white haired child watched on in bewildered amazement as a robin who was singing his usual sad song. As the child watched on the bird's chest was changing from its normal shade of grey to a discernable, albeit very soft, red. And as that Robin began to sing in a cheerful refrain, the revolution had begun.


The end.




copyright 2006 Henrick Glutonlumps.

Henrick Glutonlumps:

What can be said about Henrick Glutonlumps that his psychiatrist hasn't previously mentioned in court? He is a short, squat and rather vulgar man who maintains a distinct body owner. When he is not being restrained In a straight jacket he finds it a stimulating passtime to write odd short stories.