Wallypede Girl

Words can be an infected wound. Things are read that cannot be unread. They can injure, and fester.
For me, such words were delivered by a story, called Wallypede Girl. The title alone sufficed to betray its radically abominable character. It was a tale scraped from the filthiest sewers of Hell. You don’t need to know more than that. Believe me, really, you don’t. Thank all that is holy if you are spared. I pray you will not err as I have.

Looking back, my behavior is indecipherable to me. I watch a madman destroy himself. He picks up the slim volume whose vileness – he knows – has never been exceeded. As if craving damnation, he consumes it in one session. It took, perhaps, three hours.
I could not put it down, as the saying goes, though it explains nothing. Why – I now ask myself – did I continue to the end? Why proceed beyond the first hideous paragraph? I can make no sense of it. In any case, the private calamity was done. That was the first episode. I would never know ‘a good night’s sleep’ again.

In the next episode, I was introduced to the author, at a gallery opening.
“I’m sure you told me that you’d read one of her stories. What was it called?”
Chillingly, I knew. Please let it not be, I mumbled silently, in vain. It was, of course. Had it not been, this also would not be. The words were said. I will not willingly repeat them.
After the name was spoken I seemed to pass – for a moment – out of the world. Sensation collapsed into darkness and noise. A buzzing reached me as if from distant ruined galaxies.
“You’ve heard of it?” she was asking. “Maybe you’ve even read it?”
I stared at her dumbly, if not quite open-mouthed. It was meeting a monster.
“How did you think up something like that?” I asked, not really wanting to know.
“Oh, it just came to me,” she said. The breeziness of the reply was almost impossibly distressing. “Do you ever have that? You know, when things just arrive, and you’ve no idea from where?”
“It doesn’t worry you?”
“Strange visitors are my favorite things.”
My look of abhorrence cannot have been well-concealed. Her expression shifted through discomfort to amusement.
“You look as if you’ve seen a Wallypede girl.”
“Don’t say that,” I begged. “I mean, don’t joke about it. It’s not remotely funny.”
“Are you okay?”
“What you did was so wrong.” I had to say it. “If there was any justice in this universe, you’d be punished for it.”
“Jesus,” she said. She looked taken aback. “You don’t like it?”
Her appalling understatement shocked me to the core. For some moments it stripped me of the power of speech. Could she somehow not realize what she had done?
“Like it?” I stammered, groping for more. “You find it imaginable that I could have liked it?”
“Aren’t scary stories your thing?”
I searched her face for indications of mockery. We were trapped in a dialog of unanswered questions. “You think what you wrote was a scary story?”
“Wasn’t it?” Once again, her confusion seemed genuine.
“Was Auschwitz-Birkenau undesirable accommodation?”
“I don’t get your point.” Some evidence of irritation was creeping in.
This tilted my sense of existential devastation into fury. Did she dare pretend to injury, after what she had done? I closed my eyes, grasping for calm.
“We should probably drop it,” she said. “The topic seems to over-excite you.”
It’s not about me, I wanted to shriek, but I managed to restrain myself. My temples ached. Throbbing veins probably betrayed my condition. I took a deep breath.
“You can’t be evading your responsibility,” I said. “Nobody would try to shrug-off something at this scale, surely? It would look too cynical, and – frankly – almost psychopathic.”
“What’s wrong with you?” she asked, openly annoyed now. “It’s a fucking story.”
“Oh is that all,” I replied, maximally accentuating the sarcasm. “For a moment there I thought it might – you know – actually matter.”
Despite its crudity, this response arrested her indignation in mid-flight. She seemed now to recognize something untenable about her position. The presumption of literary innocence visibly trembled.
“Who could it hurt?” she asked, in a shrunken voice. “It’s just a story.”
“Are you a Christian?” I asked.
She nodded, a little confusedly.
“So you think the Bible helps people, and perhaps even saves them?”
“It’s Jesus who saves people,” she said. “The Bible is only the Door to Him.”
I let only slip past. There was no need for it to get in the way. “So it’s a good door?”
“Of course,” she said.
Quietly, but firmly, I locked the trap. “Then you should be able to see the evil you’ve done, through simple inversion.”
It took her less than a second to see the connection. “No one could take Wallypede Girl as their Bible,” she protested. Her voice had risen, betraying hints of moral panic. She was beginning to imagine the horror of it. From the edge of anguished howl her words crashed back down to a hoarse whisper. “It would be monstrous.” As she explored the possibility, revulsion at her own thoughts spread glints of nightmare across her features. It seemed she might faint.
After some moments she regained composure. There was a deadness to her now, one I recognized – an installation of adamant despair. Elements of her expression were glazed with resignation to irreparable ruin. Laughter would not soon return, and when it did, it would be broken.
I could not quite pity her. She had ventured too deeply into the abyss for that.
The Hell of her own imaginings now claimed her.
“It was wrong,” she agreed, far too late.

November 22, 2019admin 1 Comment »
FILED UNDER :Fiction

One response to this entry

  • bomag Says:

    Hmmm. The unthinkable in one generation becomes commonplace later.

    Sayyid Qutb was deeply scandalized by the dancing of young Americans in 1948.

    Today he would observe elementary students being taught the finer points of anal sex just before they line up for a daily dose of puberty blockers. Could he even process such information?

    [Reply]

    Posted on November 24th, 2019 at 5:35 pm Reply | Quote

Leave a comment