Monday, February 18, 2013

Apocalypse World fiction: Introducing Tully

I'm not much to look at.

No, that's not true. I really am something to look at! I'm uglier than a turd left to dry out on a plate of moldy cheese, okay? I'm not embellishing or exaggerating either. I'm a freak and I'm proud. If that bothers you it doesn't bother me. Most of the time I just ignore the staring, sometimes I even pretend it's because they can see who I really am underneath all of this applesauce. And what is that? A being of pure joy. No, not really. But the world is shit and deep down everybody wants it to be cool again, and I may look like a walking hemorrhoid that just popped but deep down I'm the best friend you'll ever have. I bet you're wondering what I could possibly look like that is so darn tooting awful, huh? Well, I'll tell you.

Most people who look at me aren't really sure where my skin is, but it's underneath all of the mash sliding down my body. I'm confident that if I scraped all of this dirt off of me you'd see a scrawny body with no muscles or paunch anywhere, and the skin would be hugging my bones like a hooker wraps her legs around their best customer. Skin and bones is what they call the boy that lives at the end of the road, but he's a floundering pig compared to how wiry my limbs are.

Of course, you might not ever notice that because I got this perspiration problem. You see my body likes to sweat, but it sweats out oil that stings the nostrils and makes the back of your throat itch. That oil is thick too, it builds up in the folds of my joints and in the crevices of skin between my bones and it turns black. It doesn't really harden, but it's thick enough that it looks like I got a layer of dark syrup all over my body.

Nobody is ever really sure what to make of this stuff. It's oily, it falls off of me sometimes, and it stinks like moldy cheese. I tried drying some of it out once and it just disappeared into the air after a few days. Even though it gets chunky and heavy when it's building up on my body, I think it's just sweat and so that's what I call it, when I'm not putting others at ease by calling it something else like strawberry fluff, Aztec gold, or my portable waterbed simulator. Needless to say, I keep my distance from others since I never know how grossed out they're going to be. This pickle juice leaves stains and I'm always nervous that some psycho is going to channel their disgust into bullets.

And if you're planning on calling me names I'll just tell you right now: I've heard them all. Turdjacket. Shitstain. Shithead. Shitpile. Shitwalker. Walking corpse. Crapboy. Wasteface. Slimer. Satan's Jizz Monkey. And my personal favorite, Poopskin. When people get to know me the names usually stop. I'm not a bad guy, I'm just a disgusting freak.

You're probably wondering about my cock now. You don't have to be embarrassed, I've gotten the look before. I'm pretty familiar with that trying-to-mask-our-curiosity not-casual-enough glance downward that says somebody is surveying my groin trying to determine if I even have a cock down there under all that pudding. Well I don't. I'm not even sure if I'm a man or a woman. I remember being a kid and my mother calling me Tully and telling me how special I was, but I got mutated early on and I don't even remember having other kids as friends. Ever. I was on my own for a long time, and most people just call me "he" and "him" and it works for me. All I know is there's a little cluster of bumps on my skin down there and I can rub them and it feels mighty fine after a little while.

I wouldn't know what regular sex is like. I'm sure I could clean myself off and make some kind of effort, but then there's my eyes. They're not normal eyes. The centers are sort of gray and surrounding them where it should be white it's actually green. Also, I don't blink. I didn't really think about my lack of eyelids until somebody pointed it out to me once. It was Merv over in the Cellar Town cafe actually. We were sharing a smoke and he said "You know, I think anybody could get used to your ugly ass, but it's fuckin' spooky that you're always lookin' at people and you never blink your eyes. It's just unsettling." I suppose it's the main reason why people tear their gaze away from me, because I'm always gaping at them down the barrel of my own happy gaze, shooting their stares right back at them.

  • ahem

  • Woman's Voice: Tell me some more about these, uh... psychic abilities of yours.

    Well, what do you want to know about it?

    Woman's Voice: What is it? Do you know where it comes from?

    It's hard to describe. I know that don't help, but I've heard of other people with weird stuff going on with them. You know? A guy who talks to a flag. Buildings that don't have exits once you get inside of them. I heard about this one lady running around who could put thoughts into people's brains, make them go crazy. Some guy who just exploded for no reason. Trees that move when nobody is looking. Strange poop is always happening somewhere.
    I don't really know how to explain the weird psychic crayola, I can only really tell you what it's like for me. (coughs) When I cozy up for some sleeptime, ever since I was a kid, I would do this thing where I imagine myself in one of the old food stores of legend. My mom taught it to me, though I think she didn't want me to think about anything, I don't know why you'd want to think of nothing but, you know, it put her to sleep. Instead it would keep me awake. I would be thinking about rows and rows of canned food in every variety. Cans of soup, cans of corn, cans of beer, cans of bread. I remember the first time I had this little before-sleep dream and something was different about it.
    It was the same day my first friend got killed. I was pretty broken up, so at the time I thought this was just how I was handling that shit. You know? I was holding one of these cans, and I could see the guy who killed Whiting on the can.

    Woman's Voice: Whiting was your friend's name?

    Yeah, Whiting. Man! I haven't thought about him in years. Anyway, this can, it had one of those old labels, you know? It looked brand new, all clean and slick. It said spa-ghetto's on the top, clear to me as you are, and I don't know where my brain thought of that. But I'm looking at the label, and I can see this guy, and the murder, clear as the word Spaghetti-O's on the label, and it's like I'm writing the memory of what happened onto the can and explaining how this guy killed Whiting. And then I took the can and put it on a shelf real careful like. Next week we hear some righteous angels had found this guy and strung him up, calling him a murderer, but that was two towns over where nobody had even heard of Whiting.

    Woman's Voice: Are you saying you got these men to find the man who murdered your friend?

    Yeah. Well, no. Not really. Something like that though. You know? What I'm saying is that when I'm being all psychic, I'm taking something I've seen or some feeling I had and I put it onto the label of one of these cans and then I put it on a shelf. Somehow, other people just find that stuff out. It's like I can share what's going on in my head with other people, but I never know who is going to walk down that aisle in the food store.

    Woman's Voice: So your psychic abilities allow you to interact with others in an old grocery store?

    I don't ever see anybody else in these before-sleep dreams! Lady, aint you been listening to me? A food store is what I see! Not a gross sorry.

    Woman's Voice: Grocery.

    Whatever! (sound of shuffling, something wet splatters on the ground) What I see aint the same as other people. I heard of one lady who sees smoke all around like everything's on fire. Then there's that guy Blind Blue, I bet he don't even see shit, I bet he just feels everything out and knows what's there, probably better than seeing with that weirdo. But me, I see an old food store, and when I want people to know something I put a can of thought up on a shelf.

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