Tea-stained regained consciousness in a dimly lit room that appeared to have been decorated by an irate tortoise. It’s walls looked as though they had been plastered with thick layers of semi-digested lettuce at tortoise height (the average height of a Testudo graeca, the Greek or spur-thighed tortoise), with flecks of the stuff nonchalantly scattered above. She was secured to a chair, and the movement of her head restricted. Looking down with considerable effort, she could see just enough to assure herself that everything was relatively intact and as it was before, except that it appeared that someone had played several games of tic-tac-toe on her new Donovan slippers with a fountain pen, and there was an open jar of jam between her legs. Occasional clicking and sputtering from behind an array of monitors on the large wooden desk immediately in front of her, betrayed the presence of another. There was the distinct aroma of officialdom, combined with the jam and rotting lettuce.
She tried to get the attention of the mysterious being by loudly clearing her throat. When this and her impression of a birthing goat, failed to elicit a response, she resolved to do away with decorum and progress to verbal communication.
“What the devil is going on?”
The clicking suddenly stopped. There was a series of loud grumbling sounds before the monitors were swept aside in one violent act, parted in the middle with several falling to the floor, to reveal a gigantic middle-aged man in a poorly fitted jacket stretched over a shirt with a mysterious logo. He wiped his mouth on his sleeve.
“We are very disappointed in you, Ms. Musings. Well, what do you have to say for yourself?”
Tea-stained could make nothing of all this.
There was a moment of silence. The man leaned forward expectantly, revealing small clear grey eyes with drooping lids, over-full red lips, a narrow tuft of hair on the apex of his cranium, and a pair of asymmetrical jowls which sunk well below his forth chin. It looked as if his face had been pulled by a lover in the usual manner, and it did not have the elasticity to completely recover, stretching like melted cheese on a lifted pizza. She wondered if his whole body was similarly unfastened. Whether, as he sat down in that stately throne of his, those loose buttocks slowly spread to fill up the space, producing a wave front of flesh that continued on its merry way well after he was seated. What would it be like to sink into an embrace from such a man, to massage those impressive wattles, or sink one’s hands into those gigantic sandbags? However, this was no time for amorous speculation.
He narrowed his eyes. “Do you comprehend where you are, who I am, and whom I represent?”
“I haven’t the foggiest…”
“All you need to know is that we care about blogs. Blogs are in decline Ms. Musings. We are trying to keep them alive, and profitable.” He paused briefly to once again wipe his mouth.
“The popularity of the medium will not be greatly assisted by fools like you, with semi-artistic pretensions, and too lazy to contribute.”
“Well, you know, that’s not quite…”
“It has been several days since your first post. Why have you not produced anything else in that time?”
“I have countless things to write about, but I just can’t communicate them in a way that pleases me. I have a cracking idea for a post about the ultimate fate of nail clippings, but that could take years of…”
“Cease! We will not accept these excuses. You could be posting any of your mundane daily activities. There is no reason that you could not post something about, say, your breakfast, or your fear of white creamy foods.”
“How do you know about that! Who told…Uh…forget it. I’d just like my first posts to make a good impression. Perhaps something deep and meaningful, like those cool blogs about the philosophy of science, or soup recipes”
“There’s no need to be so ambitious. Pardon my saying so, but you don’t seem capable of producing anything quite so profound or insightful. You strike me as the type that should stick to presenting yourself as a charming simpleton, posting your failings and muddled ideas for the pleasure of others. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.”
Tea-stained did not respond. She was infuriated, simply trembling with fury. The jam was coming to a boil.
The behemoth, unperturbed, looked at his watch without movement of head or hand.
“Do you know what we do to bloggers who cannot deliver content?”
“Will you take down the site?”
His face contorted into something vaguely resembling a smirk. His eyes motioned towards an object on the desk. With considerable effort, he lifted it in front of her face. It looked like a deformed carrot that had been crudely attached to a jackhammer.
“I’ll show you.”
He placed the object down, then put his hands on the arms of his chair. He looked straight into Tea-stained’s eyes. Beads of sweat began to collect on his forehead as his hands pressed down.
Lips quivering and bowels evacuated, Tea-stained could only summon a small whimper before submitting.
“Oh fine…I’ll just publish a bit of nonsensical fiction that will surely cause readers to disregard my integrity and ability to write before I even truly begin. I’ll start as soon as you remove these damned restraints. I mean tasteful flagellation is one thing…”
“That is acceptable. Tonight you will leave undefiled.”
He bent over his desk and quickly typed a command onto one of the dangling keyboards. All was darkness.
*Title is the opening line from, The Potato and the Tenor by Anton Chekhov.