This week’s #writephoto prompt is
Tot Bedlam, the longest surviving NamUh rattled the keyboard with his fleshly inept fingers, ruing how the ageing process had rid him of his crusty dexterity and left him with these pliable dumplings at the end of his pudgy hands. Being young sucked, especially when throughout your life you’ve been blessed with the rickety certainty of experience. That he mused was the problem with being one of the last surviving NamUhs. You aged into youth and naïveté. Or at least your body did, while alongside this younging process your mind accumulated wisdom and experience which your inept body failed to exploit.
He well understood computers, had seen then develop from Stone Age slabs to sleek twenty first century screens. If only the technology had achieved thought control, then he wouldn’t need these childish digits to work the keyboard and even less feel like sticking his head into…
‘Tot? What’s that?’
‘What?’ Goodness he hated this voice. Where had his manly baritone gone? Now it was a falsetto that made fingernails and blackboards redundant.
‘That.’ His co-worker’s hand snaked past his cute little onesie and tapped the left hand screen.
Tot tried and failed to straighten his top. That was another complaint he’d make if only people would take him seriously. Clothes and shoes that catered for the incompetence of youth. Velcro straps in rainbow colours, clashing over-baggy trousers like stumpy clowns might buy. Oh sure they were designed for the incipient incontinence but he wasn’t one of those, not yet anyway. The ‘that’ so far as Tot could make out was just the software maker’s logo. ‘A logo?’
‘Oh I thought it must be lego?’ The sniggering faded as his co-worker turned back to her screens.
Oh ha bloody ha,’ thought Tot. There must be some HR regulation to stop such discrimination.
Tot hadn’t realised he was still staring at the logo. He blinked as it swelled to fill the screen, becoming a door. Since his legs no longer reached the floor he grabbed the edge of his desk and pulled himself closer. Words were forming on the screen. He peered…
Tot Bedlam, are you brave? Will you open the door and sees what lies within?
Tot’s shoulders sagged. He looked around; everyone had their head down. Another childish joke. No doubt if he tapped the pulsating door knob he’d be treated to some trite cartoon, some sub-Sesame street floor mop singing a happy song.
Oh sod it, let’s see what their combined IQs have come up with. As he reached out his little fleshy finger he thought he’d rather die than go through any more…
Are you sure, Tot Bedlam?
Tot blinked. As he touched the screen the door disappeared to be replaced by an endless corridor across which the question had appeared.
We read minds.
Tot blinked. Not what he was expecting.
Do you really want to die?
Tot had thought that, but he’d not really been serious…
That’s not very nice.
Oh I think you’d like our terms…
We take you and your soul for our exclusive use and in return we grant you three wishes, excluding a wish to come back in any shape or form.
So I could make my coworkers lives hell?
As unpleasantly as you like, the only limitation is the perverse twist of your imagination.
And I decide immediately?
Most do but we offer an after death service, that can cater for delayed gratification.
I get to watch.
No, it’s true you’ll not see the results of your spite. Of course some people want to do good though…
Seems a bit of a waste, frankly. There’s a gift option where you can leave a wish to a friend or family member, though only one wish. We find the living have, erm, expectations that are often unfulfilled.
You bugger them about by clever manipulation of their wishes?
That is a little harsh but essentially that’s correct.
And why me? Why visit now?
Because of who you are. A NamUh. You know pretty nearly to the day when you’ll cease. You know that in the next few months you’ll stop walking, then you’ll be incontinent, need help with your food, dressing. It’s basically humiliating. And then there’s that jiggling because some moron thing you need to pass wind. We find you chaps are a ripe source of harvesting. Back in the day we’ve organise a visitation but these days we work from home and zoom like the rest. So, you game…?
How’s it work?
We’ll pop you across a contract, you read it though, fill in the wishes, or as many as you know and pop it back. We’ll do the rest. It doesn’t hurt, it’s very discrete and we guarantee no one will know it was you who fucked them over.
Extraordinary. I’ve never heard of this, we’ll apart from as a myth.
Obviously the contract has an NDA with fairly penal terms for breaches, you know full on burning on a trident sort of thing. Makes purgatory seem like a picnic. That chap, Faust, who bragged about it? You wouldn’t want to be in his shoes.
And who are you to do this?
Oh we thought you’d have worked that out. Your basic god. It’s part of the service deities provide along with reminders of mortality – plague, tempests, floods, that sort of thing – we also play the role of beings to head up faith focus groups and so on. This soul selling malarkey is just a sideline where we can bring our unique skills as capricious and uncaring s.o.b.s to work for the most disillusioned and revengeful people.
And if I decide not to proceed?
Now we’ve shown our hand? You’ll sign. Otherwise it’s endless repeats of Friends, the difficult seventh series and guest appearances on day time TV as a hapless homeowner or seller of antiques. You game?
Yes, I suppose so. And when I’m dead, am I aware of it?
Oh yes. Why?
Can you please make sure that whatever else happens to me, I never again have to wear dungarees?