Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The Competition

The Competition
Molecat Jumaway

Ever been chased, running away with no place to go? It’s like a nightmare, it carries the same ‘piss in your pants’ adrenalin and fear but of course it’s real. There is pain, you’re pushing yourself to the utmost limit and it is killing you but you know if you stop it’ll be worse. If you stop, they’ll get you so you push yourself past breaking point and then a bit further. You could die running, burst a million blood vessels, in your brain, in your heart, better to die on your own terms.
You think at first you can run into a crowd, find people, they could help. They don’t care though; in fact you think that they are all on the other side. Some stare at you as you scream as you run like you’re some oddity, some smirk, some join the chase.
I think I found a way out; I’m now travelling faster than I’ve ever travelled before. The wind is in my hair; I’m literally hurtling, they can’t chase me now. There’s a destination in sight where they cannot get me.
I better explain.

I got a fear in my head that threads down every nerve cell of by body. Something is going on; people are not telling us the whole truth. There’s a man who lives opposite, every time I open my door he’s standing in his doorway eating a chop or something. He’s on diet pills and does not stop eating meat. He is as skinny as a refugee that came from a country completely devoid of food, like the moon or something. He’s eyeing me off as if to say ‘when I run out of meat you’re next.’
Every time I open a document on my computer and go to close it without pressing a single key it asks whether I want to save the changes I have made. What the hell! I’m suspicious of that, as though something has happened to me it the space between opening and closing the document that I’m not aware of. I feel as though I’ve been drugged so that the document in front of me can be changed without my knowledge. I reread the passages that lie within hoping to get some clue on what it’s all about but I see nothing has changed.
‘Gr8r Medicine’ can’t spell ‘Greater’ or are very lazy people. Lately I’ve been noticing people use the number 8 in all kinds of words. I have a suspicion that Greater Medicine are only covering their tracks. I don’t take their drugs; I don’t use their vitamins. I refuse to partake in what I believe is the source to the decline of humanity.
My cat used to stare at me with judging eyes. She used to just sit upright at the end of my couch and stare, at the end of my bed and stare. Judging me, it got to a stage where I could not look her in the eye. I found out that the food I was feeding her was made by a subsidiary company of Greater Medicine. I changed her brand of cat food. She stopped eating entirely, went berserk and ended up licking out her heart. I drove out to the country to bury her; I was scared that the man opposite would get her if I buried her close. I would open my door one day to find him eating into her petrified head.
I stood on the hill over her little, cat-sized grave. I was sad for my loss then angry with the company that had caused this to happen. I was sad that she went so soon and angry that she never had a chance to live without the large corporations having control over her emotions. I went through a whole range of emotions but it was mainly sadness and anger.

When I returned home I logged onto my computer to see if I could research what other companies Greater Medicine owned. There was an email from a friend agreeing that the new ‘eye cleansing medicine from Gr8r Medicine was wonderful and innovative.’ I scrolled down and sure enough there was an email from me explaining how much I loved said eye-cleansing medicine. I’d even spelt Greater with a number in the email.
I looked around my house nervously. Something I owned; something I used; something I took was secretly manufactured by Greater Medicine. I needed to be clean, clean of that corporation. I searched the Internet and found nothing that helpful. The site with the small list of subsidiary companies that I found before when researching my cat’s diet now showed only praise for Greater Medicine. There was a hair tonic that I’d bought that I was very suspicious of. I’d never used it because when I got home I’d read the instructions and I quote ‘4 use of strengthening brittle hair use up 2 four times a day.’ That was it for me, could never use it. My suspicions were also increased when I kept catching the cat was pawing at the jar, when it was alive that is. Now it had to be out of my flat. I opened my door and saw the man opposite standing there in the hall staring at me. He had a slice of bacon he was slowly guiding into his mouth suggestively. I immediately retreated closing the door and leaning against the wall, breathing heavily. I stared down at the bottle in my hand; I could not hang on to it any more and placed it down on the ground beside the door.

I was awoken in the middle of the night to hear a scratching. At first I thought it was my cat but my cat was dead, there’s that sadness again. There was a cold darkness that made my flat seem all the more intensely alarming. I pattered out through the hallway to investigate the sound. I soon found myself fearfully standing across from my front door where the scratching had originated and was still continuing.
There is something about being a man by very definition makes you ‘be a man.’ It’s probably where chivalry stems from. It’s not about the right thing to do, or the courageous thing to do. It’s about being a man, sucking up all fear and just opening the bloody door. No matter how many images from Japanese Horrors flood your head, just open the bloody door in one fell swoop and face what is on the other side.
I swung the door open and found my neighbour scratching at my door, on all fours and a pork chop in his mouth. He looked up at me in surprise; I stood firm in the doorway. His hand reached through the door, past me. He grabbed the hair cream and ran back to his flat, the door slamming behind him.
Well, that was an odd moment.

When pondering my predicament I had been wishing that my cat still was alive. She seem a little in harmony with the products made by Greater Medicine and maybe a tuning fork on what was manufactured by them. I had thought about getting another pet and feeding that pet the same food and then getting said pet to pick out items on my shelves that belonged to the same manufacture as Greater Medicine. That seemed unusually cruel though. I’m sure that most pets would be fed that brand but to purchase a pet for the mere experiment seemed a little cold.
My neighbour though; the man who stood outside, eyeing me off as desert; I had no qualms using his instinct to seed out Greater Medicine products. I brought out a large box and filled it full of products I used. I threw in some of the cat food cans that I knew were from the company and some of the products that predated Greater Medicine. I was hoping that he would be selective on what he took and what he ignored. I was hoping that he would not just take the whole box.

Canned beetroot, now I like canned beetroot as much as the next man, maybe even a little more. In the morning I was surprised to find the box still sitting at my doorway. The logical deduction would be that the whole box would go missing rather than selected items of the contents of the box. The pet food was missing; the pet food that my cat refused to eat still remained. Some of the items that predated Greater Medicine were surprisingly missing and a lot of other items. The canned beetroot was the only foodstuff item that still remained. I’d even put a lettuce in the box and it was missing, maybe the chemical spray was owned by Greater Medicine.
Each day I filled the box with goods and each morning I opened the box to find what was left that was safe for my use. I don’t know what it was about the canned beetroot but there were very few food items left uncontaminated. At that moment, breakfast, lunch and dinner consisted of canned beetroot. My urine started to turn red, freaked me out at first when I thought it was blood.
Bloody Beetroot.
Suddenly it occurred to me, there was one company I knew that had none of the chemicals used by Greater Medicine. I flung open the cupboard and read the label on one of the many cans of beetroot slices. Josh Carding Manufacturing; I grabbed my jacket and ran to the door repeating that name over and over. My chant was soon quietened when faced with the man opposite, staring at me, a plate of chicken in one hand and a fork in the other. I edged out under his silent gaze and locked the door behind me. I tried walking away quietly but soon found myself running.

I’m in the supermarket looking at all the items, looking at the back, reading the labels carefully. It’s amazing how much you never noticed about store products. There is a complete flooding of the market by Greater Medicine and all its subsidiaries. For every item on the shelves there are five other similar items made by different companies but all owned by Greater Medicine. For every item there is a substitute item made by Josh Carding Manufacturing. Just one item, it’s enough. I don’t have to spend my life eating fucking beetroot and having to remind myself that I am not in fact pissing blood.
I’ve set up a little Josh Carding Manufacturing shrine in my kitchen. All the good products are there. I’m eating regularly but my urine is still red. Greater Medicine no longer dwells here; its overall absence has not stopped the guy opposite from creeping me out though. I still wake up to hear him scratching at my door like a goddamn animal. People have started looking at me a little funny. I walk down the street and everyone’s eyes are on me. I’m not handsome, in actual fact I’m a little homely so I feel the undue attention is somewhat uncalled for. I went to the dry cleaners and the lady actually sniffed me. She was a pretty girl, I’d let her sniff me all she liked but I have the feeling dinner and a movie was not what she had in mind.
You think I’m paranoid? I’ll show you fucking paranoid. One night I get sick of the noise, the constant bloody scratching and I get up to do something about it. I’m marching over to the door, I’m ready to fling the door open and smack him in the head or something, anything just to make it stop. I get closer and the scratching quickens. He knows I’m there, like he can smell. It freaks me out but not as much as what comes next, as I get closer he starts making a noise. At first I think that he’s really flipped his lid, is he growling, is that what he’s doing, does he think he’s a fricken dog? The sound is familiar and suddenly I realised what the sound is like. My cat would sometimes get excited about a special dish (fucking greater medicine in a goddamn can or something) and he would make a chewing sound. The chewing sound would be vocalised and it would come out like a deep siren, UngUng UngUng UngUng UngUng. That was the sound I was hearing, he was goddamn salivating as he could sniff me on the other side of the door. I can’t simply open the door to that!
I looked around for something; the first thing that came to mind is a nice sharp knife. I stopped myself, calm down. I could kill the man and then spend the next ten to twenty years in prison. I could always plead self defence, ‘he was trying to eat me, Greater Medicine are trying to control your minds people!!’ Yeah, that’ll fly. I could end up spending the next ten to twenty years being raped up the arse by a guy making that same chewing sound in my ear. No, skip the knife, I needed something less lethal. The only thing I could find was an umbrella, it was large and pointy I held it in my hand and swung it a few times for practice, nice.
I flung open the door; he was there on all fours and made some sort of savage, primeval attacking sound. Imagine Neanderthals in pyjamas and I’m like a zebra and you’ll find yourself pretty close. I’d practiced the swing and so I was ready and clobbered him on the head quite hard. He gave a yelp of disdain and retracted the umbrella opened. I gave a scream of horror, backed up and slammed the door behind me. Not exactly the smooth ballet I was hoping for, screaming like a girl at an open umbrella never was in the equation but I showed him who was boss.
Maybe it was the lack of Greater Medicine products in my system? I really did not know but it was starting to become a little disconcerting. I knew my fears of Greater Medicine sounded like the ranting of a lunatic and I did not know whom I could turn to about this.
Suddenly it occurred to me, the best people were their competitors.

Josh Carding Manufacturing had a factory just outside town. I stood on the brink of the first step marvelling at their building. It was so white, so very clean, and so pristine. Upon seeing the factory I was more than happy to be purchasing their product. It looked more like a hospital than a factory. This was the kind of place that you could only wish food goods were being manufactured in. I only hoped they understood my concerns and did not consider me a lunatic. I hoped that they had heard similar complaints about their competition and could offer me advice or at least peace of mind.
The receptionist had all the receptional assets, glasses, tied back hair, a hidden beauty, etcetera. I tried to calmly tell her my story but it probably sounded like the ravings of a madman. I realised that she wasn’t freaking out, she wasn’t looking at me with some fake concern. She was listening to what I had to say as if she had heard it before. I was not raving mad; I was not the only one that had concerns about the products of Greater Medicine; there was a solution. She informed me of just this and someone came out to meet me.
He was dressed in white, even though I found it probably very complementary of someone that worked in a factory, a testimony to a bacteria free food product it made me feel a little uncomfortable. We shook hands; he escorted me through large swinging doors, into a hall and then to the first room on the left. He showed me a seat and I sat down He patted my shoulder and then plunged a needle into my neck. My last thought was ‘but I’m a customer…’

It was the pain that woke me up; I’ve never been good with sedation and anaesthetics. I woke up during an appendix removal; still have nightmares about that moment. I think it was those nightmares that brought me to react so suddenly. I cannot very well say it was bravery as it was more a knee jerk reaction. I felt a pain in my arm as I woke and quickly moved my arm. There was a guy in white, wearing a mask suddenly on top of me, trying to hold me down. I sprung up, his hands were on my shoulders, my hands were on his neck. I was pushing him downwards; my knee came up and clipped him in the jaw hard. I felt his jaw slam shut with a sound that would make you wince. He fell to the ground, I hit him again anyway. I think that could be the very definition of a knee jerk reaction.
There was a tube in my arm and I ripped it out without thinking. I looked at the bag that it was at attached to. It had a lot of writing on it and I could barely focus. I saw two names ‘Josh Carding Manufacturing’ and ‘Greater Medicine’ side by side. I looked around the room frantically, the guy was on the ground unconscious and there was no one else. There was a window and I could not but help but notice that it was dark outside. How long had I been asleep for, it had to be at least six hours?
I went to the door and looked out of the small window. It opened to a large room; there were hospital beds everywhere with people asleep in them, all hooked up to little drip feeders like mine. There was no one standing or walking around. I slowly crept out of the room and stuck to the walls. There were doors like the one I had just exited all along each wall. I went to the bed nearest and looked at the person lying there, he was missing both legs and wasting away. My focus was better now and I read the label on the bag that he was attached to. It said the two company names and was titled ‘Greater Medicine ingredient enhancer.’ I had no idea what this meant. I looked into one of the rooms and was horrified with what I saw. There was a woman, literally being milked like she was a cow. She hung there on all fours, barely awake, naked, eyes rolled back and connected to milking machinery. The metal container that all the tubes went to again said ‘Greater Medicine.’ The next door made me run, the next door made me scream. Through the window I watched as two employees dressed in white disassembling a man hanging from the roof in chains. The room was a mixture of bright red fresh blood and a dried copper brown. One worker was removing an arm while the other staff member fed the other arm into a mincing machine. As I said I then started to scream and run, brought about some attention as well.
An employee verses someone running for his or her dear life. I do not doubt that this kind of event would be a regular thing for the staff Josh Carding Manufacturing but if it was then I was surprised that it had not reached the news. A man filled with terror, fleeing for his life against someone that merely clocked in, I’d bet against the latter. I seemed to prove it as well. People tried to grab me and I flung them away, people tried to stand in front of me and I ran them over. Literally ran them over, probably leaving footprints on their nice white uniforms. There was a guy covered in blood, I think I broke his arm.
Nothing would stop me getting out of that building. Locked doors were smashed, people in white were thrown aside, some were hurt. Suddenly I was outside, running into town. On the way I had somehow made the connection. The products made by Josh Carding Manufacturing are metabolised it the human body and are the ingredients for product made by Greater Medicine. I don’t think that I was being paranoid. I was surprised I was not chased; it would seem the likely thing that would happen. I got to town and slowed down. Someone was walking and I called to him, he stopped and looked at me fearfully. As I got closer his expression changed a little and I was hoping it would be for the better. I asked him where the nearest police station was, he was not listening, he was sniffing me. I backed off, he came forward, I turned and ran, he gave chase. I turned and hit him, he did not seem to care gave me a look to say that he liked his food fighting back.
“Help, help!” I ran through the city. I tried stopping people in the street, all came up with different reactions and all bad. This wasn’t like before; these people were not merely employees making an attempt to catch me because they were paid to do so. These people were hungry, they wanted some Greater Medicine and I was the active ingredient. Suddenly ten people were chasing me, I ran into a crowd screaming hoping someone would come to my aid. Suddenly ten becomes thirty.
There’s an open door and I run through it and close it behind me. I lock the door, I’m in a stairwell, I’m hoping I can hide but they can smell me. Soon there are people slamming themselves against the door. I start rushing up the stairs I try the door on the first level but it’s locked. Behind me I can hear the door buckle and I keep climbing the stairs. I try the second level door and find it locked. I hear downstairs the door break and beaten down. I turn and continue to climb the stairs as my pursuers continue the chase. Door after door I try but its no use. I’m hoping that at one stage there is a door unlocked, I can visualise my fate, being eaten alive at the top of the stairwell. Even if I can escape the stairwell the chase would continue, continue forever.
One door does open and I ram myself through it. I shut it behind me but there is no lock. I’ve been to involved in fleeing that I had not realised that I’m at the end of the stairwell. I’m now on the roof and I can hear them coming up the stairs behind me. There really is only one way out.