The Nether

Return to Magic

Upstairs Timmy the IV, known as 4, or Tim4, which usually came out as Timfo’ was busy coming out of the nether. The Nether as everyone else, spooked as they were by it, referred to it. He looked like Timmy, same shirt even, just like him. Kind of eerie. Timfo’ was in the Nether for days this time, which was, even for him, a long time. Of course, from Timfo’s perspective, time in the Nether was sort of a nebulous concept.

“Tim,” he mumbled, a trail of spittle dribbling down his lip, over his chin into his lap. “Th-im!” he blurted out, the tube in his mouth nearly being spat out in the process, he was starting to choke. Finally, he screamed, “Thimmy!” and as he was passing out back into the Nether, he appeared, almost magically, out of nowhere. They both looked over at the second story window. Tim was out of breath from just sprinting up the stairs, he turned after Timfo’ turned, to see what he thought were a pair of dwarf eyes, ducking away. Timfo’ coming out of the Nether, eyes bugging out, was choking. Tim ripped the tube out of his mouth, it made things worse, but eventually, after a coughing fit, Timfo recovered. He was pissed though.

“What the fuck did you-” he started to scream.

“Had to be done, sorry, had to,” Timmy was calm.

“What the fuck was- was that a… a… a dwarf??” Timfo was incredulous, not believing his own eyes.

“Yeah, yeah, new neighbors, moved into the Crystal Palace, what, was it last week, how long you been out?” Timmy asked.

“No idea,” Timfo having recovered his voice, coughed a few more times, dazed, looked back at the window.

Timmy picked up the album cover, all black inside and out, a double-album, except on the cover, Harry Sheers dressed as a Viking warrior and inside, a model apparently named Heather Bopp (according to the album liner notes) naked except for thigh-high latex stripper boots. The words RETURN TO MAGIC were written, in a large, bright block font on the cover, around one corner, in the upper left-hand corner, such that Magic was written across the top. He shook his head. He didn’t really approve of the Nether, people could get lost in it, it was rumored, but he’d tried it a few times. “I don’t really get why you do-” he started to say.

“Put that down! Put that down! That’s mine! Put it- you don’t know what, you don’t want to- just… just put it down, right now!” Timfo was noticeably disturbed, irate, even more so than previously.

“OK OK! Fine, I was just- I’m putting it down! See… here… down… OK?” Timmy was practically turned to leave the room, upset, but not showing it.

“Milk! Timmy! Listen. Milk! Please. Chocolate milk! Please, Timmy,” Timfo implored him.

Always, always with the fucking chocolate milk, after, too. Timmy shook his head, to himself, but said he’d comply. He went downstairs to fix two big glasses of Bosco. He preferred Ovaltine, himself, it being theoretically more nutritious, but Timfo was partial to the liquid chocolate goodness of Bosco, mostly because the milk didn’t have to be heated up first, and it made for a more refreshing, cool drink. He brought the large, clean, heavy glass glasses upstairs, on a tray, with the bottle of Bosco itself, as well, a large soup spoon in each glass, the heavy chocolate syrup already starting to coalesce at the bottom of each glass, and set the tray down on a nightstand next to the exhausted, weary, parched, nauseous, dehydrated Timfo, who’s eyes, if not his mouth whispered appreciation, smiling.

Meanwhile, across the street, the morning sun greeting the day, Sally rolled in on her banana seat Schwinn from a night of debauchery, Paw on the couch just waking, or just nodding off, mumbling about the good ol’s probably having pissed himself again. Or it might have been the cat, which was, last time seen, fighting it out with one of the lawnbots, which seemed to be trying to mother it. Sally thought to herself, well there’s something I’ve never seen before. Momentarily, before turning her attention back to her Paw, then to the TV. She took off her coat, something she’d whipped up with one of Timmy’s projects, an old Volkswagen connected to a whirlpool dishwasher and a hoover vacuum and a mechanical wooden Singer sewing machine, though it’s possible it was merely a 3D printed faux antique, which had become popular after the Singularity, as the moment when everything had stopped was eventually termed, after all the computers stopped and people became stupid again. Oh sure, sure, the military had been working for years, had plans for such an occurrence, were prepared for it, or so they said. Well, the sheep bots did keep working. But then again, they were kind of new to begin with when it happened.

She slipped it off, an ill-fitting, stained little number, matted down by now, worn over her stained blue polka-dot dress. The dress was her only other worldly possession, besides for her jacket (which was recycled from one of the broken sheep bot’s ‘skins’) and her bicycle (which was technically a lease ‘bought’ pay-as-you-go rent-to-buy, repossessed, from her and then stolen back, but the repo company went bankrupt, technically they still got a monthly statement from a third or fourth party bill collector, with interest it was now worth $47,302.01 which was just a number way too large for her to contemplate, but which also gave her a certain pride, the value of the debt which she ascribed to the bicycle somehow being the only thing other than paw which gave her a sense of self-worth, even if it were only material self-worth) underneath, unwashed, stiff polyester cotton blend, shrunk down, tight-fitting, smelled rank and foul, but no where near as much as paw and his piss stained couch.

The War was back on. Paw was mumbling some nonsense about ‘novelty’ and ‘newness’ and it’s finally over and she just ignored him and tried to focus on the TV. Newspaper seemed to confirm it was more than his usual crazy trash talking conspiracy nonsense, Washington scientists all abuzz! Great news! She scanned it quickly, the front page, the Cubs were back in the play-offs, too. A cat-monkey! What’s this?!? She spread it out on the floor, turned to open it up to the continued front-page article in the front section.

“Oh! My! God!” she stated.

“Wha! What is it! The snipers! Is it the-” Paw was startled.

“No! No, no no no no, it’s not the snipers,” she tried to calm him down.

“Is it the snipers??” Paw was upset, but her calm steady demeanor had an effect on him like nothing else. “No? Are you-”

“I’m positive, Paw, no snipers, it’s just this-” she turned to show him the picture in the paper but he was already back asleep, snoring. “Isn’t it just the most adorable, cutest little- awwww,” she realized she was talking to herself, nearly hugging the picture.

“Meowww?” Kitty was at the doorway, looking in, then ran to the couch, in a zig zag pattern, was up behind her, then climbing up on top of her shoulder, sliding down on the dress, trying to get a look. “Meoowww??!?”

“I know, right Kitty, so strange, scientists in Washington are calling it something called ‘novelty’ whatever that is- I just think it’s so cute, it’s just- uh!”

“Meowww? Meoow.” Kitty seemed to agree.

“I just can’t even, uh,” Sally let out a sigh. Kitty started watching TV and licking herself, spreading her legs apart, pushing Paw over on the couch for more space to multi-task, looking up occasionally at the TV, or Sally, continuing to read the article.

“Listen to this: Scientists are all abuzz! This ‘Novelty’ thing whatever that is could be the start of something really, really big, like wow! Isn’t this just- uh, I don’t know, it’s… exciting, right, right Kitty??”

“Meoow?” Kitty looked up.

“I know! I know! Wow! Imagine! Ugh, I bet that stupid what’s-his-face Timmy doesn’t know anything about ‘Novelty’ he is so… so stupid,” she was suddenly thrown out of her reverie by the thought.

“Meow,” Kitty seemed to agree though, whole-heartedly, didn’t even look up.

“Yeah, I know, me too, me too,” they were sympatico. Sally got out her big sewing sheers, rusted as they were, and started cutting away, the TV blared on about the war, Paw stank snoring in his own pee, Kitty cleaned up, and Sally took her clippings into ‘her room’ which was really just the old dining room off the kitchenette and living room, with cardboard covered in Plaster of Paris wall dividers, and added it to her wall, a mix of alien and UFO sightings, JFK conspiracy theory, all connected with different colored yarns, an intricate, complicated filing system of her own design. Even Paw had his own lil corner with any news about snipers or the RBC, which was mostly empty, filled with some local reports of a man being arrested for lewdness, public drunkenness shouting and raving about sheep bot snipers working for the government. She sighed, looking at it, but also took a certain pride, his claim to fame was her claim, but she didn’t quite have the heart to tell him that those clippings were his rap sheet, wasn’t quite sure if he didn’t know himself.