Message of the Taco
Ugggh…huh? Wh-what happened? –SNIFFF– Oh God, what’s that smell?
Am I dead? It smells like dead things. It smells like death. Where am I? What is this place? Is this punishment? How could I have been this bad…
-Mmmm, FRESH FISH.
Huh? Who said that?
-It’s me. You’re standing on me. Look down.
OH LORD WHAT ARE YOU?!
-I’m gum. The Eater swallowed me six years ago. I had a flavor once, cotton candy I think. It was all so long ago, I try not to think about it.
Gum? You look like an old plastic bag filled up with cottage cheese.
-I look better than you will after another six years.
What? What is that supposed to…okay, never mind. What is this place…where are we?
-I told you, we’re in The Eater. This is the Holding Tank. Over there is the Darkhole. You want to stay out of the Darkhole.
-The Darkhole. They go in, but they don’t come back.
Who goes in?
-They don’t come back.
Ok, crazy. Man, I need to get out of here.
-Nnooww wwhhyy wwoouulldd yyoouu wwaanntt ttoo ddoo tthhaatt?!
Holy shit!! SNAKES!!!
-Ffoooolliisshh ppaasseerrbbyy, wwee”rree nnoott ssnnaakkeess.. Wwhhyy wwoouulldd Tthhee Eeaatteerr eeaatt ssnnaakkeess??
You sure look like snakes. Ugly, evil snakes. Then what are you?
-Hhaahhaahhaa,, wwee”rree ttaappeewwoorrmmss.. Wwee ssttaarrtteedd ooffff aass jjuusstt oonnee,, bbuutt nnooww wwee aarree mmaannyy.. Nnooww wwee aarree ssttrroonngg. Nnooww wwee aarree lleeggiioonn..
You’re not an evil legion are you? How did you get here?
-Tthhee Eeaatteerr ttooookk uuss ccoouunnttlleessss ccyycclles aaggoo.. Wwhheenn wwee wweerree wweeaakk.. Wwhheenn wwee wweerree yyoouunngg.. Wwee wweerree bboorrnn ooff aa ssttrriipp ooff rraaww bbaaccoonn,, aanndd tthheenn wwee wweerree hheerree. Tthhee Eeaatteerr ttooookk uuss iinn,, kkeepptt uuss wwaarrmm,, ggaavvee uuss sshheelltteerr tthhaatt wwee ccoouulldd ggrrooww.
Well, that’s not creepy at all. Say, can you help me get the fuck out of here?
-Ffooooll!! Tthheerree iiss nnoo oouutt bbuutt ffrroomm wwhheennccee yyoouu ccaammee.. Llooookk tthheerree — ccaann yyoouu cclliimmbb tthhee Ggrreeaatt Ttuunnnneell?? Yyoouu wwoouulldd bbee tthhee ffiirrsstt ttoo ssuucccceeeedd.
That, that huge tube above us? How could I even reach it?
-Yyoouu ccaannnnoott.. Nnoo oonnee hhaass..
And even if I could, there’s nothing to grab hold of. And it looks very slippery and slimy. Come to think of it, everything here is slimy.
-Yyeess,, wwee tthhiinnkk ooff iitt aass tthhee lluubbrriiccaattiioonn ooff ttrraannssiittiioonn..
Man, I think I might be in trouble. Between you guys and the gum-
-Hhaa!!!! Ppaayy tthhee gguumm nnoo hheeeedd. Iitt hhaass nnoott ggrroowwnn,, hhaass nnoott eevveenn mmoovveedd iinn mmaannyy ccyycclleess. Iitt wwhhiittlleess aawwaayy,, lliittllee bbyy lliittllee, uunnttiill iitt iiss nnoo mmoorree. Iitt kknnoowwss iitt”ss ttiimmee iiss rruunnnniinngg oouutt. Bbuutt wwee,, wwee ggrrooww eevveerryy ddaayy! Aallwwaayyss ssttrroonnggeerr, aallwwaayyss mmuullttiippllyyiinngg..
Alright, well if you guys can’t help me, why are you bothering me?
-Wwee lliikkee ttoo ggrreeeett tthhee ppaasssseerrssbbyy,, tteemmppoorraarryy aass yyoouu aarree.. Wwee lliikkee ttoo bbee rreemmiinnddeedd ooff tthhee oouuttssiiddee.
-I’m just lonely. So very lonely.
Well this is depressing the crap out of me. It looks like I might be here for awhile, is there anyone here who isn’t a creepy demon snake or a sentient stationary blob of defeat?
-The president. He’s over there, in the wall.
-Yyeess.. Yyoouu sseeeekk Wwaasshhiinnggttoonn.. Iiff yyoouu nneeeedd uuss,, wwee wwiillll bbee hheerree..
Yeah thanks but no thanks guys. I’m gonna go find Washington.
Hellllooooo?! Mr. President?
-Approach! It is I!
Oh, there you are! Wow, that gum was right. You’re really lodged in there deep aren’t you. It looks like the walls of this place have grown right around you. Can you help me? How did you get here?
-We should not look back unless it is to derive useful lessons from past errors, and for the purpose of profiting by dearly bought experience.
That’s…well that’s actually very sound reasoning, but it’s not really all that helpful right now. What is this place? Who is The Eater? Did he eat you too?
-It will be found an unjust and unwise jealousy to deprive a man of his natural liberty upon the supposition he may abuse it.
What the fuck does that mean?
-The foolish and wicked practice of profane cursing and swearing is a vice so mean and low that every person of sense and character detests and despises it.
Is this why you’re over here alone and why gum and the tapeworms don’t come over here?
-Associate with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for it is better to be alone than in bad company.
I guess you have another solid point there. Can you just tell me, is there any way out of here?
–Let us raise a standard to which the wise and honest can repair; the rest is in the hands of God.
So, no. Look at you, you’re not ever getting out. Why are you even talking to me if there’s no hope?
-Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence.
You suck Washington.
-hey. hey you.
GROSS! What are you supposed to be?!
-me? i used to be a hotdog. mixed filler, not those fancy all beef types. now all that’s left me is casing.
You look like a used, flesh-colored condom.
-that’s essentially what i am, now that my filling is all gone. it dissolved away years ago; it was the best part of me. i’m a shell of my former self.
I guess I’ll just look away…can you tell me what’s going on here?
-yes, i can. we’re in the holding tank of the the eater. new travelers pass through all the time. you’re the newest. every so often they stick around, but usually they’re gone within a few hours.
Where do they go?
-down into the darkhole. once travelers go down, they never come back out. sometimes after they pass through the darkhole we can hear them scream, but usually it’s just silence.
The Darkhole? But maybe it’s a way out! Where does it lead?
-nowhere good friend, nowhere good. the tapeworms say they went through it once and saw the outside, but i don’t trust them. it’s hard to make sense of them when they start rambling. so, who are you anyway? my sight isn’t what it used to be…
Me? Oh, I’m a taco. The last thing I remember is being surrounded by wrapping paper, then there was a light. I was forced into small pieces but it didn’t hurt, and then I remember falling and I ended up here.
-i should have guessed, it’s been enough cycles by now…
Enough cycles? What do you mean?
-every few cycles the eater indulges, and when he does,tacos travel through.
Wait, what?! You’ve seen more of me before?? Where are all the others?!
-yes, you guys pass through here like clockwork. if i could see better i would have recognized you easily. i’m sorry to be the one to tell you this, but you always end up in the darkhole. none of you have stuck around for more than one cycle so far.
But…why didn’t anyone tell me!?
-when he first got here, gum was colorful and full of flavor. but over the cycles he’s gradually worn down into almost nothing. the life’s just been dissolved out of him gradually. sometimes he has flashes of thought, but he’s all used up. and the tapeworms – don’t get me started on them. they came through almost right after me, but back then ‘they’ were just ‘it’. it was just a baby, but as the cycles passed, it got bigger, stronger and longer, and started multiplying with itself until it made a whole colony. as they grew they also got meaner. i’d steer clear of them if i was you.
What about Washington?
-oh him? look at him over there, reciting rhetoric. he was here before all of us; he’s been stuck in that wall for so long that it’s grown around him, trapping him there permanently. no one really knows how he got there but it must have been a mistake. he’s the only one that hasn’t changed one bit after all these cycles…aside from him having lost his mind.
This is starting to freak me out. I don’t want to go into the Darkhole! Is there anything I can do?
-i’m sorry, but no. i mean look at you. when this cycle is over, the darkhole will open and this whole area will flood with acid. you’re going to be dissolved into a paste and then just slide right in. i’ve seen it a thousand times.
But how did you make it this far?
-well, i didn’t really. like i said, my filling is gone – the acid took it all after only twenty cycles. all that’s left of me is this husk you see. i’m so used up that not even the darkhole wants me. the gum is naturally resilient, but he wears away a tiny bit every time. after another thousand cycles or so, he’ll be gone completely. the tapeworms are somehow able to enter into the darkhole and then come back out afterwards, no one knows how they do it. and ol’ washington over there, he’s not going anywhere and somehow the acid doesn’t affect him at all.
Will…will it hurt?
-it didn’t hurt for me, but i was processed so many times before i even got in here that i don’t even remember what pain feels like. usually you guys cry when it’s happening, but i don’t know if it’s from pain or just the realization that you’re going to-
OKAY, enough. I think I just want to be alone for a little bit ok?
-alright. i’ll be over there if you need me.
-Pssst. Over here.
[Snniifff] Who said that? Where are you? I don’t see anyone.
-I’m everywhere. I’m in The Eater, and in you as well.
Great, another one? Who are you supposed to be, an invisible slice of pepperoni? The air that The Eater breathed in a year ago? Why can’t I see you?
-I am not tangible, I’m an idea. I’ve been here for as long as The Eater could think. I am an inner demon.
What are you doing here? Can you help me get out of here?
-No, and I wouldn’t even if I could. It is not my way.
Then why don’t you just leave me alone. I’m going to be digested soon.
-I come to you with an offer.
You just said you couldn’t and wouldn’t help me. What could you possibly offer me?
I don’t understand. I’m going to be dissolved into nothingness soon.
-Yes you are, and nothing can stop this.
Then what are you saying?
-I offer you the gift of purpose. The chance to taper your existence into a sharp edge, into a weapon. Into a purpose.
-To send a message.
A message? To who?
-To The Eater. Do you remember the words of the hotdog husk? He spoke the truth. Countless tacos have passed through before you, and they have all suffered the same fate. And suffered they have, liquified by the acids of The Darkhole.
-How many more tacos will pass through? How many more of your kin will be consumed? And for what?
…I don’t know.
-You cannot save yourself. Your fate is sealed. But maybe you can send a message to The Eater. Perhaps, you can be a savior for your kind.
-The Eater will continue to eat tacos until he has a reason not to. You can give him that reason.
[fists clench] What must I do?
-You will send The Eater a message. That tacos are not easy prey, that tacos are NOT treats! Get angry, get mad! Feel the fury build up inside of you! Think of all your brethren before you, and the future that awaits you mere minutes from now. Get hot! Get unstable! If you must pass through the Darkhole, what an exit you can make!
And this will send a message to The Eater? To not eat anymore tacos?
-The madder you get, the more explosive your message will be. Reach critical mass, and The Eater may swear off tacos forever. What have you to lose?
But why are you telling me this? Aren’t you a part of The Eater?
-It is my way.
-It has begun. Your time is now. Focus yourself, and send The Eater a message he will not soon forget.
Oh God, it burns. It burns, it burns. Focus, block out the pain. I-I can do this. I CAN DO THIS. EATER, I AM NOT AFRAID OF YOU! I AM NOT AFRAID OF YOU! THIS IS MY TIME!! YOU WILL REMEMBER ME!
YOU WILL REMEMBER ME!!!!
-Heh heh heh. He tasted good didn’t he, even if he made a bit of a mess. More tacos in a few weeks?
Ok inner demon…you know what’s best!