The Entry Word
©Barnaby Taylor 2016
BOOK ONE: ‘MENAGERIUM JODOCUS’
1. It is the global television coverage of the 2016 Rio Olympics that brings about the end of the world. No virus. Outbreak. Meteor hurtling earthward. Planet warming. Planet cooling. Rising tides. Tidal waves. Instead, viewers around the globe are endlessly encouraged to email and text and tweet and share their views on the Games and the athletes and the achievements and as always happens with the excitement of live television too many people get too much wrong too many times simultaneously and so they mistype and misspell and send messages that don’t arrive and texts that aren’t delivered and tweets that are returned and shares that never are but instead of these messages and texts and tweets and shares just disappearing they all align instead into one single endless string and spell out in their global accident the Entry Word.
And that is that.
2. ‘We are here,’ says Jodocus Meaddowcraft. Not tall or small or large. Just him. Her. Both. Neither. All. Bleary-eyed. Centuries-old and the same tired. Crumpled after arriving. Constipated. Wearing a plain linen suit with a sweat ring beneath each arm. Polyester shirt. Slip-on shoes. Migraine.
‘I suppose you could call us cosmic spam if you felt so inclined but it matters not a jot. Most things matter the small sameness to us. We are endlessly without endless priorities.’
Jodocus does the chat-show circuit all at once, simultaneously appearing on every chair and sofa around the world. Beamed live on every screen.
‘It was you who spelt the Entry Word so don’t blame us for what happens next. With your too-big fingers and too-hasty thumbs all tapping and typing in terrible error. How could you have ever known?’
Jodocus has very big hands in proportion to the rest of his body when he lifts a single finger for emphasis.
‘History is jumble anyway so what’s more confusion.’
Jodocus smiles for the cameras.
‘Only disorder is truly understood and therefore ever-engendered. None look like you have the capacity for real stillness with your fussing and itching and barking like annoying small dogs all less important than they believe.’
Jodocus shakes his head.
‘No interruptions. None. Simple listening will always suffice.’
And though the whole world has a hundred thousand million objections all based on size and creed and history and logic and faith and superstition and other such informations none of these hundred thousand million objections actually formulate properly in the presence of someone so far removed from understanding as to render each and every thought and belief and hope held dear now redundant. Replaced. Deep dark dense dangerous delicate. Unfathomable.
3. Sea levels start to rise. Waves lap. Buildings now bob. Submerged where once they stood tall and proud. Clouds boil black and fearful. Deserts grow tall green grass springing from the dirty sand.
‘Simple tricks,’ says Jodocus Meaddowcraft. ‘Pointless entertainments designed not to prove worth but to simply demonstrate. D-E-M-O-N-STRATE.’
Mere feints and darts. Patients are miraculously healed and tumours disappear. But churches collapse. Ocean liners sink without trace. Airplanes vanish. Technologies begin their fail. Countries start to starve.
‘This is what I mean by disorder,’ smirks Jodocus Meaddowcraft. ‘In the time we have already spent together I have brought seventy six species of plants and animals back from extinction whilst also removing 0.000002% of the world’s population.’
Jodocus Meaddowcraft looks through the camera into the eyes of the world.
‘The question is what next?’
4. ‘I don’t know what I want with you yet,’ says Jodocus Meaddowcraft to the General Assembly of the United Nations. ‘You brought me here and I haven’t had time to formulate a plan.’
All languages at once are heard true in his ear. Only the world cannot hear each other.
‘You gathered people are right to be afraid because it was a terrible idea to wake me up and get me here from there. A terrible idea.’
The Assembly have no words.
‘I will take petitions like a king from old. You may visit me in my court. I will accept tributes of all and every kind. I will read four letters a day but only if they are handwritten. Be there in person and be prepared to wait for a long time.’
Jodocus Meaddowcraft turns to leave.
‘I warn you though,’ he says over his shoulder. ‘I cannot ever be fair.’
5. ‘I bet you don’t even know what I am?’ Jodocus Meaddowcraft continues. ‘Saint? Resurrect? Alien? Visitor? Deity? Destroyer? Saviour? Traveller?’
No one knows what to say to Jodocus Meaddowcraft. Advice is sought but not provided.
‘No whispering,’ whispers Jodocus Meaddowcraft loudly as delegates confer. ‘Do not talk amongst yourselves any longer. Only to me with the conditions I have outlined.’
Jodocus Meaddowcraft looks around.
‘This building is about to be off-limits to you all so please get ready to leave straightaway.’
6. There is a multitude of us,’ says Jodocus Meaddowcraft. ‘One after the other and then the next again forever now. More than you can count.’
‘Behold the Unslept’ says Jodocus Meaddowcraft, pointing at the screen.
‘See how they play.’ Jodocus laughs. ‘Each one summoned by a mistyped search.’
The Assembly looks and what it sees chilled to the bone. A hundred thousand million figures in perpetual tortured motion; fighting and climbing and dancing and jumping, in gangs and alone, all moving forever. The image is grainy but there was no doubt as to what the world is seeing, the end of itself. They begin materializing. All the shapes and sizes you can imagine. Many you cannot hope to.
7. The next morning. ‘I am obtuse from now forever,’ declares Jodocus Meaddowcraft. ‘We have seen enough of your foolish world to be anything other than annoyed for having been summoned through your stupidity.’
‘Furthermore, you will now find it hard to understand me when I speak.’
‘But just before that happens just always know that I only have your worst interests at heart. There can never be doubt with this.’
Jodocus Meaddowcraft clicks his fingers.
‘Sense now over gone forever hard speaking me confusion reigns misunderstanding.’
8. ‘Here Bartholomaus Hamson introducing,’ says Jodocus Meaddowcraft. ‘Lieutenant. Sidekick. Limb.’
Bartholomaus Hamson is an ugly brute of a man-monstrosity.
‘Herds Bartholomaus Hamson the Unslept,’ continues Jodocus Meaddowcraft. ‘Guidance divining crowd control.’
Bartholomaus Hamson offers his sleaziest of smiles.
‘Grin on, fine friend,’ says Jodocus Meaddowcraft. ‘Planet now feeling fear and not happiness.’
Bartholomaus Hamson begins to shuffle inconveniently and though the world could never know this is Bartholomaus Hamson expressing his joy at arriving through spontaneous dance. His dermatitis skin forms new flabs and folds and flakes as Bartholomaus gathers an unseemly pace.
9. Another monster appears. Bulbous. Slime-lined. Mollusc.
‘Einav Dionisii,’ waves Jodocus Meaddowcraft. ‘Wrong all do. Evil only evil only ever.’
Einav clears his throat and begins to speak like the discord of a rusty orchestra.
‘More more agathokakological, gathered ones. A-G-A-T-H-O-K-A-K-O-L-O-G-I-C-A-L. Mainly leaning one way and then other but balanced overall.’
Jodocus Meaddowcraft begs to differ. ‘Balance not. Balance not.’
When Einav Dionisii smiles the world feels a bit more glum.
‘Disagreatum est, felice! Disagreatum.’
Jodocus Meaddowcraft doesn’t approve of disagreement and demonstrates his disapproval by deigning to smile.
‘Not cross me, Bulbo! Not no never now!’
10. With a stench from beyond space and time Mally Jaqueminet appears. She is wreathed in rotting weeds.
‘Nihil her thing best,’ says Jodocus Meaddowcraft. ‘See shining eye danger her facing you. Malingering. Moody. Malevolent. Malicious. Magnificent. Murderous. Mean. Malodorous.’
Mally bows lows to the watching world. Jodocus Meaddowcraft continues.
‘Calamitous. Deadly. Dire. Noxious. Pernicious. Ruinous. Sinister. Threatening. Venomous. Vindictive. Woeful.’
Thesauritical in his approach, Jodocus Meaddowcraft delights in introducing the world to his world.
11. Agatho Wagner is a proud-strutting myriapod full of mathematical magnificence expressed physically as troubling angles and lines. Resplendent. Repugnatorial. Agatho takes the utmost pleasure in obnoxion and fully appreciates the disgust by which he is defined across the planes. Agatho does not ever speak but writes instead long missives in a tiny hand with a fine-feathered quill and leaves them on the floor for you to try and avoid reading. Don’t ever read them on pain of death.
12. Husniya Hindge is twin and has an arm as long as a leg and a leg as long as an arm and no-one can be truly sure of her outlines as Husniya Hindge shimmers psychosuggestively to cause a distinct mental uncertainty among all of those unlucky enough to meet her. Imagine being defined by a vagueness. Then imagine that vagueness being further defined by yet more vagary and bewilderness. Husniya Hindge is also exceedingly open-minded and this only adds to the difficulties she presents to any dimension upon which she materializes.
13. ‘Backwards,’ declares Jodocus Meaddowcraft. ‘Backwards now world-spinning. All progress halt. New histories writing.’
His voice is a terrible one, all wrath and gritty.
‘Not resting us ‘til world back beginning spin at start once more.’
Bartholomaus Hamson, Einav Dionisii, Mally Jaqueminet, Agatho Wagner, and Husniya Hindge agree.
‘My plan,’ crows Jodocus Meaddowcraft to the weary Assembly. ‘My heart-hope all ambition decided.’
Jodocus Meaddowcraft raises himself to a height hitherto not imagined and looms large across the floor of the UN Building.
‘My palace now begone foul fellows flee!!!!’
The delegates scattered with a mixture of fear for the future and relief from the experience.
END OF BOOK ONE