Skip navigation.
Write - Share - Read - Respond


stanley.lieber's picture


1083 words by Stanley Lieber


The airbrushed cover was decidedly inferior to what Motherfucker had seen before, attached to other printings of the same book. It was outlandish. All swaddling clothes and taut, glistening muscles. Objectifying the physiques that would result from pious observance, appealing to the vanity of practitioners who were required, by tradition and by law, to study it. Obviously. Transparently. This kind of self-aggrandizing marketing disgusted him. Gazing upon its cover, it was hard for Motherfucker to take the book seriously.

"Well don't just sit there, all slack-jawed, staring, however arresting that dust jacket might be... Open the blessed book and let's get started."

Perpetrator was always trying to instruct him, as if to communicate that Motherfucker's own study habits were somehow deficient, would somehow land him in hot water. He always had advice at the ready, prepared to be dispensed to his lessers. In this case the advice involved the interpretation of the Bible, and its careful application to the logical conundrums that permeated modern day life. Perpetrator was only a couple of months older than Motherfucker, and so he really hated it when Perp would try and talk down to him in this way. Perpetrator was a total spamhole.

"That's not what the book says at all," said Motherfucker.

"You're wrong. It's right there. Just look at the words. They're right in front of you."

Perpetrator indicated the text with his finger.

"Yes, my eyes were directed at this material during the process of forming my initial assessment."

"Well, one couldn't tell from hearing you recite it."

The pages dissolved into one another. Motherfucker couldn't sustain his focus. He wondered briefly why the long lists of telephone numbers in the Scripture featured variable font sizes, brilliant piping and color illustrations. Why all the fuss?

"Perpetrator, what is the point of these chapters that are comprised solely of lists of advertisements for car insurance agents?"

"Those are the Sanctified Tribes of the Green, Motherfucker. Your remarks are veering dangerously close to blasphemy. Why do you have to question every last detail in our studies? Not everything is a conspiracy!"

"It all just seems so arbitrary. Like they've just gone and copied pages out of an old phone directory and then called it Scripture."

"Naturally that's what it seems like, Motherfucker, for that is precisely what they have done."


"What?" asked Perpetrator, finally and honestly befuddled.

"What do you mean what? Why did they copy pages out of an old phone directory and call it Scripture?"

"These manuscripts are illuminated, Motherfucker."


"Look at the section headings. See how the Tribes are organized according to service offerings, then alphabetized? These illustrations are graphical elements that illuminate the organization of the data."


"Still you do not comprehend."

"No, I do not."

Perpetrator stalled for several seconds, didn't speak. He figured to allow the concepts to sink into Motherfucker's mind.

Minutes passed.

"Wait. Oh, now I see. They're not so old as to be text-only, like the Scriptures were originally thought to have been written."

"That is correct."

"I guess that makes sense."

"Good, Motherfucker. Now we're making progress!"


But Motherfucker still seemed to be confused.

"We've wasted enough time on the graphics. Please return to the previous chapter and read aloud."

"You know I'm not comfortable reading aloud."

"Okay then, I'll read aloud, to you," Perpetrator said, training his standard, disdainful stare into the center of Motherfucker's eyes.

Throat cleared, he began.

"Newton wrote:

    ...rational mechanics will be the science of motion resulting from any forces whatsoever, and of the forces required to produce any motion ... and therefore I offer this work as the mathematical principles of philosophy, for the whole burden of philosophy seems to consist in this from the phenomena of motions to investigate the forces of nature, and then from these forces to demonstrate the other phenomena...

"Yeah, right," said Motherfucker.

"What, you don't believe him? Here, what do the footnotes say?"

    From this proposition it will follow, when arithmetical addition has been defined, that 1+1=2.

"Also it says that the text in question wasn't always a part of this chapter," finished Motherfucker.

"Honestly! And what year was this edition sourced?"

Pages flipped backwards.

"Twenty thirty-one. According to the information in the front."

"You see what I mean, then."

"No, not really."


Presently, Do Wuh entered the room and disrupted their studies. He was a bit dirty from tumbling in the yard with the others, and Perpetrator recoiled visibly when he came into view.

"Do Wuh."

"Motherfucker, put that book down and let's go outside and play."

"Do Wuh." Perpetrator spoke the name more stiffly the second time, as if it were an accusation. His face was frozen and very serious.

"Shut up, Perp," said Do Wuh. "Motherfucker, seriously, I'm sick of this spam. Why don't you come outside with the rest of us."

"Oh, but to journey out of doors," lamented Motherfucker, glancing woefully towards Perpetrator. "Perhaps we should take the book outside with us, and consult it where necessary."

A delicious pause.

"That's right," nodded Perpetrator, his incessant, condescending glare now softening due to the fact that he was outnumbered. In spite of the rigid persona he projected, he knew when to hedge his bets. It was likely the others would stumble into more diligent study if Motherfucker gained their respect and influence by first participating in their aimless games.

"Whatever. You two are going to go blind, sitting in here all the time."

"Unlikely," remarked Perpetrator.

Do Wuh slammed the door as he exited.


Outside, lawnmowers hovered in the distance. Uh Huh and Coca Cola were already on the field, caked with dirt. It behooved Perpetrator to comment on their slovenly appearance.

"Those are your good clothes, are they not?"

"Shut up, Perp," said Coca Cola.

"Okay, there's five of us on the field and we only need four. Perp, you're out."

"I didn't want to play in the first place!"

"Everybody wins," Coca Cola said, laughing.

Perpetrator sat down with his book and began to page through it, focusing intently. He de-fogged his glasses with the corner of his shirt and chewed his fingernail as he read.

"Spam them all. I'm studying!" he thought.

"Indeed," replied a voice that wasn't there.

Perpetrator's eyes grew very large.

And with that, it was settled.

He was locked in for life.


To be continued...





1OCT1993 | INDEX