The Documents of Hector Maze: 4.2

Posted in The Documents of Hector Maze on November 10th, 2005 by bill

When I got outside, it had of course started pouring rain. How perfect. Hard, cold drops landed all over my body and I felt soaked almost immediately. My car was blocks away and the only shelter in sight was a phone booth on the corner, so I made for it with haste.

Once inside, I closed the door behind me and slumped against it. So there I was: wet, exhausted, disheveled, unemployed, huddled in a phone booth with raindrops beating loudly on the glass. I had absolutely no idea what my next move was. And then I thought of Lee.
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The Documents of Hector Maze: 4.1

Posted in The Documents of Hector Maze on November 9th, 2005 by bill

If you’ve never gone six months or so without a good night’s sleep, I doubt I can adequately describe to you how deeply tired I was toward the end of the speed era. Sex, food, money, fame — all these were as nothing to me compared to the prospect of a nap. But I kept taking the pills, so there was no sleep for me.

Finally, one morning, my body served notice that it was not going to take this anymore. It was going to sleep right now, and I could go to hell. So I stayed in bed throughout the morning and into the early afternoon. The phone rang; I ignored it and let the machine handle it. The phone rang again; I ignored it again. The third time around, I forced myself to roll over and pick up.

It was my boss. I told him I wasn’t feeling well, which was the truth. With a cold edge in his voice, he said, “Hector, I need you to come into the office right now.” So I willed myself to a vertical position, shocked myself with scalding hot water, and drove downtown.
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The Documents of Hector Maze: 3.4

Posted in The Documents of Hector Maze on November 8th, 2005 by bill

I blinked, and my surroundings transformed. Whereas a moment before I had been spinning upward into a pale blue sky, now I found myself and the ferris wheel in near-darkness. It appeared that we were in a large underground cave, the walls of which I could faintly discern at a distance of several hundred yards.

I was nonplussed. This was an unexpected development, and a part of me wanted to freak out, particularly when I thought I saw something move and thought of bats. Yet I felt oddly calm. In any case, there wasn’t much I could do about the situation at the moment, so I decided to relax and see what happened next.
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The Documents of Hector Maze: 3.3

Posted in The Documents of Hector Maze on November 8th, 2005 by bill

I nearly choked when the attendant told me how much it cost to get in. I had just enough in my wallet to cover it. I kept the receipt, making a mental note to try to write it off. The attendant handed me what appeared to be a small medallion which I was to wear around my neck — it contained an embedded microchip that would identify me as a paying customer.

About 20 yards past the entrance, there was a crossroads where signs with arrows on them indicated the locations of various attractions. I scanned them briefly and then, realizing that I had no data on which to base a decision, decided to just turn right. When all else fails, I turn right to get into something, left to get out. This rule of thumb usually works out well enough, not that I’d recommend it for general usage.
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The Documents of Hector Maze: 3.2

Posted in The Documents of Hector Maze on November 8th, 2005 by bill

This whole process had gotten a little adrenaline going, and I thought to myself, Use this momentum. Move. Do something.

But what? Laundry? Shopping? Dull. I thought about just going for a walk or a drive. Then it hit me: Elasticland. Go down there and have a look around before they know who I am. Get a feel for the place. Ride some rides.

I headed into the kitchen to look for some food I could take with me. Pickings were slim: a quarter-loaf of French bread, some suspicious-looking cheese, a couple apples. I tossed them into a backpack. There was a Tupperware container in the freezer that, upon further inspection, contained some chocolate chip cookies. This was a little odd, but I grabbed them anyway; they’d be thawed by the time I was ready for them.
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The Documents of Hector Maze: 3.1

Posted in The Documents of Hector Maze on November 8th, 2005 by bill

I hesitated for a moment, knowing that to make this phone call would be to set in motion a process that might last months, or more. Just then I heard a loud meow and looked down to see the cat poised beside her bowl, fixing me with an irritable stare. I stroked her head and went to grab some food, happy for this momentary respite from the decision.

Did I really want to go back to work? On the other hand, did I really have any choice? I took a good, hard look at the squalor around me, then reached for the phone and punched in the number.

The phone rang only twice before a voice answered: a female voice, and quite a lovely one at that. I began to picture this Rubelcaba as an old-fashioned type who would have a statuesque, probably blond secretary with whom he might or might not be sleeping.

“Mr. Rubelcaba’s office,” said the voice, dutifully and efficiently.
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The Documents of Hector Maze: 2.4

Posted in The Documents of Hector Maze on November 7th, 2005 by bill

The rest of this story writes itself: Once that initial whoosh wore off, I had to start increasing the dosage; but you can keep that up for only so long — the human being is simply not designed to go without sleep.

At first, sleep deprivation produces a state of of euphoria, but in the long run it begins to transmute — slowly and almost imperceptibly — into a kind of insanity. Exhilaration gives way to anxiety, paranoia, and a deep, fatiguing unease.

Even so, you can keep functioning for a surprisingly long time. But not indefinitely. Sooner or later, things start to slip. Unfortunately, by then you’ve fucked your mind so badly that you don’t notice.
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The Documents of Hector Maze: 2.3

Posted in The Documents of Hector Maze on November 6th, 2005 by bill

There’s a reason, I think, that the idea of making a deal with the devil retains such currency, that it’s such an eternal theme. It’s a story that can be told over and over again because, no matter how many times you’ve been warned, and no matter how much your rational mind is aware that it’s a bad idea, the temptation to make a deal with the devil is always there.

Why? It’s just a question of time. When you sell your soul to get what you want — a million dollars,1 a mansion on the hill, the power to cloud men’s (or women’s) minds — you get the reward now. The bill doesn’t come due until later, and the person who has to pay it won’t be you, it will be some future version of you. The main thing is that you get what you want and get it right away; dealing with the consequences is future version’s problem.

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The Documents of Hector Maze: 2.2

Posted in The Documents of Hector Maze on November 6th, 2005 by bill

And then there was the speed.

It started with a deadline. Like a lot the pseudo-creative, I was a terrible procrastinator — by which I mean that procrastination was something I was terribly good at — and somewhere around junior high I’d gotten into the habit of leaving every project until the very last minute, then relying on a fear-stoked burst of adrenaline to bail me out.
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The Documents of Hector Maze: 2.1

Posted in The Documents of Hector Maze on November 5th, 2005 by bill

You’d like some background at this point. “Who is this guy?”, you may be saying, or perhaps, “Who does this guy think he is?” Two very different questions, if you think about it — but I digress.

Like most people, I was born. I’m sure that it was vastly traumatic to be evicted from the amniotic peace of the womb into the light and turmoil of the phenomenal world, but I can’t say that I have any particular memory of it.

At first, I was a child. This was difficult at times because I was smaller than other people and ignorant of many things. But on the whole, it wasn’t bad. I don’t remember too much of it, to be honest with you. I think I watched a lot of TV.
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