Sons Of Otis
Songs for Worship (TMC)
by Brian Varney
“Is he ready?”
“Yes, Sarge. He’s in interrogation room four.”
“What’s the story?”
“We’re not exactly sure… It’s a strange case. We got a call telling us about this crazy-looking guy, stumbling through the streets and making this weird screeching noise. He scared an old lady, I guess. He was charged with public intoxication and disturbing the peace, but a blood test revealed no drugs or alcohol in his system. We don’t know what his problem is. He just keeps slurring the same thing over and over again. We can’t tell what he’s saying… something like ‘Downers’.”
“Anything found on him?”
“Nothing, sir. The only thing found in his pockets was a CD by a band called Sons of Otis.”
“Never heard of ’em.”
“Me neither, sir.”
“I’m going in there. Have someone bring in a CD player.”
I went into the room and saw what had once been a man. Now he was just a blubbering pile of goo. He was so smacked out of his skull on something that his neck could barely support the weight of his head, like a newborn baby. His eyes lolled, his arms and legs twitched spasmodically, and he uttered random syllables that meant no more to him than to me.
“My name is Sergeant King. Do you know why you’re here?”
“I can’t understand you…”
He tried to gesture, but he couldn’t overcome the dead weight of his own flesh. An officer entered, plugged in a CD player, and beat a hasty retreat, a look of repulsion on his face.
“Did you take something?”
“Did somebody give you something?”
His hand lifted briefly, but fell listlessly to the floor. Talk was clearly getting me nowhere, so I popped in the Sons of Otis CD. It was total rubbish; droning, sloppy noise, completely devoid of form or discipline or dynamics of any sort. I skipped around a bit, but it was all the same shit.
“These damn kids,” I muttered to myself. The man started to jostle around a bit, so I let it play and sat in front of him again. He wasn’t saying anything, but a small, frightened shrieking noise was coming from his throat. He tried to lift his hand but he couldn’t conjure the strength.
“Is something wrong? Does the CD bother you?” I asked.
He answered only by continuing to make the shrieking noise, except by now it was getting quieter and quieter. Or maybe the music was getting louder and louder. I hadn’t touched the CD player, but everything seemed to be swimming in the echo-laden screech of Sons of Otis. I sat, holding my head in my hands, looking at the floor and trying to figure out what to do next. The shrieking noise stopped. I looked up and the man had disappeared with it. The door was still locked and his chair hadn’t moved. He had vanished. I tried to get up to look for him, but my feet were suddenly very heavy. I tried to get up but my arms wouldn’t work, either. By now, all I could hear was the music. I felt pinned to the chair. I turned my head and it took a hundred years.
And then it came back… It was very faint at first, but it was unmistakably the screeching noise the man had been making. The music began to fade as the screech gradually got louder and louder. I panicked and tried to run, but it was pointless. I couldn’t even move. The music’s slow fade was excruciating by this point. The screech echoed in my ears until I felt my head would split. And then the music was gone, even as the seconds continued to mock me, ticking away on the CD display as I sat helplessly. The only sound left was the screech. It was coming from my mouth.
(PO Box 629 Port Washington, NY 11050)