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Black and silver: complete
Black and silver: complete
(Story by Daniel: just an outline so far. Needs to have dialogue, etc, added, and maybe a second point-of-view character in South America.)
Contribution to the genre of shocking literature.
Part 1: Prelude: In jungle darkness the eels twist and coil, slither and slide.
Deep in the heart of the Amazon, the electric eels struggle for their lives, competing against the thousand thousand other predators of the jungle. The Amazon is a deceptively quiet place, the inhabitants peacefully drifting in the currents, and then in the blink of a eye some vanish into the bellies of the others. In a sumo match, the start of the match is quiet, with one wrestler sizing up the other, and by the time one of them makes a move the outcome is already determined. Such is the pace of life within the twilight of the Amazon River. As the years go by, the electric eels learn that three or four of them together can stun or kill even the great anaconda, the largest denizen of the Amazon river valley. If it were not for the swift and deadly piranha swarms, the electric eels would be the unquestioned masters of the river… except for man.
With time, as the eels become more organized, even the piranha learn to avoid the electric eels when they are many and hungry. Now that the electric eels have overwhelmed their competition, their numbers begin to increase rapidly, and the local village fishermen start calling them spawn of the devil. This started with Jose Paz, an old and well-liked fisherman in the village of Alpalito. He was fishing for catfish, and late in the evening he pulled his nets out for the last haul of the day. But at the bottom of one of his nets was a large eel that gave poor Jose a jolt that knocked him out for nearly two days. Luckily one of the village boys found his boat beached on the shore, but was unable to awaken him. Jose’s wife was preparing to mourn him for dead, when his eyes feebly opened, and he moaned ``Fils du diable,’’ which soon became the accepted name for the electric eels. However, every cloud has a silver lining. Jose soon learned that smoked electric eel is a delicacy that can be exported to Rio (and from there to China) for thousands of pesos. So on the whole, life in the village goes on much as before, except that fishermen disappear more often than they used to. The fatalistic villagers shrug, ``C’est la vie.’’
One of Jose’s distant relatives, Carmelita Paz, lives in Toronto, Canada. She has found a job as a telephone receptionist at the head office of a cosmetics company. She soon finds that the job is mindlessly boring, and takes to reading romance novels while waiting for the phone to ring. Carmelita has a severe overbite and tends to nag, so she has few friends despite her dreams of romance. She has one good friend in the company, Marie-Ann, a lab technician from the quality-control department. One day, a salesman named Jose stops at her desk, and says he has been stood up for a lunchtime appointment, and does Carmelita want to have lunch with him? Surprised, she says yes, and they go to lunch at an Italian restaurant. Jose does almost all the talking, about his travels for the company, his holiday in Cuba, and how stupid his boss is. Carmelita is quite impressed, and starts thinking about the next time she and Jose could have lunch. However, whenever Carmelita tries to talk with him again during the next few days, he is slightly distant and always finds some excuse to end the conversation soon.
Carmelita asks her friend Marie-Ann what she would do in her place, and Marie-Ann becomes slightly embarrassed and avoids the question. Later the same day, Carmelita looks at herself in the bathroom mirror at work, while still fuming at Marie-Ann’s behaviour. The mirror reflects Carmelita’s large nose and small rabbit-like mouth, set in a face marked with frown lines. She peers at herself more closely, and notes a red rash, similar to acne, on her forehead close to the hairline.
She thinks to herself that this is a little bit too much. Not only is she not pretty, but now she has acne.
A few days later, Carmelia is in the metro, carrying her purse and a Danielle Steel novel. She notices the man sitting opposite her making a face while staring at her forehead, and she suddenly begins to feel angry. Why does she have all the bad luck?
While still sitting in the subway, she decides to go to a dermatologist about her forehead as soon as possible, and uses the company phone to make an appointment once she arrives at the office. Putting the phone down, she notices her boss, Mr. Haefliger, standing behind her. Haefliger says “No personal calls on company time,” and holds out his hand. After a moment, Carmelita realizes that he is waiting for her to give him a quarter. Carmelita figures he will just put the money in his wallet and keep it, instead of giving it to the petty cash office, but if she doesn’t give him a quarter he’ll make trouble for her. So she hands him a quarter with a scowl, and he leaves.
Three weeks later, Carmelita visits the dermatologist, a middle-aged man named Fialkov, and he tells her to go for a series of tests at a clinic. Another three weeks later, she returns, and Fialkov tells her that her rash is due to a hormone imbalance, and that it can be treated with estrogen supplements. This sounds fine to Carmelita, and she takes the prescription home with her. The next day she fills the prescription at a pharmacy, paying several hundred dollars for a 3 months supply. She points out to the pharmacian that this is nearly 2 dollars a pill, and is a ripoff. The pharmacian gets annoyed, and tells her that she could try buying it from a Mexican mail-order pharmacy if she wants. Carmelia mutters ``Pinche pito de pitufo” in Spanish which the pharmacist pretends not to understand, but buys the estrogen anyway.
Neither the pharmacist nor the dermatologist thought of telling Carmelita that estrogen can have side effects, such as increased libido. Over the next few weeks, Carmelita finds herself getting more and more interested in the steamy passages in the romance novels she reads at work. She starts flipping through novels looking for sex scenes, and making up elaborate fantasies built up from the ideas in the novels. One Friday afternoon, Carmelita realized that she forgot to take the phone because she was reading a sex scene. In fact, she realized that she was blue in the face from forgetting to breath while reading. Luckily Haefliger was away, rolling in the hay with his mistress, at the time.
Carmelita decided to do something about her strange fascination with sex, and instead of going home to her Chinatown apartment at 6pm, she waited for Jose, who usually worked late, and asked him to go to a movie with her. Jose said he had to go to Des Moines for a sales conference, and thanked her for asking him. Carmelita spat on the floor as Jose walked off: Jose halted for a moment, but didn’t turn around, and then started walking again.
So Carmelita decided to go to an adult bookstore and spend the weekend reading erotic books. She took the streetcar to an adult bookshop she had seen, and stood irresolutely in front of it a moment. Opening the door and walking in, she started browsing the shelves, and picked out 3 books. On the way to the cash register, she halted at a display of sex toys, and looked at them. A small, elegant, black-and-silver vibrator appealed to her. Carmelita was aware that it was a sex toy, but thought of it more as something to be kept secret that would shock her mother, than as something for sex. Smiling at the idea of what her mother would say if she knew, she bought the vibrator, paying a total of 212 dollars for 4 items.
Part 2: Awakening
Meanwhile, back in the Amazon, the electric eels have started using their electric radar as a means of communication to warn each other of the approach of human fishermen, and thereby have become harder to catch. The villagers, on the other hand, have made enough money on exporting smoked eel meat to be able to buy modern fishing equipment, and this brings in yet more money at the expense of the eels. A government official on holiday notices the growing prosperity of the village and the beauty of their women, and decides to recommend that some money be invested in the area. He manages to convince the assistant deputy prime minister to attach funding for a school, hospital, and unemployment office in Apalito to the next infrastructure bill.
One of the first things to be done is to spray part of the jungle with herbicide, in order to make a nice clear area for development. The government decides to use a new experimental herbicide, and to do the villagers a favor by clearing a bigger area than normal.
One day, a crop-dusting plane arrives. The pilot flies low over the village, smiling out the window and waving. The villagers cheer and wave back, and the plane makes a few more passes over the village, before flying off to dust the designated strip parallel to the river with herbicide.
Trees die and vines wither, but life in the river goes on as normal, except for the few unfortunate species of rare fish for whom the herbicide happens to be toxic. By some accident, the herbicide molecule happens to be nearly the same shape as the sex hormone molecule that the electric eels are sensitive to, so that the electric eels go into a mating frenzy. The herbicide rapidly spreads downstream, with the result that by day’s end, tens of thousands of sex-crazed eels are storming upriver, searching for the source of the hormone that is maddening them. Even eels outside the area affected by the herbicide begin swimming in the same direction, following messages transmitted by their kindred.
A few villagers who are washing their clothes in the river at sunset are the first humans to know that something unusual is happening: they see flashes of light in the darkness of the river, and then one of them runs screaming to the shore, pursued by a glimmering sinuous form.
Later that night, deep in the river’s heart, a thousand eels knot themselves into a pulsating mass. Electric messages echo back and forth, and eels shudder with ecstasy never before known by their kind. Drawn by the lyrical song of the mass of flesh before them, more eels weave themselves together, first by the hundreds and then by the thousands. As the river becomes thick with eels, the sheer number of eels present exceeds a critical limit, and the semi-intelligent eels become overwhelmed by the sheer volume of electrical messages surrounding them. A few, however, find a way to cope with the enormous flood of information before them, and in effect link themselves together into a single mind. This new entity, unlike anything that had ever before existed on Earth, rapidly grows and incorporates into itself the many thousands of eels in the neighborhood. Sexual desires forgotten, or rather, become transcendent, the entity becomes aware of itself. Over several days, the entity learns to feed and maintain its component parts without disrupting the electric network that sustains it, destroys a few annoying fishing boats, and begins to do what every intelligent being will do at some point: it begins to search for another being like itself.
Part 3: Climax
Meanwhile, back in Toronto, Carmelita has become enthusiastic about sexual toys and erotic books. Living in Chinatown, she is able to buy unusual and exotic items: rhino-horn dildos, lubricants containing powdered tiger’s claws, and tantric acupuncture guidebooks. Sometimes Carmelita wishes that she was not alone, but then she says to herself that at least she can be more sophisticated than any of her officemates, and thinks how surprised Jose would be if he knew the things she has learned. She buys shark-skin covers for her sex toys, decorates her bedroom with mirrors and buys a huge circular bed. Her favorite vibrator is still the black-and-silver one that she first bought, though she now has several. There happens to be an electric eel shop downstairs, and Carmelita has sometimes stopped to look at them, fascinated by their weird appearance.
In the deeps of the Amazon, the entity born of the fusion of a hundred thousand eel minds has learned that it is alone on the South American continent, and has started trying to reach out over great distances using electrical energy. It becomes aware of the Chinese market in Toronto, where there are a number of electric eels, sold for food, and scans the area more closely. It begins trying to establish contact with the eels in the shop downstairs from Carmelita, and over a period of days, comes closer and closer to success.
One evening, while Carmelita is using her favorite vibrator, the entity makes a final effort to bridge the thousands of kilometers between the Amazon and Toronto. It strains itself to the utmost, closer and closer to the brink of contact. Shuddering, it feels contact approaching. Then finally, the electric energies cross the enormous distance between the two locales, and the release of tension puts the entity in a state of rapture.
Some time later, it becomes aware that it had made a slight error and directed its energies a few meters away from the proper target.
In mute testimony, Carmelita’s body lay upstairs above the eel shop, burnt and blackened by the enormous energy that had poured into Carmelita’s body through the black-and-silver vibrator.