Writings

Fabotnik: One Man's Ragnarok

By Steve Gerber
(Circa 1971)

Professor Rabis Q. Fabotnik backed his brand new (three days old) 1972 Crodge out of the driveway and parked it squarely in the middle of his tree-lined suburban street. Fabotnik smiled.

He climbed out of the car, and he strolled back into the three-story all-brick house. His house. His American dream. At 2914 Flapping Rosebud Lane.

Fabotnik walked into the kitchen and mixed a glass of Ovaldrine and scum milk. He prepared a sandwish of raw beef tongue on shepherd's bread. He then walked calmly into the living room and plopped into his easy chair in front of the TV.

Mrs. Fabotnik, who had been upstairs dusting the crawlspace, came running down suddenly. She had spotted their beautiful new car parked in the middle of Flapping Rosebud Lane.

"Rabis!" she cried. "Our car will be destroyed!"

Fabotnik nodded. He leaned back in his easy chair and sent his boot crashing into the television cabinet. Sparks and flame spurted from the screen. The smell of human hair burning, the human hair on Fabotnik's human leg, permeated the air.

"Rabis! That was our new color TV! Have you gone crazy?"

Fabotnik stood up and pulled a pen knife from his pocket. Grinning, he slashed open the easy chair's upholstery, pulled out the stuffing, and jammed it into the still-smoldering pit of the television screen. He placed the tip of the knife at the left corner of his mouth and cut an upward arc through his cheek, stopping just below the ear. He repeated the procedure on the right side of his face.

"Rabis! Your face! All our beautiful things!" his wife moaned. "Why? Why?"

Fabotnik couldn't help but smile. "The car must be destroyed to cleanse my soul. The television must die to cleanse my mind. The chair must perish to cleanse my body."

"You are very sick, my husband! Perhaps if I caressed your tundra..."

Fabotnik ignored her. He sat on the floor and assumed the lotus position. He then arched back violently, breaking his spine cleanly in two. "Did you hear the crack, Embezella?" he asked of his wife.

"Ohm, my God."

He bit his lower lip ferociously, tearing off a small piece and chewing it briskly. Blood began to flow.

"You're killing yourself, Rabis!"

"Pretty red trickle scarlet pink liquid plasma death."

"Rabis, you've gone out of your mind. Let me call the doctor."

"Poor sad Embezella! Do you not see the truth of it all?"

"Rabis, Rabis, darling Rabis -- tell me!"

But no answer came from his ravaged lips.

Instead, Fabotnik whacked himself repeatedly in the face until at last his nose was shattered. With the index finger of each hand, he gouged out his eyes. Then he punched out his teeth. He stuck pencils deep into his ears. Embezella's anguished cries faded into silence.

Pitching forward to the floor, his head landed in a pool of his own blood. He licked at it. Then he tried to bite off his tongue. Without teeth, the attempt was futile. Poor planning, he thought. He tried to stand, but could not. Each time, he would crash back to the floor.

Finally, on his fifth and last attempt to rise, he toppled over his own twice-crossed legs, and his head hit the leg of the easy chair. Perhaps this was what he intended all along, for now his brains spewed lavishly onto the floor.

As he died, a 1934 Frod slammed into the 1972 Crodge in the middle of Flapping Rosebud Lane. And the revolution began.

 

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Text Copyright © 2001 Steve Gerber. All rights reserved.