Existence Without Being

14/8/2022 • 12 min • meaningless fiction

Outside the cavern, three meter tall chanterelle mushrooms perfumed their floral buttery notes in rows that stretched through the distance, forming a forest of their own; yet, without other forms of natural life. The earth was dead; it was dried up, cracked and begging for water. The skies were a monotonous grey tone—the drab and depressing kind that made the whole world seem meaningless. The third battalion of the Holy Remulian Army was stationed just up ahead as traffic-light-red fills in between the yellow columns of funghi. They were enormous cockroaches—elephant sized and slimy—an instrument of destruction that strikes fear into the enemy’s heart trough sheer disgust. As they listened to the nonsense of the general I realized that maybe I wasn’t too different from the ecstatic cockroaches listening to something that resembled this:

“Off with their heads! Their brains are very nutritious! Full of vitamin D and zinc! Their toes, oohh yeah, best steamed so that the fat falls of the bone…”

Followed by something more interesting.

“Attention! Our Kaiserin is dead. Long live the Kaiserin! The time for war is now! Death to the white army!” shouted a general.

And back to garbage as the crowd went wild; they jumped around, cheered, and laughed, and genuinely so, on the premise of defeating the army. Soon, they were taking shots of honey liquor every other sentence.

What were they but chess pieces made of flesh and blood in a war room? Am I one? The general finished his speech and the roaches gathered their war equipment. They wore pots and pans as helmets and equipped themselves with heart shaped shields and maces in the shape of ambiguous genitalia as they somehow resembled penises and vaginas simultaneously. Standing up, the roaches looked fucking terrifying with their seemingly thousand legs.

“Before we march, we need to declare our new Kaiserin,” said the general.

The cockroaches stopped and waited patiently, panting and oozing out saliva, like dogs.

Another roach gracefully moved towards the crowd holding the crown, a football-sized blue lady bug with twenty little feet.

“Long live —, Holy Remulian Kaiserin Escort!”

What was my friend doing there?

“Long live September, by the grace of God, Holy Remulian Kaiser, King in Germany, of Castile, Aragon, Leon, both Sicilies, Jerusalem, Hungary, Bohemia, Dalmatia, Croatia, Slavonia, Rama, Serbia, Galitia, Lodomeria, Cumania, Navarra, Grenada, Toledo, Valencia, Galicia, Majorca, Sevilla, Sardinia, Cordova, Corsica, Murcia, Jaen, the Algarve, Algeciras, Gibraltar, the Canary Islands, the islands of India and Mainland of the Ocean sea,”

The cockroach took a breather, and continued.

“Archduke of Austria, Duke of Burgundy, Brabant, Milan, Styria, Carinthia, Carniola, Holland, Utrecht, Friesland, Limburg, Luxemburg, Gelderland, Württemberg, the Upper and Lower Silesia, Calabria, Athens and Neopatria, Prince of Swabia, Catalonia, Asturia, Margrave of the Holy Remulian Empire, of Burgau, Moravia, the Upper and Lower Lusatia, Princely Count of Habsburg, Flanders, Tyrol, Ferrette, Kyburg, Gorizia, Artois, Landgrave of Alsace, Margrave of Oristano, Count of Goceano, Namur, Roussillon, Cerdagne, Lord of the Wendish March, Pordenone, Biscay, Molina, Salins, Tripoli and Mechelen…

Eventually he collapsed, and another roach took over. “Long live the Holy Remulian Empire! On to war! To death! To glory! It is time for The March of The Roaches!”

The shroom patch got less dense as we moved further inside. This was a nearly open field now, the roaches formed in a neat Swiss grid that would have made Josef Müller-Brockmann proud. The largest roach fit on the top like a 64 point header. The general and his cohorts situated themselves just behind, the cowards that they were.

The rest were columns of body copy, located in accordance with the amount of space from the back of each line to the point in where the next one starts. It was beautiful.

On the lowest was a military tiger-sized lobster orchestra where the colophon and running footer would have been. To rile up the troops, they played The March of The Cockroaches which turned out to be a variant of The Ride of The Valkyries in which half of the orchestra plays the notes in reverse which is then played backwards. Then, they stormed forward into the distance with fury, seemingly into the nothingness.

My friend was on top of a hill of medical pills which itself was on top of a gigantic diseased and rotting blue chanterelle mushroom with purple spots, fuzzy mold, and extremely moist gills that leaked mushroom liquid. Those pills she ate up like candy, but in distress and great emotional pain. Behind her were two mushrooms that towered over her, a King Bolete and a Queen Bolete. The King Bolete had a cap of a dark brown enclosed ball, with a thick and long veiny light beige stem. There sat a naked September, with his manspreading pose and a penis erected proudly like the statue of liberty on a throne made of puppy bones sown together with long threads of human leather; his crown a trashy backwards baseball cap with a gold finish. Yes it was big; it would have made any male porn star feel insecure. I could see why he was naked, there would have been so many logistical problems just holding that hunk in place. The Queen Bolete looked more or less the same, save for a somewhat less ornamental throne.

The roaches kept running, but to where? After a few minutes, they stopped in frantic panic as the apparent enemy remained hidden. But then, slam! The yellow painted penguins sprang out of the chanterelles simultaneously with hammers to smash the hearts of the roaches. The second wave took note of that and started hack and slashing all the chanties in sight, most of which turned out to be empty.

Fortunately for them, the surprise attack was the limit of their battle strategies. They were equally blithering idiots and things soon turned into a chaotic mindless Medieval style battle—heavy and clunky.

But I paid little attention to that. I understood that the Remulians were definitely evil, but were these penguins, or The Freakx Rebellion—as they so styled themselves—any better?

More importantly, what were September and my friend up to?

I picked up a pair of golden binoculars dropped by the penguin army to take a closer look at September. A snake moved towards the Kaiser and attacked, ferociously going for his anus. Unfortunately, he was a fan of it, and his rectum had a circumference closer to a city sewer drain than a drinking straw which surprised even the snake.

The snake changed her strategy and attempted the classic stranglehold. This was no match for his penis however, which he uses to whack her to death, so hard in fact, that she split into two.

Nevertheless, he was furious and the death of the snake was not enough to please him. He sliced the snake lengthwise, and dissected out two organs, the still-barely-beating heart and brain and swallowed it whole, yelling, “Now you can’t date anyone else! Bitch!” The rest of snake was kicked off to the ground, which was now filled with dismembered cockroach corpses. The penguins may have been less organized and sporadic, but they were very effective. In my eyes, he deserved death.

I could hear her crying and screaming now, even with the military orchestra and battle concert in the background.

I had to do something—I had to help her. I went to the blue chanterelle and started my ascend. The gills of the Chanterelle started pouring down brown and white mushroom juices, pee, diarrhea and blood that leaked down from the gill-like ridges underneath the cap; my suit was fucking ruined. I knew what each of these components were as I could taste each and every one of them. When this ended, a second “rainfall” occurred as white crabs dropped down and scratched me up.

On the ground, the roaches called in air support, and so have the Freakx. Mosquitoes and giant moths fogged up the air. The giant moths were desperately trying, but failing to fight the red mosquitoes as they were outnumbered. The air started to thicken into a black and red flurry.

“This is it! This is our last stand! For death and glory!” Shouted a roach.

I slowly made my climb among a few scary slips. The screams and horrors of the battle muted out the remixed Wagner overtures. Actually, I wasn’t sure; I think the symphony switched at some point to an Italianesque Futurist symphony which used engine noises and metal screeches in place of anything anyone could reasonably call instruments.

And then, I made it. The ground was covered in fluffy mold surface—which resembled the coating of fresh snow—and tall dark brown bushy grass fields. The crabs frantically running around around and a hair lice, this dog sized thing, crawled around. In front of me, of course, was the medical baby pink pill mountain that formed a perfect pyramid like the ones in Giza. But as I attempted the second ascend my palms started to burn; the layers of skin started peeling off and down fell the medical pills; down fell the crabs and the lice. Blood, coming from the mushroom itself spurted in the air like a geyser. Her—now unconscious—naked body started falling down like a ragdoll.

“Now you’ll only be with me”, yelled September. (I’m pretty sure she managed to leave eventually, but my memory was pretty fuzzy at that time.)

I looked at September, now a Vitruvian man with four legs and four arms, wearing the crown of King Louis Vuitton XIV, Superman’s cape, and a chromium cockring.

“You can’t defeat him like that,” said Pein-Thong from the inside of my ear. “He looks irrational and twisted on the outside, but in the inside he is precise and careful. How do you think he manages to rule and coordinate an empire? The only way to defeat him is to become a beast of yourself on the inside. You were clever and creative, but now you have become a logical and cynical old person. You need to become a naïve child again that can hope for the future again and be who they want to be. Then, and only then might you stand a chance. It’s fine, you never liked this skin anyway.”

“But I am a beast!”

“As Don Quixote is a knight. As Norton I is the Emperor of The United States. As the Crusades are ‘Holy’!”

“Fuck you asshole!”


September got up from his throne, which were surrounded by Picasso’s cubist women, five snakes on leashes, three domestically abused cats, and thirteen grossly obese men with 42 heroin needles embedded all across their body. With his four arms, September went to stab piles of flour sacks filled with the good white stuff, and then started an interpreted performance art featuring a dance based on Tai-chi movements while getting his dick deepthroated.

Then he jumped on the blue chanterelle I was on. But now what? He walked slowly, every step vibrating the ground like a Hitachi on the highest setting, and his other pairs of hands were, praying?

“Listen to your mirror!” yelled Pijn-thong again. “Become young again! You can do it! You need to believe in yourself!”

But I couldn’t.

“I wanted to steal your soul, but it looked like you’re already empty! This sucks!” said September. He humped the air which caused his dick to grow into a ball and chain sort of weapon that resembled a spiked dildo more so then any sort of human genitalia. In one swoop hit, I fell off the shroom, and into a pool of eggs which broke and pierced every part of my body. My ass hurt like hell while my face—where I was hit—was extraordinarily sticky, I tried not to think about it. The crowd booed; the curtains closed; everyone hated it and almost no one stayed for post-show drinks.

— Laurens Spangenberg