I've Got a Receipt (II-I)

Or, Bobert

As the sunlit sanity of the waking world burns the night to ash,
embrace the unbound madness of your wildest dreams,
laugh into the endless abyss of your darkest fantasies,
and rage against the coming dawn.

PulpBusters is a presentation of Pocket Theater of the Absurd! Original tales of the weird and strange from the mind and madness of “Amoral Crackpot” Steve Arviso.

Tonight’s tale...


I’VE GOT A RECEIPT
II-I: Bobert

Cassie ventures deeper into the void of a massive torch-lit cavern beneath the local mall. The foul, sinister praying still echoing in the distance.

NARRATOR: (voice-over) Fifteen minutes down the path, Cassie’s heart fluttered to the distant rhythm of that foul and sinister praying. The foreign sounds dug into her ears and crawled up and around the inner walls of her skull like vines. And the air tasted the way an original vinyl pressing of Huey Lewis and the News’ “Hip to Be Square” looks when played on a burning Victrola.

Cassie looks to the sky in disbelief as time collapses upon itself in the wake of a cosmic salamander.

CASSIE: Oh, my god… what now?

NARRATOR: (voice-over) But it was ultimately the way time collapsed upon itself as the cosmic salamander passed overhead that had Cassie doubled over, nose pinched, and eyes squeezed down to slits.

Cassie doubles-over, dry heaves.

BOBERT THE FERRYMAN enters, drifts toward Cassie in an adorable little boat with an equally adorable little bell. Ridiculously and sincerely cheerful and polite, Bobert is the ideal theme park employee.

BOBERT: You lose something, Miss?

Cassie turns to Bobert and his little boat.

NARRATOR: (voice-over) Cassie opened her eyes to find a well-groomed young man in a little sailor outfit, standing in a small jungle boat drifting about in that vast sea of nothingness, and looking back at her as if she were just about the silliest thing he’d seen that day.

CASSIE: What the Hell? Who are you?

BOBERT: I’m Bobert, the ferryman.

CASSIE: I’m sorry. Did you say ‘Bobert’?

BOBERT: Yes, I did.

CASSIE: Huh.

BOBERT: Yup.

CASSIE: Wait. Where did you come from? I’ve been walking forever, and I didn’t see you until now.

BOBERT: (chuckling) You must be new here.

CASSIE: (lying... poorly) Yes. That is correct. I am new here... and not someone who simply ran in here after startling real mall employees... who also totally didn’t catch me peeing behind a vending machine.

BOBERT: Cool.

CASSIE: Look. “Bobert,” was it?

BOBERT: That’s right.

CASSIE: Bobert.

BOBERT: Uh-huh.

CASSIE: I’m gonna be totally honest here. I think I’m tripping balls right now.

BOBERT: Oh?

CASSIE: Yeah. And I’m seeing and hearing and smelling all kinds of seriously weird shit.

BOBERT: Ya know, I thought I smelled a little tinkle.

CASSIE: What? No. Not that.

BOBERT: Really? I’m pretty sure that’s--

CASSIE: Shut up, Bobert.

BOBERT: Sorry.

CASSIE: Don’t worry about it.

BOBERT: (considers this) Sorry. Still a smidge worried.

CASSIE: (sighs) Ugh. Look. I just want to go home. So, how do I go about getting out of here?

BOBERT: Oh. That’s easy. (gesturing) Just go right back out that door.

NARRATOR: (voice-over) Cassie turned to find the back-end of the Coffee-2-Go only several yards away from Bobert’s boat.

CASSIE: Yeah. No. Definitely tripping balls.

BOBERT: You’ll need to scan your employee badge, though.

CASSIE: Sorry. New employee, remember? No badge.

BOBERT: (puzzles this) Well… I suppose you can always pick up a new badge at the employee center inside the temple.

CASSIE: You said “temple.”

BOBERT: I did.

CASSIE: Of course you did. Let me guess… you ferry people to the temple?

BOBERT: Ain’t you smarter than the average bear.

Cassie boards Bobert’s boat.

CASSIE: Yeah. Somehow I doubt that.

DING-DING! Bobert rings the adorable little bell.

To be continued...

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The chill of night brings with it a still darkness,
brings with it an alluring promise of peace.
Till the light of day warms your cold bones,
may your eyes never rest,
and may those little slices of death never come.

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YOU ARE NOT ALONE
PULPBUSTERS
Steve Arviso
2021