TRY MY PRODUCT
1074 words by Stanley Lieber
The airbrushed cover was decidedly inferior to what Motherfucker had seen before, attached to other printings of the same book. It was outlandish. All swaddling clothes and taut, glistening muscles. Objectifying the physiques that would result from pious observance, appealing to the vanity of practitioners who were required, by tradition and by law, to study it. Transparent ableism. This kind of self-aggrandizing marketing disgusted him. Gazing upon its cover, it was hard for Motherfucker to take the book seriously.
"Well, don't just sit there, all slack-jawed, however arresting that dust jacket might be... Open the blessed book and let's get started."
Perpetrator adopted an instructional tone, as if to communicate that Motherfucker's own study habits were somehow deficient, would somehow land him in hot water. He was always prepared to dispense advice to his lessers. In this case, the advice involved the interpretation of the Bible, and the careful application of those interpretations to the logical conundrums that permeated modern life. Perpetrator was only a couple of months older than Motherfucker. He was a total spamhole.
"That's not what the book says at all," complained Motherfucker.
Perpetrator indicated the text with his finger. "You're wrong. It's right there on the page in front of you. Just look at the words."
"Yes, my eyes were directed at this material during the process of forming my initial assessment," sighed Motherfucker.
"Well, one couldn't tell from hearing you recite it."
The pages dissolved into one another. Motherfucker couldn't sustain his focus. He wondered briefly why the long lists of telephone numbers that comprised this part of the Scriptures featured variable font sizes, brilliant piping and color illustrations. Why all the fuss?
"Perpetrator, what is the point of these chapters that are mainly just lists of telephone numbers and advertisements for insurance agents?"
"Motherfucker, those are the Sanctified Tribes of the Green. Your remarks are veering dangerously close to blasphemy. Why do you have to question every last detail, when it comes to our studies? Not everything is a conspiracy!"
Motherfucker sighed again. "It all just seems so arbitrary. Like they've gone and copied pages out of an old telephone directory and called it Scripture."
"Naturally that is what it seems like, Motherfucker, for that is precisely what they've done."
"What," asked Perpetrator, finally and honestly befuddled. "You didn't know?"
"What do you mean what?" asked Motherfucker. "Why did they copy pages out of an old telephone directory and call it Scripture?"
"Because, Motherfucker, these manuscripts are illuminated."
"Look at the section headings. See how the Tribes are organized according to service offerings, then alphabetized? These illustrations are graphical elements that illuminate the organization of the data. It renders the information discernible at a glance."
"Still you do not comprehend."
"No, I'm afraid I don't."
Perpetrator stalled for several seconds, allowing time for the the new concepts to sink into Motherfucker's mind.
"Wait. Oh. Now I see," claimed Motherfucker. "They're not so old as to be presented as text-only, like the original Scriptures. These pages contain source code and meta data."
"That is correct."
"I guess that makes sense."
"Good, Motherfucker," said Perpetrator. "Now we're making progress!"
But Motherfucker still seemed to be confused.
"We've wasted enough time on the display elements. Please return to the previous chapter and read aloud."
"Son of a bitch. You know I'm not comfortable reading aloud."
"Okay then, I will read aloud to you," resolved Perpetrator, training his standard, disdainful stare into the pupils of Motherfucker's eyes.
Throat cleared, he began.
...rational mechanics will be the science of motion resulting from any forces whatsoever, and of the forces required to produce any motion ... and therefore I offer this work as the mathematical principles of philosophy, for the whole burden of philosophy seems to consist in this from the phenomena of motions to investigate the forces of nature, and then from these forces to demonstrate the other phenomena...
"Yeah, right," said Motherfucker.
"What, you don't believe him? Here, what do the footnotes say?"
From this proposition it will follow, when arithmetical addition has been defined, that 1 + 1 = 2.
"It also says that the text in question wasn't always a part of this chapter," finished Motherfucker.
"Honestly! And what year was this edition sourced?"
Pages flipped backwards.
"Twenty thirty-one. According to the information in the front."
"Then you see what I mean."
"No, not really."
It was going to be a long night.
Presently, Do Wuh entered the room, disrupting their studies. He was a bit dirty from tumbling in the yard, and Perpetrator recoiled visibly when at last he came fully into view.
"Motherfucker, put that book down and let's go outside and play."
"Do Wuh." Perpetrator spoke the name more stiffly this time, as if it were an accusation rather than an identity. His face contorted menacingly, seeming very serious indeed.
"Shut up, Perp," cracked Do Wuh. "Motherfucker, seriously, I'm sick of this spam. Why don't you come outside with the rest of us."
"Oh, but to journey through the out of doors," lamented Motherfucker, glancing woefully at Perpetrator. "Perhaps we should take the book outside, so we can all consult the rules if such a thing becomes necessary."
A delicious pause.
"That's a good idea," nodded Perpetrator, his incessant, condescending glare now softening, owing to the fact that he was outnumbered. In spite of the rigid persona he projected, he knew when an argument was a lost cause. Besides, it was more likely that the others would stumble into diligent study if he and Motherfucker first worked to gain their respect by participating in their aimless, physical games.
"Whatever," said Do Wuh. "You two are going to go blind, sitting in here playing with that book all the time."
"Unlikely," remarked Perpetrator.
"Actually, that's a myth," offered Motherfucker.
Do Wuh slammed the door on his way out.
Outside, lawnmowers hovered in the distance. Uh Huh and Coca Cola were already on the field, caked with dirt. It behooved Perpetrator to comment on their slovenly appearance.
"Those are your good clothes, are they not?"
"Shut up, Perp," said Coca Cola.
"Okay, there's five of us here and we only need four. Perp, you're out."
"I didn't want to play in the first place!"
"Then everybody wins," said Coca Cola, laughing.
Perpetrator sat down with his book and began to leaf through its pages, focusing intently on the text. He de-fogged his glasses with the corner of his shirt and chewed his fingernail as he read.
"Spam them all. I'm studying!" he thought.
"Indeed," replied a voice that wasn't there.
Perpetrator's eyes grew large as the gold Daytons on his father's Impala.
"Intriguing," he thought to himself, and continued with his reading of the Scriptures.
To be continued...