Light a candle. Draw the required sigils. Now, raise your arms above your head and slowly, gently, exhale your soul. You won’t need it here. This is Audioccult, and it’s time to get low. Illustration: SHALTMIRA
Two years ago
You’re not looking at me. Are you? I see you. I’ve been standing here watching you. Finally, finally my undying devotion to the spectacle pays off as one of the numerous manila envelopes I’ve been hurling into the air and letting rain down onto the couch and table lands near your feet. You see me. You smile, pick the envelope up. On the front, in poorly done cursive: WHY I TALK THE WAY I DO. As you start to read, I smile, too. You’re ready for me. I move forward.
One year ago
Your hand finds mine shaking in the dark as the stuttering strains of Holy Other pulse and echo through the vast building. “You-you-you-you” and “I-I-I-I”, a chorus of two. Giving me life and death at the same time. “Weihrauchgeruch steigt über uns empor” you whisper. “What?” I reply, but it doesn’t matter because we’re high here, together.
One month ago
COLD OPEN—The camera pans slowly into my room, pausing on the desk and two keys that are conspicuously absent from my keychain. The view transitions into my closet, where a manila envelope sits forgotten. Using CGI technology, the envelope slowly dissolves into smoldering ash, drifting upwards to ruin clothes that are never worn.
SMASH CUT to the monitor near my face as it flashes the factory-preset modifiers: Keep fear at bay. Allow work to consume you. Stamp emotions down like trash you don’t want to take out. God is Real. Self-medicate. Use pizza to replenish your energy. Shake uncontrollably. This is your final warning.
One hour from now
Your pillow smells amazing.