Home > 2012-13 Season, Royer's Madcap Experiences > Royer’s Madcap Experiences: Matsos and the Interior

Royer’s Madcap Experiences: Matsos and the Interior

January 11, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments

By Ric Royer
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I left early the next morning. For a long ways, there was nothing but rocks, old scattered railroad ties, dessicated lumber and trash. Then the landscape became more barren. Then, there was a sun-baked low brick building of the latter part of the last century and beyond that a seemingly endless six-foot fence of chain-link.

I walked to the fence. Beyond was just more barren brown landscape. I doubled back to the low brick building. The windows were covered in burlap. There was a door on one side with a posted sun-curled notice but it was in a weird language of numbers and symbols. I couldn’t make any of it out.

Knocking– then a little man, about fifty, wearing a bloody sleeveless shirt answered. There was hill music from somewhere within. The little man made an obvious effort to occupy all the open space in the splintered doorway.

“Can I go out there? You know, beyond the fence?”

The little man held up a finger to say “hold on a moment” and then closed the door.  He reappeared a moment later with several sheets of paper, all in different colors. He chose the yellow sheet.

“English? Yes?”

“Yes.”

The little man closed the door. At the last moment, just before the splintered edges of the door met the frame, I heard the voice of a fat woman say something unintelligible.

It was a paper from the Lankville government. It stated that although entrance into the interior was not expressly forbidden, it was strongly discouraged. It stated that one hundred miles in one could visit a safe house operated by a man called Lavender, but beyond that there were no further havens. It also asked the bearer to sign the paper, relieving the government of any responsibility and to return it to a man named Matsos. Matsos patrolled the area along the fence, it said. One could wait and he would come along.

For a moment I considered going back to the little man but decided against it. I had no pen.

I ambled out to the fence. Looking to the east, then to the west, one could see nothing. The heat had cast a haze over the brown landscape. There was nothing to do but sit in the dust. Then, I decided to move east. Perhaps I would come upon this Matsos.

I walked a mile and came upon two inflatable chairs, a fine-looking orange specimen and a blue chair that was semi-deflated. I sat in the orange chair.

Before long there was a figure lumbering towards me from the east. The figure moved with surprising speed and before long, I could make out an overweight freckled red-haired kid of about fourteen. He was wearing a t-shirt that read, “I LIKE TO EAT ANIMALS”.

The kid was yelling something but I couldn’t make it out. Then the kid reached me. He bent over, exhausted. When he finally caught his breath he stood up again. Then:

“Yeah, I wanted the orange one”.

It took me a moment to realize what the kid wanted. Then, I vacated the chair and made an attempt to sit in the semi-deflated blue chair, which promptly toppled over.

“Yeah, the blue one has a depression in the arm. For soft drinks,” said the kid. I looked up at him from the ground but said nothing. The sun was now directly overhead.

Fifteen minutes passed. My temples had begun to throb and I put my head in my hands while still clutching the yellow government form. When I finally looked up again the kid was standing directly before me.

“Are you waiting for Matsos?”

“Yeah.”

“Well, I can take the form if you want. I’m his grandson.”

“Alright”.

“Did you sign it?”

“I don’t have a pen.”

“Well, I have to witness you signing it anyway. Here.”

The kid produced a bulbous pen that wrote in ten different inks. I held the instrument in front of me, confused.

“Well, what kind of ink….never mind. I’ll just make it blue.”

“Like the chair,” I offered senselessly. The kid stared, then pressed down on the blue ink cartridge. He handed the pen back.

I signed the paper.

“OK, now I have to initial it, you know, as a witness.”

I handed the pen back. The kid switched the cartridge from blue to black. Then he somehow produced an official-looking stamp and a pad from the pocket of his tight basketball shorts.

The kid stamped the paper and filed it away with the stamp set into the shorts. Then he leaned over and asked furtively, “You need a tent?”

“I hadn’t thought of it.”

“I’d take a tent. We’ve got green, blue and one that has a window.”

“What? What was that?”

“We’ve got green, a sort of blue and one that has a very small window that you can zip shut. But the zipper isn’t working. I can give you a diagram…”

I interrupted. “What’s the cost? I don’t have much of anything.”

“I can take your shoes. They’re not too bad. And I can give you a cheap pair of wooden shoes that my granddad made. I won’t lie to you…some guy died in them.”

“Will I be able to walk?”

“More, you kind of slide. Like skiing. They’re too heavy to really do any serious walking in. They are painted in the Dutch style.”

I hesitated.

“I’ll let you keep your socks,” the kid offered. “See, I was going to ask for the socks before.”

I reluctantly made the deal and received a tiny green pup tent made of faded green canvas and open on both ends.

“What about the one with the window?”

“I don’t know anything about that mister. Here’s your wood shoes.” The kid dropped two clumsy-looking clogs, the size of tennis rackets at my bare feet.

“Good luck. Head due North and you’ll come to the outpost run by that Lavender fellow. He’s probably going to ask for your wood shoes. I’ll tell you that right now.”

Then: “What the hell happened to your pants mister?”

I looked down at the dried mud, blood and sauce stains on my white trousers.

“Oh. I don’t know. Hell.”

“Alright then,” said the kid. He sauntered off to the inflatable chair.

“You’ll give that form to Matsos?” I called after him, in a voice louder than I had used in months.

The kid waved the paper, annoyed.

I approached the fence. I stared across for a moment, trying to imagine being able to arrive successfully at the northern outpost. Then I dropped the wooden shoes over the fence.

My foot got caught in the chain link and as I went over, I heard a loud snap in my ankle. I fell to the dust on the other side. A current of pain shot up to my knee and, for reasons unclear, I became suddenly horny.

I lay in the dust for some time before I stood up again with the aid of the fence. I began limping towards the interior. I looked back once to see if the kid was watching but saw only the demented aggregation of chairs.

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