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Royer’s Madcap Experiences: Beyond Human Ken

By Ric Royer
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“I’m contemplating an expedition to the South Lankville Pole,” I said.  “I need a man like you along.”

I stared across the desk at Turps.  He blew a gigantic cloud of cigarette smoke at me.  The late afternoon sun made its way in thin shafts through the blinds.  I could hear the sounds of a beheading faintly in the distance and the murmur of automobile traffic.  There was a quality of lethargy in the air.

“You may have the Pole in your loins,” Turps finally commented, “but your loins are not in the Pole.”  He blew another gigantic smoke cloud my way.

“I aim to undertake this, with or without you.  You are well aware that I have mastered technique forty-four just as the Handbook says.”  I slammed a piece of paper down on the desk and turned away.  He stood up.

“Let’s go get the physicals.”  I knew I had him then.

Two hours later, a small man in a white lab coat was delicately fingering my testicles.  “Your gonads will need to be taped,” he kept saying.  I had no idea what he meant.  He stood up and began making notes on a clipboard as I hoisted my trousers.  “No, no,” he admonished.  “I need to paw at your testicles a little more.”  The process lasted hours.  When I emerged from the examining room, Turps was waiting for me.  He looked annoyed.

“What the hell took so long?  My physical lasted fifteen minutes”.

We walked outside.  A gray jeep whipped around a corner, slammed on its brakes and skidded to a stop before us.  “This is Carthill,” noted Turps.  “He’ll drive us to get hot dogs and then to the boats.”

We stopped at a nearby stand.

“Going to the Pole, huh?” said Carthill.  He was a good-looking blonde kid with a square jaw.

“What do you know about it?” I threatened.

“I know that there have only been two tries at it,” he responded, his mouth full of half-masticated hog.  “The first was in eighteen forty-something.  An utter failure.”

“That was the Little Anton Expedition,” Turps noted.

“Right, Little Anton.  What, nine-thousand dead, something like that?”

“I believe the count was 39,” Turps corrected.

“Yeah, right.  They never did find the ship.  Then they tried it again in the twenties with that islander explorer, what was it, Batts?”

“No, his name was Himmelthorn,” said Turps.

“Right,” said the kid.  He paused to throw up crisply into a box of little lamps.  “Himmelthorn got stuck in the ice about twenty miles offshore.  Never did even see land.  Not that there’s much land to see.  Nothing but fucking ice.  Himmelthorn, a-number one fuckhead if you ask me.”

“Yeah, well, no one’s asking you”.  Turps had to hold me back.  The kid had a smirk that I wanted to smack off his face or perhaps crease with an ax.  “Easy boy,” Turps added.

An hour later we were on our way to what I thought would be the South Pole.  But really, it was a long, long journey to a place beyond human ken.

To be continued.

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