Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Morty "Botanical" Sherbet

As Morty had hoped, there were no guards standing outside Storch's office. Morty looked down at the nude chess set on Storch's mahogany desk. The chess pieces were carved from stone. Morty picked up the red queen that Storch had been palming earlier--and talking to. Storch had really gone off the deep end if he was holding conversations with chess pieces. Morty looked at the queen and was struck by her resemblance to Minerva "Sizzler" Plankton. Had Storch chosen the chess set because of this resemblance, or did he have the set custom-made with Minerva as model for the red queen? Morty set the voluptuous queen back on the chess board. From a distance, Morty could hear shouting go up in the conference room. And to think that Bluto Pippy was in that crowd, having his will melted by Storch's insane words. Though there were no guards nearby, Morty still had to work fast. There must be some kind of security system in this office that would notify Storch's henchmen of Morty's presence. Morty's glance went back to the chess piece modeled on Minerva. There was something captivating about the figure--he could almost understand Storch conversing with the stone object. What was the source of the chess queen's power? It couldn't have just been the figure's curvy charms. It was something else--something that grabbed not just the glands but the soul. Morty's glance turned to Storch's bookcase. He ran his gaze along the titles of the books shelved there. The phrase Ancient Fertility Worship on the spine of one of the books snagged his glance. He pulled the book gingerly from the shelf. The book was a hardcover, and according to the copyright page was printed in 1930. Morty flipped through the book. One of the illustrations was of the very insignia that had been featured in the seminar on the banner and robes! But where the insignia at the seminar was abstracted so that you couldn't really tell what it was representing, the version of the insignia in the book made it very clear--the fertility symbol was more than a symbol, it was the carnal reality behind the symbol! And the infinity sign! Fertility and infinity, together as one! Morty slammed the book shut. He placed it back on the shelf and paced in circles around Storch's desk. This wasn't a Nice Guy Syndrome seminar--it was some kind of demonic fertility cult! And that chess piece! No wonder it held such a weird attraction--no wonder it throbbed with a strange, mystical power--it wasn't a chess piece at all. No, it was an ancient fertility goddess! Morty's eyes raced along the spines of the books until he reached a relevant title. Ancient Fertility Goddesses. Morty snatched the hardcover from the shelf and flipped through it greedily. There it was. The so-called "chess piece" was really the statue of a fertility goddess. No wonder Storch spoke to it--he was actually praying to it! Storch was initiating his seminar attendees into a religion that worshiped this goddess. And once they were initiated, they became the mindless, spineless minions of the goddess. And Minerva--what of she? Morty's heart slammed back and forth like a paddle-ball as he gripped the edge of Storch's desk. Minerva...she wasn't human...not really...she was actually a goddess. And not the goddess of wisdom, as her name suggested. That meant...her name couldn't have really been Minerva. It was something else...she wasn't a wisdom goddess but a fertility goddess. The name was a ruse. Morty had stumbled on a terrifying secret. It was too late for those men, too late for Bluto Pippy. Morty shook his head ruefully. "Oh, Pippy, my friend." He thought of that naive, gullible man, looking to Storch for answers. "You're a goner, Pippy. Yes you are. You bet your Pippy, Pluto--I mean...you bet your..." A voice from behind him said, "You're drunk, Sherbet. Why don't you go home and sleep it off?" Morty spun around and saw Storch standing in the doorway to the office. "Storch...you're not here. You're in the conference room." Storch smiled. "Surely you don't believe that I spend all 24 hours in that suffocating room with those losers? I make a quick speech and then leave the rest of the ceremony to my henchmen. I suspected you'd be sneaking around, snooping through my files." Morty grabbed the red queen from the chess board and held it out to Storch. "I didn't have to. I know the secret about this fertility goddess. And that insignia on your robes!" Morty pointed a finger at Storch. "You've...you've dissolved their wills. All those men in that room. They're the fertility goddess's slaves now. What are your plans for those men?" Storch said, "Morty, I know you've been drinking. Before you came here, you were tossing down cocktails at the Health Inspector's Retreat. I know that because my spies are everywhere. The alcohol has addled your brains, scrambled them, you fool." Morty shook his head slowly, smiling bitterly at Storch. "Oh, no. You're not going to dissolve my willpower, pal. You're not going to hypnotize me into doubting what I know is real. You know, I think that's a pretty good definition of the devil--he who makes us doubt what we know to be true. You're a real winner, Storch. You couldn't make it in the avant-garde literary world with your Rate My Cocoa--so instead, you decide to use the mystical energy of a fertility goddess to gain power over humanity. I got to hand it to you, it was some clever plan." Storch had stopped smiling. "I want you out of my office. Now. You are a lunatic. You are delusional." Morty said, "I have found out the truth about you!" Storch said, "What have you found, you paranoid, pickle-brained freak? A chess set. Some old anthropology textbooks from my college days. It's too bad you didn't stay in the conference room for the seminar--I did give you a ticket after all. I thought it would do you some good. You're obviously as sexually thwarted as the rest of those fellows in there. Who else but a sexually unhappy man would see a chess queen as some sinister fertility goddess? Who else but you, Morty, would see some kind of fertility symbol in my organization's logo? What's next, Morty--Key's clam-plate orgy? The word S-E-X printed on Ritz crackers? Once you've gone down this paranoid path, who knows where it will lead! Why not? Go whole hog. Go completely insane, Morty. You might enjoy it. It might be more interesting than the dull, plodding life you lead now." A strange vibrating echo came from the desk. "That fertility goddess is giving off some weird kind of energy, Storch. Once you've unleased these energies, they may get out of your control and turn around to destroy you. Have you thought of that, pallie? And what if the fertility goddess decides to cut you out--she may turn that gang of guys out there against you. Ah, why am I wasting my breath." Storch folded his arms. "Morty, I'm going to give you the opportunity to leave my office of your own free will. You're obviously suffering from paranoid delusions combined with alcoholic hallucinations along with a florid psychosis pattern. I would treat you, but I'm afraid you have something personal against me which would cause a hysterical transference projection and make treatment impossible. Your sexual complex causes you to see threats to your ego in such a simple, harmless object as a simple board game. Heaven knows how you would have reacted had you seen a Parcheesi set in here. Think of everything you've seen tonight as a kind of pink elephant." The weird echo sounded from the chess board. Morty seemed to be pretending not to notice it. "I can give you a referral, Morty, to a very good psychoanalyst. He can help you with this psychosis." Morty said, "I'm. Not. A. Lunatic." Storch said, "My friend, if you don't leave my office in the next minute, I am going to call for a truck to come haul you away like a sack of industrial laundry. Do you understand?" Morty sighed in angry resignation. "I understand. I'll leave now. But this isn't over. Not by a long shot." Storch said, "You have thirty seconds to vacate the premises. Otherwise, I will have you straitjacketed in a rubber room and drugged up for the rest of your miserable life, Sherbet!" Morty said, "You can't do that, Storch. You don't have the power. You can't have me locked up--it's illegal." Storch slipped a walkie-talkie out of his jacket. "Security, this is Storch. I have a madman here in my office, a Morty 'Botanical' Sherbet. This man is nuts. He is experiencing libido freak-out. I need him removed to the state asylum for lunatics immediately. That's right. We may need a few guards to restrain him--he may become violent. Be sure to bring a sedative." Storch lowered the walkie-talkie. "Security will be here in a moment, Sherbet. You and I know you're not insane, but no one else will believe it. I'm a Corinithian column of my community. I am respected. No one will take your word for it when you try to tell them what you know. I will continue to indoctrinate young fools into my cult, raking in the millions, while you, Morty 'Botanical' Sherbet, spend the rest of your life in a madhouse! Isn't that splendid?" So this was it. Storch had the power to have him, Morty, committed against his will to the state lunatic asylum. There was nothing Morty could do about it. If he tried to fight his way out of here, it would only make things worse--Storch would have him thrown into the violent ward. Storch had admitted that everything that Morty had suspected was true. But as a patient in the asylum, nobody would ever believe Morty. And what would become of Bluto Pippy now? Pippy's will had probably been melted already in the conference room. Morty had warned him, but Pippy had already been under the seductive sway of Storch. All Morty could do now was hope that if he pretended that he believed himself, Morty, to be delusional, if he told the doctors in the insane asylum that of course everything he said to Storch was crazy, maybe they would let him out. But if Storch had his way, Morty might not be seeing the outside of the asylum for many years to come--if ever.

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