THE CRAZY OLD MAN
The nightly news blared the headlines Cain had heard countless times before. Murders, stabbings, cannibalism and every sort of violence had become the norm years before and barely caused a ripple of interest. Deceitful politicians, unscrupulous financiers, unparalleled greed and an all consuming hatred commingling with scandals too numerous to mention could barely elicited yawns from people too engaged in their own machinations to care. Humanity had become its own god, building magnificent edifices, temples and monuments in homage to knowledge, wisdom, science, Satanism and debauchery. Now a stench of filth permeated the air, infesting the soul of every human being who inhaled it. The bloodshed of too many wars had numbed the sensibilities of Man and to escape the aftermath of the nightmares that would never end, he drenched himself in sexual deviance, much of it so repugnant as to be unthinkable. Not even the extraordinary technological advancements of recent times could distract people from their orgy of pleasure. Once humanity discovered it could push the envelope of sexual perversion down the carnal highway, the current lusts lost their flavors quickly and new tastes were needed to sate appetites never to be quelled.
“… In other news, police are investigating a scene of carnage in nearby Belphegor Park that was, and I quote here, ‘so horrific as to be indescribable’. What was to have been a picnic outing by Belphegor Elementary School became an afternoon of horror as police found the butchered bodies of well over one hundred children and teachers. According to one eyewitness, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, many of the corpses were “half-eaten’. While the police are not releasing any information sources indicate investigators believe a number of manbeasts, that escaped last Tuesday from an asylum, are responsible for the massacre. The beasts, all of which had been damaged by gene manipulation experiments, were imprisoned at Belphegor Asylum and were due to be exterminated the day before they fled. Our Channel Six news team will provide updates on this disturbing news story as we receive them. … Well, still no word from the crazy …”
Downing a slug of whiskey, Cain cursed as he watched the latest update from the camp of the flake everyone had dubbed “the crazy old man”. “A religious nut case. Somebody should off the bastard.”
Cain’s mood softened. The old guy was a humorous diversion, after all. His doom and gloom message was a howl and just last week he’d retreated to his crazy contraption to wait out the end of the world. Sucking a toke from his hallucinogenic cigar, his reverie was distracted by the theme song from Pop Goes the Weasel, the world’s first x-rated gender-fluid reality show. “Stupid crap, done it all before. Dream up something new.”
Growing mellower by the minute, Cain pondered. “It’s a crazy time, that’s for sure. Even the animals are acting weird.” The scream of a police siren brought him back to reality. Saturday night was a good time to crash. “Think I’ll stop by the crazy man’s camp tomorrow. Everybody’s going there. Might as well christen his contraption like everybody else is doin’. Maybe I’ll sign my name.”
Cain relaxed and inhaled what remained of his cigar as the reality show reached its climax.
“Hey, crazy man, whatcha doin’ in there and who ya doin’ it with?”
“Crazy man, the only world that’s gonna end is yours ‘cause we’re comin’ to get ya.”
The taunts and threats from the drunken crowd intensified as the sun rose. A mob of the world’s reprobates congregated near the crazy old man’s folly for almost a week. Many of the wags in attendance were calling the encampment Stink City, the old man’s property being littered with refuse and fouled by sewage. On the spot news reports told of open orgies of every variety. Enterprising individuals were selling t-shirts with caricatures of the old man while adults and children alike pelted the contraption with rocks and anything else they could grab. The mood of the crowd was ugly. The old man had been incognito for too many days and the amusement engendered by his inane ramblings had turned to scorn and finally to a bubbling rage.
Arriving on the scene, Cain yawned. He had slept fitfully but arose before the crack of dawn. Rumors were rampant that people would storm the contraption, apprehend the old man and hang him to the nearest tree. It had been years since Cain had witnessed a good, old-fashioned lynching and he wasn’t about to miss this one. Stumbling, he recoiled as he stepped on something soft and squishy and then cursed when he smelled the culprit. Several associates of Cain, all of whom had bought innocence by employing bribery and threats, hailed him.
“Cain, my man. Got some cold ones just beggin’ for your attention.”
Years before, Cain had masterminded an embezzlement ring, pilfering money from a trust fund and funneling it to a lucrative prostitution ring, netting the gang many millions. “It was so easy”, he reminisced. “People weren’t particular and would settle for anything, man or beast”. Chugging nearly half his brew, he chuckled. “Never had any trouble finding stiffs for those damn necrophiliacs, either. Charged them triple, though. Sweet money, sweet, sweet money.”
“How you boys doin’? Looks like quite a show, today.” Cain drained the last of his gusto and grabbed an encore. A few more and his bladder would hold enough “ink” to do a proper number on the crazy old man’s contrivance.
The reunion was interrupted by gunfire and Cain knew all hell was about to break loose.
“Dammit, there goes my autograph.”
Demonic screams announced a full scale assault as the mob stormed the old man’s hideaway.
It was a few moments before six a.m. when it started. An otherworldly sound, as if the world was groaning from the ungodliness strangling it, froze the mob in its tracks. The ground began to tremble and defy. Distant explosions shattered the silence. A naked woman, one of many who had entertained the throng with salacious dances of every contortion, was the first to be hit. Then another and another and another …
The sky that witnessed so many centuries of degradation and debauchery hurled its tears on the people it had grown to despise. They fell like razor blades overwhelming many people. Others were trampled by those fortunate to escape to safety. One man, who had come to sign his name, slipped on something soft and squishy and was crushed, his face pushed deep into the muck, the mud and the maggots.
The crazy old man stared from a window. The din of hatred and wrath threatening him only minutes before was silenced by the torrent of uncountable raindrops pelting the wooden womb that was his salvation. Strangely, the deluge soothed his senses. For a moment he turned to his wife and squeezed her hand and then nodded reassuringly to his family.
Then Noah turned to the window and began to pray.