C.C. Prexman’s Time Hat

“Time Hat” (1938)

a C.C. Prexman short story

Image

They were everywhere. On everyone.

“How could I have known?”

Sitting at his favorite cafe on the corner of Boulevard Cheminet, next to the post office and close to the International School Of Performing Arts, outside of which a naked man was attempting to climb up a tall tower in his mind, Andre Relier was remembering the future.

Image

It was 1997, the world was close to global destruction at the hands of the commie Centaurian telepaths and war had become the new norm. Relier had removed the time hat and was ready to explore this most unpleasant of futures when the unthinkable happened.

France had been taken over by the Centaurians long ago (circa 1985) and Relier was now technically in enemy territory. Moments after he removed the time hat, he felt a small prick on his neck. Like a scratch only pointier. Reaching there, he found a small dart-like fish which he promptly pulled out. The fish melted almost instantly. Feeling dizzy, Relier knew he had to run but could only manage standing, just about. He couldn’t move, he was like frozen. In the distance, he could see an increasingly blurry dog walking towards him. It was wearing a cap.

Still standing, Relier fainted dropping the time hat on the ground.

“Apprehension complete, Comrad.”, said the dog.

Image

When he woke up, Relier was hatless and upside down.

Where was he? What had happened to him? The time hat! Where was it?

Suddenly, a bright light flashed in front of him. Squinting as hard as he could, Relier could finally make out a general shape walking towards him.

“Who is this? Where am I?”, he asked, “Whoever you are you’ve got to let me out, you don’t understand…”

The lights dimmed slightly and he saw a man wearing what looked like an army uniform. Relier had often wondered about the army. What if one was asked to kill an armed newborn baby suspected of treason? The morals linked to a career in the armed forces were beyond him.

The man in front of him, whose skin was bright red and whose eyes were as white as a snowflake’s cold, lifeless heart, looked at him for a moment, saying nothing. A door closed behind him and after a long, awkward pause, he finally spoke.

“Identify yourself.”, he said simply.

“It’s no use, I… I don’t belong here.”

No doubt signalling to one of his guards somewhere in the room, the man, with an effortless wave of his hand, made the lights blinding once again. It was like the sun.

“Identify yourself, stranger.”, he repeated.

“My name is Relier, Andre Relier but it’s no use, I don’t exist here. I don’t belong…”

“Indeed you do not belong, Mr Relier. You are trespassing on Centaurian property.”

“Look, if I could just get my hat, I’ll explain everything.”

Another hand wave and the light started to flash on and off, getting brighter and brighter. Even with his eyes closed, the heat and the constant flashing were unbearable.

“No papers, no proof of Centaurian citizenship. You know what the penalty is for that?”

Relier fainted before he could answer.

Image

His eyes opened to a whole new setting. Relier was outside, naked, and facing a large, totem-like structure. Looking up, he noticed the giant tower was so high it seemed endless. Around him stood six Centaurian officials: three “Reds” in suits, three wearing army uniforms. One of them was the man he’d met earlier, another was older, perhaps a general, and the other was younger, holding a “beamer” (typical Centaurian laser weapon).

One of the men in suits, a woman, spoke.

“Mr Relier, for the crimes you have committed you are sentenced to The Pillar Of Hope. If you are able to climb to the very top and drop down The Centaurian Cloth Of Eternity, a cloth you will find pinned to the summit, then your life will be spared. If, however, you fail to reach the top or refuse to attempt the climb: you will, here and now, be executed. If you fail your climb and plummet to your death, then you will be given an honorable Centaurian funeral. If you fail your climb and your fall results in injury, not death: you will be executed. Men, proceed with the sentence.”

“Wait! You don’t understand, my hat…”, pleaded Relier.

“Silence!”, shouted the old man.

To the younger man, a simple soldier no doubt, the “Red” from the torture room ordered to ready his weapon.

“Begin your climb. Or die.”, the man said to Relier, coldly.

This particular group of people was not the bargaining type, Relier thought. Better do what they say. If this was his time to die, he might as well go out with honor. Relier began his climb, with both hands grasping at either side of the pillar tightly. Luckily, Relier was an experienced and skilled climber so as hard as it was and as impossible as it would be to reach the top, he was doing remarkably well. As he climbed, he thought.

What were his options? His strength would give way long before reaching the top of the pillar, this was inevitable. He had to conserve as much strength as possible. But how? And then what?

The solution came fast in his mind.

Looking out into the distance, he could see the street where he had been  apprehended. He was high enough to look over the camp but not so high overall, considering how tall the pillar was. Holding tighter than ever with his hands, pulling his legs up so he was essentially standing on the side of the pillar, Relier promptly defecated.

What happened next happened in a flash.

Relier’s waste fell on the young soldier’s face, as predicted, and as soon as it did Relier slid down the pillar all the way to the ground. In one smooth motion, he landed, turned around and grabbed the soldier’s beamer before urinating right in front of him as hard as he could. Blinded by the gold, sour liquid, the officials reached for their weapons awkwardly. This split-second gave Relier plenty of time to shoot all of them. The laser beams were flying faster than the urine itself, the red beams penetrating the Centaurians with perfect accuracy.

In a blink, it was all over.

Without hesitation, Relier started climbing the pillar again, holding the weapon in his mouth this time. A bit higher than where he’d reached before, Relier held the beamer in one hand and let himself hang with the other. Beamers having unlimited ammo, Relier was certainly in luck. Shooting at the pillar right below him, he hung there for what seemed like an eternity beaming the tower relentlessly. He could hear an alarm below and sounds of troupes running out but he didn’t care: this was life or death. Eventually, the lasers finally pierced through the pillar completely. Putting the weapon back in his mouth and holding both sides of the tower once again, there was nothing left but to push.

After a lot of pounding, Relier knew the time had come.

The pillar broke and started falling forwards, Relier was hanging on tighter than ever before. The huge structure crashed right down onto the camp, killing and injuring dozens of Centaurians for sure, and landed far into the city.

It was time.

Relier started his long slide down the pillar. Along the way he could hear beamers shooting right past him and screams of dying Centaurian soldiers, also he could smell bears. The circus must have been in town. As planned, he slid off the pillar exactly in the street where he was taken. Nothing left to do but find the time hat, which, it turns out, was still right where he had left it. What luck! Placing it upon his head, it started spinning and just like that: Relier was gone.

Image

Back at his favorite cafe, where he had started thinking back to all this, Relier was enjoying a truly special coffee: dark, strong, simple. He hadn’t worn the time hat since and it’s likely he never would again.

There was no time like the present.

On the other side of the street he saw a dog sitting, smiling at him.

It had begun…

Image

More on legendary writer C.C. Prexman soon.

Only on WeTheMindThinkers.

Advertisements

C.C. Prexman’s Time Hat – The Critics

Often described as the worst science fiction writer of all time, C.C. Prexman was either a misunderstood genius or worthy of his reputation. To this day, many still debate whether his work had any literary value at all. His first (and only) published collection of short stories, Time Hat (1938), is mocked by many but some see its title tale as a chilling vision of a future that could have been. Watch out for it soon on WeTheMindthinkers.

In the meantime, enjoy some telling quotes from the critics at the time of the short story’s original release.

“A page-burner”

          Vernon Melons, LA Post

“I don’t think I understand, what’s a ‘time’ hat?”

          Clark Coleman, Science Fiction Weekly

“Who wrote this?!”

          Cynthia Remsmeyer, New York Gazette 

“Waste of ‘time'”

          Jack Britby, Earth To Earth Magazine

“Nonsense at best”

         Herbert Glout, Writes Of Passage Magazine

“The literary equivalent of a complete rectal examination”

         Pamela Jennings, Cincinnati Daily

“Either ahead of its time or the worst thing I’ve ever read”

         Brian Brians, SF Planet Monthly

“What’s with the talking dog?” 

         Hugo Freidrickson, Reader’s Digest 

Coming soon, only on WeTheMindThinkers.

The Red Moons Of NeOrion – Final Chapter

“The Red Moons Of NeOrion” (1968)

Image

Norman L. Brisbane short story

Image

CHAPTER VI

“The Council”

Through the salivus, Krepp found The Observatorium’s core.

He’d been in laboratories before, but nothing like this. For one thing, this wasn’t a laboratory. It was in fact The Sky Council’s meeting room complete with reverse-dome-shaped table, chair balls and the high-powered telescope used to take note of new lunar developments. All that was missing was The Council itself.

Oddly nervous, Krepp slowly approached the telescope with the intention of looking through it and finally seeing the moons.  That intention soon gave way to the action itself and just like that, Krepp was face to face with that which had ruled over him from the day of his birth.  The moons were inside him and he loved them. He knew that now. He was home, he was happy, he was in love. This is what his entire life had been building up to and it had all been worth it. They were so beautiful: so peaceful, so round, so red. Just as he’d pictured them, more round even. He could hear wet sounds all around him but nothing could ever prove more worthy than this moment and he wasn’t going to let anything, not even a sound, get in the way of his eternal happiness.

“That smell again…”, he thought.

Perhaps he should allow his surroundings a second of his time, after all, he could always look back at his moons whenever he pleased now he was here. Reluctantly, Krepp looked away from the eye-piece and turned back to the table which, to his surprise, was not quite as bare as he recalled. Sitting all around was The Sky Council. At least, what looked like The Sky Council. It was strange, Krepp was surrounded by councilmen and yet the room still felt empty somehow.

The members of The Sky Council looked like wet statues: they were near-static, their skins had a silver shine to them and they were dripping with what could only be described as grey things.

“You’re not The Sky Council.”, Krepp said bluntly.

Suddenly, at the center of the table, a silver shape began to materialize. Like a large, bubbling grey tear at first, it soon started taking on a more familiar form.

“Chief Skyman…”

“No Krepp, I am not The Chief Skyman. But then, you already know that.”, replied the entity.

“Who are you?”

“I am The Chief Skyman. I am The Sky Council. I am a vessel through which your world fuses with mine.”

“I don’t understand your talkings.”

“I believe you know me under another name: Expanseon?”

Krepp made no attempt to hide his confusion. As the entity noticed the drool trickling down Krepp’s chin, it spoke again.

“I have come to merge. But only with true believers. Then, and only then, will the process be complete and my work will be done. Only then will the moons take me back into their rocky bosom.”

“Why am I here?”

“You are the last. You are a true believer and your soul will serve us, and the moons, well.”

Without a word, Krepp climbed over the table and was now facing the entity.

“Take it back. You can’t speak for the moons. That’s not allowed.”

The entity smiled proudly, even as Krepp attempted to break its neck. It not being fully solid or fully liquid, it could not be brutalized in this way. Not knowing what to do, scared, Krepp started to run back to the hole but it was too late: it had already closed in on itself. Lost and confused, Krepp was now attempting to snap his own neck but in vain. The entity was now merging with the other entities around the table to form one large silver ball which started floating quietly towards a panicking Krepp.

“Leave me… leave me alone. This is wrong, this is all wrong!”

An otherworldly voice, like a dozen voices all speaking at once through a thin metallic shell, now emanated from the faceless shape, booming around the room.

“Be not afraid, believer, we mean you no harm. This is, and has always been, your purpose. Accept your fate and your people’s fate, Krepp, this is why the moons sent us.”

“The moons… sent you?”, Krepp asked sheepishly, looking up at the ball.

“That’s right. And now, the moons are ready for you. For us.”

His initial fears withering away with every passing second, Krepp finally understood. The moons were never getting closer: we were getting closer to them all along. Expanseon was a gateway, a force pulling us in.

“I am ready.”, Krepp said, “Take me to the moons.”

Little by little, the ball entered Krepp.

Short flashes of Ham and Shp naked peppered his mind as his body, his soul and everything else gradually merged into the Expanseon. It was an almost instantaneous ceremony.

In the blink of an eye: Krepp was no more.

An immense earthquake followed, shaking the entire planet and killing most of its population, the Expanseon had finally wrapped itself around the entirety of NeOrion’s core. Acting as some sort of gravitational plug, The Observatorium and its pole started pulling NeOrion closer to the  moons. The Expanseon ball which contained what once was Krepp among others had launched itself accross the skies forming a direct link between the planet and its lunar relatives. The growing heat and the change in mass crushing the last of the NeOrionians, it was not long before fire took over the entire planet.

NeOrion was no more.

Meanwhile, on a nearby planet, a young-ling awoke from her slumber and approached a nearby window. This being an underwater planet, the window was made of water. Her male parent had just swam into the room after feeling an unexpected wave.

“Father?”, the young-ling asked, “What’s that up there?”

“Those are the moons, my child, the red moons. They protect us.”

“Why are there more now?”

“It is not for us to understand, young one. The red moons have their way.”

This concludes Norman L. Brisbane’s “The Red Moons Of NeOrion”.

More mindthinkings coming soon…

ONLY on wethemindthinkers.wordpress.com

The Red Moons Of NeOrion – Chapter V

“The Red Moons Of NeOrion” (1968)

Image

Norman L. Brisbane short story

Image

CHAPTER V

 ”Into”

He felt so light as he finally stepped onto the dome, it was like flying but on the ground.

The Observatorium was so high up that Krepp felt as if he’d travelled to another planet altogether. All around him was sky: quiet, peaceful sky.

It was like FLYING.

What a feeling. There was something unique, religious about this place. Krepp understood The Sky Council’s solitude and, for a moment, he hesitated. Would the moons approve of his rebellious actions? Would he be punished for his disobedience? No. He was meant to make it to the Observatorium. His presence was no accident. If he had made the moons angry, surely they would have reacted by now. Taking a breath, he entered the dome.

Luckily it wasn’t locked but then again, why would it be?

Why would there be a lock?

Why would it be closed?

Why would it be open?

Krepp felt light-headed. He wasn’t thinking straight. It was as if he had changed, somehow.

The Observatorium walls were humid and soft. It was like entering a long-forgotten underground cave with a smell like no other and a taste salty enough to give the tongue something to think about. Krepp had never felt anything like it. There was little to no light source to speak of as he walked down that long, seemingly endless, corridor and not a sound. There was no such peace anywhere else on NeOrion, Krepp was sure of it. Could it be that he had finally found his home? His nest?

His womb?

No sooner had that thought entered his head that he heard a wet, ambiguous sound coming from the entrance he’d just penetrated. He promptly turned around to find that the entrance in question had been replaced by more wall: he was locked in.

“No matter. The moons have their way.”, he thought.

Krepp finally reached the end of the corridor and, to his surprise, he found no door, no branching path, nothing. Only that smell, getting stronger and stronger. Not so strong that it could be called overpowering but certainly impressive. It had a near hypnotic quality which both attracted and repulsed Krepp. Just then, a hole opened up in front of him: the wall was literally pulsating open before his eyes.

What a sight.

Over the hole was a delicate, transparent film.

Salivus. He’d recognize it anywhere.

What was lying beyond this sticky portal? What did it all mean?

Without hesitation, he stepped through.

Image

Look out for Chapter VI where Krepp’s adventure finally concludes on Wednesday 29/08/12

ONLY on wethemindthinkers.wordpress.com

The Red Moons Of NeOrion – Chapter IV

“The Red Moons Of NeOrion” (1968)

Image

Norman L. Brisbane short story

Image

CHAPTER IV

 ”Over The Schlouds”

The Observatorium was a vast structure to say the least.

Higher than any other construction on NeOrion, The Observatorium looked down on the physical and up at the spiritual unknown. Like a gateway between two worlds, its position ensured a clear view of both the red moons and their loyal subjects below. The Observatorium stood on top of a pole, its roots branching out deep below the ground like thousands and thousands of very hard tentacles.

“Oh Ham, how I miss you.”

The pole was made of a rare metal called Expanseon, a metal born out of a meteorite which plummeted on NeOrion several centuries prior. It arrived on the planet in a thick liquid sphere under a near impenetrable layer of space rock. At first, the new element was feared as those who came in direct contact with it would find themselves engulfed by it instantly: it fed on them. And that’s what it was doing below the surface, feeding and feeding, slowly wrapping itself around the planet’s core. The NeOrionians learned to solidify and control Expanseon over time by starving it and then shaping it with wooden pieces of wood, made of wood. This is how the pole was achieved.

With wood.

Krepp was remembering The Observatorium’s history as he flew his law-pod higher and higher through the schlouds. The moons had sent us this gift, this alien technology which in turn we used to look back at them. Maybe Expanseon was their way of warning us, maybe this was their plan all along…

Krepp’s law-pod was finally over the schlouds, level with the rotating turett. The Observatorium indeed rested on the pole but the dome-shaped location was also mobile in that it could spin around on itself, giving us a more complete understanding of the moons’ circumference.

“Beautiful.”

Krepp was moved by the sight of this shining, sparkling monument. It was a true symbol of the moons’ unlimited power and he was, for the first time in his life, well and truly happy. As he landed his law-pod over the dome, he couldn’t help but think that he would be the first NeOrionian to venture up the pole in centuries. The Sky Council had lived in complete isolation ever since it was founded in order to preserve the sanctity of The Observatorium. But with these new moon developments, Krepp felt drawn to that place. The moons were calling him, and he would answer them.

Directly.

Image

Look out for Chapter V on Monday 27/08/12

ONLY on wethemindthinkers.wordpress.com

The Red Moons Of NeOrion – Chapter III

“The Red Moons Of NeOrion” (1968)

Image

Norman L. Brisbane short story

Image

CHAPTER III

 “Pod Pursuit”

Krepp’s earvision tablet vibrated, but he had been avoiding all calls from that morning onwards. He should have checked the bubblepod’s viscosity levels beforehand: the vibrations were not doing the flight any favours and Krepp could not afford a pop at this point in time.

He had to answer it.

His palm nearly on the tablet receiver pad, Krepp notices something in the bubblepod’s reflector. It was a blinking bubblepod. This was not a good thing. The authorities were after him and he had to lose them, but how?

The earvision tablet still vibrating, Krepp suddenly got an idea. Pushing down on the accelerator, he flew the pod faster than ever before. The blinking law-pod was close behind, moving closer and closer the more salivus Krepp’s trembling pod was excreting. Forcibly freeing himself from the safety magma holding him seated in the pod,  Krepp assumed a crouching position before letting go of the accelerator suddenly. Seeing Krepp stop all of a sudden, the law-roaches applied the brakes in their blinking pod. No sooner did they stop close to the pod ahead than its bubble popped and Krepp leaped out of it landing through their own pod. Promptly and without hesitation, Krepp snapped their necks before restarting the law-pod, which had instantly re-bubbled, and flying off into the distance.

Was this the beginning? Was this the end?

Something in between?

Krepp’s mind was racing.

He knew more pods would come and this time, luck might not be on his side. Swallowing the last of the law-roaches, he soon looked up to see the giant pole leading up to The Observatorium.

He was almost there.

Look out for Chapter IV on Friday 24/08/12

ONLY on wethemindthinkers.wordpress.com

The Red Moons Of NeOrion – Chapter II

“The Red Moons Of NeOrion” (1968)

Image

a Norman L. Brisbane short story

Image

CHAPTER II

“Ham, Lover”

Krepp entered Ham, his mate.

Their bodies now one, it all started to make sense. Krepp suddenly knew what he had to do and how to do it. Noticing Krepp’s shrinking interest, Ham looked up at him with concern.

–        “Where are you, Krepp?”

–        “I’m here.”

–        “No. Not all of you.”

–        “I’m sorry. It’s the moons…”

–        “Oh. Them…”

Ham enters Krepp.

–        “I’ll take your mind off those silly moons.” She said, her tentacles flapping from side to side.

–        “Don’t say that…”

–        “It’s true! And to think some people actually believe we need them…”

–        “Don’t…”

–        “Where’s the science behind that? That’s what I wanna know!”

–        “Please…”

–        “Give me any evidence that…”

Climaxing despite his efforts, Krepp snaps Ham’s neck.

“What has happened to us all?”, he thought, “Where are our values? Have we forgotten what the moons did for us? Giving us life, giving us light?”. As Krepp stood up, Ham’s lifeless body promptly pulled out of him and fell near the bed, the tentacles still flapping up and down. Looking out the window, Krepp could see the moons, the sound of the tentacles still resonating against the solid floor behind him.

P-loomf p-loomf…

P-loomf p-loomf…

P-loomf…

Nothing.

He had nothing left. Only the moons.

Image

Look out for Chapter III on Wednesday 22/08/12

ONLY on wethemindthinkers.wordpress.com