October 3rd – Monday – Early Morning
Something very peculiar happened today. I awoke early—several hours earlier than the status quo—at around 5:45am, a throbbing, cantankerous pain in the right-side wisdom tooth of my bottom jaw. My hands at my face, I moaned and thrashed my bed sheets. What sort of God would allow one of his creatures to endure such hardship? Or, better yet, what sort of demon would create such unbearable agony?
The sun had still not risen at this point. Beyond my tattered bedroom window curtains I discerned a deep blue darkness, enveloping all of Manhattan. How amazing, I thought, that during the week I have been waiting months for (Friday being the day of the famed String Quartet’s visit to the 5th Avenue symphony house) my tooth should decide to burden me so.
As I write this, it is just turning past six and the deep blue darkness beyond my curtains has turned belly-up to a gritty, overcast sheen.
I cannot ignore my suffering. Two or three days of this would drive even the strongest of men to the asylum. When the clock strikes nine I shall dial up my dentist, a hygienic man by the name of Bill S. Cupid. He comes highly recommended from the better sort of people—my kind of people.
Only an anesthetic, and a strong one at that, can liberate me now.
October 4th – Tuesday – Early Morning
Dr. Cupid couldn’t fit me in until today due to another patient’s more pressing dental disaster (although I fail to see how a few chipped teeth incurred during a boating accident takes precedence over the hellfire in my mouth). It feels as if Cerberus himself is gnawing at my gums with his drooly fangs, chomping away as if the innards of my mouth are his own personal chew-toy. Well I have this to say to you, Asmodeus: call him off. Call off your hellhound. Take my soul if you please, but please, please, exorcise this pain from me.
It is only 6:00am and Dr. Cupid won’t see me until noon. I have six hours to kill, and kill them with extreme prejudice I shall.
October 4th – Tuesday – Mid-afternoon
Things have only gotten more peculiar since yesterday morning.
I arrived at Dr. Cupid’s early, around 11:30. His offices are in a bad neighborhood, overcome with litter, reeking of urine and crawling with mewling, stray cats. I waited patiently (as patiently as possible with this toothache) in Cupid’s lobby.
The woman at the receiving desk was fat, slovenly. Her hair, dyed a bright, flaming red, was done up in a beehive. I could almost hear it swarming with the buzzings of the devil’s minions, as if her head was nothing but a breeding ground of vile creatures.
She smiled at me as I filled out the requisite paperwork (insurance, allergies, health history, etc.), smiled at me with my hand clasped to my cheek, my bloodshot eyes gleaming with tears, smiled at me as if I were there, in that miserable lobby, for her personal amusement.
Once the papers were completed, I returned them to her (doing my best not to look into her eyes) and took a seat by the reading table.
It was there, upon Cupid’s coffee table, that I came across a ratty little magazine called Wonder. On the cover was a picture of some sort of cell-structure, or perhaps it was a magnified zygote or some such thing, I can’t say for sure. The subtitle of the magazine read “Get ready, 3… 2… 1… to BLAST OFF into the wonderful world of science!”
Now, I am an educated fellow, I proudly wear my class ring on my hand, and any opportunity to accrue some extra knowledge is always appreciated. I picked up the magazine and flipped around aimlessly until I came to an article that interested me, titled “Beauty is Truth, Truth Beauty,” authored by a fellow named Max Von Schturnberg.
Despite the clamoring in my mouth, I feasted my eyes upon the page. I’ll do my best to write down what I read, but of course I cannot copy it down here verbatim.
We are quickly approaching the completion of the “Theory of Everything,” or, essentially, how the universe began and how it will end. This has been made possible by the discovery that the constituents of matter are not “particles” but are, in fact, “strings.” By “strings,” we mean tiny strands of energy. By vibrating in different ways, these strings produce nature the same way the strings of a cello produce sound.
Perhaps it is misleading to label this “string-theory” as the “Theory of Everything.” Many physicists believe that string-theory is actually the “Theory of Nothing.” However, in the absence of new data, physicists must steer by something other than hard empirical evidence in their quest for a final theory. And that something they call “beauty.” But in physics, as in the rest of life, beauty can be a slippery thing.
Now, this is when the article got really interesting. Only minutes before I was due to enter Cupid’s office, I read the following paragraph:
We seem to live in a world that has three spatial dimensions (along with one time dimension). But in order for string-theory to exist, the world must be composed of nine dimensions. Why don’t we notice the six extra dimensions? Because, according to string-theory, they are curled up into some micro-geometry that makes them invisible—
It was there, in mid-sentence, that the beehive woman rose from behind her desk and called out with her shrill voice, “Mr. Loomis, Dr. Cupid will see you now.” My mind was electrified from the words I had read, alive with images of tiny, invisible dimensions curled up into themselves like tiny earthworms burrowing through the fabric of time and space, their tunnels cascading and twirling, connecting the present to the past to the future and back again—all of this against the most spectacular, sparkling backdrop of twinkling stars and showering comets and deepest pools of black and shimmering galaxies you have ever imagined.
But then the pain in my mouth returned and my solar fantasies ground into the grotesque muck of reality. I tossed the magazine back onto the table and scurried through the doorway leading to the operations rooms.
Cupid was wearing a white smock (which no doubt covered a very expensive suit) and also wore what appeared to be a plastic crown. Mounted to the front of this crown was a circular disc fashioned from gleaming metal. The disc reflected the epileptic lights and made my eyes tighten.
“Take a seat here, Loomis,” Cupid said to me, “and we’ll take a look at what’s the matter. Oh, oh dear. Yes, yes. An impacted wisdom tooth, no doubt—and quite a lot of swelling of the gums.” He laughed and jostled my ribs with his elbow. “Well, there’s no doubt in my mind, we’ll just have to have the little beast out. Move your tongue please. Swallow some of that saliva. Yes, yes, let me just give you something to numb the feeling. You’re going to feel some slight pressure. Stifle your sobs, now. Good, now, open wide, wider, please.”
The right side of my face was numb. I was reclined in my chair and Cupid leaned over me. He appeared as a dark silhouette before the bright, yellow light hovering behind him—a tiny, menacing spaceship.
“Almost done here not too bad, right? Your tooth is really quite stubborn. It seems to be hanging on for dear life.”
He tugged harder with his pliers. I felt a dull pressure against the inside of my cheek.
“Yes,” Cupid continued, “this wicked little tooth seems to be hanging by a string.”
String. The word sounded alarms. The tiny spaceship did a loop-de-loop. Cupid pulled the tooth loose (I heard a soft snapping sound as his bloodied latex glove shot away from my mouth, the pronged roots of my tooth visible between the head of his pliers). He set the tooth on a metal tray.
“Voila. It’s done. Now that didn’t hurt too badly, did it?” Cupid said, clapping me on the back.
But I did not hear him. I heard the eternal echoes of only one word: string.
October 4th – Tuesday – Evening
Is it really so difficult to believe that the 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th dimensions all exist within my mouth? Perhaps they are coiled, as Von Schturnberg’s article said, beneath my teeth. Perhaps the strings tethering my teeth hang to my gums are actually the strings of which compose the fabric of our universe.
Things are becoming stressful. As I left Cupid’s office, my mouth packed with gauze, one of the filthy mewling stray cats grazed by my leg. I attempted to kick it but restrained myself when I noticed that the cat’s eyes were not cat’s eyes at all. This cat had the evil, rectangular-pupil eyes of a goat. A goat. Can you imagine my terror?
October 5th – Wednesday – Afternoon
The String Quartet’s concert is now only two days away.
My mouth has been healing slowly. I awoke this morning, free of pain, only to spit out a lashing of rusty blood. I called into work.
I thought, initially, that Perhaps Cupid’s incision had opened up.
I went to the bathroom and opened my mouth before the mirror. Not only was Cupid’s incision still sewn shut (did I neglect to mention that he gave me stitches?) but I could find no source of the blood. I deduced that my gums must have been bleeding because one of the six hidden dimensions of the universe was uncurling itself beneath one of my teeth. But which one?
I grabbed my tweezers from the medicine cabinet, opened my mouth wide, and tapped them against the crowns of my teeth, hoping that one would either sound hollow or feel soft or some such thing. It wasn’t until I tapped the wisdom tooth opposite the one Cupid had pulled that I felt a flare of pain. So, I thought, it is you. Well, I certainly can’t detain the 5th dimension. You’ll have to go.
I ran to my garage, opened my tool kit (inherited from my father the carpenter) and removed a pair of pliers. In a matter of hours I had the cursed tooth out of my mouth. I lay on my bathroom tiles, weeping in a pool of my own blood. But at least I had that tooth out. The 5th dimension was liberated.
October 5th – Wednesday – After.Death.
I have made a grave error. The 5th dimension should not have been set free. Several hours after I successfully managed to pull my own tooth, I realized that things had changed. The world seemed darker. I heard screams in the distance, the screams of the damned, of the flagellants, the boulder-pushers. I
I am too scared to move. The devil is behind it all—I am almost positive.
On the first day, God created light, correct? But if string-theory is to be believed, then on the first day, God must have created sound. If all has risen from vibrations, then wouldn’t light have come from sound?
Then God created a very large glass of milk—so big that it cannot be seen by the human eye. God’s next move was to create Lucifer. With that done, he invited Lucifer to sit at a very large table and share his very large glass of milk. Lucifer obliged God’s wishes and sat at the table, but scoundrel that he was, knocked over God’s glass with his elbow and spilled the milk all over the universe. Angry over the spilt milk, God destroyed Lucifer with a deadly blow from his staff, then he cut Lucifer into five pieces and banished each piece to a separate dimension.
If only I had known this sooner, I wouldn’t have let 1/5th of Lucifer out from beneath my tooth. I tremble at the thought of what will happen as a repercussion of my stupidity.
October 5th – Wednesday – Not sure of time (time is knotted)
Strings can become entangled with either their own length or the length of other strings in close proximity, resulting in what is commonly referred to as a knot. If time is a string of events, and if the universe is built upon strings, then is it not possible that the entire time dimension has become knotted? Have I had this thought already?
October 6th – Thursday – Mourning
It was Cupid.
This morning, I awoke head-over-heels in love with Cupid’s receptionist.
I can’t explain it beyond the fact that Cupid, instead of injecting me with his anesthetic, had actually pricked me with the tip of his arrow. So now, not only am I in love with this grotesque woman, but I am also in love with one of the possessed.
Could things possibly get any worse?
I must visit Cupid’s office and confront him.
A thought just occurred to me: did I not offer Satan my soul if Cupid would not relieve my pain?
October 6th – Thursday – On the Evening Redness…
I could not get into Cupid’s office. The door was locked.
I saw another cat with goat’s eyes.
I stomped it to death. There was blood and cat fur all up and down my trousers. I got some of its blood in my mouth. I’m not sure how.
I must lie down.
October 7th – Friday – The Morning of the String Quartet Concert
The sky is red today and dripping blood on the street. I must remember to wear galoshes. The moon is displaying its requisite inverted cross, and the witch-riders have been soaring back and forth across its face on their broomsticks, speaking in the devil’s tongue. Their cackles are high-pitched and screechy and they leave a trail of gory fireworks in their wake.
All in all, things are looking quite normal.
October 7th – Friday – The Afternoon of the String Quartet Concert
I could not stop laughing all afternoon. I have discovered coils beneath my fingernails as well.
October 7th – Friday – The Night of the String Quartet Concert
I dressed myself as best as possible (double-breasted three-button suit, fob chain polished and sparkling, shoes shined twice, trousers neatly creased, bowler cap crisp, moustache waxed and tweaked) and hailed a cab.
Upon arriving at the Symphony House, I watched the denizens of New York filter in through the front doors.
Cupid arrived, dressed rather nicely, with a very beautiful woman. I could not help but think he was quite the sly devil. If I had access to all his arrows, I would have a beautiful date myself.
Once in the lobby, Cupid and his doll were allowed access to the balcony, where the first-class tickets lead, whereas I was forced down onto the floor with the rest of the piddling masses.
I took my seat in the back and waited for the concert to begin.
The lights went down as the Quartet took the stage. I could clearly make out Dr. Faustus as the violinist, Hitler as the Cellist, Stalin as the second violinist, and, strangely enough, Lizzie Borden holding the viola. They bowed to the audience, took their seats, and tuned their instruments to an open E (no doubt for evil). Minutes later they played something simple, something light, something composed by Johann Sebastian Bach.
I remembered something else I had read in Wonder:
“Harmony connects the way Nature runs and general mathematical principles function. General mathematical principles must feel that a theory with the beauty and elegance of Einstein’s theory has to be substantially correct.
“Beauty is truth, truth beauty.
“But is there any reason to think that such a statement is true? Truth, after all, is a relationship between a theory and the world, whereas beauty is a relationship between a theory and the mind.”
My memory is nothing special, and frankly, I am amazed that those words came back to me as I sat in my seat at the Symphony House, listening to Bach’s composition.
It is surely the way of the universe.
I felt wiggling sensations beneath my teeth, then under my fingernails.
Soon enough the roof the Symphony House was torn from the walls. The sky opened up. The great eye of Satan opened and blinked and the universe was awash with milk.
The music ceased and the house lights came back on. Three princes came down the aisles wearing red galoshes. They had thin, black moustaches and carried pitchforks. “Come with us,” they said.
We climbed onto the horny back of some winged demon and took off into the sky.
Upon arriving on the moon they led me to a small chamber with the word Fiend etched into the stone above the door. And it is there that I have taken my throne, awaiting His command.
End of Days – Ancient – No Time of Day On P M I
I met him.
His dwelling was a cavernous chamber, its ceiling lost in shadow. Massive stone pillars, lined in neat rows and columns, their bodies etched with Masonic symbols and codes. He sat on a large throne made of what appeared to be dinosaur bones. The ends of his armrests were horned Triceratops skulls. He curled two of his red fingers into their eye-sockets.
He looked just as I had expected: muscular, goateed. His legs are bent inward, like those of a goat. His feet are not feet at all, but hooves. His arms and chest are muscular to the point of being cartoonish. His eyes are yellow, ancient.
The Great One Himself instructed me to kneel before him. I did as he wished.
“It is my understanding,” He said in a thunderous, raspy voice, “that you wish to serve me.”
“In return for your services, you may make one command—any command—of which I will oblige.”
“I would like for you to bring me Cupid.”
“Hell’s always got room for one more fallen angel, eh?” I joked.
Satan did not find this funny. “I believe that Cupid was a cherub, a myth created by—”
“No, no. He is a man. And he is an angel. And he is a dentist. I believe this to be the truth.” I gave a quick nod of my head.
“Very well. Your wish is my command.”
I was sent back to my room, from which I am now taking these notes. I am eagerly looking forward to seeing Cupid once more. He knows more than he has let on—he has to. Why else would he have alerted my attention to the strings beneath my teeth? Why else would he have tried to deter my path of righteousness by making me fall for the red-headed woman? Is it not possible that Cupid is God himself, desperate to protect the secrets of creation?
I look forward to sharing my knowledge with another (it is these very notes that will help me in my explanations). And, in turn, I look forward to the knowledge that Cupid will bestow upon me.
Like the finest of duets, we will complement one another in ways previously unimagined. Together we will get to all the fundamental truths. Together we will untie all of the knots.