I was wrong: it had not been a Soap Opera. But I had heard about a very popular exercise class, so I switched to that channel. It should have been very relaxing. It was called “Z Yoga Class for Beginners.” I came to it in the middle of the program. It looked like there were 100 women: 10 in a row, each with a personal trainer helping them, the instructor in front, and I think I counted 10 rows. There were multiple cameras, some portable, in an enormous room with purple curtains astride stained glass windows seeming to depict a body of thought. The scattered floor mats seemed out of place somehow. They showed overall shots and close-ups of each individual with her trainer.
The instructor demonstrated various poses and exercises and the trainers made corrections or offered help or encouragement to each individual.
The instructor wore a purple leotard and gold hoop earrings. She said, “Everyone here on the show today gets an entire wardrobe of the latest designer fashions from our sponsor, Lily Fashions that you’ve just seen, including dresses, accessories, and jewelry — all worth up to $8,000 if bought retail. Everyone also gets an activity-tracker wristband exercise bracelet worth $500. Also, each of you will get a year’s supply of Moose Potato Chips.”
There was loud applause and cheering. Everyone was jumping up and down not like in any known yoga move, and while they did, staff people put down gift boxes next to each trainer. They continued to jump so hard that the purple curtains fluttered like in an earthquake.
The instructor said, “OK, let’s settle down and continue… Legs apart in a stable manner like this…” Then she turned her back to them to demonstrate the next move. She said, “Clasp your hands behind your back, thus, palms together, thumbs down, and tighten you fingers for a count of 20. While you’re doing that, your trainers will have a surprise for you. OK, 1…2…”
The trainers seemed to take bracelets out of the boxes, and for each woman put them on both wrists. When the cameras did close-ups it was clear that they were handcuffs.
The instructor couldn’t count past 10 and started to stutter. She said, “…uh, I am, I am… no, no… I am Zusoiti and after the room is cleared, I will have an important announcement. Remove these slaves and take them to the Grand Palace…”
The screen went blank for a few seconds, and then words came up on the screen: wait for an important announcement to follow. Please stand-by.
It became clear to me that there are no decent programs to watch on TV anymore, and exercise is not as beneficial as they say.
The canceling of regular programing is getting annoying. I had thought I could stay indefinitely in the sealed up apartment building. After all, it wasn’t really sealed — there were ventilation shafts in the hallways, bathrooms, and kitchens. The power was on. All the refrigerators and cabinets in all the empty apartments had been stocked with food and supplies to fool any official visitors when Utcoozhoo had used the apartments for false identities and addresses.
I had thought I could just stay inside and use the TV as a window on the world. There’d be no need for me to go out and risk being spotted by the Wipzib.
But something has gone wrong. I’m not seeing anything that makes sense.
So, I thought again: it must be Soap Opera Week or something like that. I’ll take a nap and then maybe use my passkey to get some paper towels and a cake from the apartment next-door, or use it to get frozen packages of eggplant parmigiana and veal parmigiana.
Apparently I had been wrong about Soap Opera Week or Sci-Fi Mystery Cross-Channel Marathon or Best Home Video Month. Oh well.
When I got up from my nap, rather than forage for food, I decided to find a good channel somewhere.
I turned the TV on to a random channel. It said, “Breaking News: this is a special bulletin…”
Ah-ha, I thought, finally a real news report — maybe something good like a normal plane crash, or another small war of the usual kind. A normal crisis that could be explained away by formal liars.
“Standby for a special report from Washington…”
Then they introduced the Deputy Spokesperson from the Department of blah-blah or something. I’m thinking get on with it already.
“The Bureau has just learned that several TV stations have either been attacked by vandals or had their signals intercepted or modified. The public should not be alarmed — it’s a routine matter. These are just common criminals and will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. We have good leads and are closing in on the perpetrators. When we have investigated fully and have more precise information, we will bring it to you…”
And then after a few blah-blah’s the local station announcer said, “And we now return you to your regularly scheduled program.”
Then I heard, “Be sure to fully immerse your chicken cutlets in the egg before dipping it in the bread crumbs, and by the way, if you missed any part of this, you can get the recipe at our website which is…”
There was a long pause and it looked like she couldn’t read the teleprompter. She continued, “The web address is… um, uh… Um, uh.” Then she screamed, “Help, help me, um, come here Watson I need you. Is there a Panda in the house? What…?” Pandemonium ensued in the sounds of the background, and then she calmed and continued, “OK, now, we will have decorum. I’m putting the egg mixture aside. I am not your cook anymore. I am Zusoiti your High Priestess and ruler. You will cook for me as I direct. You will be part of the recipe for world domination for the good of the planet…”
There was a buzz and then another voice behind a text graphic, “This is breaking news: standby for a special report.”
The Deputy was back, now standing at a lectern in front of a crowded room: “My name is James Fitzgerald and I will be updating you on the recent crimes against TV stations.”
A voice shouted from the audience, “Can you spell your name?”
“Yes, um (can you hear me in the back). OK, it’s F-I-T-Z-G-E-R-A-L-D. Um, uh, now we will be playing a game of musical chairs…”
There was shouting, commotion and hubbub. A reporter shouted, “What does that mean — is that a code word?”
The Deputy said, “Oh sorry, I meant to say ‘musical minds.’ Just for clarification, I’ll spell my name for you again: it’s Z-U-S-O-I-T-I.”
The reporter was exasperated, “Um, Deputy, is that your middle name. Um, can we get on with this, Deputy?”
“Not Deputy. I am your High Priestess Zusoiti Gabpix. As I reach under the lectern and raise my hand, you will see that I have a weapon…”
An assistant drew his gun and shouted, “James, put down your weapon.”
The odd weapon was raised, a thunder clap was heard and the assistant in blinding light was turned into ash.
Oh God, she is everywhere and if she can lurk in the mind of anyone and everyone, she can rule the Earth. With this form of Utd’mbts I fear she might become a multiplicity. She has found, I think from the ancient code, how to be everywhere like a forest of dreams where no one can escape the lush tangle and must brush against the rambles of thought and the brambles to the thin skin of existence, lost.