- by Mark Allen

I spend a lot of time on my fire escape taking in all the surroundings and looking at all the people in my neighborhood... it's a way for me to relax. My fire escape is the equivalent to a front porch for most people. If I had a rocker I would sit on it and rock and wave at everyone as they passed by.

My years of hanging out there on the fifth floor on sunny, beautiful days has earned me many friends and acquaintances on my block. But there is one acquaintance in particular that has always left me with a sense of unease:

Beatrice... the poodle... Beatrice the white toy poodle. Age: 8 years... fur: white and curly. I see Beatrice often being walked in the neighborhood by her female caretaker. Everyone loves Beatrice... all the kids run to pet Beatrice as the woman parades her around on a pink leash. Beatrice the poodle has typical poodle hair that is bright white, and is fluffed and sculpted and cut into one of those poofy "toy poodle" cuts that look so good in photographs and dog shows. Except in Beatrice's case... her human caretaker - her "master" - is an elderly woman with semi-poor eyesight... so Beatrice's sculpted fur is slightly off balance... off kilter... and she has dirty years of accumulated dirt staining the white fur around her feet, mouth and asshole. This is an interesting contrast to the pink toenail polish that Beatrice's master slathers onto her toenails... which are rather long and "click" on tile pavement when Beatrice walks on them. Beatrice looks cared for but slightly unkempt.

This combination only makes Beatrice more loved in the neighborhood... makes her less than perfect and more human, as it were. There is a slight pity in the admiration projected on Beatrice. This is a good thing... especially for Beatrice the poodle. In a few years this will be heightened when glaucoma sets into one of Beatrice's eyes. A sign of her age. But old age, lopsided fur, soil stains and sloppily-painted clicking pink toenails mean nothing to Beatrice... fucking Beatrice. Why?

I know Beatrice better than most. I see the way she looks at me. Beatrice knows I know and that means it's just a matter of time before I pay for my knowledge. Beatrice is a flesh entity of pure evil. Her body is just living molecule drag for a force so benevolent that it pre-dates the human mind. This force has been ruling the dark half of the universe's yang for an eternity... when our world is snuffed out... this entity will find another dimension to inhabit... in whatever disguise it needs. It transcends time. Right now it's in our dimension. And this interdimensional force of infinite evil and mean-ness inhabits Beatrice, the wobbly, lovable poodle.

Right now I am out on my fire escape on a beautiful Summer day. Beatrice the poodle has recently arrived via her caretaker and is making the rounds. Soon... or perhaps inevitably... I see Beatrice dancing to Salsa music on the sidewalk. Beatrice's owner leads her by her leash to where some locals with a jambox hang out on the sidewalk and play Salsa music and dominoes. Beatrice wiggles her butt and yaps and yips and dances for little pieces of scrap pizza cheese. It's an amazing trick for a dog to be able to dance and keep a beat to music for scraps of cheese... but for an infinate and all-knowing force of evil it's nothing. They all gather around and clap and watch Beatrice dance... the fools. If they only knew. But Beatrice doesn't even care about them. Dance Beatrice... dance... hoodwink the mortals.

The only human you are concerned with is me. I know you, you evil poodle. I see you from my fire escape... I'm looking down at you on the sidewalk. Dancing and yapping for cheese. Dancing for the street people... and your "master". You're only using them as a cover. Dance Beatrice... work it... work your poodle ass to the Salsa music Beatrice... all the while your black, beady bat-like eyes keep glancing up... upwards at me. Me. ME ME ME... the end goal of your evil plans. Our eyes meet and I know what my destiny is. Oh if only those people saw what I see in your eyes... they see cute poodle eyes of Beatrice. I see two black oceans as wide as the universe and as deep as the accumulated collective human consciousness of one trillion years of mankind's regret, hate and despair. I see pure, impenetrable evil in your little black eyes Beatrice. Dance Beatrice... dance for the clapping fools while I look at you and see The Abyss itself. I know you see me Beatrice. I know... I've always known Beatrice.

Beatrice the most evil poodle in the world. The most evil entity, force, energy known to man...  the universe. Beatrice steals a second here... a second there... from her yapping for cheese, dancing charade to look up and meet my eyeballs on the fire escape. From five floors up she can penetrate right through me. I see you looking at me Beatrice. You terrify me... but you complete me too. I must deal with you in the same way I will one day deal with my own demise. My own death. You are death Beatrice. Death to humans is a mere plop of a pebble in the ocean that is the evil that you are Beatrice. Evil Beatrice the white poodle.

I begin to suspect that my dark thoughts about Beatrice and her secret reality are summer-tingued madness. But then, suddenly... just as Beatrice's black pool eyes lock with mine in mid-Salsa... from down on the sidewalk... something unbelievable happens. Time stops all around me. The clapping street people freeze... the birds in the air freeze... the trees blowing freeze... cars... children... the very air... everything around me freezes. It's as if time has stopped... yet I can still move on my fire escape. I'm amazed... l look all around me... everything looks like a three-dimensional photograph. What happened? I can't even hear a sound at all! Time and space have stopped... who... what could have done this? Oh my God... it couldn't have been...

I look down at the circle of street people who were clapping and feeding cheese to a dancing Beatrice... they are frozen in a perfect circle... looking down. Beatrice is gone. Where did Beatrice the evil poodle go? My eyes dart around the frozen street for her. I can't see her.

Suddenly... amongst the immense quietness, I hear a sound... a clicking coming from inside my building... in the stairwell. In contrast to the overwhelming silence all around me... the clickity-clicking sound is almost deafening. I hear it... *click clickity click* ...it seems to be coming up the stairs. Then it hits me what it is. It's Beatrice! Beatrice the most evil poodle... the most evil force... in the world! Coming up the stairs ...for me! Beatrice... Dark Mother of the Unknown... Mistress and creator of fear... death and dread... coming up my stairwell in a world where she and she alone can stop time and space itself and make me her next target. Me... her next conduit ...her next victim, vessel to pour whatever unspeakable evil she may have perceived into... *click clickity click*  closer... closer... oh God in Heaven, no! Not Beatrice the evil poodle. But God is nothing compared to all-knowing and all-destroying Beatrice. *click clickity click* ...closer... closer... up the stairs. I want to move from my fire escape, but can't seem to will myself to. What is the point of will against a malevolent force like Beatrice? *click clickity click* ...closer... closer... up the stairs the sloppily painted toenails hop up each and every step... without hesitation towards their destination... me. Somehow... even as a child, I always knew it would end this way. I would be wiped from the face of the universe by Beatrice the most evil poodle... evil force ever. I'm resigned to my fate.

The clicking has now stopped. I know Beatrice is behind my front door. I am still out on the fire escape... facing away... out into the street which is still frozen... silent... by Beatrice!  Beatrice just sits and waits outside my door. Beatrice knows I'm scared. She senses my fear... she's known it all along. It pleases her.

I still face outward... into the stillness... the bright sunshine-y stillness which Beatrice has caused and that, in her doing so, has claustrophized the world all around me and made the very outdoors seem as closed-in and as indoors as a locked closet... a fetid basement... the locked trunk of a car. Outside has become inside... concave has become convex... the vacuum has become it's opposite... day has become night... or the difference between the two has become irrelevant. There is no need for balance or ying and yang in a numb world where light and dark have become the same thing. Beatrice's stopped-time world where her and I are the only ones moving is the worst possible reality to know... but it's home sweet home to Beatrice. Her stopping of time and space is equal to less than nothing... less than a vacuum... Hell. Worse than Hell. This is Beatrice's territory... her territory... an altered territory... a territory of unfamiliarity and fear and nightmares and loathing and pain and un-love. I look outward... contemplating the meaning of the word "zero." I hear a clickity click on my front doorknob. It's Beatrice the evil poodle's hand opening my door. I hear her clickity click feet walk into my apartment and shut the door behind her. I have no need to turn around and look through the living room to see if it's her. I know... I fear... and I know she knows. She has paused... still... sitting up and looking across my apartment at me sitting out on my fire escape facing away from her. I can feel her. Beatrice is milking my trembling fear for every draining drop it is worth. I start to imagine a world or reality without pain or pleasure. If light and dark have become one in Beatrice's frozen-time world... could pain and pleasure cancel each other out? I feel a tiny... itty bitty flame of hope inside my soul as I contemplate this... but that tiny flame is snuffed out instantly, and appropriately, by the slow clickity click of Beatrice's toenails on my kitchen floor... walking slowly towards me. Beatrice could sense my thoughts of hope and has acted upon eliminating them... and letting me know she's the one to do so. I hear the clickity click enter the living room... the bedroom... and stop right below me... inside the window... behind my turned back.

I sit... having still not moved. I look out and see several small children frozen in mid-play on a jungle gym. I weep for their joy. Beatrice is behind me. Feeding off of my dread... gaining nourishment from it. Beatrice the evil white poodle... or should I say the evil that is a white poodle... how I loathe thee. The very force of evil... evil itself... which has plagued mankind since the beginning of time itself... that force is sitting behind me... waiting... sneering... knowing all. I sit still and say nothing. Or can I move at all? What's the use... man has been trying to get away from death... from nature... for centuries... by trying to achieve immortality through civilization. Beatrice has removed that option for me. "Death" and nature don't exist the the parameters Beatrice has created now. I cannot escape them, or try to project myself from them. I can only accept Beatrice... death itself. Evil.

Oh how I hate you Beatrice the evil poodle.

I think this to myself as I stare outwards. I try to clear my mind... but it's too filled with fear to empty out. Perhaps as I sit here in stillness... if I get scared enough I will pass out and not have to endure the...

My thoughts of hope are once again snuffed out by the tiny front paws of Beatrice. I feel her small poodle arms reach from behind me, around my ears and gently place themselves on my eyelids. I feel her paws. I feel the rough... black, pebble-like soles under the fur on her feet... the long, cold, pink toenails... the dirty fur. She closes my eyes and pulls my head back. I smell her stinking, rotten dog breath and feel her panting on the back of my neck. Beatrice pulls my limp body through the open window and onto the bedroom floor. She grabs my hair with her little white poodle paws and begins to drag me across the floor by my hair. My head turns sideways as I move. I open my eyes again and watch the white bedroom wall move horizontally across my field of vision. I want to speak... to say something... anything to Beatrice... I want to tell her I'm sorry... to tell her I'm sorry I failed her... to tell her I will do anything for her no matter how humiliating. But a man with no hope can barter nothing... and one in total control by another cannot bargain. I have nothing in the face of Beatrice the evil poodle. I hear Beatrice's clickity-click toenails on the floor as she moves me... drags me. It's the only sound I hear. Why even contemplate apologizing or groveling with Beatrice? There is nothing to tell Beatrice the evil poodle... she knows all.

Beatrice drags me out my apartment door. She drags me down each painful flight of stairs. I wonder if Beatrice, the evil of the world that is Beatrice the poodle, has feelings? No... probably not. Feelings don't exist in her reality... her reality of pain and fear and loathing... these are feelings experienced by other because of her. She operates as a force... an instinct in the universe. Humans are the ones with feelings... evil Beatrice has none. A bumble bee swarming around the nectar of a flower and Beatrice causing all the pain and suffering in the known world are one in the same... pure instinct devoid of feeling. Beatrice the poodle is a force... an energy... a reality. My horrible destiny and new unspeakable reality. I begin to leave trails of moisture on the black tile stairs as my head bumps each one while Beatrice drags me down. It is not blood... but tears. My tears.

I'm sorry Beatrice... so sorry.

I hear the clickity click as Beatrice's poodle paws take each step and she drags me down further and further... flight after flight. We reach the ground floor. I hear her clickity click paws as she drags me to the back of the building... past the mailboxes... to the back entrance. Beatrice works without haste or pause. But every moment feels like an eternity. She is master... I am slave. I hear Beatrice open the door to the back stairs. I see the sun beam in and hit my face... but it does not feel warm or good... it is frozen... like everything in Beatrice's numb world of Hell. She drags me past the rancid garbage cans... which look like gentle fields of blowing wildflowers in comparison. My realization that rotting garbage looks good to the world Beatrice has created for me resigns me to my pain... my anticipation of the horrible... the end. My head clangs on each metal step as Beatrice drags me down the stairs and to the basement door. My limp... malleable body and will follow suit. Beatrice stops at the basement door and opens it. It squeaks and clangs... I can finally hear a sound! A sound besides Beatrice's hideous clickity clicking toenail feet. The door swings open with a groan... Beatrice drags me into the darkness... the blackness of the basement. She shuts the door behind me. I hear the clickity click of her toenails and see her white, puffy frame bounce around me as she does each thing. Beatrice the evil poodle... the busy little poodle... busy wiping me off the face of the world.

Beatrice grabs me by the hair again and begins dragging me through the dark hall towards the furnace. I see her flickering shadow against the brick wall as she drags me closer and closer to the hot, stinking furnace. The only thing in Beatrice's Hell world that is not frozen.

Beatrice stops me at the feet of the furnace. I cannot move... I am without motion or will. Beatrice the force of evil that s a poodle is my master and my death at her hands is an extension of her will. Beatrice moves into my field of vision. My head is sideways against the concrete floor. I see Beatrice's face... her poodle puff hair... the balls of fur at the end of her ears. I see the orange flickering light of the shadows from the furnace on the wall behind her... I see the tiny yellow reflections of fire refracted in each of her black beady poodle eyes... I see what is behind her eyes but do not know it... do not want to know... I want her to teach me. To show me the way to destroy me. A tear rolls down my face sideways and penetrates the hot concrete floor.

Beatrice knows I am ready. She takes a razor from the floor in her little white poodle paws and begins to carve into my face. I want her to. I want her to carve me... to make my death a sculpture in her poodle paw hands... her art. I am wet clay in Beatrice's hands. She removes my eyelids so I can watch everything. The pain is unspeakable... excruciating... I feel it in every molecule of my body. I am happy to serve her. But I cannot move... I don't even want to. The searing hot pain and humiliation are like sweet caresses from the evil poodle Beatrice. Tears and blood gush from my eyes... but are indistinguishable from each other. Beatrice then reaches down further on my face with the razor an begins making cuts. She removes my nose. She wants to disfigure and humiliate me before disposing of me... remove my pride in myself so hating myself is the last thing I ever experience as I leave this world. Beatrice then reaches down with her stinking mouth and grabs my removed nose with her hideous, yellowed dog teeth. She chews the nose like any dog chews on a dead, discarded rat. I feel happy to be swallowed by her. I am happy to nourish her... I want her to use me to further herself. I am here for her. Beatrice then moves her little poodle body across the floor and takes a small mirror from across the flickering, orange shadow furnace basement room and props it up across from my face. I see myself... I am forced to stare through removed eyelids the mute, hideous monster I have become. Through the stinging blood and sweet tears of pain I make out a word that Beatrice has carved into my forehead. It says "SUBMIT". I have... I want to. Thank you Beatrice.

I try to move my tongue to speak... to thank Beatrice for her pain... her gift of death to me... but she reaches down with a paw and slices my tongue off with the razor. She then slaps my limp, flaccid tongue on the concrete in front of me. I see it and the silly, humiliating monstrous deformity my face has become in the mirror. Beatrice then takes one poodle legs and smashes my tongue with it. She squashes the muscle and pulverizes it with her paw. I see her pink painted dog toenails as she twists and destroys my tongue on the hot concrete with her little paw. I want to speak... to say "thank you"... but cannot.

Beatrice works quickly and economically... but I am the machine. I have become a machine with no will. A machine with Beatrice at the controls. I am a conduit... a bottomless pit filling up with Beatrice the evil poodle's resolve. Her will is my reality. My will is nonexistent. I am happy to let her fill me up with her will... the end of me. I am happy to submit to her. To please her.

Beatrice then quickly moves around me and severs all my major tendons with the razor. She works with a surgeon's precision. She does this to prevent me from moving at all. I am now a puppet.

I am ready now for Beatrice's final fate for me. I welcome it... like a mat. Beatrice takes her paws and drags my hideous, disfigured, obedient vessel into the furnace. Thank you Beatrice. She shoves me inside the little furnace door feet first... then stuffs the last of me inside with her little poodle paws. She faces my head outside the door of the furnace and shuts the little door. I see her... through my removed eyelids... and through the slits in the iron door. She moves her tiny, puffy, white body across the orange flickering basement. She stops on the other side of the room... she is behind a table... and behind that is the "on" switch to the furnace. She turns around and looks at me from across the room. I only see the upper half of her head from across the top of the table... her white poodle head and puffy white ball of hair on top. She looks at me for a length of time.  She has paused. I can see her black, shiny, beady eyes. They look right at me. I see the flame of the lower part of the furnace fire reflected in them... but I also see me... see me obeying her... Beatrice my master. I am her slave. Beatrice keeps her head facing me and her eyes locked with mine as she reaches behind her and places her paw on the switch to activate the fire in the main part of the furnace... the part I am in. I gaze into her eyes. I hear her pink toenails clickity click against the metal switch as she touches it.

It is the last thing I ever hear.


Copyright 2003 Mark Allen
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