Cool Ranch Doritos

By Matt Diamond

Gregory hated going to the Techno-Psych. He felt like a computer on a lab bench, wires exposed in harsh fluorescence. But he knew he needed to go. His mind was “a ship torn apart by two odd captains,” or at least that’s what the Detector said. It was prone to overly florid language, an unfortunate design decision. Gregory had little patience for poet-engineers.

In the elevator, the man on the k-screen was babbling. Something was for sale. Laser knives? Gregory didn’t much care. All he wanted was some Doritos. He would do anything for some Doritos. He would die for some Doritos. He would put a gun under his chin, pull the trigger, feel his brains erupt from his head in a crimson splash, if it meant that someone would give him a bag of Doritos. Ideally the Cool Ranch variety. He loved Cool Ranch.

The Techno-Psych sat waiting, tapping his finger against his watch.

“You’re late,” he said, blood pouring from one of his eyes.

“You’re bleeding,” said Gregory.

“Am I?” replied the Techno-Psych. “Fuck off, you know nothing. You think you know things, but you don’t. There is nothing that you know.”

“Sorry,” muttered Gregory, taking a seat on the plastic couch-shaped object by the door.

“State your name,” ordered the TP.

“Gregory Blasch,” stated Gregory.

The TP closed his eyes.

“Why have you come here, Gregory Blasch?” he asked, as if he were terribly inconvenienced by this visit.

“I don’t know, the Supervisor said I had to,” replied Gregory.

“And do you do everything the Supervisor says?”

“I guess so.”

“Why?”

Gregory thought for a moment.

“Because if I don’t, the Supervisor will be upset.”

“That’s true,” noted the TP. He scribbled something on the metallic note-plate resting on his lap. “Would you say you’re happy with your current state?”

“I don’t know,” said Gregory.

“Well I don’t know either,” said the TP, a hint of frustration in his voice.

“Okay,” said Gregory.

They sat there in silence for 15 minutes. Then a buzzer sounded and a voice came through on the speaker above the door.

“Blah blah blah,” it said. “Blah blah blah blah.”

“Oh, I see,” replied the TP, as if this announcement were perfectly coherent. “Indeed, indeed.”

The blood which had been streaming out of the TP’s eye had slowed to a trickle, and Gregory was becoming restless.

“I think I’m going to go now,” he said.

“Very well,” said the TP, standing up and brushing lint off his jacket. Then he fell to the floor and died. Then everyone else in the building fell down and died. These things happened now and then. Gregory felt something like melancholy pass through him briefly, but could not catch it in time.

“I wish I had some Cool Ranch Doritos,” he said. He stood up and made his way to the exit, stepping gingerly over the bodies in the hallway, hoping beyond hope for a vending machine.

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