End Of Deaf; or, In the Clutches of Dumb
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A woman watched her father's chest rise and fall from the chair next to his hospital bed. The heartbeat monitor beeped in time with the song she listened to through her headphones. This time, yet again, it was Limp Bizkit’s “Nookie.” Truly awful, but it’s what he would have wanted. He loved the height of nu-metal, she thought to herself as she quietly sobbed, knowing that never again would he hear those grinding butt-bumping infantile guitar riffs. She wished she could spend her last visit chatting about how fucking stupid the late 90s were in general, but that's difficult to do with the unconscious. Besides, she'd end up repeating the same introduction from the last twenty three visits. The whole:

"Hello."

"Hello, where’s Fred Durst?"

“No, I’m, I’m not Fred Durst, Dad. uh… I'm your daughter."

"That can't be right, I have two sons! And they’re both Fred Durst!”

Wait a beat.

"Well, yes you also have two sons. But neither of them are Fred Durst. That doesn’t make a lick of sense. I’m also your daughter, you know..”

“Oh?"

“Yeah.”

“Well, it’s good to see you.”

“Good to see you too, Dad.”

Get up to leave.

"Wait, what was your name again?"

"Joyce. You named me Joyce.”

“No, I named you Fred. You’re Fred Durst! Oh my god, Fred Durst, I’m such a huge fan, can I have your autograph?”

And then get the nurse. Joyce had gone through the motions every time she visited. Except this last time. Each of those twenty three times, Joyce felt a sting in her chest, and wished her father would just go back to sleep. But now Joyce got her wish, and she'd realized that she kind of missed talking to the old coot, and the sounds of chugging juvenile late 90s excess didn’t fill the swelling hole in her heart.


Ten trained soldiers approached a bustling Legal Sea Foods near the docks. The crashing of waves against the shitty Baltimore peer encrusted with seagul droppings washed out any noise made by MTF Iota-10. The team lined up next to the back entrance.

Captain Eric Michaels held up two fingers and a thumb. An instruction. Three.

His thumb retracted, leaving the fingers. Two.

One finger bent in half. One and a half.

It bent in half again. One and a quarter.

It bent in half a third time. One and an eighth. One of the platoon members retched at the sight. “Goddamn newbie” thought Marquez. Everyone who joined Iota-10 became familiar with what was known as ‘Michaels’ funny finger trick.’

One.

Michaels kicked in the door and Marquez threw a flashbang. The team plugged their ears and turned away from the door just long enough for the grenade to go off —BANG!— then charged in behind it. Guns out. Bullets sprayed. Diners dove under the table, overpriced lobster spilling on the floor. A waiter threw a bottle of expensive chardonnay. “Die! Yew stewpid americain loseurs!” he shouted in that fake French accent waiters at fancy restaurants have. “J'espère que vous, les bâtards de la Fondation, ne mangez que des doigts de poulet jusqu'à ce que vous mouriez!”

Some waiters hit the ground. Others dove behind the bar. The rest took lead to the chest. A lot of diners also took lead to the chest, except one guy in the back who was going absolutely ham on a slice of coconut cake, and making little yummy noises as he did so. The tropical aquarium they have in every Legal Sea Foods also took lead to the chest, releasing a torrent of water and cheap fake coral. “I’m free!” shrieked the lionfish, flopping out of the restaurant on its little fins, sure to invade the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem like the little bitch he is.

Fuckin’ lionfish.


Joyce wandered back into the office at Site-2718, feeling especially depressed and weepy at life, and also her dad, and also at them completely fucking up her spaghetti at the drive-through, but no matter.

There was Emily Young, rushing towards her, a huge smile on her dopey face. Oh no. She hoped this was important, she was in a rotten mood.

“What is it now, Emily?” Joyce sighed. “I’ve just been to see my dad at the hospital, and his Durstmentia has reached stage 23 & 1/4. It’s not good. So you better have good news for me.

Emily smiled broadly, like a kid who’s just been told they’re now the president of Chuck E. Cheese and what’s that? They now own all the ice cream? Fuckin rad! “We’ve done it, Joyce.”

Joyce’s eyes widened. “Really? Like, after all these years? No shit!”

Emily smiled and snapped her fingers, giddy with glee. “Believe it baby!”

A Level 4 containment specialist walked by at that very moment, pushing a standard issue containment pram. SCP-███ leaned out, binky and bottle in hand, and warbled out “I don’t believe it,” in its usual deadpan. Emily rolled her eyes.


Michaels popped out from behind the Maitre D’s lectern and shot a few rounds at the men across from him. Legal Sea Foods must've doubled their waiter detail since the last raid. He was already out of ammunition, and his team was running low altogether. Soon, they’d run out of breadsticks, and then they’d have to raid the kitchen. Horrors awaited. A quick scan counted about twelve bogeys left. Michaels turned to the private next to him.

"Turner, give me cover."

“Okay.”

The tarp came down quickly over Michaels’ eyes.

“No! Not like that!”

“Oh, okay.” The tarp was whipped away.

"You see that crate over there?"

“Okay?"

"How much you bet this shipment's part of a weaponry order?”

“Okay!”

“What?”

“Okay!”

“Why are you just repeating the word okay. Just, just answer me, Private.”

“Okay?”

“Can you stop, now? Like, it’s getting old.”

Turner opened his mouth to speak, but Michaels held his finger to Turner's lips.

“If you say okay again, I’m going to demote you to Ticonderoga Duty so fast your shit will be threat level black in the toilet bowl.”

“Meep."

Michaels grimaced and darted toward his prize as Turner let loose another round of bullets, mostly at the celing. A sharp pain shot up Michaels' leg. Clean crab thrown right at the calf. It pinched irritably, like all crabs do. “Ahaha! Mangez des crabes, stupides Américains!” a waiter shouted. Champagne corks went flying left and right, and so did sprays of overpriced fizzy mineral water. It seemed they were really unleashing their biggest assault.

The adrenaline carried him to the crate. Michaels cut the straps with his tactical knife, and then shot the lock off. He then shot three time all around the side of the crate, and once at the top for good luck. He reloaded with another magazine and shot an additional five shots into the crate. He then kissed it, gently, like a momma bird, and then shot it one more time, just for goofs. Damn, now he was out of bullets. Oh well. The side of the crate fell open on its own. Michaels' grin grew a little wider.

This is where they kept the Good Butter™.


"So normal?" Joyce looked up to see Emily standing at the vast length of supercomputer laboratory stretching before that, "Sorry, I was half expecting some kind of eldritch portal to be standing right."

Emily took a seat next to Joyce. There were a set of chairs at the control panel directly in front of a big red button.

“Nope, not at all. This vast piece of paratechnology is the final piece of Project DAMMSHETHICC. One easy tap on this button, and human hearing will be increased to its full capacity. Everyone will be able to hear everything in fine detail regardless of eardrum condition.” Emily lectured as she sipped her coffee.

“That’s amazing. But this wasn’t here yesterday when were doing research, how in the world did you build all this overnight?”

“D-Class, and also I’m very speedy.”

“Hmmm, makes sense.”

“Once I destroyed an entire Montevideo apartment building in twenty seconds flat using only a tooth.”

“Uhhhhhh.”

“He broke up with me after that.”

“Shall we press the button?”

“What could go wrong?”

The two of them jabbed their fingers down on the convenient Big Red Button just sitting there like a slug in the middle of the console. It was, to be sure, a top 10 tender moment.

But also, quite obviously in retrospect. something instantly went very wrong, and showers of sparks filled the room as miles after miles of supercomputers designed to warp reality by running coolmathgames.com at processing power equivalent to that of Bosnia and Herzegovina malfunctioned, because as luck would have it, a rat seven miles away just happened to gnaw on a wire at the same time Joyce and Emily pressed the button.

"Are you sure we need to be here for this? We can just—"

“What?”

“What?”

"I can’t hear you!”

“What?”

"Umm… Dr. Michaels?"

"What?"

“Did you say something?”

“What?”

“I think it broke!”

“What?”

“I THINK IT BROKE!”

“I can’t hear you!”

“What?”

“Something went wrong!”

“I don’t know, but something went wrong.”

“What?”

“Huh?”

“It didn’t work! Oh shit, it didn’t work!”

“…..oh shit! It didn’t work!”

“Yeah, now you’ve got it.”

“What?”

"I can barely hear you."

“What’s that?”

“What?”

Ut!

“…wait I heard that?”

“Did you hear that?”

Ut!

“….”

“…..”

Ut!

“Uh oh.”


Michaels was about to break every rule they pounded into his head during training.

They warned him not to get in the Good Butter™. They warned its power would be too much, but here he was, stripping naked and swimming in that foamy fatty goodness. It was probably a cognitohazard or some shit I don’t know, he thought to himself as he noticed Marquez and a waiter starting to strip to their skivvies to join him for some rude nude dude-to-dude butter bath bonding time.

Michaels aimed to take backstroke, thinking to himself how surprisingly spacious this butter pond was for being only the size of a crate, when he realized he couldn’t hear the splashing of the waves. He couldn’t hear the waves crashing into the Inner Harbour outside. He couldn’t hear jack shit. In fact, it seemed like no one could hear jack shit. Everyone was looking around in general confusion, mouthing panic at each other. Michaels could hear none of it, only a faint distant ringing.

“Ut!”

“Oh my god, Taylor! I can hear you!” Maybe they had all just gotten butter in their ear canals.

“Ut!” Said Taylor thickly. Michaels paused. Taylor was standing stock still, eyes blank and glassy.

“Taylor?” Michaels mouthed, although no one heard him.

“Ut! Ut!” Taylor began to float above the ground, eyes glowing, head beginning to turn oddly square. Entities manifested around him, little cartoony women holding bowls of….potato chips. What?

Taylor’s head was a potato chip bag now, floppy and shiny. Whatever he was, he wasn’t human, not anymore. Everyone stared at him in dumb awe as he raised his hands to the sky.

“UTZ!”

Marquez’s head suddenly swelled and exploded into potato chips, sour cream and onion flavor, and he toppled headless and dead into the butter. Before Michaels had time to scream to no one, or even react to the horrifying sight of his comrade in arms (and sauce) turning into a human chip-egg, his head did exactly the same.


Joyce‘s dad was awake, calmly jamming out to Limp Bizkit’s “My Way,” when suddenly he couldn’t hear that blessed Durst shrieking. Goddamn it I finally played it too loud, he muttered to himself, limply letting his few strands of grey hair flop on his face from too much headbanging. Suddenly, the nurse flung open the door, completely panicked.

Her head exploded into BBQ chips.

Joyce's dad looked over the chips on his hospital bed as the nurse’s corpse flopped over.

"MMMM, yim yum, yummy in my tummy!" Were his final words seconds before he crunched on a nurse-head-chip and seconds more before he met the same fate.


As Taylor rose into the sky, transforming still, popping heads like people pop Pringles cans, all across Earth in what was, essentially, the Pennsylvania Snack Belt version of the end of Neon Genesis Evangelion. Then he used his final powers to raise all the metal on earth into a grand twisted formation, contorting buildings into a hideous eldritch construction, broadcasting a message of terror into the cosmos. He looked at it once, before his purpose became complete and he disappeared into a puff of Humes, warping into Pretzel Space.

The sign, larger than the continent of Africa, read “SNACK FOOD PLANET! NOW AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE FROM THE UTZ SNACK FOOD COMPANY! COME AND GET ‘EM!”


Once all life on earth had been exterminated, Bob the Buggy Boi emerged from his Scranton Reality Anchor lined bunker in the New Jersey woods and surveyed the scene with a smirk.

“Now da bugs will inherit da oith!” he said. “It’s bug o’clock!” he yelped apropos of nothing, before opening his mouth and letting loose a metric fuckton torrent of bugs, insects, assorted arthropods, TikTok stars, and civil servants.


On that day
The earth was bugs and chips
The reaper had a full work day
Got very tired
And went to Space Bermuda for a well deserved break

Also:

There once was a carpet in Maine
That had a very large purple stain.
It was made by a goose
Drunk on grape juice
And the rest I don’t have to explain.

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