The Random One

Just Desserts

Yeah, I know, it's bad that I ended up in here. But at least I'm still with Ken. Ken is my best pal.

See, it all started when we were kids. Ken was always looking out for me. Like this one time, there was this kid who was saying I was fat and smelly behind my back. Ken wanted to help me getting back at him by stealing his bike and ditching it somewhere. But he didn't tell me that, because he wanted it to be a surprise! I didn't know the kid was being mean to me so I didn't understand why we were stealing his bike, and I started to cry. You know how kids' minds work, right? I must have thought Ken was just a bike thief or something. Well, bottom line is, I ruined the surprise he had set up for me. I was so ashamed that day.

That's been Ken's life all along. Later, when we were teens, after his dad had left, he started growing oregano on his house. Weird, right? I guess he always liked pizza, though. He paid me to deliver it to people all over town! I mean, he would pay me like five cents, but it was oregano, right? I don't think people pay a lot for oregano. He was just looking out for me, keeping me busy and giving me a little spare money, as he's always done. Later he would also sell some baking flour, so people could make their own pizza from scratch, but he never sold any cheese.

Anyway, that's how I first got arrested. These cops stopped me right after I had made an oregano delivery. Ken later told me that one time he had stopped the police chief just as he was going to wrongly arrest a bunch of protesters so he'd had it for him ever since. That makes a lot of sense, because why else would the police go after a guy that delivers oregano for a living? But then he stopped growing oregano on his house. He told me he was sure the police chief would find a way to arrest him because of his garden, because there are a lot of weird laws about how you can and can't have a garden. I don't know why no one stops the police from doing that kind of stuff.

Do you want to know how we ended up in jail, like, definitively? Well, it was just a prank, really. Ken's landlady was giving him a lot of trouble, so he calls me one time during the night and asks me to help pull a prank on her. He says he stole all of her curtains, rolled them up, and he was going to hide them! That Ken was always such a jokester, you know? So I go out to meet him, in the middle of the night, and help him bury this huge bundle of curtains in the middle of the woods. Just a harmless prank, you know, but somehow, the police chief found a way to arrest us for that!

So I was in jail, and there was a bunch of people telling me that Ken had accused me of a bunch of stuff and if I told the truth about him I could walk, but I know that's a bunch of bull, because Ken would never do that to me, and besides, if the police chief wanted me to stay arrested he would, right? That's when they told me that the police chief was a lady, so I guess they got rid of the guy who was harassing Ken. But I didn't say anything about the curtains because I was pretty angry at the landlady, I wanted to see how she would buy new curtains now that Ken was in jail and not paying rent!

The time at the prison was the worst part, I think. The guards were always being mean to me, and the other inmates were always telling me that Ken was blaming stuff on me, which I know he would never do. I think the police chief was arrested for being mean to Ken and was sending these people to harass us some more, maybe? But after a few years, these men came around and said they were recruiting for a special government program or something that would let us get released earlier, so Ken and I signed up!

About a month later a bus came to pick us up and take us to a place I don't know where it is because the windows in the bus were too dark. It wasn't as bad as the prison because it was brighter and smelled better. They made us wear these orange jumpsuits and gave as these really weird instructions. They said that my name would be D-3136 and Ken's D-3137. I thought those were cool, like spy stuff, you know? Like 007. I actually thought it was more like that movie with the muscular bald dude that rides skateboards, because they had taken us from prison, but I was scared that they would think I was good with guns because I was in prison, but I'm not. I can't even ride skateboards! They didn't make me shoot guns or ride skateboards, but they separated me from Ken, or from D-3137 which is his spy name, which sucked because I knew he wanted to look out for me.

So. The next day they said I had been assigned to a… esceepee? I didn't understand what they had said, but I pretended I did because I don't like to sound stupid and Ken shouts at me when I sound stupid. I just called him Ken again instead of D-3137 which I guess made me sound stupid right now though. Anyway. They took me to this room and said I would have to eat a cake. At first I thought they were like a cake factory and I would be trying out their new cake flavours, but I'm pretty sure the cake was a normal cake that I had seen a lot of times before in the supermarket so they must be a cake research department that improves cakes that already exist. I don't know why I had to eat the entire cake in just one hour but I guess they have a timetable for trying all this cakes they make. After that they asked me some questions about the cake and I was sure to mention that I thought the cake was a lot better than normal cakes even though I didn't think it was very different from any cake I had eaten before. I hope that wasn't like a test cake and I ended up sounding stupid. But they asked me if I wanted to eat a whole cake every day so I guess that if there was any sort of cake test I passed.

After I took the cake test, I was going back to my room when I saw Ken. I waved at him and shouted "Ken!" and then I felt silly because I knew his spy name was D-3137 and I thought the guard that was taking me to my room would be mean to me. Ken looked at me and he was like "yo" but the two guards that were close to him didn't want him to move. He was like "let me go you mother fuckers!" because he knows how to impose respect, so the guards looked at the old dude in the labcoat that was next to them and he was like "it's OK" because Ken had imposed his respect on him. We talked for a while and I told him about the cakes. He told me he would begin his experiment, whatever it was, right then, and he was pretty sure it would be very boring but then they would let him go. I took a peek inside the room they were taking him to and I didn't see any cake, I only saw a creepy statue of a snake with a dude's head, and a guy sitting next to it in a weird chair that made it look like he had no head. Maybe Ken was going to test the chair? I bet that chair would be very uncomfortable, but I told him to be nice and tell them that the chair was good but he just said he would tell everyone to fuck themselves. Then the guards started pushing us so I had to say goodbye.

When I was walking down from the room I started hearing Ken screaming. I guess the chair was really uncomfortable. But then he stopped, so it probably was adjustable. Most chairs are nowadays.

Now it's been three months and I've been eating cake every day. I was going to be working with the cakes for only a month but I did such a good job that they had me stay for longer. I'm a bit tired of cake but the cake changes every day so I don't mind it much, and I always tell them that the cake is great even when it's not that great because I want them to be happy with the cakes. I haven't seen Ken since that day, though, and I really miss him, even if he would call me stupid for missing him. I guess that he's too busy because he has to sit on the chairs for longer to see if it's a good chair. Maybe he did well enough on the chair test that they decided to release him early. I hope that's what happened, even if that means I don't get to see him again until I get out of here too. I wish that could happen to me to, but I don't mind. He's always known how to impose respect and get what he wanted, and I never did. I guess in the end we just get what we deserve.

The Artist When Young

The city street was lined by dull, grey, nigh identical apartment blocks - a textbook example of Soviet architecture. Even using the word 'architecture' to refer to them seemed charitable, kind of like referring to a phonebook as literature. Looking at them, David kept thinking of Hercule Poirot, and how in one of his later books Arthur Hastings, his Watson, found him living on what amounted to British projects, simply because he loved symmetry so much he was taken by the uninspired, formulaic style of the buildings.

Jessica was waiting for him near a disused bus stop, smoking a cigarrette. Despite the biting cold night, she was still dressed as a quintessential hipster, or maybe she'd crossed a line and looked more like someone dressed as a hipster. She would hate to know he was thinking of Hercule Poirot, so with was a good thing she couldn't do like Poirot's granddaddy Auguste Dupin and figure out his thoughts from the way he looked at the stones in the pavement, she would not know what he was thinking.

"Stop thinking of Hercule Poirot", she said. Or maybe he was just that transparent.

He opened his mouth to say "sorry", but he remembered he spent a lot of time saying sorry to her and didn't like doing that. The rest of his body, however, decided to take up the slack of the traitorous mouth and curled itself up in an attempt to look incredibly contrite. This attempt may have been undermined, however, by the fact that he was already curled up because of the cold. He used to like the cold because it gave him a chance to wear his black trenchcoat without people staring, but ever since Jessica had started taking him to places that were actually cold he was started to change his mind. (David made looking good in a trenchcoat look easy. All you'd have to do was to stand next to him and you'd look excellent by comparison.)

He tried to come up with something else to say, but she also hated casual greetings, and apologizing for the delay would just be a different "sorry", so he remained quiet. She flicked the cigarrette into the darkness and, as she strode purposefully towards one of the building, took the silence for an invitation.

"Detective fiction is a traitorous cancer in literature. It takes a medium capable of speaking from the depths of one's heart and forces it into a restrective formula, for the sole purpose of placating the masses with tales of conniving criminals and dashing law enforcers, leaving its readers no better than they were before they read it. That is the worse thing something that aspires to be Art can be."

David just nodded. He had heard this before. Or maybe he had heard some of the many other rants on many subjects that were also liberally sprinkled with superlatives and five-dollar words. In fact, this one didn't even have a completely disproportionate insult.

"Detective fiction is literally as bad as Jud Süß", she finished. There you go. Maybe she, too, was very transparent.

Topsy Turvy

"Good morning, Doctor. Mind if I come in?"

"Not at all, Agent. Quite the opposite, I was expecting you'd bring an update to the current situation. Please, sit down."

"Thank you, Doctor. Yes, that's why I'm here. We've found six more related anomalous artifacts this week."

"Ah, excellent. Nothing requiring immediate intervention, I hope?"

"No, nothing at all. I mean, I imagine nothing particularly dangerous would stay hidden for that long."

"I should hope so. The measles outbreak, for instance - we were lucky to have Agent Mission on it. I shudder to think of what would have happened if it had beeen allowed to spread."

"Indeed, sir. But we are nearly done with this… er, batch. I estimate that we should take no more than three weeks to find all the anomalies still at large, assuming that Agent Sweetie manages to find the…"

The agent stopped, as he noticed the doctor's gaze had shifted to an envelope on top of his desk. Strange, he thought, I didn't see this envelope here when I walked in. It doesn't seem to have the all-clear stamp all checked mail should have. It had another, strange logo on it.

"Is that the document?" he asked.

"It seems to be."

"Shit. Sorry." He bit his hand as the doctor deftly opened the envelope. "There are still about twenty anomalies unaccounted for. There must be other groups getting this information."

"I'm afraid so. The letter suggests the Armory is receiving similar correspondence."

"Fuck! Sorry, sir. You don't imagine it'll stop any time soon?"

"To be honest, I thought they'd stop when we reached five hundred. Now I'm praying they will when we reach four digits. This is getting rather ridiculous."

"I promise you, Doctor, we'll step it up. I won't let us get passed behind. I'll get everyone on this. It's still a week before Agent Moon can be ready for surveillance, but until then he-"

"It's OK, Agent. You'll need that enthusiasm shortly. They've sent us a clue this time. One of the anomalies is to be found… on the Russian shoreline."

"Ha! The country with the largest shoreline on the world, of course. Do they at least tell us what it is?"

The doctor scanned down the document. "A hard-to-kill reptile."

"I'll take Agent Stripes with me. Let's see how hard to kill it is." He got off his seat and rushed for the door.

"Agent, stop right there. Need I remind you of what your duty is?"

"What? Oh… right. I'm sorry, sir."

"Sorry doesn't cut it, Agent. We don't destroy things. The Armory destroys things. We don't. We secure. We contain. And we collect. Did I make myself clear, Agent Redd?"

"You did, Doctor. I apologise."

"Now get out there. I need to get this to all agents at once."

"Yes, Doctor."

The agent left. The doctor sighed, and once again read the letter.

Hello there, Doctor Wondertainment! You've done great on the fifth round, and got 76 Special Containment Points! That brings your total up to 517 SCPs! Wow! Not too shabby!
But it looks like your opponents are starting to catch up! The Armory is now officially in the game, and while they only have 83 SCPs right now, they could be right on your tail any moment!
Don't worry though! We're going to give you a little tip for old-time's sake! We left SCP-682 somewhere on a Russian beach!
Good luck, champ! Here's the list for the sixth round! Go get them!
SCP-600 - "That Guy"
SCP-601 - Sophocles' Chorus
SCP-602 - The Sculptor of SoHo
SCP-603 - Self-Replicating Computer Program