I dropped in to see my attorney, and in the context of our billable discussion I happened to idly mention something I’d seen in the news about Kevin Federline.
She spat her ice cube back into her tumbler of bourbon.
“We don’t speak that name round here,” she said.
End of discussion. The receptionist hastily showed me out, with security behind her.
I should have known better. I’d seen my attorney’s library; her editions of the Pnakotic Manuscripts, the Unaussprechlichen Kulten of von Junzt, The Witch-Cult in Western Europe, Justin Geoffrey, the Livre d’Eibon, Remigius and Della Porta, De Vermis Mysteriis, even a facsimile of fragments from the Philetas translation of the Al-Azif. Living in western Massachusetts, with Miskatonic less than two hours away, I should have known better.
I got on I-90 and pointed my car east.
You’d never expect to find a department of Media Studies at a school like Miskatonic, not when its library’s restricted collection is its chief draw, and especially not in a haunted and gambrel-shrouded tiny New England town like Arkham. But there it is, the newest building on campus, all glass and steel in a weird almost non-Euclidean geometry, not curvy like Gehry but just off in its angles.
“Oh yes,” a TA whispered to me. We were talking, quietly, in her cubicle after I’d found not a single professor with an open office door. “K-Fed’s not the only one. They have titles, you know. And ranks.”
Me, clueless: “Ranks?”
Her, impatient: “Ranks. Principalities, powers, virtues. You know. Dominations, thrones, cherubim, seraphim.”
Me: “No. I don’t know.”
Her: “The ranks of angels. Only these aren’t angels.”
And the TA, whose name I swore I would not print, told me of the eldritch elder gods from the shining rhombus beyond which black gulfs lie, and their avatars.
Bono the Unspeakable. The Sentient Toxic Mist that is Nicole Kidman. Steve Jobs, the monstrous nuclear chaos who dances in the madness outside angled space. Katie Holmes, Bride of He Who Must Not Be Named. The Many-Tentacled Toad-God Jon Stewart. Gretchen Wilson, who is The Key and The Gate. The Mother of Knives, Martha Stewart, who is also The One Who Rends Veils. Bill O’Reilly, The Father of Abominations. The Source of Uncleanliness corporeally embodied as Jenna Bush. Chris Rock, the yellow-scarved High Priest Who Is Not to Be Described. The tenebrous daemon-sultan Kato Kaelin, with his great and terrible Herald and Envoy.
And beyond these, there are names one dares not write.
I must type quickly, now.