There it was. Right there on the curb. Who would abandon such a beautiful thing? It was all black and about six feet long. The cushions cradled your buttocks as you sank into a position of pure, unparalleled comfort and optimum television watching.
It was the couch of couches, and his name was Schnietz Marphis.
He called to me that bleak October morning. As I walked to classes (Physics of Ren & Stimpy 204) I felt a pull, a force drawing me to an alley. I didn’t know it then, but I know now. It was the presence of Schnietz, compelling me.
Thoughts of attending class immediately vanished from my mind. There was only The Couch. With infinite care, I managed to drag, pull, carry it back to my apartment. The going was easy, The Couch wanted me to take it. It needed a home, a host, a vessel. I would be the caretaker of The Couch I and I alone was worthy to own and sit in such majesty.
Once we reached my abode, I quickly pushed aside all other furniture. My old, unworthy couch was tossed out the window in haste. It landed unceremoniously on the lawn, where it disintegrated onto pieces. My apartment was on the tenth floor, it was quite a fall.
I sat down in an ordinary, nameless chair across from my new acquisition and studied it. Who knew what adventures it had encountered? What lives it had changed? What mysteries were woven within the threads of the seat cushions? I could hardly contain my excitement at the thought of what my new relationship with Schnietz.
A knock on the door drew me away from my flights of imagination. It turns out that it was my friend Frost asking where I had been for the last three days. I looked down and realized he was right. I was still wearing the same clothes I’d been wearing when I first met Schnietz Marphis.
He asked me who that was and I pointed to The Couch. Frost looked appalled. He asked me where I got it and expressed disgust at its condition.
I was shocked by his questions and observations. Who was he to cast aspersions at my dear new friend? And why did he want to know where I got it? Was he jealous? He must be! He wanted a couch for himself, to show off. No, even worse. He wanted mine! He was going to steal my beloved and keep it for himself.
I eyed him wearily. His facial expression betrayed his intentions. I knew his schemes now, there was no hiding them. And for Frost, there could be no escape.
Wait. Who said that? Was that my idea? Frost was my friend, he had no use for a new couch. Why would I think otherwise?
Then Frost’s eyes grew wide. I followed his gaze and saw that The Couch was pulsating with a deep black glow. It was a shade of black I had never seen before. A shade I’m sure nobody had seen before. It was too black. It hurt my eyes and I began to feel nauseous looking at it. The glow bore into my skull and my brain throbbed with an incredible pain. But I was trapped, unable to look away. I doubled over and started to retch. Near to me, I could hear Frost doing the same thing. Then my legs buckled. I collapsed on the floor. Dead to the world.
I woke up sometime later, not entirely sure where I was. Then I felt the fabric beneath me and immediately knew where I was. I jumped up with a shock and fell to the floor. At Schnietz’s base. I had no idea how I had ended up on The Couch, or where Frost was.
With no warning (but to be fair, what kind of a warning can a couch give?) one of the seat cushions raised up and a limp arm partly fell out. Crawling over, I looked under the cushion and there was Frost, staring back up at me. I say at me, but it was more like through me. Lifelessly. Whereas I had been passed out, Frost had not been as lucky.
I stood up on shaky legs and leaned over to pull Frost’s body out of the couch and figure out exactly what had happened. Maybe he was still alive and I could get him to a hospital.
That’s when the cushion snapped down, severing Frost’s arm. It fell to the floor, blood lazily seeping out. A little club soda would take care of that stain, I thought. With a bit of a manic giggle. I couldn’t believe I was making jokes while my friend’s arm lay on the floor, his body lodged somewhere in the bowels of a piece of furniture.
I tried raising the cushions. They lifted easily. I was scared to look inside, but I had to see. With my eyes half-closed I warily looked in. It was empty, save for a few pennies and a cheeto (which tasted extra stale). There was no Frost.
Out of nowhere the front door burst open in a cloud of splinters. A man ran into the room yelling at me and brandishing some kind of gun in his hand. He kicked me away from The Couch and aimed his weapon at it. A flame shot out and engulfed (such an overused word when paired with fire and flames, in my opinion) Schnietz completely. Still yelling, the man dropped the weapon and began to awkwardly drag me out of the apartment. I got to my feet and ran out of the door as the fire spread around the room. Everything was burning, even my copy of Requiem for a Dream, starring Jennifer Connelly. I could swear that I could hear a high-pitched scream coming from within. With a last look, I saw The Couch shake and twist in ways that were physically impossible, almost as if it were bending in and out of this reality. And then my view was obscured by smoke and I was outside, coughing my lungs out.
I felt a sharp pain in my left arm. Looking over, I saw that the man had stabbed me with a needle. That’s when I passed out. Again.
I (again) woke up woozily. I looked around and saw that I was back in my apartment. Or at least a duplicate of it. Standing over me was the man who had randomly burned down my place. Or so I had thought at the time. He was standing over me with a smile. He identified himself simply as Chester and helped me to sit up.
My confusion over what had just happened kind of had most of my attention. I tried to ask what was going on, but my mouth was dry, full of smoke and useless. Seeing my trouble with words, Chester decided to speak. He told me that he worked for a man named Mr. Brooks. He said that they had been tracking The Couch for months in an attempt to destroy it. With a straight face, he told me that it was possessed by a being known as Roseus, who enslaved and killed men. She seemed to really have a thing against people born with penises. He also said that once The Couch has been consumed (there, that’s much better than engulfed, right?) by the fire, it was gone, along with all the damage done to my place. Unfortunately, Frost had not reappeared.
With that, Chester left and I was on my own. Everything back to the way it was, minus two couches and a best friend. Also, I had missed a week of classes as well as showers. I was failing and smelly. I sat on the floor and wondered if I’d ever see things normally again.
It’s been five months and shit is not normal. I swear that Schnietz keeps showing up in random places. And I don’t mean that I’m seeing it out of the corner of my eye (although I have), but places it shouldn’t be, like TV shows, movies, (including movies that came out decades ago) books, magazines and even blogs. I have no idea when or where I’ll see it. But the sightings are becoming more and more frequent. It’s only a matter of time. See, Schnietz Marphis is still in my head, like a comfortable seat with plush cushions. And I can just feel my mind sinking deeper and deeper. I have a new sofa. I think I’ll go take a nap now.