The afternoon sun blazed down on the high badlands, and the air was thick with blood-sucking flies. Existentially challenged philosopher/thief Anton Pesticide had sought the shade of a washed-out draw, and was rummaging about in his pockets for yet another bottle of gin, when he chanced upon an old book, and drew it forth with the very real intention of eating it. However, his intention changed as soon as he got a look at the cover, for the book in question was nothing less than the dreaded Necronomicon of the mad Arab Abdul Alhazred. And to make matters worse, it happened to be the world’s only surviving copy of the original, unexpurgated Arabic version, which contained passages so blasphemous and wicked that even an anal-retentive monastery rat like Olaus Wormius hadn’t had the balls to translate them. Pesticide, however, was as fluent in Arabic as he was crazy, and as destitute of scruples as he was of reason, possibly on account of his continuing claim of nonexistence. In any case, he began leafing through the tattered pages of this antediluvian anathema, and eventually chanced upon a particularly noxious spell for summoning up the odious lloigor Yog Sothoth and trapping him in a bottle. Predictably, Pesticide’s curiosity got the better of him, and he began mumbling the words of the frightful incantation, until Yog Sothoth finally took form inside the very bottle of gin Pesticide had been searching for. Since he was as thirsty as ever, Pesticide could not refrain from taking a swig from the bottle, and Yog Sothoth immediately took possession of him.
The next thing Pesticide knew, he had been sucked into a black, unfathomable gulf, reeking with the charnel stench of dozens of long-dead corporate consultants, and surrounded by shapes so ghastly that no sane man could have stood to look at them. Pesticide, of course, was not a sane man by anyone’s standards, and far nuttier than any other human Yog Sothoth had ever encountered in all his variegated transdimensional travels. Thus he defied all of Yog Sothoth’s initial attempts to unsettle him, and remained as annoyingly unflappable as ever. He simply tugged at his droopy white moustache and started looking around for some familiar point of reference.
“Well, this is very peculiar,” he finally remarked. “I thought I was in North Dakota.”
“North Dakota is fortunate to be so cheaply rid of you, infidel,” responded an acerbic voice, from just over Pesticide’s left shoulder.
Pesticide turned around, and found himself face to face with the hellishly reanimated corpse of Abdul Alhazred himself, his bulbous eyes leering obscenely from the sockets, and the ragged remnant of his mouth all a-bubble with putrid drool.
“Were you talking to me, sir?” Pesticide inquired politely.
“No, of course not,” grunted Alhazred. “I was just talking to myself. Why would anyone talk to you?”
“No reason I can think of,” Pesticide replied. “I am too nonexistent to think otherwise.”
“Don’t start that crap with me,” said the Arab. “I’ve been dead for almost thirteen hundred years, and I’m in no mood for it.”
“Well, what can I do for you, then?” Pesticide asked.
“What can you do for me!” shrieked the Arab. “I’m supposed to be doing something for you, you pompous old crock! I’m supposed to be scaring the shit out of you! Can’t you see how hideous I am? Can’t you see what a ghastly place this is? What the hell is the matter with you?”
“Well, I’ve never been quite sure,” said Pesticide. “My insurance coverage ran out before my psychiatrist could get to the bottom of it. I do have some pills I’m supposed to be taking, but I usually forget to take them. Anyway, all I know is, one minute I was hitchhiking through North Dakota, and the next minute I’m here, wherever this may be. I seem to recall it had something to do with someone named Yog Sothoth. I don’t suppose he’s around here anywhere, is he?”
“He doesn’t want to talk to you right now,” said Alhazred sullenly. “He’s trying to decide whether to eat your soul or make you his slave for all eternity.”
“I am afraid he would find neither choice especially gratifying,” said Pesticide. “If he is as old and wise as he claims to be, surely he must perceive that I do not exist.”
“Why do you go on and on with such drivel?” demanded Alhazred. “You look solid enough to me. What are you doing loitering around here if you don’t exist?”
“I have often wondered about that myself,” said Pesticide, “and I am beginning to come round to the opinion that nonexistence itself does not exist. So if nonexistence is itself nonexistent, then—”
“For the love of Allah, be silent!” roared the Arab. “Where did you learn to babble such insufferable rubbish?”
“In your own book you have written it,” said Pesticide. “With strange eons even death may die. Wasn’t that how it went? This seems like a pretty strange eon to me, so there you have it.”
Alhazred was too incensed to make a proper response to this. He fell down in a paroxysm of rage, and began desperately trying to gnaw his own leg off.
“So if nonexistence is itself nonexistent,” Pesticide continued, seemingly oblivious to everything but his own idiotic musings, “then it is really impossible for anything to be nonexistent. Therefore everything must exist. Everything. Honest politicians must exist. Kind-hearted prostitutes must exist. Fair play and common sense must exist. Five-eyed, six-legged, lavender giraffes must exist. Even nonexistence must exist. Hmmmm. Uh-oh. That’s a contradiction, isn’t it?”
As Pesticide’s ponderous edifice of half-baked rationalizations began to collapse, a furious mob of reanimated corpses rose up from among the ruins, laid their moldering hands upon the old philosopher, lifted him high above their worm-eaten heads, and carried him to the great black non-Euclidean altar stone of the lloigor. And there, before Pesticide’s gin-besotted eyes, Yog Sothoth himself appeared, in all his awful, multi-tentacled magnificence. Fortunately for Pesticide, Yog Sothoth was not quite himself, possibly on account of his recent confinement inside a liter of cheap gin. At any rate, Pesticide apparently looked even worse to Yog Sothoth than Yog Sothoth might have looked to Pesticide, if any of it had managed to penetrate the wall of abstraction with which Pesticide constantly surrounded himself. Pesticide, however, had already begun to ponder the question of whether the nonexistence of nonexistence might be nonexistent, and was on the verge of unleashing a fusillade of triple negatives that would have unhinged the sanity of even a sober lloigor. As it was, Yog Sothoth could not stand to hear five words of it, and withdrew from the proceedings with a frightful moan that shattered the barriers betwixt several dimensions, unleashing a horde of invisible, hypersonic beings that existed only to make dogs bark in the middle of the night for no apparent reason. The hypersonic beings went on a rampage in several traditional trouble spots across the galaxy, and kept half of New York City awake for nine consecutive nights, until finally a state of emergency was declared, and the offending dogs were rounded up and shot.
In the meantime, the reanimated mad Arab had recovered what was left of his self-possession, and was rallying the troops to summon up great Cthulhu from his murky ocean depths, to put an end to this nonsense and restore the dreadful dignity of the lloigor. This resulted in a ceremony so lengthy and strident that it rendered its participants temporarily impervious to Pesticide’s most infuriating philosophical discourses. For his part, Pesticide was getting too confused to carry on with those discourses, and seeing nothing about that was worth stealing, he decided to stretch out on the altar stone and take a nap.
Several hours later, there was still no sign of great Cthulhu. So finally the long-dead corporate consultants were prevailed upon to rise up from their graves and join the procession. As expected, the consultants began chanting a chant so horrible that even some of the other reanimated corpses were driven insane by its appalling implications. The consultants spoke of facilitating the transition by utilizing the existing infrastructure. They jabbered incessantly of prioritizing the resources, and of optimizing and aligning the human capital, until finally a message came through that great Cthulhu was attending a business luncheon with several other lloigor, and had left instructions that they were not to be disturbed under any circumstances.
Upon hearing this, the reanimated dead were plunged into the deepest despair, for it was clear to them that Yog Sothoth was likely to be incapacitated for the foreseeable future, and that the other lloigor had abandoned them. They were trapped in a black, unfathomable gulf with an entity more hideous than any of the lloigor, more hideous even than the reanimated corporate consultants: an infernal, gate-crashing old party-pooper of a pompous, bullshitting, incomprehensible academician. At the moment, he appeared to be asleep, and the charnel crew finally agreed unanimously that their best move would be to tiptoe away and be very careful not to wake him up.
When Pesticide finally did wake up, he found himself stretched out on the living room floor of a posh Malibu beach house, surrounded by partying Hollywood types. As the party was winding down, most of the partiers were too sloshed or too stoned to take any note of him, and the rest were too jaded and depraved to care. Clearly it was time to go. He arose, bowed, and took his leave, carrying away several bottles of expensive liquor (as well as all the loose change and stray jewelry he was able to stuff in his pockets), with no one any the wiser for it. And as he continued with his weird, wayward wanderings, he remained blissfully unaware that the accursed Necronomicon had been lifted from his pocket, most likely by one of Yog Sothoth’s prehensile tentacles. Whatever the case, Yog Sothoth was spared the indignity of ever having to see him again.