Chapter 2: An Unfamiliar Ceiling
“The Nephilim were on the earth in those days-and also afterward-when the sons of God went to the daughters of men and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown”
1 January 2012: The Present
McMurdo Station is on Ross Island, Antarctica, which is claimed by New Zealand but the base itself is run by the U.S., is a sequence of facts that confuses Lilly Earlyon. She also did not learn about the Austral summer until later in life than she thinks she’d want to admit to someone she didn’t know very well, in casual conversation, and so she in her head, when presented with the idea of Antarctica in January (like most Northern hemisphere residents) was certainly not thinking of the warmest it ever gets here. Which is what it is, in fact. That’s the reason they only bring on the Janitorial crew from September to March, and send them back for when the real cold comes in.
Lilly has a variety of nicknames, one of which is Early Time, another of which is Early-to-bed, which is a holdover from high school begat by another girl who thought Lilly had slept with her (other girl’s) boyfriend of several years. Lilly had, but it was more an issue of this other girl being an unbelievable bitch and the boyfriend being trapped in what he called “all but an arranged marriage” but who turned out as well to be something of an unbelievable bitch himself.
The Earl of Canterbury is her favorite, and so naturally no one ever calls her that, but that is what she named the spider that she keeps as a pet. There are no animals at McMurdo station, but the janitorial crew is also in charge of the distribution of lettuce-heads when they arrive, and from time to time some of the smaller varietals of arachnids end up aboard somehow and are kept as secret pets, at least for a while.
Lilly’s swiffering the good old freight elevator right now, which is caked generally with some kind of very cold snow/mud mixture, and is caked with that mixture right now, but has also seen it’s share of projectile vomit on Thursdays when the janitors go to the bar, and which also descends past the basement onto a level that the janitor’s aren’t allowed on, is the rumor, so what Lilly is also doing is pressing random combinations of buttons in a methodical attempt that she’s been keeping up since November 2011 to uncover the secret, if indeed there is a secret.
Lilly’s always wondered about a set of twins, born a few seconds apart, but one born on 31 December and one born on 1 January, if it’s ever happened and what it would be like, because like she’s seen twins lord minutes or an hour over each other, but they were always born on the same day, so what if one twin could lord a different day and a different numerical year over the other, how would that affect their upbringing?
The good old Albert P. Crary Science and Engineering Center freight elevator, which has a name by one of the other janitors, who calls it Bessie, and won’t refer to it as anything else.
Lilly pressing buttons with the end of her Swiffer-brand mop-like device, so that if anyone asks she can say with a clear conscience that she just bumped it with the end of her swiffer. The Janitors fill out weekly cleaning schedules in a procedure that ends up looking a lot like a pro sports league draft, with all the janitors taking turns picking what they want to clean until the duties are spread out, and Lilly’s been using at least one of her top three picks on the Crary freight elevator since 29 October 2011. She has yet to get it to descend past the Crary basement, which feeds into the loading dock which has a thick cement floor, which Lilly is under the impression would make a wonderful ceiling for something secret and dangerous and affiliated with the secret, dangerous parts of the U.S. government.
Lilly’s suspicions all but confirmed on 16 December 2011 when she saw through a second story window a decently long-term researcher who has yet to produce anything in the way of findings enter the freight elevator at the loading dock level, and so she responded by hitting the button to make the elevator open on the floor she was on, and not only did it take a while for the elevator to get there, but additionally the fellow wasn’t on it, and some other people were.
Lilly’s resolve unshaken even though three months of meticulous combination button pushing (there are only three buttons) has returned only that one pseudo-discovery.
At night, she looks out of her window and sometimes sees lights where there aren’t supposed to be any lights.
3 August 2021: The Present
The reason that Felix calls it Hamburger Purgatory instead of Hamburger Heaven is that it’s kind of a private joke to himself that he’s rationalized with the facts that certainly the burgers are better than what you’d get at, say, the old golden arches, but aren’t really the kinds of things that you’d want to pay anyone anything substantial for. And anyway you should be suspicious of anything that only takes a few minutes to cook, is what Felix has always thought.
Felix will appear busy whenever the phone rings for a call-in order, for the reasons that then Squatch will be the one to answer it, and he doesn’t speak English very well, and then maybe the caller will give up, and that’ll be one or two less people that Felix has to interact with that day, and also because Felix doesn’t like to use phones with cords.
Squatch is called Squatch because he hasn’t had a haircut in about six years and from a distance looks like he’s around nine feet tall.
During the winter Felix calls Squatch “Yeti,” but the way he says it sounds more like “Yeh-tay!”
“It’s the Yeh-tay!” Felix will yell.
“Yes,” will be the response of the Yeti, but it will sound more like “chase.”
And so anyway the phone rings and Felix ducks down and gets both of his hands on plastic sleeves of drink tops and then holds them up and looks at Squatch like “you expect me to answer the phone too?” and then Squatch gets it and Felix goes to refill the drink top station and when he comes back he’s handed a bag from the kitchen that has what feels like a few burgers in it and taped to it where they tape the name of the person who placed the order is a receipt with “Christ” on it.
The second justification for his environmental nomenclature being that he’s never felt like he needs to be at the ol’ HH one single more day, but he can’t for the life of him think of a way out.
6 February 1989: The Present
The idea came to Atom while he was attending a production of “Fiddler on the Roof” and half falling asleep, and the last thing he heard was the name Lazar Wolf, and then he had a dream that became his idea that became the novel he’s working on. He calls it “Breaking God’s Windows” and what it actually is is a post-apocalyptic vision of “Fiddler,” taking place in something like the year 5000, which he hasn’t exactly worked out yet, but it’s post-nuclear, which he is sure of, and also post-alien invasion, which are these kinds of Lycanthropic humanoids with very red eyes led by some kind of stock-merciless villain patriach character named Laser Wolf, and music’s been outlawed as of like 2K years prior, so human ears can’t process sound anymore, and music’s been outlawed for the specific purpose that the aliens eardrums are too sensitive. And so in what would be modern day Scotland this beautiful woman finds this relic fiddle and discovers that somehow she can play it and can process music without adverse side-effects, and not only that but she can kind of aim it, and she start leading this rebellion.
Among the work’s major problems are over description of the heroine’s body and how physically stunning she is on top of general storyline inconstancies, along with the glaring oversight that the heroine’s main love interest (the heroine is named Moira) is inexplicably able to also process and hear and appreciate the beauty of music and the fact that the sex scenes are amazingly overwrought and awkwardly led into in the storyline, not to mention the fact that they’re ubiquitous and serve no greater plot purpose. Atom really just comes of as a horn-dog with an imagination, or who at least had one really vivid dream, once.
There’s some overuse of pretty poorly thought out metaphor as well.
4 August 2021
Felix Sand has never once been on time for work, and he’s never gotten in trouble for it, which leads him to believe that he’s in charge, which he acts like, certainly. So when he sees the “Christ” bag still sitting there after a day and it hasn’t been picked up, he’s really surprised when Squatch grabs his arm and the bag out of his hand, and not only won’t let him throw it away but is careful to make sure that it’s back in the exact spot it was in.
 Lilly likes to imagine one of them leaping into the crate and checking it out, then shouting “follow me! Follow me to freedom!” and a hopeless crew of rag-tag spiders, probably one is the brains, probably another is the brawn, probably a young couple with child, maybe one who isn’t as strong as the brawn but is quicker, and a better fighter. They endure the journey as long as they can, one by one dying, as they all knew they would, but the reward of a better life for few outweighed the risk to the many. Until the leader with his dying breath hides the newborn in a head of lettuce for someone, anyone to find, that anyone becoming Lilly, that spider the world’s only hope. She keeps it in a jar. They must have been running from something.
 Short for sasquatch.
 The eyes were the main idea going in, actually.
 And it’s not like it’s left ambiguous for artistic purposes, it’s just never even touched on the fact that this guy (who is named Adam, which would give friends of Atom pause, if he had any) can, after two thousand years of sans-tune earth and breeding and however slight evolution of the human eardrum, is emotionally equipped to just one day hear traditional Celtic fiddle tunes, which are staggeringly beautiful even for people who’ve been listening to them for decades, let alone people who have never done so. His first spoken line after hearing Moira just rip out some fast-paced fiddling is “wow,” just “wow,” which would infuriate any reasonable reader, or at least it should.