The Canary and the Lemur

(This story is set in the distant planet and/or magical realm of Payrum)
Part One
The great industrialist Nine Auget founder of Auget Corp., once said: , “Find me a supply and bring me a demand and I will put a price on both”. This quote has been used as proof to demonstrate that anything a great personality says will be remembered, no matter how trite it is.

However, finding supplies and demands is how Auget went from a lowly conman to a high end conman aka entrepreneur. He realized that at any given point of time, there is a near constant demand for suicidal nutcases to take on dangerous work. This is not the Great Discovery that resulted in the formation of the Auget Canary services. The Great Discovery is that there was a near constant supply of suicidal maniacs.

The cost of risky assignments is high because the employee who places a high value on his/her life must be compensated for the risk associated. However, every single person alive goes through low points at which they place very low value on their lives. Thus, their asking price is much lower at this point than it would be otherwise. Executives swoop in to take advantage of these temporarily low prices, recruiting depressed young men and women to take on mind-numbingly dangerous assignments which no healthy person would take if their minds were not numb with pain and defeat. Their services are re-sold at a profit. Auget Canary services recruiters hang around the rooftops of skyscrapers, bridges and -of course-the stock market.

Glycer Rymes was approached by one such executive on a fine Monday morning just as he was about to hop off the Biconian Taver building, float free as a bird for forty two floors and turn into goo after floor no. forty three. He listened patiently to the man’s pitch and thought to himself: “ I’ve lost my job, my wife has decided to turn lesbian, the Reoxensian Rockets haven’t won a single game in two years and my favourite sweater shrunk in the wash. What have I got to lose?”

Part Two

There are a group of six villages to the South Reoxensian City. Near these villages is a cave. Those who enter this cave do not come back. Old story. The villagers –who didn’t really care what was in the cave as long as it didn’t steal oranges or cucumbers-weren’t too worried about this curious attribute of the cave.

What vexed them was that people seemed hell-bent on entering the cave and not coming out. The desire to not exit seemed to have gripped its adolescent population. Why, they wondered, were their young ones Bravely Heading Off Into the Unknown when they should be drinking, smoking, arguing with their parents and fornicating like normal teenagers? After blowing a small fortune in bringing up a strong young lad, it was quite annoying to have him Die Bravely Fighting The Monster That Lay Within before he helped bring in the harvest.

Unable to pay the usual rates charged by the kinds of heroes that took on these quests, they sent a telegram to Auget Corp, who sent a memo to the Auget Canary Service who-for some reason-sent it to the National Football Archives, who sent it back to Auget Canary Services who finally sent Glycer Rymes to the village. Glycer, who wanted a change of scenery and also the Jaws of Death around his neck, had lapped up the assignment.

Part Three

The plan was simple. Glycer had a recorder. The recorder was tied to one end of a rope and the other end was held by a villager who stood outside the cave, gradually feeding the rope in. Rymes would hold the recorder and, when he died, the recorder would be pulled out and they would figure out what was in that darned cave.

A hundred meters into the cave, Rymes discovered the cause of the various mysterious disappearances: a homicidal lemur.

At first, he didn’t realize that he was being attacked by a lemur. He thought he was being attacked by malevolent spirits who threw increasingly large rocks at him. However, he possessed something that the hordes of heroic gentlemen who came before him lacked: apathy. Absolutely resigned to his death he sat down with his back against the wall and started talking into the recorder. Thoughts about Life, Love and whether transferring Audrey Braun to another team would improve the Reoxensian Rockets chances this year (he concluded it wouldn’t) flitted through his mind. Then a large rock flew out of the dark and broke his thumb and the recorder.

Greatly annoyed, he picked up the rock and threw it back. There was a squeak. A loud one. And then silence.

Cautiously, he peered over the rocks.

A lemur lay there unconscious.

Part 4

The lemur was interrogated outside the cave. Fortunately, one of the villagers knew how to speak lemur.

“Who are you?’ asked Rymes
“He says: None of your business”
“Where did you get this cellphone from?’
“Why was your last call to a medical college?”
“Are you killing people and selling the corpses to medical colleges?”
“Why weren’t you able to knock me out the way you did everyone else?”
“He says: you looked like such a sorry loser that I grew careless and allowed myself to be outfought. He also says that Audrey Braun was hampering the Reoxensian Rockets and his removal will lift the morale of the whole team, so they’ll do better this year.”

At this point the villagers arrived with pitchforks and torches so the interrogation formally ended.
As he walked away, Glycer Rymes was filled with a new outlook on life. He had gained an invaluable insight: people were lulled into a sense of security around losers. He could leverage that-yes, he could.

Act like a loser. Make them feel safe, and when they least expect it, start throwing rocks at them.
He felt a sudden, irresistible desire to laugh evilly.

Navin Kumar
Kirori Mal College