“The Mursday Effect” is a humor piece created pseudonymously by two authors, with each devoting him or herself to an alternating chapter each week. The newest instalment in the serial will appear in each Monday issue of The Heights. It can also be found online with the previous chapters.
Last week, you may have noticed a piece by Joanna Oxford, noted simpleton and funambulist, describing the morning a young man named George who woke to find that his Monday classes had been swapped with his Thursday classes and that, somewhat more importantly, the entire world seemed to be twisting in on itself as the most basic of facts, such as mathematical reality, shifted and changed alongside a collapsing reality.
Ms. Oxford, as she often does, neglected to inform you of the crucial role she played in the strange happenings of Mursday, just as she neglected to inform me that she was planning to steal my car and leave me stranded in the woods. And yet she did both of those things because she is a scoundrel. So, I believe it is my duty to inform the readers of the true Mursday happenings, instead of narrowing my focus so as to avoid confronting the truth like that dastardly Oxford.
While George and his mysterious new friend rushed into McGuinn 110 where they would take their first steps on a journey to revelation and pain, there was another male-female pair on the opposite side of campus engaging in a much more narratively important discussion.
Darren MalientePedo Ringtck sat in the back row of the empty Robsham Theater and drank his coffee out of a Mason jar, which was a monumentally foolish decision because everyone knows that heated liquid, when poured into glass receptacles, causes the glass to expand and crack. But Darren loved Mason jars and all they added to his overinflated idea of himself as a brilliant intellectual, whose mind-breaking ideas of structural dysmorphia and the falsified socio-political framework of pseudo-beckettian joyceiasmic post-pre-postmodernism would change the world.
Darren was a freshman English major, if you were wondering.
The woman who walked into Robsham Theater and sat next to Darren needs no introduction. But what the hay, here’s one anyway.
Her name was Athena Wilson, a professor in the physics department, and she was a much more pleasant person to spend time with than Darren, despite her involvement in a number of extremely shady enterprises.
“Darren,” she said. “Drinking that coffee out of that Mason jar is a monumentally foolish decision.”
“Why did you call me here, professor?” Darren said.
“It appears that something has gone wrong with the Mursday plan. There may be complications.”
“Have you spoken to the directors?”
“No more questions from you, child.”
Darren’s glass cracked from the heat of his coffee.
“Oh, nuggets,” he said, as the coffee dripped through the crack and scalded his hand.
Athena shook her head at this poor, foolish boy. But he was necessary to the situation. His parents had funded the initial experiments and without them this would all fall apart. Darren had been crucial in planting the snow-producers and manipulating the days off so as to align everything for the final trial run.
“Owie owie,” he said. “The coffee’s burning my hand.”
Athena did not respond to the call of ‘owie owie.’
“It really hurts,” he said. “Ooooooooooooooooooooo.”
“Then why don’t you put down the broken mason jar so that the hot coffee stops dripping over your hand.”
Darren paused and then put the jar down.
“Stephen Dedalus’ theory of beauty is just applied Aquinas,” he muttered, in order to convince himself that he was still intelligent.
“It appears that something has split,” Athena said. “Worlds are bleeding together. More importantly, we have outliers, students and faculty who have been able to observe the effects of the Mursday plan and may take action once they realize that reality has been broken. I need you to help me find these people.”
“What happens once I find them?”
“You give me their names. The rest doesn’t concern you.”
Athena stood up and walked out of the theatre, leaving Darren to nurse his boo-boos. Outside, she dialed a number on her phone.
“We’re moving on them,” she said. “It won’t be long.”
She hung up and walked on.
Over 1,000 miles away in a small farmhouse in the northern woods, a distinguished, handsome, intelligent, articulate, generally fantastic fellow was sitting down to enjoy a morning croissant when a crass, cruel, simpleton of a woman sat across from him.
“How did you get in here?” the truly beautiful and immensely talented man said.
“None of your business,” the downright mean and unpleasant woman said. “It appears as though there may have been an incident at Boston College. As reporters, vigilantes, and protectors of reality, we must go and see what has occurred.”
The man shook his head in that dashingly clever way of his and stood up.
“I suppose we must,” he said, and the two of them left on a journey that neither realized would someday lead to serial publication in a college newspaper.
And finally, back on the BC campus, in McGuinn 110, George and the girl he had followed out of class, the two classic, relatable folks introduced into this tale last week by Ms. Oxford burst into a fully-packed lecture on the importance of non-linear derivatives to the work of Dante Alighieri.
“What’s happening?” George said. “Weird crap has been going on all day. What’s wrong with the calculator? Who are you? Why is everything so weird?”
“Quiet,” she whispered. “I can see it too, but no one else can. Everything’s going weird on us. Yesterday, my best friend was an Irish dancer who loved French fries and Marvel movies. Today, she told me that she can’t wait for her chemistry class, wants to get kale for dinner, and absolutely loves what Zack Snyder did with Batman v. Superman.”
“There,” she said, pointing to a man standing in the back of the hall. “That guy stopped me on the way across campus this morning. I think he knows what’s happening and he’s trying to stop it.”
The class ended and the students filed out. Soon, the hall was empty except for the two of them and the man in the back. He walked slowly toward them, his boots making strange, metallic noises with each step. As he got closer, George could see him clearly: a tiny man with a large black trench coat, a black pork pie hat, aviator sunglasses, and a finely-trimmed beard.
“Who are you?” George said. The man stopped precisely 15 inches away and appraised the two young, bewildered students.
“My name’s Retrograde,” he said. “And I’m here to save your lives.”
No one spoke.
“Oooh,” George said, totally ruining the moment and turning an intriguing ending into a stupid gag. “Dramatic.”
Featured Image by Meg Dolan / Heights Editor