Rapture 518

“Basic Birch”

by Sarah Penn




(Business Employees): 

"I need you to sign here and initial here…. And also, if we could just run through the Q&A…"

"…Mr. Oviatt, are you sure you want to go through with this? I just don’t see how this could be fiscally viable”


Kieve Oviatt: Trust me. Here we go!


Television assistant: Mr. Oviatt? That jacket is just stunning. Is that Prada? Or... no! Versace!


Kieve Oviatt: Thank you, it’s one of our sustainable brands. I’ll get you the contact. 


Television assistant: I’d be… you… you want my number?


Kieve: Hold that thought.


Lydia Chen: Mr. Oviatt! Good morning. My producers requested that I personally thank you for choosing us for your big debut. 


Kieve Oviatt: You’re so welcome.


Lydia Chen: This is such an innovative idea! Thank you for allowing us to be your launching point into mainstream media.


Kieve Oviatt: Thank you! Shall we sit?


Lydia Chen: Yes! Of course! They’ll count us in. Oh - do you need a touch up?


Kieve Oviatt: I prefer the natural look. 


Lydia Chen: Oh! Yes, of course. 


(News team and all parties laugh)




Driver: we’re approaching your abode, sir.


Kieve Oviatt: Thank you. The… the town car was sanitized before pickup, I assume.


Driver: Of course, sir.


Kieve Oviatt: The glasses look a little dusty. I uh, I thought I saw a finger print. 


Driver: My apologies. We strive to maintain our white glove contract with Basic Birch.


Keive Oviatt: I should hope so. I drafted it.


(Enters house)


Kieve Oviatt: Counters polished. My rooms are perpetually maintained at 16 degrees celsius. Not cold enough to be crisp, or frigid, but cool enough to keep everything as it should be. Everything in its place. The meeting went as expected. The news will play shortly. I’ll watch it in the background, but I’ve got more important things to manage… Ice cream would be nice. (Sigh) Alexa - turn on the TV.


(News intro music)


Lydia Chen: I’m Lydia Chen. And welcome to Good News Morning! An uplifting AM segment, and part of Entertainment Tonight! We begin this morning’s telecast with the man who has changed the way the world thinks about sustainability. Mr Keive Oviatt. Owner, and creator of Basic Birch. Mr. Oviatt, thank you again for joining us!


Kieve Oviatt: Of course! Happy to oblige!


Lydia Chen: It is an impressive feat to be known first as one of the nation’s most successful businessmen. Only to shift gears and become a municipal governor. Many have referred to you as the great chameleon. For many - a divisive pivot!


Kieve Oviatt: Divisive? The concept of sustainability should never be divisive. Unless, of course, you’re a share holder for one of my competitors?


Lydia Chen: I hardly recalled that your company even has competitors! Basic Birch has become a household name! Comparable to Johnson and Johnson.


Kieve Oviatt: I would hope that Basic Birch far supersedes Johnson and Johnson. After all, Basic Birch would never become embroiled in a dust-up over baby powder! … does that make sense?


Lydia Chen: But what would compel the innovator and director of Basic Birch to move beyond household supplies. To run for, and singlehandedly coordinate, a new municipality! Not just that - but one based entirely on a graveyard? 


[SCENE 3:]


Kieve Oviatt: It’s the only way to control it. I’d love to blame it on some mystical curse. It’s the whispers! The voices! … It’s not, it’s just me. I didn’t know this was what I would need. But the truth is, people… living people… are disgusting! Unpredictable, filthy in mind, corrupt in thought, perpetually dismissive and ostracizing of anything they can’t understand. It’s not as though I need perfection! I need the cool, almost porcelain sensation on my fingertips. That faint intimation of moisture without clamminess or perspiration. Abhorrent physiological responses! 

Every one of them told me I was a monster! And so perhaps, in a way, they are correct. But the longer this need is inside me, the more difficult it becomes to control. 

It wasn’t just Victor of Michael… and it wasn’t just the men. Emily and… whatever her name was…. Every one of them gave similar responses of disgust. Unpredictable conversation… arguments… every one of them told me I was a monster. The expression on each potentials face when I asked, in person of course, for the controlled cool of mild refrigeration as they lay still an unresponsive…. No. 

Even shrouded in the secrecy of anonymity and the allure of financial restitution is it near impossible to obtain a yes. 

And even in those few and far between agreements that genuinely follows through? The sensation was no better than a cracker made of unflavoured rice. Like scratching all around a mosquito bite without ever…

A moment was all anyone could hope for when it comes to perfection and I was unable to obtain even that through normal measure. 


Keive Oviatt: Pardon me, may I have that?


Worker: …sir?


Kieve Oviatt: Yes, I’d like to dig one myself. 


Worker: Sir… there’s uh… there’s bugs down there. Lots of em. And the dirt’s kind of soggy. It’s been raining a lot today and uh…


Kieve Oviatt: Hand…hand it over. 


Worker: I mean, the briefing said you hated that. 


Kieve Oviatt: The briefing was correct. Give me the shovel. That’s an order. 


Worker: … sir.


Kieve Oviatt: Give me the shovel. 


Worker: …fine. Whatever. 


Keive Oviatt: Spent a lifetime building an empire on disinfection. Six feet down, I’m surrounded by everything that makes my skin crawl. Still… for a few minutes, perfection will lie serene. Yielding to anyone without judgement or critical response. Cool flesh… freed from the confines of a throbbing circulatory system and electrical impulses. Neatly designed. Picture perfect… if only for a day. Before the world ruins that too with the nightmare of decomposition! Just before the squirming of maggots arrive is exactly what I want. Just the thought of them - him… her… down here. Unmoving. Cool, unbreathing perfection. Pushes blood into areas of my body that no living person has ever done to the same satisfaction. I’ll stand down here and stare at the walls of disgusting nature - worms and glistering beetles and writhing centipedes until … until I can get myself back under control. No one can know.