123 – The Heart
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Intro: What you are about to hear is a noise band just doing a sound check for half an hour.
Hello, and welcome to the Kakos Industries corporate shareholder announcements. At Kakos Industries we do many, many things. We make those things Evil, and those things make other things Evil. The Evil things make less Evil things more Evil. Even the supposedly not Evil things become ever so slightly Evil. Thanks to the work we do, nothing is free from at least a twinge of Evil, and eventually, we’ll make that thing even more Evil than that. My name is Corin Deeth III and I am CEO of Kakos Industries. Shareholders, have you ever taken a walk and just sort of.. Gotten lost for like two weeks? Well, it happened to me. Shortly after the last broadcast, I went to examine the building because there were rumblings and our finest metrics told us that things were shifting in a big way. I wanted to make sure that I found whatever was shifting so that we could make the necessary adjustments, and I guess there was some part of me that was worried a bunch of employees might get stuck somewhere again, and while their deaths would be sad, the loss of their potential Evil would be truly tragic. So, I did something perhaps a bit unsafe and rushed in where I should have stayed back and watched. There are still relatively few people in the building, so the odds were small, but sometimes you do something that you realize later, or perhaps almost immediately, was a mistake, but you’ve already committed and here goes. Anyway, I rounded the corner from my office and took the elevator to the fifth floor, where we were seeing some serious rumblings. I stepped off the elevator on the fifth floor, and started to walk the halls. There are a few large offices on the fifth floor usually, so the halls tend to be short and to the point, but this hallway was much too long. By my estimate, I should have exited the building entirely at least once over for how far I walked. I thought about turning back, but we have certain guidelines about getting lost in the building, and backtracking is really only something you should try if you know what you’re doing, or you’re so lost that ending up anywhere else entirely is an improvement. I’ll get into that more later. For now, let’s talk about this radio.
Today’s broadcast is coming to you from an egg that just hatched in front of you. A part of it has cracked, and sound is now leaking out. Please hold your curiosity for now. Attempting to open the egg any further is ill-advised at this time. It might do something terrible. I am told that the audio coming from this egg is extremely high quality, so high in fact that your human ears likely can’t tell how much better this sound is from your usual listening environment. Just what is making that sound, and perhaps, more importantly, what lucrative partnership led to this egg, you might be wondering. Great. Keep wondering. I have no answers for you today. Only more questions. And as I’ve told you before, sometimes it is better to not know something and savor the mystery. A great mystery is worth perhaps a thousand disappointing answers. Television has certainly taught us that repeatedly. And if there’s a mystery at the center of your life, then perhaps solving it will leave you with nothing. Or worse. As always, this broadcast is exclusively for Kakos Industries shareholders, and if you aren’t one, then your life’s mystery will become a little clearer in the coming days, and perhaps disturbingly so.
Returning to my story, I knew that I was lost. I knew that I was not where I was supposed to be. I was not prepared to turn around and see what strange changes might have shaped the hallway behind me, so I continued on. As I said before we have some guidelines for when you get lost in the building. They’re not rules exactly. Sometimes they are the exact wrong thing to do, but more often than not, they’ll get you back to safety as quickly and easily as possible. The first rule, keep moving forward. Turning around can change things. We all know this. Eventually, you’ll find more familiar scenery, or more importantly a landmark like a stairwell or an elevator. Now, stairwells and elevators don’t always work exactly like you might expect, elevators being known for taking you where you need to be rather than where you want to go, but they are more reliable than hallways. Hallways can do anything they want at times. If you’re really lost, then it’s time to try a stairwell or an elevator and see if you can’t get back to more familiar surroundings. You can always go up or down another floor if things aren’t familiar. Up is almost always better than down. Ending up in the basements without preparation is not a great idea. If you can find a window, you can figure out about how high up you are as well. And in worst case scenarios, you might be able to exit the building through the window depending on how high you are or what your personal terminal velocity is. If you’ve gone in one direction for a long time, and I’m talking hours, and you’ve determined that being literally anywhere else is better than where you are, you can then turn around. Depending on how things change you might wish to reverse directions several times, but in order to do so you’ll have to walk at least ten meters in a direction or round a corner for any changes to really take effect. If changes take effect faster than that, then congrats, we know exactly where you are, making you no longer lost, but you definitely don’t want to be there. Lost would be a better state of being. We refer to the place where every movement results in a change of scenery as The Spot. It’s incredibly difficult to get free, and sometimes, you just don’t. There are some corpses here at Kakos Industries that we cannot remove because it would risk getting the remover stuck in The Spot. Some people do get free, of course. And for others, the skeletons are a helpful reminder to turn back and not move forward. If things haven’t progressed for a while, it may be necessary to wait things out. Sometimes the building is in flux and you won’t find your way out until it settles. To do that, find a place with as many directions of potential travel as possible. Ideally an intersection of two hallways, somewhere by a window, or someplace near stairs or an elevator. This is to prevent you from being boxed in. And most importantly, try to remain calm. Sometimes these things take a while to work out, and if you’re going to die, then there’s really nothing that more effort is going to prevent. You can lie down on your back or sit against the wall, or perform a comfy standing yoga position. Just stay calm. If you’ve been lost before, or you just stick closely to the guidelines we have here at Kakos Industries, you’ll have your emergency pack with you. I was lucky to have mine on me. It’s a habit when I leave my office. Inside are some emergency rations, a pack of gummy fruit, some string, bandaids, a head lamp, other important survival gear, and some bones. Usually like a section of a cow’s mandible, some goat knuckles, and who knows what else. I don’t know what the bones are for. I assume there’s some sort of augury that can be read to try to help with things, but I do not know how to do that and it kind of sounds like bullshit. At any rate, I found myself traveling an impossibly long distance down this hallway, and it became clear that I would need to do something differently. I turned around, but it seemed I was in the same hallway. I walked the expected ten meters and turned around again. Still the same, seemingly infinite hallway. I turned around again and backtracked thinking that I was somewhere stable and perhaps I could leave the way I came in. Not the case. The hallways continued and I didn’t get anywhere in more time than I was walking the other direction. I moved backward again until I felt like I was about where I started. If these hallways made no sense, then perhaps I should try to avoid being in the sections far from the body of the building.. I had no idea, but we do the best we can with imperfect information. I sat down, and I took out the bag of gummies. One thing I had forgotten is that I inherited my grandfather’s survival pack, so these gummies packed a bit of a wallop. I passed out for I’m not sure how long. We’ll come back to this.
We recently had the celebration of self love. Shareholders, are you aware that this celebration is the only time that some of you ever masturbate? Someone told me that the other day and I found it unbelievable. There’s a contingent that are so well romanced by others that they simply don’t have to, but there’s another contingent that just don’t. Are you okay? I mean, it’s fine if you’re not feeling it for whatever reason, but I just worry. This year, to facilitate the self-love, we sent all of you a sex toy. Now, I didn’t specify exactly what it was because that was part of the festival. It had some shapes to it that you might be used to. Protuberances. Pockets. But there were other textures and shapes that you might not have been as used to, and to describe it as slightly unwieldy was to put it mildly. We were curious to see what you came up with, and your anonymized data was sent back to us automatically. I think we learned an awful lot about all of you, and about human sexuality. We’ve sent the data along to the Division of Erotic Experiences in case it might help them.
The Division of Erotic Experiences is currently trying to figure out how to do another one of their supposed sexual positions that came from the Fucking@Home app that many of you are running on your computers. Apparently this one requires you to penetrate yourself from behind yourself. They’re trying to work on the portal technology required. I don’t think that’s going to do it. For one thing, there’s only one person. While it might be sex by some definitions, it isn’t most sex. I think you have to have a partner for that. Maybe there’s a way to fit another person in there, but I’m still not sure that’s it.
Coming up, we have the CEO Festival of the Dance, that hybrid festival of the CEO Festival, which all of you used to mock me, and the Festival of the Dance, which none of you used to mock me. Now some of you use the CEO Festival of the Dance to mock me, which is acceptable levels in my opinion. We will be having a hybrid event. You will all be required to dance on ThwiccThwocc again. To participate, go to KakosIndustries.com/ThwiccThwocc, that’s t-h-w-i-c-c-t-h-w-o-c-c. Dance to some music. Or lip sync the things that I say. It’s all Evil. Those of you who perform admirably will be invited to the facility to dance for me in person.
After I had eaten the narcotic gummies in the hallway and taken an unexpected nap, I awoke to find I was in an incredibly busy hallway. I had no idea how long I was out, but I was starving. “Sir,” a voice said. It was deep and gruff, but undoubtedly feminine. I looked up to see a furry, humanoid shape, with three eyes and three long teeth protruding from its upper jaw out of its mouth. “You can’t sleep here,” she continued. I tried to hide my surprise and horror. We employ many monsters at Kakos Industries, but sometimes they’re not what you’re expecting to see right when you wake up. I apologized and got to my feet. I explained that I was Corin Deeth III, CEO of Kakos Industries and that I was lost. She said, “sure you are, hon.” I realized I wasn’t getting where I expected with that line, so I asked for directions to the lobby. She looked a bit concerned for me. Then she pointed down the hallway. I walked down the hallway in the direction I was pointed. There were hundreds of smartly dressed monsters just walking up and down the hallways. Not a one recognized me. I got to the end of the hall and I was directed again by a helpful monster. Then I made it to the lobby. Except, it was different. There were nothing but monsters. At the front desk, on the benches, coming in the door. It wasn’t sunny outside, but it had a kind of glow to it through the front doors. I was completely disoriented and convinced that I had slipped dimensions or something. Outside the front door was a big cave system. I opted not to go that way. I found a vending machine to try to get some food out of, but the money slot was a weird gem-shape. I ate some of my rations. I looked for an elevator, but it had no up button. I decided that one floor down probably wasn’t too big of a deal and it might get me somewhere new. I stepped inside. A number of monsters got out. I pressed the b1 button, thinking it would take me down one floor. I kept going. And going. And going.
JUNIOR: Yes, Corin, it’s Junior. I wanted to clear up a bit of foolishness that just fell from your drooling gob.
CORIN: Okay, go ahead.
JUNIOR: You were in Monster Kakos.
CORIN: Monster Kakos? Oh, I don’t like the way that sounds out loud.
JUNIOR: Yes, Monster Kakos. It is really, really deep in the building. Far deeper than you should ever go. Humans especially should not go there.
CORIN: Why? Everyone seemed nice enough.
JUNIOR: Things get strange in Monster Kakos.
CORIN: Is that really what it’s called?
CORIN: What gets strange there?
JUNIOR: Look, Corin, what happens relating to Monster Kakos should sometimes remain in Monster Kakos.
CORIN: Are they employees?
JUNIOR: In a manner of speaking.
CORIN: Do they get paid?
JUNIOR: In a manner of speaking.
CORIN: What do we give them and what do they do for us.
JUNIOR: They do all kinds of things that are not suited for human employees.
CORIN: Aren’t the human employees the real monsters, though?
JUNIOR: No. Don’t be stupid. The monsters are the monsters. Anyway, currency works differently down there. They are remunerated fairly for their time and effort.
CORIN: None of them knew who I was.
JUNIOR: To them, the CEO is more of a legendary figure than a real person.
CORIN: What the hell. This makes no sense. Why didn’t I know about it?
JUNIOR: Sometimes the less you know about Monster Kakos the better.
CORIN: I’m the CEO. Anyway, I think we should maybe bring them into the fold. I want to know what’s going on and maybe set up a liaison.
JUNIOR: I am already the Liaison to Monster Kakos.
CORIN: Why aren’t you doing your job?
JUNIOR: I am. The less you know the better. The Evil they do down there? It’s different. It’s beastly. Monstrous.
CORIN: We do that up here.
JUNIOR: Fine, Corin. I’ll take you back down there sometime. We’ll party. We’ll see how you like it.
CORIN: I just want to know what’s going on.
JUNIOR: Sure you do, Corin. Take care now.
CORIN: Send my love to the little ones.
JUNIOR: Will do.
CORIN: I honestly can’t tell if he’s just fucking with me.
Anyway, I’ve already told you about The Division of Erotic Experiences, but let’s fill you in on the other interesting goings on. The Division of Kaiju Battle Reenactment is prepared Gidara versus Umlauticon. This one is before my time, but I am excited to see it.
Kimmie and Eddie had a picnic the other day. I was invited, but I missed it on account of being lost in the building for like two weeks. They told me it was nice. It was probably better that I didn’t crowd them. It takes Eddie a while to open up to people I think and I don’t want to make that more difficult.
The Division of Figuring Out What All of These Keys Go To opened this really small box the other day, but the process of putting the key into the hole and turning it destroyed whatever was inside. That was a bummer.
Meredith Gorgoro sent me a picture again, but this time it was just her flexing her monster arm in the mirror. I am still envious. And a little turned on.
They say that Evil once ate all of the whole chips, and filled the remaining bags with the crumbs. This is Thing We’re Taking Credit for Now. Today, we’re taking credit for unexpected wetness, general dampness, and the coming floods. If you disagree with anything we’ve taken credit for today, then prepare to get downright soggy.
Astrid Olivia Nyqyuist has won today’s Ruin-A-Life Drawing. As a result, the life of Astrid’s nemesis will be ruined. That nemesis is only known as Libby. We gave the Wheel of Misery a hefty spin and it landed on the space for Sincere. From this day forward, Libby will be 80% more sincere always, making it difficult to navigate social situations with the typical niceties. For Evil measure, Astrid will be 13% less sincere, which can be its own bag of worms when trying to connect. Congratulations on the win and best of luck.
The Damnation and Ruination Squad are running around the building and elsewhere wearing skin tight eel skin suits. They really just cover their entire bodies with a face hole and it is just eerie. The texture is weird. Shiny like latex, but more unsettling.
I should really finish my story. I think I was in that elevator for another day. I ate more of the rations. I kept going lower and lower. My ears popped a number of times. It was getting serious. But I knew that whatever was going to happen was basically predetermined. I couldn’t climb out of the elevator. There likely weren’t any doors to pry open even if I did make it out. I dozed off for a bit and when I awoke, the number on the wall was dimmed. I tried pressing them all hoping I would stop somewhere. I didn’t. The numbers gradually blinked out in random order. Then, after hours and possibly days, it stopped. I stepped out into a long hallway that was dimly lit. A large green arrow on the ground told me to move forward. Against my better judgment, I did. Then there were stairs leading onward and downward for who knows how far. A green arrow lit up on the ceiling indicating that I should go down. And so I did. After a few hours of just walking down stairs, I was beginning to worry about the trip back up. It was going to be a lot of stair climbing and I have not been as active recently. Then, there was a door. A green smiling face appeared on the door. I went inside. And there it was. The heart. It seemed to glow every color at once, but it was also both black and white. It emitted light, but it also seemed to reflect the light bounced back onto it from the walls around it. It was a rounded cube in shape, maybe halfway between a sphere and a cube, but perhaps there was more to its shape that I am incapable of seeing. It hummed a sort of noisy hum. It was a warm and soothing tone, but it raised the hair on my arms, and my fear response was activated. I had only heard reports and seen sketches of the heart before. It was basically just a rumor. While there were numerous consistent accounts of it, they were often lacking. If the heart decides to show itself to someone, they are usually on the simpler side. Perhaps it was our bias about mental capacity that made it so easy to dismiss the reports, but there it was, just as they had all said. The room was black, but every edge of every surface shone bright white. You could see the outline of the whole room. There were steps leading up to the heart. There were also steps leading to other corners of the room. It was kind of a chaotic mess of right angles and corners and steps. It was also difficult to tell how large the room was. Shareholders, I’m not sure if you’ve ever come face to face with something so large or so powerful that you are insignificant before it. Something so capable of wiping you out of existence, and not even beginning to care that you’re gone. Something that simply exists a hundred order of magnitudes above where you are. But there I was. I found myself trembling from head to toe. Muscles I didn’t even know I had began spasming as I tried to contain myself. I was filled with awe, but also with incredible respect. I bowed. It was the only thing I could think to do in front of something so far beyond any of our understanding. The glowing of the heart changed slightly, but I wasn’t sure if my eyes were playing tricks on me. This is usually the point in the story where the listener and I have to discuss the nature of the heart. Is it some kind of magic? I firmly believe that it is not, but it is some science far beyond what I am capable of understanding. I’ve got some hypotheses, but I will never be able to test them. I took a step closer to the heart. I watched it carefully for signs that it might not like what I was doing. It glowed in a slow sort of pattern, which felt encouraging to me. Of course, I have no idea if the thing is even alive, or sentient, or sapient, or whatever comes after sapience. I took another step forward. The same slow oscillation in the shining continued. I knew that I could be staring death right in the face. I knew that I might evaporate and no one would ever know what happened to me. And I know that you know who might get to take over the company. But I was presented with a once in a lifetime opportunity. If I backed off now, I might always wonder. And that just might be a fate worse than death. Of course, all of you would have to deal with Fourest, but I would be dead. So I don’t have to care. Everything was looking calm so I moved ever forward. My lizard brain was on fire. It was telling me to run, shit my pants, and curl into a ball all at once. If I had a detachable tail, it would have been on the floor already. But I moved onward. Maybe there was a hint of ego in this. If the heart could think, or feel, or make decisions, then perhaps it had chosen to see me, and maybe I should be flattered, or honored, or at least a good guest. I thought briefly about which hand I felt like I could most easily live without, or that was perhaps most due for a monstrous upgrade, and I decided that sinister was the way to go. As much as I would love to have a dominant monster arm, I still need to sign documents and the like. I reached out with my left hand and the heart began to glow more brightly. I shielded my eyes but I kept reaching. And then I made contact.
What happened next will always defy words, but I’ll do my best. Simply describing everything as unfathomable, or unknowable, or that words fail to describe it starts to feel lazy. There is the risk, however, that language provides categories, little bins and boxes to put things into, and sometimes you don’t have the right box, or a big enough box. I plunged into what felt like a warm, thick liquid. It was entirely opaque and I was deprived of any kind of sight. I could open my eyes without pain, but there was nothing to see. The liquid moved around my body like tendrils, or fingertips as much as a fluid, and when I couldn’t hold my breath any longer, I gasped and felt the liquid rush inside of me, filling my lungs and stomach, groping and reaching the whole way. It permeated every part of me. And then I realized I didn’t need to breathe. The entire time I was falling deeper and deeper into this liquid. The sinking feeling was real, and if I thought I couldn’t be more afraid, I was wrong. While I always suspected I might die due to some unkowable, unimaginable horror, I wasn’t ever looking forward to that moment. I lost complete control. I couldn’t move. It felt as though my body had passed out, but my brain was still completely awake and grasping at any sensory input it could find. And then I touched the bottom. The bottom of what, I have no idea. It was softer than I expected, perhaps hallway between organic and inorganic. There was a light just beyond my feet that I could sense even with my eyes closed. I opened them. I could see my grandfather and a number of other people whose faces are nearly impossible for me to remember at this time. My grandfather was younger. Still older than I am now, but younger than I ever saw him. I thought for sure that this was some sort of out of body hallucination just before dying. I wasn’t breathing. I was at the bottom of some horrific lake. And I was seeing my grandfather and people whose significance to Kakos Industries I could only imagine. I saw myself, or what I assumed to be myself. He lacked Fourest’s trademark nose job. I think I could see Kiarawa in the distance, but it might have just been another woman. There were some monsters. They all smiled at me. I got a thumbs up here and there. There was something oddly comforting about the sight. I wasn’t living in the world of uncertainties. For a moment, I was certain that I was as Evil as they come, and I had achieved what I needed to. I was pretty sure that was the end. I lay back and let whatever take me. There was nothing I could do.
I woke up on the fifth floor. But I was naked and covered in matmos. I coughed and sputtered. I didn’t have my survival pack, or anything for that matter. A Tabitha found me. I had expected there to be a search, but I was surprised to see someone so soon. She wasn’t a Tabitha I recognized, but she had that vibe, you know? I knew instantly that she was a Tabitha. She radioed for help, and soon I was covered in a blanket and being helped onto my feet. They escorted me to one of the office clinics. They checked my vials and tested my blood for just about everything. They sequenced my DNA. They checked every fluid they could. Someone hit me on the knee with a little hammer. He wasn’t even a doctor or a nurse, just a concerned passer-by. Everything was normal. Everything was the same. No changes. Nothing new. I was me. I took the opportunity to write down everything I had experienced, like a particularly unusual dream you just have to tell everyone about. I wrote for pages and pages. I’ve been largely consulting these notes as I recount the story. Parts I remember well. Other parts have been fading slowly. Some of the notes are not in a language I speak. I can read the notes, however. It’s wild.
Well, shareholders, that does it for today’s broadcast. I am told that the smartest move is to leave the room that the egg is in and to open any windows to that room before doing so. It will finish hatching and you don’t want to be around. The eggshell that remains can be ground up and put into your garden for a nutrient boost. The numbers are next.
Kakos Industries is written and produced by Conrad Miszuk, who is also the voice of Corin Deeth, and the composer of the music. The introductions are read by Ryan Jenkins, and the credits are read by Briauna Kittle, a spear wielding spear . Please visit KakosIndustries.com for news, extras, and more episodes. There are also transcriptions on the website if you’d like to read along with the Kakos Industries announcements. That’s K-A-K-O-S-I-N-D-U-S-T-R-I-E-S dot com. Please visit store.KakosIndustries.com for merchandise and special offers and get wonderful benefits by becoming a subscription donor at kakosindustries.com/patreon. You can submit one time donations at paypal.me/kakosindustries. You can also purchase gear and other items for the production at kakosindustries.com/wishlist. Join our community at kakosindustries.com/discord. Questions, comments, or a strong desire to collaborate? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you like Kakos Industries, be sure to rate and review us on your favorite podcasting service, and connect with us on YouTube (YouTube.com/KakosIndustries), Facebook (facebook.com/kakosindustries), Tumblr (kakosindustries.tumblr.com), Instagram (@kakosindustries), and Twitter (@KakosIndustries). We encourage fan art and listener participation on all our social media platforms.
Special thanks to our esteemed shareholders, Lex, Jack Attack, Valerie Koop, Dwight Spencer, Hemlock Yew, Damien Scott-Viker, and A. Rupert. Also thanks to honored employees Calico, who drew the lines, and Rocket who colored them in. And thanks also to our division heads. The Division of Beanies, Booties, and Construction Projects That Are Probably Too Large for Yarn, directed by Bellamy Cornet, has knit a a balcony. It feels more like a hammock. The Division of Obscure Vintage Technology, directed by Craig Czyz, has recently turned on the old CRT whistler. It just whines at the frequency of pain and despair. The Division of Subtle Efficiency Increases, directed by Danniel R Smith, has greased all of the wheels of the mailcarts. They fly now.. The Division of Saying It the Long Way, directed by Dino Schroeder, has been workshopping “No no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no well maybe.” The Division of Kakos Kafeteria Reviews, directed by Seth and Josh, has reviewed the Fun Salts stand. “It is very salty and also very fun. 13/19”. The Division of Improbable Cookbooks, directed by Hayden Neff has been working on Collecting Nutritional Moss. It is what it says on the tin. The Division of Lesser Known Napping Locations, directed by Sass Master J, has found the dryer vent outside of the Division of Laundry. You do have to worry about lint, but the air is nice and warm and a little humid. The Division of Uneven Surfaces, Directed by The Doctor, has been examining the lean to the xeriscape veranda. It’s 2 degrees off of optimal. The Division of Hallway Wandering, directed by Jack, has been strolling down Hallway 133. It jiggles. The Division of Animal Stacking, directed by The One True Dave, stacked koalas. They got ‘em real high on eucalyptus first. The Division of More Monday Mondays, directed by Odie, has discovered a way to make Mondays that much more Monday. It is a little more traffic on the way. The Division of Villainous Introspection, directed by Sarah, has stirred their cup of black tea over and over again, over steeping the leaves. Why is Evil so appealing? They wonder. What makes it so fun?. The Division of Creative Upcycling, directed by Trash Baphomet, has turned an old television into a makeshift house. It’s pretty cramped. The Division of New Card Game Mechanics, led by Finn, has developed cards that spontaneously catch on fire. What this means is different from game to game. The Division of Silly Ways to Run, led by Davis A, has devised heavy pelvis lean followed by one-legged pumping motions. Our esteemed shareholders, honored employees, division heads, and other Patreon patrons are the best. If you want a thank you in the credits, your own division, or other great rewards that help to keep this show running, please head to Kakosindustries.com/patreon. That’s Patreon: p-a-t-r-e-o-n.
Kakos Industries can be dark. Maybe try out the new style of dress you’ve been thinking about.