Room 23

A gathering place for those who love the ABC TV show Lost. This blog was started by a group of Fans who kept the Season 3 finale talkback at Ain't It going all the way until the première of the 4th season as a way to share images, news, spoilers, artwork, fan fiction and much more. Please come back often and become part of our community.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Lost: The Remains - chapter thirteen - "Sick and Twisted"

Napoleon Park
Chapter Thirteen
“Sick And Twisted”

Most of the food brought to Chef Raezynski to clean and butcher was dead. When John Locke went hunting boars, he never brought them back alive. Jin's fish, whether speared or netted, were generally deceased.

Wallice, after carving out his little canoe, used the same skills to carve a section of log into a bucket. Sometimes he was out fishing all day, and he kept his catch crowded but submerged in the bucket half full of water. Once he returned to shore he dumped out most of the water to lighten the weight, but he still delivered the fish to the kitchen so fresh they were still flopping. Though one whack of the Chef's cleaver put a quick end to that.

Genna the archer took down a lot of birds. They were plentiful. As small as the island was, it was covered with high jungle trees ideal for nesting and surrounding by a blue ocean full of fish, so gulls and other sea birds abounded. To her, putting an arrow through a bird was an art, but crushing the skull of a fluttering, wounded bird with a rock was an unpleasant learned skill. Still, if you've ever tried carrying a couple wounded or dying gulls or pelicans or shrikes or egrets, you'd understand how impractical that could be and where the expression "like an albatross around his neck" arose.

George's prey was whatever fell victim to his traps and couldn't escape. Small mammals have claws and sharp teeth to gnaw their way out of painstakingly woven nets, so he stayed near enough to hear the trap spring and usually one or two hard swings against the side of a tree stunned the creatures enough to let him safely flatten their skulls with a rock.

Chick Krupa, the bongo-playing beatnik musician, was an amateur furniture builder. He made low stools and tables from bamboo and used reeds and saplings and bamboo bark for wicker to make baskets and hampers. He also made George some very sturdy but surprisingly light weight traps. Generally of the box with a door held up by a stick tied to a string type. A few of these were large enough - and had a long enough carrying handle - that George could catch a small lemur, marmoset or spider monkey or other native creature alive and carry it safely back to the kitchen to be kept fresh for a few days - or at least until dinner time. Keeping meat fresh in temperatures in the 60s at night to 90s during the day range was a challenge - keeping meat alive was one viable solution. He also caught a surprising number of rabbits which did not seem to be native to the island but which were apparently breeding prolifically in the wild. Rabbits - roast, broiled, braised or stewed - became one of the Chef's specialties. And one evening meal's leftovers were the next day’s soup du jour.

There was at least one cat on the island. Not a big cat like an ocelot or cougar, but a felis domesticus - a common house cat. Another Dharma Initiative import that had gotten free and gone feral, apparently. George trapped it three times and delivered it to the kitchen twice but, in spite of some tasteless racial stereotypes about Korean and Latino dietary practices - Burrito el Gato and so on - there were usually enough other culinary options available that the cat was set free. The chef warned people not to feed it or it would be around begging and stealing forever, and Vincent the dog did a good job of running it off of his turf.

Chef Raezynski was a very talented butcher - he could take an animal and reduce it to it's component parts and boil and mash the liver and stew the heart and fry or roast the intestines - or chitlin's, as they're known. He could, whenever possible, remove the hide in as large a chunk as possible. This he turned over to Apollo Benz, who, when he wasn't helping Castor grind reeds into fibers, knew a thing or two about tanning hides. No stereotype jokes about gays and leather, please. He made sandals and moccasins, leather sacks and small fur pouches and they were much appreciated by those with worn out sneakers and enough personal possessions to fill them.

Between his stew pots and his soups the Chef let very little meat go to waste. Oh, he wished he had a good meat grinder or food processor sometimes - there's only so much you can do grinding meat between flat rocks, after all. And what little bits of organ and sinew were unusable went into the fire to prevent stinking up the place or attracting any hungry predators or disease-ridden vermin there might be out in the jungle.

While keeping the live animals George delivered caged to keep them fresh was practical, Raezynski drew a line. Butchering a dead animal was one thing. Killing a live animal was not a task he relished. Especially since the groups leaders had a monopoly on all the guns and Locke had all the combat knives. There weren't many machetes available and they and the couple of fire axes from the plane were in use by the people collecting reeds and bamboo shoots and branches for the fires. The Chef had a couple good knives and his beloved hatchet. You try holding a live lemur down with one hand and taking it's head off with a swing of a hatchet with the other. It wasn't the Chef's favorite job.

Enter Marcus Whipple. One of the quiet, anti-social ones who tended to stay by himself, speak only when approached and show up usually just for breakfast and dinner, then wandering off. At one meal where the feast was a brace of rabbits that George had fetched home in traps and Raezynski was complaining about having had to kill, Whipple offered his services.

The next day, an hour before dinner, he showed up at the Chef's request. He asked to be left alone in the kitchen to do his work, which involved dispatching a pair of lemurs. The chef obliged and waited out by the tables. There was a lot of squealing and noise and it took rather longer than he'd expected - about twenty minutes. When Whipple announced he was done, his hands and the front of his shirt were covered with blood. And the dead animals had been blinded - their eyes poked out - and had suffered a number of shallow cuts and punctures before they'd bled to death. The creatures had - for want of a more evasive term - been tortured to death.

Being a decent and humane person, Chef Raezynski was very uncomfortable about this. But he had mixed feelings - he could let Marcus Whipple have his fun, or he could slaughter live prey himself with only basic kitchen implements. He didn't like either choice, really, but self-preservation won out. He liked that whole "grabbing a live struggling marmoset, dragging it out of a cage and hacking it's head off" business a bit less than the idea of letting someone else who got some sort of dirty unnatural kick out of doing it do it for him. The best he could do was arrange to keep the live catch in their cages for days at a time so that he only needed to employ Whipple's eagerly volunteered services two or three times a week.

Rose didn't mind doing laundry for the group. It was quiet, solitary, meditative and repetitious make-work and kept her busy while she waited for Bernard to return - which she always know he would do eventually.

While she didn't mind it, the least savory aspect of the chore was cleaning Marcus Whipple's trousers - the front of which from waist to thighs were often smeared and caked with blood - both from his butchery and from rubbing himself. And the inside front was also caked with dried... well, bodily emissions. He seemed to have found an occupation that he really enjoyed to a disturbing degree. As unpleasant as it was, however, Rose turned up on roast rabbit night right along with the rest of the beach front community and reaped the benefits of his nasty work.

One day Whipple didn't show up for work and Chef Raezynski asked a few people to go look for him.
I was the one who called the search off after I spoke with Hugo "Hurley" Reyes. Hurley was a friendly man who was a gregarious, outgoing and inquisitive soul who made an effort to get to know everyone. Perhaps it was related to the groups experience with Ethan Rom and being infiltrated by an outsider. Hurley was the one who discovered that Rom was not on the flight's passenger manifest. After that he made a point to talk to everyone, even the sociopaths and loners like Robert Wallice.

He'd had a conversation one campfire-lit evening with Marcus Whipple, which was probably the closest anyone had come to doing an interview with the man and finding out what drove him. Hurley was an open minded and non-judgmental man but even he described Whipple as "sick" and "creepy".

Marcus Whipple would not have been offended by such an appraisal - that was how he saw himself as well.

Marcus Whipple had been seated towards the front of the midsection of the plane when it broke up and as it approached the location on the beach where it crashed, he was thrown clear and landed, like Dr. Shephard, a few dozen feet into the jungle. The plunge through the undergrowth had cushioned his fall but he also hit a log on his way down and his back was fractured. I've heard that the island miraculously restored John Locke's ability to walk. If so, it was a trade-off - it gave Marcus Whipple a fractured spine. He lay there, unable to walk or stand, rise or even crawl, unable to shout loud enough to attract attention to himself, for five days. Five days of lying in agonizing pain, immobilized, with nothing to do but reflect on his life.

It was certainly an environment conducive to reflecting on spiritual matters. Whipple had been born into a religious household but he rejected his family's faith at an early age, regarding church as boring and, well, "too preachy". He grew up as an atheist, but in an environment where he was always aware of the religion he was choosing not to believe in.

Five days of lying in pain with nothing to eat is brutal. He would have dehydrated to death if not for the frequent torrential rains during those days. And during one of those downpours the water rose around him so fast he had to struggle tortuously to keep his nose above the water. It was a situation that could make an atheist pray for his life.

And when his life was spared, and later when his back unexpectedly healed and he awoke on the sixth day to find he could rise and walk again and made his way to the beach where, by then the survivors of the crash of Flight 815 were beginning to settle in and erect tents and throw up primitive shelters, he underwent a dramatic spiritual revelation. Well, fair is fair and a deal is a deal - he prayed to be spared and have his life returned to him, and when it was, the least he could do was go on believing and give thanks.

In his old life in Australia he had been a sexual sadist. That was not an occupation or "hobby," it was a lifestyle. Lying in pain for days gave him plenty of time to reflect on the pleasure he had derived from inflicting pain on others. Now those others were masochists - some of whom experienced pleasure or excitement from their pain, and others for whom the pain served a cleansing or other psychologically fulfilling purpose. Still, pain is pain and Marcus didn't find pain particularly enjoyable himself - certainly not the pain of a cracked spine.

There is real slavery still in parts of the world - hunted, suppressed, disapproved of, but still an active trade - the buying and selling of human beings as property and chattel. Marcus Whipple and his friends and associates were not involved in any such activities. The 'sexual slavery' they indulged in was closer to suburban swinging and mate-swapping and casual carnal activities. A life-style among a community of otherwise seemingly normal law-abiding citizens.

There is a dichotomy between what a person is and what he wants to be. Between instinct and learned behavior. Marcus Whipple wanted to move beyond his past and lead a good and useful life and contribute to his new small community. He wanted to believe and he wanted to show his thanks. But that didn't override his urges and his physical needs and desires. He wanted to be able to look at a woman and not imagine bending her to his will and punishing her disobedience and using her for his own fulfillment with no regard for hers. But he was who he was, not somebody else, somebody better.

He was a man with a very strong if twisted libido - one accustomed to having frequent outlets for his urges. And now he was in a very shallow dating pool.
The decent and dignified woman Rose, possibly a widow, though she denied it - the thought of making that "nice lady" scour the caked on stains from his trousers gave him a tingle of excitement, even if that pleasure gave him guilt. The sight of that young pregnant girl, especially when she held her back, in pain from the strain of carrying her swollen belly, inspired vulgar thoughts - the thing about pregnant girls is, you know they put out and you can't get them pregnant. The sight of Sun, the modest "one step behind her husband" submissive Asian woman inflamed him with desire - though he certainly respected the rights of married couples to remain monogamous if they chose to. That stuck-up tart Shannon certainly could benefit from some discipline, but she seemed to be under the constant protection of her half brother. Genna, at 5'11", could probably take care of herself even without that black goliath Benton at her side. Steve had staked his claim with Tracy. And most intriguing, there was the disturbed woman Jenny. The Bikini Girl some people called her. They had built a hut to keep her in, practically a prisoner, with someone standing guard over her at all times for her own protection. He was sure they didn't think of her as a shared sex slave but that was certainly how he saw the situation, and he wondered how he had missed getting in on that literally at the ground floor when they were raking the ground and grinding the gravel and rough concrete to put in the foundation for the hut.

There were women, but they all had protectors. And they were in a savage new society but there were already the basic outlines of rules and laws and a crude government to enforce them. The self-appointed or clique-elected leaders had all the guns. There was a survivalist with a case full of throwing knives and there was, rumor had it, an Iraqi torturer among the rule-enforcers.

So even as his lusts and obsessions grew, Marcus Whipple tried to sublimate his sinful desires and serve the community. But the role he found himself in, as the groups butcher of live captive animals, provided him with an outlet for his sadistic urges and further fanned the flames of his lusts.

So one night he had his personal confessional and unburdened his soul and his "sick and twisted" story to the one man who reached out to him to listen. Hurley. And Marcus revealed that he didn't trust himself not to do something he might regret if he ever went into the woods alone and found one of the group’s women by her self. Marcus Whipple was not a registered sex offender. He'd never had any trouble with the law; he'd never done anything - not sex, not the infliction of pain - on a partner that wasn't consensual. He'd never committed rape and he hoped and, late at night, prayed, that he never would. But he didn't trust himself not to. Not any more. Not in this wild frontier.

So he told Hurley that he was going to pack up his few belongings and go explore part of the island in the opposite direction from where the group had been exploring. Into the midland beyond the caves and the spring. He didn't expect to be coming back.

And frankly Hurley was freaked out enough by his revelations and confession that he had to agree that it was probably a good idea, so he kept it to himself and didn't tell Jack that one of the group was planning a suicidal excursion of self-discovery. It wasn't until two days later when they were bunnies to slaughter that Chef Raezynski noticed that Marcus Whipple had gone AWOL and it wasn't until I confronted Hurley directly and asked if he's seen Whipple anywhere that he offered to share the information he'd learned. We tracked down the handful of people actively looking for him and called the search off. No one told Doctor Jack or the rest of the groups "leaders" because, frankly, it seemed like letting Whipple go on his journey was probably for the best and launching a well organized search party to track him down and bring him back would serve no useful purpose. Maybe that wasn't our call to make, but it's a choice we have to live with. No one ever saw Marcus Whipple again after that - his body was never found. Not even any bones.

No comments: