The door swung open a scant five months before I met Pnut.
Klimt. That dead bastard unknowingly left some kind of gaping art portal on the kitchen side-table. The 'Sun Room', to be correct. The damn book had been there for years. It's not like I hadn't noticed its boring scholarly presence before. Laying there. Pompously. Ignoring me. Ok, so I was ignoring it. Or at least I was trying to. I used to hate antique gold jewelry, metallic gold paint . . . and quilts. I found that whenever I came across any of those things uptight old people would soon show their disapproving heads. Essential Klimt it's called (yes, the bloody title is italicized on the actual book. See? I told you it was pompous). On the cover is what appears to be a sick necrophiliac-man wrapped in some kind of misshapen gold leafed, quilted sleeping bag kissing a dead woman. Maybe they're both dead. Or the lighting's bad. I don't know. And all that blinding gold . . . The whole thing made me ill.
There I was, just wafting back into the material plane after a lengthy meditation session. My ego, bored stiff, wandering aimless around the back of my skull waiting for some action. My hand reached out and picked up the book. Opened it. My eyes looked. Pages were turned. My ego, suddenly realizing that the electricity was back on, burst into the room - "What the hell is going on here?! Put down the fucking book." The problem was that I couldn't put it down. Some other part of me was transfixed. Bathing in honey. Like some child who had just realized he was standing in front of an apple tree for the first time. Tears started leaking from my head. "This is beautiful", I muttered. I felt completely overwhelmed. By a book . . . of old Austrian paintings. It felt like someone had filled my head with molten lava and it was pouring down my insides. "I get it, I get it!" I said, looking up from the book. I realize this sounds like utter hyperbolic crap, but I actually felt and said these things to myself.
Five months later I find myself feeling possessed. For no discernible reason I feel that I must stop what I am doing and go to Liz's house immediately. I'm in the middle of straightening the mud room. I just know that there is something going on at Liz's house and if I don't go down there soon I'm going to miss it. The odd thing is that I don't really know Liz very well. She has a small pick-your-own organic garden at her house. I met her the previous summer after seeing the town sign on Route 100 before the turn off to Moscow Rd. It says, 'Inky Dinky Oink Inc. Gallery'. This is on an official state road sign in between the ones for the Moscow General Store and the Von Trapp Family Lodge. How could I not investigate that? Since then I had been occasionally stopping by for my snap pea fix. We had chatted a few times about deeper subjects, but I had only made maybe 5 or 6 visits to her place. When I arrived on this particular day it didn't look like anything out of the ordinary was happening. After Liz greeted me before I noticed that there was a woman standing on her porch. "Oh, Tod this is Paula. She stayed over last night after we had a pot luck dinner for the Stowe Arts Association. "
"Hi Paula, nice to meet you." Huh, seemed innocuous enough.
Little did I realize that the trap that Gustav had unknowingly set nearly a century ago would soon swallow the entirety of my peaceful, wispy existence. The enzymes had begun they're work.