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The Horror Issue

Gross Jar

Ever since our bacchanalian yarf-off back in August, we've been sort of quietly avoiding the Gross Jar. Everyone's high spirits that day filled us with a speedlike sense of ambition and we swore to really get back into the project, but then we couldn't...
VICE Staff
Κείμενο VICE Staff

Ever since our bacchanalian yarf-off back in August, we’ve been sort of quietly avoiding the Gross Jar. Everyone’s high spirits that day filled us with a speedlike sense of ambition and we swore to really get back into the project, but then we couldn’t figure out where to go from the vomit, and someone was going to have to clean up the surrounding roof, and whatever. So the jar sat out the rest of the summer and whenever someone brought it up we started getting that same kind of dread you get when you find a weird spot on your sack that’s probably just a yanked-out pube and’ll go away in a few days, but what if it doesn’t? Then one morning a couple weeks ago, one of our office guys was coming into work when he saw a gust of wind dislodge two baby pigeons from their rooftop nest and send them dully thudding to the sidewalk right outside the door. It was basically like fate tapping us on the shoulder and being like, “Um, hey guys, Gross Jar?” Stirred from our funk by word of these veiny little pennies from heaven, we clambered downstairs with a dustpan to scoop them up. After sweeping the first birdlet into the pan with some discarded party flier, we went to collect his brother when suddenly he opened his tiny black eyes. Then, right as we were about to leave him be and just head back with the first one, still-alive-pigeon began squeaking through his cracked beak and flapping his mangled, featherless wings against the pavement. It is literally the saddest thing that has ever happened. Two Vice staffers accompanied the bird onto the roof to properly document the deposit. All the vom and stomach juice that missed the jar a month earlier had been baked by the sun into a thick gray film with the crunchy-then-gooey consistency of day-old gravy that completely caked the area immediately around the jar. At first, much to everyone’s surprise, the smell seemed to have almost entirely gone away, but then once the jar had been wrenched from the crusted spillover in which it was sitting and uncapped, it made a huge comeback, visibly triggering the nearest participant’s gag reflex from beneath the T-shirt he had wrapped around his mouth and throat. Five seconds later, a wave of stench hit the window 30 feet away, sending the event’s sole spectator retching into the middle of the room. “It’s like the smell actually switches back and forth every couple seconds,” one of the roof-guys told us once safely back inside, “like from the sharpest rotten-food smell you can imagine to the heaviest anus smell then back. Or maybe it’s just so strong my body could only handle one side at a time.” The two held themselves together long enough to force the little blue bird through the gelatinous skin that had formed at the mouth of the jar and into the orange-brown liquid in the center, then bounded to opposite corners of the roof to gasp and moan like orphaned children. After a full minute of these theatrics, the two finally sucked it up, recapped the jar and scrambled back through the window. Two weeks later, our little bird friend has been completely emulsified by the stew. There’s a solid fleck of something floating in the brine that might be a leftover piece of beak or toenail, but we can’t really be certain. Since it took the rat a good three months to become one with the sludge, we take this hasty decomposition to mean one of two things: either baby pigeon (whose bald, pinkish dome made him look like some sort of a fetal mad scientist) hadn’t toughened and diseased himself up sufficiently to earn the “winged rat” designation of his species when we committed him unto the slop, or the recently added stomach juices have taken over the cesspool and turned the jar into some kind of assless digestive system, a sort of self-contained shit generator. With only a few weeks or so left before the cold weather forces our murky brown stink engine into hibernation, we resolve to work as extensively with the Gross Jar as possible. It seems pretty safe to say that we are getting closer every month to one of the most heady scientific discoveries of our time. Either that or a biological-sludge monster of truly Akira-esque proportions. VICE STAFF