It was night outside when I came to. After my last review of 7-Select spaghetti with meat sauce, everything went dark and I had no idea how long I had blacked out for.
I stumbled out of my apartment and into the lobby of my building. Hastily grabbing the security guard by his lapels, I exclaimed, “What year is it?! How long have I been gone?!” My words choked with panic, my shirt drenched in sweat, my eyes wide like Steve Buscemi.
“Sir, I saw you 43 minutes ago when you went up to your apartment with your 7-Eleven pasta,” came his stern but calm reply, fatigued by years of putting up with my frivolous bullshit. A consummate professional, that Mr. Chan. I think that’s his name, I don’t know, I never asked… I just assumed all my security guards were named Mr. Chan.
I released Mr. Wong (I ended up asking him his name) and walked out into the street, my senses slowly returning to me. Had I been freed from the vice of convenience store pasta? Had it relinquished its stranglehold hold on me? I needed answers. But what was I looking for? What would I find?
Lo and behold, just like that, the universe sent me a sign. A man called Jack responded to my earlier review and told me to seek solace in 7-Select Singapore Style Fried Rice Vermicelli. Yes, a man whom I have never met before in my life, literally asked me to “send noods,” and nothing unfortunate has ever befallen those who have trusted the advice and opinions of strangers on the internet.
So now I find myself drawn to the nearest 7-Eleven like a helpless moth to a flame. Its logo an obelisk, etched into the very recesses of my mind. A cosmic entity more ancient than the Old Ones – its presence unwavering, its dominion inescapable, its motives unfathomable.
A chill runs down my spine as I approach where they keep the 7-Select branded food. Goosebumps form along the entirety of my epidermis, my hairs begin to stand on end. “Nerves?” I think to myself. No… just the freezer section.
Then I see it, sitting unassumingly on a refrigerated shelf. Its packaging – that elegant, tasteful shade of orange; usually reserved for traffic cones, hi-visibility jackets, and other such delicious accoutrements.
I pay for the noodles and thank the cashier in Cantonese so poor that it should be considered a war crime, and proceed to walk home – half scared, half excited, fully erect.
Upon returning to my abode, I tear open the plastic packaging, the production of which I’m sure will in no way negatively impact our ecosystem. I stare at the food… it just sits there looking like an unwanted ball of yellow yarn, carelessly discarded by an unloved kitten. A few peas and pieces of meat also accompany the lifeless mess. Perhaps heating it up might make it appear more appetising.
I blast the corpse-food with microwave radiation for a few minutes and remove it from the device. It immediately sizzles to life, hissing at me angrily for waking it from an ancient slumber. Oil begins to seep from it so I decide to add a little soy sauce to disguise some of the texture. I look down and am horrified to find what now appears to be an Eldritch abomination – the love child of a Shoggoth and corporate culinary creativity. Something made manifest from the mind of HP Lovecraft, but without all the racism… the fever dream of a hentai novelist who moonlights as a deep sea fisherman.
More oil and soy sauce oozes from the vexed primordial life form. A litany of peas all blink open and lock onto me in unison – a peppering of angry eyeballs gazing into my very soul. The writhing mass of stringy vermicelli tendrils covered in oily shadows begins to lash out at me and my chopsticks. The bowl continues filling up with the viscous black liquid, seemingly out of nowhere. The noodles reach for my chopsticks and tighten their hold on them, coiling around them like ivy creeping up the side of an old building.
The being pulls me towards itself – does it want to communicate or consume me? I have no idea… I should be terrified, yet, I am enamoured and overcome with an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. I have so many important questions. Is this one long noodle all tangled up? Or a series of individual, interconnected, knotted strands, like the tails of a rat king – a creature made up of teeth and nightmares?
Will I forever be tangled in a web of vermicelli for the rest of my days? What secrets lie beneath these inky black tides? I MUST KNOW MORE!
I keep my grip on the chopsticks but allow myself to be pulled further into the bowl. The vermicelli creeps its way up my arm, tightening its hold on me, demonstrating its dominance as it pulls me deeper.
I am now all the way inside the bowl… I know not how. The dark ocean of oil and soy sauce begins to envelope me completely. It creeps around the edges of my face, it pours into my mouth, it seeps into my nostrils, it enters my eyelids. It burns… OH GOD HOW IT BURNS! I open my mouth to scream, but there is no sound. There is no air… there is no liquid. I attempt to gaze into the abyss to find my bearings, to find anything… and then, finally, I understand.
There is no light, there is no dark. There is no heat, no cold. No pain, no comfort. No life, no death. Only the infinite embrace of nothingness. ƎᴚƎH⊥ SI ⅄˥NO ƎH⊥ ˥∀NᴚƎ⊥Ǝ ᗡIOΛ.
Also along with the void, 4/10 vermicelli noodles and enough oil to put your apartment onto a prioritised strike list for a US invasion. My high school tuck shop had better, cheaper Singapore noodles – and I saw those get thrown onto a girl’s head. True story.
Viraj is a New York Times best selling reader who has lived in Hong Kong for over two decades. He is definitely a human being and does regular human things such as eating, drinking, and sleeping – please, there is no need to look further into this. Viraj unapologetically intends all of his puns and has never heard a dad joke that he hasn’t enjoyed. He dislikes kale less than he used to.
You can catch a glimpse of his ridiculous antics on Instagram: @virajbindra.