“He was smart. He was wise. He’d profoundly philosophize empathy for all humanity. Till one day by an open window, there’s a note that read, ‘I’ve gone out the window, I’m dead.’ He said yes to life for all his life, but then one day he said, ‘No, I gotta go.’” —The Violent Femmes
On the side of the post office facing a big open grassy lot, there were two P.O. boxes as big as picture windows. The one on top was labelled “Moloch Whose,” and the one on bottom was labelled “Moloch Whose.” Understandably, mail carriers made plenty of mistakes in sorting out which Moloch mail belonged to which Moloch box.
The mailbox was big enough to walk inside, but most of the mail was only normal size which made no sense, but a job was a job, so nobody complained.
This happened over and over: One mail carrier would put the wrong piece of mail on top, and another mail carrier would put the wrong piece of mail on the bottom, and a supervisor would come along later to double check, and he’d have to keep switching them. The problem was the supervisor didn’t know any better what mail belonged where, so identities got increasingly tangled.
To look at both Molochs, the real physical creatures the boxes belonged to, there was no mistaking which one was which: Moloch Whose Eyes Are a Thousand Blind Windows (the owner of the bottom box) looked like a thousand floating black rectangles of glass. Moloch Whose Ear is a Smoking Tomb (the owner of the top box) looked like a giant black dog with ash eyes (the correlation between name and identity was a little less obvious, but he did have a literal tomb in his ear while the other had no ears at all).
But the post office was intractable in its “Two Names Only” policy, so the “Moloch Whose” name remained on both.
Both Molochs, when they opened up their mailboxes for a new and hopeful day, got each other’s mail over and over and sighed and said in the same way, “Not again. Why does this happen to me every day?”
Black Dog Moloch (as we’ll call him for short) would walk around the front door and shout to the workers inside: “You did it again, you guys. You know I’m too big to come inside the post office, yet you always get my mail wrong. Can’t you guys put a sticker on the door or something? I mean there’s gotta be something you can do, you guys.” He’d drop off the other Moloch’s mail and made it scatter in the door way. He didn’t mean this to be rude (people seem to assume giant black dogs are extra rude for some reason, so he went out of his way to be polite), he just couldn’t help it considering the physics of dropping mail from that height. Soon he really did mean to be rude (even a creature as polite as Black Dog Moloch had a breaking point). The mail carriers would then take the other Moloch’s mail and take it back to the P.O. box and face the same problem. The box from the inside was still labeled the same, so the mail carrier would have to again stand there staring and say, “Now, which Moloch is the big dog, and which one is the other one?”
Moloch Whose Eyes Are a Thousand Blind Windows benefited from limited telekinesis, so he sent the wrong mail flying through the front door like a ghost hauled it, so the mail carriers started calling him Glass Ghost Moloch. He intended this silent indignation at the mail carriers’ offense to be like the superiority of the rich and famous folks (and Glass Ghost Moloch admired famous and aloof folks more than anyone (he imagined himself a Gatsby type (though his friends told him he was more like Bartleby the Scrivener (except Glass Ghost Moloch didn’t have any friends))). The indignity of the lowly nickname and being considered a haunting creature became something he had to ignore forcibly because he likewise cultivated the obliviousness of the wealthy (the truth is mail carriers never went outside on that side of the building (the Molochs were terrifying)).
Both Molochs started to put little stickers on the outside of the mailboxes (independently (they hadn’t even met at this point) but coincidentally quite similar) assuming the mail carriers would come out and see them (not knowing they never would). First it was initials on small white stickers (“MWEST” and “MWEATBW” (respectively)). Then full names on bigger stickers. Until finally massive sticker-backed pictures of a human eye and a human ear (respectively).
Black Dog Moloch was the first to notice the coincidence of the similar labelling and laughed at his cohort’s giant eye sticker. “I gotta meet this dude,” he said out loud to no one (because he had no one). So he waited out there all day (he had nothing better to do). When a thousand black rectangles of glass floated up the street, Black Dog Moloch said, “Hey there, guy, I’m guessing you’re Moloch Whose Eyes Are a Thousand Blind Windows.”
“Thank goodness you got my name right, not that awful ‘Ghost Glass’ name,” said Ghost Glass Moloch. “If another person at this post office calls me Ghost Glass, I’ll … scream. That’s what I’ll do, I’ll scream.”
“Oh, I don’t work at the post office,” said Black Dog Moloch. “I’m the other ‘Moloch Whose’ who gets your mail. I’m Moloch Whose Ear is a Smoking Tomb. That’s my name. But you can call me Black Dog Moloch if that makes it easier. Or Molly. Sometimes people call me Molly even though I’m a boy. I don’t mind so much. My ear is literally a smoking tomb too, by the way.” He opened his left ear and showed his new friend all the bodies and stone and ghosts. “So…there’s that.”
They continued like this because what else did they really have to say since their only connection was their similar name?
“So here’s your mail I guess.” Black Dog Moloch tried to give the mail over with his mouth but saw no hands to hand it to. Soon, Ghost Glass Moloch’s telekinesis took away this social complication. Black Dog Moloch said, “You seem to have a lot of medical bills here, so I guess those are important. My mail is mostly gossip magazines. Nobody writes letters anymore. A lost art, am I right?”
“I have Munchausen Syndrome,” said Ghost Glass Moloch, “so I manifest in hospitals in human form.” Black Dog Moloch resisted pointing out how ghost-like that was. “I complain of humanity as an ailment, but it’s only for attention.”
Ghost Glass Moloch broke the silence: “The only reason I’m telling you I have Munchausen Syndrome is for the sympathy. I guess that’s what they call irony. By the way, I can afford to go to the hospital so often because very, very rich. The Amalgamation Gods are my sponsors. I’m actually very extraordinarily gobsmackingly wealthy.”
“Really? Me too. I got a sponsor called Deathor who gets me to speak for him in public. I’ve never seen him before, but whatever. I imagine he’s all clad in black leather and badassly even covers his face in straps of black leather, and he’s like twenty-one feet tall but the same skinniness as regular size humans. I’m very precise in my speculations, I realize, but I have a lot of time to think and talk to myself since I never see my owner. It’s weird to call him an owner since I’m not really a dog, but at the same time it kinda feels right. But he gives me so much money. Who am I to complain about endless wealth from mysterious invisible entities? But most of the time I just sit at home alone. I mean the only reason I got a P.O. box is I wanted to meet people. Fat load of good that’s done for me so far. Except today I guess.”
“I…” Ghost Glass Moloch started to say something but stopped. He was probably going to say something like, “I have the same experience,” but he seemed to be both proud and embarrassed about everything. “I think we should advertise for a nose and mouth,” he said instead.
“Our ear and eye stickers seem so lonely on the box doors. They need a nose and mouth. Maybe we could advertise for a nose and mouth. It would drive the mailmen crazy.”
“I can make the poster,” said Black Dog Moloch, tail wagging because he couldn’t help it. “I know exactly what it will say. My dream is to one day be an actor and director, so I’m a little bit practiced in audition notices, so I know exactly what these things are supposed to be like.” He jerked back and forth because his legs wanted him to go home and make the poster, but the rest of him wanted to stay and keep talking to Ghost Glass Moloch.
“So…yeah…that’s…” Ghost Glass Moloch kept seemingly starting a new conversation, keeping Black Dog Moloch tied there and bouncing back and forth. This was intolerable, but Ghost Glass Moloch wasn’t used to people taking a genuine interest in what he said. “So I guess we’ll meet back here tomorrow,” said Ghost Glass Moloch finally releasing him.
Black Dog Moloch dashed off, all four feet pad-pad-padding-against the pavement, pink tongue hanging out. Cars in the street swerved as if a giant dog with no eyes would be extra clumsy, but no, he knew his world so well, his feet fell perfectly. He even calculated the exact way cars would swerve all the way home.
This is what the poster said (Black Dog Moloch wrote it with his mouth but it was still surprisingly legible): “Wanted: Nose and Ears for Funny Business. Wealthy Sponsors Will Pay Big Big Big. Meet at This Post Office.”
“How do you like it?” said Black Dog Moloch.
“I never learned to read,” said Ghost Glass Moloch. “I never had to. I was always too rich.”
“I guess we just wait then?”
They met at the same time over the next few days at the P.O. boxes and never had much to say.
“I guess nobody decided to take our offer.”
“Still it was pretty hilarious, right?”
“If you insist.”
“Well…See you tomorrow.”
A week passed and one day a human was standing next to the P.O. Boxes, positioned to block anyone from opening or entering the lower box (he couldn’t do much about the upper box). “Are you the gentlemen who left this poster?” he said.
“Um…yes?” said Black Dog Moloch, cringing a little as if this little dude might somehow hurt him for some mysterious violation.
“My name is Denny,” he said. “I’m here to be your nose and mouth for funny business?”
“Oh,” said Black Dog Moloch.
“Oh,” said Ghost Glass Moloch.
“What kind of money are we talking?”
“Like…a million? Is that good?” Black Dog Moloch looked at Ghost Glass Moloch.
Ghost Glass Moloch said, “Um…sure? I can do a million.”
“Do we meet at a hotel or what?” said Denny.
Cut to an hour later, the Molochs had two briefcases with a million dollars each. Ghost Glass Moloch removed the wall of one of the second story hotel rooms (Ghost Glass Moloch was such a powerful telekinetic, he could dissolve atomic bonds and do so much murder if he really put his mind to it), and Denny stood next to the bed, hands in pockets.
“So, how do we get this funny business started?”
“Tell some jokes, I guess?”
“I think you better hand over the money first,” said Denny, and Glass Ghost Moloch sent the briefcases over telekinetically.
“Did you hear the one about the gorilla?” Black Dog Moloch said as Denny checked the money.
Then Denny flashed a badge: “I hope you got good lawyers, boys, because you’re busted. I find what you’re doing here disgusting.”
“Funny business,” Denny said with certainty as if he alone among them knew what that meant.
“What does that mean?”
“You tell me, punk.”
“I have no idea. Jokes maybe?”
“Okay, look fellas, my real name is Burdeneye Parnassus, and I’m trying to get this private detective business going, and when I saw a poster offering big bucks for funny business, I assumed there had to be something illegal, so throw me a bone here. No offense,” he said and glanced up at the big dog.
“None taken,” the big dog said.
“There has to be something illegal about giving me a million dollars for funny business, right?”
“I think it just means we gave you a million dollars for nothing.”
“Oh. Well. Cool. That’s not illegal, right?”
Black Dog Moloch stood and wagged his tail again: “It could be an investment. We could be detectives together and bust murderers! I’ll go learn about some crimes to solve! Meet tomorrow at the post office. Go!” He dashed off.
The next day at the post office, Ghost Glass Moloch’s P.O. box was gone, wood planks over a hole. He didn’t show up again. Neither did the private detective.
“It was all dumb anyway, I guess,” said Black Dog Moloch to nobody and drooped away, head bowed, padding across the grass in silence. He could see no good reason to bound.