I approached the imposing building quite late in the day with some trepidation. The doors were inviting enough, I guess, and they did swing open as I neared, but there were no humans in sight.
I was there for a test – a special sort of test where any METAL is evil indeed. I’d already shed every trace of the foul stuff. I was clad only in sweat pants and a tee-shirt. No keys, not even a wedding ring. I was ready, or so I thought.
As I made my way through the brightly lit halls it seemed those few humans I encountered were staring at me; some with pity and some with a touch of awe. Maybe the drugs I’d been given earlier had somehow heightened my sense of awareness. I dunno.
Far back in a corner of the building I came upon a seemingly armored door. No windows nor any glimpse of what was beyond. Just a push-button and a sign that said “Ring Bell for Admittance.” I pushed the button and the door was slowly opened.
Inside were three apparent humans dressed in medical garb. They were not masked, which I took to be a good sign. The tiny entry area itself was quite plain but I could almost feel something large just beyond the wall.
Once inside one of the personnel escorted me in to a small niche of a room with a couple of chairs and a desk with a computer on it. We sat down and began the apparent litany of questions required. Litany because I’d heard them quoted no less than ten times in the past few days. After answering with the ritual, “No, Nope, and Not me” and noting only that with each response came a quiet tap on the keyboard; we came to the specific METAL question, “Do you have any metal fragments of any sort in your body anywhere?” I responded, “Not unless the aliens left some when THEY examined me.”
Not even an eye blink or raised brow betrayed any sort of reaction. Just another tap on the keyboard. I became even more suspicious. Had this person heard that before?
With nary a smile I was led into a room with IT. I was asked to recline on this kinda lumpy cot-like thing. I was thinking about The Rack. I’m still not sure what all the sheet covered lumps were. I was then asked if I’d like to listen to some music while the test was under way. I said, “Sure, what ya got?” After hearing the list I asked, “Don’t ya have any METAL?” Someone said, “How ’bout AC/DC or The Warped Tour?” I chose the latter out of curiosity and was equipped with head phones and asked to lie still.
Then came the Helmet! It was clamped over my head and face. It had a mirror affixed in such a way that I could see my feet. and some shadows moving IN the shadows behind a thick glass wall.
For a few seconds I was totally alone – then IT began. The music first, then I felt some horizontal motion and the world darkened as I was swallowed head first by The Device that Hates Metal.
It was actually happening – Me lying there in The Belly of The METAL Hating Beast. I was supposed to be mildly tranquilized, as I noted before, but I SHOULD have been (at least a bit) apprehensive. But I wasn’t.
Then the noises started. Various creaks and groans, and the platform I was on jerking a bit… THEN the LOUD thumping noises. The METAL hating machine seemed to be seeking that tiny shred of the foul stuff that might be hidden in my very bones. Doesn’t blood have IRON it it? The TV ads say so anyway. Was it going to suck the blood from me like some giant mechanical vampire?
Through this, and the other curious loud sounds The Thing made I lie there without even flinching. I did, however, keep getting these fleeting itches here and there. I figured they were precursors to The Main Event.
After 10 or 15 minutes The Machine must have found me unworthy and I was kinda born again. At least it got brighter and the noises stopped. It was, indeed, done with me. The personnel there helped me to my feet.
Thus ends the tale of my encounter with The Giant Thumping Machine. I survived, but… I still have questions about who THEY were in fact.