The dictionary defines winching as "to hoise or haul (a load) by means of a winch." This definition, if not incorrect, is at least wildly misleading. To winch is to be Archey Billiard. The two concepts are inseparable. Archey and winching are as conjoined as day and night, shoe and sock, dog and medieval Italian poet. To define winching without mention of Archey is, plainly put, wrong. Archey has no life beyond that splintered winch. He has no friends, no family, no acquaintances, no one but his boss. His bookshelf at home is stocked with nothing but novels of winches. His extensive blu-ray collection is made up entirely of winch-based documentaries and trashy winch-centric anime. When his left kidney escaped to the Bahamas in search of a better life, Archey demanded the surgeon replace it with a winch, so that he would officially be part-winch, part-man. Unfortunately for Archey, he was never a man, because no man can love winches quite as much as Archey. Archey is an experience. Archey is the universe perceiving itself in the form of winch-based artistry. This is Archey Billiard. This is his character.
And so it is that Archey winches. He winches Winchward Beach's only amusement park's only roller coaster eight hours a day, six days a week, seven weeks a day. His frail, thirty-five-year-old arms winch the winch with only the raw skill a veteran wincher can muster, despite the fact that Archey has only actually been winching for three months. Winchward Beach has long been a staple on the grand list of places one should never visit, or think about visiting, or even think about in general. Thinking about Winchward Beach is considered a thought crime. Thinking about thought crimes is also considered a thought crime. Do not think. Thinking is for communists and people who pee on the toilet seat. Archey understands this very well as he unthinkingly winches the roller coaster's passengers up the mildly steep incline. At the top, he lets them go, sending them for the ride of their miserable lives, for only the truly miserable decide to go on Winchward Beach's roller coaster. On this specific day, however, there is nobody on the roller coaster. Only about nine tourists visit Winchward Beach in any given decade, so for the majority of the time, Archey is not winching anybody. Archey doesn't mind. As long as he can winch, his conscience is at ease.
Archey, content with another day of winching, relaxes on his heated recliner (which is really just perpetually on fire), his one-legged asthmatic hound Marmaduke precariously balancing beside him. The television, long since reduced to a box with today’s newspaper taped on the front and a candle providing backlighting, flickers fire-hazardously. Then, a knock sounds on Archey’s door.
‘Knock knock,’ says the knock on Archey’s door.
Archey asks who it is.
‘It’s me,’ says the owner of the knock.
Archey doesn’t know the voice. He stands, commanding Marmaduke to stay still, lest he topple over and trigger another latent medical condition. The knocker is a man in a purple suit with suspicious-looking goat horns coming out of his forehead. He holds a stack of flyers and several dusty brochures labeled Winchward Beach Tourist Info – Keep out of reach of small children.
‘Salutations!’ says the purple-suited, flyer-holding, formally knocking man.
Archey says hello back, even though he doesn't want to.
‘I’m from the tourism agency! May I have a word?’
Archey doesn’t want the man to have a word, but he invites him in anyway. Archey doesn't have enough agency to deny plot progression such as this. The man sits in Archey’s recliner, the only seat in the trailer, and casually brushes Marmaduke off the armrest, eliciting a wheezing cough from the unipedal pooch.
‘Have you ever been in a pyramid scheme before?’ asks the rude man.
Archey doesn’t know what a pyramid scheme is.
‘Oh thank Baphomet!’ exclaims the man, ‘Would you like to be in one?’
Archey wants to know what it is first.
‘Tell you what, you leave the tough questions to me, and I’ll get you hooked up with a cushy new winch in your very own cubicle. How’s that sound, big man?’
Archey finds the man’s condescending tone inviting.
‘Splendid!’ shrieks the man sitting in Archey’s favorite and also only chair.
Suddenly, Marmaduke growls, or rather wheezes menacingly. Something about the impressively dressed man has upset him. The man’s face twists in a frightening visage, not unlike that of Bilbo Baggins from that one scene.
‘Get that mutt away from me!’ he hisses.
Archey cocks his head in confusion. Marmaduke doesn’t get angry for no reason. Something about this handsome, possibly demonic man is amiss. The man’s head abruptly twists backwards and he flops onto the floor like a komodo dragon falling from a second-floor balcony. The horned, purple-suited, flyer-holding, formally door-knocking, chair stealing, pyramid scheme introducing, dog worrying man then scuttles out the front door of Archey’s trailer like a frightened millipede.
‘I’ll be back!’ he roars in an inhuman tongue. This worries Archey, but he returns to watching the evening news all the same.
Merci pour la lecture!
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