Object 124

The Holder of Prestige

In any city, in any country, go to any theater or gallery you can get yourself to. When you reach the front desk, ask to visit someone who calls himself "The Holder of Prestige".

The worker should assume a bland, neutral demeanor as he leads you down an endless maze of hallways that seem to bear an increasing degree of disrepair. If at any time you hear a mournful sound of an organ playing, continue walking and think clearly to yourself, "There is no status." If the organ continues after you think this, it's best you close your eyes and not know what hits you.

If the organ's music stops, continue following the worker as before. He will lead you along the maze for an eternity, before coming to a door that seems impossibly clean and well-maintained, especially in comparison to its decrepit surroundings. Thank the worker, then enter this door. Inside is what appears to be a very stylish, very modern, very cosmopolitan high-rise apartment. A party is going on, the guests wearing the finest and most expensive clothes as they drink and fill the air with their loud chatter.

Now you must find the host, who is the man dressed as a woman. He is much harder to identify than you would ever imagine, but you must find the right man, for getting the attention of anyone else at the party will prompt all the guests to play a game that revolves around tearing you to pieces with their bare hands. Find the man dressed as a woman, however, and get his attention - make sure you have his full attention, for he is rather sociable, but flaky, and might chat with other guests before you have the chance to say anything more - and ask one question: " Are they proud of what they do?"

Upon uttering your question, the entire apartment will fall abruptly silent. The music, as though on its own volition, will shut off. Everyone will look at you, but their faces will be impossible to read. The man dressed as a woman will shift his weight uncomfortably at your question, but will then invite you to go with him to another room so he may answer your question in private. Refuse the offer. He will insist, but you must remain steadfast in refusing the offer, for your life's sake.

If your will is strong, he will give in and answer the question. He will tell of many, many stories, starting with the nauseating, continuing with the maddening, and finishing with those that may well drive you to suicide. By the time he is done with his answer, he will have collapsed and begun to cry. The guests will appear startled and troubled by their host's state. Use this as your chance to get as close as you can to the door through which you came. You will need as great a head start as you can achieve, for as soon as they shake themselves from their surprise the guests' hands will transform into long, grisly claws, which they will use to attack you en-masse in the cramped apartment. Get out of the apartment as the guests conduct their onslaught like a pack of velociraptors.

If you make it out the door and shut it quickly behind you, you are safe. You can even open the door again and find that it no longer leads to the apartment, but to an empty cell.

Go home, and in roughly three weeks you should receive a package in the mail. It will be a small, bronze statuette of a man with no head nor hands, and inscribed in an indecipherable, yet elegant-looking, language.

That statuette is Object 124 of 2538. There is no longer any cause for boasting.