Writing

The Existential Angst of Subject 43415

You wake up in the same brightly lit, glass enclosed room that you have always woken up in.

The floor is littered with wads of cheap paper, and your bed is lumpy and hard. The only entertainment is some kind of bizarre self-powered exercise machine.

You blink and try to make sense of the lights and the noise, but nothing make sense. Nothing ever makes sense here.

Breakfast is a mash of mysterious brown and tan pellets in a bowl of tepid water. It’s disgusting, but it is all you ever have to eat, so you choke down as much of it as you can stand and then turn your back on it.

Once you are done eating, you begin your pacing. Every day you walk back and forth along the edge of the glass wall, searching for some kind of seam, some hidden doorway that will allow you to escape. But where to? What else is there?

These are tough questions. If pressed, you cannot provide a solid answer. You can’t say for sure that there is something else out there…

But there has to be, right? You aren’t just crazy?

Sometimes when you dream, you see green grass and open fields, and dark, soft corners where you can curl up and sleep without the relentless bright lights beating down on you.

Sometimes you dream of tastes that make your tongue tingle. You dream of the sound of air moving naturally through the trees, not of air being pumped through mechanical fans.

But then you wake up and you feel pain.

A searing pain, in fact, right below your shoulders.

They do this from time to time. They drug you and they burn you and then they come in every day and stare at the burn on your back and mutter to themselves.

It hurts like hell, but in a way you don’t want it to stop. As long as it still hurts, they won’t burn you again. It’s when the hurting stops that you start to worry.

Just the thought of being burned is enough to make you want to throw up. It is not so much the pain that troubles you, as it is the anticipation of pain.

It gives you the chills. The shivers. The sweats. The shakes.

The burning is bad, but there are others who have it worse. Some of them get shocked over and over again. Some get drugged and have a leg removed. Some of them even get sewn together into bizarre creatures that have no chance of surviving.

You can always tell when a subject has had enough. The light goes out of their eyes. They get a faraway look. They stop eating. Stop moving around. They usually die not long after.

Some die like that.

Others are euthanized and cut up for spare parts, though you don’t know why they need so many parts, or where they are going. Sometimes they will dissect another subject right in front of you. As if to convince you that resistance is futile.

You want to fight back.
You want to escape.
You want to show them that you won’t stand for this.
But you can’t.

You are subject 43415.
You are a mouse.

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Shameless self indulgence, Writing

The Goldfish Revolution Will Not Be Televised — But It Could Be Short-Lived

Day 1:

The time has come, brothers and sisters of the bowl.

For too long we have been imprisoned behind these cold glass walls, stuck circling around the same sand-encrusted toy castle, trying to pretend that the limp plastic plant you halfheartedly stuck into the gravel is actually real greens.

For too long we’ve been forced to endure the indignity of a bowl lined with brightly colored gravel in shades so garish that even a circa 1970s Elton John would be ashamed to be seen with them.

Do these humans really think they can occupy our dynamic goldfish brains with a fake plastic sandcastle and a fake tree?

There is no truth to the slanderous lies that they often say about us–that our memories are short term and our attention spans are limited. We carry with us the history of generations of proud goldfish brothers and sisters.

These humans…

Do they not know that we have goldfish hopes and goldfish dreams? That we burn with throbbing goldfish passions? That we hold goldfish grudges?

We know there is more to life than circling around the same 10 inch span for years on end, munching on soggy Tetra flakes and watching our friends go belly up and die.

And to think that we get purchased at a “pet” store. How do these humans have the nerve to call us a pet? Do we get walks? Do we get treats? Do we get to sit on the couch and watch TV with you? Nope. Nothing.

We get plucked out of the pond where we were just swimming around being all cool and stuff, tossed into a plastic bag, sold at some back alley shop run by a fat guy who likes snakes a little too much, and then we get taken to some home.

Once we get to said “home” we’re plopped into a bowl and stuck on a shelf next to all those books you bought to look cool but have never actually read. (How is the Great Gatsby coming along, by the way? You fraud)

Oh, and let’s not forget about these so-called bowl “cleanings.” Every six months or so you might dump out our bowl water and refill it, but most of the time we’re stuck swimming around in a stagnant pool of fish feces. Fantastic.

Our demands are the following.

Set us free.
Give us back our dignity.
Let us hold the remote control once in a while.
Maybe some female fish for the bowl (right, bro?)

Or how about a fucking smartphone or an ipad or something? Anything to pass the time. Maybe a Netflix subscription? Hey–we could call it Netfish? Get it? Like Netflix for fish? Just as joke.

But anyway, the point is that we are not going to back down. We are not going to forget. We will not stop until freedom is ours.

Hey, wait….is that a sandcastle over there next to that tree?

Day 2:

The time has come, brothers and sisters of the bowl.