Food For Thought

“That is the worst saying of all time.”

“No it’s not. You just don’t understand it.”

“I understand it just fine. It’s just dumb. Why even have cake if you can’t eat it?”

“See, you don’t understand it.”

“It means you can’t have everything you want.”

“Partly. It means you can’t have the cake if you eat it. Once you eat it, it is gone. It no longer exists.”

“Except inside you.”

“Well, yeah, but it’s no longer cake. It’s already broken down and making you fat, or launching your blood sugar into space.”

“It does make sense when you explain it like that, but wouldn’t it be easier to understand if it went ‘You can’t eat your cake and have it too’?”

“You know what? I think you’ve finally learned something. It does make more sense that way.”

“Language is weird.”

“Without it, what would we be?”

The Dream Usually Ends When You Die

Night is often crime’s best ally, and crowds its nemesis, but that depends on the crime. Matt had been walking across Grand Avenue when he felt the metal slide between his ribs. The culprit lost quickly in the crowd. He found the nearest medical station damaged. Out of service. He decided the quicker he got home the safer he would be.

Against his own logic, he decided to risk the alleyways. His apartment was four blocks away and he could shave off crucial seconds. He ran holding his side. His sweater already heavy with his blood. He caught site of his attacker after the third block. It was too quick to make out. Adrenaline pumped through him, tightening his chest, and overriding the pain. He ran hard. The thing behind him was faster. It overcame him as he broke out onto 63rd Street near the shopping district. He fell to the ground amidst the crowds. The thing flipped him onto his back. Time held still long enough for him to see the nightmare. Four thick, long arms held him down. An ever-moving tangle of corded hair hid the creature’s face. Every inch of it was made of shadow. Its edges blurry, but he felt its teeth bite into him.

Not one of the hundreds of people walking by looked at him. Everyone walked around him. Their paths grew wider as his blood filled the street.

The beast looked up suddenly, frightened. It bit down one last time, severing the bottom half of his body, then took off with its prize. Matt called for help, but no one stopped. He began to crawl, leaving a thick trail of blood. He crawled all the way to his apartment on the fifth floor. The whole time he kept wondering why he wouldn’t die.

 

The Human Heart is a Dark Forest

The forest is a vivarium in which life expresses itself without restraint. Streams of water run through and across the plains to feed the trees and plant life that in turn feeds the insects and animals that are food for larger predators. No participant within the terrarium shares a feeling outside of hunger and boredom. Life does not claim to be more than what the forest contains. The trees grow deep within the soil to stand firm, but they do not cry if they fall or burn. Neither do the birds who called the tree home. They move on to another tree as the old one decays. They are birds and do not care about such things. The dung beetle rolls a ball of shit without deference to the boa swallowing a boar. No creature thinks themselves superior to the final curtain.

And then there are humans.

Life At A Glance

She didn’t ask. She just sat down and I didn’t say anything. She brought a large latte with her and on the side it read Sarah. She looked like a Sarah. I eyed my book but couldn’t focus on the words so I stole images. Her drinking coffee. Her hazel eyes focused on her book. She was cute. Her hair matched her eyes, but there was a tint of red. Perhaps she had dyed it once. Maybe her parents had red hair. Maybe her children would have red hair. Maybe they would be our children if I could find the courage. She would look lovely in a wedding dress. Her smile was captivating, but she wasn’t looking at me. A man came over and gave her a kiss, and they left. That’s all it took. One moment we were happy, then we were strangers, and she didn’t seem to care.

Mountains of Metal

Rinn hopped in the sidecar of the motorcycle and gave his uncle Pent the thumbs up with a smile he couldn’t hide. Today was his tenth birthday, which meant Rinn was finally allowed within the scrapyard. Pent grunted disdainfully and gunned it.

They arrived by daybreak. Pent stopped at the shed outside the entrance and hopped off. Rinn got out and followed him to the door when Pent turned on him.

“See this kid?” He showed Rinn the insignia. Two wrenches crossed. The symbol of a citizen. “This is what you want. Bring one back here. If anything moves on its own, let me know immediately. One battery and you and your mum will never go hungry again. Understand?”

He nodded.

“Your brother should be the one here today. I’ll never understand how the sickness got him and not you.” Pent sighed then walked inside.

Rinn took off. His excitement overwhelming. He’d been dreaming of wandering the scrapyard for years. He ran, searching for any automaton pieces. Deep within the yard he found what he was looking for. A pile of metal bodies stacked higher than any building he’d ever seen. Even the broken ones.

He climbed up the pile looking for the crossed wrenches. He found one fully intact with the words Skagen Mechanicals written beneath it. Rinn began scrapping at it when an arm shot up through the pile of bodies. He jumped back, heart racing. The stories of automatons killing people filled his head.

He grabbed a pipe and swung but stopped halfway. Two yellow eyes stared at him through the pile of twisted metal. The metal arm moved down, peeled the insignia off its dead brethren, and offered it to him.

“Help,” it croaked, “I…help.”

Rinn cautiously took the wrenches. “Thank you,” he said, and smiled.