It’s been awhile since I’ve written 100 words. Stick-to-it-iveness has never been a strong suit; nevertheless, I’m going to write tonight because I feel like it. And it’s almost November! :)
I’m going to use the words carousel, jambalaya, and nonsense in a story, the opening line of which is…
Sometimes I feel like a gerbil, running around and around on her wheel. Which is funny to think of, since I don’t really remember what a gerbil looks like. The internet is gone and there aren’t any books here so it’s not like I can look it up. I just sit and think a lot. Sometimes I walk. There’s not much else to do anymore, most days.
Oh, sometimes I wake up to find that it’s snowed. Or rained. One time, I even opened the front door and found the air full of locusts. (And when I say full, I mean thick as a shag rug – if shag rugs could fly and decimate crops.) It was real plague-type stuff. Almost laughable, really, after everything that’s happened, that the cogs would still be thick with that nonsense. I mean, after the theater’s empty and the show closed, who are the actors playing for?
Because one day, I woke up, and it was all gone. All the cars, all the people, all the cats, all the birds, all the books – all of it, all gone. I’m sitting in my living room, writing this, and I can still see the spot between the ugly carousel lamp and the ficus tree where the TV used to be. Just an empty spot, not even dust bunnies like someone had just grabbed it and stolen it. It was just…gone.
I was pretty freaked out for awhile. I went pounding on people’s doors, but of course no one was there. (None of their TVs were there, either.) I cried. I got angry and broke someone’s wind chimes. I was a little nuts for awhile. It seemed like a long while.
But then I started to notice things. Like downtown, how the lights at the Jambalaya Kitchen suddenly lit up again at night, spelled out just right even though the “y” had been broken years and years ago, and Tom Gladwell had always been too cheap to fix it. Like how suddenly the roof on the house next door was suddenly straighter, as if it hadn’t been left to fall to pieces when Mr. Jensen had left Mrs. Jensen for his auto mechanic lover. Like how I woke one morning to the sound of the wind chimes I’d shattered when it had all first happened.
And then sometimes, they go the other way. Sometimes, I pass by the Jensen’s, and the roof…well, it flickers. Like I can see what it used to look like, before it was fixed. I got a little crazy, then, too. Because if it went backwards, why couldn’t it go backwards to before everything was gone? I thought it would go further. It just about killed me, the waiting for it. Waiting for it to undo, waiting for it to fix itself, and for me to just step right back into it, as if nothing had ever happened. I’d made that promise – if it went back to how it was, I wouldn’t say a word. I wouldn’t tell a single soul. That was all my chips on the table. That was me going all in.
Of course, here I still am, right here next door to the Jensen’s perfect roof. Not good enough, my best offer. House wins.
I think a lot about the movie Castaway, how he makes that volleyball (or was it a soccer ball?) into a head and talks to it. I tried to try that, but apparently sports were eliminated as well. I have furniture, but it’s harder than you think to be friends with a sofa. For awhile I tried talking to myself, but it got hard to tell my voice from my thoughts, and that freaked me out almost as bad as the morning I woke up to this.
I spend a lot of time looking at my hands and my feet, and the other parts of my body that I can still see, because there aren’t any mirrors and nothing here reflects. I check myself for the flickering. I wonder if I will be undone, somehow. Or suddenly not here, like before I was born.
I never get the feeling that someone is here with me; I know there is no one. That’s just the thing, see. It’s cogs, still running – nothing else. Backwards, and the flickering is it dying down. The lifeless cogs are dying down; the big show is over.
I’m still running around and around on this wheel. There isn’t much else to do.
Er…that turned out a lot less cheery than I imagined it. Still: 100 words, done! ;)