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Deep breath….. It’s just a cupboard.

She walked past every section but stopped to pick up on of those little pencils and lists. She took  two steps forward only to take take two steps back.

“I think I’m going to need two of these, ” she thought, grabbing another pencil, “and another one of these,” grabbing another number list.

She walked, hunched, past families picking browsing through potential bedrooms, potential bathrooms and kitchens, potentials ……

She hunched.

Seeing a man draw his partner closer to him while they stared at a baby’s crib reminded somehow her to straighten her back and broaden her shoulders.

She walked in and out of bedrooms. Fingers grazed surfaced like silk and absorbing their feel like sponge. Then she touched something. The wood was smoothened but with a minimal layer of wax.

Opening her eyes fully for the first time she saw a moderately sized four-door wardrobe. A reddish hue tinged its surface.

The doors opened to comfortably spaced clothing racks and shelves. It was tall but not tall enough to make it unreachable. It was wide but not wide enough to cramp the space in her room.

Item number jotted down, her little legs took quick strides with wide eyes and wide shoulders.

The narrow pathway soon expanded leading her to the warehouse-like room filled with neatly stored furnitue.

She loved this place. The enormity of the space spread out the distances between people. There was so much air to breathe, and that smell of cardboard boxes, which calmed her senses.

A1380 …… A1380

A….. 1…3….

“1380!”

“Yah!”

“Huh”

“Hi!”

Startled she took a 360 degree turn and saw no one around.

She swore she had heard a man’s voice come from somewhere near by. No not just somewhere, from right in front of her. She peered closer into the shelf.

“People always get surprised when their furniture talks to them, relax. I’ve been waiting for you . I’m the last one of the batch left here on the shelf, let’s go!”

She blinked.

There was no one. Just 1380 printed boldly on a large, lone cardboard box. Everything else was at least a few feet away.

The box is talking to me? I’ve gone insane. I have been single for way too long. I need to eat.

“I’m sorry.”

He interrupted her thoughts. His voice was warm and soft. It very well could have been a woman’s voice if it didn’t have a underlying baritone note.

“I’m sorry, I’ve just been waiting for quite some time, frankly I don’t think I was ready to be taken away until now. I didn’t mean to startle you. The trolleys are at the end of the next isle. Grab one, come get me and we can sort the rest out once we’re out of here.”

“Oh… Yes… Oh…kay….”

Wobbly legs worked their way through the isles. She processed nothing, just grabbed the huge box in which her dismantled (talking?) cupboard sat in, and went to the counter.

Into the back seat he went. She sat infront and gripped the steering wheel.

“I’m Lionel by the way.”

Ok it’s real. She turned her head around.

“M.. M..Mel… Melissa. That’s my name. You talk. Is it the box talking or the cupboard?”

He laughed. “Cardboard boxes can’t talk, silly!”

“Well up until today, as far as I knew,neither could cupboards.”

“Fair point.”
It took her two days to put him together. She’d come back from work, turn the kettle on and the house would smell of coffee. He said he never acquired a taste and never understood people’s love for it. But in here, on her, he liked it.
For the last time she put her screwdriver down, swung the doors back and forth to make sure they worked smoothly and fell back on her bed.

“I feel good. It feels good to be in one, big, useful piece.”

” You look good.”

” So come on! Get your clothes out of those boxes. You have a cupboard now!”

” They can wait. I’m going to sit back and enjoy my craftsmenship.”

They laughed together. He liked this. He was home.

 

Human, Non-human

Entertainers, writers, and movie makers have introduced us to crazy non-human characters for ages. We’ve had E.T., ‘the prawns’ from District 9,  95% of the characters on Sesame Street, Jake from Adventure Time, Addams Family’s Thing, the whole cast of Lion King, South Park’s Towelie, beautiful Groot from Guardian’s of The Galaxy…don’t forget the brilliant, crazy characters animes have exposed us to….i dunno…the list could go on.

And I came out of of the cinema after watching Guardian’s of The Galaxy thinking how much i just loved Groot and how i felt like i could relate to him…or her…or it….i don’t know. Don’t worry, i won’t say much just in case anyone who happens to read this hasn’t watched the movie yet. But he’s basically a tree. And I love trees, but i wouldn’t aspire to be like a particular tree in the literal sense.

So i was thinking…what makes these characters, that are so far from human, in some way relatable….and the answer i got was, emotions.

Sesame Street

If they just had these non-human beings, stand around, or even just walk around, we’d really find no reason to relate to them. (Unless, of course some of us sometimes/always do feel like just part of the furniture). They’d just be part of the scenery, just things, but not the Thing.

Give a cartoon lion anger and pride, or an alien fear and love and we can somehow welcome their characters….we can like and dislike them as “people”, in a way. Forget that….how about characters who couldn’t talk or spoke another language? The assassins in Tekkonkinkreet were submissive yet angry and easily dislikable even though they said nothing and barely showed any expression.

i guess, it doesn’t take much to convince us to somehow relate to and understand out-of-the-world characters..a few facial expressions that we see everyday, a plot that requires plotting and we’re good to go. We can make a chair come alive, an alphabet, a paper clip…the possibilities are endless and i suppose it’s a bit fair to say that emotions make us human?…i suppose…

This one always gets to me…

Bring Me the Head of the Disco King

I remember being brown, wrapped in black suede. I walked into the lights and the bass making my skin breathe heavily, like the walls that held it back from spreading out into the streets. I’ve been turning from white, to red, to blue and green. A subtle purple-pink seems to settle heavy in to the thick atmosphere, more often than the other colours.

I always end up at least once a week in this light and sound, somehow or the other.

It draws me into a daze, pleasantly stuffed with bodies gyrating against each other. Some look ridiculous, some look incredulous. No one looks out of place though. Bless their souls. They’re all moving to the same tune. Their limbs and torso move, in similar patterns to each other. Together they move like one big organism, in one big orgasm.

Everyone’s on track with every track, and with every move for every track, that the scene seems choreographed. But how much fun is a choreographed orgasm? Perhaps just as much fun as porn is to a virgin.

The synchronization of bodies and movement used to appeal to me, not so long ago. I’d moan and groan to feed the enthusiasm of the creature we would all impersonate, and indulge in the single being we would all become. It used to be ‘us’, ‘we’. Now it’s a ‘me’.

Things have changed, clearly. Colours are more prominent and their faces spin through my mind, disco-balling on chameleon bodies. I can’t relate to them and I slowly begin to move less and less, unable to have the want to make the slightest attempt to be in sync with the rest of them.

I need some space.

Nothing’s wrong with me. I think. Change is movement, and we all need to move at some point. Right?

I step out of the colours into a dark corridor lit by a stream of fluorescent pink lights all along bottom-left of the wall. I’ve been here a thousand times before. My eyes miss the signs that indicate where the male and female toilets are located. My body is my guide. I’m sure it smelled better before I heard the guttural sound of some one puking.

I don’t look. I never turn to look. In that mirror I’m brown again in the white light of the toilet. The water exits the tap, steady and my hand awakens to the sense of something more natural than anything around here. I drip droplets onto my neck, swipe it clean, and let it re-awaken the tip of my spine.

Heading back almost blindly, I see that they have taken full form. It’s not a dance-floor anymore, but a playground for chameleons.  Their tales twist into each other, their big eyes move to follow their ever changing personalities.

Some big eyes scan me. Some beg permission to approach me. I avert my gaze fully aware that I am just as illuminated as they are multi-coloured, ever-changing in spite of my sate of mind.

Then I see him.

De-illuminated, he sways. An alien on this ground. The permanent hunch of his shoulders lead down to lanky arms that try to meet each other and then turn away following the tracks of his mind as it seems to sync with the music in its own way. As though it decodes the vibrations or the reverberations of this cage in a language spoken by no one but him.

And my shoulders go slack.  My eyes track his movement, track his eyes.

And then I am caught. He stares through me and I come to realize that I speak his language. De-illumination engulfs me. My body leaves the edge of the pink corridor, new movement takes over.

He’s moving, I’m moving. They’re changing, we’re colourless. We writhe, we shift, we laugh, we cry. We speak, wordless, and we touch each other, senseless. A crown bejewels his head and he wears it, proud, regal and beautiful. When he draws me in further, I’m aware, I’m his queen. Our skins are not boundaries anymore and we are fluid drifting through each other.

I close my eyes for a second to let it sink in. Elevation kicks in and I’m suspended in motion, with the most familiar stranger I have ever encountered.

Cold nausea kicks in, suddenly,  and pries my eyes open.

What’s this?

The lights, they dye every inch of me. I see all the pictures of the old. Bulbous eyes, reptile bodies, everything and everyone in their camouflage.

Re-illuminated, I turn around and only see the door at the entrance swing. The caliph of my change, gone.

I’m standing, beyond the edge. Changed beyond my limits. And I thought I would have found more unimaginable chaos. But the colours, the light and darkness, the faces that spin, the bodies that move, they all phase out. He was the last straw, and beyond the edge, I find calm.

I approach the door that swings less and less and move on, renewed.

This short story’s title was taken  from “Bring me the Disco King,” by David Bowie feat. Maynard James Keenan.