Feeling desperation coil around his neck like a snake crushing its prey,
the man looked up to the sky and asked if anyone was listening
—anyone at all— that could show him the way.
The reply then fell down upon him like
the crash of thunder as all the gods,
the Old and the New alike,
replied in unison.
“Try writing in italic for dramatic effect.”
Feeling desperation coil around his neck like a snake crushing its prey,
They never understood
that leaving was one of the hardest decisions she’s ever had to make.
That she was an albatross, blessed and cursed with wings too large and too restless to ever stay put in any single place.
‘Are you absolutely certain this product is GMO free?’ the woman asked the spice merchant.
‘Without a doubt, m’am,’ he answered, a friendly if not unsettling grin on his face.
‘And it contains none of those added chemicals?’
‘None at all, m’am. It’s completely natural.’
‘And it’s also vegan-friendly?’ she asked.
‘Best believe it, m’am.’
‘Wow,’ she said, sniffing the product she held in her hand. ‘It has quite a distinct smell to it. What did you say this was called again?’
‘Hemlock*, m’am. Or poison Hemlock, in some circles.’
‘Wait a minute,’ she said, obvious suspicion arising in her voice. ‘It’s not from one of those Mosanto farms, is it?’
‘Monsanto?’ the spice merchant said, seemingly pensive. ‘Can’t say I ever met the fella. Wait, do you mean that Guatemalan chap selling fruits on the side of the road?’
‘No, Monsanto is . . oh nevermind. ‘She clapped her hands together in excitement. ‘I’ll take five bags then.’
*For those not familiar with Hemlock, it is a plant most famous for its toxic properties, that, if consumed by a mortal human, could result in a tragic case of absolute if not poetic deadness.
‘So, doctor,’ said Carl,’why did you decide to become a GP?’ Carl found that making small talk often eased the discomfort he always felt prior to a medical examination.
‘It’s quite simple, actually,’ the doctor said, and he smiled the confident, neighborly smile that was almost exclusively found on guys in car insurance ads. ‘I became a doctor because I believe that the human body is a sacred vessel, a shrine built by the almighty architect himself. I am but a servant who dedicates himself to maintaining and fixing HIS sacred structures. People are often surprised when they find out that my passion for science is actually rooted in faith, but why wouldn’t it be? I’ve studied our anatomy, seen first-hand how our bodies are too-perfectly constructed, as if crafted by divine fingers. The evolution theory assumes that our bodies are products of mere chance, but to me there’s no greater proof of intelligent design than our own flesh and blood. The human anatomy is perfect in every way’
‘Uhuh,’ Carl said, not meeting the doctor’s eyes.
‘I’m sorry,’ the doctor said, realizing he had gone off topic. ‘I guess I got a little carried away there, didn’t I? So tell me, Carl. What can I help you with?’
‘Well, I went to Subway for lunch and accidentally sat on my testicles.’
I am nightmare.
I am the dark thing that keeps you awake at night, tossing and turning in your bed, unable to seduce sleep. I am the shadow that swallows your sunshine, blackening your vision. The immortal chill you feel in the air no matter what the temperature. I am the concern that is always hiding behind your smile. The pang of pain you feel every time you think back to the last time you captured happiness and the pain of realizing you will probably never have your hands on it ever again.
I am thief.
Your friends? I’ve stolen them all. On silent paws I’ve slipped into your life, like a cat stalking its unsuspecting prey. With a blade as cold and dark as obsidian I cut through your social network, each thread severed a dear friend lost. Your passions? What passions? With my icy fingers wrapped around your heart I hold all of your desires in frozen captivity. Now all you feel is dead coldness, like a corpse your life has already been taken, now you will get to experience total decomposition of everything that has ever defined you.
I am unstoppable.
Like a ghost I elude the physical world. I am an awesome specter, an ethereal force that hangs around you like heavy mist. Swing as you like, you cannot break what you cannot touch. As long as lucidity exists in the world I shall be there to watch, be there to haunt.
Names I have many. Names that have faded into obscurity, names that have stood the test of time, names that have never left the edge of human lips, only echoed in the darkest chambers of the mind. But you have a name for me, don’t you? Yes, I believe you do.
To you, I am Thesis.
“You should learn to be more positive,”
Professor Al urged the students in the lecture room.
“Focus on the positive things in life,
Like happiness, and baby chickens,
And maple syrup and swing music,
And I assure you
Good things will come,
Because positive attitude attracts positive things.
It’s the way the universe works.”
Al touched the lives of many students that day,
But that didn’t stop him from being fired
A mere month later.
Not for being an optimist,
But because he was a physicist,
And while most of the students left
His classrooms as better,
More spiritual human beings,
Than when they first came in,
Absolutely all of them failed the test
“My fruits and veggies are all organic, bros”
the hipster farmer proudly assured his costumers.
“None of that pesticide or GMO stuff.”
“They’re wickedly safe to eat.”
On another note,
the hipster farmer went on to work happily on his farm,
religously advocating the importance of food safety
till the day that he died,
which was three years later,
when one of his own coconuts fell from a tree,
and crushed his skull through his fedora.
This is the second installment of “Explaining things to an alien”, where I share transcripts of my conversations with Tztcl: an extraterrestrial I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and subsequently betraying.
Tztcl: *Enters my home* How are you, human. *Does the Vulcan Salute as I taught him, which is frankly freaking hilarious*
Me: *Snickers* I’m doing awesome man.
Tztcl: *Flicks his antennas* Hmmm. I believe my senses have just spotted a deception here. You say you are good, yet your biochemical parameters indicate that you are currently suffering from chronic stress and exhaustion.
Me: *Sighs* It’s technically not a lie, testicle.
Tztcl: My name is Tztcl.
Me: That’s what I said, testicle. Anyways, I wasn’t lying. Here on Earth, just because someone asks about you doesn’t mean they actually give a crap about you. Social convention mandates you to tell people you are fine regardless of how you’re actually feeling. Any other answer would be a severe breach of protocol.
Tztcl: But what if my inquiry regarding your well-being is geniune?
Me: Then you have to be more persistent, and insist I tell you the truth while I pretend I don’t want to talk about myself, even though I wholeheartedly believe that I’m the only subject in this world worth discussing.
(Half an hour of Tztcl’s insistence later)
Me: Fine! Fine! I’ll tell you. Geez. It’s work, man. Work’s got me tired. These full-time shifts are becoming a real strain on my lemonsack, if you know what I’m saying.
Tztcl: But how can you work at a place that is causing your health to deteriorate? According to my current knowledge, the human body cannot maintain such level of strain for a prolonged period of time.
Me: You’re right, testicle, but luckily summer vacation is just around the corner.
Tztcl: *Wriggles tentacles*
Me: You seem confused, testicle.
Tztcl: I understand the word summer, which is a temperate season of the year. But what is this vacation you speak of?
Me: *sighs* Vacation is a break you take from your everyday life so you can recover physically by sleeping, and emotionally with a bottle of wine and half of your mom’s Vicodin prescription. It’s like recharging your battery so you can keep on going a little while longer.
Tztcl: I see. But if what you say is correct, does that not mean that vacations are only required because you live an unbalanced and unsustainable lifestyle that requires you to take frequent escapes?
Me: Maybe, but it’s more complicated than that, testicle. Vacation—
Tztcl: It seems like this vacation you speak of is a temporary remedy. It is a bandage you wrap around your gaping wound so you can still utilize the limb for a little while longer, though it does little to stop the flesh from corrupting and consuming you from within. Maybe, if you faced the parts of your life that makes you unhappy instead, you can live a life you need no escape from. You could finally find the peace within that you’ve been clearly lacking for so long. And in the process, maybe you could finally stop hating yourself.
Me: *Turns away from Tztcl* I’d like you to leave now, testicle.
Me: You’ve pissed me off, testicle, and now I need a vacation from you.
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
To describe thy virtues I could think of no better way,
Than to illustrate using the days beyond the cusp of May,
For more than a hot bus full of sweaty old people,
Does thy person reeketh of death and decay,
And like the summer sun stretches the days long and far,
So does the time spent with you slow to a boring crawl,
Enough to make me want to jump into the hood of a moving car,
And just as July bares heatwaves that no fan can mend,
So too does a whiff of thy hot, overripe breath,
Cause my testicles to descend,
To unspeakable lengths.