Wake up. Angry.
Put on a robe. Brew coffee. Brush teeth. Pour coffee. Feed the fish. Sit at table. Drink coffee. Curses, it’s hot. Look for newspaper. Realize I haven’t got it yet. Go to front door to fetch it. Open door.
There, standing at the door, awaiting me, is an old man. On his bald head, save a few scraggly white hairs that sneak out the sides, a dusty cowboy hat sits firmly, unmovable. The man’s face is grizzled tight to the skull– his features all caked on, rigid and eternal.
With his studded boots he passes the threshold into the house; this, the first step. I volley my body to the side. He walks in. He takes a look around, eyeing the place for something yet unknown to me. His gaze holds on the fish tank for a moment, then his eyes move on. I stand still, not quite scared, but rather dubious that I’ve really awoken to such an odd spectacle. The old man casually struts to the kitchen, wherein he takes a knee to sport a keen look underneath the fridge.
He rises and asserts to himself; “Three then.”
The old cowboy ignores my question and finds a snug seat for himself to sit bowlegged on the couch. The fellar looks up at me.
He motions solemnly with his head. I’m inclined to do what he tells me to do, so I sure enough sit beside him.
“Well then, let’s have at it.”
“Have at it… of course, that’s what we should do.” I’m too uneasy to infuse my words with the degree of sarcasm I normally would acquaint myself with.
“You are an unfaithful sonnavabitch.”
“Alright… okay… I think this makes sense now. You’ve got the wrong house, Mister.” Mister? When did I ever refer to somebody as Mister?
“No. You’ve poisoned the waterhole, sure as day.”
“Look sir, I don’t have a girlfriend. My parents are dead. I’ve got no siblings; there’s nobody for me to be unfaithful to.”
The grizzled cowboy made a sound not unlike a frustrated ‘neigh’ of a horse. He followed that up with a grimace and a dead stare right into the whites of my eyes. I couldn’t help but find myself being somewhat entertained by this queer situation. I knew that this was not the time to take things lightly, but I found myself smirking unconsciously.
The man smirked back. Then he inserted two fingers into his mouth and blew. An ear-aching whistle slapped the gangley grin off my face.
Once I gained my composure, the scene had changed. A rat now sat on the old man’s shoulder. The intelligent looking specimen stood on his hinds’ feet, looking right at me. I instinctively moved closer to the creature, enraptured by his sincere expression.
“Hello. I am Remi,” said the rat.
The cowboy responded by nodding his head, “And the guy behind the glass is Nemo.”
I turned and sure as I’m standing now, give witness to my clown fish who swam to the glass of the aquarium and winked a fishy wink at me.
“Forgive us if this comes off as something less than cordial, but…” The rat was quite modest in his tone, “Why have you forsaken us?”
I stand up. I am beside myself, my eyes darting to-and-fro from the three figures, who now so obviously are outlandish recreations of Pixar characters. “Heavens to Betsy, what’s going on here?!” Really? ‘Heavens to Betsy’?
“We feel it, sir. We feel all of it,” says the rat both shrewdly and politely.
“Your anger. Your discontent.” The rat takes a long, dramatic pause; “Your unfaithfulness.”
“How have I been unfaithful?”
“We are trying. Don’t you see that? Don’t you believe?”
“I don’t understand. What do you want from me?”
“We merely expect what you’ve promised!” Now the rat was becoming agitated, and showed it through the smug rebuke written on the face of the cowboy.
I’m now fastly becoming desperately defensive. “What is it you say you have promised? I’m just a man. I work, I go home, I sit, I live. Every now and again I like to watch movies. I like to be taken to places I’ve never been taken before. I like to experience great stories. Where is my crime?” I am surprising myself by the tinge of anger I feel welling inside.
“You’ve poisoned the waterhole,” the cowboy says mater-of-factly.
I shout a rebuke, “I have not!” I am frightened by my own rage. “You are the takers! You are the robbers! You took my childhood in your hands. I gave myself up to you. I let you have my soul. What sort of coup is this? I am an independent mind now. The limits of the universe are my own and mine alone! You have sodomized my aspirations!” Really? ‘Sodomized my aspirations’; where did I come up with that? “I fell in love with you! It was I who fell, and I who got to play the fool! You are the unfaithful ones!” YOU!”
I can’t catch my breath. I can’t get enough oxygen. The three figures stare at me, their collective faces blank.
The world is inside out, the world is upside down.
Remi says to the others, “This one is gone. He will not forgive. He will not return.”
As the world begins to spin, I put my hands on my knees to find air. I hear, and know that the fish is speaking, “His heart has hardened for too long. No hope.
I collapse. Breathing deeply and urgently does me no good. The world turns to waps of blue and red and purple and finally black. I dimly see Woody stand above and sadly mutter, “Maybe if we would have used more of us?”
One of the other two responds (I don’t know which), “He has no awe left. No magic would save him now.”
All is dark.
Wake up. Angry. Alone.