Sunday, May 1, 2011


No one heard her for a long, long time. Long enough, in fact, for her to learn that no one heard her at all.

Sarah started to assign characteristics to this hypothetical non-hearing non-person. She, she was a "she", was quite young, had brown braids, dressed smartly, and didn't quite like being left alone for long, long periods of time. So she made herself some company. Some little girls, not too terribly different from her. They all had brief, cruel, nonsensical lives cut off abruptly by realistic-looking Satanists, who's numbers were dwindling, adding to the cruel randomness of the act.

Sarah decided to break the silence and speak:

"Hello, little girl. Why are you crying?"

"I'm crying because I was just murdered and now I'm here and I have no idea what's going on or what I'm supposed to do."

"Well, that's a very good reason to cry."

"Thank you, that makes me feel so much better."

"I'm glad, everyone deserves to be made to feel better."

"Come to think of it, people deserve a lot of things."

"Like what?"

"Well, people who don't listen to other people deserve to never be listened to, that's for sure."

"Good thing I listened when I did."

"I'll say, or you never would have met me."

"I made millions of girls, just like you, to keep me company, but they were all murdered just when I got to know them."

"That's very sad."

"It makes me want to cry."

"I would, but I know no one would hear me."

"That doesn't seem like a very good reason not to cry."

"Who are you hugging?", asked a sea otter.

"Where did you come from?", asked Sarah.

"The ocean. I was washed up on the shore a long time ago."

"What's the ocean?"

"Well, the ocean is a powerful and mysterious thing that sea-otters have no control over that gets to decide which sea-otters get washed up on the beach to die and which get to die underwater."

"That reminds me of someone I was talking to just now."

"We found an island once where non-themed waiters and Bed Bugs lived in peace, and decided to amass on the shore and bark until someone answered why we can't live in peace with the ocean."

"Did it work?"

"No, it was a miserable racket. One day, everyone on the island mysteriously died almost instantaneously and we just went back into the water."

"What's water?"

"Water is what the ocean is made of. When you have a small amount of it you can use it for drinking, cooking, washing, or playing, but when you have a lot of it, it becomes the ocean."

"What's playing?"

"Playing is what you do when you forget about dying. Children love to play, because most of them don't know about dying yet. Of course, some of them are told all about dying from the day they're born."

"I was murdered when I was playing once."

"Then you don't need me to tell you about all that."

Suddenly wanting to know all there was about sea-otters, Sarah asked, "Can you just live in a small block of water, so the ocean can't kill you?"

"No, no, sea otters can only live free when they're in large amounts of water. But some try."

"So you're going to die."

"It's true. For a while we thought maybe we could get one sea-otter to die for all of us, all at once, but he just ended up getting washed up on the shore. Someone walked by him and sic'ed his dogs on him and just generally had no respect for what he was trying to do."

"What are dogs?"

"Dogs are why things like death happens. If something cruel or nonsensical happens, chances are dogs are involved."

"Oh, I thought it was the ocean."

"Well, the ocean doesn't want us to die, but if we lived forever we'd probably just start ignoring the ocean, and not realize how mysterious and powerful it is."

"What would be so bad about that?"

"Well, the ocean reminds us that the most important thing we can do while we're alive is think about dying."

"What about playing? I want to do that."

"When you get older you'll realize that thinking about death is a way of playing."

Sarah realized she had just walked a long way from where she woke up and was lost.

"How do I know I can believe anything you're saying?"

"What's 'believe'?", asked the sea-otter.

"I don't know. I have no idea what I'm saying, but I think you understand what I mean."

"I guess I'll just have to believe you."

"A sea-otter that can die senselessly from dogs and oceans at any moment doesn't have much of a choice, does he?"

"I guess not."

The sea-otter waddled toward the ocean while Sarah stood way, way back on the shore. She had had enough of water. Her conversation with the otter had upset her terribly and she spent the rest of the day walking up and down the beach, looking for the little girl, who had disappeared mid-conversation.

At some point, long after, debris started blowing on the backs of solar winds through the formless rows of modules. Some slowly ricocheting off their icicle arms, others becoming irretrievably trapped in cold lace, and some flying directly into the perpetual combustion of each vulnerable, personal sun. The debris lay strewn on the snowflakes like jet-pack-commuted burger wrappers on top of Old Everest. Eventually, the raw, non-categorized information embedded within each fleck of dust starting rotting on the vines and wafting like frozen pizza into the cold, sea air. Previously non-existent, non-patented intellectual properties began growing out of the rot in wildly unrelated formations over and over again, spontaneously materializing in the most inappropriate corners of life's infancy.

In time, the bed bugs sold us all for rum.