Friday, May 2, 2014

You Aren't - #fridayflash

Take none of this personally because you aren’t. Whatever you’re hearing, whatever I say you’re thinking, it should all be taken with due skepticism as all evidence suggests you do not exist. You can't exist as I describe you, though you as a listener, or reader, or telepathic audience, ought to. Otherwise, how are these sentences operating?

You don’t care about that semantic babble. You care about the slime molds that have swallowed the first floor of our house.

You’re the second person to occupy this house, you know because the first person has dissolved into no more than a gangly skeleton inside the gelatinous mass presently overflowing the first floor. The bones of the first person’s right hand stretch out to the stairs as though begging for company.

You don’t feel like company; you’re almost alone here, except for the third person, myself, and I am just a voice. You never thought about it before, but you find disembodied voices annoying. Less annoying than carnivorous slime, but annoying nonetheless.

Even if you aren’t, you still would be a few things. Spry and resourceful, if I may flatter, are traits that describe you. You sprint up the staircase, pulling picture frames and shelves from the walls, and lobbing them down the steps at the slime. The slime absorbs all of these as easily as it did the first person, dissolving bits of organic matter like the butterfly collection you threw at it. It only stops at a broken salt shaker on the top stop, deliberately oozing around the white grains.

Thinking of slugs, you rush into the second floor pantry for a bag of salt. You don't wonder about why you have a pantry on the second floor, where almost no one keeps a pantry. You do wonder as the slime undulates and sloshes onto the second floor, growing upon receipt of the salt, and growing so rapidly that it catches your left leg.

You think two things then: that the slime burns like ice packing around your flesh, and that the slime was probably saving the broken salt shaker for dessert since it clearly loves the stuff. You curse Morton's and all salt distributors as you are sucked inside the slime mold, the first person's undigested cranium bumping against your chest. Your chest, like your legs and arms and eyes and pancreas, dissolves.

You find that none of this hurts. You find that you aren't scared. How is this possible?

Because you aren’t. The second person is a handy thing to be, and to not be.

14 comments:

  1. I guess not being, was the best thing to be. I enjoyed reading this. ^_^

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  2. a bravura structure. Does the second person become the 3rd person disembodied voice once inside thew slime? but then what of the first person? Does that move from being first person singular to first person plural now that it has another human abutting it? Delicious prospects

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  3. He should've flung pepper instead.

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  4. Ethylene glycol might have done the trick. But who keeps antifreeze on the 2nd floor?

    I've read one other second-person short, IIRC, so you're in rare company here. It worked for me, actually pretty well.

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  5. You should have thrown acid at it. Or maybe lots of plastic - very undigestible!

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  6. Alex could be right!
    Hello again it's been a while

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  7. Loved the fun with the narrative construction! Somewhere out there is a short story called "Golden Wings" that somehow this reminds me of, even though that one's set in medieval times and has no slime mold at all. And perhaps is the poorer for it.

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  8. Hah, niiice.
    That's just messed up. I had to read it through twice. Like having a second scoop and thankee kindly!

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  9. Ooh that bit with the salt was clever!

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  10. A nice bit o' fiction here, John. I love how everything thrown at the blob only makes it stronger. So how do you kill it? Stop feeding it. But then, I can't do anything about that now. I'm too dissolved and floating along with the first person POV's cranium to be able to do anything now. I guess maybe the third person will fare better.

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  11. Loving the POV battle with the slime. The little twist with the salt, was nice, too. This is brilliant. I'd love to see you write something like this playing with tense.

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  12. I guess dissolving and floating becomes ok at some point...

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  13. That was so clever my brain hurts. (In a good way, I'm sure.) I think I'll go play a first-person game on Xbox.

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  14. This is why second-person is so fraught with danger. Good work with the slime, John.

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