I can’t remember much but I remember this: There were two of them from far up north and my dad and I met them at a hotel to talk. They gave us papers. We both read them over but I was the one who signed them. I was 16 and I made a picture, somehow – I can’t remember. Later on, one of them came to our house and I was there alone but my cousin was there too, somehow. There was someone who went blind and then regained his sight and then went blind again.
I remember this too: One Easter my mother gave all of us clear, green necklaces. We had tried to run away right before that. We took a cage meant for a hermit crab and tried to sell it to anyone who walked past us. We knew we’d need some money if we were going to live on our own. No one bought the cage.
Anyway, my mother chose clear, green necklaces as her gift. One boy was angry because his necklace was broken, supposedly. He complained loudly. He couldn’t stop talking about how his necklace was broken. He even insisted on calling his own mother on the phone, just to tell her that his was broken. There were clear, green necklaces hanging from the tree in the front yard.
The last thing I can remember is this: A group of children was outside and I was one of the children. Someone found a rock the size of a baseball and threw it at the group. I remember it coming towards us. We all laughed and smiled and it seemed like the rock smiled as it flew towards us. Everyone stretched out their arms, hoping that the rock would choose them. I think the rock chose me.
I’m the first egg laid but the last to hatch.
When I was in the shell, I dreamed about all the knowledge I would come to know. And I dreamed about knowing the names of every color and imagined I would be surrounded and embraced by hundreds of loving arms and legs. So it’s very disappointing to be born and find that the room is empty and that the floor is sticky and dirty.
I try to crawl across the floor but my path goes slanted and I get stuck in a corner. I whimper sadly. If I whimper long enough, surely someone will hear and come to find me.
When I was in the shell I had another dream, I remember: A Princess with clear, hard skin and an enormous, heavy shield on her back and thousands of legs. Each leg was a different size and color – though I don’t know what colors they were now. But I’m sure I must have been held by one of those legs and rocked gently to sleep alongside a thousand siblings.
She was so beautiful, the princess… I understood in that moment that beauty depends on the amount of arms and legs you have. When I was in the shell I dreamed that I was as beautiful as that Princess but now that I’m out of the shell, I begin to suspect that I might be ugly.
Why is it taking so long for someone to come? I bark louder and louder until someone finally comes and picks me up.
NURSERY AND SCHOOL
When I get to the nursery the first thing they teach me is:
THE FIRST THING IS LEARNING TO MOVE IN A STRAIGHT LINE.
The first thing is learning to move in a straight line.
YOU MUST ALWAYS GO STRAIGHT AHEAD AND NEVER SIDE TO SIDE.
I must always go straight ahead and never side to side.
IF SOMETHING IS BEHIND YOU IT MIGHT AS WELL NOT EXIST.
If something is behind me it might as well not exist.
ONE DAY YOU WILL LEAVE THIS PLACE AND YOU MUST TELL YOURSELF THAT IT DOESN’T EXIST ANYMORE.
One day I’ll leave this place, or something…
It’s hard to focus on the lesson when there are so many rags and toys lying around left behind by the others when they had to move forward.
I’ll grab as many as I can and bring them with me, I think to myself, opening my mouth wide.
HERE’S A TEST:
IN THE WORLD
In the world
THERE ARE 4 BASIC TYPES OF PERSON:
There are 4 basic types of Person
Worms are pale and thin, with no legs and no hair at all.
Frogs are pale and thick with 4 legs and no hair at all.
Birds are many colors with 2 legs and hair all over.
Cats are many colors with four legs and hair all over.
By passing my first test, I earn one leg. A swell of pride! I could cry from happiness! I bark loudly, holding the leg up to the light. It bends in the middle and at the end is a foot with 2 long nails and at the bottom is a soft pad. What am I if I only have one leg? I study the lesson again but there is no category for me.
HERE’S A TEST:
WITHIN THE 4 BASIC TYPES OF PERSONS
THERE ARE MANY MORE TYPES OF PERSONAS:
Within the 4 basic types of persons
There are many more types of personas.
THE PERSONA DOG IS A TYPE OF CAT.
The Persona Dog is a type of Cat.
THE PERSONA MOUSE IS A TYPE OF CAT.
The Persona Mouse is a type of Cat.
THE PERSONA GOAT IS A TYPE OF CAT.
The Persona Goat is a type of Cat.
ALL OF THESE ARE PERSONAS OF CATS WITHOUT ACTUALLY BEING CATS.
THE PERSONA TURTLE IS A TYPE OF FROG.
The Persona Turtle is a type of Frog.
THE PERSONA PIG IS A TYPE OF FROG.
The Persona Pig is a type of Frog.
THE PERSONA ELEPHANT IS A TYPE OF FROG.
The Persona Elephant is a Cat.
ALL OF THESE ARE PERSONAS OF FROGS WITHOUT ACTUALLY BEING FROGS.
THE PERSONA FISH IS A TYPE OF BIRD, EVEN THOUGH IT HAS NO HAIR.
Even though it’s covered in hair,
THE PERSONA FISH IS SIMULTANEOUSLY A TYPE OF WORM.
Fish is a Persona of Pig.
THE PERSONA FISH FOLLOWS THE RULES OF WORM BUT TAKES THE FORM OF BIRD.
The Persona of Fish follows the Fish Form…
SO THIS PERSONA IS A TYPE OF BIRD AND WORM WITHOUT BEING EITHER BIRD OR WORM.
So FISH is a type of every PERSONA AND it’s related to…
It’s related to a Type of Fish, which is a type of FISH the related to the Cat Persona.
AND has The hair all over its covered in either Bird or Worm related.
I get it all wrong and miss an opportunity to get another leg.
What does this make me? Was I a worm when I was born? And will I become a bird when I get another leg? What are you, since you have dozens of legs? And what was the Princess, since she had thousands of legs?
PERSONS AND PERSONAS ARE OUTSIDE OF US.
YOU ARE A SLAUGHTERER, LIKE ALL OF US.
Sometimes, those who struggle with memorization do better with tasks, they say.
SOMETIMES THOSE WHO STRUGGLE WITH MEMORIZATION
DO BETTER WITH A TASK.
Perhaps you’ll do better when given a task, they tell me.
PERHAPS YOU’LL DO BETTER WHEN GIVEN A TASK.
CUT THE FROG.
ALL PERSONS AND PERSONAS ARE FULL OF WATER.
AND THE WATER MUST BE FREED.
Leg-Drunk, is what they call it, or Arm-Drunk.
YOU GOT LEG DRUNK,
OR ARM DRUNK PERHAPS.
IT TOOK FIVE Of US TO STOP YOU
FROM RUNNING AROUND IN A CIRCLE.
It’s just too much, they say. You might as well walk backwards to where nothing exists, they tell me. They tell me I’d probably cut my own siblings before actually cutting a frog or a worm.
They bark amongst themselves angrily, trying to figure out what to do with me. I kept failing my tasks. I couldn’t cut the frog or even hold it down with just my one leg. So when I found the Leg Closet overflowing with limbs, I thought it was right to take a few for myself. In all honesty, I thought I would be praised for my intelligence and my initiative. I know I’m in trouble but even now I can’t help but admire the ten legs I took from the closet.
The decision is made: they tell me I have an appointment with the Scraper and that since I can’t be trusted with legs or arms of any kind, I’ll be made into a banner.
THE SCRAPER IS HERE
When the Scraper enters the room I can’t help but giggle. The Scraper only has two legs! How much of a failure can I be if this Scraper only has two legs. It must be a real idiot, as stupid as it is ugly, that’s for sure! I can’t keep a straight snout as it walks towards me on its two pathetic feet. Why do they even call it the Scraper?
Well, now I know why they call it The Scraper. I howl and cry when my ten legs are taken from me and my insides are scooped out and thrown in the trash can. There’s a long pole coming out of my stomach that keeps me high in the air. My howling is so pitiful they let me keep one finger, just to quiet me down. Maybe being a banner won’t be so bad, I tell myself but when I catch my reflection in the floor, wet and reflective from the scraping, I realize I’ll never be like the Princess.
I know you are alive
And I love you above everything I know.
Hold my legs and arms close to your own
And make my path straight and constant.
Keep me from the crooked path,
The slanted path,
The curved path,
The corkscrew path,
The spiral path,
And the deadly circle,
Which forces time,
Age and sickness upon everything
That falls into its teeth.
Drown the air
And blot out the Angels from the Sky,
With their perverse, circular paths.
The water screams from the inside
And everywhere I go I will cut it free.
May my shell be always wet with the water,
May the water never dry on my shell Or my legs,
Or my arms.
If I betray the line,
Let my legs forget all their knowledge.
If I look back,
Pound my shell to pieces.
I ever fall into circle,
End my eternal life
And let time slaughter me.
At the nursery door, everyone is waving their limbs in the air. And here I am with only a finger and a pole to my name. But when I look down and see hundreds of beautiful arms and legs stretching towards me and the loving faces of so many siblings, I feel alright. I’m still a slaughterer, perhaps.
When the door opens, it’s a shock. Nothing prepared us for how bright it would be outside. What makes it so bright? Are these the angels? It drives us all crazy and everyone pushes forward desperately. In the frenzy, I fall under the crowd and am trampled until my pole breaks and my finger snaps.
When everyone is gone, I crawl over the field on my stomach. Beyond the hills, a wave of scaly water sprays high up into the air and I know that everyone is doing their work. They’re really doing it! I try to laugh but it comes out as a whimper.
I haven’t done very well for myself, I think to myself.
A grunt comes from behind a rock and it startles me. Some person is living behind that rock. Maybe there’s one thing in this world I can still slaughter! I see the person:
The – who is it? Don’t tell me:
I can do it:
Bigger than me, a heavy, long stomach, pale skin and a little hair.
Four arms with hard feet, a snout wider than mine, a short, spiraling tail.
I know what this is! This is a Cat!
You can’t really slaughter with only one broken finger in your possession, I realize, so I lie and watch. It’s funny sometimes the Cat moves behind me and I’m afraid I’ll never see it again. I’m afraid it’s dead and gone but it comes back. I think it must be circling me.
The sky does the same. There are persons in the sky who do the same. Are these the Angels? Over and over, one appears in front of me and flies behind me and another one is always following. They’re like me – they have no legs or arms.
Gradually, the Cat multiplies into many Cats, smaller and more awkward than the first and they all circle me, constantly, over and over. I’ve never seen anyone act like this. How is it that everyone out here is constantly moving all over the place?
After a long time outside, I decide to try moving backwards, like an Angel. I think it will take most of my eternal life to figure out. I’m so afraid, I close my eyes. Now, the first step is pointing your finger to the place you want to go. Next is the stomach and last is the head. I can’t believe I’m facing backwards, where nothing exists. I can’t believe I’m breathing air from behind me. This is the air that should have been gone but here it is, still here. I open my eyes and everything is gone. Everything is dark and there is no more ground.
No, everything is here. It’s just been blown to pieces. There are millions of Angels here but none are moving anymore.