Into the Cage, Chummer
What was it like being abducted by aliens?
Y’know, chummer, I’ll tell it to you straight: I don’t really remember. I’ve tried to, really. I’ve had my brain picked by street shrinks, gutter shamans, corporate psychoanalysts. I’ve learned of things about myself that reach so far back as to beg the question of whether or not they occured in the Sixth world, the Seventh, or the First. I’ve walked out into the Mojave in nothing but paint made from natural herbs, submerging myself into a dreamworld materialized in front of my inner eye by a gestalt of acute hypothermia and the toxic interaction of peyote and deepweed. I’ve searched, chummer. I’ve searched like a diver, too far off the coast to call it in, who came up to surface before realizing his chummer never came out of that cave with him, and, oxygen ticking, risks losing sight of himself to go back down and pull his chummer up, dying of an embolism himself, because he’s rush to surface with his asphyxiating friend.
Truth is, chummer? It’s not there. It’s gone. Like the Incident, I’d capitalize the I if I were you, because it truly was a proper noun, is a black hole in my identity. Like there’s an event horizon that just sucks up all the light as it runs, runs, runs dripping sweat from exhaustion and terror, trying to fly down a hallway that just keeps getting longer and longer until finally it’s snuffed out with a whimper. Truth is, chummer, I don’t even know if the Racecar you know today is the Racecar that was, or the Racecar that now is. Every now and then, on particularly long drives, when my mind’s wandering and Racetrack(er)‘s behind the wheel, and memories from long ago are being dredged up and reminisced, I get the faintest feeling of seeing a ghost. A girl in nice clothes, and a corporate life. A girl whose hair is conservative and her manners mild. And she’s fleeting, chummer. She’s gone as soon as I begin to observe her, straight-up quantum. Existing only to be passed on the stairway, an old friend, an old flame who seems to appear at your loneliest. In the bakery, at some distant acquaintance’s party, existing only as a way for your subconcious to project escapist excitement onto otherwise featureless experiences, but only long enough to give you that glimmer of hope that all but extinguishes when you try to confirm it’s presence.
Chummer, I’m not even 100% sure that I’m the sum of my choices or my experiences anymore, or if I’m just some vessel for an experiment in transplanting personalities. Maybe my ego, my id, my superego, maybe they’re all trademarked and patented on some far away planet, whose megacorps view not other nations, but other planets as cheap labor colonies.
Her voice is nostalgic and wandering and she lets her words linger in silence, staring out the windshield at the dark, hilly road.
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