Their Days Are Numbered is a new year-long project authored by the collective Entropy community. It is a collaborative online novel written by the Entropy community on a weekly basis. A different author will write the next “chapter” each week, to be posted every Tuesday, following the previous post from the previous week, and following a very limited set of guidelines (that each author has one week to write the next piece after the previous week’s installment goes up, that installments should range between 150-1500 words, and that pieces should somehow incorporate a real-life occurrence, current event, news item, or other happening from that week).
Follow the entire “novel” here: Their Days Are Numbered.
The forty-first installment is presented this week by Robin Myrick.
What doesn’t water look like?
How does the sea know that the sea is green, the sea is blue, the sea is turquoise, the sea is brown, the sea is chartreuse, the sea is metallic, the sea is red and black licorice, the sea is sea? All that oil and sand and memory and trash and bodies, and cellophane, and flushed pharmaceuticals, and black boxes and loved ones and unloved ones – is the sea all that it abides?
The sea is thinking.
Meanwhile, in another location, someone is picturing that sexy grilled cheese sandwich from the commercial again while the nurse is talking. Someone wishes that her gums were luxurious ropes of cheddar pulling apart in slow motion from the corners of her mouth, but nonetheless hears the nurse say the following:
Don’t fear the air bubble in the needle.
Someone is a bad believer. You are a bad believer. And the nurse knows this about you, and her next appointment is sitting in the lobby, and she isn’t having any of it. So you now get the crumpled-up-shopping-list version of the instructions:
You can’t hurt yourself unless you know what you’re doing. I’ve had an air bubble in my vein before and it was fine, you’d really have to be trying, it’s not like in the movies. Just stick in it, push the plunger, watch the clickdown till it reads zero, count to ten, pull it out. Don’t use hand sanitizer before or after, it messes with the readings. Oh, and they have to give you needles, the law says they can’t refuse you at the pharmacy, or ask any questions. There’s an emergency dose in the package in case you get into trouble, but go straight to the hospital after, if you have to take it. Any questions, call your doctor or me. Or your doctor.
This is what you hear: don’t be the bubble, be the needle.
This is what you don’t hear: titrate slowly.
You still can’t figure out how so many places where someone is not, where you are not, where the sea is not, are the sea just the same. Any day of the week, two bodies in the water is enough to rate a panic. Today, counting to two has been rendered impossible. Something that happens three times in two months in the same location cannot possibly compete with something happening three times on one day in three different locations. You can’t argue with that logic.
So it follows that what friendly fire doesn’t look like is all that anyone on the waiting room television wants to talk about, and possibly the only thing August and its furies will remember. All friends are not friends, but all fire is fire. And the sea is the sea, and it swallows the beloved sexpot grilled cheese sandwich from the commercial just like it swallows those who have cracked the sky and heard the clickdown and been the bubble and not the needle. And you realize that the sea is not thinking about you, but about how it will abide what you become.