Tuesday, September 27, 2011

156/365 -- Playlist Story -- inspired by "Coffre-fort" by Etienne Charry

Sally woke up, floating on her back. She stared at the kitchen ceiling. The florescent lights above her hummed vaguely.

"Why is it wet?" she asked herself. She tried to stand up, but instead rolled over and started to sink up to her nose. She flailed and remembered how to treat water. She righted herself and bobbed up above the surface. "This is really hard...It's like honey or something. Why is there this much water...oh...oh no."

She looked up and around and saw the kitchen distort around her.

"That's--that's glass. That's a rim of glass. No. It can't be."

Something nudged against her foot and she screamed, looking down. A large orange blob swam underneath her, with a gaping toothless mouth it gummed at her feet and legs.

"Gaaaaaaaarghhh!" she screamed again. "Get away! Go away!" she kicked her feet at it, hitting its nose. It retreated but continued to look on with interest. "Oh, this can't be...how can this be?"

She looked down and saw a bed of blue gravel and a large treasure chest emitting bubbles.

"Oh dear God," she sighed. "I have to be dreaming." She closed her eyes tight and held her breath and went still. She started sinking again, and then opened her eyes wide and started treading water again.

"Can't be. Can't be." She pressed her lips together and furrowed her brow. The orange blob started circling closer. "You stay away!" she yelled. She kicked out again and it held it's place, languidly flapping its fins.

"Okay think--think what happened? What did I do?" She focused on a spot in front of her nose for a few seconds. "I put my hand in to scare the fish. What happened? I don't remember. Something must have happened. Oh! I touched the treasure chest! Was that it? I don't remember anything else. Oh. Would that be it? Why would that be it?"

Sally treaded in silence for a few minutes, watching the orange blob and half wishing someone else was home to help her (and half grateful no one was since it was unbelievably embarrassing to get trapped in a fishbowl when you're a grown human).

"This is hard," she sighed, as her limbs grew progressively leaden with the effort of treading through powerful surface tension. "How do you do it all day?" she asked the orange blob. "I never realized you had so much work to do all the time."

"Okay. I'll give this a go. This is stupid, and it won't work, but I'll give it a try."

Sally sucked in a deep breath, then pursed her lips shut. She dove under the surface and fought downwards toward the treasure chest. She dodged silvery air bubbles, and pushed further down. She tried not to worry about the goldfish. Finally, when her lungs were burning, she touched the chest with her hand and grabbed ahold. Nothing happened.

Sally screamed with fury, letting loose all over her breath at once. The bowl shattered and Sally found herself on the kitchen floor in a puddle of water. Her clothes were dry except for a thin misting; the water that soaked her in the bowl no longer had enough surface area to soak her expanded size so it snapped into millions of tiny water droplets. She was stunned.

The goldfish flopped on the floor beside her. She scooped it up and ran to the sink. She took a glass down from the cupboard and filled it with lukewarm water and slid the fish in. She leaned down to look at the fish.

"You did that, didn't you?" she said. The fish opened and closed its mouth, pushing water through its gills. It stared at her with unblinking eyes. "No, of course not. Fish can't do anything." She stood up straight and looked back at the glass and mess on the floor, then looked leerily back at the fish. "Maybe you did, maybe you didn't. I'm not entirely sure what just happened. But in case you did, I'm sorry. I know I've teased and taunted you and called you stupid, and I'm sorry. Maybe you're not so stupid...or something. I don't know. If you did this to teach me a lesson, well, let's just say, lesson learned. I won't bother you again. I won't tap your glass. I won't threaten to flush you down the toilet. So...truce, okay?"

The goldfish continued to open and close its mouth. Then suddenly it started to swim a circuit of the glass, and returned to its initial position.

"Hmmm. I'll take that as a yes. Don't make me small again!"

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