Cyber Reincarnation

I’ve been toying around with this concept for a novel a while now. Did a bit of an introduction! Hope you enjoy!

1

How much Benjamin liked what he saw could be found in the way he judged himself up and down in the bathroom mirror. First, he turned left, prodded the fat on the side of his hip, then did the same to the right. The way his finger sprang back out again, like bushing down on a memory-foam pillow, displeased Ben. Aged fat, judging by the density of the mass between bone and skin. Without a doubt, Benjamin’s overweight body caused him a great deal of shame. Sucking in didn’t help, it just made him look like wide oval instead of a wide circle, besides, he didn’t have the strength to keep that big gut sucked in always. It didn’t matter what the rest of him looked like; the first thing people thought of when they saw Ben, involves his unhealthy eating habits. Though, the condition of the rest of him certainly did contribute, at least a little, to his overall first impression. Greasy, dirt-blonde hair meekly hangs from atop his potato-shaped head, clinging to the sides of his pimple-face like an octopus desperately trying to hold on to a boulder during rough tides.

Gems amidst muck, a suitable description for the only appealing part one may pay attention to about Benjamin’s overall visage. His eyes. These are the kind of eyes that photoshop geniuses spend hours trying to produce in vanity photo-shoots. A green that can’t be compared to any corny gemstone or precious material. With any true treasure, however, it must be found. In Benajamin’s case, his eyes can only be found when he separates forehead fat from cheek pudge.

He had an appearance difficult to adapt to; luckily for him, he didn’t spend enough time around other people to give them the chance of judgement. Like many others in this technological era, cyberspace allowed Benjamin to be the person he wanted to be, and cram as many carbohydrates into his maw as he so desired. Psychologically, this fat lard convinced himself that every poor choice made in the real world, could easily have a pretty ‘cover’ thrown over it.

“I’m headed to the Gym,” he might say to one of his many lady followers. Little did they know, what he really meant goes along the lines of: “I’m about to mute your chat for enough time to convince you I was away at the Gym, but I’m actually just going to sit here and finish off my chicken wings so that I don’t get oily slime on my keyboard.” After Ben cleans his hands off enough to type again, always forgetting to pick out the crumbs from under his nails (Which he ends up chewing on later anyway), he might unmute the chat and say something like, “Man, I felt like I was the only one there. Had all the machines to myself, lol.” Of course, the reactions of praise from whomever he spoke tricked his internal chemicals to make him feel good about himself. Even if the life he created didn’t exist: who could call him out on it? It may as well be true.

What girl settles for an over-grown lima bean living in their mother-pod? Yes, to compliment poor Benjamin’s already unfortunate existence with a tasteful cliché: he lives in his parents’ basement. What used to be a recreational living space and laundry room: now a complete bedroom and bathroom for the chick that could never fly from the nest. At first, his parents seemed fully on board with the whole idea of staying an extra few years at home until confidence eventually plucks him away, but the notion has since grown less-appealing with Ben’s twenty-eighth birthday passing by.

Despite the many hundreds of times his parents have threatened to kick him out of he doesn’t start his own life, they just can’t bring themselves to following through and forcing him away. Benjamin had a troubling childhood. His weight gained him no friendships, and a whole bucket of bullies. Always a struggling little victim in his mother’s eye: he will always require babying. The generosity and patience of Mister and Mrs. Cole (Ben’s parents): two notions constantly taken for granted by their unmotivated son. With no idea what he wants to do or where he wants to go ‘when he gets older’, the Cole-family trio sits in limbo.

A resounding creek bounces off the walls of Benjamin’s little nook, created by an overburdened computer chair. If a reward existed where furniture could be commended for their outstanding performances, this chair would be the reigning champion ten times in a row. The arm-rests: naught but lazy limbs which loosely hung by each side; over time, Ben’s expanding thighs broke the sockets, leaving them impractical. The acne-laden oaf makes a few bold scoots forward; each time his rear lifts to jolt the seat forward, it lets loose an unintelligible scream of pain which humans can only acknowledge as a squeak. For everyone living above him, this noise symbolized two things. 1) Benjamin woke up and can now accept his lunch, or 2) Benjamin just returned from the bathroom. Any squeak before one in the afternoon indicates that he pulled an all-nighter.

A desperate stab at the computer’s on-switch, followed by irate tapping on the desk means all is not to accord with the pint-sized hippopotamus. An open phone on the un-made bed behind him, depicting a long wall of text from a female, confirms this. Sweat oozes from only the armpits and under-breast; adding fresh patches of hue to the other miscellaneous stains found on Ben’s sleep-shirt. When a blue screen pops up stating at a system update temporarily seizes his computer, two fists come down upon what appears to be a table. Plastic bottles, stiff tissues, and candy wrappers cover every inch of the desk; the only time when room is made upon it is when Benjamin swipes a corner-full of trash onto the floor and replaces it with trash-to-be. By the time Benji the Glutton manages to uncurl his sausage fingers and get the blood running through them again, the update completes.

Although the symbols on his keyboard’s buttons rubbed away long ago, Benjamin programmed his mind with the pristine whereabouts of each letter and number. Typing away through the dark nights trained him quite well. In a blur of movements, the password is typed in, and an instant messaging program pops up across the screen. After observing how quickly her son could type, Mrs. Cole often joked to her husband that Benjamin could be an Olympic racer if only the energy transferred to his pitiful excuse for legs.

Gulping down a wad of nervous saliva, Benjamin scrolls through a list of contacts: none of them bore notifications less than fifteen: popular for the wrong reasons. Britney, Samantha, Alie, Emily, Tania, Chloe: all female names. As the seconds rolled by, more notifications send a light ping through the speakers hidden beneath the plastic fallout of what looked like a child’s feast. The names scrambled as each new notification sent that particular girl to the top of the list, only to be taken over by another. It doesn’t take long to find the odd one out: Kat, with only one notification.

“I know who you are, and quite frankly, it makes me sick. I can’t believe you lied about who you are. That’s called Catfishing you know? It’s not right. You’re messing with people’s emotions. I’m going to make it my personal goal to talk to every single one of your followers and show them my evidence. You’re not getting away with this, Kevin- or should I say, Benjamin? Sick freak. This just goes to show that you -are- just like all the other guys. You aren’t as different as you say you are. Thanks for ruining my world. – Kat.” Attached to the bottom of the message is a screenshot of Benjamin requesting for edits to be made on a picture he used to serve as the mask to his cyber-identity. Most certainly, tact lacks in this instance. Foolish boy, to think that a few mere edits to an already existing picture might throw followers off his scent: karma in action.

The longer Ben stared at the message, the lower his heart sunk into his chest. His spine had been torn out and ice water filled its place. With a trembling hand, he dares to open the other messages.

“I told you my secrets… -Emily.”

“We were going to get married one day… -Samantha.”

“I hope you literally get hit by a car… -Britney.”

“LOL you’re so fat! -Tania.”

They all knew. Benjamin’s cyber life potentially ends here. All the relationships he’d been working on for the past eight years; all the memories and phone calls; all the emotions felt sat within a funeral coffin that embodied his instant messenger program, laid out for him to stare at with nothing but a quiver in his chin, and a sniffle at his button nose.

Protecting himself from real life consequences prompts Benjamin to delete every single profile he ever made. The last thing he needed: his parents brought into this humiliating mess. With everything deactivated and swept from the face of the internet, deleting his messenger account only remained. Plucking up the courage, the grief-struck man pushes his cursor toward the ‘Options’ button, treating it like a heavy paper-weight. On the way, he clicks once more on Kat’s chat box. He had one last thing to say.

“I’ll make it up to you, I promise.” The words typed are misspelled a few times, for the sporadic hiccups which make Ben’s entire torso bob up and down prove a difficult obstacle to work around. Immediately the bottom of the chat box displays the words, ‘Seen: 2:36 by Kat’. Three dots follow, indicating the girl’s reply is eminent.

Too afraid to see what she might have to say, Benjamin bolts his cursor around the screen and deletes his account then and there.

What could he do now? Any sane person might see this as a sign to break the cybernetic bonds and do something with their lives at last. Benjamin is not a sane person. At a steady pace, the cursor moves down the screen. Click: ‘Create New Account’; They never do learn.

Salad-Extravaganza

It was about that time again; University students often spent half the day worrying about school, and half the day worrying about what to make for dinner. Already five in the evening, and I still don’t know what to do. My stomach grumbles a storm, still grumpy from the morning of baby carrots and Dasani water. Hey, as long as it killed the hunger pains, right?

I had nothing in the fridge, nothing in the cabinets, heck, nothing hidden in the back-seat of my car either… which was odd. Sometimes, if I got lucky, I could fish out a packet of crisps from a forgetful Subway sandwich trip.

I sat my rear down at the desk, pulled back a drawer filled with menus, and laid them all out before me. “Greasy, greasy, greasy, healthy -but- boring, greasy… Perhaps I’ll just do pizza?” I spoke aloud. My self-conscious told me the right choice would be to pick something health; I -did- promise myself I would try not to pig out on as many carbs. Do I want that bikini-body or not?

As I reached for the menu of the local salad-extravaganza bar, the menu for Pizza Hut flipped over and covered the top of it. My heart leapt up into my throat for a sheer moment, until I realized the window was open. After dealing with the problem by shutting it, I returned to slide the Pizza menu to the side. Let’s try this again. I reach out to grasp the salad-bar menu, but this time, the 5 Guys menu dives in the way.

Abruptly, I stand up. The air conditioning had been off all day; the wind wasn’t causing anything to move. With fright spurring me to dash, I spin and flee toward the door. Before I could get my hand upon the doorknob, fast-food menus slapped against the door like a raining volley of ammunition. Regardless, I tug swing it open and charge toward the stairs. The menus cling to my body, making me run slower and slower. Each step forward caused my breathing to accelerate in exhaustion. The plastic, laminated material made my skin sweat and uncomfortable.

“Enough! Enough! Enough!” I cry, ripping each menu from my body to try and dispose of them within a garbage bin at the end of my apartment’s road. Goodbye burgers, goodbye fries, goodbye pizza, goodbye fried chicken. As each menu laid to rest within the bin, it seemed eternal.

I returned home, sweaty and unnerved, frustrated and tired. There sat upon my desk was one remaining menu.

Salad-Extravaganza.

Good Boy!

“Who’s a good boy?” Coos the voice of Young Master Mary. Every time she wiggles her table scraps above our heads, her pastel-gray hair springs up and down on her shoulders like the long, skinny noodles she often eats for lunch.

“Mary, stop feeding the dogs from the table, they’ll develop bad habits.” Says Master Mom. If there was one thing canines and Humans had in common, it was that the young typically looked rather similar to their parents. Master Mom, too, had springy hair, but it’s a much darker shade of gray, and always tied up on top of her head. She’d be a poodle in another life.

Whilst her bright silver eyes were distracted, my co-dog, Dude, leaps up and snatches that which my short, stubby little legs can’t muster a bounce strong enough to reach. I whine, widen my eyes, and then scoot up to the heel of Young Master Mary.

“Sorry, that was the only thing left on the plate. Gonna’ have to wait for dinner.” She apologizes, then contrastingly kicks me away with the bridge of her foot. This was a universal sign to all co-dogs that it was time to leave the food-room. Sometimes the Masters indulge me in a treat from the fridge if I dragged my wet nose across the tiled floor in my departure. They said it made me look sad, like I have ‘real Human emotions’. If Master Dad was at the gathering place for food, however, the chances of getting anything were close to zero. ‘He’s a dog, he’s food oriented.’ Master Dad usually says.

“Dude, you know that I’m Good Boy, why did you take my food?” I yap, staring up at the shaggy, ebon-gray son-of-a-bitch that was my co-dog. Dude looks like one of those bushes I typically pee on with my friends, and the cat, and the cat’s friends. If I focused on that imagery enough, I could distract myself from our clear size difference.

“I’m Good Boy now.” Dude says: his tone, gurgling and menacing: sounding like the machine our Masters use in which food goes in, but drink comes out after the loud growling finishes. In a fit of rage, I defy the preposterous words of the big pee-bush by leaping upon the leather couches in excitement. They were all pushed together, so my stubby little legs easily met each new surface. The light of the living room, dim as it is, caused me to stumble where vision lacked, but I continued my demonstration.

“You cannot be Good Boy! That is my name! That is my name only! They told me! I heard them! You cannot deny it is my name! Look at me! Look at me! I am Good Boy!” My yelling went on and on, crazed. Dude laid under the coffee table, crunching on the ends of his toenails with indifference. Each time my little paws hit the top of his shelter, he’d express displeasure through agitating muttering.

“Shut up in there!” Booms the voice of Master Dad, causing me to lose my balance a final time and knock over a cup of drink.

“Uh oh…” Dude says, scooting out from under the coffee table to watch from the hallway instead. I couldn’t move, the living room wasn’t a living room anymore; it was a crime scene, and I was the culprit! Getting yelled at by the Masters is the worst fate any co-dog can ever experience. Even though I wanted to run away, I knew Master Dad would find me anyway. There I sat, beside the puddle of drink I spilled. My beady, black eyes dart toward Dude; he watched me like a funeral attendee, or a vulture observing the corpse of a fellow vulture: conflicted in what to do.

“Bad boy!” Yells Master Dad. “You are a bad boy!”

Constriction with a Conscience

“Oh come on now, don’t do this to me.” No matter how many times or how many ways I sit down in grandpa’s old pickup truck, the damned seat-belt never wants to cooperate with me. I pull it slow, I pull it fast, it doesn’t matter. Heck, it doesn’t even matter -which- seat I sit in. The things are stubborn. Like tired old asses, the belts won’t progress a step forward or backward, they just want me to stay exactly where I am. They worsened over time, but in intervals.

The first time it came to my attention was when I dropped a nice, thick wad of hubba-bubba bubble gum straight into the buckle. I must have been about eight. Mum let me go on holiday with Grandpa for a week at Disney, but now it was time to go home. He spent two hours trying to get all the melted goop out of the button. It was a hot day and my sunburned skin stuck to the leather seats like syrup on a pancake. If it wasn’t for Grandpa putting on all those funny voices he used to do, I would have been totally miserable.

The second interval was my first day at High School (which I almost missed). Throughout the whole car-ride, I blabbered on about all the boyfriends I am bound to have over the next four years of my life. Grandpa kept shaking his head and telling me to put my studies before all that jazz. Once at the drop-off point, try as I might, I couldn’t get the belt to budge. “Oh for…” almost heard Grandpa swear that day, but I didn’t. The seat-belt confined me to my seat, wrinkling the brand-new clothes I bought two weeks ago for this day only. Eventually, I was released. Without even a fraction of a glance backward, I fled the scene in embarrassment, hoping nobody saw the struggle.

University-bound, was I, when the third hassle came. Mum’s busy working, and Grandpa’s truck is big enough to carry my futon in the back of it. I’m closer to him than anyone else in my family anyway, so I didn’t feel any misery from the lack of parent. “Think you’ll be coming back for Spring Break?” Grandpa asked. I can’t remember exactly what I said, but it was along the lines of, “I just want to party!” Even if he laughed it off then, I wish I’d gone back for Spring Break after all. When we rolled up to my new dorms, I tried to unclip my seat-belt: it simply wouldn’t give out. The nerve and attitude of this damn contraption could put an angst-ridden pre-teen to shame. “You’ll have to take your classes in the car, I’m afraid.” Grandpa said after a good thirty minutes of trying to unjam the mechanics in the ill-mannered belt. Frustrated, I huffed without amusement.

Here I am now, at the fourth dilemma. No Grandpa this time, just me and the truck. Shortly after Spring Break his heart seized, then poof, out like a wick on a windy evening with a wide-open window. I stopped showing up to class; I stopped talking to mum; I stopped giving a damn. All I have left of Grandpa is a few pictures and this shabby pick-up. My intentions this evening -was- to drive out to the pier and drink to forget him, but the damn seat-belt won’t let me go. I tug and I pull, but it only tightens its embrace around me. As I scream out in grief and curse the way I never heard Grandpa curse, the belt pulls me in closer to the leather seats, where his smell still lingers.

Once calm, I decide against my evening of irresponsible intoxication and drive to my mum’s house. As I reached for the seat-belt, it clicked open without even the glimmer of a bother. “Thanks Grandpa.” I weep.

This One Time in Middleschool…

Prose

I once knocked myself out at a basketball match. It was funny, I guess. Funny for the people watching. Funny for the coach, heck, even the mascot found it funny. I wasn’t even on the basketball team; I was just someone in the audience that came down to try and win a free tee-shirt. It was probably just going to end up a sleeping-shirt anyway, I’m not a triple-extra-large, in truth. I found the best way to make it all go so wrong so fast. There was a little trampoline a few meters from the post of the net. The goal was to jump on it and propel the ball toward the large circular goal. I say large, because it was. How hard could this be? Running like a cheetah (an overweight retired one), I leaped upon the trampoline and sprung into the air. Or at least, I would have, if I didn’t land on it funny to begin with. To cut a short story shorter, the trampoline slid backward and I shot to the ground like a faulty missile. The ball flung from my hands, hit the bottom of the basketball hoop and smacked into my face. The laughing of the crowd turned into what could be described as crashing waves at the beach. My dizziness couldn’t quite piece everything together, so I remained there while my half-concerned half-giggling parents attended to me. My adolescent pride was snuffed like a burning wick, attributing to much of my awkwardness in the later years of my life.

The Ol’ ID Trickerooni

“Will it just be the six pack and the dark chocolate?” The store owner asks, moving the scanner toward the two items.

“Mmhm, movie night for one.” She replies.

“Beats workin’ ‘till 3am.” He refrains the scanner from the six pack, then looks at the woman. She stares back. “ID?”

She laughs, “You trying to get cheeky with me, young man?” Whilst asking, her hands move to sit on her hips.

“You don’t look a day past eighteen.” He responds, yet still refuses to scan her alcohol. Silence falls between them, the woman taps her long nails on the desk.

“You’re joking right?” Her laughing stops. “You can’t see the wrinkles?”

“Wrinkles? What wrinkles?” He says, setting his scanner back down on its holster.

“Heh, alright… Joke’s over. I’ve got lasagna in the oven at home waiting for me.” She waves her hand, dismissive to the façade.

“I can’t sell you this alcohol without an ID, store rules.”

“I understand that you’re trying to flatter me, but for goodness sakes, I was born in the seventies!” With her raised voice, the store owner backs away by a step and reaches for the phone on the wall. “Are you serious!? I’m graying and I’ve got whiskers in places a young lady shouldn’t have whiskers!”

“It is my right to refuse service; your yelling is threatening to me, I am beginning to feel unsafe.” He slowly removes the phone from the wall. “This can all be solved if you show me your ID.”

“I left it at home, can’t you see I’m wearing my comfies? This is absolutely bizarre, I haven’t had to show my ID since I was in my early thirties!” The woman throws the chocolate bar onto the table and turns to exit.

“Well, that didn’t go accordingly to plan.” Murmurs the shop owner.

“You’re not supposed to wait until she gives you the ID, idiot. You have to make her feel young, and then give her the alcohol anyway.” Comes the voice of a janitor in a nearby aisle.

“Oh.”

Where’s Amber?

Of all the words that could have started my day out, today it was the word ‘shit’. In my groggy state, I couldn’t comprehend much, but that all came to an end when my body thrusts forward, only to be restrained by a damp seat-belt. The whiplash lasted but few moments; once I was out of my daze, I gradually took in my surroundings and pieced my thoughts together.

“Am-ber?” I call out, though apparently at a low decibel. My ears felt warm, tingly, and itchy all at the same time. With a clammy hand, I go to scratch my right lobe, only to find a cotton wad sticking out of my hearing canal. Once both were removed, I focused less on myself and more on what the heck was going on.

I sat in the passenger seat of a disheveled little car, a car which I don’t remember ever getting into. A shirt three times too large for me adorns my small, feminine torso. Some kind of baseball team uniform. I must have ruined my own clothes at the party; I could only hope I was being driven home by some kind gent.

“Ain’t worth it, go!” Whispers a frantic voice in the backseat. Before I even had the chance to look around to see who was driving, two car doors swing open and a black leather toiletry bag is thrown down in my lap. They didn’t even bother to close the doors behind them, as they were already away and into the twisted mess of bushes that lines the dense woodlands.

My world flashes blue and read, gradually becoming more and more refined in hue as the source approaches. The familiar cry of a police siren caused a sense of safety to cradle my anxious and confused heart. Despite the odd circumstances, I refused to move even an inch until the police came to my window. I didn’t know what was in this bag on my lap, and I didn’t want to find out, either.

A tall, dark skinned copper strolled up to my window: one hand holding up a flashlight, whilst the other lingered about his firearm’s holster. When our eyes met, he flashed the torch in my eyes, forcing me to shut them tight.

“We got ‘er!” He calls back to his car, “Missy, you don’t even know how much trouble you’ve gotten yourself into.” The cop growls, menacingly.

I could only defyingly stare into the light he shone in my eyes, expressing a doe-like fear.

What had I done?

Boring Mister Bert

Tick… tick… tick… Oh, will that clock ever shut up? No matter how loudly people chewed their company spearmint gum, it only ever added more ticks to the tick. It seemed to bother one person in the office more than others, though. Ted Burt, a boring name for a seemingly boring man. He’s always nursing a headache, no doubt from boring himself half-to-death. Ted didn’t care about anything or anyone, and anyone didn’t care about anything to do with Ted. Once he left those rotating, spinny-doors, who gave a rat’s ass where the rest of his story went?

One time, Martha from the secretary desk saw him buying a meatball sub from Subway. “Shut up Martha, who cares.” Promptly came the response of Rebecca, the other secretary. He was just another clock-in; just another name and number on the roster.

Tappa-tappa-tappa… goes the racing fingers of all within the office. If you weren’t tapping, you weren’t working. Sometimes Ted clicked his fingers on the top of his keyboard, but doesn’t write anything down. Sometimes his headache made it too hard for him to focus. While everyone else turned in their reports on time, Ted pulled out his never-ending excuse book to try buy a later deadline.

One time, Andy from the security office saw him coming out of a Party City store. “What did he buy?” Martha asked. Andy claims to have seen a packet of glow sticks fall out of one of Ted’s bags.

“Shut up Andy.” Rebecca chimes in. Nobody would believe such a stupid story, certainly not about boring Mister Burt.

Tsst… tsst… tsst… comes the sweeping noise of the janitor. Everyone had gone home, all except for Ted. There was far too much work to be done. A stack had accumulated in front of him which consisted of late work from the past two weeks or so. With the headache pounding away in his noggin like bottled thunder, the light at the end of the tunnel was but a fleck of dust upon a blackboard. “That’s one full bin.” Murmurs the janitor, as he empties Ted’s trash-can into his much larger one. An avalanche of empty plastic water bottles and tiny triangular paper cups spill out. The man was more hydrated than the ocean floor itself.

One time, Bill, Rebecca’s husband from accounting, saw him sleeping at a bus stop early one morning. “Shut up Bill.” His wife groans, tired of hearing the blasphemous rumours of Mister Boring. It couldn’t have possibly been Ted: not in a million years.

Click… Click… Click… Heels upon marble.
Approaching surely.
“Thought I’d find you here, wild boy.”
A sultry voice.
Ted looks up and casts a grin.

The Year Everything Changed

Summer of the year 4589, New York Version 8.3.4-

“I remember it like it was yesterday (shameless cliché). Blissful nothing; all that could be heard was the gentle hum of the hover lounges before it happened. Everything came to a screeching halt; one moment we were all in the cyber-grid, then suddenly, offline. Usually we would rely on the back-up magnets which would gently lower us all back to the ground, but it was as if everything had stopped working all together. Every single one of us was thrown to the ground in a most unflattering way. People scrambled to try and boot up their vehicles again, treating it like the end of the world. Even though the vitamins we took every day made our bodies healthy, we all stumbled about like early-development robotic prototypes with faulty motor mechanics. Without our gadgets telling us what day of the week it was, time just seemed to spill on and on. I’ve never had so much fun in my life; met a great girl that liked to listen to books about dancing. After we’d gotten the walking-thing figured out, I told her we should try it some time. History class was never a strong subject of mine back in school, but I’ve seen a movie or two about how the Mid-Humans used to sway. We never got around to it though; it’s hard to find a shoe-maker in this modern age, and I don’t have a fortune to spend. When the power came back on, although we all made promises to each other that we wouldn’t get back on the hover lounges, we all lied. The convenience and comfort was just too good to resist.”

-As spoken by a Human awaiting maintenance on his hover lounge; of course, nobody was listening to respond, however.

The Worst Day of my Life

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Bio

It was almost four years ago, but I still remember it as if it happened this morning. There I was, sat in my big, pink, fluffy, Hello Kitty pajamas. I’d pulled an all-nighter just to play video games with my friends overseas. Despite being exhausted, I was giddy from all the fun I’d had for the past, countless, hours.

“I’ll be right back guys, gonna grab some food.” I said, putting down my thick headset. I had to de-tangle myself from the many wires which connected to the various things sat on my desk. Once freed, I lazily trod down to the kitchen. Through the large windows in the sacred-grounds-of-food, I could see my parents swimming in our pool and enjoying the Florida sun. I hissed, feeling my nocturnal eyes burning at the mere sight of golden rays embracing the outside world like a dry, hot blanket.

After standing in the light of the fridge (the only light I will accept) for what felt like ten minutes alone, I eventually decided that I had no energy to actually cook something… or even put a sandwich together. Microwave food it is! Swinging open a cupboard, I nabbed the closest thing to me… a tin of hoop-shaped tomato-soaked pasta. It was an easy preparation process; I’d been doing it since I was at least eleven.

Step 1. Grab can opener.
Step 2. Latch can opener onto can.
Step 3. Twist can opener to open can.
Step 4. Dump contents into bowl.
Step 5. Use spoon to scrape any stragglers into bowl.
Step 6. Put spoon to the side, and set the can in the recycle bin.
Step 7. Put bowl in the microwave.

You’d think, after years, and years of doing this, I would eventually remember it off by heart. But no; This story has only a slight happy ending.

After putting the bowl in the microwave, I waited… and waited. “Beep beep beep!” It was ready after a record-breaking one-minute fifty-nine.

Step 8. Remove bowl from microwave… CAREFULLY.
Step 9. Pick up spoon…..

Pick up spoon… Spoon? Hello? Where is spoon? In my tired stupor, I decided not to actually use my eyes to try and find my dear old pal’, spoon. No no, I decided to use my left hand to aimlessly wave around in an attempt to find spoon. It happened in the blink of an eye. It felt like a prick by a needle, then suddenly the empty can was on the floor. But wait, wasn’t it supposed to be in the bin? Oh and well well well, look who comes rolling out of mister can!? SPOON!

Drip…. Drip- A pitter patter can be heard. As my eyes went to inspect the source, I certainly was not prepared to see what I saw. The pinky on my left hand was severed at almost a ninety-degree angle. The can lid had sliced cleanly through it. I screamed like a dolphin out of water and cradled my wound, trying to slow down the red waterfall which relentlessly poured from it. It may or may not be an exaggeration, but I cherish this story with an air of drama unbeknownst to any other.

My parents could certainly hear me from outside and rushed in to see what had happened. They panicked around me, thinking I had lost a finger, or electrocuted myself or… or something!

“Don’t touch it! Don’t touch it! Don’t touch it!” Was all I could scream as I jumped up and down. I knew nobody was going to actually touch my wound, but I was as protective as could be over it. After much convincing, I allowed my dad to see my pinky.

“Holy smokes!” Was the last thing I wanted to hear. Next thing I knew, I was being rushed toward the emergency walk in at the local doctors. The second last thing I wanted to hear was that my nurse didn’t speak much English. As she tried to clean up my finger, I kept asking questions-

“Is it bad?” – “Yes.”
“Will I need stitches?” – “Yes.”
“Will it hurt?” – “Yes.”
“Is there any other way?” – “Yes.”
“Do I really need stitches!?” – “Yes.”

By this point, I was really psyching myself out. I would take literally -anything- other than this. The bin nearby was almost full with bloody bandages, the sight made me throw up. Luckily the nurse was able to grab the bin of bloody bandages and thrust it in my face so that I could throw up in there instead… oh and what a lovely view of bloody bandages. She also bonked the top of my head with the side of the bin.

I was getting drowsy from all of the crying and screaming I was doing. I refused to let my doctor actually assess my finger and do anything with it. This is the case with all of my doctors, as I refuse to be in the same room as a needle.

“This is a nightmare… Remind me to take a day off next time you come here.” I could remember him saying. A few of the nurses were laughing in the corridor, which only made me angry. I know full well I was making a big deal out of nothing, but when you have a phobia… you have a phobia! Eventually I felt sleepy enough to let my guard down. It took my dad having to hold down my arm for the doctor to actually do anything with my poor little finger.

During the process, pictures were taken… I refused to see them until my finger was fully healed. It truly looked like a little pork sausage cut in half and squirted to death with ketchup.

After it was all done, my parents brought their grown-ass daughter a big slurpie and some chocolate for being such a good girl. To this day, I now have a lovely spiral-shaped scar that runs up my left pinky. It serves as a reminder of my worst day ever. The day I got stitches for the first time, when I have a dire needle phobia.

I made the above-photo to commemorate the day I stopped eating hoop-pasta (TOTALLY AVOIDING COPYRIGHTS). When we got home, I daren’t even look at the cold bowl I had prepared two hours prior… and dumped it in the sink with a sense of justice.