Title: Day in the Life

Callout: One life to live.

Logged: 13 Aug 15 (Thursday in the PM)

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Time: 2 minutes

Replies: 3

Revisions: 4

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Sunrise. Even before Todd opened his eyes, light, the first he had ever known, pierced his lids, inundating what would be his vision with vague translucent orange and yellow splotches. Instinctively he wrenched his head away.

After a few minutes, his eyes open, Todd was walking around, checking stuff out. His infancy — that period of beautiful helplessness — had lasted only a short time. Now he was into everything, running amok, buzzing about. For reasons he couldn’t pin down, he was especially attracted to the light produced by the large overhead lamp and spent a good while trying to bang into it headfirst — but though it looked like it was right there, it was in reality too far away.

Much of Todd’s life thereafter consisted of the same general concepts. He would occasionally become hungry and would locate by scent or carbon detection nearby rotting vegetable matter, which he lapped up with his proboscis-like mouth parts. It turned out eating wasn’t much fun for Todd — he found the taste of cold liquid plant goo pretty revolting — but he subsisted. He occasionally thought about the female sex, but like his first exposure to light, it was only conceived of in a vague and spotty way when he closed his eyes, though the images he saw were usually darker and sharper, like Rorschach inkblot patterns.

Todd’s friend George Glass had already gone off to mate — he may have fathered hundreds by now.

It was mid-afternoon. Todd just wasn’t ready yet.

Occasionally Todd thought about life and death. Why had he been given only one day to live? Who were his parents? Who would his children be? Why was he part of an r-selected species?

Except for George Glass, Todd didn’t know another soul in the world.

In the evening, Todd found himself in a down and out bar on the other side of the tracks. As the piano player, an old fruit fly named Fragg, softly tapped out “As Time Goes By” on the keys, Todd looked up from his tumbler of fermented nectar as she walked in through the door. Her name was Wanda. Her husband had been wiped from existence by a windshield only fifteen minutes earlier and she needed a drink. The grieving process was necessarily and fortuitously brief — for when Wanda and Todd locked eyes, they fell for each other like this was the last day of their lives.

Play it, Fragg, said Todd, rising to meet Wanda as she crossed the room. Play it again.

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Nota Bene

"Deliberately puzzling or confusing a reader may keep him reading for a while, but at too great an expense. A lot of beginning writers' fiction is like a lot of beginners' poetry: deliberately unintelligible so as to make the shallow seem deep." – Rust Hills