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Friday, September 21, 2012

Belly, part seven

[This is part 7 of my short story Belly. Click here to start at the beginning.]



And an image flashes in his mind. An image from his childhood. An image of a crowd. So many bodies crammed in such a small space. So many bodies with angry, uncomfortable faces. They’re not pushing each other, no, but they seem to be pulling themselves in. They seem to be trying to maintain some sense of self, here, where they’re just another face and body among so many.

*****

Star Trek. It’s like a scene from Star Trek. He must have watched it when it was small. Or his brother watched it, obsessively, and he only half-watched, caught in the middle of one of those far-away states he has.

He’s always done that, since he was a boy. Fell back deep into his thoughts and let his body continue on doing whatever mundane things it does. And his body does them quite well sometimes without him. It keeps doing whatever it’s supposed to and leaves him to his mind. He’ll find himself suddenly much farther down a sidewalk then he thought he was, with no recollection of the time it took for him to get there.

And though he’s not fully there, it doesn’t mean his body stops taking in the sensory data it’s supposed to accumulate. It doesn’t need him there to keep on seeing, hearing, smelling things that he’s not even half-aware of, or maybe not aware of until much later, when he feels he’s sensed something before. Is it deja vu if you can’t remember the first time?

And that’s what’s most frustrating, he can’t control when these memories resurface, or figure out where they fit when they do. Like this scene from Star Trek. He can’t say what episode it was on, or what season, or who guest-starred. He can’t even say what the stupid story line of the episode was. But he’s looking at this train full of commuters, and suddenly he sees that shot of a group of people jam-packed in a room. They’re supposed to be aliens on some over-crowded planet, but it’s not hard to tell they’re just a bunch of extras in bad costumes crammed onto a sound stage in Hollywood.

It’s like that here, except on Star Trek, their faces didn’t move.

The memory’s not important. The feeling isn’t either. This feeling of wishing they would all go away. Not in a bad way. Not to harm them. Just to move them away from him. To beam them off to some other planet, or ship, or dimension. Or maybe it would be better if he was, beamed away.
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