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The Hot Box

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"Men simply copied the realities of their hearts when they built prisons."
Richard Wright
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'569…'

'570…'

'5- -'

Oh! A cricket!

He squashes it under his palm. Bringing his hand up to his face, about his mouth, he crushes it inside.

Its taste isn't satisfactory to him like that centipede the other day, but it's good. All is good. It would do.

Where was he…? Oh yes. 571.

'571'

'572…'

Everything would do! He doesn't need a lot. He never needed a lot.

A juicy, vitamin-filled creature can, and will be enough for a humble man like him.

He is a humble man… a very humble insect… insects are very humble- yes! They walk from wall to wall, avoiding any shape of conflict…

What would you need more, than to be a humble insect, marching from wall to wall and avoiding any and all sorts of conflicts?

It's the ideal life…

Life…

This word is so much bigger than his vocabulary. His tongue isn't able to do that simple movement… raise the rusted muscle to the roof of your mouth… elegantly… smoothly… and then, let it glide, down behind the perfect set of your lower jaw's teeth.

Just like you eject love…

He continues to do the one thing that succeeded in calming him to the point where the volcano forgets to erupt.

Count.

'573…'

He's still got four hundred or something before he falls into oblivion… unintentionally…

'574…'

Before light comes crashing into his life; overtly sweet, like golden syrup…

'575…'

Four hundred and something before the guard comes to fetch him.

Every day, it's like this.

Like staring blankly—

You're still a humble insect. Remember. Don't lose focus.

- At the bottom of an empty honey jar.

This is his life… if you chose to continue, this might become your life as well.

He had such conflicted emotions though…

Which one did his life resemble more…? The empty honey jar… or the person looking into it?

Does the answer matter, he asked himself.

No.

It came as acidic as the impossible number of lemons they shoved down his throat upon his arrival at the solitary confinement.

His citrus allergy had never suffered more.

The first impression his cell had –yes it was his- was the mental image of a contemplative owl. It stared, stared, peered relentlessly but did not move.

Back home, owls were scary, just as much as his iron-willed, widowed neighbor.

The kids used to laugh at her because she smelled.

The organ responsible for scent detection has long since ceased functioning. How did he know? His nauseously smelly hands.

No matter how cold it is, his hands were constantly damped with sweat. Musk so strong, rivaling that of his iron-willed, widowed neighbor's armpits.

He could not smell them anymore, least anything else.

Even the persistent aroma of fried, highly alerted nerves, slowly, as if warming him up to the revelation, stopped reaching him.

Candidly, folks. You might have noticed, but I don't know who the narrator is. Me, or my awfully loyal, humble insect-like buddy here with his white hair and white memories.

We're balancing on two ropes at the same time, like an over-weight ballerina who chose the circus life 'cause she fell in love with the lion!

I know it doesn't make sense. It doesn't have to.

Everything here is seamlessly out of place that you don't even notice the books' covers are inside and their printed pages are outside. And instead of writing on papers, papers write on you!

See? Logic is for the public.

Logic is for grown-ups. It doesn't apply to us, mixing ketchup with ice cream, because we've been reduced to no older than infants, in our helplessness and sweet unawareness.

Logic is a sunny place where families go on living in their little world; where they spend their holidays on beaches and mountains. But we're visiting neither of these places.

We're here, in a cell, and that's where we'll stay.

Here my friend happens the manufacturing of wondrous, fanciful utopias.

Here they help you reconstruct your demolished imagination and rebuild the runes of your kingdom.

They know that we all inhabited regalities at one point, and that all of us had been self-declared kings and queens.

They know this and they let you believe that you're the owner of your own life, of yourself! But no, you're the property of someone else the moment a name is given to you while you're still curling in an ugly heap inside of a womb!

They let you be, as long as you don't form a threat to their democratic dominance.

The silver cricket here made that mistake and paid dearly. If you want to go on, check your list of priorities first and make sure to befriend the walls, for they'll become your only comrades, your silent companions.

They allowed him to be a large, flightless bug. They granted him the wish of riving in an odorless freedom, while the shadow of their shoes had been constantly upon him, and when he looked higher than he's supposed to, he was met with the bottom of a brand new shoe, bought from a store which name he couldn't even pronounce.

That's how worthless you are when you're still buzzing over your conspiracies. But here, behind closed walls, you're the emperor of a 1x1 meter cell which may, or may not have been made by a man with a severe case of Agoraphobia.

Does the answer matter you ask, no!

He breathes, soundly, appreciatively, a deep sense of profound gratitude filling him.

Today he is going to bask under the sun, and nobody's going to stop him from feeling like a delicious fried tomato as he watches his shadow hang from a rope. .

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