We live inside an avocado; it’s green and damp. Oh. Maybe it’s not an avocado; maybe it’s a rainforest.
I have this friend. I call her Genevieve. I think she might be some kind of lizard. She is also green and has funny eyes that make me laugh. They move like they’re tiny machines, and not always together. She hasn’t ever told me one single joke, yet she makes me laugh almost every day.
She catches flies for me and for herself. She lives in my belly pouch and seems happy with the arrangement.
You know, it might be an avocado. My other friend, who looks more like me, and is called Raglan, told me this is a moon but also an avocado. There’s a smooth hard core and a mountainous crust that was blasted into black hard-rubber ridges in a long ago war and we can’t live on it or we’d get terribly sick and die. We live in an avocado orbiting a nearby planet that is so molten it acts like a small sun and we wade through warm avocado pulp, which is our air.
Or perhaps that was my last dream. The dream before that I woke up in an ocean filled with wondrous sights that swayed and slithered and grasped in what was not water but pure alcohol. All the anemone things and the squid things and the sharklike things were completely shitfaced. Even the orange kelplike things spiraled off-kilter. It was drunken mayhem. It made me laugh, too, but I was happy to wake up so I could escape it, all the same. That kind of thing is not sustainable.
Genevieve just yawned and her tiny red tongue made me laugh. I love her so much for making me laugh. Laughing is one of the best things to do in this or any other life. Without it, a dimension or two would peel away and snag whatever breeze was passing and be faraway by nightfall. Too far ever to catch.
In one of my dreams, while birds shaped like liquid crystal wheels spun through a violet sky that tasted of berries, someone in a dark forest made from the eyelashes of giants called me Mississippi, called me a chimera, but I don’t know what one of those is. Imagine that.
I think Mississippi was a river, though. I like its sound. I wonder if the thing itself sounded just like its name as it flowed along and lapped against its banks. And did the birds call out its name as it flowed on by? “Mississippi!” Did boats journey on its back and were some of them alive? There is so much I don’t know.
I do know this, though. Raglan fell in love with Clarice, but Clarice went and died, so Raglan is too sad to laugh yet. I hope he will relearn laughter, because he’s a nice person, and he deserves it. I think he feels left out of laughter world and sometimes it makes him say something mean, which I know isn’t really him, it’s his unhappiness talking.
He told me I was stupid, and for a moment I wondered if he was right. Then he burst into tears, and I knew he hadn’t meant it. His unhappiness meant it, and for a second his unhappiness convinced my unhappiness and we merged into a whole new being made out of pain, but it was over quickly largely thanks to Raglan’s tears. My own tears never had a chance to show themselves.
Clarice didn’t die of natural causes. She was killed. Some say the Mistreat Man did it. He is made out of smoke and something else I don’t want to think about because it squirms and drips and reeks of death. Smoke I can deal with. But the older boys and girls up on the other ridge say he stole in one night and did something awful to Clarice—they say the word violated and their faces go still as stones and far too serious—and when he realized Clarice might tell, he snuffed out her life like it was a small candle, and then the Mistreat Man went someplace where he hoped he’d be forgotten. But Raglan won’t forget him. Not ever, not in this life. Raglan believes the other children. I think he might be planning something.
Which, yeah. I wanted to tell you something scary I saw earlier, but I don’t want to think about it anymore, not for a while, so thank you for listening to my tales of living in the avocado, and perhaps I will tell you more if you gain my trust. Or when I feel stronger. Wave back, I’m waving!
A former youth worker who has spent roughly half his life in England and the other half in Canada, David Antrobus now writes and edits in a freelance capacity. He has written music reviews, articles, essays, creative nonfiction, and fiction for venues as disparate as The Georgia Straight, PopMatters, Dark Moon Digest, Ripen the Page, Mash Stories, and The Woven Tale Press. He’s also published two nonfiction ebooks and has several dark, disquieting, and stealthily humane stories featured in numerous anthologies. Arguably obsessive-compulsive, definitely post-traumatic, he nevertheless values kindness highly. He lives just east of Vancouver, BC.
Photo by: Ana Prundaru