Ever had one of those days where you’re just not yourself, where you wake up out of sorts and it gets worse from there, till you’re squealing like a pig ’cause your zipper won’t zip up? Wreeeeeee! Wreeeeeee! My life is a sewer!
It’s like you’re a kid again, throwing a tantrum, and you probably wouldn’t do it if anyone was watching—but then again, you’re really mad. Edging out of control. You want to break something, and maybe you do. Maybe you tear out your hair.
Maybe that’s your death talking.
Your death. Maybe it’s in you right now, this tiny, malevolent protein, gnawing away at your brain. It’s in your prefrontal cortex, eating your self-control. It’s in your amygdala, and you’re losing your fear, or collecting more of it. Walking out into traffic. Cowering in your cubicle. It’s in your frontal lobes, and you can’t pay attention. Can’t keep track of time. It’s everywhere, and you’re losing yourself, but it’s all going so slow….
You’ve got weird symptoms. You itch. Someone says it’s Morgellons, and that strikes you as reasonable. You join Facebook groups. Diagnose yourself with more shit. You try juice cleanses and magnet cleanses and colloidal silver. Your skin turns grey. You don’t care. You pick through your shit and you find a piece of glitter, and you know it’s a microchip. They’re watching you.
Or maybe it’s subtle. You retreat to the attic, not physically, but in your head. You brush your teeth for twelve minutes ’cause you’re spinning a story up there. You rinse off your toothbrush and reach for your comb instead of the Listerine. You worry if it’s Alzheimer’s and go right back to thinking what you’d do if an alien child cuddled up to you in the park. If you brought it home. If you fed it. If it looked like a bird and smelled like warm corn.
Maybe it’s physical. Maybe it’s little twitches—just at night, at first, while you’re trying to go to sleep, but lately it’s other times too. You click the mouse without meaning to. You keep making this face. One night, you look in the mirror and your lips aren’t even. They’re tilting down on one side. You smile and they go back to normal. You relax and they tilt right back down. Or maybe they’re fine. Maybe you’re imagining the whole thing.
It’s been in you a while now, something you ate as a tot. A leg of lamb. A pinkish burger. British beef. A string bean that dragged through the gravy. You didn’t feel it go in, but it soon found its seat. It slept a while in your cerebellum, but now it’s awake, and it’s in all of us.
Maybe the clock’s running out. The prodrome, that’s over. We’re full-blown now. That madness all around us, that’s our death knell sounding out. It’s in us all, and in our children, and our time is almost come.
The last of us’ll go uncared-for, palsied and covered in sores, just skin and bone and misery. No lullabies. No funeral. Just no.
I mean, wouldn’t that be heinous?
Wouldn’t it just?