The following was a writing prompt about tuna.
It happened, and then there is the small tragedy of eating in a cafeteria with relentless, raw light. My eyes blur to adjust to the homeless white hospital walls. Around, heads bob like pistons. There’s work to be done. On this sandwich too. Is it rye? What did I order? A dripping fusel lodge of a tomato splatters on to the plastic wrapping. It looks like a prebiotic eye staring up at the ceiling, trying to see a way out.
I gaze up, but there’s no one in the patterned tiles. The fluorescent bulbs hurt. The engines of flesh purr on nearby.
I’m frantic now. I have things to do. I have a lunch to eat and some papers to write and need to focus on the rest of the day that deadens into night. I can’t spend time with some inviolable, invisible voice, some siren far away, even if the voice is nice and almost like a song. Hello, hello.
Kacper, I’m over here.
I look down to the eyeful of tomato which is gazing now at the sandwich in my hand. Bits of my bites mouth more. We don’t have much time, it says.
I know this, I say back.
You have to move on, the sandwich licks.
Ya, you’re – Jesus, wait a second. What am I doing? I must be losing it. Whatever was in the sandwich probably gave me some food poisoning. Was it the fish inside? My insides must be tormented tuna, listless little invertebrate that could swim if only they could remember what it was to not remember. Mercury levels off the chart. Some helter-skelter shit. Wait until the Ministry of Health hears about this chit-chatting inanimate inducing me-
Kacper, can’t ya focus. There’s things to do.
Hey, sandwich. That’s my line.
And there were, the sandwich was right. Too many things. Always many things. Forever many things like the stars that died long ago but still torture life with light.
Why am I thinking of stars and the dead? A few bulbs above seem to flicker, flick. The oscillating heads around don’t putter. Usual business.
And you need to do them, the sandwich burps.
But I’m still hungry, I say to the assortment of rye – it is definitely rye – and lettuce and too much mayo for my taste now that I think of it.
Stop thinking, the sandwich commands.
Get going, the sandwich belches.
Wait, the sandwich breathes, take me with you.
I look back as a scrambled body, no more than some hair and limbs, often does. I pulse. I shine. I turn back around to the throng of strangers moving and doing and making and breaking and emptying emptying emptying.
Maybe I could use a tune up, I decide with a step. I go to join the stars and the patterned tiles above where things happen until they don’t.