By Ariel Leal
An excavation from our recently discovered joke bone yard: “Nonsense’s Guide to Travel!” A pamphlet available physically and digitally.
The sound of a whistle is heard, piercing through the uproarious cheer of the audience.
“Travel!” yells a man in an expensive tracksuit. The colors don’t matter to me; they never have. Every day is the same for me, my face smashing against the glazed floor with the smell of sweat being pushed deeper into my damp, porous nose. Though if there’s anything I can take solace in, it’s the sensation I get when I’m up in the air, flying, towards the net. If I could do that for the rest of my life then maybe, just maybe, I would feel fulfilled.
I think I’ve spent enough of my life on these hardwood floors and sure, the thrill of soaring above everyone else is really something quite magical, but it just isn’t enough; it’s just so short-lived. I can’t help but feel like I’m really missing out on an important part of my life here and yeah, lengthy, meaty, girthy fingers brushing against my curves feel nice, but I don’t want to spend the rest of my life doing that. Not like this.
After a brief pause, I am launched back into play, and I make my way from one end of the court to another, actions over which I have very little control. Then again, I have very little control over my life at this point. I’m my happiest when I’ve got my head in the clouds like this. I’m just freefalling until the dream is crushed once I am patted on the back by more greasy hands leaving imprints on my already moist jersey.
I wonder how planes do it. I mean, they’re much heavier than I am, so how do they get to fly? I can get some sick air, yes, but flying is definitely something I want to try. I want to touch the sky. It can’t be too difficult to purchase tickets and I don’t even care where I have to go – I just want to fly like some avian creature and stay where my heart belongs.
“Travel? Am I working with amateurs here? Kidding, son, it was just a little humor. Seriously, though, no travelling; you’re better than that.”
Travel. Why don’t I? What’s stopping me from taking off right here and right now? The Tracksuit Man holds no power over me. None that I don’t give him. What is preventing me from achieving that permanent lift-off I’ve always dreamt of? The more I ponder, the more I realize that nothing is stopping me. I can be all the way up. You want travel, old guy? I’ll give you travel.
Mustering every last bit of strength I have left, I begin to levitate,
I fly past those testosterone-laden beasts and into the sky. My journey is now and I am reborn.
I don’t really fly into the sky because I’m not a moron and I understand that ceilings exist but I fly high enough (what, did you expect me to measure how high? Fuck you.) and dip down to escape through the door and into the big, beautiful world that awaits me. Travelling was always taboo for my kind, especially after what had happened to my cousin back in the year 2000. I ignore all that, though, and decide to chase my dreams. I never got to go backpacking in Europe so here was my chance. If someone could just bounce me super hard, I know I could make it across the Atlantic Ocean and into Derbyshire (United Kingdom) in no time!
I roll my way onto the highway first so I can get to the mall and find myself a good backpack. Fuck, I don’t even know what I’d put in the backpack, but if I don’t have a backpack then I don’t backpack Europe and I don’t get to live my dream. I can already tell within an hour of being in the great outdoors that the air in the world is so much fresher and cleaner than that salty semen stench that parades around the oxygen being carried into my lungs. I get to the mall and roll everywhere, not finding any kind of backpack that I could even pretend would work on me. That’s when I remember, silly Edmund, you don’t even have arms! I then mockingly slap myself on the forehead for being such a dunce, except I don’t really do that because I don’t have any fucking arms.
Suddenly, some goober picks me up and starts smashing my handsome face onto the hard, flat surface below me. Years of agony flood back into my head as I remember all the horrible things that have been done to me that I will not specify. Some blonde broad tells the kid to put me back, and so he carries me over to the nearest sporting goods store and stashes me away into a crate full of my brethren.
This doesn’t feel right though…nobody is talking. I realize now that I am amidst a sea of corpses that were once people I had ignored at family barbeques. There’s Uncle Spalding and my cousin Spalding Jr. and even…no…it can’t be…my eight-hundred-and-ninety-seventh cousin twelve hundred times removed.
I will not let their deaths go unanswered for. I push past the corpses of my loved ones and shoot through the sky with nothing more propelling me than my own eternal rage.
Of course, there is still a ceiling, a glass ceiling, and I shatter it with my rotund might. I jettison towards Europe – at least, where Europe probably is. I can’t really hold a compass.
Splitting clouds as I make my marvelous journey, I feel alive once more. But then all of a sudden, a large pelican fucks my tiny hole, effectively deflating me and forcing me to plummet to my blue, liquid grave down below. The salt is just awful for my skin and the sun isn’t much help either. I have entire colonies of bacteria living in my entrails. My body is now a home to hundreds of different species and it is hell. Eventually, I wash up on what feels like a sandy surface.
No. No no no no no. This is exactly what happened to my cousin.
The silhouette of a man grows larger as he approaches my rigid body. I am paralyzed in fear and weep salty ocean tears upon realizing this man looks hauntingly similar to Tom Hanks. Just as I have feared, the man smears blood on my face and I know now that I will be his slave for the rest of my life.
I should have listened to the stories. I just should have listened. I should have never traveled.