The following was written by the talented usually-writes-poetry Holdenlyric. It’s a short story about sewer-things contemplating embracing a new technology that promises a more human-like existence — but there’s a price.
You can find Holdenlyric’s corner of the Internet over at Hindsight is 20/20
She is also editor-in-chief with the Paper Plane Pilots
So while I’m over here trying to shit out a post per month, this girl’s running two sites and a Twitter, all while making time to write something for Content Unrelated. Thanks, HL, you rock!
Tomorrow. Yes, tomorrow is a good day as any to be a human. Claudia thought.
Claudia slithered on her slime-ass, leaving green trails behind her. She let herself fall down the concrete stairs wincing with every bonk, clunk, and jab. She could have climbed the wall with suction, but she decided it wasn’t worth the effort. After all, it’s not like she could feel anything. She was just a slimy blob.
Claudia dug around her front porch—a simple knocked-down cardboard box with chairs made of potato sacks stuffed with trash. She took her make-shift broom of twigs attached to a pipe, and with her green sort-of-blob-hand she began to sweep unwanted trash away from her territory. She had never been above ground. The sewer harbored no light. Claudia was afraid of the light above. She was afraid her eyes wouldn’t be sufficient.
She heard the news a few days before about the latest technology. Humans are now capable of turning animals into human bodies. They offer the service to any animals of the sewer free-of-charge, with only one condition. The sewer people must be on call for scientific testing. With the law that renders human testing illegal, scientists had hit a wall. The human species was now endangered due to a new plague. All of the rats they had tested showed no reaction to any of their experiments. Rat genes and human genes simply aren’t compatible. With the modern technology, they had managed to morph animals into humans with similar genes.
Claudia ruminated over this experiment. All of the rats had been lining up above the sewer—excited for the chance to become a worldly creature. She had heard of territories. According to a local rat, she discovered she lived in a city called “New York.” She had no idea what that meant, only that this city was packed with people. And the more people, the more waste. She considered herself a lucky blob. Most blobs elsewhere probably had trouble finding food.
George, the local rat, always passed by on the river to give her the latest news. There he was again today, floating by, out of control of the current’s direction.
“Claudia,” the rat said.
“Hey, George,” she said, as she began to bathe herself in sewer water.
“Are you going to do it?!” George asked, bobbing his head below the water with the current and popping back up. He made a quick plunge out of the current and stood on the cardboard porch with Claudia.
“I already told you, George. I don’t think I’ll make a good human.”
“You never know until you try.”
“But it’s not like we’re really free, we’re just marketing our fake human bodies to them. For what? A pair of legs? They only need us for our minds.”
“You can do it Claudia. You need to get out of here. Your mother, she was waiting for this opportunity up until her last breath. She always wanted better for you. Better than this sewer.”
Claudia had grown quite fond of the sewer. With friends that pass by her concrete home on the current, she was never lonely. Plus, humans waste a lot. She never has to travel far for provisions. Everything she needed one way or another found its way onto her front porch.
“Better for me?! I hear they clean behind their ears and run miles for no reason. Not to mention they kill each other, sometimes. I don’t want to live my life in fear of someone killing me. I have to get a job. And learn to cook. And what if they find out I used to be a slimy blob? What then? They’ll hate me and hurt me and do all they can to cleanse their society of me.”
“Yeah, but you can get out. You can see the world! I never thought they’d perfect the technology in my lifetime! I can be human! We just have to be their lab rats.”
“So, what if we become human and they test us for the plague and they end up killing us? What a waste of a life.”
Claudia ran her blob hand across her blob face to itch her blob eye. Trash flew down the current. Potato chips, toilet paper, Tupperware, and soda cans.
“Well, better to waste your life than to be waste. Claudia, come with me tomorrow to the Sewer Embassy. We can just get some information and go from there.”
Claudia looked up at the manhole hiding her from the world above. She was afraid of a bigger world. She was afraid of opportunity. But she nodded her blob head at George the rat and waited for tomorrow’s current.
Interested in some word-orgies? Let’s work together!