by Tantra Bensko
Chapter 13: Quantum Probability Identity Crisis
Lucky swaggers into the Void. “Come and get me,” he says. He has practiced standing in front of the refrigerator, his hip cocked, indicating that his hand was ready to stylishly head for his holster faster than time travel. If he had a holster.
The Void is wearing a white mask and lab coat. The Void has metal instruments in its hand. The Void decides how long the quantum possibility of an incarnation lasts. “It’s a girl,” it says. The possibilities collapse.
The zygote has betrayed Lucky. It has made the choice that makes his life redundant. It has laid him off. The probable life he waited around for, and planned out, dreamed, was consumed, consumed instead by X-ygote becoming that... that... Female Lucky.
But somehow he senses it’s something else that will get her besides her emaciation. Something on a different moment on the timeline, something that’s very sharp. Wiry. Metal instruments in the hands of the Void. Sharp. Sharp ones. He feels it coming like feeling a bomb about to be dropped on another country. He knows he’s supposed to care more, and he does, but...
* * *
She awakes from the dark nothingness into the plane taxiing onto the runway. She touches herself to see if she exists and is not entirely convinced. She is exactly as her mother imagined her, as her mother told her many times. Exactly. Not one iota different. Playing with her Troll piloting the toy plane and hiding her real self in the Mirror.
The door opens outward from the plane, onto the steps that go down to the runway on the desert floor, shimmering with a different kind of heat, a malevolent heat. She feels gargantuan standing at the top of the stairs, the last thing she wants to be. She really wants to be smaller than her housekeeper. Lucky wishes she could blow her housekeeper up like a balloon, making her über-gargantuan, the size of the sky, the size of God, even bigger, so then she’d burst. Nothing can be bigger than God. Or can it?
The other passengers on the plane go out first, to descend the steps in the open air, in the tiny airport in the primitive desert. Lucky waits until they have all left, says goodbye to the pilot. Her neck is stretched tall, and she pats her bangs and starts walking down the steps.
Her posture is ideal. She holds in her tummy. She holds her carry-on bag in front of her buttocks at first, when she first sees the mirror. She sighs and moves the strap to her other shoulder, freeing up the view of her buttocks. She holds her wide chin up.
Lucky stares at the mirror in the desert. It is held by a different man hired to hold it at this new, equally obscure location. She doesn’t like his outfit. Too tacky. She prefers class. She doesn’t like t-shirts that say things on them. Especially not advertisements. And especially not one for a gym. And obviously, he should be going to the gym more often.
She is now appropriately further in the future of the progression of Autumn: she looks a little squatter. A little less proportionate. A little pricklier under her chin, as she has forgotten to bring a razor. She looks wizened, dried up in the desert, with as little water in her as a cactus. Maybe she shouldn’t have drunk so much vodka on the plane, and more water.
She tries to waft her sexual juice pheromones his way, without attracting notice from the man carrying suitcases to the little pile. She juts out her pelvis and lifts her hem slightly in the direction of the man holding the mirror. Nothing. Men can smell that she is not the right age to make babies. Their hormones don’t line up toward her like iron filings.
Even if she takes off her clothes for her driver back home, to try to get him again, even if it works, it would not last long enough. Until her future is dried up, dehydrated like the sand, greying along the edges like the cactus, monstrous, she might as well use the razor to slit her wrists.
She decides than and there she will bleed red against the white desert. She will have a finale perfect for an opera singer mezzo-soprano from the United States. She will be exotic. She could prick her heart on the cactus, spear herself all the way through with its love of music, its pointedness. She could shatter the Mirror over herself, tiny pieces all reflecting differently, her future, her beautiful past... Or was it ever beautiful? Her past was beautiful yes, because her driver had thought so, at once time.
She could mail him a piece of the Mirror, first, before she died. She could cut off her eyes and send them along with the Mirror, the glass becoming more liquid, oozing inside, like the eyes.
He could look at her with them, and see there is still beauty outside of time, outside of stupid God’s stupid plan of aging, of lack of love, of hormones, of hate.
Or she could let the under-tenant go free, and Lucky could hide in her own oubliette, let no one see her sloppy sliding body ever again. She could rock back and forth, singing a personal ditty from childhood. A musical phrase she used to rock herself to sleep with, “No one will love me, then. ”
She breaks down in the desert, becomes a mirage, a mirror to the sky, dried up, and evaporated into the clouds, which becomes concentric circles above her, vultures flying around them, and around, waiting until it’s time for the kill.
Her ego withdraws into her homunculus, and wails. She has not purchased a return ticket, in case the mirror told her it was time to wither up and die. She wants to be found dead by desert creatures, rats, tigers, vultures.
She’s known since adolescence the day would come. She has pictured, ever since her mother’s place was taken by the housekeeper, in her father’s heart, what growing old would be like. How it would be OK because she would have the choice. She could die. She had no illusions that age would allow that to continue always.
She doesn’t want an open casket. That is her greatest fear. To be the wrong size and not able to hide it with her dress, her posture, holding in her tummy, lifting up her neck. To be stared at, makeup however someone decided, no opening her eyes widely to be liked, no smiling to pull up her jowls, no big dresses if her stomach was bloated.
Her Mirror, the liquid dried to a standstill by the sun, has shown her a solid vision of herself in the progression of time. She can’t argue with it. Looking straight on, she could see the image that had scared her peripheral vision, her rods and cones. Poor things.
She asks the man holding the mirror, who has a few extra rolls to his tummy and too little hair on his temples, to carry her belongings to the beginning of the sand dunes on the periphery of the landing strip. She can still hear the planes coming in but the wind created by them isn’t bad there. She can change her mind if she decides to and crawl back to the core of the airport and ask for help, if she doesn’t wait too long to drink water. She has drunk none all day, preparing, so it won’t take too many more days. Maybe that’s why she looks so old in the Mirror.
It’s too late to care. People are driving around with luggage, being picked up and driven away, hugging each other. She is tired. Her vision is becoming too white. Her lips cut each other with little sharp pieces of skin that have broken with dehydration.
She pays him extra, and waves him on. “Thank you! I’m so excited! Thank you! So generous, Miss!” He runs off to spend it.
She lies down to die slowly, her head against her suitcase, to drink no water, drink no water, be no water, look in no mirror, to speed up time, speed up aging until it’s all over, to spite her size with starvation. To become the sand fleas walking over her, to become indistinguishable from the desert rats. To be dust.
Copyright © 2014 by Tantra Bensko