THE DAY MATERIALISED
Updated: Jun 14, 2018
A SHORT STORY
07:00 - I wake to an electric alarm on a synthetic mulched side table.
Climbing out of a polyester duvet of feathers donated by a fake duck,
I find briefs that give the illusion of fabric and civility.
I look out to the heat of the city,
Scowling back at me with unnatural angles and glass judgment.
07:30 - I encounter my first organic material: cornflakes,
Although exactly what the manufacturer has done to the corn - I don’t know,
But it sure tastes good.
07:45 - Boiled water, rain and clouds on demand,
I wash my hands and brush my teeth with hydrated silica.
08:00 - I walk the lump of meat, bones and saliva known as the dog.
I notice he has a tick on his brow burrowed under the fur.
A tick sucks particles outside of the animal it is eating right before its victim’s eyes.
I wonder if the dog is having an out-of-body experience or if I am.
08:30 - Plastic surgery,
I use the polypropylene tick remover,
Isolating the parasite and twisting it out of the dog’s skull,
Making sure not to leave the mouthpiece embedded in the skin.
The part of the dog that the tick ingested lies in the stomach of a polythene black bag,
Hungry and scrambling for light and breath,
About to be washed away to uncertain purposes.
09:00 - I sit in a plastic car, which I drive to a plastic building, which holds my plastic desk.
My hands run across steel, concrete, iron, and glass.
There’s even a fake cactus in the foyer.
12:00 - The air conditioning blows away my motivation,
I plunge into the virtual world my computer provides.
It is hard to say exactly what material my computer is.
There are no marks of craft and assembly.
Its replica sits alongside it, as if perfection were normality.
Asymmetry in an office is considered ugly. A colleague raves about an illuminating walking trip through the Brecon Beacons,
Where the horizon isn’t even a straight line.
13:30 – I forgot to bring a reusable plastic bottle.
I buy a new one, ripping the logo off its midriff to mark my territory.
I eat a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich made by an unknown,
Although a supermarket and a pig may have been involved at some stage.
15:00 – I copy, scan and print duplicates of duplicates.
The ink cartridge spills in the machine and half of the duplicated pages are ruined.
Just as well I made duplicates.
The rest are for the bin....
Not sure if they can be recycled, dripping in ink and sensitive information.
17:00 - The sun begins to fall from the sky,
A burning ball of hydrogen, helium, carbon, nitrogen and oxygen which never needs stoking.
I think that when it eventually cools, the sun will disappear rather than harden or explode.
The galaxy will permanently go into darkness, except for motorway street lamps.
19:00 - I foolishly cut my finger on a metal kitchen knife on a plastic board,
Chopping a cucumber.
Droplets of me fall on the plastic handle.
I sit on top, never mingling, reacting to the chemicals that helped to grow the vegetable.
I wipe the handle down with pulp toilet tissue,
Flushing an irrecoverable part of me to waste treatment.
Perhaps the tissue journeying down the pipes will encounter the tick that was on my dog,
In effect, the mutt will get an extra walk.
19:30 - I decide to ditch the bloody cucumber,
Still wrapped in its bright orange pricing sticker,
My ichor dribbling across the pound sign and impregnating the fibrous cells.
I don’t want to use my own blood as salad dressing.
There are plenty of other things to eat before I get that desperate.
20:00 – A carry-out,
When removed from the packages does not amount to much,
It only fills a ceramic side plate.
I decide to pimp it up a bit and cook some additional pasta.
I scrape the food off the side plate and onto a larger dinner plate,
A sure sign of being a greedy bastard.
In my head, I hear the voices of my parents.
They would not have approved of washing a side plate that wasn’t used.
My imaginary rebuttal replies: it’s all the same to the dishwasher.
I bury my pride and fish out the cucumber from the bin to make the salad I had in mind earlier.
Digging through the trash may seem repulsive to the bourgeoisie, but this is ethics.
The cucumber is unscathed,
In a protective plastic sheath that will still exist when I and the world have turned to dust,
When there is nothing more to speak of man except a ‘buy one get one free’ label.
The Miocene, The Holocene, and The Plasticine.
The smell of the polybag with all of the day’s detritus does not deter me.
I shall not let an innocent cucumber be buried alive,
I shall do my bit – no more, no less - it’s good for the environment, isn’t it?
Hamish Muir 7th June 2018