This all began after one night of staying up until 4 in the morning working on my father's birthday card and waking up the next day eager to share the monstrocities I encountered while working on the card with my partner-in-crime. We'll call him Clyde.
"Clyde, wake up."
This is code for, "I am sleeping."
"Clyde, WAKE UP."
This is code for, "I am still sleeping."
This is code for, "Now I'm awake but am pretending to be asleep."
This is code for, "I know you know I'm awake, but it doesn't matter because I am not acting like it."
This is code for, "I will not wake up to the sweet sound of your voice, but I will wake up to you mentioning fly larva."
"We have maggots."
"In our room?"
"No, in the kitchen. They're everywhere. SWARMS. They're taking over, I swear to god. Get out of bed, I'll show you."
We walk to the kitchen.
"Alright...so they're gone. BUT - that's because they only come out at night."
"How many did you say there were?"
"MILLIONS. I was sitting on the kitchen floor making my dad's birthday card because the floor was the biggest hard space I could find and there was more light out here, and then I saw them coming. MILLIONS. From the trash can. Coming right at me. Headed right toward me."
"So then you went to bed?"
"No, I stayed on the floor."
"With the maggots?"
This is code for, "That's so fucking disgusting, I don't know what to say right now."
"Look, I had to finish his card before his birthday, and I was on a roll. It wasn't like I was letting them crawl all over me, though a lot of them did get on the card...and the pencils...and the pens...and the scissors...and my shoes....and one got on my pinky...sneaky little bastard...BUT. That's only because I started smashing them with my shoes."
"So did you kill them all?"
"No, they multiply."
"When my shoe would slice them in half, it'd make this popping noise, like, pop!, then the halves would become two new maggots."
"So then what did you do?"
"So then I had to smush them real good, down into the ground, like smussshhhhhh, then that way they wouldn't keep multiplying from their halves."
This is code for, "I don't believe you."
"You don't believe me."
"FINE! I'll SHOW you. LOOK!"
"The floor! See all that? Those are dead maggot bodies. I murdered them."
"I don't really see anything..."
"That's because they're the color of the floor! You have to get real close up. That's what I did. I leaned in super close then came to a stop, like screeechhhhhhh, then I smacked them with my shoes, like BAM!BAM!BAM!, then I went back to making my card, like scribblescribblescribble, then a minute later I'd look up and they'd all be coming back to get me. For revenge."
"So are the dead ones all on your shoe then?"
"Yes! I'll show you!"
This is code for, "There's nothing there."
"Okay, so there's nothing there. But I told you! That's because they multiply."
"I think you're losing your mind, Natasha."
"Are you sure you didn't just imagine all of this? I mean, you were up till 4 in the morning..."
Laughing. He is laughing at me.
"I think if I were to hallucinate, CLYDE, it wouldn't be of maggots with a vengeance."
"Then what would it be?"
Laughing. He is still laughing at me.
"You know, like, unicorns and shit."
Laughing. Still laughing.
This is such bullshit.
The last time I was asked if I was out of my mind was my junior year of high school. I was assigned to draw the political cartoon for a group history project revolving around slaves gaining their freedom way back when. So I drew the whole thing out - the slaves hiding from the evil white men, the slaves swimming through water to escape to the north, the slaves mingling amongst the white folk in the free states - and I turned it in, only to be kept after class to "discuss" my contribution to the project.
"Natasha....what. Is this."
"My political cartoon, sir. See? The slaves are hiding from the evil white men."
"Yes, but all you can see is their eyes against a black background and you've written, "Ha. Ha. You can't see us, evil white men, because we blend in with the night. Ha. Ha."
"Well, I'm sure that helped them to camoflauge...but look. See? They're swimming across the water to get to freedom."
"Yes, and you've drawn a mermaid singing on a rock, "I want a man, I want a man."
"Well, she's lonely..."
"And here? HERE? When you drew the African-American men freely coexisting with these white women?"
"Yes, because they're equals."
"Yes, Natasha, but do you mind telling me why you wrote this African-American man saying, "Let me put some chocolate in yo' vanilla?" What does that even mean?"
"I mean, I'm sure you must know what that means..."
"Are you out of your mind? Many people would find this completely racist, Natasha!"
"It's not racist! There's a mermaid. How is that racist? I said that woman was vanilla! I'm pitting names against my own race! I just...wanted it...to be funny..."
"I mean, yes, it made me laugh, but that's because it makes no sense at all. I'm going to have to give you a D on this."
Never again would I agree to do the political cartoon.
There are also a few other little things that have also been making me doubt my sanity. Such as the fact that I woke up the other morning and immediately said,
"Sushi is only 2 dollars!"
"I asked you if you had to work today, and you said yes, and I asked if you needed to wake up soon then, and you said sushi was only 2 dollars?"
"Yeah...that's code for...I work at 2...uh...it's a work thing, you wouldn't understand."
I also have gotten into the odd habit of videotaping things. And by things, I really do just mean things. One thing, actually. And not parties, or social events, or even moments where I'm like, "Man, I'd really like to remember this," or, "Man, everyone looks so great tonight, I should get this on camera;" it's more like, "Man, we're in the car...I must videotape this."
So because of this, I have countless videos that are really quite embarrassing to show anyone else, for when I do, they are all narrrated like this:
"Look! There's my sister in her car!"
"Oh look! There's Clyde driving his car!"
"Oh, I love this one...my sister riding in my car!"
"What a classic - Clyde eating a banana popsicle in the passenger seat of my car!"
...all my videos. All people. All in cars. No dialogue. Just...in a car.
If this is some weird, growing fetish, I wish someone would just point it out to me instead of saying, "Yeah, Natasha, this is some great footage...these videos sure do...mesh well."
I've also gotten into the habit of laughing out loud over something I just said in my head, which makes it look like I'm just laughing for no reason, which makes it look like I'm the next Jack Torrance. And the things I'm laughing at? THEY'RE RETARDED. Like this one:
I'm labeling the vegetables at work to put in the cooler. I notice that when other people label the cucumbers, a lot of them just write "cuc" for short, so I start thinking of other ways I could write "cucumber" and use less letters. There's "cucumb...," there's "ber," "c-ber," "cucu," - and then there's "cum." And I start plotting that the next time I have to label 6 containers of cucumbers, I am going to label them all as "CUM." And this is when I start laughing and can't stop.
This is when I began to question the maggots.
And the mermaid. Though the mermaid was NOT irrelevant. She was an analogy of the slaves, for she too, is a slave to the ocean. Let's get real here. When am I EVER irrelevant?
Then I stop myself. Because I know what I saw. And there were maggots. Millions. All coming after me. Multiplying by the dozen, and after killing 50, 5 minutes would pass and there would be 50 new ones. All coming after me. Multiplying by the dozen...maggots...new ones...50...multiplying...coming...coming...millions...maggots...
Next time I see those maggots, I'm getting my fucking video camera. "Hereeeee'ssssss NATASHA!"