The Discomfort Of Planetary Bodies

A suffocating heat covered the land; creaking rooftops sounded like the cracking of old bones. The harsh conditions had relentlessly attacked the town for three days, with no indication of moving on to pillage some other unfortunate part of the world. It hurt being outside. But there were never a shortage of masochists compelled to hit the streets at a moments notice. The inability to remain content inside one’s home was always a harbinger of evil.

The thick, dusty, hovering haze was hypnotic as fire, adding intensity to everyone’s distress. It made the normally inoffensive smelling person stink like forgotten socks in a clothes hamper. This particular summer had been brutal on life, punishing it at regular intervals. Creatures hid from its torment; little sign of life was visible except for bored larger bodies deciding there wasn’t enough beer or juice or soda inside their claustrophobic home. So they escaped their fidgety madness and moved around outside, no matter how boiling the conditions were.

Despite this rather lengthy, pretentious description of the bleak landscape, a serene presence did exist within the humid, hostile air. You could get in contact with it if you slowed long enough to feel it. But no one did.

Inside one home 14 month-old Erin awoke from a pleasant sleep that had succumbed to the heat deep in her bones. She’d been dreaming she was in a big forest, wandering peacefully in the midst of giant evergreens towering over overgrown fern, with lilac and lavender littered generously about. She could hear music in the distance, and though unable to recognize what she heard, found it melted beautifully with her travels. But the heat had fried her peace. Two eye lids popped open revealing two ice- blue eyes, followed by one ugly scream. Erin had learned from her brief experience on earth that if this noise were continuous, she’d soon be out of the crib in the arms of a comforting larger body.

Cameron, three months from his first birthday, usually slept like a rock. Significant fluctuations of temperature had zero effect during his rejuvenation time. His particular nemesis disrupting slumber was also one of his greatest pleasures. Food. He was always hungry. His cries upon awakening were a signal his internal engine needed energizing. His nimble little body had already developed the understanding that an over-abundance of fuel was necessary to play with his older brother and father as long and as fiercely as they demanded. But he usually ate too much, turning his digestive system into a ticking time-bomb. Soon after most feedings this bomb exploded, chunks of liquid shrapnel flying in all directions with no concern for anyone or anything in its path.

Erin was placed on the sofa, still incoherent from her nap, her dream long forgotten. She sat, seemingly undecided what to do or how to act. Isolation suited her for now. She saw larger bodies moving about, smiling at her, beckoning her to do or say something. As long as they kept their distance, their revolving nature throughout the house wasn’t detrimental to the serenity she now coveted.

A larger body got the idea to place Cameron close to Erin and record the event with a camera. Cameron had just finished his lunch, and the inevitable eruption. A few frustrated larger bodies once again got hit with liquid shrapnel, not really understanding what it all meant.

On the new Bell television set the local news had just interrupted regularly scheduled programming to inform everyone something terrible had happened in Hiroshima. Despite the extreme lack of details, it appeared many people were in terrible shape. The larger bodies gathered around the TV shrugged it off, not really understanding what it all meant.

The new toaster catapulted two slices of smoky bread into the open. The new coffee maker stopped dripping. With a minty-fresh chloride smile, a larger body removed an aerosol can from a cabinet underneath the sink, painting the kitchen with invisible cinnamon to rid the odor of burnt toast.

A Slinky descended the stairway on its own volition… a monstrous piece of Silly Putty on a table duplicated an image of a soldier from a Life magazine ad imploring you to buy war bonds… a furry monkey kept banging symbols together… all evidence an older but still smaller body was lurking somewhere in the house, though no one knew where.

Erin couldn’t tolerate Cameron’s presence for long. This smaller body next to her was far too invasive, killing her freedom of movement since she hadn’t developed the ability to escape from the couch. She was trapped; the ensuing cry was heard loud and clear. The wretched sound irked Cameron, so he cried. Larger bodies laughed and took pictures. Cameron and Erin coughed and cried and glanced at each other in disbelief; how could people be so foolish to expect bodies so close in proximity not to suffer?

Now all of the larger bodies piled near the sofa to take pictures. Soon everyone stopped laughing and shooting. Erin and Cameron were finally removed from the couch, at last able to orbit freely around other bodies, as was their nature. An alarmed larger body announced the new refrigerator, with ice maker, was out of milk. Another larger body grabbed a set of keys, turned off the problems on the TV, and left the house to journey under the scalding sun.