we the people
The lanky freshman strolled into the lounge where a few of his fellow students were sitting watch the large TV. He plopped down on an open couch and said “So… what are we watching?”
There was no reason for it to have echoed, no reason whatsoever, but it did just the same.
The Asian girl closest to the TV thought to herself “Boy, I wish I could do that. Just stroll into a social situation and make myself comfortable.
The Hispanic man a few seats over thought to himself “Who is this guy? I don’t think I’ve seen him on this floor before.”
There were a few more kids occupying the lounge and each one had a quick thought pass through their head as the new arrival walked in. Harmless observations with no animosity attached.
When he walked in they were watching a show. They. Then he asked “What are we watching?” He wanted the they to magically be a we. Was he a wizard? He wanted in. He presumed it would be fine.
The unmitigated nerve.
Now there wasn’t a one of the original group that had a problem with it, but as a group they had a problem with it. A big problem. To be clear, not a single person did, but collectively the they wanted no part of the we. They were fine as they.
He felt is. Suddenly unwelcome. They felt it too. All of them suddenly helpless.
He stood back up and stared at the ceiling. They looked up as well. “It’s there” he said and pointed to the ceiling. “Can you feel it?” he asked.
They began to stand up. One by one. Looking up. “I see it” said the Asian girl. “I don’t” replied the Hispanic, “But I feel it. A coldness. Like a draft.”
“There it goes. It’s moving” added someone else. “Don’t let it get away.”
But they didn’t want to recognize it. They did but they didn’t. They wanted to acknowledge it but didn’t know how. Or if they did they didn’t want to know.
The newcomer, the one that had started the commotion in the first place, said “Get away? Are you joking? It will never leave. What is it though? What exactly are we looking at?”
As soon as the word we was uttered the other occupants of the lounge stiffened. Then seized, falling on the floor. There they began to writhe around wordlessly. Burying themselves beneath the carpeting. A zombie movie in reverse. Clawing their way back into their graves.
Finally the lanky freshman stepped over them and departed. A final “Fuck you guys” uttered before the door closed behind him. There was no reason for it to have echoed, no reason whatsoever, but it did just the same.
Slowly all of the other kids got back into their seats and resumed watching TV.
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