Keywords: Gumball Ubiquitous Accubation
While visions of …
By: PM Smith
ALA Phyllis Patterson
The morsel of meat seems to grow as I chew and a horrendous odor wafts in through the open windows. I glance about apprehensively and my mind screams silently. “Where the Hell am I?” I observe that numerous other forms join me in my accubation, but none return my gaze.
My mind continues the silent interrogation. “How did I get to this strange place?” I search my memory for an answer. The last thing I remember was sitting on a pay-per-use massage recliner at the mall. I distinctly recall forcing a reluctant George Washington into the slot to initiate my fifteen minutes of delight.
The next thing I know, I open my eyes and find myself chewing a mouthful of rancid meat and surrounded by what appears to be naked Romans.
I slowly pull myself to my feet and walk unsteadily to the odiferous vomitorium located nearby. As I peer over the edge I am assaulted by the sight and without further ado, the unchewable piece of meat (and everything else in my stomach) becomes no longer a problem.
I feel the blush of embarrassment creep over my face, but no one seems to take notice of my public regurgitation.
My mind is still asking the same unanswerable question. “Where the Hell am I?”
Suddenly, a young woman, holding a bowl of steaming water and a stack of linen towels, approaches me. I dip my hands gratefully into the liquid, splash my face, then pat it dry with the soft cloth.
I look into the pretty face but her eyes do not meet mine and I am suddenly struck by the thought that she is most likely a slave. I am somewhat taken aback as I have never before met a real live slave and I am uncertain of the proper etiquette. I summon my voice and ask. “May I be presented to your leader please?” Even as I say this I am aware that it sounds like something out of a low-budget Science Fiction movie.
The girl does not lift her eyes but says so softly that I barely hear her words. “Only those deemed worthy may receive audience with The Great and Powerful Caesar.” Then, without another word she returns to her duties.
“OKAY THEN!” I sputter under my breath as I stumble away from the smell and toward an open door. “Fresh air.” I think to myself. “I need fresh air.”
I plop down on one of the stone benches strewn with pillows and close my eyes. I press my fingertips into my temples and try to think back to what caused me to somehow be transported to ancient Rome. I picture myself pressing the button to lock my Toyota Camry and walking toward the entrance to the gigantic shopping center. I clearly remember noticing the ubiquitous gumball machines, standing like sentries in the foyer. I vaguely recall being tempted to drop two quarters into the slot of one of the machines and I remember thinking how uncharacteristic this was for me. I don’t like gumballs, but am powerless to resist the urge. The odd taste of the sweet orb enters my memory and I know without question that this was the impetus to my “wonderland trip”. When I open my eyes again, I find myself back in the leather massage chair, which has suddenly stopped vibrating. “No wonder children seem crazed when they consume those things.” I think idly and am grateful that the holiday season is over and I won’t be visiting the mall again for another year.