Short story a Day, day 8: Jelly Donut

My short story a day project hit a slight wall this weekend when I was left without internet and thus couldn’t publish Friday-Sunday.  Will be doubling up today and tomorrow until I catch all the way up.

This story was prompted by:http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK5222/ an article in which rats are forced to swim to test their “will to live” and the effeccts of anti-depressants

Listen. They call it a rat race for a reason–but the thing is, when you think of the rat race, you think its pointless. But when your buddy fussing over his pour over coffee starts talking about this being his break from the rat race and how he hates his job, he’s forgotten: We’ve all got a good goddamned reason to run through that maze. Especially when you’re actually a rat.

I’m in a cage, and a spend half my day running through mazes or chasing blinking lights or stepping on electrified pads like I’m some kind of tiny dancing bear. The rest of the time I spend being given drugs or sleeping off the effects of those drugs, and even then I’m almost always prodded awake.

Half the rats I came in with are death, most of the other ones requested a transfer to the control group the afternoon they got here, weeping and rubbing up against a lab tech’s finger, explaining how they’ve got kids that need schooling.

I got kids, too. A whole lot of ’em. Let’s just say I took to sowing my wild oats like I was the whole state of Iowa. And I haven’t run away from a single one.  So thats my reason.  Someone’s got to put nibbles on the table, and it sure as hell isn’t my ex-wife.  I tell ya, she was a lot different when I saw her running on that subway platform when we were young.

Her fur was something else, and well, what can I say?  She could twitch her tail like nobody’s business, if you know what I mean.  I still remember seeing her and then, over her shoulder that big piece of donut leaning right up against the rail–that’s another thing about y’all, you always complain about having to work here to pay for that, and then you take two bites and throw it on the ground.

Anyway, there’s this big hunk of donut, just sitting there, and I mean it was big.  Like someone had taken a single bite and decided to go on a diet, right then and there.  I go right past her like its nothing, barely giving her a glance, but she saw it, and turned to see where I was going–you wouldn’t believe it now, but back then I had a good mat of fur on my back.

I walked right up to that donut like it was going to be no problem to pick it up, and the whole time I’m praying that its at least not jelly-filled. I was big, but man this donut was the size of me.  You ever try to lift something as big as you? I doubt.  I’m walking up to it and its like the damn thing is growing right before my eyes.  And I say to my self, alright Bob-e–yeah, my name is Bob-e, parents had a sense of humor. I don’t. I said, alright, Bob-e, you can walk around this thing once and then you gotta lift it likes its nothing.  Otherwise no point in even climbing back up that platform.

So I walk around it, and sure enough, its filled to the brim with jelly.

Finally I set myself right and put my paws right around the edges.  I could hear the tracks start to rumble with a train a station away.  Couldn’t wait any longer, and I strained and pulled, and the whole time I felt her watching me and I’m trying not to show anything.

But I swear I lifted that thing. I thought every bone in my back was about to put in its two weeks notice, but I brought that donut up to where she was standing through a whole in one of the pillars.  I walked right up to her, and you know what she said?

“Oh, it’s jelly.”

And then she walked away without even a second look.

Couple years later, a couple different jobs, and here we are with some kids and a family.  Do I want to be hanging out on that subway platform chasing each and every tail that slinks by? Sometimes, sure.  But that’s life, you get old, you get a few responsibilities, and you know at the end of the day, I still got a wife who hates jelly but doesn’t mind me.

Besides, sometimes the drugs they give us are out of this world.

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About Big Adam

A NYC doorman, a community organizer, wannabe ape, sometimes blogger, sometimes writer, always crossword puzzle incompleter, I will ride bicycles with your papa, dance Bhangra with your mama, take you on dates that cost nada.
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One Response to Short story a Day, day 8: Jelly Donut

  1. Good one! The research that inspired your story was featured in the movie Gigantic (a movie which I powerless but to like).

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