Saturday, October 20, 2012

Elevator of Life

The time after lunch is always the slowest time of the day. Everyone seems to slow down, as if their lunch had weigh them down and anasthetize the urgency of work. On that day, I was feeling the same way as I ambled towards the lift. A girl and a man was already waiting in front of the lift before I joined them. She was standing close to a small LCD mounted on the wall, spinning advertisements after advertisement. The man was tinkering with his phone. We were all ignoring each other as we waited for the lift.

After staring at the display number of the floor counting down so slowly, I got bored and looked around. In the distant I saw an old man in dark blue suits with purple tie, his shoes tapping on the marble floor as he walked towards the lift. His face was a constellation of wrinkles and furrows, his eyes deep in concentration on his stern and rigid face. I quickly looked away and making an excuse to take another lift or even the stairs. The stairs! That's 21 floors. While I was torn between the physical torture climbing the stairs or the psychological torture of being stuck in the same lift as the old man who was almost approaching, the lift opened. The man and the girl step in, while I waited uncertainly outside. The girl raised her eyebrows, jerking her head, as if asking why am I standing outside. Meanwhile the old man had arrived and stepped past me, into the lift. Nevertheless, I decided to take lift.

"Hello boss," I said as I walked into the lift. I heard the old man replied a gruff. Or maybe it was the sound of his breathing? Anyways I wasted no time and quickly got into the back corner of the lift to avoid any contact with the old man. There were four of us, the old man with the girl behind her was on the left while the man with the phone and I were standing on the right. I stare straight into the man's back. At least I tried to, only I caught from the corner of my eye that the girl was staring at me. Her fingers jabbed the air, pointing at the old man in front of her. She then mouthed silently, "Your bos?"

I nodded. Maybe my face was so worried that the girl laughed, before patting the air in my direction. It took me a while before I understood that she was consoling me and was mouthing the word, "There, there." It felt ridiculous, so I laughed. The man with the phone turned his head around at us, so we pretended to stare dead ahead. At the fifth floor, the man with the phone stepped out and to my relief, my boss followed. His face was still deep in concentration and he didn't look back at me at all. The door then closed.

"How is he like?" said a voice. I turned.
"Who?" I asked.
"Who else," she said. "Your bos lah."
"Oh, he is not really my boss. He is my boss, but there is another boss. So he is my boss' boss, so . . ." I stopped myself because by then I sounded silly.
"But how is he like?" she continued asking. I was silent, thinking of an answer, when she added, "I know you've met him before. You didn't want to be in the same lift, right?"
"Is he always like that?" I asked suddenly.
"Like what?"
"Like this," I said as I creased my brows and crossed my eyes. I also exhaled a few puff  in exaggaration for effect. She laughed.

The door opened at the 10th floor and a cleaner with her trolley glided into the lift. The girl sobered up and said, "I don't know. Maybe." She smiled, "What do other people say of him?"
"Well," I replied, "people said he had constipation when he was a child, and hasn't recovered since."
The girl roared into laughter.

The lift arrived at the 15th floor and the cleaner got off with her trolley, all the while eyeing the girl who can't stop laughing. "I've never heard anyone said something 'over' like that!" she said to me. I didn't know what to say so I just shrugged.
"Everyone in my office says so," I said.
"And what do you think about him? Your, boss' boss," she asked.
"I think. I think, he just needs a little holiday," I said after a pause. She looked at me solemnly and nodded her head.
The door then opened. "So this is my floor," she said as she stepped out. The door then began to close.

"Hey!" I said. I stopped the door and she turned back around. "Hey, urm, do you mind having lunch sometime?"
She paused for a while. Quite a while. (Years later she told me she deliberately took her time, just to make me sweat.)
"Yeah," she replied shortly before walking off.

I let the door closed before I realised I forgot to ask her number. Or her company. Or her name. When the lift arrived at my floor,I went straight to my desk and asked my friend, Chin, about the girl who was working on the 19th floor.
"What girl? So many girls in building la," he said. I gave a description of the girl but Chin only shook his head and said he didn't know her. I was about to ask someone else when the boss called me and it slipped out of my mind. Only after working hour, did it came back to me, when I saw the girl again. She was getting into a car and I got a glimpse of her before the driver closed her door. A few minutes later, the old man(my boss' boss) went across the lobby and into the same exact car. The car drove off instantly.

My mouth was still gaping wide a minute later and it took another five minutes before I calmed down.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Meeting and Fleeting

Hey you, do you know me?

We've met before, about a year ago.
Or maybe it was, more than a year ago.
I am now not so sure.
But we've met here, before.

what, you've never been here?
but I'm sure I met you with your sister.
she had bracers and you wore spectacles.
we've talked and talked and sat a table.

now, now don't tell me that,
you've never wore specs nor hat.
I'm quite sure we've met that evening,
we've met before... I think.

Have we?


Monday, September 10, 2012

Ifs and does

Does the earth miss the rain in the drought,
does the minnow ever miss the trout,
does a salmon miss its stream,
does a waken man miss his dream,
does the shell miss the sea,
does an acorn miss its tree,
does paper miss the quill,
does life ever miss its will,
do these questions really matter,
do I miss you, forever?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Unsought is Never Heeded

This is the resaying, of mine before
of a few words of advice, nothing more.

"how am I to grasp her shadow,
if she is the torch itself?
how am I to stay from the light,
when the dark scares me from the depth?"

O friend, o ye fool,
hope's a betrayal!
she can tread the grass, she can escape unscathed,
for in her hands, she hold the scythe.
but you, you stumble the plain,
even at her sight you shield your eyes.

"let me be," he said.
his heart is set and made.
his hopes falcons him into the heavens,
my best wishes are sadly only pigeons.

even if the wide berth recedes, the deep chasm remains,
and even if your imagination succeeds, reality's a pain.

I would appreciate suggestions for a better/alternative title.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Double Line of Future Headache

The boy peeled the last part of the banana off and bit it halfway to the end. He threw the end into the dry waterway in front him.

“Hey, you shouldn’t throw that icky part like that!” the girl said. The girl was younger but she was clearly taller than him, even when they were sitting there.
“Shut up. It’s icky anyway. You said so. Who’d want to eat it anyway.”
“But you shouldn’t throw it around!” her voice sounded squeaky.
“Shut up. You are so, so, so stupid. No one cares if I throw it there.”

The girl was shocked. “You called me stupid. Mother said you should never call me that,” she said.
The boy smiled, finally getting even on her sister. “Mother also said you should never come to the waterway with me. I bet…” he suddenly stopped as he felt something soft on his neck. He jumped up and scurried around, frantically trying to get the thing away. When he saw that it was the banana, he relaxed. Astrid meanwhile was laughing very hard.

“You stupid! Stupid Astrid!” he said. He suddenly laughed, realizing the words rhymed. After he sombered, he then looked hardly at the ground. Suddenly a scoop of dirt jumped from the ground and flew straight to Astrid’s face. She ducked to the side but she wasn’t fast enough. Some dirt was caught in her hair, which she quickly flicked away. With a swipe of her hand, she retaliated and another scoop of dirt flew from the ground towards her brother’s face. The soil however stopped in mid-air, right in front of him. The boy smiled smugly. Astrid however didn’t stop. She closed her hands together, looked straight into her brother’s face. A dozen scoop of dirt flew from the ground, one after the other. The air was full of dust. But the boy was still smiling and his face was still clean.

“Shield. Serves you right for not paying attention to father. Always crying when he teaches...” he stopped short. A pile of dirt dropped on the back of his neck. He looked back at her sister and Astrid was showing her tongue. A scoop of dirt flew up again but this time Astrid didn’t dodge. It stopped right in front of her. “Shill. Serf you light fo not paying…” Astrid said with her tongue still sticking out.

Max tried the same trick by hitting from the back but her sister had her back covered too. Dirt was floating on her front and back as she jiggled and danced mockingly. This further enraged Max. He stared very hard at the ground that they seem to tremble. Finally, a big chunk of soil came out of the ground and hurtles through the air towards Astrid. The chunk shed a considerable amount as it hits the invisible barrier but a huge chunk of it still hangs in the air. It then withdrew back, before slamming against the barrier. Max kept repeating that and Astrid was about to give up when they heard the sound of a spray. They turned around and saw a small boy looking at them, a respiratory inhaler in his mouth. The floating soil dropped around Astrid and Max.

“erm, Astrid.Do you think we should bring him home?” Max asked.
“I think so. Last time Daddy got angry we didn’t bring Alex home earlier.”

The boy with the respirator spoke. “What are you guys playing?”


The boy’s name is Oliver. He lived three blocks away from their house. Max and Astrid’s new house. They invited the boy to their house and he agreed to come along. No one was at home.

“We’ll have to wait for dad,” said Astrid.
“Okay. I think I’m gonna get myself a soda,” said Max.
“Can you get me one too? And one for Ooo… Oliver too.”
“Alright,” Max voice came from the kitchen. It seems they have forgotten their recent fight.

Astrid looked at the boy. Oliver was very small. His skin was pallid and dry. His front teeth jutted out a bit while his eyes were slightly bulging. And he was always holding the inhaler, tightly in his hands as if they would roll away any moment. He was probably in kindergarten, Astrid thought. “Would you like to play a game, Oliver?” she asked.

“What game?”
“Well, we called it Scrapple. I don’t know what other people call it.”
“How do we play it?”
“It’s easier to play than explaining it, I think,” Max said as he came into the room. He gave a glass of soda to Astrid and Oliver each. He then searched one of the unopened boxes at the far end of the room and pulled out a box of Scrabble. It was just like a regular scrabble, except every player got a blue cube. On each person’s turn, the player will throw three tiles unto the blue cube, which magically will bounce the tiles. Naturally the person will aim them to be bounced unto the board. If anyone manages to form a word, the player gets a point. Most of the fun was in throwing the tile and avoiding from getting hit, so the children were still having fun although neither managed to form a word yet.

Their father arrived as they were playing. “Hullo there, who have we got here?”
“Hi dad,” they said.  Max continued, “This is Oliver. We met him at the, outside.”
“Why are you late Dad?” Astrid asked curiosly.
“My Car broke down,” he said, before adding hastily, “don’t tell your mum.”

“Your Car broke down, again?”
“Yeah, didn’t you just got it repaired it last month?” Astrid asked.
“I bet father experimented with it again, right father?”
His father just smiled. And winked. Max seeing their opportunity told about the incident at the waterway.

After a lot of finger pointing and names calling, the children finally finished their story. “I thought we told you to be careful. Your mom will be furious about this,” his father said, his face worried.
“But it was an accidenttt,” Astrid protested.
“You could have prevented this if you didn’t play with it, you know.”
“But it’s not fair! You could play with your Car,” Max said. “Yeah!” Astrid echoed.
“Okay, okay. It was an accident. Let me think for a moment please. The last time this thing happened, and I tried this, was five years ago. The reason last month we had to move was I wasn’t sure I could do it. Alex was older but I’m still not sure I can fix it this time.”

“Fix what?” said a voice from behind. They all jumped. When they turned around and saw Jack closing the door, they sighed a relief. “Can you please knock, next time?” father said.

“Why? What’s your secret? And where’s your Car, dad?”
“The boys blew their secret. Again,” said father.
“I’m not a boy,” Astrid chirped.
“Not again. Did a teacher see it too this time?” Jack asked.
“No, it’s that boy,” father said, pointing to Oliver who was captivated by the blue cube. By now, he has forgotten the scrabble and was throwing the cube itself that floated after bouncing.

“Him?” Jack asked. “He doesn’t even notice what we are talking about. Are you guys sure he saw you?”
So the children retold their story, with less quarrelling this time. After they finished, Jack looked at Oliver again. “Him? He seems harmless enough.”

“Quite right. What’s harmful about this boy?” said a voice from behind. “If it’s harmful, it should be you lot,” she laughed.
Their bodies froze when they heard mother’s voice. She was holding a grocery bag in her right hand and some files in her left.

“Jack, take this to the kitchen. There’s a lot more in the car trunk,” she said. “So, what is it about this boy? By the way, where’s your car Will?”

“I think you better sit down, honey.”
“And why is that?” she asked, her left eyebrow raised.
“It’s about the boys…”
“I’m not a boy!” Astrid said but was quickly silenced by the father and Max.
“What about them,” mother asked, still wary.
“Well, they did something. Something small. Only a small thing. And this boy saw them doin...”
“DO YOU WANT TO SAY SOMEONE SAW YOU DOING HOCUS AGAIN?” she said. Mother always refers to the abnormal things they can do as hocus. Especially when she’s mad. Her both eyebrows are raised then. “Maximillian! Astrid! Answer me!” Before they even could, she continued, “Do you know how much we spent moving around? Do you know how many forms I have to fill? It’s barely one month, and you guys did it again.  They still sent hate letter to our old address. And God knows how our old neighbour got our address and he is forwarding them here. And now this happens. I won’t be surprised if they’ll burn us on stake unless we move. We can barely scrape by and I don’t know if we can afford to move again. You children are really naughty, you should be grounded forever!”
“It’s not that bad honey,” father came to the rescue. “It’s just a small problem. The children just can’t help themselves, maybe ground them for a week or so, but I think we don’t need to move. We'll probably can solve this too.”

“That’s not fair,” Astrid spoke, “Father did some experiment too.”
They tried to silence her but it was too late. Mother’s eyes opened wide. “What did she said?” mother asked.
“Nothing dear.”
“What. Did. She. Said, William?”
“It’s the Car.”
“Don’t tell me you did something to the car again. Oh no. Oh no. Will, I thought you should know better,” she said. Finally she sat down. She lifted her head when she heard Jack coming into the room. “And you, young man. Don’t you go around doing your charm to every girl you meet. It’s barely a month and the cashier has already been asking why I didn’t bring my son along. I wouldn’t have that kind in my house!” she said. She then let her head slump back to her chest. Everybody was silent and didn’t say a word. Even Jack, who thought he was in the worst case, innocent.

Then their mother spoke in a very low voice. “It’s just that I’m very tired and all this and I was hoping that since there’s another new member of the family coming soon, I thought we…”
“What?!” father said. “Are you saying we’re getting a baby?”
“Really mother? Are you? Are you pregnant?” said Jack.
Mother’s face was covered with her hair, only the slight bobbing of it showed that she nodded. Father shrieked and hugged mother, followed by Jack. The children were a bit slow, however. “Boys, you are getting a baby!” father explained to them. They also screamed happily, that Astrid forgot to say she’s not a boy. Everyone hugged mother, clamouring, shouting of joy, promising to behave themselves and said lots of other things that one can’t hear what the other wanted to say. Slowly they became quiet in the end and happily gathered around mother.

Then they heard the sound of a spray. They all turned around and saw the forgotten Oliver, who looked back at them with his big eyes.

“Can I come back and play tomorrow?”

Friday, May 4, 2012

The best show in the world.

“Ladies and gentlemen, you are now about to see one of the most amazing show in the world. Do not, I repeat, do not ever try to do this at home. What we are about to see is the…”

   Brandon wasn’t given much attention all his life. He is the middle in a sibling of five and with both parents working, they rarely had enough time with their children, let alone to dote on any of them. Brandon was actually fine with that, he liked it that people rarely pays too much attention to him; he could do whatever he wants as long as he didn’t cause any trouble. It all however changed one day.

  It was quite a hot day so the windows were opened. The sounds of intermittent cars passing by could be heard through the opening, breaking the monotonous ticking sound of the clock. Other than that, the room was very quiet. Brandon’s heart however was beating in his ears. He sat on a chair opposite a desk, where a man with a pair of thick glasses was staring at him. He meanwhile didn’t want to stare back but he didn’t want to turn away an appear rude, so he directed his eyes to a miniature globe on the desk. It was displaying China and its neighbor which could only partly be read, with the letters ending in “STAN”. Brandon wondered what countries bordered China when he heard the door to the office. He heard his father talking to the secretary before he was led to the room. Brandon wanted to tell him a lot of things, explain everything that happened but the disappointed look on his face clammed Brandon’s mouth shut.

  “Are you Mr Smith? Come, take a seat. We are sorry to have to call you at this moment but this is,” the headmaster paused, “this is a peculiar situation. The school has never dealt with anything like this.”
His father gave Brandon another look, which made him wished he could disappear. His father then asked what the problem was.
  “It’s not easy to explain and the details are not very clear to me too. So why don’t we let young Mr Smith tell the story.” Both of them looked at Brandon. He wished he could die.
  After a long silence, Brandon finally spoke. He told them how the day began with him forgetting to bring a homework given by his teacher. His teacher was vexed with him but didn’t say anything and continued with the class. Later Brandon however, for some unknown reason, spoke when the teacher was talking in the front. He rarely volunteered when the teacher asked any question, let alone spoke when not asked so it was a surprise to everyone, including himself, that he interrupted the teacher. Moreover he contradicted the teacher. The teacher was very annoyed with that, so he asked him to tell the whole class the reason why the statement ‘all mammals live on land’, is wrong. Brandon, with all eyes on him, began to panic. He then disappeared.
  “What do you mean disappear?!” his father asked.
  “Well, the teacher was convinced Brandon played a prank with him because later they looked around and saw him came out of the cupboard at the back of the class,” the headmaster said. “His classmates, however, said he did disappear.”
  Mr Smith was silent for awhile. Clearly he didn’t believe the story but he didn’t want to say so and accuse his son in front of the headmaster, so he kept quiet. The headmaster however didn’t.
  “I can’t say I believe this story and must agree with the teacher with this but the 20 students really believed your boy here disappeared. He said he didn’t know what had happened and won’t tell me how he did it, so either your son is lying or not he…”

  “My son is not a liar,” Mr Smith cut in.
  “I am not saying he is but the situation is very, peculiar. The students are very agitated and, so, I think it’s better is our young man here to take a leave for a few days. How about that?”
Thus Brandon was suspended for one week.


  Back at home, Brandon’s parents were constantly talking about the incident which made him nervous all the time. They would talk quietly for a while then look at him for a long time. During the times he met their eyes, they usually beckoned him to come to them and tell them what really happened but he couldn’t. So after a while he tried to avoid their gaze. Their talks then grew less after a few days and they have even stopped altogether to coax a story out of him that he began to believe it was all over when suddenly, a very tall man with a briefcase came. He came with Aunty Maude and was introduced as a Mr White. Mr White was dating Aunty Maude and happened to be a psychiatrist. Brandon’s parents invited him to come and, in their words, “just talk to you.”
  Mr. White did talk to him. That is with Brandon sitting in the middle of the living room, while his parents and Aunty Maude on the sofa while the rest of the siblings sitting on the carpet. They were all staring at him. At first the question was easy, about his friend’s and schools but then Mr. White took out a few pictures of butterflies. They were all black and Mr. White asked him what he saw. He only saw butterflies so he told him so. After the third picture and the same answer, Mr. White began to grew exasperated. “Okay let’s do this again. What do you see in this picture? Just imagine this pattern, other than a butterfly, what do you see?”
  “I see an elephant. An elephant with two legs,” said his elder brother.
  “That’s not true. I see clouds,” her sister said.
  “Shhh, be quiet. Let your brother speak. It’s alright darling, tell Mr. White what you see in the picture,” his mom said. The whole room grew silent as they waited for his answer, all their attention on him. Then he disappeared.
  He was found 15 minutes later, in the washing machine. Another hour later, after disassembling the machine, his father finally managed to fish his son who was wet from crying while stuck in a literally tight fit. Needless to say there were no more tests whatsoever after that and Aunty Maude’s dating came to a conclusive end. The incidents were not discussed anymore and the family began to slowly forget until one holiday evening where it was brought up in the presence of Uncle Bob. At first he laughed at the story but when he saw Brandon’s face reddened, he began to listen carefully and later, asked very specific questions, such as what date and time the incidents happened, how long it happened etcetera. Afterwards he sat thoughtfully in silence.
  A few days later, he came with a friend. His friend didn’t talk much until he laid out the content of his bag. They were sharp, small knives.
“These are throwing knives and I can throw them very well. Do you guys want to see me throw it?” Without waiting for an answer, he threw it sharp into the carpet, into the wood below, just missing his own shoes a few centimeters.

  “My floor!” said the mother.
  “That’s not very far,” one of the boys said.
  “Bob told me he knew you would say that,” the man replied. “And he said Brandon here, really love to volunteer for my throwing skills.”
  Everyone, especially Brandon, stared widely at Uncle Bob. He just winked back at Brandon.
“This knife is very sharp,” the man said as he raised the blade to the light so everyone could see. Slowly he traced the edge, starting from the hilt up to the sharp end."It could cut flesh without any problem. If I missed, death is instant. However, I never miss!" Suddenly he threw the knife at Brandon, putting the knife up to the hilt into Brandon’s body. A few voices screamed.
  “Relax, relax,” the man said. He walked to Brandon, who everyone began to notice was alive, and took the knife out. “This is a fake knife, I changed it before I threw it just now and as you can see, it can retract up to the hill, which will stuck to what surface it is thrown at, making it appear as it has sunk into it.” The man afterwards sat and didn’t say anything else.
Uncle Bob just smiled.
  A few days later, he came back and took Brandon out. They both went out for a few hours and came back later, one smiling while another tired and scared. The parents were furious and didn’t allow Bob to take Brandon out anymore. Uncle Bob however began to explain.
  “Everyone has a talent, an ability. Some has a lot, some has a few, some has this, some has that..”
  “What is your point Bob?” Mr. Smith cut in.
  “Brandon here, has a talent. A super talent. An ability that many would. . . many would do anything to have. He can disappear.”
Brandon’s parents looked at each other.
  “So, a few days ago I wanted to do an experiment. I wanted to see what caused him to disappear, whether it was fear. That’s why I brought my friend who threw the knife at him. It seems that nothing happened. So today I brought him to the mall, where I thrust him unto a podium at the mall and do a public speaking. The shoppers stopped to watch and sure enough, Brandon disappeared.”
Brandon’s parents gasped.
  “Yes, it happened again. He disappeared. It is as I thought, there are certain circumstances that cause him to ‘do’ that. However, I believe he can be trained to control this and really do it. He can train himself to simply, disappear.”
  The room was quite for a few minutes. After further questioning about the nature of the training that Bob was illuminating to, they said it was actually up to Brandon whether he wanted to do it or not. A week later, Brandon packed his stuffs, said goodbye to his family and went to live with Uncle Bob. He went to live in a circus.

“…greatest magician of our time, Lord Piquet. He is going to try to escape from this locked box which is dropped into an aquarium full with fuel, fuels that will be ignited by our archers standing on the balcony above. We are now tying the great Lord Piquet and we would like to call two viewers to come and check these chains on his hands and feet.”
  The audience eagerly volunteers and two are chosen. After they are satisfied, the box is sealed and lifted above the aquarium. The box hangs for a moment in the air. The atmosphere is so tense that when the cord snaps and the box fell, the gasps from the audience feel like a draught blowing through. Two women even faint.
  At the same moment the box hit the liquid, fire arrows are released from four points. The aquarium burst into flames, bright blue flames. It is a spectacular view, to say the least. However the scene isn’t finished until a man in a black coat comes walking from offstage and bows to the audience. It is the magician himself and the crowd roars in applause.
  No one really knows that actually Brandon is more scared standing in front of the adoring audience than standing in the box, waiting for his death.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

How to Unknow.

"Dude, you have to come here. Quick!" his voice sounded squeaky. It was the ninth time he called in less than five minutes, all of which I have ignored in the hope that he'd stop. Apparently, he didn't. And if I ignored him any further, it's likely that he'll hack into my home wifi or something.

"What man? You found a new comet?" I asked.
"No, no. No. Just come."

I dropped the call and 20 minutes later I was at the door of his apartment. A stench came out of the room as he opened the door. Apparently he didn't smell it and instead was beaming his smile at me, beard covering most of it. His hair grew, or looked more likely pulled out from his head. By his smell, I wouldn't want to guess how long he abstained his skin from water. Probably a week.

I stepped inside and followed him into the apartment, which looked worse than his owner.
"What are you doing man? I was fighting the boss in the last level when you called. And you're house looks like a dump!" I said. He just smiled back at me, probably glad that I came. Of course I came when he called and I think you would too just so that he wouldn't hacked into your computer or something. Standing in front of me was one of the most brilliant person I've ever met. He could have worked for NASA or CERN or some big company, which I think he did for a few years, but here he was living in a dump. And smiling.

"Why are you smiling man?"
"I've did an experiment," he said. As if that explained anything. He was ALWAYS experimenting. I've learned after a while not to lend anything that he wanted to use for an experiment. They'll probably not return, or if they did, you'd have in your possession some kind of abomination.

"What kind of experiment?"
Instead of answering he beckoned me to follow him, into a room. Surprisingly the room was clean, so clean that I felt like stepping into a portal.

"How come this room is clean?"
"It's the rat. They don't actually 'like' dirty rooms. They tend to die, these lab mouse. I wish there are more resistant than their grey cousin but I guess..." he trailed off before continuing, "I want you to see something. Sit down."

I looked around the room. There was a long desk against the right side of the room populated by beakers and jars, things that you would see in a normal laboratory. Opposite it, on the far side of the room were cages some of which were empty and others were filled with white mice. Closer, on my left side is a cupboard, closed. In the middle of the room was a very big desk which was turned into a maze with cameras pitched at two opposite corners on the maze. There was no chairs in the room.

So I stood. My friend looked at me and asked, "You want something to drink?" I was about to decline when he went to the cupboard and took a can of cola from inside it. I looked at it suspiciously but since it seems normal I opened it and began to drink. Meanwhile my friend put a tablet on the maze and played a video as he began to talk.

" I did an experiment," he began with the obvious."I wanted to test what men can do with their own mind, how we can modulate our behavior and how the mysterious science of psychology can be bypassed and tempered with a definite technic." Gone the eccentricity and uncertainty, when he talked about his experiments he was like a different person.

"In the video, I have proof of what I did, which is you might ask what? Well, I wanted to know whether we can unknow."
"You mean, to forget?"
"No. I mean what I said. I wanted to find the way to unknow things, knowledge and memories," he put up his hand to stop me interrupting again. "If we care to observe, we can see where I have set up the maze for the mouse. After a while, the mouse will get hungry and I have put a cheese at the other end of the maze. The mouse will go directly to the cheese, by following its sense of smell, but will come into an obstacle. It will take some time before the mouse learn to navigate the maze and get to the cheese but after a while it will remember the tracks and once you set it into the maze, he will directly to the cheese. Even if we change the track, the mouse will still get the cheese, although it would a longer time since it has to learn the new track. All these took two until six weeks for the mouses, depending on its.. on its cleverness. But that is nothing." He played another video.

"Then I begin to give the mouse some, 'potion'. Ah, here is where the experiment begins. I begin to experiment whether these mouses can unknow their skill in navigating the maze. Here, if you look closely you can see that the mouse have no idea what to do when put into the maze although in the previous video, it was clear that it had no difficulty whatsoever. It is as if this was the first time it met something like the situation in the maze and doesn't have any idea what to do. In short, it has unknow the maze."

"Maybe it's a different a mouse," I said.
"No! Of course I tagged my mouse. Do you think I'm that stupid, Joe! And if you looked closely, the mouse is the same. Its tail has a part of it cut off."
Maybe he was true but I didn't really like his experiment so I continued my objection.
"It doesn't prove anything. It could be that one of your, 'potion', dropped the poor rat brain down the sewer, that it don't know what to do."
"No, no. I knew you would say that. In fact, I have countered myself with those same arguments so I have checked it a few times. The same mouse can perform other action quite okay, if not at the same rate. Here, see this video. If I gave the cheese directly to the mouse, it eats it. No problem. And even if I let it try the maze for a few more weeks, it relearns all the old trick."

"So it forgets."
"No. It unknows. Though.." uncertainty flicked across his face  before it resolved back, "No, it unknows it. If it forgets it, the skill, he would simply remember it once it's put into the maze. From the video, I conclude that it unknows it."
"Okay, suite yourself. It doesn't matter actually, to unknow or to forget. It's the same thing. And why would you need to do this, just give some alcohol to the rat. It'll probably forget everything."

"No, don't you get it. If you are drunk, you might forget some capability that you have but once the alcohol goes out of the system, you'll remember. If you forget, as in the sense you forget someone names, once you read it somewhere you'll remember it. 'Aha, I remember that,' you will say. But this is different! You will say, 'I don't know him.' The use will be endless!"

"Such as?" I said. This experiment is getting more disturbing.

"Do you know how much US lost due to addiction?" he asked me instead.

"No.. Billions?"

"More than that. Trillions! And what does my experiment have to with it? It's the cure. The cure to all addiction. Let say you have a drug addict, who cannot resist itself if he sees the opportunity. We inject him with my solution from my experiment, then we give him the 'trigger'. Oh, I forgot to explain to you. I learned to control the effect of my experiment by having a trigger, something that helps the mouse associate with its skill, with its knowledge. In the maze, I experimented with colours, such as green reminds it of the maze etc etc. It's something I read from an article years ago. So, I found out that the mouse, the one that succeeded in unknowing, responded to sound. I played a whirring sound of fan so when it heard it, it'll know that there is cheese and there is the maze, and its skill in navigating the maze will light up. So.."

His voice was cut off when my head grew suddenly dizzy. I sat myself on the ground. He was peering at me, his eyes magnified behind the glasses and his breathe smelled when he spoke. "Oh, oh. It's working! Quick, I have to bring you.."
"What is working?" I asked stupidly.
"The potion. Quick, we have to bring you to the Replica Room." He half-pulled and half-dragged me into another room. When I looked around, I understand what he meant by replica. All of the items in the room resembled those in my room. The couch, the footrest, the chairs and desks, there were close enough that I almost got fool. There was even an X-box hooked to the monitor with my favourite game on the screen.

It seems that all those years not lending my things to him for experimenting, haven't taught me how to avoid myself being experimented. That bastard! He must have spiked the cola. A can of cola! The last thing before I passed out, I manage to asked where he got the things for the Replica Room.

"Ebay," he said.


Afterwards I woke up to the sound of the game, which he said triggered my brain to recall the skill for it. The 'potion' then began to kick in, following the neurons or something and wiping out my memory that had anything to do with playing the game. It was like formatting a hard disk, were his words.
I watched a video of me playing before I got drugged (how did he got a footage of me playing in my home, I don't know) and after, had showed the thing really worked. He put the controller into my hand and asked me to play. The video showed I looked at the controller and tried playing it while he watched but I grew tired, probably after dying too often, and threw away the controller.
As of now, I am free of game addiction and when later I remembered what happened to me, I felt obliged and repulsed at the same time of the experiment. I never went to see him anymore. Although I clearly believed what he did was unethical, I'm holding any report for now. Still, I'm writing this so if I somehow drop dead in the middle of the road or blew up into shiny dust particles, I hope the authorities wouldn't be left scratching their head.

I hope I can unknow all this, but that, is simply out of the question.

Joe Wayne.

inspired by this and this