There is a glint in his eye, a playfulness as he looks over his surroundings. “That one was mine” he says as he points to the fjord in the distance. “I am really rather proud of it”. I just stand and nod. It is one of those days where I feel more discombobulated than normal. Is it really a Monday or could it be a Sunday just playing silly buggers? I opt to do what everyone would, or at least should, do in this situation. “Can I have a cup of tea?” I ask. The second the words splurt from my mouth like a dribble of verbal nonsense, I realise how silly a question this is. “No time I am afraid” he replies “You see I only have you for a short while and well to brew a good cup takes time”. His logic is sound, he makes a good point and besides I have yet to see a teapot. He walks over to me, each step looks like it is taking all his strength and effort. “I also don’t have a teapot here” he says, and I had observed “we have some important things to discuss”.
“Things to discuss?” I ask as he reaches me. He clasps a hand on my shoulder and looks me in the eyes. His voice takes a serious tone, slightly sinister. “Well, lets call it a warning” he says. My heart slumps to the pit of my stomach, does a few loop the loops then stops for a moment and finally it ascends back to where it should have stayed. Bumping as it does so into my throat causing me to gulp. “A warning” I stammer “are you threatening me?” I ask in between gulps. He looks me over, trying to decide what part of me he is going to roast first. Should it be the legs? A good bit of fat on those, or maybe the fingers would make a good appetiser while I slow cook the head. “Threat?” he asks “Goodness no. Why would you..” he takes a step back, looking to the horizon. “I’ve done it again, haven’t I. I really need to work on my delivery. In my defence, I don’t see people all that often”. “I am going to start again” he says. “Did I tell you about the fjords?”
“Yes, it was one of yours”, I say.
“How did you know that?” he asks suddenly, “Have you been spying on me?”
“No.. no. You told me. You said that when I first arrived!” I say.
“Oh, okay. So anyway, have I told you about the fjords?” he asks once again. I feel like I am in some strange limbo. The repeating and echo of the question bouncing around in my head. I struggle to think of an answer. He smiles, “I am joking. I ask and then ask again. It makes people think I am senile. Throws them off guard”
“Why would you want to do that?” I ask.
“I can’t remember. I had a reason once. I think I am going senile” he replies. I now suspect I am in a world that is floating atop an old LP. Only this land has a scratch, and it is going to keep on repeating itself. Hello, scratch. Hello, scratch. From now until the end of time, one hello, one scratch and jump, then another hello. This is not the turtle upon whom we float, this is the record of doom. My hand moves to my mouth, a finger on my lips as I consider what to say next. I almost have it, but it slips from my grasp like a well-lubricated jellied eel. Thankfully, I don’t have to think as he speaks first. “Stop all of this, you can’t continue the way you are going!”
“Stop all this?” I ask.
“Destroying your world!” he throws an arm out, pointing into the distance. “See those fjords,” my eyes roll. Here we go again. “That is how they looked when I designed them,” he points at them, a sense of pride to him. “Now you have gone and built near them. You build everywhere. They gave you this wonderful planet to call home and you are destroying it”.
“I am doing no such thing!” I protest. Sure, I am not perfect, but I am not firing up smoke into the sky daily. I am not shooting water into pockets in the earth to release gas. I don’t spew carbon into the atmosphere and destroy the layer around the earth. Not being perfect though hangs in the air, could I do more?
“No. Not you personally, well I don’t think it is you personally. You as a collective. It is about all of you, every single one of you. We made this world for a reason. That reason does not matter, but we are not rebuilding it again”.
“So what can I..” I hesitate, “we do?”
“Well, you could appreciate what you have. The mice gave you quite a gift and you are destroying it!”
“Mice!” I say, mice! What is this about mice?
“Not important. Think of this place as a prized possession. If you had something that you cherished with all your heart, you would not treat it as you do this land. You would hold it close and not allow anyone to do it any harm. Yet here you have a planet, a home that was specifically designed for you. They put it into this universe for you, and you abuse it”.
I was going to protest, what could I do. What could just one person do? Besides, I did my part, didn’t I? I then blinked, just a microsecond of blackness. When my eyes reopened, I found myself in my boring quite normal mundane kitchen. I was standing over the bin, plate in hand, ready to scrape away the waste that I had left. I paused for a moment and looked over at the food recycling bin. Time for a change, I thought. I closed the bin and walked to the one for food waste.
I didn’t notice the fish bowl sitting on my kitchen table.
With apologies to the late, great Douglas Adams