Praaaaaaang (potlan) wrote,

Why I woke up at 4 AM.

The scene: a film festival afterparty in a tropical seaside cave in the wee hours of the morning. The cave isn't very deep, but its opening isn't as wide as its breadth, and is extremely dark in the corners. The cavern's walls are covered in a continuous cabinet of curiosities, objects and reproductions of objects lost at sea. Embedded into the wet sand underfoot are accurate scale replicas of rusting, illicit Russian freighters, whose cabins and entire human population were "scraped off", to use a vivid image, before being deposited ashore and sunk deep under beaches such as these in narcotic numbers. On the shelves are airplane parts, reproductions of fuselages behind plexiglass barely discernable in the darkess, and the skulls and corpses of animals from all around the planet which had fallen into the sea. Human, plant, animal and mineral mingled arbitrarily and without annotation.

One of these shelves' custodians seems to be a small, doglike landshark, which goes about its collection in an automatic fashion, heedless of the men in their suits and the women in their dresses and all of their martinis. It wetly waddles into the cave, holding a decomposing skull in its maw, deposits it in a lewd pile on a bottom shelf, before returning to the ocean. I step gingerly away from its trap-like jaws, but I'm told that it won't bite on land (being a shark, of course, it needs to keep its gills well moistened).

Suddenly, beside me is a young woman. I can't see her in the dark, but I can sense her long brown hair, and she seems nervous and vulnerable but she's trying to keep above it, and I feel an automatic impulsive attraction to her. Besides, I'm feeling anxious, with the darkness, the animals underfoot, and the constant reminders of the infinite and unknowable capacity for the ocean to murder and bury everything I might hold to value. It's the young woman that spots the hummingbirds flitting about me, which I proceed to photograph as they fly up to me and the crooked fingertips of my left hand. "Is that camera yours?" she asks. "No, I just found it here." I said. It has no other photos on it, so I figure it's fair game.

She also spots a single lit display near the cave mouth. Inside of the small plexiglass box, taller than wide and square at the base, is a slope of rigid cobweb trapping dozens of lima-bean sized hummingbirds, each as docile as a drop of dew, gemlike in a white, gauzy parabola of silk. I aim the camera to take a photo of it, but I have trouble focusing in the dark. I step backward, and overfocus. Hovering somewhere between the box and my camera is a dime-sized spider. I attempt to focus past it, but now the light from inside the box is obliterated. I look up to recompose, and the young woman shrieks. Sitting against the glass is a gigantic spider, hairless and black, pressing a bundled hummingbird against the wall. Its body is so large that it has eclipsed the light. The darkness multiplies its body, and I imagine into existence spiders just as large, if not larger, that will climb up my legs, that will leap down off the ceiling onto my face as I sleep in this wealthy but tropical nation. The biodiversity here horrifies me, as it stands to overwhelm my humanism and unceremoniously strike me from the ledger of time, turning the ultimate proof of my life and identity into an anonymous husk whose paper-thin, tentlike skin stretched over bones is carelessly used as a home for an aggressive beetle in the darkest heart of the jungle where no human being will ever come across it. The terror becomes too much to bear.
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