It came from a search for something to eat. There wasn’t a desire for much and a craving for savory drove the mind with a light touch rather that an existential hunt for sustenance. Fruit was too sweet and nuts were nowhere to be found. Peppers were not hot enough and the taste of something southern was not appealing. The East was what sounded good.
There, in the freezer, two boxes sat, one open and one closed. They came individually wrapped in a thin plastic sheath that tore easily and the taste of cabbage and carrot was palpable. Brown and precooked they promised much but also promised very little. They held the hope of something tasty even through the heavily processed over cooked and slapdash creation in a factory somewhere probably in California or Mexico. It was not one, but two that sat on the counter begging to be consumed and satisfying the craving for food. And so, after one minute and forty five seconds in the microwave that only worked in increments of thirty seconds they were soon hot and ready and then devoured quickly.
The day passed and nothing happened. The rolls sat in a stomach slowly digesting and releasing their toxins with cautious deliberation. The day passed. Nothing happened.
But then the night came.
It seemed innocent, something that might happen from time to time. Waking occasionally in the night is nothing to be alarmed about. It happened once and water was sought and drunk. It happened again and nothing was thought about it despite being awake for far too long. Then the dreams came. Something was amiss. Dreams were strange and alarming and overpowered the morning alarm. The first alarm signaled that it was time to wake but the dreams had other ideas. The second alarm sounded and the dreams turned to the bizarre. The first grasp of the egg rolls had reached out and grabbed hold of the early morning mind.
It was late morning when the dreams released the mind, and then the egg rolls took over in toto.
The stomach turned foul and breakfast seemed like a duty rather than a pleasure and the bagel slid down with haste in the hope that sustenance would bring some relief. It didn’t. It just sat inside clawing its way deeper into the body. But the egg rolls were not finished. This was not food poisoning of the stomach where expulsion was all that was demanded by the toxic food. Instead, it was food poisoning of the mind.
Breath seemed labored. Each one felt deep and strong but exhausting, but in reality it was shallow and worrisome. It was rapid and lacking in its duty to refresh the body and so pulled the body down along with the mind.
The body just laid around in the morning and did only what it was barely required. It went limp against the pillows propping up the back against the wall at the head of the bed. Muscles seemed nonexistent as each movement seemed to take longer and was routinely misguided. Fingers were tired and stiff and moved slowly. Skin started to feel like it was separated from the body and tingled randomly. The body finally collapsed one moment and laid limp over some spare pillows to the side. It wasn’t the nestled calming laying down of the weak, but a collapse of the body to the side that was caught by a grouping of soft things.
Finally the mind went. The world was occluded in a strange fog that the mind tried to swim to but there was no shore to guide it and it just went deeper into nothingness. It tried to read and nothing could be realized — words just appeared and disappeared without order or reason and sentences could not be divined. For hours it lasted trying to piece together the world into something coherent but in the end it gave up. While watching TV to provide a semblance of order it swayed here and there and then the eyes closed and the body went with it.
One would think a freezer could protect you. One would think that processed food would be free from toxins.
I no longer desire egg rolls.