The Game

Like that time I woke up in a bag of chips, alone and salty.

At first, and only for a quick second, I had the better half of a mind to savour the uniqueness of my situation, but salt, not unlike sand, has a way of being rudely invasive to the orifices of the human body. As I lay there, naked, awakening to the entirety of my discomfort, a thought flashed through my mind. I needed out. So, I moved from under a chip I had used to cover myself against the coldness of the night, and rose to my feet. Dusting my shoulders, as one does, I looked for a possible method of escape. I wanted out of this reality. Being in the belly of a potato chip bag was not a fate to be particularly enthusiastic about.

Nothing. The bag seemed immaculate, its inner metallic coat uncreased. Nonetheless, I was indiscourageable. I set out to find a weakness in the bag I could work at.

What seemed like hours passed. Doubts crept in around my fruitless endeavours. How helpless and ashamed I felt. They will probably find me dead and dried out, I thought. Maybe someone will bite on my crispy cadaver and think I’m a chip. Surely all this salt and seasoning will suffice to dehydrate me to the desired texture so as to trick someone into mashing my corpse into a wet paste and swallowing me. And I will become poop. Like every other one of these, my bagmates, my new-found chip comrades. United one and all by our lonesome, gruesome fate. This idea cheered me up a little. Even if I were to escape, who’s to say that life was all that better out there? Perhaps the apocalypse had come, whatever form it chose to take. Besides, who’s to say this bag, this sealed vessel, wasn’t travelling underwater or even into outer space? Wouldn’t escaping this bag undeniably mean finding certain death.

No, there are surely far worse fates than this, I thought. I have here food and shelter. I have here a life to live and memories to travel. On such thoughts, day one ended. Sleep was calling for me, and I, exhausted, was glad to call it a day.

That night the nightmares began.

A night of tormented sleep found me buried deep and worse off than even I myself would admit. With sandpaper for eyelids, carpet for a tongue, and a mouth and a throat as parched as the meaning of the word allows and then quite some more. Water was precisely as non-existent as my faith in finding any. With my body as stiff as a tree and my skin as crisp as a dead leaf, I had begun my transformation. How could I have not seen this coming? I gathered myself, rose to my feet, rubbing my hands together as one does in such circumstances, and looked about. Crumbs. Rats! This meant I was at the bottom of the bag. How did I get all the way down here?

Then, not without a sobbing chuckle for the overall pity of the situation, I started scrambling my way upward. This enterprise turned out to be more of a workout than expected, and soon I was reduced to taking regular moments of rest in order to play catch with my breath. These breaks grew longer as the day dragged on, and I, finding nothing else to do with my free time, took up carving probable obituaries on some of the surrounding chips. When these finally bored me, I started writing false suicide letters explaining why I had chosen to die in a bag of chips, and, from there, I moved on to the elaboration of several love letters, one haiku, three songs (never completed), a will; until the reality of my fate struck me with full crippling force, and I finally resolved to write real, heavy, honest letters of farewell. Somewhere near the top of the bag, I fell asleep. Thus, day two ended.

That night the nightmares pursued and furthered their siege.

Day last. I am a chip. Sometime during the night, the oxygen level became unbearably low, leaving me lightheaded and, quite rightfully, feeling sorry for myself. My eyes would not open and moving my body was a battle I knew I could not win. The end was foreseeable. So in order to kill time, I figured I could play a game I had always liked: who can stick their tongue out for the longest time. Competition wouldn’t be very fierce around these parts. I figured my odds of winning were pretty good, which, I must confess, sounded marvellous to me. I felt like I could use a win before, well, before my final and irreversible loss at the grandest game of them all: the game of life. Besides, if my memory serves me well, I was quite the wizard at this sticking-tongue-out game in my day. So I engaged.

Then, curiously, nothing happened. I tried again. Still nothing. A chip was pressed against my mouth, preventing me from sticking my tongue out, thus ruining my last chances for victory. I felt sad at this thought and tried to cry with no success. What a sorrowful sight. If only this stupid soft flavourless chip would…wait a minute! Maybe this wasn’t a chip! Was this the side of the bag then? Perhaps, there was a way to win after all! I could try and bite my way out into freedom, fresh air and life! If I wasn’t underwater or in outer space that is…The risk was worth taking, I was about to die regardless. So, I nibbled away excitedly. Please be it the bag I’m biting at, I pleaded. Please, please!

Success. After considerable effort, I had managed to pierce a small hole, which allowed for the air to gush in, in, in and in. Salvation! I was at last delivered. And by the simplest of games.

With this newly acquired freedom, I decided to play the game some more. So I stuck my tongue out the hole and won.

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