I couldn’t go in the water. It was too dark. And cold. I had got the fish hook stuck. I just wanted to forget about it and make everyone walk away. But they wouldn’t.
“You have to go in,” the old woman said.
I kept pulling on the rod, moving it in every direction.
“I’ll go.” Nigel Baines stripped down to his underwear and went in, just like that. I watched his legs kicking up as he went down. It took him all of 15 seconds. He was hailed with warm towels and hugs.
“You can have as many grilled cheese sandwiches as you like! You deserve it.”
I was allowed to come too, but I didn’t. I stayed behind and stared into the dark water, that fearful place, and hated Nigel Baines.
I had a dream that I was a soldier in the wings of a stage. I was waiting with other soldiers as I practiced my line: “We’d like a drink.” I was practicing that in my head when I noticed I was surrounded by peasants, small and young; the other soldiers were gone. I flailed at the black curtains and saw the other soldiers on stage and leapt behind them just as the Innkeeper said, “Vodka?” That was the line after mine.
I retreated to the corner to watch the drunken dancing unfold and thought. I am a person. I am not a monkey. I don’t look like a monkey. I don’t smell like a monkey. I don’t do anything like a monkey. I don’t know what I am . I just know what I’m not. I’m not a monkey.