BILLY THE BOTTLE CAP
I'm pretty sure I've reincarnated, but I'm not sure what. I can't see anything, but I sure can think, feel, and hear. But the thing is, I can't move. What's that you ask? How do I know that I've reincarnated? Well, before I was your typical average American guy. You know, with the family of four; the dad, the mom, and the annoying little sister. And don't forget the family pet – our good old golden retriever, Charlie. I still have memories of that life. But then I got injured playing football and somehow managed for fall down the stairs after coming back from the hospital.
Yeah, I died falling down the stairs – pretty lame, right?
But then I opened my eyes again and observed my surroundings. I was on the ground of a dusty street, so I got up and brushed myself off, but man – my head was pounding! And then I remember staring at my hands with amazement – since when did I get so tan? And they were so… big… they were like a full grown man's pair of hands. Confused, I looked around and found myself in the slums of a city; all the signs were in a different language too.
"Where am I? Where am I?" I kept on asking myself.
Really – where was I?
I wandered around and in the distance I saw a fence, so I began walking towards it. As I got closer, I could see guys patrolling beside it. And guess what – they were WHITE, man. While I was walking I saw all these tanned people chattering in some foreign language, so I didn't dare to go near them. But these guys… I could talk to them! They could help me, too! So I started to sprint, but while I passed other foreigners, they started to yell, or cheer for me – I couldn't really tell. When I got kind of near, I started to yell, too.
"HEY! Do you guys know where I am? Could you give me a little help?!"
One of the men started to trot towards me, and hollered to the other guys, "Here's another one!"
I slowed to a stop and gave him a smile.
"Hey man, could you help me with – "
The guy pinned me down without warning and mumbled, "Jeez, why do they want to get over here so badly? We even said we won't take anymore illegal Mexicans."
Me, an illegal Mexican? You've got to be kidding me! I tried protesting, but he hit me on the head with his pistol.
In the end, after many attempts of trying to get to America, I ended up dying from drinking stagnant water. That life sucked, but then I reincarnated as a bird – a turkey, to be exact. I ended up being shot and served on the dinner table for this Thanksgiving. But now – I don't even know what I am. I can't even see.
I felt something warm clasp me by the sides and turn me around. I was then lifted and tossed – by the sounds of my surroundings, I deduced that I was tossed into a trashcan, though that clue did not give me a hint on what I was. Liquid sloshed and feet, cushioned by socks, padded away. I stayed in that trashcan for a couple of days. Objects were tossed onto me, and then the day came for me and the rest of the garbage to be finally tied up and thrown out.
"Mark! Could you take out the trash?" A lady's voice floated from the stairs.
"Most likely the mom, I bet," I thought.
"Yeah, sure," he replied.
I could feel Mark lifting us up. As he opened the door, I could hear the busy sounds of the street. A group of girls prattling about cosmetics passed by. The clicks from high heels increased and faded away. People chattering on cellphones, engines running, and the silent whirr of the bicycle; I was outside!
But it wasn't like I could climb out of the trash and start running away. So I just chilled with the rest of my friends; the crushed up papers, the skins of fruits, wrappers, and rotten turkey that wasn't refrigerated after Thanksgiving. It was a pretty rad party – the flies were crawling in through the opening. They were all over us; buzzing with excitement. The turkey was the most popular guy there, though – laying their babies all over him, those little white maggots crawling feebly.
I must've fell asleep or something, but the next thing I knew was that the bag was being opened and the contents were poured out. I eventually slid out, but I didn't hear the roaring engine of a garbage truck. I could hear the trash being pawed through, and a man humming Christmas songs to himself.
An old, cracked voice exclaimed, "Oh, what's this?" I was picked up, and probably inspected.
"My, I've never seen one of these bottle caps in ages! Today's my lucky day!"
I was shocked. Out of all the things I could have reincarnated as, I turn out to be a bottle cap? A bottle cap; meaning, not a cool fire-breathing dragon, or a tiger, or a praying mantis… or a… or a duck! I'd rather be a pig, even if that mean being ready to be slaughtered for Christmas, than a bottle cap!
Meanwhile, as I pitied for myself in my own little bottle cap world, the man (a hobo, I suppose) pocketed me and hummed even more merrily, rummaging through the other trash bags. He eventually left the area and went back to his turf in another alley.
He took me out of his pocket and began to talk to me, while rubbing me with a cloth.
"You know… my hobby was to collect bottle caps when I was a little kid. Water bottle caps, Snapple, Coke… even rare ones! Like the ones from back then. And it still is my hobby today," he explained to me. "My bottle cap collection was tremendous! And every day… I would constantly dream of becoming a bottle cap collector." He groaned as he got up, and began talking again.
"My mom always told me to stop daydreaming and learn something useful – something that would earn me a living."
He lifted me up and set me on a wooden shelf and boldly declared, "But I never did listen to her, that woman. So I followed my dream. My dream of becoming a bottle cap collector."
"And guess what?" he asked.
"It's now my life career," he answered dejectedly. "I am now a hobo."
I could hear him amble away, and as he did, I thought about what he said.
"So… is this guy trying to tell me that you'll end up being a hobo if you follow your dreams?" I wondered. "How depressing…"
And I've been sitting on that shelf for a couple of years now.