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    Embodied Energy [A Short Story]

    By BuildingSatire
    Nov 29, '12 1:52 PM EST

    "The sin of an aluminum can was seldom ever greater."

    By Joseph Varholick On November 28, 2012

    Embodied Energy [A Short Story]

    There once was a time, and it was last Thursday, when an aluminum cylinder was drained of all purpose-giving substance and was then discarded into abysmal darkness. Let’s call ‘it’ ‘Tim.’ No, aluminum objects do not have gender [hence the pronoun, ‘it’; ‘Tim’ is more significantly a label of personification than gender ... but that will all be implied later on].

    Tim was one of many children of a major beverage conglomerate who will remain unmentioned. However, we will assign the alias, ‘acoc-cola.’

    Tim’s new world was a chamber of despair. A dim, bluish* {*R=5;G=17; B=62} light radiated from the walls. Tim was haunted by visions of three abstract arrows pointing accusingly at one-another.

    Tim had some company, though it did not want to call them friends. There was a polyethylene bag who bore the logo of a supermarket chain. The bag spoke, saying “I don’t belong here. I don’t even know where this is.” It had been there before, but had forgotten. It was true that it did not belong there. You see, low-density, reconstituted polyethylene has no soul left, and cannot not be remade in any meaningful way. No, the bag was fated to the oceanic, elysian fields of our modern day, left to photo-degrade and cause digestive issues in marine species.

    Wedged between the bag and a hoodlum gang of packing peanuts was a medium-density polyethylene bottle. The bottled sighed, knowing its fate was soon to follow that of the bag, that all polyethylene beings had a limited number of lives to live, chances to be reborn, and that his being would degenerate with each. It cried toward a mottled sky, framed by the edges of the enclosure, “WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME!?” But there was no answer, perhaps because the patchy firmament was only a dated,  popcorn ceiling. Had the stars been glitter all along?

    Tim, however, was aluminum. Tim was free of limited reincarnate concerns.

    The autumn hours of that Thursday lingered. Night fell and day broke. A figure appeared and the exodus began. For all Tim knew the journey may have lasted forty years, but it was from 6:15 AM to 8:45 AM on Friday morning. Tim had a strange feeling of deja-vu as it fell into a new environment, and although the catholic church had dissolved the belief of a ‘limbo’ or ‘purgatory,’ Tim was sure that this was such a place.

    Tim saw the bag and bottle stripped away and was glad it had decided not to say they were friends.

    Tim was soon amongst his clones; it liked to think of them as clones, that it was the archetype, the original, though it could not know this, mostly because it was not true.

    The temperature rose as if in a furnace* {* Tim was in a furnace** [**a blast furnace, specifically]}. The clones began to glow a soft red and Tim knew this must be the end. At the end we wonder if there is anything after which awaits us. Tim never much cared for the Western duality of a ‘hell and heaven’ afterlife. It simply never understood the motivation for life or morality when the final destination is either eternal suffering or eternal boredom … which is just another kind of suffering. No, Tim preferred reincarnation informed by karma, the judgement by an ultimate being, perfectly tailored to a flawed little life* {*yes, this is what soda cans think about}. Tim reveled at the idea of becoming the exterior cladding of a Boeing 747, seeing the earth from the figurative heavens; that would be a fitting compromise with the Western tradition, it thought. So long as it was not reborn as kitchen foil, to enclose Thursday-night leftovers, only to be forgotten for three months in the fridge, dying a slow death of mold infestation.

    Tim lamented as it recalled its life; karma surely would not shine a positive light. As a reckless youth, Tim’s tab had malfunctioned when opened, leaving a serrated edge upon which it sliced organic lips and drew blood as if on the altar of Abel. The sin of an aluminum can was seldom ever greater.

    “Is not justice a HYPOCRITE!?” Tim screamed as it burned and radiated a steadily intensifying light. Is punishment for immorality only a circumstantially accepted transgression?


    Tim’s cries were drowned by those of the clones.

    Tim wondered if everything that had ever happened to it was predetermined, if it was simply defunct  from the beginning, and if not, then surely some uncontrollable element of its environment caused it to be this way. It wondered if label (e.g. temporary insanity) could replace punitive measures.

    “Of course I was inadequate. What did the world expect to happen? I deserve leniency for my condition, not maltreatment.” In fact, all sins are simply behaviors which confirm a being’s (a priori) deficiency, a  deficiency which liberates them from the very responsibility of moral action.

    Fate is dealt.

    Tim could feel his constitution melding with the cosmos* {*other molten aluminum}. Nirvana had never felt so near.

    There is a god, Tim thought, and he* is a random-number generator**. { *I will not say whether god exists or is a man or woman, but Tim believes god is a man. This is because, in spite of having no gender of its own, Tim is inexplicably a misogynist. Tim is also an anti-semite. This is perhaps because .075% of Tim’s composition was formerly part of a prototype aluminum fuel intake manifold designed by Henry Ford, but that is all an irrelevant tangent} {** Tim’s next being was chosen by a sorting computer within the recycling plant}

    The next day, an innocent child was born.

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