by Colton Adrian
Go ahead and lose your balance. Have a couple of drinks and stumble around until you pass out. It’s the only place you’re protected. You can’t sneeze in your sleep. So close your eyes, don’t try to keep them open. I know you want to.
Each sneeze is one-eighth an orgasm, after all.
Eight in a row and you’ll need a towel. If you keep your eyes closed, I mean. Don’t fight it. I know you want to. You wonder what really happens. What do you really see when you sneeze?
Surely something magnificent or horrifying, for the sneeze forces even the most trained of wide-eyed soldiers to blink during its attack. You wonder what could be so vast or criminal or beautiful that appears for that brief moment of uncontrollable nasal breaching. Whether that moment was the result of involuntary devil possession, or a premonition of the bliss and good fortune coming in your future.
You need to stop thinking about this. You’re going to take it too far. But you’re already devising a plan. It doesn’t take you much thought either. You go to 23rd and Maple and give Earl a Jackson for a bag of speed. You throw in a Lincoln for a new needle.
Oh man you’re really doing it.
I get it though, there are just so many questions, and when a driving force to answer one of them appears, you can’t resist. You’re just bored, and with something like the sight of the sneeze, well it’s the greatest thing you’ve ever fathomed. You’re hopeful that the vision of the sneeze is fantastic. That it’s either disgustingly deceiving or brutally honest. You will be the first to find out which.
You tap out the whole bag of tiny white crystals onto a silver spoon. You melt down the eye-opening serum until the mixture starts to bubble. Your steady hand carefully loads up the syringe and flicks the end of it once, twice, while you watch a few drops fall from the tip. Fully loaded and all mechanics working properly. All that’s next is denotation. You aim the needle’s end to your left eye while looking in the mirror with your right. You focus in on the white of your eye, cautious not to poke your retina.
You plunge the needle into your left eye and almost explode off the ground.
You don’t go blind, and your eyes don’t bleed. Yet you can’t blink. You can’t even squint. Optimum focus is achieved. You’re ready to see the sneeze.
You find a feather to wave under your nose to stimulate the muscles that respond with a sneeze. A loud and fierce one at that and it all happens with your eyes open.
You come to find that the sneeze hides in a lapse of time. That no one notices this gap because their eyes are closed. You find just what you were expecting, what everyone misses several times a day. Your eyes don’t pop out nor does Satan appear in the flesh, but rather you come to a place unaffected by thoughts or clocks. The place is simple without gates or fences, yet full of desire. The sneeze brings you to doors upon doors and windows inside windows. The location fills you with sensations of pure intrigue and perfection.
You decide after a few minutes of exploring that each world of sneeze must be different for each particular sneezer. You find things in your sneeze only you would see. Each of your family members are present, though they’re much more pleasant and comforting, as their bodies have morphed into slices of key lime pie. You take a few bites of your uncle and he’s divine. He turns around and some of his whipped cream hair splatters across your face. He’s even fatter as a slice of pie. You ask him when did he become so delicious? He grins like madman showing each wedge of lime that make up his teeth and says, “When you see with your sneeze, you see what you please.”
You nod like it all makes sense now.
A few more steps into the sneeze and there are plants with feathers of gold and purple and birds with blossom and English Ivy wings. The girl you like is holding your hand while the other hand tosses bread to some raving ducks wearing aviators and holding glow sticks. The two old oak trees from your backyard are passing a joint back and forth and laughing about the days of when they were saplings, before their roots grew far too wild and tangled.
You smile down at your shoes, for they’re walking in sand but not one grain is getting inside them. Your favorite mug you use for coffee is in your hand, steaming and refilling itself after each sip.
You really admire it all; everything in your sneeze is so satisfying. You come back to reality too soon.
A moment later the feather is jammed up your nose again. Another moment passes, and you must sneeze once more. You’re hooked. Waiting to escape each time you return.
As if each second that passes is a foreign object trying to strangle you to death intranasally. As if you’re allergic to the world.
Until the eighth sneeze in a row. Then you take a break, and go look for a towel.