April 20, 2006


As everyone knows, armadillos are the harbingers of suicide.
So when they put me in the Quiet Room and I noticed an armadillo in the corner, I immediately became confused. When they exited and locked the door behind them without a word about my scaly roommate, I had to wonder: if they put me in here to keep me "safe", didn't the mere presence of the armadillo mean it was a futile gesture at best? And just who was it supposed to be a message to, or from?
I needed to sit down, so I sat. I sat on the floor at the farthest reach from the armadillo and watched it carefully, picking at my gauze.
The armadillo, for his part (her part? Armadillos are notorious for their sexual privacy, so it's hard to tell, unless you're another armadillo, which despite my many alleged delusions I do not believe I am), twitched and scratched just enough so I could tell it was a real armadillo and not a fake one meant to scare me. They're infamous for that tactic, trying to scare you into Good Behavior. I wasn't fooled most of the time.
Most of the time.
It was a very boring day, aside from the previous two hours before I'd been chucked into the Quiet Room which were filled with outrageous intrusions into my private doings, said private doings apparently the cause of the outrageous intrusions.... a veritable Dante's circle jerk. Mostly I sat and watched the armadillo watch me, and waited for a sign.
The armadillo, despite an impressive resume as clapper of the suicide bell, wasn't giving anything away. Indeed, a deeper and more thoughtful mind than mine might have viewed his (her?) complete inactivity as A Sign. Good thing I'm so shallow.
Finally I curled up in a ball much like the armadillo and fell asleep, dreaming again of loud voices and mysterious recriminations and burrowing guilt and blissfully sharp objects, and when I work up, the armadillo was rolled over on his (her?) back, little clawed legs straight up in the air like a vaudeville clown feigning death. Only this was no sham.
My scaled roomie had commited suicide.
I'd become a human armadillo, the harbinger mirror. It was an awesome and unwanted responsibility.
Later, when they unlocked the door and brought me a tray of the usual mystery meat casserole and jello afters, I noticed the armadillo had somehow vanished. They seemed to sense a difference in the room, and after a clipboard checkoff from the Head of They, I was given my own clothing back and returned into the outside world, with nary an armadillo in sight and a clutch of curled-up scaled pills to keep them at bay.
I kind of miss him (her?), though.

Posted by LeeAnn at April 20, 2006 07:19 AM