Aug. 25, 2017
For ninety days and ninety nights he had been trapped in his apartment. His cell phone had no signal, not even for a 911 call, his windows were unbreakable and his walls were backed by cement. He had spent days trying to break out from every angle he could think of, nothing worked. On this, the 91st day, he stared at the birds and wondered why. It was a thought process he had visited before but he felt it was time to really address the issue. Why had someone done this to him?
He drank the last of his coffee in a large gulp and kicked some confetti around mindlessly before one of the birds caught his attention out of the corner of his eye. A little brown bird hopped to the feeder, grabbed a few seeds, saw him in the window and promptly flew away. “That’s odd,” he thought to himself. These same birds had been coming for the past 90 days and he wasn’t moving, even in the slightest. This bird should be used to him standing in the window by now and not become alarmed. He glanced at the clock, 9:42, and committed that to memory. He figured the bird would be back at a similar time the next day and he wanted to see him. Francis smiled and went about his daily routine of trying to find a weakness in his prison walls.
The next morning he washed his coffee mug from the previous day, filled it, and placed himself in front of the glass door by 9:00 AM. He even wore the same clothes as the day before, he wanted everything to be the exact same to see if his little friend would still be startled. After a considerate amount of time a brown bird with the exact same markings hopped onto the feeder, grabbed a few seeds, became started and fled. It was all exactly the same as the day before. He looked at the clock. 9:41, right on schedule. It was frighteningly punctual and he sat down to puzzle over it.
The next morning he arrived at the window around 9:30 and a thought occurred. What if the bird couldn’t see him? He drew his blinds on the window adjacent to the door and gave himself just enough room to see out. Sure enough his little brown friend arrived, ate, startled, and flew off. He was relieved that it wasn’t him frightening the bird but was still confused as to what its problem was. He glanced at the clock; 9:41. The most punctual bird in the world.
The next morning Francis was grumpy. He had been up all night puzzling over the bird’s odd behavior and had grown angry with his little feathery friend before falling asleep. This morning when he saw the bird hop to the feeder he started to holler and pound on the glass. “Go away! No one likes you!” He pounded the glass until his fist hurt. The bird paid him no mind and exhibited the exact same behavior as the day before. Francis was frustrated and glared at the clock. 9:41, this was too uncanny. A sudden realization struck him as he grabbed his phone and brought up the camera app. He started to record the birds outside his window. The next morning he watched his little friend show up, do his dance, and leave. He checked the clock; 9:40. He was early today. He then held up his phone and began to play yesterday’s video as he watched the birds outside. The video and the birds outside matched up exactly. They zipped this way and that, first on the phone, then outside. Francis sank down on the couch.
“It’s a recording, it’s not real…” he said out loud, he had taken to talking to himself lately. “It’s….it’s all fake…simulated…where…?” He put down his phone and began to cry.