You are sitting on a branch of your favourite tree, scouring the ground beneath you. You are driven by an insatiable hunger, in constant need of sustenance. You suddenly spot a bug carelessly treading outside the grass that it was using to hide just moments ago. You ready yourself and swoop to the ground, catching the bug between your beak. You circle round to the very same branch and crush the bug with your maw. The protein filled husk gives off a satisfying crunch, while the juicy insides flow down into your stomach and some of it down the side of your beak.
You are a bird, infested by a parasite that steals the very food you need to survive from inside your body. You are still hungry, so you sprawl out your wings and take off into the air again. The park you reside in is filled to the brim with delicacies. Worms that churn beneath the earth, fruit that sit idly on trees, even humans throw you some bread every now and then.
Your favourite though, nuts! You spot one, it had freshly fallen out of a tree and. Oh boy, it’s a big one. Once again you sweep in, land in the ground and pick up the giant walnut with your beak. Its husk, you soon find out, is hard to crack. Impossibly hard. You spend a good five minutes trying to open this thing, it’s driving you insane. You can practically hear that wretched thing inside of you screaming out, ‘Feed me! Oh, oh, feed me, you stupid bird, don’t you see that nut is too tough for you! Go search for something else at once!’
You start to worry, what if it’s right? But you love walnuts! Your mother used to regurgitate them into you, and your siblings’ mouths when you were young.
Suddenly, an idea. Earlier that week, you’ve seen another bird throw a nut in front of these giant machines… automobiles, cars! That is your answer. You fly to the nearby road, walnut clutched tightly in your left claw. You look at the street, left and right. A car is coming in the distance, so you drop the nut onto the ground; somewhere, where you are sure the tires will hit. You hop to safety on the sidewalk. And surely, the car drives over the nut. You hear and audible crack and you go collect your reward.
‘Do you think yourself smart now? You didn’t even find the solution yourself, you had to copy the work of someone else! Foolish bird. Now stop relishing and go collect more food! Can you not feel the hunger burning inside?’
You are steadily growing sick of this east inside of you. But it’s right, you are still hungry, aren’t you? Surely, this hunger isn’t just a fabrication to make you feed the resident occupying your stomach.
You fly off, back to the green pasture that you call home. Has home always felt this gloomy?
What to eat next, you ask yourself. You fly and fly, and you find! A quaint little corner next to a bench where you find an abundance of mushrooms growing. They look just delectable and nourishing. Which one to pick?
‘Not that one! It will make you go blind!’ This is getting tiring, you search for another one. ‘Stupid! Stupid! Stupid! This one will kill us both!’ You are almost certain that you’ve eaten this kind of mushroom countless times before, but you do not want to take any risks. ‘Perfect! This one will be delicious! How come that I have to do everything for us? You cannot even find food for yourself!’ You listen to it, and sure it is quite yummy with a sweet aftertaste, yet you cannot shake the feeling of losing agency over your own body. The mushroom tastes like hazelnut.
Again, you fly off. Now in the sky, you feel something pushing. You poop, and, oh, how it stings! Looking back, you see your poop hit the ground, its colour brown and red. That’s not normal, you think.
‘Leave it be! You are hungry, go find more bugs, you love bugs!’
You are sick, sick to the stomach and sick of this. You will not listen to this bickering monster inside of you any longer!
However, you are feeling hungry, and you do fancy another walnut.
‘No! No, walnuts! And no more mushrooms, the last time you almost got us killed! Stop being so stupid, for the sky’s sake!’
Us, you think, it almost got us killed. You now know what to do. The only way to rid this world of the evil inside of you, is to rid the world of you as well.
You fly high, higher than you have ever before.
‘What are you doing? Turn around right now!’
So you do, your wings stop, you turn around and fall.
‘What, no, stop this, you will kill yourself! Are you deranged?’
And maybe you are, but that is your burden to bare, no one else can judge.
You see the lake surrounded by green and brown, and you plunge yourself right inside. The cold water embracing you like a mother welcoming home their child.
‘Swim up! Swim up! You stupid bird!’
Your world fades to black, yet you are content. This is the last time you will have to hear someone call you stupid.