Multiples | Teen Ink

Multiples MAG

By Tyler Waide, Spring Hill, FL

We saunter down the way, peering through the food shops and hot dog stands, arguing over what to eat. I want Mexican – I’m dying for a carnitas tostada – but my assemblage hates to eat meat. They want tofu burgers or peanut stir-fry or some other disgusting display of vegetarianism. Just once, I wish I could have a grease-brimming steak smothered in ground sausage and a cup of gravy as beverage. That would be the day, though.

Another assemblage knocks into our shoulder without apology, leering at us for a moment. Then they continue urgently walking to the nearest ­office building.

“People are so rude these days,” Susan says within our head. “So bitter.”

Of course, we are just as bitter as most, especially to each other. I am bitter toward Tucker most of all. He is the part of us that ­always tries to take over the body, do all the talking, do all the deciding, everything. And then he complains when he doesn’t get his way. If he keeps it up, I’m going to demand we go to the courts to get him ­removed. Then he can go plague some other ­assemblage.

“We’re getting bean stew,” Tucker argues.

“Sorry, Tucker,” Mary says. “It’s my turn to choose.”

“No, it’s not,” his voice bully-whines. “You had us eat that vomit-soup the other day.”

“That was last week, and it was good.”

“Yeah, right.”

Arne barges in with his hunter’s voice. “She’s right, Tucker. It’s not your turn until tomorrow.”

Arne is the oldest of us, probably 40 by now. Some of the older people were put in young ­assemblages to add wisdom to the groups. Of course, each of us has a strong characteristic. I add artistic sense.

Before we were merged, I was a painter. Even as a high school student, I won dozens of awards. The teachers had me paint a mural over the graffiti-covered walls before I graduated. It was a giant crab with humans for feet. They called my style “a chaotic display of surrealism,” and everybody thought I would be a famous artist one day. But that didn’t last. After the merging, I could not paint anything. Not only were the hands I had to work with unsteady and backwards, but my assemblage couldn’t stop whining. Not one of them appreciates the creative arts.

“We’re going to the salad bar,” Mary tells us.

She was added to our assemblage because she is very left-brained. Math comes as easy to her as painting does to me. Of course, Susan is good at math too, but she’s not a mathematical genius like Mary.

Susan adds purity and religious strength. She is the one who prays for us and gives us spiritual guidance. However, religion is not supposed to be a big thing these days. We say we are Catholic, but it is only for ­Susan’s sake. She was the only one who was religious prior to merging.

We are in Susan’s body, by the way. The courts selected hers because it was the healthiest. Both Tucker and I were smokers, Mary was too hefty, and Arne was too old. Of all five of us, I’m glad we are in Susan’s body. She is like a piece of art; curvy slender features, absorbing brown eyes, platinum blond hair streaming down our back.

We go into a salad bar and let Mary take control of the arms, scooping whatever vegetables she wants onto our plate.

“Don’t get blue cheese again,” Tucker says.

“I’m getting whatever I want.”

“You like ranch. Get ranch.”

Mary says nothing, scooping shredded carrots and radishes, macaroni ­salad and pasta. When she gets to the end of the counter, she goes straight for the blue cheese. Tucker moans and resists, pulling our arm away from the bowl of creamy dressing, dribbling goo all over our front.

“You jerk,” Mary yells at him. She seizes control of the arm and dumps the spoon of chunky dressing on her salad, creating an oozing lake of white.

“Not too much,” Susan says to Mary, weight-warning as usual, wiping the cheesy slime from the shirt.

Mary takes us to a table in a dark corner, as she always does when we eat. I wonder if she was ashamed of her weight before she merged with us, always hiding in the back of restaurants so nobody would see her make a pig of herself. Now she eats salads ­instead of pizza and cake, trying to keep healthy so that we don’t get as fat as she was.

Tucker cringes as we bite into the blue cheesy ­lettuce. “How can you like this stuff?”

The eatery is mostly empty. Three bodies are in there, crunching vegetables in the stiff atmosphere. Assemblages usually don’t associate with other assemblages, talking amongst themselves instead, leaving this world a dismal, hushed place.

I wish there had been another way for humans to survive. After the drought of the twenties, our food supply could not support a population of our measure. It was either exterminate the majority of citizens or merge ­multiple people into a single body. ­Because the courts chose the latter, most people became miserable. Some think we would have been better off sacrificing our greater half. Tucker childishly jerks our hand while Mary is trying to eat.

“Don’t be so immature,” Mary says. He chuckles and does it again, causing Mary to yell outside of our head, “Stop!” The other assemblages glare at us.

“Sorry,” Arne says to them in his calm voice.

When we speak through Susan’s ­vocal chords, you can tell who is ­doing the speaking. We all speak at a different tone or variation. Arne’s is a deep version of Susan’s voice, mine is more mellow, Tucker’s is a loud and obnoxious version, and so on. I can’t imagine how she feels when she hears other people speaking through her voice – her mouth is moving, her voice is sounding, but somebody else is doing the talking. I would have gone harebrained if they chose my body. Twisted.

As Mary brings the fork to our mouth, Tucker tips it and giggles, scattering food onto our lap. She screams with our voice again, “Cut it out, jerk!”

But he just does it again on the next bite, cackling.

“Now you two stop your arguing, or we’ll take you to the courts to get you removed,” Arne says in his cool, mellow voice.

“Go ahead and take me to the courts,” she says. “I want out of this body.”

“Yeah,” Tucker says. “I want her out of here too.”

Arne says gently, “Look. We need to see a counselor for you two. You know that the courts won’t alter ­assemblages anymore unless the problem is severe. And in that case, they usually terminate the conflicting ­personality.” He falters, trying to get his thoughts in order. “We’re going to have to get used to living like this.”

We pause. Nobody knew it was ­going to be so terrible after we merged. Nobody knew there would be so much conflict. When I was a kid, I got sick of my brother because we shared a room. Well, sharing a body is a little more extreme.

“Why don’t we just be terminated?” Susan said. We all stare at our plate, frozen, surprised to hear those words come from Susan. She is too beautiful to destroy, too pure. She is our temple.

“What’s the point of living now? We’ve given up our individuality, our souls.” She shakes our head. “You ­people took over my body, took over my life. I just don’t care anymore. I can’t live like this.”

“Aren’t you afraid of going to hell?” Tucker asks.

She shrugs, shakes our head, but does not ­respond. Instead she says, “I can’t remember the last time I was happy.”

“We weren’t meant to be happy,” I say. They are startled to hear my voice in the back of our head. I usually don’t speak, remaining silent, listening to their discussions in our mind. I wonder if they forgot I was here and are just now remembering, shocked.

I continue, explaining a theory that has been in my thoughts for the past month. “We sacrificed happiness for the sake of our children’s future. The courts knew we would be miserable too, but they didn’t have a choice. The human race would have been wiped out otherwise.”

“That’s not what they said,” Mary interrupts.

“I know. They lied. They said that it would end loneliness and antisocial behavior, but they knew it wouldn’t. The only purpose left for us is to make a child, raise it, then wait to die.”

I pause, giving us a bite of salad, then say, “That was the plan they had to decrease our population without ­literally killing anyone. After we’re gone, things will be back to normal. Mankind will live on because we gave up our happiness.”

They agree with my ­theory by not speaking, glaring away from the table. The courts said that we would be more happy ­together, but it was just another illusion. I get us up, leave $10 for the food, and we go out to the street. It is flurry-cold out here, shivering in Susan’s frail skin. Our voice stutters a sigh. Everything is stale, empty as usual, so lifeless. The courts thought they had solved the overpopulation problem, but in doing so they’ve overpopulated our minds.

We decide to take a cab, the only car on the street. We don’t speak a word to the assemblage driving, ­stuttering to ourselves, dazed. And then we return to our quiet apartment, sitting numb in the dimness, alone with each other.



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This article has 225 comments.


LASwan SILVER said...
on Oct. 5 2010 at 8:45 pm
LASwan SILVER, Yukon, Oklahoma
5 articles 0 photos 55 comments

Favorite Quote:
Don't worry about the world endng today. It's already tomorrow in Australia.
-Charles Schultz

Original and innovative. In a word, awesome! Very relateable characters, outstandind concept. You could and should expand this into a novel. Maybe have an asseblage revolt, turn into terrorists? Don't listen to me, though. It's your story. Once again, great job.

on Oct. 5 2010 at 5:19 pm
Jenna Tibby BRONZE, Castle Rock, Colorado
2 articles 1 photo 9 comments
 its great description but no exciting parts 

Arialyre said...
on Oct. 5 2010 at 12:50 pm
This was fascinating, creative and slightly awe-inducing. I loved this, keep up the good work! :)

KellyR GOLD said...
on Oct. 5 2010 at 12:36 pm
KellyR GOLD, Richmond, Virginia
14 articles 0 photos 258 comments

Favorite Quote:
We don't read and write poetry because it's cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.

Very creative! loved it. If you came up with a conflict for the charectors to solve you could easily write a novel. It kind of reminds me of the uglies series. Keep up the good work. =D

Shelly-T GOLD said...
on Sep. 25 2010 at 8:06 pm
Shelly-T GOLD, Romeoville, Illinois
13 articles 0 photos 72 comments
I love this, it was very fascinating

on Sep. 13 2010 at 5:13 pm
SilverLuna SILVER, _________, Washington
8 articles 0 photos 230 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Come fairies take me out of this dull world, for I would ride with you upon the wind and dance upon the mountains like a flame.".... W.B. Yeats.
"Flying is learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss." - Douglas Adams

This really is a fantastic piece, it gives insight into real world problems and also adds all of the other elements of a good story into too. I like it alot, and it definatly has the potential to be a full blown novel. If it's not too wierd to ask, I'm just curious as to why there are both men and women inside of one single assemblage? They're sharing a womans body, you'd think that they seperate them by gender at least. Whoa, this seems like a long post, and I'm probably overthinking it. Great work, and keep it up!

Read some of mine too?(:


on Aug. 27 2010 at 7:26 pm
theartgeek97 SILVER, Greenville, South Carolina
6 articles 3 photos 40 comments
Wow, this was great! Probably one of the most interesting I've read, although a tiny but disturbing...but the writing was awesome.  It reminds me a lot of the books by one of my favorite authors, Margret Petterson Haddix.  It's sort of sci-fi.  I really enjoyed reading it.

on Aug. 22 2010 at 7:21 pm
Christy PLATINUM, Arden Hills, Minnesota
23 articles 18 photos 31 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Happiness is not a destination, but a way of travel."

Oh my gosh! Please, please write a book. I would buy it in an instant! This is one of the best, most original fiction pieces I have EVER read.

on Aug. 22 2010 at 12:04 pm
KristaRose BRONZE, Thornton, Colorado
1 article 0 photos 1 comment

 

Amazing! Totally orginal and not over the top like some other fantisy/fiction stories! :D


on Aug. 19 2010 at 4:30 pm
That was brilliant. A great, interesting, and entertaining approach to the problems that as of now we can only wonder solutions to. And it was greatly written, with just the right amount of dialogue, despcrition, and explanation scattered throughout. This is a beautiful stand-alone piece, but you could also take it further if you wanted. I would sure read it.

Simply_Sara said...
on Aug. 14 2010 at 3:39 pm
Simply_Sara, Lake Mary, Florida
0 articles 0 photos 12 comments

Favorite Quote:
The happiest people don't have the best of everything just make the best of everything. ♥

Wow! This is like nothing I've ever read before! Sometimes fantasy/fiction stories are a little over the top and exaggerate too much that it's not enjoyable to read but you've created such an original piece that makes your mind think of something completely different. And it really brings out your imagination. Loved it ! xD

Chloe_ BRONZE said...
on Aug. 12 2010 at 11:14 pm
Chloe_ BRONZE, San Antonio, Texas
4 articles 0 photos 43 comments

Favorite Quote:
Never underestimate the power of doing the ordinary in quite extraordinary ways.

Great job! was really original!

on Aug. 4 2010 at 8:23 am
K9_Typical_Islander SILVER, Koror, Other
7 articles 0 photos 47 comments

Favorite Quote:
Hours of boredom followed by moments of excitement (and adrenaline)- that's fishing

Man, you got potential to hit big. A creative, distinctive, and unusual persepective. Great writing and vocabulary. Imaginative and captures your attention. Continue this piece, it must be a novel! You've got Suzanne Collins' talent.

Duggygrrl said...
on Aug. 2 2010 at 9:42 pm
Wow. That was mind-blowingly fascinating... O_o

on Jul. 31 2010 at 9:53 pm
datrumpeter PLATINUM, Jefferson City, Missouri
40 articles 6 photos 59 comments

Favorite Quote:
'Before you insult someone, walk a mile in their shoes. that way, when you insult them, you'll be a mile away from them and you'll have their shoes.'

in all visions of the future people hav had, i think this is the 1 giving us the most 2 think about. its disturbing, and sad, but very very possible in my opinion. i love ur writing, good job!

on Jul. 31 2010 at 10:36 am
DiamondsIntheGrass GOLD, Martinsville, New Jersey
14 articles 1 photo 279 comments

Favorite Quote:
Worry is simply a misuse of the imagination.

really interesting idea.  give us a lot to think about...

Bee16 said...
on Jul. 30 2010 at 6:15 pm
That was amazing!  Such an original idea! 

on Jul. 30 2010 at 5:18 pm
hadiya_m. BRONZE, Brooklyn, New York
2 articles 0 photos 1 comment
This story is absolutely amazing! I hope you write more of it.

inkonmypinky said...
on Jul. 30 2010 at 3:10 pm
wow that is beautiful.

Kay4theRoses said...
on Jul. 30 2010 at 11:51 am
Kay4theRoses, O&#39brien, Florida
0 articles 0 photos 75 comments

Favorite Quote:
"all's fair in love and war." And "Beware of a fat man whose belly doesn't jiggle when he laughs."-A Chinese philosopher. =)

This reminds me of a book i read but i cant remember the name. it was about everyone refering to themselves as we and us. its hard to explain but yours is soo much better. let me know if you turn it into a longer story?


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