The Science of Hypocrisy
By Paula A., Whitehouse Station, NJ
Author's note: My passion has always been physics. I love everything about it, but every time I express this to... Show full author's note »
I Am SquirrelThe tan squirrel flew stealthily by, dodging the awkwardly grounded trees.
“HOLD IT RIGHT THERE!”
He looked back long enough to fly nose first into a high branch, making a loud thump. Sad and embarrassed, he then sulked away.
“COME TO A HALT RIGHT NOW!”
He looked back yet again, a tree branch shape pattern still embedded in his fur. He sniffled slightly, ready to burst out crying. His nose hurt, but more importantly, he dropped the nut that it was carrying.
I am, unfortunately, that squirrel. It was a nice nut. Really round and full of nutty-goodness. Those idiots actually made me drop it. It’s a long way down though; there’s no way I could have gotten it. Stupid police. They think they have nothing better to do than stop people hovering on the wrong level. Damn these levels! I’m so old and I have never had to get onto one of those infernal levels. I’m fine hovergliding through just the open air. Without all these annoying cars and trains and people. But that day, that infernal girl decided to hoverglide through the train level, probably because there was never any traffic on the train level. To the police however: capitol crime. They dragged her by her hair, once again, through the air and into their hovercar.
Really, I thought nothing of it until I saw her again, a few years later. She was wearing an orange jumpsuit and trying to run. Any person who was crazy enough to walk, let alone run, was definitely worth my attention. What was she doing without her suit? I followed her for a bit, hovering close, but not too close. I was above her enough so that she didn’t stand a chance of seeing me. Little did I know, however, that following her that day would be one of the worst decisions of my life.
Let me start at the beginning.
I was minding my own business one fine summer morning. The air smelled wonderful and the sun was just the right temperature. Then, some odd shadow cast in front of me. It was large enough to make me sprint up the nearest tree. As I did so, however, my grip faltered, and a strange man came up and snatched me with a large rough hand. I had no idea what was going on, but being a squirrel obviously I could not object in any way. When I began smelling strong chemicals I knew I was in trouble and began wiggling vigorously to get myself out of the bag he had stuffed me in. Of course, again due to me being a squirrel, I failed. I woke up in some tree wearing this black suit. It wasn’t outside though. It didn’t seem like outside. The sun didn’t seem as beautiful. The branches didn’t smell like the outdoors. The leaves were no longer cool to the touch or as smooth newborn squirrel pups. There were a lot of other squirrels around, and other animals too. All wearing black suits. I foraged around me for something that seemed like it used to be. I dug at the wood, which too hard to dig into for some reason. I tore at the oddly textured leaves, hoping that one of them would give. Eventually, I realized that nothing would work. I sulked sadly, where I was. I was frightened, and had no idea what was happening. Then, suddenly I felt something oddly hard fall from the branch above me. It happened to be a nut. But not any ordinary nut, it was a special nut. It was the only thing in that place that actually seemed like it used to. It smelled like an old nut and when I nibbled at it, tasted like an old nut.
Well, enough about the nut I’ll go on about that later. Once they put the black suits on us, somehow everything began flying. I didn’t know how or why, and I didn’t care too much either. Until I kept crashing into things. Why would they put us all in these confounded suits without teaching us how to use them? It wasn’t just the people and the animals though, it was the cars and the trains too. They were all flying by on their own levels of sky, the trains on the bottom for carrying heavy things wherever they needed to be, cars in the middle transporting people who were too young to fly, or just didn’t know where they were going, and then people on the top level. The top was always crowded though, no one knew where they were going, always stopping and checking little windows which apparently told them where to go. It was all very strange.
But yes, back to my problem, I kept bumping into things. And so down I went after a particularly bad one, past the branches of the oddly realistic tree, flailing towards the ground. I still carried the nut I found that day with me everywhere I went, so I tried my best not to let go of it. Then suddenly, I tipped so that I was horizontal again, and magically gained control of myself. It was weird, the way I tilted myself determined which way I would go. Before I knew it, I was maneuvering myself through the trees with the stealth a fox would have had before everything changed.
A few days later was also the first time I saw the girl. She was the only person still walking; everyone else was just bouncing off the walls. I was casually hovering through the open field when I realized there was something moving on it. Once I was low enough, I could see the scratches on her skin where she had ripped the suit off. Every suit of the humans was removable, but only between the hours of 11 pm and 6am; any other time of the day, and they had to stay on. I didn’t know how she got it off, but I thought she was interesting so I followed her. Also, she smelled good: always a plus.