BAM! Another crack to the side of my face and I feel my entire body slide like a rag-doll across the kitchen floor, effortlessly, out of my control.
Every hair stands on end as he bounds towards me for another lashing, as though I fought back in some way and needed to be punished further. I can see the excitement in his eyes as he towers over me, his arm raised behind his head, ready to strike another blow. This one knocks me almost out of his reach.
He gives one last stretch towards me and produces what, to him probably seems like a playful tap, but to me, still feels like I’ve just been hit by a road train. The final clip is just enough to knock me completely clear of his grasp. I recoil under the counter, but the effort of continuing to stampede after me has clearly become too much. He has lost interest. A noise from somewhere in the distance distracts him and he turns his head, extending his neck like a Meerkat on watch at the unexpected movement from another part of the house. In a moment, he’s gone. Of to investigate the sound, and maybe to torture another.
I stay put where I am, not daring to so much as unclench, for fear that the tiniest movement will attract his attention back to me, like a matador, defeated by the bull, assuming that playing dead is the only way out. If that matador should so much as flinch now, the bull will see that the threat is still there, and return to finish the job.
But what threat am I? How could this beast possibly be threatened by my mere existence? I have done nothing to hurt him, nothing to hurt anybody.
I finally relax and begin to scan the scene around me and count the remains of his previous victims, gathering dust. The empty roll of sticky tape, the kernel of corn, the blue sock, the green peg…
I lay there, entwined with my faithful, equally suffering partner, the purple pipe-cleaner, and I wait for somebody to retrieve us, so that the torture can begin all over again as soon as Keith the Kitten has had his nap, and feels playful once more.
The Green Pipe-Cleaner
A contribution to the series “Observations of an Inanimate Object”