I had an uncandy feeling I was being followed
So, last Thursday I was happily strolling down the high street, on my way home, a take out box in my left hand, chopsticks in my right hand. Tucking into some Chinese dumplings and rice on the go.
From nowhere, a truck pulled over and screeched to a halt right next to me. About five or six brightly attired individuals jumped out of this van and grabbed me – it was akin to being kidnapped by giant M&Ms – my dumplings and rice fell to the floor. They bundled me into the back of the truck with such wonton abandonment. A shameless deprivation of my rice, and rather bizarrely for a Thursday evening, they were all mute. I was accustomed to the latest fad, ‘Mutism Monday.’ But I had never known such nonsense to take place on a Thursday.
As I sat in the back of the van, I was able to observe this gang of hoodlums closely. Each wore a different coloured uniform from head to toe; balaclava, sweater, pants, bizarrely, each of them only wore wunshu.
Emblazoned across each of their sweaters was ‘M&M.’ I vividly remember the font of the first M being ‘Noe Display’ and the second M was ‘Aachen SB-Medium,’ collectively, these individuals appeared to be part of some kind of multi-coloured revolutionary movement, like some kind of upricing. Their behaviours were distinct, almost like tech geeks.
Nowadays, it’s cool to be a geek. I know that connecting a keyboard and a portable radio together doesn’t make someone a geek, that would be stereotyping.
I have nothing against geeks, a close friend of mine is a sexually frustrated geek. In order to relieve his frustrations, he runs a local math debate. All his friends come together once a month and discuss the latest news within the world of math. He’s quite a risk-taker for a geek; he uses unprotected WiFi.
So, I’m still in the back of this van, surrounded by these giant M&Ms.
Travelling at high speed, kidnapped by a bunch of M&Ms, the magnitude of the situation suddenly dawned on me. There was sum ting seriously wong with this situation. My only means of survival was to focus on the situation that I now found myself in. Now, was not the time for asking questions, like, was this real or just my imagineasian? Was I simply in the wong place at the wong time?
Somewhere in my mind ‘survival mode’ switched itself on. “Focus,” I told myself, I knew my next thought would determine my fate…
“Those bloody M&Ms made me drop my Chinese,” was the only thing I could think of. My new-found self-discipline all but disappeared, “I’ve now got no dinner ‘cos of those bloody M&Ms,” I thought to myself.
I started to panic. Another concern now crossed my mind: “Oh my God! I haven’t told my kidnappers I’m a vegan!” As every good vegan knows, whenever in the company of anyone, and particularly those you haven’t seen for at least four days, you are morally obliged to tell them you are a vegan.
“Excuse me,” I softly said to the blue M&M sitting opposite me – we made eye contact. The blue M&M was now staring at me intensely. It was as if there was an attempt to get me to read into something that I didn’t want to.
“I’m a vegan,” I told the blue M&M.
Before I could ask if they’d ever considered becoming vegan, the van suddenly pulled over abruptly and screeched to a halt once again. None of the M&Ms said a word. But they were clearly communicating with one another in a non-verbal manner.
They all stood up, still remaining mute. They then did unspeakable things to me.
This is the problem with elective mutism that people don’t want to talk about. Some people say we don’t talk about it enough. But if I don’t regularly write the same as everybody else just to fit in, how else will I ever be viewed as a unique writer with a distinct style? How will anyone feel comfortable enough to speak out about these kinds of shenanigans?
I’m willing to be the person that steps forward and speaks out. To tell people what was done to me in the back of that truck.
After the van screeched to a halt, the M&Ms stood up. They all crouched over me and whispered to me softly.
It’s difficult to recall exactly what it was they were whispering to me, I think it was something like, “you must follow OneZero,” someone else was whispering “must follow Elemental,” I heard another, “follow Gen,” and other voices whispered “Zora,” “follow Forge,” “Human Parts,” “follow Marker,” “Self,” “Tech,” “Heated,” “Modus,” “you must follow more, you must follow more,” the last voice I heard sounded like a right dim, sum of a bitch. I then lost consciousness.
Next thing I remember is waking up on my settee, at home. I was ravenous. On the coffee table, was a Chinese takeout box. I opened it. Inside was a fortune cookie. I broke it open and unravelled the paper, “Man who drop watch in toilet have shitty time. P.S., Lee Serpa Azevado please follow Marker. If you do, we promise to leave you alone.”
I then tucked into my Chinese food and went on Medium.
Glancing at each of the publications at the top of the page, I considered it, but decided against it. Instead, I clicked on New From Your Network and read the stories of those that I consider being my kind of people. End of story.
Originally published in MuddyUm, 4th November 2019.