by Matt Rowan
Instead of being cautious Zoey made herself a suit of bubble-wrap, to wear whenever she'd ride her bike around town. Which was weird, but not too weird. Then she started wearing it all the time. That was when it was too weird.
At the convenience store, she cried and she cried. She seemed to think that her bubble-wrap suit protected others from her crying. She seemed to think she could cry whenever she felt the urge, and the bubble wrap would somehow absorb the sounds of her tears. But they made a dripping, plopping sound everyone could hear, and the tears collected into little rivulets in the plastic between the bubbles, usually streaming to the tiled floor if she'd cried long and hard enough.
She cried until she was done, or until the cashier politely but gruffly asked her to go. The cashier was the same Middle Eastern man every time. Since she'd begun wearing her suit, he'd avoided speaking directly to her. In fact, this was how most people had reacted to her and her suit. Their collective aloofness was the single biggest reason she believed the suit protected people from her tears, that they couldn't see them. In reality, everyone was now extremely worried about her and sometimes a little scared of her. The suit itself was jarring, as was her behavior.
After the little she'd done to lessen the danger of the world around her, she was, one day, hit by a semi truck. Her body skidded across the asphalt horizontally until stopped by a concrete pillar many yards from the place of initial impact. She almost died there and then. Brave work by the trucker, who had stepped out of his vehicle to help her, prevented her immediate death.
Friends and family visited her swollen, comatose body at the hospital. They had come close to pulling the plug on her when she miraculously returned to life and declared she wanted to be buried in her bubble-wrap suit. She expired shortly thereafter. And just to be sure she was truly dead this time, someone literally pulled at least one plug.
Her suit had been destroyed in the accident, so they found her the finest bubble-wrap in the world and they wrapped her in that.
At her funeral, people were too distraught to remark about the burial bubble-wrap she was dressed in.
A child popped one of the bubbles, unable to ignore the temptation.
Then another child did.
And then a crowd of people surrounded Zoey's casket, eagerly popping her wrap.
TWHACK, TWHACK, TWHACK and so on.
Until all the bubbles were popped.
There were no more.
Then suddenly, Zoey's spirit floated down and glowed among them.
“Yes!” Zoey shouted. “I'm finally free!”Everyone was too stunned to continue mourning.
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