what is freedom?
Kenyatta: i forgot what i was thinking.
she slides across a large tract of patch until she sees the creek winding longingly all the way away from the parking lot of the studio.
Kenyatta: never knew this was here. finally peace and quiet. oh how i longed for this. you need your mind to be quiet and still to let the different thoughts come in. i have so much on my mind but i wonder why. what does it all mean? what's the endgame? i scroll on my phone and there's a constant barrage of motivations to keep the system in place, the constant drubbing in of that aphorism, that trendy catchword, you begin to mimic rather than magic, you lose your individual creativity. you must always find a space in your soul where you can laugh at the inappropriate and not agree. what the fuck is this pic of a dinosaur? BOTTOMS UP? that's a subtweet if i ever saw one.
Kenyatta steps on a gaggle of wet stones by an opening. the water brushes to meet her, dotting their spray on a dirtied face. she slips and falls, cracking her phone screen.
Kenyatta: you rocks won't get the better of me. where am i? did i hit my head?
she looks around but isn't it always the case that you go just a bit further than you should. she scrolls to a wilderness app but the screen is just blurry enough that she can't make out the GPS.
Kenyatta: what is tech good for? it's just the next iteration. it doesn't bring us together but it sure makes a glossy case. time to get old skool. i'll follow the stars when they come out in nine hours. all i have to drink is the world ocean. all i have to eat is God's bounty.
Kenyatta strips some moss off its bark and swallows it.
Kenyatta: tastes like ass. probably poisonous. i wouldn't mind if it tasted good. i'm suddenly hungry for hamburgers, the greasiest unhealthiest burgers on the block. oh my savior. oh to savor. when you're eating a hamburger, in the moments you're actually eating the food, your stomach plays a trick on you and regards it as ordinary, a chore even. it's when your mouth is parched that the concept of the burger salivates your glands. it's only when you crave something you don't have that you can taste it. she better be home.
Kenyatta tries to dial a number as best she can with the 1 button missing.
Kenyatta: of course the 1 is missing, the most important number, why couldn't it have been the POUNCE? what? yes, hello? is that you, babe? i can barely hear you. no i wish i was under a bridge. something's in the way, send help, i've fallen and i can't get up, hello? did you get any of that?
she throws her phone against a large muddy mossy stone, cracking it more.
Kenyatta: love makes you do crazy things. hunger, too. i'm not myself when i'm hungry. i hate being hangry, i get angry when i'm angry, i wish i could be anything but angry, it's very uncomfortable for me, it's slimy on my skin, i want to channel it into a bigger body of water as soon as possible. maybe insta still works, okay, got there, now does the emoji keyboard still work? i'll send her a DM full of colorful smileys and the salivating smiley and tons of hearts and the one that kisses and the one with the red blush on its cheeks and the burger emoji and hell throw in the pizza emoji, too. better to overcompensate than be ignored. when did grown adults start acting like giggling kindergarten kids with safety scissors cutting out cute shapes from cardboard paper as a way to express our feelings to each other? did it go through? the world may never know.
a large creature or something pounces on Kenyatta's head. the poor girl barely escapes with her head on straight but on animal instinct jumps into the water. she's safe from that whatever for now but is charging down the river.
Kenyatta: cheap shot, dude. law of the jungle. nature you scary. i guess it's only peaceful sometimes. please don't be a waterfall, please don't be a waterfall, leave that to the cartoons, this is real life.
it's a waterfall. Kenyatta tries to do a swan dive off the cliff. she kinda does it, lands awkwardly on the terrifying drop down but the fact that she dove in rather than bellyflopped it probably saved some teeth.
Kenyatta: Russian judge? 5? RIGGED! gotta make it look good if you're gonna go. whoo.
the stream finally lands her caught on a twig. her ass is sore, her mouth is sore, but praise she is still with us.
Kenyatta: I Survived. for real tho. one good thing, i don't have to do the Niagara Falls thing everyone does anymore, i know what it feels like. owww, this is when all the hours of tireless workout comes handy, or rather butty, this well-toned ass you see before you is the result of 24 hour fitness. see, it pays to look good. the flotation devices of women are on point, God knows what she's doin', doin' work, she gotcha.
Kenyatta: oh lordy child, the water feels good, the more rushing the more tender, licking my wounds the natural way. what was the last thing i was thinking about? what was the last thing i noticed? i hope it wasn't a comment or a headline. oh yeah, it was. yeah, who cares if it's 4 games or 2 games, it's all a game anyway.
she launches a nearby stone which skips on the water four times before sinking like a stone.
Kenyatta: thud. there are more important things. like entertainment. the Jeopardy thing. man. woman. whose bright idea was it to turn America's favorite quiz show into a life-or-death struggle? it's hard to learn. when the curriculum gets harder it gets even harder to put all that stuff into your mind, it's already crammed full with fatuous pop culture. the ones who want to learn aren't allowed to, systems in place started from people who learned before are hampering the new learners. that's the life and death struggle. folk have died over education. that's the real struggle.
a rare firefly seen in the daylight without its neon flutters above her head.
Kenyatta: knowledge should be total and free to all. totalitarian. that's why i love my job.
the destroyed phone has managed to find its way back downriver to Kenyatta. it nudges her gently on the hip where her brown birthmark is.
Kenyatta: ah, never broken. these hands are small i know but they are my own, i do my thing with 'em. now....amazing it still works! im getting some things. how did we survive without cell phones? oh hell no i don't want to deal with that right now. quick, distraction, go to your happy place, think positive thoughts.....well i always loved the band Cranberries as a kid. there was something about that beautiful tiny woman with the big voice fronting. i love babes who say. i love when big things come out of small packages. the unique way Dolores (i only learned her name five years into my fandom) staggered her notes and pronounced her words the ancient way with curls and accents mesmerized me, it was foreign so i loved it, it was different. they were always in a glass case for me, you never heard of the band getting into trouble, they never made the bad headlines even back in the age of stones and Stones and newspaper print, where it was easier to hide sins. no, they were just a fooking good rock band with fooking good songs that got tangled in your mind permanently till there was no room left. it's like the manager trotted them onstage, they sang, they did good work, and it was off to the next city, no moss no fuss, just muse. they let their music do the talking, not their jaywalking. i admired that. but as such there was a mystery to them, not much was known about the band members. huh.
her knees finally achieve enough muscle memory to pick herself up outta the drink.
Kenyatta: bills. bills. bills. ah. no. work stuff. even when your shit is on the fritz the work emails always seem to go through. yes, i know. wish this was clickbait. what? so now when we're looking up words we have to sift through each letter of the word with our Google Translate sieve AND ALSO add an s to each word and an -es to each word? just being thorough, huh? there are so many words that sometimes i hope my mind will instantly forget the word the same moment i see it, i hope for it not to stain my memory so i have a legitimate excuse that i genuinely forgot the word i just saw. reduces the immeasurable workload immeasurably. Binny and the other one will LOOOOOOOOVVVVVVVVEEEEE these new wrinkles on them. huh, i wonder
HOW THE KITTIES ARE, CLICK HERE, RIGHT HERE AT THIS LINK.
she bends down hands cupped to swig a drink from the stream.
Kenyatta (continuing reading): i know, i know, i've been found out, pending further investigation that is of course, i've been demoted to the Cranberries Wiki only. hello kitty, who are you?.............................was that you earlier? no. maybe. was this planned all along? before i was born? before i could interpret it for myself? is there freedom?...................i think it's the ability to imagine, to imagine absolutely ANYTHING.
before Kenyatta on the bank is a large spirit of a magnificent lion, mane flowing in the ghost wind, paws fierce and strong planted on the firm earth, nose of eternal curiosity, ears back to hear it all, a prominent profile cast by the emerging shadows of the night centered with a jaw of mighty shiny teeth and glistening appetites.
Kenyatta: i remember you, from before, you helped us, you will always help us, this is something you simply cannot forget.
the lion stares into the woman's soul letting her know how he feels about all mankind. his body is rustic and boned, his tail points upwards, his roar makes the river change direction. his gaze is confident, he knows a foolish human will never stop him from his destiny. he is of bigger things than being here but he is here forever. his blood runs hot but his blood now is stardust. he looks up to find his master, not straight ahead.
the lion crouches back and sits there silently. there is a slight smile on his lips, he is on the level with Kenyatta as he looks down with a face part pathos, part disdain, part all contemplation.