Adam woke up to a dull, setting sun in a large clearing sparsely populated by weeds and grass. Everything had taken on a light blue-gray hue (except for the fading purple skies. Slowly seeping into oblivion, like bruises from a bicycle accident) and the first of many stars were beginning to slice through the veil of night. This place felt warm and familiar to Adam, he couldn’t quite put his finger on it but there was something about it that (for lack of a better term) stuck with him. Something that seemed so real and fanciful brinign back nostalgic dream states of a life far away. We all have those places that dwell in the deepest parts of our minds ready to remind us of their haunting, beautiful presence. He looked to his right and standing next to him was a North American Mountain Lion.
He could feel his heart drop literally drop down a few inches in his chest as the most uncomfortable adrenaline rush of his life sent him into nervous convulsions.
“I’m sorry, I must have startled you,” the beast said. It spoke with a soft gentle voice, regal and sophisticated not unlike that of an old college professor of Adam’s from long ago. Timmy? Tevin? Thompson, that was it Dr. Thompson.
“You’ll have to forgive me. It’s been a while since I’ve had any guests. If I’d known you were coming I would have cleaned the place up a bit.”
The mountain lion, batted away the remains of the deer carcass it had been gnawing on away after taking one last grizzly bite, spilling blood, spit and chunks of flesh on the ground as its jaws coalesced.
“Care for any?” it asked.
“No…it’s uh…it’s fine.” Adam said after catching his breath. He was surprised at how well he was able to articulate himself in the presence of this walking, talking, 150 pound killing machine. But suspension of disbelief was an every day occurrence in this strange new life of his; immortality, cybernetics, teams of robots at ready to carry out his every whim, it almost didn’t make sense to not include a talking animal.
“So what brings you here?”
“I don’t know…I supposed I've never known... or maybe I have. It’s been really hard, keeping everything straight lately.”
“Ah, yes. I’ve often pondered as to whether or not we’re supposed to keep things straight. Are you familiar with the works of Sartre?”
“Vaguely, I read part of Nausea when I was in college. But I don’t remember much, my mind was…elsewhere those days.”
Adam thought back to his time spent in Mr. Thompson’s class; flashing images of pencils hitting desks, scribbling away in an adderal fueled frenzy, breaking the tip of his pencil and having to walk to the sharpener at the back of the room, his classmate’s judgmental eyes staring at his shaking hands and clenching jaws.
“Well, Sarte and of course those who came after him, Camus, Rollo May and the like, posited that there was no inherent meaning to life, that ours are ours to create. We needn’t worry about making sense out of anything because it is inherently confusing, flawed and on the grand scale…meaningless.”
“That seems awfully depressing.”
“It can be, but that’s the beauty of it. When life is meaningless, so are all of your problems. You have the unique opportunity to forge your own destiny Adam, Au milieu de l'hiver, j'ai découvert en moi un invincible été.”
“Well I can’t take credit for all of that. Camus helped out quite a bit; in the middle of winter, I found an invincible summer.”
“You’re awfully well read for someone who walks on all fours, and eats road kill… Wait, how in the hell do you know my name?”
“We’ve met before Adam…don’t you remember?”
Suddenly, something inside of him snapped and it all came flooding back in fits of splotchy, red confusion.
“Of course, of course I remember!” Adam yelled. “I haven’t been able to think about anything else for years. I can’t eat. I can’t sleep. I can’t die. I’m more machine than human and for what? I don’t know what to think. I don’t know what I am. And now, now I’m having a legitimate conversation with an animal. A savage fucking animal that would eat its own shit without giving it a second thought.”
The lion remained silent staring off into space with its huge glossy eyes.
“Do you see my point Adam? About absurdity and Sartre and Camus and the whole mess of awful, beautiful minds like theirs that have lived in this world?”
Adam fell to the ground in fit of exhausted rage.
“So…" he said after some heavy breathing. “You seen any good movies lately?”
“Oh, you know Fight Club, Waking Life. I’ve been mixing up speedballs of post modern filth, shooting them up into my brain and letting it all swim around in my soggy… putrid…gray matter.”
“You have a way with words.”
The lion laughed in that jolly, college professor voice.
“It takes time and experience Adam…You know there are some experiences, some things so great, so terrifyingly powerful, that we can never forget them, they become part of us etched in our lives forever. This is your chance Adam. This is your life…embrace it.”