Egg Tooth by Adam Berman
When she died, I had felt similarly to the way I’d felt after my supervisor had followed me to my house for the first time. A kind of pervasive blankness that was not wholly unpleasant, but rather somewhat freeing, in the way that I imagine swimming in the ocean at night might be, where there’s nothing around to think about, to be fearful or expectant of any longer. I remember wondering whether there would ever be anyone else who might cry on my behalf. Soon afterward I had bought a stationary bicycle with an embedded entertainment screen which had been advertised to me as stress-relieving, although I supposed I wasn’t stressed. The water-soluble powder the company psychopharmacologist gave me didn’t seem to have much effect either, although it did improve my productivity by eight percent.
On Saturday, I woke up before sunrise and spent an hour on my stationary bicycle. When I started spinning, the entertainment screen turned itself on, and I was presented with a short film about the platypus. There were old clips of wild platypuses swimming in clear streams and new clips of infant platypuses in captivity being fed milk through small bottles held in blue-gloved hands. The narrator, a cartoon character of a girl superimposed on top of the clips, presented facts about the animals in an exuberant voice, occasionally pointing out various aspects of the video playing behind her and other times informing me of my heart rate and commenting on how well I was keeping my pace up.
After a quick shower, two more eco-cigarettes and the last of my juice, I dressed and set out into the morning.Tweet
Since the company shuttle to the city center didn’t run on weekends, I walked to the nearest public rail station. By the time I had made it out of my cul-de-sac, which consisted of parallel rows of nearly identical one-story houses, I was sweating through my shirt.
Adam Berman is a graduate of Princeton University’s undergraduate Certificate in Creative Writing. His work has been selected as an Editors’ Pick for the Adroit Prize and he has won Princeton’s Morris W. Croll Prize. He lives in Cambridge, England where he is a PhD student in medical science.