WHICHEVER REMNANTS OF US ON A PERENNIAL FERRIS WHEEL swimming over invisible waves, collecting like debris on glowing smartphone screens, could be a brilliant masterstroke in getting others to pay attention. Other than, say, screaming from rooftops or plain leaping off it? Throwing random bits of yourself in flashy, sassy dress, or exhausted and no make-up, pouting in lonely apartment, overlooking locked-down street, at strangers scrolling, without any particular thought in mind. If they pay a ‘like’, it’s like, will we make co-passengers, crammed in space-time voyage, drunkenly steered by who-knows-what? Well, you check him out…he follows you back. Discover he be the obnoxious-retweeter-nothing-original-to-offer, except once-every-twenty-thousand-posts, photograph of dog curling beside half-empty packet of branded fries. Ah, then! He’s not a bot — a lurking dog! And talking of ‘lurkers’, there’s an official definition — they’re ones not sure what to say, jumbled thoughts stunned to silence after the first dozen posts, just keeping quiet since 2016, yet amassing followers — real, alive — while staying dead! Owning multiple accounts, one for a child expected 2024! Next moment, steer clear of deckchair near him on your cosmos trip. You might find dark lock dangling beside his name. Crazy you, tempted to break open, unravel who or what he hides, but… Nah! you let his remains be where they are. Is he’s the ‘exhibit A’ type, revealing every detail, every shopping trip, each item in his fridge, or when he replaced a flattened tire? You doubt not he’s uncrowned king of all twittering birds; one that’s growing, flying, will be a long time he turns a white dwarf. But sorry, you aren’t his kind, you two are miles apart. So sickly, or springing forth, you ride another day, carrying what are residues of your everyday.
Mandira Pattnaik’s work has appeared in Splonk, Citron Review, Gasher Journal, Heavy Feather Review, Lunate, Passages North and Star 82, among others. Her writing has been nominated for Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net, Best Microfiction and Best Small Fictions. Tweets are @MandiraPattnaik.