Now there’s an eye-catcher of a title for you. I was talking to my boyfriend about what would make a good exercise, when he unceremoniously answered my “you know what else I could write about?” with this: A platypus, who lives on Mars, in the future, with a golden toilet.
The ridiculousness of this suggestion was so overwhelming it threw my actual idea completely out of my head (meaning it probably wasn’t that good to begin with). So, needing an exercise, I went with his suggestion and tried to do a Russell Edson thing. Enjoy!
Once upon a future time, there was a platypus named Phil. Phil lived on Mars, having escaped the destruction on the earth by the burning of the atmosphere many years before. Phil lived alone; despite his hyper-intelligence, he was unable to save anything or anyone from his home planet—including his beloved fiancé. He would have let himself die long ago, had he not promised his fiancé to keep on living for them both. Annabel was her name.
So Phil the platypus lived an empty existence on Mars. He’d created a small home for himself that contained an efficiency living space and a green house, which produced his food and water. Phil had no bathroom. Being a platypus, he was uninterested in bathing, and as for his waste . . . well. He filtered it though his genetically engineered plants to fertilize them and get water for himself.
Though he wasn’t interested in anything since his loss of Annabel—let alone the human invention of bathrooms—he kept up a mild study of toilets. Annabel had been fascinated by toilets; and studying this curious, squeamish invention of the now dead human race allowed Phil to feel closer to Annabel, as if her spirit were still, somehow, by his side. The study of toilets also allowed Phil to keep his sanity in his lonely life.
One day, his absent minded study was interrupted by a sudden shake and tremor in the planet. Roused—for the first time since his arrival to Mars—Phil put on his platypus spacesuit, and went out to investigate the red crust of the planet. He walked for hours before he saw the trail of whatever had crashed onto the planet.
He followed the trail to its source. He found a crater, filled with the charred remains of Earth objects. He looked about the crater, disinterested, and was about to return home when it caught his eye. Sitting there, perfectly preserved, was a toilet. It was not of the porcelain variety, but was made of solid gold. For an instant, Phil’s heart jumped with excitement and he thought “Annabel would love this!”
And suddenly, Phil began to cry. The first tears he’d shed since his last, painful goodbye with his true love.
He knew, then, what it meant to live for them both.