Thursday, June 30, 2005

One Day in the Life of Sisyphus – (morning)

PART I: Can a man with a donut understand a man who has none?

EDITOR’S NOTE: After Sisyphus’ failed coup attempt, the Nihilist called in some markers at the Pentagon and using an obscure clause of the Patriot Act, had Sisyphus detained at Guantanamo Bay. While detained, the intrepid Sisyphus secretly wrote the following account on a roll of toilet paper. It was smuggled out by Jimmy Carter during one of his inspection visits and posted on this site while the Nihilist was distracted by his frame-by-frame deconstruction of the latest episode of “The Real World: Austin, Texas”.

The hammer banged reveille on the rail at ten o’clock as always. Time to get up. The ragged noise was muffled by ice two fingers thick on the windows. The warders had left the air conditioning on “high” again here at Gulag Guantanamo.

Sisyphus never overslept; he was always up at the call. With some trepidation he put his foot down on the ice cold cement floor of hut 7. He recoiled immediately, but soon found his slippers. They were a hideous shade of green. But Sisyphus considered himself among the fortunate: most of his fellow zeks had pink bunny slippers.

The latrine area was one of the most dangerous places in the camp. If Sisyphus forgot and flushed the toilet before getting off the seat, he could be sucked halfway into the sewer and would have to sleep on his stomach for a week. Sisyphus hadn’t yet made that mistake, and he wasn’t going to make it today.

Sisyphus fell in with the rest of gang 104 for the trip to the mess hall. He knew one thing already: once again there would be no bacon. Sure enough, the cook slopped eggs benedict onto his plate (the Nihilist’s idea of a joke, no doubt). The breakfast didn’t fill and Sisyphus wondered whether he should risk going down to the bakery. Who was the baker today?

Sisyphus decided to give the bakery a try. The baker on duty was Muhammad, a zek like Sisyphus, but he had somehow obtained the dream job of baking the camp’s donuts. Muhammad looked up from his work. He was wearing a white baker’s hat. “What? All of the donuts have been sent down for the lunch buffet.”

“I know”, said Sisyphus, “but you have a stack right there.”

Muhammad sighed and motioned to the scale, “you know the drill, Sis’.” Sisyphus stepped on the scale. The dial spun around for minutes before gradually coming to rest at 262 pounds, twelve over the magic number.

“But, I still feel hungry”, said Sisyphus. Can a man with a donut understand a man who has none?

“It’s up to you; we can ask the dietician, but you know he never gives out extra donuts to anyone over 250, and you could wind up on a diet.”

Sisyphus knew the baker was right. He couldn’t risk being put on another forced diet. But inspiration struck: “Look Muhammad, an Amnesty International inspector!”

Muhammad spun around; Sisyphus deftly palmed three chocolate donuts with sprinkles. “Sorry my bad, it’s just another Congressional inspection team. I guess I’ll go without today.”

Sisyphus wolfed down two, but knew it would be too much for his delicate stomach to eat the third. He would save it for tonight when he would be nearly overcome with hunger. The donut could not be left in the open. If it was not stolen by zeks, it would be stolen by warders. Sisyphus reached into his sewing kit and removed a threaded needle. He found the donut-sized hole he had hollowed out of his mattress and slipped in the donut. Stitch, stitch, stitch, he carefully sewed the donut into the mattress. Even a surprise inspection would be unlikely to turn up the precious pastry.

TO BE CONTINUED (click here for part II)


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