Poetic Justice

It had once occurred to Kaap that if he could read people’s thoughts, he could also plant suggestions into their mind. Making people do what he wanted, whenever he wanted became Kaap’s secret weapon against those who mistreated him. It felt like poetic justice to hear the people who had pestered him, turning in mid-sentence to quack like a duck or squeak like a mouse without any recollection of what had made them do it.

At the end of the day, it was all harmless fun, and Kaap’s amusement was merely at the expense of some innocent fit of social justice. Why shouldn’t the man who kicked Kaap aside experience unnaturally long hiccups in the middle of his sales pitch? What about the woman who treated him like a doormat, and her sudden encounter with large, imaginary spiders?

The problem – Kaap soon learned – was not planting these suggestions in; the problem was getting them out. Kaap was known for his ability to “smell” how people are feeling, and what he smelled, reeked of fear and frustration.

In a dark corner somewhere, a man flapped his hands. ‘Quack-quack!’

‘Get ‘em off me!’ screamed a woman through rivers of running mascara, her pink fingernails scraping and clawing at the many-legged, unreal things crawling over her dress. ‘OFF! OFF! OFF—’

‘There’s – hic – nothing there, ma’am! Please, try to remain ca—hic—calm,’ said the man struggling with hiccups. His face was purple from the many times he had tried to hold his breath, which only resulted in him getting breathless with hiccups.

‘Squeak—’

‘—shut it, Morris! You’re not a – hic – fricking rat!’

For the longest time, Kaap struggled to clean up the mess he created by undoing his suggestions, but to no avail. Regardless how many thoughts he would beam onto his subjects, they still continued to spontaneously quack, squeak, hiccup and scream at non-existing spiders for days on end.

One glorious day, after being served a cup of frozen yogurt, the quaking man miraculously stopped quaking, and resumed his normal speaking habits. Kaap, who had been following the man for weeks, took no delay in relating everything to Vivian.

‘Yogurt cures them, you say?’

Whatever passerby might be seen in the vicinity of the Amberville Manor would see a gathering of people with various degrees of mental decline, helping themselves on frozen yogurt on-a-stick while singing Kumbaya – with the occasional adage of animal onomatopoeias and uncontrollable bowel movements. As for Kaap, the Hole-in-the-Wall, Vivian made him swear he would never hamper with people’s sanity again.

- Louise Blackwick

Advent 2017