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The Self-Reflection Pond

A clearing in an otherwise dense forest. There is a small pond. More of a deep puddle, really. It is early in the day. Animals are at their peak noisiness. So many birds.

A Traveler bursts into the clearing, panting. She is coated in sweat and grime and her clothes are in tatters, but she has a triumphant gleam in her eyes all the same.

Traveler: Lo, a pond! I have sought thee long! And now thou art found!

Traveler kneels before the pond.

Traveler: Oh… oh Self-Reflection Pond… oh… oh…

Pond: “Oh” yourself, grimy hippy.

The Traveler is taken aback. The Pond’s voice is gruff like a decades-long smoker’s.

Pond: Fucking sissy. Scared off by lil’ ol’ me.

Traveler: Nay, good pond. I was startled. Thou art not what I expected, but still - my name is Greese Noobtool. Pleased to meet you.

Pond: I know who you are, you fucking burger grease bastard. I know you better than you know yourself. Gaze into me again.

Greese peers into the water.

Greese: Why! Tis not my reflection in there!

Pond: But it is! I am your true self.

Greese: No… it can’t be… it can’t be…

The image in the pond comes into greater focus. It looks nothing like the Greese before us who, though beaten up a little, is still a looker by all accounts. Where Greese is tall, the Thing in the Pond is short. Where Greese is slim, the Thing in the Pond is lumpy. The Thing not only has the deepest wrinkles Greese has ever seen, but the wrinkles have started to form their own wrinkle communities which pass wrinkle laws and have a bunch of wrinkle HOAs and wrinkle school districts.

While the figure could possibly be a woman, frankly it’s just impossible to tell.

Pond: You came to the Pond of Self-Reflection, did you not? This fuckin shit… this fucking shit is you… reflected.

Greese stumbles back. She trips over a root and conks her head against a tree trunk.

Greese: Lo! Low… low… how low I am!

Pond: The pond does not impart judgement. Skank.

Greese: But no! It is true! My inner self… why, I did not want to think such things but I… I…

Pond: Here it comes.

Greese: I am a monster! Yes… yes… there is little good in me… all I do are selfish things in the guise of altruism! The only reason I volunteer at the homeless shelter is to soothe my privileged ego! In fact, after volunteering, I pass by this homeless family every time on my way home and I spit my gum out on them because I hate them so much! I just… I can’t resist it! They’re so grubby and annoying, asking for money and singing hymns and disrupting my groove.

Pond: It is I. You. Us.

Greese: Furthermore… lo… low am I! So low! I made Stina break up with Marc because I wanted to get at yon dick! And then… I did! And then… when I got at yon dick, I realized I didn’t like yon dick and so I downloaded child pornography on his laptop and Marc is now serving a very long prison sentence.

Pond: Whoa. I’m a bad bitch.

Greese; Bad bitch is right! Oh… oh… how could I think that the Pond of Self-Reflection would bring me anything other than pain? I don’t deserve solace… why, the deeper I look into my soul, the more twisted and dark it appears to me… lo… why, the only thing to do is to turn myself into the law.

Pond: Yeah hon. Maybe' I’ll look a little less like a goblin orgy when you get to that.

Greese: Do you really… really think so?

Pond: Bitch, I’m the Self-Reflection Pond.

The woods begin to move. Bushes lift into the air. Bark peels off trees. A deer splits open.

It’s bunch of police officers revealing themselves from their hiding spots.

Officer: Actually ma’am, we’ve heard enough.

Greese: Nay! Lo! What is this?

Officer: We have your confession on tape. You’re under arrest for downloading child pornography and framing an innocent man.

Greese: ‘Tis my fate…

Officer slaps cuffs on Greese, passes her off to another officer. She is lead back out through the forest.

Officer is left alone with the Pond.

Officer: Thanks for the good work.

Pond: I want my cut.

Officer: The boys are bringing in a bucketful of algae.

Pond: Better be the fucking good shit this time.

Officer: Yeah, we got the good shit.

Beat.

Officer: Say, Self-Reflection Pond. I know I shouldn’t ask this of such a good informant like yourself -

Pond: You’re on thin ground, piggo.

Officer: Well, I was just wondering - do you do any other forms?

Pond: Nah, just this.

Officer: Interesting. I had no idea.

Pond; Yeah, well maybe if you actually listened to your fucking pig chief during your troughslops, then you’d know, you stupid little piggy.

Officer: It’s ingenious. Everyone thinks their inner self is butt-ugly and they confess to… well, some crime. Ingenious.

Officer peers into the pond.

Officer: Still. Even though I know… it’s disconcerting.

Pond: Get me my fucking algae.

Officer: I’ll hurry the boys up.

Officer leaves.

A robin flies next to the pond. It looks in. It chirps happily.

The Thing in the Pond changes. It morphs into a bird with long, beautiful plumage. Its beak is long and curved, gleaming like a prismatic gem. Its eyes are knowing, piercing. It is majestic, something out of a legend from long ago.

The robin titters, then happily drinks from the Pond.

I Normally Eat this Bruschetta Alone, but Will You Share it With Me This Time?