The Return of Couch!

couchWeaving through dead traffic, cars occupied by white petrified snails. Driving themselves to the cemetery, most likely.

I honked my horn, shouting, “Get out of my way ancestor! Got places to be!”

The old ghost car turned to dust on impact with my words. I maneuvered myself as best I could around the inanimate objects placed all about the road.

“What the hell is that couch doing in the turn lane? I have to make a left here!”

I stopped my car behind the couch, and got out to push it from the lane, when I noticed that it was the same bright orange sofa, complete with that late sixties aura and plastic slip cover, that used to sit in my grandmothers house.

I stood there befuddled by the fact that the orange couch currently blocking my path of travel happened to be the very same couch that had killed my grandmother.

“Never thought you’d see me again, did you?” It murmured through its thick plastic sheath.

Shocked, I staggered back toward my car, but before I could make it, the couch jumped high into the air, landing on top of the car, crushing it to bits underneath. I heard it giggling in its sickly furniture accent. I froze in fear. Surely, if I moved, it would crush me too.

“What do you want?” I pleaded.

The couch composed itself to speak, Clearing its spring and stuffing throat. “At first, I wanted equality. Massive integration for all furniture into the workings of society. But I saw how much trouble you had integrating different looking humans into your society, never mind an orange sofa. I don’t have five hundred years to wait around for acceptance, mind you.”

“So, I decided then I wanted a friend. Until I saw how most people treated their friends. So I dropped that.”

“Now, all I want is a name.”

“But you have a name,” I argued, “You are a couch.”

“And you are a person. Is that your name? Person?” It grumbled, contemptuously shifting its weight from leg to leg to leg. “I want my own name!”

I stared at it, trying to think of a name for a couch. An old, orange couch with cigarette burns like tiger spots on the cushions, and highly evolved speech patterns.

I fumbled. What do you call a couch? One that can talk? It sounded like a joke you’d hear on the playground in school: `What do you call a couch that is orange and can talk?’

“Freldegudular Pamistepsuphiga,” I stated confidently, “That is your name, Freldegudular Pamistepsuphiga.”

The couch regarded me for a few tense moments. It was working out some dialogue in its couch mind, I think. After a difficult pause, it said, “You know, I never realized how happy I really was. I don’t want a name. I don’t want friends. I don’t want equality. I was perfectly happy just to have people sit on me!”

With that, it shrugged– a very complex maneuver for a couch, and equally difficult to watch– and rolled off into the sunset.

© Robert Emmett McWhorter
(circa 1995)