The Sky Was Full of Fish 5

The toaster factory, as I soon discovered, was completely deserted. I spent many days there, primarily because even after much searching I failed to find an exit. I wandered aimlessly down the production lines, praying for guidance from whatever higher beings would listen. I would have settled for even a suggestion. I did find one suggestion scrawled on the wall of one of the stalls in the men’s bathroom. “Fuck you,” it suggested. I didn’t find it terribly helpful.

As there were no windows, I soon lost track of the passage of time. I simply slept where I collapsed. Always, when I awoke, there was a half-loaf of toast on a plate with a selection of toppings arrayed alongside. The toppings included butter, various jellies, marmalade, lemon curd, kippers, cream cheese, peanut butter, and other substances, some of which I did not recognize. The toast was of such quality, however, that as often as not I would eat it plain; it was sufficient unto itself. It was noteworthy toast. Always I would thank the available higher beings, eat my fill, and then resume my wandering. It became a routine. I count this as one of the happiest times of my life.

The seventy-fifth time I woke up in the toaster factory, there was someone with me. Without understanding how, I knew that I found myself in the presence of the God of Toast. I spent some time, perhaps days, with the God of Toast, but I can’t remember any of the details. The only thing I remember for certain is hearing the words, “You will remember nothing,” spoken from somewhere behind me. An instant later, everything went black.

I awoke in a meadow. I had no way of knowing whether it was the same meadow I had seen through the hole in the stairs, but I had no reason to believe otherwise.

As I sat up and began to get my bearings, the possibility occurred to me that the toaster factory and the God of Toast had all been a dream. But no, the soles of my shoes were inordinately more worn than they had been when I put them on in the morning. It had all been real.

I began to realize that I had not visited a mere toaster factory. No, I had wandered the aisles of the One True Toaster Factory. To this day I am awed and humbled by this honor.

I still wondered who wrote, “Fuck you” in the bathroom, though.

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