The last thing I remembered before the fall was the look of absolute horror on my roommate‘s face. I almost felt bad about it, but honestly, who wakes up at 6am on a Sunday morning? It‘s not my fault he decided to go on a run at the brink of dawn when most people come home from a night out. That‘s what I‘d been doing- trying to sober up enough to enjoy the last cigarette before bed in my usual spot on the little balcony in our run-down apartment. It‘s become tradition, really, to look out at the city from the second floor of the building, straddling the thick railing on a small rug draped over it, one leg dangling over the edge. I held moments like these very dear. The city was not quiet by all means, but my mind was. I never thought about anything as I felt my body calm down with each drag of the cigarette. Nothing extraordinary ever happened in these moments, apart from this one time, of course. The first time my roommate decided to wake up early to head out and therefore witnessed my little incident. To be fair, it really wasn‘t my fault at all. With nothing on my mind, nothing to think or worry about, I didn‘t even notice when the stub of my cigarette fell from my hand, my body slowly slumping forward from exhaustion. No, with the absolute calmness of the early morning hours, I didn‘t even notice that I was falling off the railing until I did.
Honestly, it wasn‘t the worst way to go. I was tipsy, content with life and mindnumbingly relaxed. So it wouldn‘t come as a surprise to anyone that my only regret on the way down was that I didn‘t get to eat my leftover pizza from the night before. Such a shame, really. Leftovers always were better than the actual thing, hands down. But what is done is done. That became absolutely clear when I hit the ground. It‘s weird, really. Everyone always talks about the way down when people fall or jump, nobody ever talks about the actual impact of hitting the floor. Sure, the fall was fun if you forget about the nauseating feeling in my stomach and the fact that I only thought about my pizza. But hitting the ground? That hurt. A lot. No thoughts of pizzas whatsoever. I wasn‘t lucky enough to pass out, so I just laid there feeling all sorts of pain. I heard screaming from above, but I could only focus on the throbbing in my head. God, it was awful- way worse than any hangover, I can assure you. And then something weird happened. Now, I am not someone who believes in supernatural occurences or whatever you want to call it. But what happened next was very creepy and I would like to state that I was as freaked out as you will probably be while reading this. I closed my eyes for a second, and when I opened them next- I swear on my leftover pizza, I was inside of my body.
Listen, I am no expert, but I was pretty sure that my situation was not normal. I mean, to be fair, I had never fallen off a balcony before, but I was sure that if the consequence of immense head trauma was visiting your insides, I would have heard about it by now. The other weird thing? I heard voices. As in, actual human voices.
,Billy! Goddamn it, you sad fuck, what happened up there?‘
With my head still throbbing, I rose to my feet. All I saw was red.
,What is he saying?‘
Another male voice.
,Crying again, goddamnit!‘
The voices came from my right. I followed the weird red tunnel I was in, careful as to not touch the sticky walls. How was I able to see? Where was the light coming from? I was pretty sure I was dreaming even before I saw who those voices belonged to. The tunnel opened into a wider room full of little tables with little chairs. It was a huge room with several entrances to other tunnels along the walls. It almost looked like I just entered an episode of The Office. There were little red and white people in complete panic running around and I would be lying if I said I didn‘t want to freak out with them.
,Billy, you skinny son of a bitch! Get your head out of the rain gutter and focus!‘
I whirled toward the voice that belonged to a small red guy sitting at a desk to my right. I marveled at the way he looked like he had been made out of play dough. A human shape, as if formed by a child, come to life. He was holding what looked like a small telephone, shouting into it, while two other red little guys were crowding his desk, apparently waiting for Billy‘s response. Yes, the red guy had a fully functioning telephone. In fact, every desk in the room had enough equipment to pass as an IT-office.
,That motherfucker hung up on me!‘, Sitting Red Guy (as I decided to call him) was saying, when one of the other guys spotted me.
,Can we help you?‘, Standing Red Guy One asked me, while I felt more and more little people noticing and glancing at me.
,Uhm..‘ Now, what does one ask tiny little colorful people with anger management issues? By that point, I hadn‘t even realized where I was- I could have been on Mars for all I knew.
SRG (I take full credit for his nickname) rolled his eyes as SRGO nudged Standing Red Guy Two‘s shoulder, muttering something about a flyer, which he thrusted in my hands, before turning back to SRG who apparently tried to reach Billy again. I am not kidding when I say I now held a little map of my own body (with my face on it!) in my hands, with a little red arrow pointing in the direction of my liver. At the top it said ,The Liver- Where the Real Shit Gets Sorted Out‘. I couldn‘t decide whether to freak out or laugh. I decided to just accept it and move on. No good will come of that anyway- I already tried pinching my arm as to wake myself up which hadn‘t worked. So I tried not to think on that too much, either, lest I lose my shit in my liver- a sentence I never thought I‘d use.
,Registration is over there‘, SRGT said nodding to a larger desk to his right. ,You better not be some sort of toxin- we‘re worked up as it is. And now damn Billy, bloody wanker, is not returning my calls. I swear to god, if he weren‘t one of our only connections to this kid‘s brain, I‘d climb up there and snap him in half.‘
,I‘m.. no, I‘m not a.. wait, did you say kid‘s brain?‘
,‘S right. People up there all think they are oh-so-important, because they are ,handling the kid‘s actions firsthand‘. Meanwhile it‘s us who make sure the kid even has actions to take, if you know what I mean. Bloody wankers, the lot of them!‘
,Doesn‘t make our job easy, either, that kid!‘, SRG chimed in. ,We‘re all here working our asses off tryin‘ to keep him alive and what does he do to show his gratitude? Alcohol and no sleep, that‘s what!‘
,I just wanna go home to my wife‘, SRGO sighed.
Now I felt bad for a little gooey red guy. What has my life come to?
,Uhm... Listen, guys, I‘m sorry to hear all that- I really am. But I really need to get out of here. Out of this whole.. body, I mean. I‘m not even sure how I got in.‘
They looked slightly disappointed and.. damn, if that wasn‘t a heartbreaking sight to behold.
,Nose, Ear, Mouth, Shaft or Anus?‘, SRGT murmured, taking away the flyer I had still been clutching in my hands. He asked that rather normally, as if it was the most natural thing in the world to give those options. I decided on the nose, because it seemed like the least disgusting option and he pointed to the other side of the room.
,Behind you, door on the left.‘
He joined the others, all seemingly busy again. After thanking them again and turning away, I could have sworn I heard a coughed ,Tourist‘ from one of them, but when I looked back, they all had rather innocent expressions. Walking through the line of desks I realized two things. One: the little red and white guys, who were apparently working for me, all had strong accents that were really hard to decipher. And two: all of them looked like they had been working non-stop for days. They either typed on tiny keyboards, hauled small boxes from one place to another or screamed from frustration- not what you want your employees to look like, I would say. I couldn‘t help tapping a white little girl rushing by me on the shoulder.
,Is this all because of the alcohol?‘
She stared at me for a second as if she didn‘t quite know if I was serious and then laughed hysterically.
,Oh! Oh, that‘s funny! God! Me and Lissa have a bet going on whether our number will reach the billion mark this year!‘
,Number for what?‘, I asked hesitantly, knowing all too well that I wouldn‘t like the answer.
,Why, of offices, of course!‘
With that she hustled away, leaving me utterly perplexed. There were more of these rooms. Many more. And even more tiny people. Tiny people who worked just to... keep me alive?
,MOVE, NOSE GUY!‘
I whirled toward the noise, noticing a huge wooden box with the word ,glucose‘ written on it flying towards my face. Which was in fact the last thing I saw, before everything went black. Again.
Now, I wish I had a better ending to this story. I wish it were a story of a major scientific breakthrough, in which, after my incident, we could prove that things outside of our imagination exist. But the world doesn‘t work that way. No, when I woke up in the hospital, everything went exactly as one would think: I tell every one of my friends what happened, they laugh, I insist it was real, they laugh louder and eventually, we move on.
Still, the first thing I did when I got home was throw away the leftovers and eat an apple.