We would die if we could. It beckons to us yet we turn our noses up and it is forced to wait. We sit and toy with silver spoons, barely giving a glance to the mongrels that rest at our feet. I play with an orange myself, slitting open the still-damp skin with one painted thumbnail. The gentlemen at my left pauses mid-sentence and I continue to peel the orange. We are all wasting away within jeweled opulence and orange rinds.
I eat a section of the orange. I was wrong – it is not an orange at all – it is a tangerine. Which is fine with me, I like tangerines better. They are so neat and packaged, concise little fragments that can be held and understood. The man to my left is talking again, his hand making little gestures to ride his speech. I glance away and aside and catch sight of one of the mongrels. Tiny little beast, almost not worth noticing. They live, these animals. Not like us, propped up by propriety and delusional dreams. The dogs, they fight and bleed and live.
I wonder if I should be a dog. Give up my tangerine peels and painted nails and join them on the floor where the perspective is different. They are always looking up at me and I find I can no longer meet their eyes. I used to be a dog. I admit it – I am not ashamed to say so. I just dressed myself in fine clothing and joined the rest at the table to waste our lives away with silver cutlery.
I hate this life. It looked so fine from the floor and I worked for it. I sweated tears and cried blood to make it here. Now that I have 'arrived' I find there is nothing here that is sweet and good. Even the tangerine upon my lips (ruby red) tastes stale. I want to return to the past, to when I was looking up instead of down. But they will not let me. The people at the table would not care to see me slip away into the stream and the dogs that guard it will not let me. They snap and bark when I try and I retreat, fearful of their reddened eyes and what their bared fangs mean. I can't go back. I am trapped – trapped here among the so-called elite - doomed to waste my life away in elegance and the remains of a lone tangerine, laying discarded… among the silvered silverware.