Tok Tok Tok

A lobster sat in the water, staring out of his tank.

The people walked by, some stopping to look in. The lobster looked back, though they could hardly tell.

Some chatted, others looked disturbed. But some raised a finger, pulled it back, and tapped.

The “tok tok tok” they made reverberated through the water. The lobster’s mind thrummed each time, making him crazy. Several times per day, people did this.

In normal circumstances, it would have been fine. But with this his only interaction with anything, the tapping, and beating on his brain, made the lobster deeply unwell. If any fingers had been able to get in, he would have pinched them clean off in just one little clamp of his claw.

As the people kept tapping, the lobster became more and more crazed. But there was little he could do, until he figured out how to tap back.


Office Noise

Jason sat in the centre of the office, clutching his head.

Around him, the noise grew and grew. It was louder than it should have been, people talking and blabbing and telling everyone else about what they would do on the weekend, what they had done through the week, what was happening, and Jason was drowning in sound, too much happening.

It was not the place for a man who needed quiet.

He had tried to shush those around him, but they only rolled their eyes, grew quieter for a few minutes, then ramped the noise back up, higher and higher.

As it moved from a dull roar to a hammering, a beating of the brain by words, coughs, laughter that slowly destroyed his mind, Jason had nothing he could do but cry.

The tears fell down his cheeks as his coworkers carried on. Someone told a joke, and Jason lay, defeated.

Quiet Café

Marianne cowered at her table clutching a coffee, the warmth the only comfort she could find in a café of noise and overwhelming action.

“Really Jennifer, I don’t think – ”

“That’s not what I said, Steve – ”

“Can I get another latte?!”

“How are you!”

Marianne hated noise. Normally the café was her solace, a quiet place for solitude among strangers. There were always people coming in for drinks, but weekdays meant most came, ordered, and left for work right after. By ten o’clock, it was just the freelancers and stay-at-home parents, and while a baby could cry, it wasn’t the whirl of conversation Saturday seemed to bring.

“I was thinking we should – ”

“That’s what I mean, it’s – ”

“That’s the stupidest song I’ve ever – ”

“You know what I thought of that movie?”

“Latte number five, on order! Extra cream!”

The sound was building, had been steadily doing so for fifteen minutes, and everyone was shouting now. They might as well be drill sergeants, and Marianne, at her little one-person table (since someone had taken the other chair to fill their table out) clutched her coffee harder, glad for the ceramic rather than the paper cups the baristas were now giving out, but worried it would crack as her knuckles whitened.

“John, can you buy me a croissant?”

“Hello? Yes this is Laura!”

“Sorry, what was that? I can’t hear you!”

“It’s latte season, bring me another!”

Finally Marianne stood. Too long holding on, hoping to be the rock in the stream, hoping that the sound would die down again, but it was only getting worse. She abandoned her coffee, left, the door clanging behind her. Conversation lulled, the café quiet for a moment. Then the murmurs restarted and began to rebuild.


“We’re ready for you now, Mr. Ludds,” a sweet voice says, perfunctorily. The slight breeze of the opening door just reaching my face as I stand makes me shiver. I put my hand forward, heading toward where the voice came from. A clinical smell lingers in the hallway, as though everything is slightly sick but being masked by industrial cleaner.

“Just in here Mr. Ludds.”

“I’m sorry dear, but I’m not sure where you’re gesturing to. You’ll have to be a little more clear.”

“Of course, I’m sorry sir. To your left.”

Obviously I could tell where the opened door had been, but a chance to get a little closer to a potentially pretty girl should always be taken. Besides, if someone’s newly afflicted, they may not have learned to trust their other senses yet. I figure striving to help others be clearer is always a good policy.

“Thank you dear.” I place my hand on her shoulder in gratitude as I walk past, finding it lean and soft. The smell of her shampoo is similar to others, and I place her at around 26, probably recently graduated, single, and planning to go out dancing tonight, based on the Satsuma crap she’s wearing as well. Someone should tell her not to wear so many scents, but I’ll let someone else; I’ve done my duty with her. She’ll learn when she makes someone throw up.

I hear the door close behind me and feel my way around the small room, looking for the chair. The sound in here is dense, claustrophobic. I hear a car horn outside, and a siren rush past. The air is thick, and a little too warm. I can never get comfortable in the doctor’s office. I think they design it that way.