Georgia Bound: 5 – Veganism

The Ocean Voyager exhibit tunnel. This image i...

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I immediately fell to the floor, face down. I pretended to go to sleep, but kept one eye slightly open to watch my new roommate. If he was going to attack me, I had to know now. I had to be ready. He did not. He was much taller than I with the physique of a comic book superhero. His paper outfit had been torn from his torso and hung from his waist so that he was dressed like Tarzan. His unblemished ebony skin sported a tattoo on each of his appendages, with a large Gothic cross on his back that read, “Exodus.” He turned out to be a pretty nice guy.

The small 10 foot cell was octagonal shaped. The ceiling was at least twenty feet high with bright fluorescent lighting that never went out. This room also had the spiffy drain/toilet in the center of the floor. Welcome to the Ritz!

There was no clock. With the constant lighting, it seemed like a never ending day. Meals were the only indication of the passage of time. I spent almost every moment lying down on the hard floor. If I wasn’t asleep, I would just lay there.

I turned my meals away. I don’t know if it was due to my lack of sustenance, the stress, the environment or a combination of the three, but in time I started to hallucinate. Sometimes the room was blue. At others, it was yellow, green or orange. Once I even saw a man in the window peering at me. He wore an orange helmet similar to what one would wear during a nuclear fallout. These hallucinations would last for only a few minutes, but it was an experience I shall not soon forget.

Mister Exodus turned out to be somewhat entertaining. He would stand and make long speeches. The speeches made absolutely no sense. (He had clearly been in here for far too long.) His eloquent posture, however, accompanied by formal gestures reminded me of a prophet. I don’t know if he was addressing an invisible throng or the microphone which was obviously paired to the camera overhead. After a while, I could not resist to assist him. During his long ceremonies, I would hum patriotic songs. The guards must have been having a good time watching us on their monitor.

In my prone position, at the base of this barrel of insanity, I had much time to think. I would not be here for long. Even if they detained me for a few years, it was a short time. Besides, maybe I deserved it. Still, it was a minor hitch compared to those who would be in such a plight for the remainder of their lives. It was a petty issue when I considered the intelligent marine mammals who were imprisoned for life at SeaWorld, Miami Seaquarium, Georgia Aquarium and other money-grubbing sea parks.

I wallowed in self pity for some time before I realized just how much I wanted to help those wonderful creatures of the sea. Now, I wanted out! I wanted to live! I had a job to do and I was determined to do it. Finally, I ate.

I was no longer vegan.

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“Where there is a mind, there are feelings such as pain, pleasure, and joy. No sentient being wants pain: all wants happiness instead.” – Dalai Lama

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