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Man in the Bottle

When the duo passed him on their way into the attractions, they paused and he said, "Help me," as the female leaned close.
He always said either "Help me," or "Stay away." For a solid year, he did not even speak, just looked at the passersby with his worn sad eyes.
The duo: She had seven eyes all blinking and he, much older, spoke through his one hundred deep wrinkles, laughing out of the back of his head.
"These are the people," the tour guide told them, "who chose mates the way some birds do. At least, that is the lie they made themselves believe."
"How did they know when they found the right one?" the female asked.
"It was a matter of perception," the guide told her. "If they felt that their positive outlook was connected to the other person, they went for it. When the feeling went away, they usually decided to try someone else instead."
Turning a corner, they saw plastic pyramids, toy streets, and rubber towers. The researchers had shrunk a skyscraper and placed it in a bubble; young ones tossed the bubble back and forth, listening to the crash of people inside.
On the way out, the female told her companion, "I have an idea." From within one of her many bags, she took out a small hammer. The face of the man in the bottle flashed with hope, which was rare. With great force, she drew her arm back and then swung, but purposely missed at the last moment, refusing to break the glass.
Leaving, the duo passed images of crucifixes, electric chairs, concentration camps, and lynch mobs, listening to the man sob, "Why?" from within his chamber.
The End
This story was first published on Thursday, September 11th, 2014

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