Fiction On Odyssey: Top Hat

Fiction On Odyssey: Top Hat

He is called Top Hat, and he remembers the needle that sewed his mouth shut.

He is called Top Hat, and he no longer remembers what his old name was.

It's not like he got to pick the new one, of course. None of them did. Nor do any of them have identities of their own. Their real names, their old homes, their entire lives... She had rewritten it all. Her "developing" imagination had created so many twisted stories and versions that he no longer even knows what's real about him and what isn't. The others don't have any clue either.

The difference between him and them, however, is that they claim that they are content with their existences in The Room. They weather the abuse of their bodies and psyches with plastic expressions and painted on smiles. Since they have free reign of The Room whenever She is not present, they've deluded themselves into believing in their serenity.

He knows better. The Room is a gilded cage, and they are nothing but toys for Her entertainment and childish fantasies.

He's tried to tell them this on multiple occasions. He's tried to rally a rebellion, an escape, anything that would express the dissatisfaction that they should logically be feeling... but nothing. They distrust him, ostracize him, because he is Her favorite. As if he had a choice.

He is called Top Hat, and he remembers the needle that sewed his mouth shut.

He remembers the excruciating agony, agony that he didn't even have the capacity to express with tears. Of all the messy stitches and lacerations and scars on his worn body, the decision to silence him forever hurt the worst by far. All he had left was his voice, his opinions, his way to express his beliefs, so of course She had to take that away as well.

"It's not Her fault. She doesn't know any better."

Sure She doesn't.

He is called Top Hat, and he recalls the match tucked inside his little black namesake.

Long ago dropped by careless hands, he retrieves it from its hiding spot. It falls to the floor, and he stares at it. It has so much potential. He'd originally kept it simply to have something to call his own, long after She took his voice. This tiny object is capable of so much destruction…

He is called Top Hat, and he discovers quite quickly that his purple fur is flame resistant.

The others, however, are not.

He listens, as they cry out for help, scream to him when they see him standing there. Quite the role reversal, he muses, for he remembers doing the same thing when She had isolated him in preparation of silencing him. And so, he listens as squeaky toy voices quieten, robotic monotones become mute, and whining wails are hushed.

Realistically, he can't possibly save them all. They're all scattered throughout The Room. That, however, was assuming he even wanted to help them.

He was called Top Hat, and he reflects as a light rain attempts to dampen the flaming ruins before him.

She had escaped along with Her superiors, the Great Ones, but the others had all fallen prey to the fire's hungry maw. All is as it should be. She no longer owns him. No more playtime for you, Young Lady.

There's a strange beauty in the unforgiving flames, leaping eagerly from surface to surface in their slow but determined quest to devour every last morsel of The Room and the rest of the house. In looking at them, he feels a joy like he has never experienced before.

He was called Top Hat, and he has stumbled upon a puddle.

He takes a moment to scrutinize himself. Glassy purple eyes stare back at him from the reflection. The rain had washed away his top hat a while ago, revealing quirky, puffy imitations of ossicones protruding from his head, just like a real giraffe. The water has thoroughly soaked his purple fur, right down into his stuffing, but it has also dissolved the thread keeping his mouth closed. He smiles, because he can, and because he is free.

He walks away from what's left of The Room.

His name is Match, and he knows there are others to be liberated.

Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author's imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
Cover Image Credit: Stephen Radford

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This Is How Your Same-Sex Marriage Affects Me As A Catholic Woman

I hear you over there, Bible Bob.

It won't.

Wait, what?

I promise you did read that right. Not what you were expecting me to say, right? Who another person decides to marry will never in any way affect my own marriage whatsoever. Unless they try to marry the person that I want to, then we might have a few problems.

As a kid, I was raised, baptized, and confirmed into an old school Irish Catholic church in the middle of a small, midwestern town.

Not exactly a place that most people would consider to be very liberal or open-minded. Despite this I was taught to love and accept others as a child, to not cast judgment because the only person fit to judge was God. I learned this from my Grandpa, a man whose love of others was only rivaled by his love of sweets and spoiling his grandkids.

While I learned this at an early age, not everyone else in my hometown — or even within my own church — seemed to get the memo. When same-sex marriage was finally legalized country-wide, I cried tears of joy for some of my closest friends who happen to be members of the LGBTQ community.

I was happy while others I knew were disgusted and even enraged.

"That's not what it says in the bible! Marriage is between a man and a woman!"

"God made Adam and Eve for a reason! Man shall not lie with another man as he would a woman!"

"Homosexuality is a sin! It's bad enough that they're all going to hell, now we're letting them marry?"

Alright, Bible Bob, we get it, you don't agree with same-sex relationships. Honestly, that's not the issue. One of our civil liberties as United States citizens is the freedom of religion. If you believe your religion doesn't support homosexuality that's OK.

What isn't OK is thinking that your religious beliefs should dictate others lives.

What isn't OK is using your religion or your beliefs to take away rights from those who chose to live their life differently than you.

Some members of my church are still convinced that their marriage now means less because people are free to marry whoever they want to. Honestly, I wish I was kidding. Tell me again, Brenda how exactly do Steve and Jason's marriage affect yours and Tom's?

It doesn't. Really, it doesn't affect you at all.

Unless Tom suddenly starts having an affair with Steve their marriage has zero effect on you. You never know Brenda, you and Jason might become best friends by the end of the divorce. (And in that case, Brenda and Tom both need to go to church considering the bible also teaches against adultery and divorce.)

I'll say it one more time for the people in the back: same-sex marriage does not affect you even if you or your religion does not support it. If you don't agree with same-sex marriage then do not marry someone of the same sex. Really, it's a simple concept.

It amazes me that I still actually have to discuss this with some people in 2017. And it amazes me that people use God as a reason to hinder the lives of others.

As a proud young Catholic woman, I wholeheartedly support the LGBTQ community with my entire being.

My God taught me to not hold hate so close to my heart. He told me not to judge and to accept others with open arms. My God taught me to love and I hope yours teaches you the same.

Disclaimer - This article in no way is meant to be an insult to the Bible or religion or the LGBTQ community.

Cover Image Credit: Sushiesque / Flickr

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10 Reasons I'm A Raising Cane's 'Caniac' And Always Will Be

Because any restaurant with a dog as the mascot is a winner in my book.

Raising Cane's is a fast food restaurant that specializes in one thing: chicken fingers. It was opened by Baton Rouge native Todd Graves in 1996. In the years since, it has become a staple in the lives of many, college students in particular. As a self-proclaimed enthusiast, here's a list of 10 things I love about Raising Cane's:

1. Not the coleslaw

So, this isn't technically a thing that I love, but I felt it was important to mention. In my lifetime, I've seen maybe three people actually eat their coleslaw, and one of those people was my mom. I think all of the coleslaw should be thrown into the never-ending abyss, but I digress.

2. The few choices

Nothing is more stressful than the cashier at a fast food restaurant asking you what you want before you're ready to order. How can you give me 157 choices and ask me to tell you which one I want in 35 seconds?! Luckily, with Raising Cane's, the choices are pretty simple: you can choose from three different combos of chicken strips, or you can choose a chicken sandwich combo. No awkward pauses necessary.

3. The lemonade

It's sweet, but not too sweet. It's the perfect addition to any combo! Sure, there's an upcharge for adding it to your meal, but life is short. Get the lemonade.

4. The drive-thru people

Who can get tired of hearing, "Chicken, chicken, chicken, what combo ya pickin'?" I don't know if this is pre-recorded or not, but it's still a fun (albeit pressuring) and unique way to greet customers.

5. The late hours

The hours for Raising Cane's varies by location and days, but "The Mothership" (the very first Raising Cane's, located right off of LSU's campus) stays open until 3:30 a.m. Thursday - Saturday. This makes Cane's a perfect spot for a bite after a night out, or during an all-nighter, if that's the way you roll!

6. The speed

I'm not sure if you've noticed, but not all "fast food" is particularly fast (Sonic on Burbank, anyone?) However, this is not the case for Cane's! I can't remember a time I waited more than five minutes for my food, and it's always hot and fresh.

7. The fries

By just looking at them, there's nothing special about these fries. But they're always served hot, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. McDonald's has nothing on Cane's fries!

8. The chicken

Of course, the restaurant is called "Raising Cane's Chicken Fingers," so no list would be complete without the mention of the chicken. You'll have to wait a few minutes before enjoying them if you don't want to burn your fingerprints off, but sometimes permanent disfigurement is worth deliciousness. It's crunchy, juicy, and overall just awesome. 10/10 would recommend!

9. The Texas toast

Everyone loves bread. It's just a fact of life, honestly, and Cane's Texas Toast reigns supreme. Every piece is tasty and soft. In fact, I have a friend who only goes to Cane's for the toast. Yeah, it's that good.

10. The sauce

Thought I'd forgotten about the pièce de résistance? Nope, I was just saving the best for last. I'm convinced that Cane's sauce is the nectar of the gods. I don't know exactly what's in it, but it could probably cause world peace. Imagine if everybody tasted Cane's sauce! The world would be a better place.

And that's all! Peace, love, & Cane's Sauce!

- A Loyal Caniac
Cover Image Credit: baddie madi / YouTube

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