“Oh, but you always lose your hands inside the freezer, John. What’s wrong with you?” She asks me.

“It’s not my fault, mom. I didn’t ask to be like this.”

“Well, clean yourself up before the neighbours see you.”

I put on my body suit and gas-mask and make sure to tuck each and every one of my tentacles away. Mom has a terrible habit of making me feel like it’s my fault that The Accident happened. Mind you, I wasn’t even born then.

All the pictures in the hallway break as one of my stray tentacles runs amok.

“How is it that I can be both one way and another?”

Mom brings me a cup of red tea to calm my nerves. She’s long since forgotten the name of the South African wild grass from which it’s derived. I tell her that today I want to sit in the atrium. I hold the cup of tea some distance away as I watch the two-headed birds playing on the barren branches. One of them flies onto the ground and periodically bobs its head into the mud…

I was sleeping when the sirens went off this time, my cup of tea having cooled amid my slumber. Apparently some kid fell into a well and awakened some of the mutants in the depths waiting for him. Now the mayor’s afraid they’ll ransack the town. Perhaps if he’d played in the mud like the birds, there’d be no siren. Especially today, on my birthday, of all days…