The Fever Dream Before Thanksgiving

Reading Time: 2 minutes

It is nighttime. A lone pigeon roams the skies until settling onto its favorite perch on the roof of the fifth floor skylight—the very one we forget exists until we chance to look upwards from our plate of beans and moist broccoli. Oh. There’s a window up there. 

Yes, indeed. 

The pigeon readies itself for the night, writing a note in its gratitude journal before nudging on its eyemask (a piece of used tissue it happened upon during its travels), when it hears a noise. The pigeon peeks one eye open before removing the eyemask entirely (via vigorous beak shaking). What is it going to do about its APUSH test tomorrow? The pigeon grabs a flashlight and starts to dive into the cafeteria when—


Ow. The pigeon forgot that there was a window there. It sighs and prepares to take the bridge entrance; it’s going to be a long night.

In the realm of the cafeteria, what had started as a soft rumble from one of the compost bins has grown into a chorus of vigorous shaking from each of the bins, and it isn’t long before two cartoonish eyes begin to blink out from the drain holes of the milk disposal bin. 

This isn’t the first time.

The pigeon makes its way into the cafeteria just as a hand bursts through the side of the mixed recycling bin, and the pigeon's suspicions are confirmed. The pigeon ducks its head to scurry across the floor, determined to grab a fork—and hopefully, a knife.

Behind it, and gaining speed, the pigeon can hear the sloshing. The slurry. And yes, even the mashing. The slow drip of tomato salsa leaves a thick red stain on the floor. The clatter of compostable utensils on the floor, dislocated from their resting place, only signals the arrival of colossal, monstrous, and nutritious creatures.

They call themselves the Food Beings. The Food Beings are hungry, but not for dinner. They’d rather just get the party started.

Being the Food Beings that they are, they know that the only proper way to start a party is to reach way into the compost bin, collect an amalgamation of food material, and begin shaping it into a ball. They roll little pieces of mozzarella sticks and use the sauce from Tuesday’s chicken drumsticks to glue everything into a giant snowman. They named him Alfred.

With this project accomplished, the Food Beings are pleased. They do not think about the students who abandoned them in the compost bin. They do not shed tears of broccoli juice. For them, life goes on after the moment they are thrown away. Life begins. They have bingo planned for tomorrow, and for the day after… who knows?