What’s going on out there? Bobbi visited Sushimania only once, partly because the food was bad, but mostly because she had a frightening out-of-body experience while dining there.
It all started with an innocuous sip of sake. Bobbi had never been a fan of the liquor and on that evening, she almost began to spew vomit as she felt the odd flavor of fermented rice coat her throat. As it slid down her esophagus, she slipped into a slight paralyzed state, becoming increasingly aware that not only could she not find the abdominal strength, nor the gag reflex necessary to throw up, but she could not lift her arm as she struggled to cover her mouth.
I can’t move!
Her husband was too engrossed in his meal to notice, and each time the loaded conveyor came around with a new plate on its circular track, Jack grabbed yet another uninspired dish. Bobbi had felt something similar many times before, as she suffered from occasional sleep paralysis. But this was the first time that she felt that suffocating vulnerability in public, ; completely exposed and completely helpless, not one person in the restaurant understood what she was going through. Fortunately, she could still move her eyes, and she scanned the horizon, glimpsing vacant, see-through stares, and actively chewing jaws--up, down, stop, up, down, tongue licks soy sauce lips. However, this was no simple paralyzation, not like that ghostly dorm room incident. In Bobbi’s freshman year at college, she had shared a dorm with a night owl, a completely disrespectful, fun-seeking, clueless girl that would usually clamber back to the room hours after Bobbi had peacefully fallen under. One night, Bobbi awoke around 3am to a tremendous weight on her chest. Half-awake, with eyes struggling to open, she groggily muttered for her roommate to get the fuck off of her. Bobbi could see Sarah’s outline at the foot of her bed, watching.
Sarah, what the hell are you doing?
The shadowy weight began to remove itself, allowing Bobbi to lift herself from the bed a little further. As she rose to confront Sarah, she turned her head to the left where her roommate’s bed was, complete with a soundly sleeping Sarah. When Bobbi redirected her attention to the foot of her bed, the shadow had disappeared. Bobbi had been paralyzed. Though that time, it was with icy fear as opposed to hot, claustrophobic anxiety.
Back at Sushimania, Bobbi still couldn’t move, but she felt a new, upwardly slipping sensation. Not quite weightlessness, as much as the kind of humbling head rush of realizing a bright idea. Bobbi felt this ideation physically moving upwards from her viscera, past her sake-sodden neck, rushing through her overly-salivating mouth, crowding her sinuses like some wild, oneiric train, barley fitting through a tiny, subterranean mountain tunnel, almost hitting the sides of its enclosure with its unseen tumescence, flying into her neurotic brain, and then seeping through microscopic cracks in her skull, breezing by the fluffy locks of her overly-dyed brunette hair, and rising above her still immobile body.
The sushi’s pretty good, isn’t it, Bobbi?
And suddenly, Bobbi was looking down on herself and her husband, staring in awe at the tacky blue, red, orange sheen of the tableau of Sushimania. She could see even from the ceiling that Jack had asked that question in the rhetorical, not even glancing up from his ravenous sushi devouring. Bobbi’s body looked peaceful, considering the possible emergency medical attention it might be needing at that time. So continuing to ignore her physicality, Bobbi floated away, moving along the perimeter of the restaurant, before hovering directly above the kitchen, in the center of the room, the hub of the sad sushi conveyor’s wheel. Her vision became cloudy, obscured by steam, and swept further upward, into the ceiling exhaust vent, and out into Clark County’s early evening, purple-hued sky. Her sake-powered spirit continued to drift in the breeze, offering Bobbi glimpses of roofs at dusk, wind-blown lawns and cypress groves, at one moment flying alongside the meanest looking murder of crows, sensing something timeless among them—shrewd creatures with wings, able to recognize human faces and alert their ilk accordingly—and Bobbi found herself lofting downwards into the vent of a faded green warehouse building. From the vantage of the ceiling’s air vent, Bobbi looked directly over what looked like a guerilla rock concert. She heard fast Cumbia-inspired punk music being played by angry-looking, brown teenagers. She saw a little girl in a purple dress dance and smile, staring with doglike wonder at the band; with her limited attention span, the girl soon forgot her wonder and found the freedom of her dance again. Next to the small girl, a large-framed Dominican looking girl in an overwhelmingly multicolored dress danced, the linen hem of her skirt fluttering in wild frenzy. Without warning, the large girl ran out of Bobbi’s field of vision only to reappear moments later with a concerned look on her heavily-featured face that appeared to assuage itself through the continuation of dancing, the strong swaying of her body expelling consternation, grounding the girl in stable contentment. A Christmas-colored sequence of overhead lighting painted the warehouse’s interior with warmth and expectation, and Bobbi could make out an immense, latticed window on the wall directly behind the band, offering violet shades of the mystical Clark dusk variety, all casting the band members in an unearthly glow. Bobbi’s new body was represented by a single chain suspended beneath her ceiling vent’s vantage, dangling from the ceiling, a sentient metal extremity, collecting sensitive stimuli, vibrating with infectious Latin rhythms and iron emotions. The pounding from the bass drum began reverberating louder and louder and Bobbi’s vision went from blurry to black. Instantaneously, she found herself back within her normal body, staring into a tiny cup of sake, still clutched in her hand. The whole ordeal felt, in the very least, to have lasted a good half-hour, though it could have only been a second.
When Bobbi later asked Jack if he had noticed her acting strangely at the restaurant, he said he hadn’t noticed anything as he was too busy eating. The sushi conveyor continued cycling.