Arav Mediratta

July 17, 2020
(This is a weird piece I wrote based off of a malapropism I uttered as my mind grew fractious a few months into isolation in the COVID pandemic.)

Dearth Vader

everyday I wake up in a place called TAMPA a giant blue orb like the most polished lapis lazuli is what Dearth Vader tells me not that I’m in TAMPA but that it looks like lapis lazuli on the outside but he also tells me that. Inside TAMPA there are a lot of tiles trees oceans but they don’t look like my hand in that I can’t feel them or want to eat their fingers but it’s just something I’ve come to accept. And every morning when I wake up there’s a man named Dearth Vader who comes in through the north pole on a ladder and brings me burnt toast and butter which tastes more like cheese than butter. Dearth Vader is a lot like Darth Vader in that they both wear the same costume which is black with a scary mask that breathes slowly but Dearth Vader’s suit is scratched in many places and it smells a lot like sweat and beer and Dearth Vader looks shorter than Darth Vader does in the movie but Dearth Vader claims that he is six three which he tells me is tall where he is from. I call Dearth Vader Dearth Vader because when I woke up on the first day, fetal and naked, Dearth Vader introduced himself as Dearth Vader meaning that he pronounced Darth like Dearth so I stopped crying and laughed so hard that snot came out of my nose so he kept the name because he knows it makes me happy. So everyday Dearth Vader gives me burnt toast and butter which takes like cheese which he says would taste better if I spread it onto the toast but I like to keep them separate and I spoon handfuls of cheesy butter into my mouth while breaking off charred pieces of bread. When I am done with this meal Dearth Vader does what he has done since day one and places me on large tiles which have images which move and throb and they are entirely scenes of different ecosystems or habitats like the jungle, the tundra, the desert etc. which change with the time of day. And he places me on the tile (the first one today is a Siberian forest) like a piece of meat and backs up and looks at me and breathes – haw hee – like there’s something wrong because there is always something wrong and he sighs in a big exhale of industrial air and takes my hand in his damp and musty glove and leads me to another tile (the second one today is the Gobi Desert) and then moves onto another tile etc. Today I am hoping he does not choose a tile on the side but he does and I have to hang from a bar, my naked body sagging over a Swiss mountain as he frowns and, like everyday, sighs because something is wrong, so incorrigibly wrong. Today after he’s done comparing me to tiles and I am all sweaty from moving and hanging around he takes my hand and leads me to the center of the orb and we lay down together, side by side, holding hands and looking up at the tiny little carbuncle from which Dearth Vader emerges every morning and exits every evening. We breathe, and I try to sync my breath with the pulse on his wrist. Today is a different day because Dearth Vader is laughing and although any laugh from a Darth Vader mask is sure to sound nefarious something about its pacing and volume makes me believe that he is happy. And then the laughter stops like a dying radio and Dearth Vader says, You really don’t fit in anywhere. I’m wondering if that is a good thing or a bad thing and my conscience is doing this big lightsaber duel and I’m almost sure that it’s a bad thing when he says, It’s a good thing, don’t worry. And then he waits and says, That’s why I love you. I’m happy that he loves me but I’m not really sure why and my heart is beating really fast because he had never said anything like this before and I climb up onto his suit and my crotch presses a button that makes his chest say, I am your father and I kiss his eggy black eyeballs and monolithic tooth. The day is ending in the Siberian tile, the forest’s frozen trees tucking the orange glow beyond the shadows of their leaves, the first wolf of the pack waking up and stretching with satisfied cracks. Something about this feels romantic and right and then Dearth Vader pushes my slimy body off of his and stammers and breathes and stammers again and takes the bucket of cheesy butter and plate of saliva I’ve left and manages to say something about tomorrow and climbs up his ladder quickly, his boots squeaking off the iron rungs melodically. I slap myself in the face and bite my tongue until it bleeds and hope that I didn’t make Dearth Vader upset. TAMPA is not so bad and I don’t think I want to leave.

Arav Mediratta is a junior in WCAS studying biology. He wrote this piece in July 2020, in the thick of the COVID-19 pandemic. He likes to think he has matured since then. If you like to talk about creative writing – or just like to talk – reach out to him at