SDC V1, Chapter 18: ‘Salad’

As Michael, I stood up and carefully walked between the back of the office chair and the edge of my floppy bed. Making sure not to touch anything. Then I took my shirt off, handed it to Ana, who crumpled it up and placed it on the metal chair.

I walked along the edge of the bed, over to the ‘head’, which was slightly elevated. There were two little handles on the ground. They were basically just pieces of steel, bent around, with a cushioned red grip on each one. Not sure what that part was made out of, but it was a little spongy. Anyway, they were incline push-up bars. I bent over and then got down, not letting any part of my body touch the cold, dusty tile floor, except my toes. With my hands on the grips, I started doing push-ups unconsciously. I could feel the muscles in my abdomen, chest and triceps hurting a bit, but that was normal. Especially when I got past thirty.

However, rather than my muscles, the reason I had to stop prematurely was because my hands and wrists hurt. Long ago, I basically broke both of my pinies, making lifting or pushing any kind of heavy weights, extremely dangerous. If I put too much pressure on them, or for too long, they could easily break again. Plus, my toes kinda hurt, since a good portion of my weight was probably being pressed on them.

The handles weren’t what I would consider clean at all. Thus, I decided I might as well finally do what I should have done ages ago… I went back over to the amp and got the yellow-white tub, which contained those disinfectant wipes. I used a few of them to vigorously wipe down most of the parts of the handles that I would actually have to use, then put the container back on the amp. Though I still had to wash my hands to get that nasty, soapy feeling to go away.

My hands were dry and cracked from the cold, along with that tiny heater, but I didn’t really mind. It was only a little annoying. Since it was worst around the knuckles, and I kinda needed to use my fingers to do things on a daily basis.

“Might as well make something to eat while I’m up here…” I murmured to myself, as I checked the cabinets for food. The first thing I noticed was that I had croutons, an unopened bag of them. I really felt like eating a salad.

Next I looked in the refrigerator and quickly realized that I basically had no lettuce, cucumbers, not even an onion. I checked all the cabinets and couldn’t find a single can of chickpeas…

“So it’s down to this.” I put down two rectangles of paper towels, then washed off a medium sized ceramic plate. Then I went to open the crouton package. I ripped the little hole that said ‘pull here’, but it only went about halfway across the bag. Regardless, it wasn’t a major problem. I simply poured the little fried and seasoned pieces of stale toast onto the plate, at least I think that’s what croutons are?

I sealed the container again, since it was one of those ones that you press on both sides and slide your fingers across to ‘close’. Finally, I had to make a decision. To just eat croutons or spice things up?

Anyway, I took a can of chicken breast off the top shelf of the cabinet near my door. Yep, canned chicken. It’s not nearly as bad as it sounds though. Basically like canned tuna, but without the mercury, the cans are much bigger and overall, its a lot cheaper… While still containing the same amount of protein, or well, a decent amount more, since there was more food in the can.

“Oh sweet, a flip-top!” I was excited because I wouldn’t have to use a can-opener. Still, I washed the lid off thoroughly, with some scalding hot water, before I was satisfied that I probably wouldn’t catch something from it. You never fucking know how filthy the tops of cans are by the way. Usually in storage, rats and cockroaches are constantly shitting, pissing and running around on them. Always wash your cans before opening them. And canned drinks? Fuck that shit. At least you’re better off if they come in a sealed plastic or cardboard package, but even then, you never know what chemicals or feces have been smeared on them.

So yeah, I poured out the liquid from the can, before fully opening it. The chicken breast was mostly in large chunks, really similar to tuna. It even looked pretty much the same: Pinkish in color, but slightly firmer in texture.

With that twelve ounces of chicken breast poured on top of the fifteen or so croutons, I moved onto the most important part of any salad: The dressing. First was my favorite, Red Wine Vinaigrette, which I poured over the left side of the plate. Then I poured out what was left of a container of Balsamic Vinaigrette, before squeezing out a bit of blue cheese dressing across the middle. Then I put away the two containers, throwing the empty one in the recycling bin as I opened up the utensil drawer. Obviously I washed my hands before I grabbed two forks, then closed the drawer with the hand that wasn’t holding them, and washed my hands along with the forks in the sink for a few seconds.

The freezing cold water felt like it cooled down my blood, because it seemed as if there was ice in my veins, that shot all the way to my upper arms. I’m sure everyone probably experiences something similar, but I just always found it weird. Reminds me of getting an IV drip before getting put under.

Anyway, it was finally time to ‘test out’ my strange creation. I pushed down the dull-grey fork, stabbing one of its four prongs into the side of a Balsamic-covered crouton, accidentally breaking it in half. Then I struggled of a few seconds, before eventually deciding to just scoop it up and shove the broken pieces into my mouth.

Well what can I say? It tasted like a fucking crouton. With some Balsamic Vinaigrette soaked into it. Not really that strange. The chicken bits tasted like, well, chicken. Not nearly as good as a normal breast, but what do you expect from canned meat? The blue cheese was a little bitter, probably the literal mold, yet it still tasted subjectively good.

Thus, I went downstairs while carrying the plate of food in one hand and closing the door with the other. I didn’t close it all the way though, left a decent amount cracked open. Mainly because I didn’t want to suffocate downstairs.

The first thing I heard on my way down was the noise of the heater, though it was actually just set to ‘fan’ mode, in order to stop drying out the air so much. There were some deep rumbling noises from the game. Not gunshots, since Ana wasn’t even using a gunpowder weapon, and she was also in space. No, the rumbling was the theoretical sound of various pressure waves hitting the suit, from the massive explosions in the distance. She had already gone over to the asteroid base and planet explosives, in order to destroy it outright. Otherwise the pirates would just keep spawning. The game wasn’t hyperrealistic after all.

“This is still really weird.” I murmured, bringing the food over to the other ‘me’. I placed it on the top part of the desk, so we could bother eat from the same plate. Also, Ana was using the keyboard at that moment, and couldn’t really move it to the side in order to eat more comfortably.

It wasn’t a particularly delicious meal to be completely honest. But I didn’t get sick, and it tasted okay. That was good enough for me.

When the space pirates were dead and I was about to log off the game, I asked Peter with my ‘Michael’ voice: “Hey… This might sound random and strange, but… If you were to suddenly, one day, wake up with the body of a beautiful woman sleeping next to you… And you could like control both your original body and that one at the same time, what would you do?”

It took him a while to respond, probably because he wrote a fucking paragraph.

[Waveholder: I’ve heard of spontaneous combustion, but not spontaneous duplication lol. But I’d probably start by having sex with her, then eventually, I’d buy a cute maid costume and pretend like she’s my personal maid to my parents. Oh wait, they might expect ‘her’ to do housework and stuff… Lmao, I guess she could just be a cosplayer and not an actual maid. Either way, I’d spend most of my time having sex with her, and then use her to play video games, while I’m at work.]

Yeah, he had some kinda weird Japanese maid fetish. And he thought my attraction to female bodybuilders was strange… Regardless, his input was totally useless.

“Alright, well, goodnight or whatever the fuck time it is in Slovakia. I’m gonna go do something productive.” I snickered and exited out of the game. Staring at the page that I was editing.

My bodies felt pretty hot all of the sudden, so I decided to turn the little space heater off. It was instantly really ‘quiet’, or at least silent enough that the annoying hum from my computer was hurting my ears, and every keystroke I made, seemed deafening.

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