Soul in a Pocket

Author: Glenn Leung

The day Sola’s life fell apart started out mundane. His soul rang its usual reverie and played jazz as he brushed his teeth. Before leaving the apartment, it paid the rent and called for maid services. All this was done without Sola’s knowledge. He trusted his soul to manage minor affairs; being the ultra-intuitive digital assistant that it is. He was always too busy to take notes.

The place Sola’s life fell apart was on the subway. He had not felt the need to clutch his soul with iron ferocity. After all, most people seemed comfortable jangling their phones with sweaty palms. Even if the plastic casing broke, his soul would simply return to the immaterial realm, and it was fairly easy to pull it back. However, this sort of over-simplistic thinking often finds a way to punish the thinker.

The moment Sola’s life fell apart started when he was getting off the train. A small child, looking the wrong way, had dashed into him. The casing fell from his buttery grip, and he watched as his soul slipped through the platform gap with divine precision. The grace at which this calamity happened stunned everyone who witnessed it but only for a brief second. Most people acknowledged the event in their own way before moving on. The child’s mother offered monetary compensation and advised Sola to contact the station staff. Sola, the last to recover from the shock, could only nod robotically.

Since the day the soul was made material, Sola and a few million others had loaded up their Instagram photos, credit card info, and mother’s maiden name onto the spiritual medium. His life was resting beside the rails; safe from being crushed, and far from convenient. His limbs flaccid, he limped over to the uniformed staff wearing the least stern expression.

“Excuse me,” he spoke, his voice a soft screech. “My soul fell onto the tracks.”

That was not something the staff heard every day. He gave Sola a bemused look.

“I’m sorry, Sir,” he began. “We can’t stop train service. You’ll have to wait til’ tomorrow to get it back.”

“I… you don’t understand! That’s… That’s ME down there!” Sola protested, making sure to emphasize his disembodied individuality.

The staff became less sympathetic. Sola would have picked a different person if he had seen his face then.

“What I don’t understand is why people like you feel the need to clutch and defile your spirituality! Like I said, we can’t stop train service! Come back tomorrow!”

Mixing personal beliefs with work was certainly unprofessional, but most agreed the staff didn’t deserve what Sola did next. The sudden admonishment had made Sola see his situation in a desperate light. He thought about all the things he wouldn’t be able to do that day; its impact on his impossible schedule. He thought about the essence of his being, wrapped up in a helpless little box, exposed to unfeeling steel. Pressure built up in his chest, and in one volcanic release, he threw a cross to the staff’s chin, knocking him over. Sola was about to pry open the platform doors when another staff tackled him to the ground. By the time he regained his composure, he was sitting in handcuffs.

Sola’s soul was retrieved from the tracks but confiscated until he received bail. He sat in his cell as an empty husk, pondering the fragility of life.

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