Photography © Shannon O’Connor
She hides the yellow boxes in her second-best pajama drawer, under her blue fuzzy bottoms with the monkeys on them. She doesn’t touch the boxes until late at night when the door is locked.
She goes about her day as normal: she works, she eats dinner, she checks her email to see if anyone has anything interesting to say to her. She never gets any compelling correspondence; people just try to sell her things. She doesn’t want to buy anything.
At night, after she settles in, she thinks about the boxes in the drawer. She knows if she eats them, her brain will spin, and she will become out of control. But she wants to feel that freedom, to let herself go.
Every night, she takes out the boxes of peanut M&Ms, and eats an entire box. Her head goes wild, and she loses sense of right and wrong.
“I HATE EVERYONE,” she screams. “HOW CAN WE LIVE IN SUCH A HORRIBLE WORLD?”
She turns on her computer.
She thinks of all her friends and ex-boyfriends who treated her badly.
She goes on Facebook and writes vicious messages.
“Jane eats dead rats on the weekends,” she writes on her old friend Jane’s wall. “She likes them with sriracha.”
“Miguel has a miniscule penis. It’s so small that people confuse it with the baby food hot dogs that come in jars,” she writes on her ex-boyfriend’s wall.
Her brain runs like a motorcycle, and she writes all sorts of irrational things.
Her friends never confront her because they think she’s crazy.
But she’s not, it’s the chocolate.
She buys the M&Ms from the school kids who live in her building. She buys entire cases, and eats the boxes one by one at night.
She knows something is wrong with her, but she can’t help it. She loves peanut M&Ms.
She writes message after message on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and says horrible things about her friends, night after night.
Jane sends her a message on Facebook. “What’s wrong with you? You’re a nasty person!”
But she can’t stop eating the candy.
The children stop selling the M&Ms as a fundraiser. She has no more boxes.
She goes to the drug store to buy a bag of fun size M&Ms. But they’re not the same. These don’t make her head wild.
She eats the entire bag of fun size M&Ms. She wants to feel like she has power, that she can say anything she wants, but she doesn’t.
She can’t bring herself to write insulting things on social media. She doesn’t understand why these M&Ms are different.
She goes to sleep covered in yellow candy bags. She dreams of chocolate mountains, with peanuts inside.
In the morning, nothing but a green peanut M&M is in her bed. She realizes that she can’t move, and she has morphed into a piece of candy. She tries to scream for help, but no sound comes out, because she doesn’t have a mouth.
How could this happen? She wants to yell to let people know that she knows the world is going to hell, and everything is messed up, and nothing makes any sense. But she is just a green M&M on her bed, and she has no voice.
She thinks of all the mistakes she made, how she insulted her friends, how nobody liked her, and everyone left. She thinks of her boring job where she would never have to go again, and the shopping she wouldn’t have to do, and the chores, the dishes, taking out the trash. She wouldn’t have to do anything ever again. It was almost a relief.
The window is open slightly. A sparrow comes flies in, looks around, and sees the green piece of candy on the bed.
It swoops down and eats the candy, pecking at the shell.
She knows all is over now, she will be eaten by the bird.
Another bird comes in, and they peck at the green shell together, fighting over the food.
She says good-bye to her miserable life, and becomes the bird’s breakfast. She hopes the society she is leaving behind comes to its senses, and realizes how dysfunctional it is. But she doesn’t believe that will happen. She thinks everyone will continue to spiral further down into the abyss, and eventually the world will swallow itself whole.
Shannon O’Connor holds an MFA in Writing and Literature from Bennington College. She has been published previously in Oddball Magazine, as well as 365 Tomorrows, Wordgathering, and others. She lives in the Boston area, and works in a hospital. She loves Halloween, and sometimes dresses up in costumes when it’s not October.