I do not remember a time when these hallways were not busy.
We had been connecting drinking straws for what seemed like an eternity. In fact, these passages were littered with them, crammed into each other so the juice could flow.
Every now and again, we would receive orders to open the straws and connect one line to another, allowing the juice to enter a different system.
But it was such a pain when this happened.
“Pop another synapse, Joe!” was the rallying cry, and all of us, the blue coats, the red coats, the green coats, and the orange coats would wait for the yellow coat to locate the precise region on the tube to make an incision, before pushing in the connector tube and linking it to the correct tube over before the juice could leak.
Yellow coats had to be good.
They worked so hard and so fast, and were so good at giving orders.
However, despite their efficiency, every now and again the tubes would leak and spray the hallways. If the spray was particularly bad it would soon be followed by a quake, and we would have to wait for a black coat to come and clear the debris and restore peace to the area.
The yellow coats and the black coats hated each other. They would never work in each other’s company or talk to each other.
I had never seen where the juice came from or the beginning of a tube, so I waited for the next quake, and as soon as the teams rushed to assist the spray I left my post, picked one particular tube and just followed it.
I traveled for the longest time, and knew after a while that I was just running on reserves. The sense of infinity provided by the thousands of tubes began to register as infinite hopelessness. There seemed to be no openings to any of them.
I almost gave up completely when I entered a new hallway, a very large one, and saw that all of the tubes split off into different directions, down their own hallways, all on their own!
I laughed, picking up the tube that I had been following, allowing it to run through my hand as I ran to find its source.
The further I moved down the hallway, the hallway belonging to my tube, the more it narrowed, until there was hardly any room to move.
I saw the tube bend around a corner into another hallway, and the thought of following it much further was agonizing.
I took a deep breath, and rounded the corner in the anticipation of another un-ending hallway, but there was a dead end with a toilet just sitting there, unused, with the seat up.
The straw lifted up off the floor and vanished over the side and into the bowl.