The killer flatworm and the animated piece of splintered wood first alerted me that this was no ordinary situation.
I was in a restaurant talking to a man preparing food. A piece of meat tore cleanly, and inside he found a flatworm that did not look natural. While I wondered how he could be so calm about finding something so disgusting in the food, whether there were parasites in everything else, and what I should do, I suddenly had a prickly feeling that this was not what it seemed. Perhaps realizing that I was onto it, the parasite became animated as he was starting to examine it.
Awareness hit me that I was a spy about to engage in an extraordinary life-or-death battle. A flat splinter of weathered gray wood appeared to be my ally and my source as I struggled to understand what it was trying to communicate to me. This situation, in which any living thing or inanimate object could become a friend or enemy, was surreal, or it involved advanced technology. Even as I tried to comprehend this, I saw ketchup bottles unscrewing their own caps and attacking people, although I could not tell which side they were on. I was afraid that when they squirted someone in the face, that person’s face would melt.
I was peering into something dark, and dead eyes peered back at me. I could see the dim outline of a cartoon-like tiger and a black animal. Someone, perhaps the splinter, was telling me that wildlife was being poached, and now I understood that I had to stop it.
Slowly, subtly, the animals came back to life or were reanimated, and they killed an entire group of tiny people. When I looked down at the carnage, it appeared to be blobs of red and green modeling clay, and someone was saying that we had to be more realistic than that. Could this be a movie set? I felt surrounded by enemies, animal and inanimate. How could I know who or what to trust in this bizarre world?