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“Look what I found on the doorstep this morning,” says Emilio, cradling something on his hands as he enters the kitchen “but I don’t know what to make of it. It’s an egg,” he exclaims whilst placing the fragile object on the table, “a simple egg. Like a regular egg you’d find in supermarkets and corner shops, perhaps even one of those ‘free range’ eggs, where the hens play football all day long and never suffer. Yeah, I’d like to think it comes from one of those places. Not the nasty farms with all the birds in cages, like an image from a sweatshop, so cruel. Once you see them, breakfast is never the same.”
“But yeah, I found this one on the doorstep. How did it get there?” he sits down to take a closer look at the egg. “At first I thought it could’ve been a duck that laid it there. I mean, it’s Spring and ducks are mating all over the place, turning the world into a big duck orgy of sorts. Soon there’ll be ducklings everywhere in the canal and the river and the ponds. I love ducks. They’re nice. The way they wiggle their butt as they walk. And the ducklings, the cutest thing ever! When I saw the egg I pictured myself nursing it ‘till it hatch and then walking around the neighbourhood with my duckling on a lead. But no, I reckon it must be just a common chicken egg.”
He stands up and ponders on an idea: “What if I have breakfast with it? I love having eggs for breakfast. As the saying goes, ‘an egg a day keeps the doctor away.’ So I like to have my daily egg to keep the doctor away. I don’t believe all that nonsense about cholesterol. We all have to die of something anyway. So I just have an egg everyday. But I forgot to buy eggs yesterday and I had none left. Until now,” he rubs his chin for a few seconds and exclaims, “‘if life gives you eggs, make an omelet,’ right? Well, life just gave me an egg. So I might just make myself a nice omelet with onions and mushrooms and all the lovely things you put in an omelet.” He moves towards a basket on the counter,” though I don’t think I have any mushrooms or onions left”; disappointed, he goes back to contemplate the egg on the table.
“Now, who’s that ‘Life’ that’s giving away eggs anyway?” he questions himself, his eyebrows revealing deep thoughts revolving inside his head. “Why me? What are its intentions? As my mom used to say, ‘you should never accept eggs from strangers,’ least of all strangers you can’t even see! And there’s of course the issue of freshness. I don’t know how old this egg is. There’s no expiry date on it. I don’t even know if it actually comes from a farm. Perhaps it was laid there by a rogue hen that escaped the farm just like in the film. Maybe it’s the result of an unwanted pregnancy. Was it even sat on? If I crack it, would I find a Shakespearean embryo ‘Deformed, unfinish’d, sent before its time into this breathing world…’” he recites, mimicking a hunchback. “Yeah, no, breakfast’s definitely out of the question. So, what should I do with you, my little friend?” he tells the egg whilst holding it between two fingers. “What’s inside this fragile shield that protects you? Should I seek knowledge and crack you open, expose your innards, get your sunny side up and down, and around? Should I solve the riddle? As that French philosopher used to say, ‘frango, ergo ovum sum,’ but should I crack you so that you can be, or should I let you crack on your own so that you can be? Who’s supposed to do the cracking? I think I should just let things happen; let ‘Life’ take its course. But then again, ‘Life’ has taken its course, hasn’t it? It left you on my doorstep, for me to do with you as I find fit.”
“Hold on!” he jumps from the table, “perhaps I can build an incubator. Yes! I just need a lightbulb, a box and some towels. Who knows, there may still be a chick in there in need of warmth. Chicks are not ducklings, but what the hell. As the saying goes, ‘don’t look a gift chick in the beak.’ It would be nice to have another living thing around. It’s been quite a while already. Too long.” Emilio looks around the flat for the materials, but finds nothing; disappointed again, he mumbles an unfinished sentence: “Where did she put… Damn it! I got nothing. No box, no lightbulbs. What now?” He rubs his head trying to remember. “Wait! There is a trick with a candle, I think, to see if the egg was fertilized. Not sure if it works though. I saw it in old cartoons. Anyway, I don’t know where the candles are either. And I’m not sure I want to know the truth by now,” he approaches the egg, “it would be hard to part with the idea. You know. Of it. Having something in. Like life. Or of ‘Life’ actually giving away eggs… with life in them, like ‘Life’ giving away life and nothing else, not otherwise, not taking, not…”
“It would be sad to know it doesn’t,” his eyes shine with grief, “like, what’s the point of ‘Life’ giving away eggs with no life in them? What kind of ‘Life’ leaves life in the hands of a simple human! Fuck, I need to know!” he hits the table with his palm making the egg swing and turn, “how can I know? I cannot crack it to check. But if I don’t, I won’t know for weeks. How long exactly?” Emilio takes his smartphone and googles “How… long… does… it… take…” then mutters something inaudible before yelling in disbelief “twenty-one days! By that time it would be too late for an omelet! Damn you Schrödinger, you did it again!” In all his weakness and impotence, Emilio grabs the egg, runs to the front door, and deposits it where he found it, in his doorstep. He then goes back to the chair, buries his face on his hand, and mumbles words, indecipherable, yet somewhat full of sadness and despair. Had he paid more attention though, he would have noticed the slightest of vibrations coming from the inside of the egg just a few seconds ago.