Allister feared not fire, not an internal explosion. He feared little for very long but vice versa-he feared much for very short. A particularly pertinent example came one night filling his dreams with a draining, with a human liquification that left him streaming down and branching off into tributaries away from himself, to the lowest areas of his room.
He feared that one day in reaching for a glass of water his hand, too, would turn to water. Allister would wake most suddenly, feeling around the bed, the pillow, for signs of dampness. He would double check faucet handles with an obsessive manner usually reserved for people confined to straight jackets. Eventually, this led to a removal of faucets and the evil mystery brought on by their plotting handles. With faucets dripping freely, how could one know for sure whether it be the sink or whether it be a finger, a toe, or a shoulder dripping away whilst the night passed through?
You can imagine the heightened anxiety that swimming brought with it. The idea that one moment you duck beneath the depths and the next your swim-things rise above without you. And where have you gone? Are you wave? Are you ocean? How are you to find your arms and your legs? And if you were to find them, how are you to humanize again? Is a breaststroke worth so much?
Of course, breaststrokes lead us to the topic of exercise and exercise leads us to the topic of sweat, which led Allister to panic attacks of the most severe variety-which of course led to more sweat which led to more panic attacks of the most severe variety which led to more sweat.
He resorted to wearing a belt looped through a collection of cups. "Just in case," he would say. If he did drip away, his last wishes were for someone to freeze him until we gained the proper technology to bring him back to his familiar form. Should this technology never be realized, an addendum was added that Allister should be shipped to the Arctic where he could live his life as a tiny iceberg and not be chopped into bits and carelessly served in alcoholic beverages. This, he put in writing.
Was it rational? Well, no. The idea of spontaneous human liquification presently leans towards the absurd. But, fear, of course-fear of anything-leans towards the human. In Allister, there lived these questions (among others): Are we really of dust and is it to dust that we shall really return? Are we not made mostly of water? And if this be true (which it is), would it not also be true that we shall, mostly, return to water?
Water is everywhere. One can, of course, surmise two possible reasons (among others). That water has always been everywhere or that spontaneous human liquification is not so uncommon. And for a few terrifying days, Allister felt quite sure of the latter.