CHAPTER 18 - THE BOTTLE
The suite was painted a pristine, light yellow shade. The floors were made of marble, and the one big window on one side of the wall was draped with white blinds. Other than the bed on which Mr. Krabs laid, there was nothing but the drawer we hid under, two end tables, medical machinery which indicated that he still had a heartbeat, and a sofa for visitors. The room had a rather Spartan design.
Mr. Krabs looked very different from how he did when I last saw him. He no longer had that opulent, bright scarlet sheen to his shell: he had molted it away. He was now just a wrinkled up, pale, pink, unmoving, old prune. Instead of the sophisticated suit he wore with the gold-framed monocle, he instead wore a hospital gown and was tucked by blankets. He looked rather at peace with himself, but somehow, I knew that he was in intense pain. I noticed Howard crying, and I comforted him.
"The crustacean I have looked up to for years…" Howard mumbled. "He is now this… nothing but a vegetative vessel of a… I wish this was nothing but a dream…"
"But on the bright side, at least you got to meet him, right?" I realized right then and there that I have told someone to look at the brighter side of a sorrowful situation that even the most positive of optimists will find bleak. Howard took a nap on the marble floor in an attempt to escape this reality that cannot be effaced from his otherwise fading memory of who he was.
However, I also saw the bottle with the Krabby Patty recipe on top of the mahogany end table. It was transparent, had a brown scroll inside, and was sealed only by a piece of cork. I stared at it for a long time. I memorized and measured in my head every single one of its curves, the angles on which it reflects the overhead light, the smoothness of the near-flawless glass, and the perspective I was observing it from, as though I was checking out a beautiful woman's contours for the first time. For almost all my life, this was what I have sought after in order to prove myself. For years, my longing for the knowledge of what is written on that scroll has consumed my very being. I have wasted all my life on that Neptune-damned scroll and refused to have it any other way.
"What's the matter? Why so quiet? You've been staring at that bottle for hours now," Howard said. "I've already woken up from my nap, and you're still sitting in the same position, eye straight ahead at that bottle."
"That bottle…" I said. I felt the tears well up in my eye as my whole life flashed before it- all those years that I've pursued the contents of that bottle. "I've pursued it all my life. I wasted every opportunity I could have gotten on that wretched bottle!"
I finally ran towards the end table and climbed it. I saw the bottle again, and it was now noticeably larger and taller than I am, as though I could actually be trapped inside it. It was perfectly clear, and the pristine glass sparkled before my eye as it captured the reflection of the white fluorescent light. It was a treasure I had been hunting for all my life. I saw the scroll inside; every fiber of the paper, slightly frayed at the edges, yet perfectly opaque, concealing a mystery.
This, I felt, was my ultimate temptation. Right beside the bottle was a wrinkled old body of an erstwhile friend and arch rival, the very reason I went here in the first place and got trampled upon once again on those cold marble floors. In this very room were the very two factors that governed everything about my life; my goals, my feelings, my relationships, and my needs. To my left was an object so valuable that I have pursued almost all my life and never got, and to my right was someone I used to have and lost to the very object on my left. I knew right this very moment that I was in the single most important crossroad in my journey in life, and I had to choose only one.
I closed my eye and meditated. I hadn't done such a thing since what seemed to be forever ago. I needed some moments of silence and solitude, some moments of trance away from the visual presence of my ultimate temptation.
"You seem to be bothered by a very important decision you're being faced with right now," Howard said as he stood right next to me.
"I need some moments to myself," I replied.
"Well then," he said. "I understand. I'll just be right here if you need me."
In my meditative trance, I felt as though I was reliving my life all over again, repeating the same mistakes I have done in the past, over, and over, and over again, right from the moment Mr. Krabs and I fought over the paper that changed our lives forever up to the moment I attempted to jump off the mortal coil by getting incinerated at Stanley's Scrap Shop. I felt myself suffer the same pain and bitterness from my constant failures in everything and from all the opportunities that I myself chose to waste. I opened my eye and felt the tears run across my face. I wiped them off with my stubby arm, and from that moment, I understood what I should do. I already knew what my decision would be.
"Is everything okay?" Howard asked.
"Yeah," I replied firmly. "I know now."
I jumped on the bed, cleared my throat, and I reached for Mr. Krabs's ear, hoping to finally tell him what I've always wanted to tell him as an old friend of mine.
Author's Note: Yeah, I haven't written anything about Plankton's Eye View in a long time. I've been having too much fun with my other fanfic, My Metal (the original is on deviantArt), which I will repost here soon.
I know there is some stuff here that doesn't match up with canon anymore because of new episodes, but I have already planned this story from start to end, and I will continue writing it based on my fanon. Besides, this fanfic is almost complete anyway. Just a few more chapters to go.