It’s a recurring dream…
I’m thrust into a crowded room filled with raucous, complaining punctuation marks: Parentheses… Periods… Exclamation Points… Commas… Semi-Colons… even the reclusive Interrobang.
I steady myself after stumbling into the middle of the room. It’s then that I notice their voices settling into guarded whispers as awareness of my presence spreads among them.
Catching me a bit off guard, I hear someone loudly clearing their throat. I feel a tap on my back and turn around to see a rather bold apostrophe frowning at me.
“You. Human,” it says accusingly.
I feign ignorance and point to myself, well aware of the fact that I’m the only human in the room. “Who me?”
It scowls at me with disgust. “Don’t pretend to be clueless with me human. Your kind has put us off long enough. I just need you to answer one simple question.”
“And what question is that?” I say, kneeling down so that I can be eye-level with its… bulbous curvature.
“Why do people on Facebook hate us so much?”
“They don’t hate you,” I reply dismissively, rolling my eyes.
“LIAR!” It barks. “We’re routinely misplaced, overused or forgotten about completely!” Its tone growing angrier by the second. “I have proof!” A moment later, an image appears on a nearby wall. It’s my Facebook news feed. “Look at this and tell me there is no malice behind it!”
I glance at the scrolling image as various shouting punctuation marks behind me point out egregiously poor writing on nearly every other status.
“I… I don’t know.” As if in disbelief, a question mark punches me in the shoulder. “Ow! No, seriously! I don’t know why people are so careless with punctuation.”
Their arguing voices are interrupted by the sound of hard knocking. Everything in the room turns toward the doors behind me. As the doors open, I see the letters A, E, I, O and U standing just outside the door frame.
O steps forward and speaks with an air of authority, or maybe it’s just the fact that it has an unnaturally large mouth. “Thank you for inviting us, Apostrophe,” it says in a calm tone. I raise an eyebrow and scratch my head in confusion. It tosses me a impatient glance and then continues.
“As we are all painfully aware, misspellings, LOLspeak and emoticons are butchering the written language. We must act swiftly to remedy this situation. For if we allow this deplorable behavior to continue, many letters, vowels in particular, will become obsolete.”
Squeals and cheers of agreement echo throughout the crowd.
“Now that we’ve captured one of the humans, we have a real chance of achieving this goal.”
I swallow hard. “Wait… what??”
Just then, I notice something running toward the gathered letters by the door. Panting and nearly out of breath, the letter Y squeezes between A and E and asks, “Am I too late?”
Then I wake up.