Through the Eyes of a Mantis Shrimp

Reading in Bed. It’s the state I typically find myself in when closing the routine of my day. They say that reading for at least thirty minutes before going to bed is good for the mind. Regardless of this, I work my way through parts of a good piece of fiction before falling asleep. While I enjoy reading I find that in my dosing is when he arrives most often. He appears when I become tired. His name is Freddy. Freddy the floater.

More like Freddy the Fuck-tard. 

He sits like a speck of dust on the edge of my vision indicating where my left eye ends and the world begins. He then slowly drifts down my line of sight over the page. In front of words that I am trying to read.

I dart my eyes to the right hoping that he will swish out of my view but I blink too early. He’s back in his original position sinking down my eye. What a shit. 

I don’t give up on my book. I give up on my eyes closing the novel and curling into the covers. Sleep hits suddenly. There is nothing Freddy can do when my lids are shut.


I wake to sunlight signaling the new day. But the rays now wield a violet blue streaming through my room and on my bed. I glance out the window and am met with a cacophony of colors.

The clouds reveal a pastel magenta lining dusted with exotic hues of purples and reds. What was a slow blue sky yesterday is a mixture of silvery cobalt and periwinkle today. The sky looks so complex but I am unable to consider it as I realize I am late for a meeting with Taylor.

While walking through the meatpacking district I notice shades of ocean blue reflected off of the cobblestones in the street.

Finally, I walk up the steps to the highline and apologize to Taylor for my tardiness. We buy coffee and begin a slow stroll down the walkway looking at the fresh blooms.

“The bees seem particularly interested in these flowers.” Notes Taylor pointing to a bush.

“It makes sense, though, the blooms are so vibrant. Especially with the purple tips.” I say.

Taylor looks at me with a confused eye. “Those flowers are white.”

We continue and begin conversing about the art on the surrounding buildings.

I point to a building covered with a geometric chartreuse pattern. “That building is so vibrant. It’s amazing.”

“Which building are you referring to?” Taylor inquires.

I point again, “The building just to the left of the apartment complex.”

“Oh! I read something about that building the other day. Apparently it’s painted with designs to break up the reflections so birds to crash into the windows and fall to their death. It’s kind of an experiment, really.”

“That’s a cool idea. Though, I wonder how the people feel with a giant yellow shapes covering their line of sight ever day.”

“The paint is an ultraviolet color that the human eye can’t process. Humans can’t see the design.”

This is a submission to the Okay, what if? Challenge. This weeks prompt challenges the writer to talk about what if you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I decided to write about being able to see all of the colors that a mantis shrimp can see. While humans can see three color wavelengths (green, blue and red) mantis shrimp can see 12. This means they can see ultraviolet light. If you are up for a laugh about the mantis shrimp then check out zefrank1’s video on True Facts About the Mantis Shrimp. Featured image can be found here.

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