“This is your last chance,” Morpheus said, his hands outstretched, several small pills lying in each upturned palm. “After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill – the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill – you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.”
“I see,” Neo said, staring at the pills in Morpheus’ hands. “And what about the orange one?”
“The orange what?” Morpheus said, glancing up at Neo.
“The orange pill, in your left hand.”
Morpheus glanced down at his palm and stared at it for a moment, his shoulders drooping. He leaned back slightly and sighed heavily.
“Dammit,” he whispered, “I grabbed too many.” He looked back up at Neo. “You’re not supposed to know about the other ones. Can we just focus on the red and the blue?”
“Wait,” Neo said, “why can’t I know what the orange does?” It looked like it was probably chock-full of vitamin C, which would certainly be a pretty solid choice. Better than waking up in a bed and not being sure of what was real, at least.
“It’s just,” Morpheus paused. “Look, can we forget about the orange? Do you want to see how deep the rabbit-hole goes, or do you want to be a quitter?”
“I want to know what the orange pill does,” Neo said, staring at the oblong medicine. If it was a vitamin C pill, he’d absolutely take it over the others. At least then he could walk away with some nutrients in his system, rather than either a lifetime of regret or confusion. Then again, he could also just combine it with one of the others. If he was going to wake up in either some rabbit hole or his bed, it wouldn’t hurt to have a few extra vitamins in his body.
“Fine,” Morpheus sighed. He shook his palm slightly, the pills shifting forward. “The orange one lets you change genders. It’s a hormone therapy thing.”
“Really?” Neo said, staring at the pill. “If I take it, I get to become a female?” He’d always secretly felt like he were a woman trapped within a man’s body, but forced those thoughts deep down inside himself and ignored them whenever they resurfaced. It was easier to pretend they didn’t exist. Still, he always knew the truth, always knew what burned within. The orange pill certainly seemed a pretty good option, especially considering his two otherwise lackluster ones.
“No,” Morpheus said, “it’s a slow process. This is just one of the hundreds of pills I take—I mean you’ll have to take.” He paused. “But, you know, it’s worth it. And it’s nothing to be ashamed of. When you’re just not happy with who you are, sometimes it’s best to change yourself.”
“Right,” Neo said, turning his attention to Morpheus’ left hand. “What about that green pill?”
“What?” Morpheus said, following Neo’s gaze toward his left hand. “Oh, fuck me. God dammit. Please ignore that pill, will you?”
“Okay,” Neo said. “So I have a choice of the red, blue, and orange?”
“Yes—wait, no. The orange is out of the picture. You only have the red and blue.”
“What? Why? How come I can’t choose to become a woman?” Neo stared at Morpheus, his head tilted in disbelief. He’d made up his mind a moment prior, decided it would absolutely be the orange one. He’d even begun imagining himself walking through the park on a warm spring day, his dress softly scraping the floor, a tight-fitting bra strapped to his chest. He felt happy—for the first time, he felt happy.
“It’s just not for you,” Morpheus said, sighing. “Please, just focus on the red and the blue.’
“I changed my mind,” Neo said, crossing his arms over his chest, “I want to know what the green one does.”
“You just told me you would forget you saw it,” Morpheus said, his voice rising slightly as he threw his hands up in the air. Neo wasn’t sure if Morpheus had a history of hitting people he tried to help, but he didn’t exactly feel like he would walk away without at least one punch to the face. Still, if Morpheus was going to be difficult, so was he.
“Yeah, well, I see it now. If you’re going to take away my gender pill, then I’m asking about the green. Tell me what it does.”
“You know what? Fine. The green one will literally turn you into an Orca whale. It isn’t supposed to be for you, it’s for our initiative to protect the seas from the Agents.”
“I’m sorry?” Neo said, suddenly incredibly interested in the green pill. While he did feel like a woman trapped in a man’s body, he’d always had the undying thought that he was actually an Orca whale trapped in a woman’s body that was trapped in a man’s body. There was no way he’d turn that down if he’d heard him correctly.
“The pill turns you into an Orca, a ‘Killer Whale,’ if you will. It is absolutely not for you.”
“I want that one,” Neo said, thrusting his palm forward and swiping the green pill out of Morpheus’ hand. The other pills flew out, tapping against the floor and rolling into a grate beneath. Neo pulled his fist back to his mouth, shoved the pills inside, and swallowed. It tasted slightly like squid.
“You idiot,” Morpheus said, raising his palm to his forehead. He stood up and turned toward the door. “I hope you enjoy wasting the rest of your life while we fight.” He slammed the door shut behind him, a wave of darkness pouring over everything.
Neo opened his eyes, a wash of blue flooding his vision. He didn’t need a mirror to realize he was floating somewhere in the ocean, his tail fin fluttering lightly behind him.