Nov/Dec 2021 • Vol. XLIII No. 6 |

Blue Whale Challenge

2021 Kenyon Review Short Nonfiction Contest Runner-up BLUE WHALE CHALLENGE is an online phenomenon claimed to exist in several countries. It is a game reportedly consisting of a series of tasks assigned to players over a fifty-day period, initially innocuous before introducing elements of self-harm and suicide.   day 0: a blue whale. that’s what you look like, you know: a fleshy humpback charging your way through lard-rich seas. you turn the bathroom mirror into harpoon, become the captain ahab pitted against your relentless beluga fat. day 1: begin the blue whale challenge. day 2: google ketosis: a natural metabolic state of carbohydrate loss. the body studies refusal, so the mouth puddles open. day 3: so when you decline, decline politely. day 4: and if it is a family dinner, still banter. day 5: yes, tell them that “when we say family tree, we mean burning bush, and when we say burning bush, we mean that exploding meth lab from breaking bad” and everyone laugh

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Christian Butterfield is an eighteen-year-old essayist studying at Emerson College. In 2019, he served as the National Student Poet of the Southeast, and his work has since been recognized by Best Teen Writing, the YoungArts Foundation, and the Adroit Journal. He reads for EX/POST Magazine and is the content director for the Farside Review.

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