He obsessed about the fact that he was somewhere else for most of the day, where he was when he was supposed to be living life,namelyin that distant, selfish corner of thought, a comfort zone.He repeatedly asked himself why he couldn’t keep a decent diet/cardio plan going. With every moment of "free time"came the same old topics of discussion, well actually, they were more like interviews in which he would question himself, covering the various aspects of his desiredcreative career, asking for and supplying opinions with a smile, and sharing the sources of inspiration. These were staged in a desperate attempt to herd away the dreaded, creeping, and all-consuming boredom dragging with it the realization that he was, indeed, a complete fuck-up, with “dreams.”
He knew all too well of the long nights, kicked off by that drifting restlessness, that unwelcome, but unrelenting eye-spreader. He cursed others for possessing the “ability” to fall to sleep quickly, to rest, to be unaware and uncaring, but all the while prepping their perfect little faces for the pursuit of happiness, the American dream, a lie. Meanwhile he sat up, alone, slapping his sausage to amateur clips of obese football dads fucking “underage” cheerleaders, and their mothers, (which somehow made it more sexy) his eyes bloodshot, a million crimson capillaries pulsing, like a band of ancient tribal percussionists tangled in fever. He sat up alone wondering what exactly the people wanted, and why was he not it, and why did he have to wear the mask, to paint the smile he didn't endorse?
Heremembered specifically the time he was sitting alone in the coffee shop (couldn’t remember the name), on some pretentious, artsy college street, with cute cobblestone sidewalks, pretending to be younger, more aware, and more intact than he really was, he’d even bothered to shave. He had ordered some kind of mocha, black gutter-slime, chocolate drink, containing an absurd amount of caffeine, nowhere near the punch of cocaine, and no doubt marketed to perfection for the kids catching some “study time” before their late-morning lectures, and there were swarms of them. He remembered sitting in a dark corner near a window, practicing his planned image, his simple objective: to allow just enough natural light grace his ashen face, and with any luck, illuminate his “good side”, giving him that: just woke up, deep, brooding, misunderstood, and underappreciated artist look. He knew from deep down within his quivering guts, to the tip top of his receding hairline that he was a fake, from the very beginning, way back to the exact minute of waking, when he had first pitched the idea to himself, tossing it about like a frantic kitten, trying pathetically in vain to mean something to someone, anyone other than himself.
There was no doubt whatsoever that if the walls had had ears, they’d have been bleeding by this point, dripping. His voice just echoed across those blinding–white surfaces, devoid of the shining golden-framed pictures of the handsome family he should have started long ago. Once, he had been pacing around the living room, his blackened tube socks peeling sparks from the carpet, consumed by theunreasonable anger sometimes assocated with philosophical debate, aimed into the reptilianeyes of a fat (rich as hell) televangelist, tweed suit. This man was the Kernel Sanders type, having a barber's beard, genteel, holier-than-though, and full of shit. This "holy man" possessed thetelevision, extending hiscrooked hand slowly through the snowand glass, his message of salvation now a sinister luring of the caring and the shattered.At that exact moment,a UPS man in their usual boy scout getup came jogging up to the front door. His knees were close to hitting his chin, just way too happy.He had stopped awkwardly in his tracks, nearly falling over, for this was truly a rare sight, and quite entertaining. It was only after he had been screaming at the top of his lungs, red-faced and spitting, at his television,that he saw the UPSman outside, his face a frozen grin, remembering that he had left the window open, because his central air had malfunctioned, in August.
Before the infamous screaming match with his television had ensued, he had snorted some coke, god knows how much, and he didn’t care anyway. He’d been on his knees, stooped over a short, wide, glass-topped coffee table, the perfect surface for such selfish endeavors. He had tried to withdraw a single Benjamin earlier in the morning, but was given four, considerably-less-badass-twenties instead. He reasoned to himself, closing out even the hope of his true opinion, that the bigger the bill, the bigger the edge he would possess, and the slickest of style, tall and proud, sporting his gold-framed, Giorgio Armani aviators with the green lenses, protecting his swollen, tired eyelids. He couldn’t even begin to describe within the deepest levels of the art of human language, the laps he’d burn round the tight-ass, polo-shirted, shit-sniffers he despised to the utmost for their breathing in of life and its “joy.”
His heart had been pounding so hard that he could see his jugular dancing in the mirror, 100% snow-blind, anumb nose, and hot flashes interrupted by pangs of guilt and a deepembarrassment, not to mention the paranoia that stiffened his back when he entered the hallway, the one that didn’t have a light, the one that became darker toward the end. He’d snorted what he felt might be a safe amount, though he didn’t know the purity, about six lines, and had shuffled carelessly to the bathroom to piss, bringing forth, in all the glory of heaven’s choirs, a hot wave of sweet relief, the intimate view of his cock stirring in him the compulsion to masturbate, the otherundeniable craving.
He would often pass out on the couch, loaded,tossing and turning, pulling the matted, unwashed blankets from K-Mart over his head in a delusional attempt to erase the sun, but it always burned through in brilliant concoction of yellow and orange. He would lay there sweating, his head aching, pulsating, his brain bruised. He longed for a simple friend, someone to draw some kind of line, someone with a quiet, soothing voice, and soft hands, no nagging, apipe dream.It had been way too fucking long since Allison had left, though she was cruel, but still, way too long since his dick had seen something other than the folds of his palm and the rancid insides of his boxer briefs. It must be known though that a sexual relationship is not what he really wanted, or needed, because porn worked just the right amount of magic to keep him satisfied in that department, for a while.
Every now and then, a single tear might roll down his cheek; barely stopping at the edge before gravity thoughtlessly intervened, adding it to the collection of midnight snack stains on the sofa. His tears didn’t soothe, but burned, (mild sulfuric acid)his pupils slowly receding (The sexy pair of Armani glasses he had wanted turned out to be too expensive).The coke had dropped him like a gutter-slut into a man-hole, holding his head under, cutting the skin, ripping out hair, drawing blood, yet another pillow case he’d have to throw away.
The newday was bright, and for once, he wasn’t fucked. He knew that the beauty could, and would not be ignored, the blue sky devoid of a single cloud, an ocean of birds, arms warm and open to the majestic sunbeams. His eyes didn’t hurt, and he hadn’t succumbed to the tasty temptations that whispered to him from within the fridge, begging, so he wasn’t bloated or nauseous, Pepto-Bismol on holiday. Today he was alright, but that’s where it stops. The coke had worn off in his sleep, the guilt only a green, stinking memory of where his motivation and dedication truly lie. Just because he felt okay now, didn’t mean that he would all day, this was a fact, and a problem that he had to solve if he was going to leave the apartment, no options. Lately he had started developing an itch, a pulling toward the powder, his clothing now too baggy. He, like every other addict/fuck up in the history of drug use, thought he could mindlessly control such an “insignificant” matter, at one time an innocent, social, stress-reducing ritual. He decided quickly, and with an unusual amount of confidence, that the corner of Market and Charles would suit his mission more favorably than say, Elm and 1st, where the sweet little children, the squeaky-clean cherubs of the sunny day wouldgo bouncingdown the sidewalk, the acceptable rhythm. They would slow him down, their book-bags bouncing, transformers sneakers lighting up, and worst of all, they’d be happy, truly, sublimely happy, and they wouldn’t even know why, if questioned.
At the thought of such an unreality, a small portion of vomit welled up in his throat, probably the twelve Krystal burgers he had inhaled while waiting at Dave’s for the eight-ball. Dave had long hair, greasy, a fuck-up, fucked up as they come, with eyes of overbearing metallic blue, just way too wide, they ate you alive. He always looked more serious than he was, at once glaring, that hard, forced image, but as he approached the car, sure enough a smile would break on his permanently stoned face. The wind would blow in just the right way, Dave’s hair flying wildly, he looked like he was the star of a rock n’ roll music video, you could tell he was kicking ass in life, the storm-door bending off its hinges, his car streaked with rust.
The eight ball didn’t last long, and for awhile he thought he’d been cheated. He knew Dave though, had known him for years, there was no way in hell Dave would’ve slicked a brother, not now, not when he really needed it, not when he had to forget……..everything. He still considered himself a “chipper”, he had to reinforce this, and burn this into the brains of his friends, when he had their full attention, when he still bothered to call them, to see them, but daylight was of little importance now, the time of transaction, just too bright. Dave was a chipper, of a lot of different things, but he didn’t favor any one substance or situation to another, he just seriously feared and/or loathed the sober/peaceful existence. He wanted to be like Dave, content, high, but content, with an edge, fearless. Cocaine shielded him, a kind of armor, and when he wore it, no spray of arrows could pass through his flesh, no bitchy rich-bitch could use him, abuse him, and never speak to him again, he’d never be tomorrow’s trash. He was the one who thought up all of the ingenious silencers, the one-liners, the shut-the-fuck-uppers, he was Mr. Green: Cash King, and the tall mirror at the end of the hall confirmed this, to his expected satisfaction.
He had a gun, yes he remembered now, a Remington870 from Wal Mart, buried deep under shrunken clothing he had meant to throw away, pushed far into the blackest recesses of the closet, a set of cruel eyes, arms clenching the cold barrel, smiling, somewhere near the crawl space door. The daydream had an air of mystery, and possibly a taste of danger. It was becoming too real to him, if another had been in his presence, they might have seen a fog drifting about his head like some kind of tainted halo, hair peppered with glitter, eyes glazed over, a vacant, toothy grin. He didn’t remember buying it, and he certainly had never used it, yet it collected dust, waiting.
Allison had been such a cunt, the searcher and finder of impurities, an all out blood-addict. She had never been willing to look at herself, that’s why he had bought that tall mirror at the end of the hall. She’d have to stand down there in the dark, a single thin line of evening light sneaking out from under the bedroom door, enough to define the edges of her skull, her eye sockets, the eyes deep inside, the black surrounding them, only a glint of silver. Her lips just a slice of shadow, awkwardly bent, a mean smile, she’s looking at me in the mirror; I’m at the bright end, that wicked smile, the smile of a cheater, a player, a cunt. Her hair flowed down from her scalp, long shredded ribbons of funeral gown, black falling into black, a freaky fucking cunt.
The taller brown-stone across the street sat facing him, saying too much, reality, a fucking rust bucket. He wasn’t loaded now though, and he felt betrayed, and eerily sharp, awake, ready. He couldn’t define what he was feeling, if anything, maybe the hole grown to the point that, indeed there was……..nothing. It was impossible for him to imagine, he could onlysee the countless expanding frontiers of space, cold, silent, anything of mass too far to touch, to feel, all mocking him. He looked around the rectangular room, movement by the window, the blue glow from the television flickering, flashing, a faint buzz, humming, annoying voices, their words predictable. Heeyed the valuptuous, expensive furniture that he had bought with Allison’s guiding hand, they seemed to be planning something, all corralled around him like some street gang, staring, ready to pounce. “The Day of the Good Furniture,” as he referred to it, was the rare day without an agenda, without the fighting, the hate.
His inheritence, a generous one, now resembled a bus-boy's paycheck, a total fuck-up. Why didn't he see this happening, the numbers falling, less and less zeroes every month. The bank hadn't said anything, no alerts, they couldn't care less, the heartless bastards. His vision was closing down, a tunnel, one priority, and four possible feelings: physical contentment, angst, and pathetic self-loathing, and don't mention the hellish discomfort of withdrawal.
Something was going to happen, tremors splitting his neck, racing blood, the skin flushed, some asshole’s stereo too loud a few streets over, too much bass, heat. It was as if something had been traveling to him, racing to him for quite a while, hell’s big-rig positively crank-fueled, eyes on the road, the biggest deadline. His head turned methodically to look through the glass, the city lights blinking on and off, on and off, all of them reds and whites, trapped in the violet between the long ugly vertical blinds. His hands seemed to throb, the decision was his only, but the hands were bitches to his brain, short circuited, but still the boss, for a while at least. He wondered whether the thing in the closet would stop him, if it still gripped the steel, his object of desire, and the tool to get the job done, with the correct positioning of course.
He allotted himself one long, very quiet minute (eyes closed) to think only of Allison, the cunt. He couldn’t get over this word, her beautiful, glowing image pissed on by that word. So many hours wasted trying to replace her, or at the very least fill the expensive recliner that he now sacrificed monthly for, she just wouldn’t take it with her, the cunt. His watch said 9:22, the little lower case pm sitting totally dedicated close beside. He couldn’t ignore the pull anymore, he could hear the metal clinking against his teeth, at first cold, the taste of a potentially bad decision. His father had taught him next to nothing, but in a drunken slur, once mumbled: (with a painted, big-breasted bar queen bouncing on his lap) you never know until you try boy…………and never before had this “parable” felt the need to cross the line into action.
He found himself positioned on the edge of his bed, slumped over, (normal) staring into the closet, eyes fixed on that creature, looking so beautiful, so composed. He said fuck it, reaching, grabbing, clawing, hauling hisbony ass across the neglected mounds of clothing, dragging his heavy feet for the last time. There came a knocking at the door.